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 Mayor John Kinnaird

Summer has come to an end, and our children have returned to school. Please be extra careful driving during school hours, and be watchful of kids crossing our streets and getting on and off school buses. As we all know, kids are not always aware of their surroundings and can dart out from between cars without looking both ways. I hope all our children have a great year at school. The teachers, administrative staff, and support staff at each of our schools are dedicated to providing the best education available in welcoming and secure schools. I am happy to see the renovations recently completed at the Thurmont Elementary School (TES). As many will remember, TES was remodeled many years ago to the open classroom design. The recent remodeling has returned our students to individual classrooms. I believe this will be a positive change for the students and teachers!

With fall on the horizon, we can look forward to cooler days, earlier evenings, and some great events in Thurmont. After a two-year break, the 66th Annual Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show will be held at Catoctin High School on September 9-11. I want to thank Rodman Myers, his family, and all the volunteers for organizing and presenting the Community Show. A “thank you and best of luck” to the entrants in every category for making the show a success. You are guaranteed to have a great time at the Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show!

Please be sure to attend the Art & Wine Stroll in downtown Thurmont on Friday, September 9, from 5:00-8:00 p.m., featuring great entertainment, food, and drink!

The Town of Thurmont will be hosting several Gateway to the Cure events in support of the Patty Hurwitz Cancer Fund at Frederick Health: the Golf Classic on Friday, September 23, and the Gateway to the Cure 5K on Saturday, October 16. Watch for more information about these and other opportunities to help us raise funds to support cancer patients and advancements in cancer treatment. To date, the residents of Thurmont have raised over $114,000 to support this worthwhile cause.

The 58th Annual Colorfest is on the way, and it’s never too early to start planning your weekend of yard sales, great food, and amazing crafts. On October 8-9, from 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m., Thurmont will welcome tens of thousands of guests, each and every one of whom is here to enjoy our hospitality, our spectacular scenery, and all the amazing offerings at Colorfest. Please be sure to visit local stands and support the Guardian Hose Co., Thurmont Community Ambulance Co., Thurmont Lions Club, Thurmont Scouts, and many of our churches and associations. Many of these organizations get a large portion of their operating funds from Colorfest weekend!  

The Thurmont Police Department and Woodsboro Bank will be hosting a Community Shred Event on Saturday, September 24, at the Police Station. To learn of the Shred Event and others, be sure to sign up for the Town of Thurmont Newsletter by emailing  

I am available at 301-606-9458 or by email at


Mayor Don Briggs

A busy month to close yet another too brief a summer. To attest, here is a partial recap of my schedule for the month.

August 2, 1 p.m.: Meeting with 20 seniors from the community to give updates and address their concerns. Always productive. A recurring concern is transportation. We cannot provide more transportation alternatives to Frederick, but the ribbon-cutting ceremony for Frederick Health Center at the Mount will help. The ceremony was held on Tuesday August, 16. Urgent care, lab work, attending physician, and physical therapy are all now available here in Northern Frederick County. A first!

August 2, 6 p.m.: I attended National Night Out, held in Myers Park, with pony rides, pet-a-pet zoo, lots of vendors, and free food. A special tip of the hat to our deputies and first responders. I served food along with commissioners, O’Donnell, Sweeney, Ritz, and Davis.

August 3, Noon: Lunch with Woodsboro Bank President Steve Heine, Chief Retail Banking Officer Tom Ramsey, and Dynamic Automotive (Formerly His Place) owners Jose Bueso and Dwayne Myers. The owners have already rolled up their sleeves in volunteer work with the Seton Center. Welcome!  

August 9, 11 a.m.: Tour of Fallen Firefighters Memorial and National Fire Academy with Congressman Trone, Deputy U.S. Fire Administrator Tonya Hoover, and Tyler Myles. I had invited the congressman to tour the Homeland Security facility, and he took me up on it.

August 9, 1-2:30 p.m.: Sustainable Maryland Executive Committee Zoom meeting. It’s always interesting talking with people from across the state.

August 10, 10 a.m.: Ribbon cutting was held for St. Euphemia School wayside exhibit, DePaul Street. Lots of people turned out for this exhibit, a very special tribute that is close to my heart.

August 17, 10 a.m.: President Trainor’s Welcome Back State of the Mount address to the faculty and administrators. I was not able to attend due to a scheduling conflict.

August 19, 10 a.m.: Phone call with Ronald Jon Siarnicki, National Fallen Firefighters Foundation’s executive director.

August 19, 1 p.m.: Lunch with Kim Johnson, executive director of development, Mount St. Marys University, and Deputy U.S. Fire Administrator Tonya Hoover, at the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA). 

August 20, 1 p.m.: Bollinger Construction Inc.’s 30th year of business, 1 Creamery Road. Homespun company makes it big. Congratulations.

August 20, 6 p.m.: Welcoming event in Myers Park for incoming Mount freshmen. First-time event.

August 22, 10 a.m.: Meeting with Maddy Shaw, Emmitsburg grant administrator and wayside exhibit developers.

August 23, 10:30 a.m.: Things are moving along on Sister Cityhood with second Zoom meeting with myself, Conrad Weaver, Michael Zhovnir, Lutsk, Ukraine Mayor Igor Polishchuk, and President Anatlly Tsios of Lesya University, to introduce President Trainor of our very own Mount St. Mary’s University.

August 28, 10:30 a.m.: Mass and reception ending Vincentians Community of priests’ 170 years of service at St. Joseph’s Parish. Farewell to good servants to our community. Welcoming Father Alberto Barattero, IVE, and associate pastor Father Andres Ayala, IVE.

August 29, Noon: Lunch with Father Michael Roach, Mount St Mary’s University Seminary.

August 31, 11 a.m.: Meeting with planning consultant, Chris Jakubiak.

August 31, 3:30 p.m.: Dedication of John Donavan Room, Knott Academic Center, Mount St. Mary’s University. Wonderful tribute to a person who has impacted so many students’ lives.

And this is what I do in one month of being mayor in Emmitsburg.

Congratulations to our new Poet Laureate, Sister Anne Higgins. The good Sister Anne, a native of West Chester, Pennsylvania, has been a member of the Daughters of Charity for 44 years and taught at the Mount for 22 years. Nine of her poetry books have been published. More than 100 of her poems have appeared in journals and magazines. Several times her works have been featured in Garrison Keillor’s The Writer’s Almanac.

Back to school “best wishes” to all.


Burgess Heath Barnes

It has been a challenging month in Woodsboro as COVID hit the town employees and council members. Several things had to be postponed. The town offices were closed August 3-10, as three of our four town employees were out sick. With this, we also had to postpone our August 9 meeting to August 16. With the postponement, two council members were not able to make it. We had the meeting but didn’t have a quorum, so nothing could be voted on. Thankfully, all are recovered, and the town is up and running again. I want to send out a special thank you to Sean Williams from the town of Walkersville. Sean reached out to me and sent over two of their employees (Robbie Norwood and Ian Orndorff), who cleaned up our park for us since I was out of town for a work conference and both of our maintenance men were out with COVID. The town and I personally thank you all for your kindness.

At our August 16 meeting, I announced that we officially closed on and sold the lot at 503 S. Main Street. The town was able to net a profit of a little over $48,000 from the purchase price that was paid in 2018. I also announced that we are still waiting on Potomac Edison to remove the power lines to the building at 605 S. Main Street that the town purchased so that we can demolish it and start on the town hall project. I will be meeting with electricians to start the process of running electricity into the upper part of the park to the stage, large pavilion, and the spot where the new bathroom will be built.

Do not forget to mark your calendars for October 15-16, as Woodsboro Days will, once again, be a two-day festival instead of just the one day as it had been for the last several decades. I have lined up three bands for the festival on Sunday, October 16, at the stage in the park, along with several vendors and food trucks. 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 owner/operator interested in attending, please reach out to me.

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

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

Woodsboro Town meetings are held on the second Tuesday of each month at 7:00 p.m. In addition, Planning and Zoning meetings are at 6:00 p.m. on the first Monday of the month as needed.

If you have an item for the agenda, it needs to be submitted 14 days before the P&Z meeting. The current location for meetings is St. John’s United Church of Christ, located at 8 N 2nd Street, Woodsboro, MD 21798. The public is always invited to attend.

Deb Abraham Spalding

The former elementary school in Sabillasville has closed its final chapter as an elementary school and started a whole new book as a Frederick County Classical Charter School. On August 23, 2022, Alisha Yocum, president of the board of directors of the new Sabillasville Environmental School (SES), cut the ribbon to signify its official opening, while Frederick County Public School (FCPS) officials, school staff members, students, parents, and community members cheered. 

After the ceremony, a picnic was held, farm animals were available for petting, a kickball game was underway, children were playing, and food and fellowship were enjoyed by all. 

The ribbon-cutting ceremony was very special, with a vocal performance by Katie Brennan, the Pledge of Allegiance by SES students, touching remarks by Yocum, and FCPS comments by David Bass, with closing remarks by the school’s principal, Dawn Getzandanner.

Over the years, when the former elementary school was, more than once, slated to be closed by the FCPS Board of Education, the community rallied to prevent its closure. This time, the FCPS was more determined, but so was the drive of Sabillasville Elementary School parent Alisha Yocum, SES volunteers, SES parents, and the collective community.

For the past three years, a series of important decisions were made that created stepping stones to a new future for the school. Vital members of the Board of Education refused to give up on the school and partnered with the SES volunteers to create a new path within the framework of a Frederick County Charter School. 

Alisha Yocum’s children, Bryce (2nd grade) and Eli (5th grade), are third-generation students at the school.

Yocum said she is, “Relieved! It’s been three years of hard work to get here. It’s exciting to have everyone coming out to celebrate.”

Yocum has steered the project to allow the spirit of the old Sabillasville Elementary School to continue, with even more improvements and opportunities now available to all of Frederick County’s students, not just the Sabillasville feeder pattern. 

The charter school, home of the Honeybees, will open its doors to 161 excited students in August, with 23 in a grade, and a waitlist of 15-20 students per grade in grades K-6 (7th and 8th grades will be added in the second and third years of operation).

Sabillasville Elementary School was often called FCPS’s “best-kept secret,” especially by former students. Yocum claims that the environmental charter school model will be even better, with more hands-on instruction and plenty of instruction outside the classroom. There’s even a greenhouse on the property that provides a year-round opportunity for students to “dig in the dirt and get dirty,” and “apply what the student learns in math and science to what they do with their hands.”

The classical approach is a well-rounded approach to history in chronological order. For example, in kindergarten students learn about cavemen. As a student progresses through the grades, they’ll understand what happened historically to support what happens next. There’s a complete connection of what the student is learning—like learning the Renaissance in third grade and connecting art, music, agriculture, the environment, and history that is based around this period. Data has shown charter school students are well prepared to transition into high school.

The charter learning approach is well aligned with a special-needs learner. It’s important to note that any special services found in the FCPS school system are also provided here. The small classroom size and the hands-on approach are integrated, and the special-needs students are not segregated from the main classroom.

Yocum explained, “With a charter school, it’s run by a board of directors who are making the decisions for the school. There are still FCPS requirements that we have to follow.”

The board of directors is comprised of volunteers, most of whom don’t have students at the school, and even some who live out of state, but they lend professional expertise to the project. Members include President Alisha Yocum; Vice President Robert Koontz; Treasurer Jeffrey Finch; Secretary Gary Cox; and Members-At-Large Shelby Green, Nancy Keller, and Christine McCauslin.

“Thank you!” Yocum said to the community. “They [supportive community members] were here from start to finish with whatever was needed, whether it be helping with a fundraiser, donating money, or putting in time. And, when I say community, it’s not just here, we had people responding from across the county, across the state, and even out of state. It shows that what we are doing is unique, and the community stands behind all the benefits that will come out of it.” 

Yocum has been a driving force behind the charter school, but she is quick to point out that while she contributed a lot to this destination, there were individuals who were equally important, vital, and committed in its success.

You can still be a part of this community project! Donate to the school, volunteer your time, weed the gardens in the greenhouse, or help a student (some vetting required). Reach out to the SES Parent Teacher Organization by calling the school at 240-236-6000.

Alisha Yocum, SES Board of Directors President, cuts the official ribbon,  marking the opening of the new Sabillasville Environmental School (SES).

Photo Cover by Danielle Jackson

Anne Beck (top) and Van and Charlotte Mullins pet Precious the pony, owned by Shiloh Jackson, an incoming first-grade student at SES.

Photo by Danielle Jackson

Makenzie, Brody, Landon, Mark, and Kinsley Breeden are shown at the Sabillasville Environmental School Grand Opening picnic.

Photos by Deb Abraham Spalding

These kids could be heard squealing with delight and yelling, “We love school! We love school!” as they played in the cafeteria/gym area of the school.

Joan Bittner Fry

The Beginning

The early settlers knew the value of education. After Sabillasville was laid out, a log school house was built at the western end of the village. School was maintained there for some time, the building was also used for public meetings and church services. Some of Maryland’s greatest men made addresses in that old building. After the stone schoolhouse was built, on the then-Wagaman farm, this log house was used as a residence, and the post office was kept there at two different times. 

The stone schoolhouse was used for school purposes until 1871, when a brick building was built on the eastern side of Sabillasville. It was made into a two-room building in 1885. About the middle of the 19th century, a long building was built at Deerfield and was used as a schoolhouse, for religious worship, and for other public purposes, among which was holding the elections of Hauver’s District. In 1888, a two-room building was built on the same ground at Deerfield. 

A Record Herald article tells of the 61-year history of Mr. Earl Eby (1886-1994) working at the polls in Hauver’s District, Frederick County. Mr. Eby and his wife, Mabel, owned Eby’s Grocery Store in Sabillasville. He recalled the first election he attended, around 1907. In those days, votes were hand-counted under the eyes of party watchers. When he joined the election board, elections were held in the log schoolhouse at Deerfield.

From mid-1920s

Foxville Elementary School, built in 1924, was closed in 1961. The 60 students enrolled there were transferred to Wolfsville Elementary School until a suitable facility could be provided for the Sabillasville-Foxville area.  The former building at Sabillasville, erected in 1927 with an addition in 1934, housed 140 students through the close of the 1964-1965 school year.  Because of the limitations of the basic building, many services, which had come to be regarded as necessary and desirable, were unavailable to these students.

The present Sabillasville Environmental School was the culmination of years of work and hope for residents of the area. Actually, two former elementary schools were immediately represented in the area served by the new school.  

It was with great enthusiasm, therefore, that residents of the area greeted the announcement that a new school would be built. Construction began July 20, 1964. In September 1965, the new school opened with an enrollment of 240 students.

Sabillasville People Happy With School (Excerpt from an article in Frederick News—Post by Richard Shafer, Staff Writer)

The $640,000 request was approved by County Commissioners on July 6.  Fifteen and one-tenth acres of level farmland were purchased by the school board in August and September of 1963 from Mrs. Ruth E. Lewis, Mr.  & Mrs. Ralph Miller, and Mrs. Grace A. Lantz, all near Sabillasville, for a total of $12,872. The badly needed school is slated for completion before the 1965-1966 school year begins.

In 1927, a brick school building was built on the eastern side of Sabillasville and housed 140 students through the 1964-1965 school year.

The badly needed new school was built on 15 acres of farmland and opened in September of 1965 with 240 students.

Courtesy Photos


 Mayor John Kinnaird

This morning, I am writing from London! Karen and I have been vacationing in Great Britain since July 1. We started our trip with eleven people, including one daughter, a bunch of grandchildren, and companions! The first stop was Aberdeen, where we caught the overnight ferry to Lerwick on Shetland. The crossing took 13 hours and was a little rougher than our last trip.

While on Shetland, we visited puffins, Shetland Ponies, and 5,000-year-old ruins. We then sailed to Orkney to visit a cathedral built in the 900s. After a day on Orkney, we arrived back in the North of Scotland.

We took a drive down the coast to the Kinnaird Head Lighthouse and then back to Aberdeen. I took everyone to see the house I lived in when I was born, and the place where we moved to the U.S. in 1960. Then, it was time to send eight of our group home.

We spent a peaceful night at the village of Pennan and then headed to the Isle of Skye for three days. Our granddaughter, Megan, stayed with us for the second half of our journey.

While traveling from Skye to Ripon, we stopped at the Falkirk Wheel. Then we stopped at Ripon, Yorkshire, to visit our friends Paul and Helen Smith. While in Ripon, we stayed at a wonderful little pub called The Bay Horse Country Inn.

We then went to Liverpool, where we stayed at the Titanic Hotel on the Mersey waterfront. While in Liverpool, we took the Beatles Tour and visited Penny Lane, Strawberry Fields, Eleanor Rigby’s grave, the place where Paul McCartney first met John Lennon, and the Beatles’ childhood homes. I recommend taking this tour if you visit Liverpool.

We are finishing up in London visiting my Uncle Grant, Cousin Ian, Cousin Tracy, and their family. We are taking a boat on the Thames, and I hope to see the Cutty Sark.

We have had a great time, but I am looking forward to getting back home to Thurmont.

Please don’t forget the Thurmont Farmers Market on Saturdays, from 9:00 a.m.-noon. The Board of Commissioners holds our weekly meetings on Tuesdays at 7:00 p.m.

Please call me with any questions, comments, or concerns at 301-606-9458 or email me at

What visit to Scotland is complete without a stop at Eilean Donan Castle? After leaving the Isle of Skye, we came across the Kylerhea-Glenelg Ferry and backtracked a bit to see this outstanding fortress. They say this is the most photographed castle in Scotland; I know I took about a hundred shots myself. Eilean Donan Castle sits on an small Island (Eilean), jutting out into one of the many sea lochs on the coast.

Photo by John Kinnaird


Mayor Don Briggs

After 170 years, the Vincentian priests are bidding farewell to the St. Joseph parish. The town was only in its 67th year from being established when they first arrived. The issue is vocations to the Order.

In June 1852, Archbishop of Baltimore, Samuel Eccleston S.S., offered the Saint Joseph’s Parish to the Lazarist Fathers or Vincentians, as they then were interchangeably known. The Order, founded in Paris in 1625 by St. Vincent de Paul, accepted the offer only one year after the dedication of their American seminary in Germantown, Pennsylvania. Father Mariano Maller, C.M., was the pastor of St. Joseph, the Order’s first parish east of the Mississippi River.

In November 1852, a property across DePaul Street was purchased for a rectory. The Order brought continuity to the parish during the Civil War, deadly influenzas, world wars, the 1929 stock market crash, the Great Depression, the Korean War, the assassinations of the Kennedy brothers and Martin Luther King Jr., the Vietnam War, President Nixon’s resignation, 9/11, the COVID-19 pandemic, and so much more. They shared peace with other community pastors in the formation of the Emmitsburg Council of Churches in 1966 and continuing works.

There have been bumps and bruises along the way, as there surely always are. Thank you, Fathers. Well done. “To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven.” (Ecc 3:1-8). Manning the 229-year-old parish, effective September 1, will be the IVE (Spanish) or the Institute of the Incarnate Word Order, who currently are chaplains to the Basilica and the Grotto. They soon will serve the three parishes of Northern Frederick County: St. Josephs, St. Anthony’s, and Our Lady of Mount Carmel. 

I will be asking the town commissioners by proclamation to honor Sr. Anne M. Higgins to be the Town Poet Laureate for a two-year term. Sister Anne, a native of West Chester, Pennsylvania, has been a member of the Daughters of Charity for 44 years, and teaching at the Mount for 22 years. Nine books of her poetry have been published.

Emmitsburg and Northern Frederick County’s own, Carolyn Melody and Kiernan Myles, in mid-July set off on a 12-day rugby tour of Ireland. Having honed their rugby skills with the West Carroll Marauders, they were selected after play in Chicago last year for a 22-person team. The “Eagles Impact Rugby Academy” (EIRA) sponsored the tour. Matches are scheduled in Limerick, Dublin, and Belfast. They leave July 18 and return July 30.  Congratulations and much gratitude for lots and lots of parental elbow grease.

It was a wonderful day in the park for a visit from our friends, the Frederick Rescue Mission “Summer Enrichment Campers.” After a morning tour of the Mount, hosted by the members of the Mount Rugby team, 20-some kids and counselors enjoyed pizza and play in Myers Park along with a surprise visit from Vigilant Hose firefighters with a fire truck (thank you Commissioner Davis). Campers got to get in the truck, handle a fire hose to spray out in the field, and ask lots of questions before going to the town pool for a swim. The focus of this year for the campers was kindness. That, you could feel.

We had another fantastic town-sponsored pool party, the second of the year. About 215 people showed up to enjoy a sunny and low humidity evening. I’m sorry that there were not enough hot dogs and lemonade, but there was lots of ice cream. The lemonade and hot dogs were once again donated by the Carriage House Inn. Great to have Commissioner Burns and family on hand to welcome and enjoy. The final pool party will be on Friday, August 12, from 6:00-8:00 p.m., with more free food and music.

National Night Out will be held on Tuesday, August 2, from 6:00-8:00 p.m., in Myers Community Park. This is an event where we can meet the firefighters and deputies who run toward danger in our community. Enjoy free food, ice cream, music, pony rides, petting zoo, and vendors.

Congratulations to Bollinger Construction Inc., celebrating its 30th year of business this August.

Congratulations to the Sabillasville Environmental School. A grand opening for the new school was held on Saturday, July 23, for the re-adaptation in new mission. 

 Thank you, Gonzaga High School, for painting the yellow restrictive curb areas along Main Street as one of the school’s summer community service projects. This is not the first time the school has pitched in up here in Emmitsburg. Go Eagles, but don’t beat St. John’s.

The town received a wonderful note from the Community Heritage Day Committee, thanking the town staff for helping bring about the annual celebration. Wait a minute, thank you also to Community Heritage Day Committee and volunteers.

It’s back to school soon. It’s been wonderful seeing summer’s lost friends again, catching up, and enjoying lots of sports. Bring it, harvest moon.

by James Rada, Jr.


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

Parking Discussions Get Heated

Parking became a hot topic during the July meeting of the Emmitsburg Mayor and Commissioners. As town staff looks to replace old and outdated parking meters with digital ones, the topic of increasing parking ticket fines, meter fees, and permits came up. Any increase in parking ticket fines would seem to affect out-of-town residents the most. Town Planner Zach Gulden reported that 90 percent of the tickets issued were to non-town residents.

The fees have not been reviewed since 2018, but the commissioners appeared reluctant to raise any fees. In particular, Commissioner Frank Davis took issue with meters that were not calibrated to give the proper time paid for and quick ticketing when meters ran out. He said what put him over the edge was when a funeral home vehicle was ticketed during a funeral for facing the wrong way when it was something the business had been doing for years without any issue.

Mayor Don Briggs noted that town staff was only enforcing the ordinances on the books and that if the commissioners wanted it handled a different way, the commissioners needed to change the code.

For now, it appears no changes will be made until the new meters are installed and calibrated.

Crime Comments Get Corrected

Although the Emmitsburg Community Deputies reported an increase in crime across the board during their June report to the Emmitsburg Mayor and Commissioners, they revised their opinion during the July meeting. They told the commissioners they were seeing no statistical difference in most crimes in the town over previous reports. The only difference was with property crimes and that could be attributed to construction site thefts.

Municipal Charges Will Become Property Liens

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners approved a new ordinance that will allow any charges, taxes, or assessments issued by the town against town property owners to become property liens. They will then be able to be collected in the same way town taxes are collected.

Two More Historic Waysides Approved

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners approved two new waysides for the town’s historic walking trail. These exhibits will be for St. Joseph College and Emmitsburg High School. The Emmitsburg High School wayside will be placed in front of the community center, since the building once served as the high school. The St. Joseph College wayside will be placed along the sidewalk outside of the National Emergency Training Center. These two waysides bring the total number of exhibits on the walking tour to 14. This is currently all the waysides the town has planned. They will be installed and unveiled in September.


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

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners did not meet between June 28 and July 26, so we do not have any meeting briefs for August.


Burgess Heath Barnes

I hope everyone is enjoying their summer and staying cool and hydrated. This is my favorite time of the year, but the heat can also be dangerous, so please take precautions.

At our July 12 meeting, I announced that a new code enforcer had started work on July 11. With this addition to town employees, we now have three full-time employees and one part-time employee who are employed with the town.

The town put out a request for bids last month to demolish the property at 605 S. Main Street where the new town hall is to be built. We received four bids and the council voted unanimously to accept one for $16,500. The demolition will begin shortly after Potomac Edison can come and remove the overhead power lines.

The council also voted to approve listing the lot at 503 S. Main Street with Realtor Melanie Cooley. The lot was listed for sale for $148,000 and within 72 hours we received an offer for the full asking price. The offer has been accepted, and we are tentatively closing the deal on July 29. This was a great profit for the town, as we paid $90,000 for it in 2018. This amount will help us to pay down the loan that was taken out to purchase the new lot.

We had a town resident attend the meeting with the proposal of raising funds for a possible skate park like the one that Thurmont built. The council and I were very open to hearing more on this idea. We invited them to attend the August town meeting with their proposal. More details to come in next month’s column if this project will move forward. Many people have asked for the town to clean up and mow the ice-skating pond to prepare it for winter. The pond has been mowed and cleaned up and will be maintained so that when winter arrives the skating pond will be able to be used if we have cold enough days for it to freeze.

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 had been for the last several decades. I 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. 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 operate a food truck and are interested in attending, please reach out to me.

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

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

Woodsboro Town meetings are held on the second Tuesday of each month at 7:00 p.m. In addition, Planning and Zoning meetings are at 6:00 p.m. on the first Monday of the month as needed.

If you have an item for the agenda, it needs to be submitted 14 days before the P&Z meeting. The current location for meetings is the St. Johns United Church of Christ, located at 8 N 2nd Street, Woodsboro, MD 21798. The public is always invited to attend.

BY Terry Pryor

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

Note: This is the sixth 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 #6: “D” Day

This month, every day is “D” day: D for determination; D for daredevil; D for dazzle, desire, and deliriously optimistic; D for dialing; D for drumming up business!

Today, you get on the phone. This activity is called networking and should be viewed as something akin to a political campaign. Whether you’re seeking a new job, selling a business venture, or scoring new friends, you need to be revved up for success.

Ever seen a grumpy, tired politician out stomping the trail or one with a defeatist attitude? Nope. They are pumped and ready for action. Politicians are in it to win it and project that winning attitude all the time. They hit the ground running, flash those charismatic smiles, shake those hands while looking people squarely in the eye, and hug those babies as if they were their own. They have a game plan and they are working it.

This day is for making everyone on your list aware that you are making changes; that the lifestyle you held previously is no longer a challenge, and you are seeking to use skills you have not previously been able to use to your full potential or you need a referral for someone.

While you may be tempted to use email to get in touch with your contact list, I strongly urge you not to. First, you want to have your contacts hear that wonderfully strong and powerful voice and head off at the pass any notion that you may be depressed or full of complaints.

Second, regardless of the wonderful technology and ease of email communication, email communiqués run the risk of being misinterpreted or dumped into the spam folder. Yours is too important a message to take any chances of misinterpretation or getting lost on its way to your contact. You may not be selling anything in your networking. You may just be supporting your friends and, in doing so, becoming a better human for yourself.

Third, the spontaneity of a phone call has a better chance of receiving the spontaneity of a positive response, particularly with those people with whom you are not in constant communication. You really want the surprise factor on your side.

Often, what we refer to as gut feelings, hunches, or messages from the Universe are prompted by a spontaneous remark or action. During a spontaneous phone conversation, there’s little time for the mind to interfere by laying down its rules and structures—something the mind loves to do.

You’re ON!

Today, you are going to use that wonderful personality of yours to your advantage. In part, your personality is how others perceive you. Your personality is something you develop over time. That makes it somewhat harder to change spontaneously. Just like we do not have to tell our hearts to beat, we do not have to get up each day and tell ourselves to have a personality. It’s always there ready and waiting for us to use in our interaction with others.

You are definitely going to be interacting today. Since we each have our unique way of communicating our personality, I am hesitant to write your phone script for you. You do need one, however, so I have provided some guidelines to go along with your original way of delivering them. Your script should contain: (1) a cheery hello and introduction; (2) asking the person you’ve called if it’s a good time to talk; (3) the reason for calling—networking for a job, looking for a new place to live, need a referral for something, or checking in on a friend; (4) a request to keep his or her eyes and ears open for you or your promise of the same for the person you’ve called; (5) your contact information; (6) a request for the person’s contact information if you are missing something—don’t forget email address; (7) a request for permission to email if you need to do so; (8) a sincere thank you.

Now, how do you say, “I’m out of a job, can you help?” or “I have an idea for a business. Can I bounce it off you?” or “I’ve been thinking about you and wanted to reach out to see how you’re doing.”

Consider lines something like this: “I am exploring new frontiers in finding a new job.”; “I have much more to offer than my last job allowed, and it’s liberating to be free to look;” “I now have the opportunity to find a job that is more of a match for my skill set;” “I’ve been thinking about you.”

Whatever you decide to use, make sure that it empowers you and supports your positive state of mind.

This day is going to be wildly productive and you are about to be positively amazing! Think of all the networking you will be initiating today. The ball will be rolling after that first call and that life change for you will be closer than ever.

Power Affirmations to Your Perfect Life

Affirmations are great. They remind us of what we want and what we don’t want. Below are some to use or modify to your purpose.

1. The past is over. I have no control over what used to be. I am free to create a new future and a new reality—one that brings me joy, prosperity, and happiness. I am in charge. I move forward with confidence and trust in my abilities. I am a powerful, mighty oak.

2. Today, I free myself from fear. I dismiss anything that would hold me back from my birthright of happiness, abundance, and prosperity. I am a perfect and magnificent being capable of astounding things.

3. Today, I allow nothing to concern me. I am free to create. My future is positively glorious, and I relax in the knowledge that all is well in my world. I say, “Get out of here” to all negative thoughts and feelings. No person or thing has any power over me. I am fearless.

4. My future is positively glorious! All is well in my world, and joyful people and experiences surround me. My perfect future is already moving toward me. My perfect future contains all that I love to do.

5. My mind is a rich and fertile garden. I now plant incredible ideas to help me create the perfect life for myself. I am smart, savvy, and possess the skills others seek. I am open to receiving new avenues of income.

6. I am deserving of all that is good and prosperous. I am an unlimited being in an unlimited Universe with an unlimited imagination for all things good. All things good find their way to me easily. I am inspired to clearly see all my options and to choose only those that allow me to be the person I am meant to be.

7. I am creating brand new habits. These habits replace any negative or fear-filled thought patterns that I have hung onto. I am now a magnet for all things good and empowering.

8. Each moment presents another opportunity for me to change. Today, I am open to wonderful, new, and exciting opportunities. I see myself in my new job, successful and thriving. I move beyond past limitations in thought and action.

Blair Garrett

Rain or shine, the Thurmont carnivals are always a good time. June is an exciting month. You lose the brisk mornings, the temperature cranks up, and school is out for all of the kids.

June is especially exciting in Thurmont, with not one, but two, carnivals coming to town, giving people a much-needed injection of fun and excitement to start off their summer.

The Thurmont Community Ambulance Company’s annual carnival kicked off at the beginning of June without a hitch. With four days of beautiful weather and tons of great games, sunshine, rides, and bingo, it was almost impossible not to have a great time.

And, who can forget the fireworks! An event more than a millennium old, fireworks are still as captivating today as they were in ancient times. Thurmont Ambulance’s fireworks kicked off just as the light in the sky dimmed, and the finale was a sight to behold. Thurmont Ambulance Company’s Lowman Keeney said, “Our carnival was very successful this year with a gorgeous week and fireworks.”

The Annual Thurmont Firemen’s Carnival at the Guardian Hose Company Carnival grounds powered its way through some stormy weather, but that didn’t dampen the moods of excited families.

Despite some rain delays, the food was coming out hot, spirits were high, and the kids swarmed to the carnival attractions like bees to honey as soon as the clouds parted.

The Firemen’s Carnival is always highlighted by one of the most anticipated parades in Frederick County. And, for the first time since 2019, fire trucks, ambulances, and community members took to the streets to celebrate.

There was loud music, cheering, banners, and a whole lot of fun getting to see all the different people stroll through the main drag in Thurmont.

Good food and good music make for good times, and there’s been no better place to find it throughout the years than the Thurmont carnivals.  

Cover Photo: Patty Phillips’ granddaughter, Lydia, holds up her winnings from the goldfish game at the Thurmont Carnival!

A brave rider takes on the infamous mechanical bull at the Thurmont Community Ambulance Company Carnival.

The kids coaster is one of the most popular rides for kids attending their first carnival or their tenth carnival.

A family takes a fun spin on the Merry-Go-Round.

A duo of carnival-goers race to blast a target with water with the hopes to win a stuffed animal.

Kids take a fun spin on the Scrambler.

Two boys shoot for a chance to win hermit crabs.

Guests flock to food stands as the carnival grounds open.

People line the streets to see the much-anticipated Guardian Hose Company Fireman’s Parade.

A group of kids are midair in one of the most adrenaline-pumping rides at the carnival.

The spinning swings are packed with kids looking for some high-flying fun.

Photos by Blair Garrett

James Rada Jr.

Photo of Black Bear on South Altamont Avenue in Thurmont by Bob Delphey

Last month, a young black bear wandered onto the property of a Frederick hotel on Buckeystown Pike and climbed one of the trees. The Maryland Department of Natural Resources sent a team to tranquilize the bear and release him near Gambrill State Park.

Given the nearness of Catoctin Mountain to communities in Northern Frederick County, some residents might catch site of a bear now and again.

If you have a problem with a bear or see one in a populated area, call (410) 260-8888.

Between 2009 and 2019, black bears in Maryland caused an average of 480+ nuisance calls and $18,400 in agricultural damages a year. In addition, vehicles hit around 60 bears a year, which damages the vehicle. Maryland’s Wildlife and Heritage Service created the Maryland Black Bear Management Plan as a framework for conserving Maryland black bears.

Black bears used to be common throughout Maryland, but much of their habitat was lost due to population growth and development. According to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, only a few bears remained in western Maryland by the 1950s. However, habitat recovery and regional conservation programs have allowed black bears to flourish once again in the state.

The population of more than 2,000 bears is large enough that the state allows a limited bear-hunting season each year in the four westernmost Maryland counties, which include Frederick. The current record holder for a black bear taken in a hunt is Coty Jones. She shot a 615-pound bear with a 21-10/16-inch skull in Garrett County in 2007.

What To Do If You See a Bear

Black bears don’t pose an immediate threat to people, so if you see one, don’t panic. They are wild animals, though, and should be treated with caution and given space. According to the DNR, “If a bear woofs, snaps its jaws, slaps the ground or brush, or bluff-charges: YOU ARE TOO CLOSE!”

Don’t approach the bear or feed him. It is illegal in Maryland to intentionally feed a bear, not to mention being dangerous for both you and the bear.

If a bear stands upright, it is not being aggressive. It is standing to get a better scent of the area. Most bears don’t want to deal with you anymore than you want to deal with them. They will usually leave when they see people.

Other tips from the DNR:

•   Don’t crowd the bear. Allow him a means of leaving. Back away slowly with your arms raised up to appear large.

•   Have all people and pets go inside to wait for the bear to leave.

•   Trash and bird feeders are the most common attractants responsible for luring bears to human dwellings. Pet food, charcoal grills, fruit trees, and gardens may also attract bears. Once a bear finds food around your home, it will likely return.

If You Live In Bear Territory

If you live in an area where a bear may visit, here are some additional tips:

•   Reduce garbage odors. Rinse food cans and wrappers before disposal.

•   Compost vegetable scraps properly away from house.

•   Keep meat scraps in the freezer until garbage pickup day.

•   Wash garbage cans regularly and use lime to cut odors.

•   Keep garbage cans in a bear-proof container or in an enclosed building until trash pickup.

•   Remove bird feeders in the spring. If you persist in feeding during summer, remove seed, suet and hummingbird feeders at night.

•   Keep pet food inside.

•   Keep barbecue grills and picnic tables clean.

•   Use an energized fence to keep bears out of beehives, sweet corn, fruit trees and berry patches. (An energized fence is powered by a low-impedance, high–voltage energizer that provides a short-duration, high-energy impulse.)

•   Barking dogs, bright lights and noisemakers will sometimes discourage bears from coming into an area.

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

Note: This is the fourth 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 #5: The “Hit” List

By the end of this Power Action, you will have set in motion a powerful wheel of potentially successful outcomes. You will have completed another stage in finding the perfect you. You will be closer than ever to the best you you’ve ever been!

Isn’t this exciting?

So, what is it that you desire? A new and much more lucrative position at work? A new home or a remodel on your existing one? Maybe you would like to lose weight or find a spa or gym that can help motivate you to better health. Whatever it is, there are those who have gone before you. People who have already found (via networking) what you are seeking.

In this exercise, you will create a database of names, addresses, email addresses, and phone numbers of the people from all areas of your life to establish a list of those who will be tools in helping you find your desire. You probably already have lists to draw from in social media connections, friends, family, and neighbors. With this list, you’ll create “My Terrific List of Helpers” (or whatever you choose to call it).

One of my friends named her list “The Angel Network.” She felt so inspired by her visualization that her network had wings and saw each request “flying” to the perfect source. Maybe you will be equally inspired. Truth is, it doesn’t matter if your database has a name—it only matters that you create it!

Next, divide your list into friends, family, and business associates. A caution: family members and friends may not always be helpful, although I’m sure they want to be. If anyone you know has a history of being more of a naysayer than a cheerleader, do not add that person to your list.

Business associates are those people with whom you have, or have previously had, business dealings. Your dealings with these people can go back many years, even if you have not spoken to them in a while. These contacts can be recent or not so recent officemates, employees of any company you have worked for, clients, customers, fellow salespeople, your accountant, financial adviser, the kids’ track coach—anyone who is in a position to help you get the word out to a larger network.

This larger network is your database goal. The people who you will be calling all know other people. Think of everyone who could possibly serve as a positive contact. Try not to second-guess or limit yourself at this point. You really want to add anyone who could help you.

Friendly people in unrelated fields to yours often have contacts they are happy to share. People who work or volunteer their time at large organizations have wonderful “up-the-ladder” contacts and can be extremely helpful to you. You can always delete names from the list, but the idea is to get the name and contact information of everyone you can think of and put them on your list.

Oh, No! The Ego!

Just in case it’s rearing its adorable little head, let me briefly address that ego of yours. Yes, you have one, and that is a good thing. Just like fear, our ego is a safety mechanism that alerts us to physical, moral, and spiritual danger. Without a healthy ego, a person would become a doormat for the world to tread upon. Without our ego, we would have a pretty out-of-focus compass for right and wrong.

But our egos also can get in our way and keep us from accepting help. If the idea of calling people to ask for help is difficult for you, push aside your ego’s need to be in control. You do need help. Everyone does at times, and there is nothing weak about asking for and accepting help. In fact, allowing people to help you is one of the greatest gifts you can give to them. Not accepting help may be denying someone his or her good deed for the day.


 Mayor John Kinnaird

Here we are in July already; time seems to fly by ever faster as we age! July is vacation time for many, and the Thurmont Board of Commissioners (BOC) is no exception. The BOC has only one meeting during the month of July; this year, it will be on Tuesday, July 26.

Of course, the town staff will still be on the job, providing all the services and assistance they usually do. The town office is open Monday through Friday, from 8:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. You can call the office at 301-271-7313 during regular business hours. For any after-hour electric, water, or wastewater issues, please call 301-271-7313. As of July 1, we will be using a call service that will take your information and a description of your issue and then contact our on-call staff. The new call service will allow our staff to continue working on the issue without the need to answer additional calls. For police service, call 301-271-0905, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. The after-hours, non-emergency police call number is 301-600-2071. CALL 911 for all police and medical emergencies.

We recently enjoyed the Guardian Hose Company Carnival; it was a fun-filled week. I especially enjoyed the Thursday night parade! Having the parade sort of gave me a feeling that things are getting back to normal. Unfortunately, things are not back to normal as far as fundraising goes for the volunteers at the Guardian Hose Company and the Thurmont Community Ambulance Service. Both of these organizations depend on community support, and the last two years have had a negative impact on fundraising efforts. Please be sure to support both of our first-response organizations by attending their events or by making a cash donation to help support their critical work in our community.

I am happy to announce that the new path connecting the skatepark and the all-access playground at the East End Park will be paved in the next month or so. The skatepark has seen several recent improvements, including a new small pavilion over the picnic tables, designed and built by town staff. There is also new lighting at the skatepark, installed at no cost by G&S Electric. I want to thank G&S for this generous addition to the park. Town staff designed, excavated, and installed the base for the new walkway. As always, our staff is up to the challenge when it comes to park improvements. Future work at East Park will include the replacement of the existing picnic pavilion.

The town is currently having engineering work done for two large projects, both of which will be completed using American Recovery Act funds. The first is a project to replace the water main and wastewater lines on North Church Street. This project is expected to cost almost three million dollars and will begin in the summer of 2023. The second project will be a connection between our low-pressure and high-pressure water systems. This will include a pumping station and associated water main lines on our Radio Lane property. This project will help resolve several maintenance issues and will provide increased water capacity on the high-pressure system. A third project will be getting underway within the year. This project will see the rebuilding of stormwater drains, and the repaving of Frederick Road from Water Street to Tippin Drive. This project will be completed in stages, with the storm drains and some water valve work being completed first.

I do not usually discuss politics, but the Primary Elections are coming up on July 19. Watch for voting information from the Board of Elections, telling you when and where you can vote. Our right to vote for elected officials is something we should not take lightly. I encourage everyone to participate in the Primary Elections and in the General Elections on November 8.

I hope everyone has an enjoyable July, and as always, I can be contacted by email at or by phone at 301-606-9458.


Mayor Don Briggs

For 13 years, I’ve driven a grand Ford 150, Rosinante. Recently, we went to fill up. The gauge read below a quarter of a tank, so I put in $75.00 of mid-grade. To my surprise, the fuel gauge read only slightly over half full. Not good. The stress on people living on fixed and unfixed incomes alike, coping with rising fuel and food prices and with no end in sight, has reached a point where elected officials on the national level have to be held accountable.

Please take time to read the banners recently put up on town light posts for those relatives of ours who served our country. I am so proud of this town.

Congratulations to staff on putting together a spectacular proposal for “Green Streets, Green Jobs, Green Towns” Award program. The town will receive $121,400 for green infrastructure North Seton Avenue plan.

June was filled with lots of graduations and events. Activities included Flag Day on June 14 in Memorial Park, the grand opening of the Carriage House renovated interior décor and outside seating, the opening of the Shrine Museum on June 24, Community Heritage Day festivities on June 25, and upcoming 4th of July. I was unable to reschedule my yearly physical at Johns Hopkins, so I missed the Flag Day ceremony. I attended an annual family reunion in New Mexico, so I missed the Carriage House event, museum opening, and Community Heritage Day. Give the grill a good scrub. Hello, burgers, hot dogs, coleslaw, potato salad, and all the fixings. This is Emmitsburg at its best.

Congratulations to the Catoctin Cougars boys track and field team on winning the IA State Championship.

Commissioners Sweeney, O’Donnell, and Davis attended the Maryland Municipal League Summer Conference in Ocean City on June 12-15.

From the regularly scheduled town meeting held Monday night, June 6, the following were decided:

The board of commissioners approved and accepted the agreement and right-of-way dedication at 500 East Main Street. The property owners are giving the town a 25-foot right-of-way along its property on Creamery Road. A 109-foot-long privacy fence will be installed at 500 East Main Street in exchange for the right-of-way. The town will use excess Community Development Block Grant funds to construct a sidewalk that will connect East Main Street’s sidewalks to the future Christ’s Community Church development at 17550 Creamery Road.

Approval of Resolution 2022-01 (Community Legacy grant authorization) for façade for consideration. Each year, the town applies for $75,000 in Community Legacy grant funds for its façade restoration program. The resolution is required for the state’s grant application. Board Approved.

Approval of Resolution 2022-02 (Community Legacy grant authorization) for Street Light Replacement Project for consideration. Forward proposed Ordinance 22-07, zoning text amendment application to Sections 17.04.020 – Definitions and 17.20.030 – Commercial Districts, to the Planning Commission and set public hearing for July 14, 2022 for consideration. If approved, it would add “Hostel / Inn” as a permitted use in the General Commercial (B-2) zoning district. Board Approved.

Consideration of a sewer and water connection fee payment plan waiver application for 201 Silo Hill Parkway, Village Liquors & Plaza Inn, in the amount of $29,484. Board approved against the recommendation of mayor and staff.

I have engaged the Mount on many occasions over the 11 years that I have served as mayor to establish a presence in our town. Primarily, the target area was the square. On June 6, Msgr. Andrew Baker, Rector of Mount St. Mary’s Seminary, announced the university is coming to Emmitsburg proper. The Mount “has entered into a special relationship with the Daughters of Charity” to use the C-Wing of St. Joseph House complex (aka to most of us the “Basilica”).  The wing will house first-year seminarians and be called the “Blessed Stanley Rother House,” or colloquially, “Rother House,” after the martyred former Mount seminary priest. Renovations of the wing have a scheduled opening of August 2023.

 I’m hoping everyone enjoys the community pool on the hot days to come. Thank you to town staff and all the volunteers for making the special events in Emmitsburg possible. Happy Fourth of July! 

Summer is here, and it came in quickly. I hope everyone is enjoying these hot summer days.

At our June 14 meeting, the Woodsboro Town Council voted on the fiscal year 2023 budget, and it was approved unanimously by the three commissioners in attendance. The budget did not change much from the fiscal year 2022 budget, as we have not had much growth as far as new homes in town. I am very happy to say that we kept the tax rate the same, as we are on the constant yield method. This is very good for our town residents, as they are seeing increases with their county taxes because inflation is causing home values to rise. In addition, we were able to keep our sewage and water rates the same without putting any more expenses on the town residents.

Earlier in the month, I interviewed a candidate for our code enforcer position that we have had open for a few weeks. After interviewing, the decision was made to bring in the candidate to meet the council. After the council heard from him, the decision was made unanimously to proceed with my recommendation of hiring him. He will begin on July 11, 2022, as a part-time code enforcer. We are excited to have been able to add this position, as it is much needed. This will now put the town to three full-time employees and one part-time employee.

I was impressed with how nice the Memorial Day parade was on May 29. I hear it was one of the largest ones in the estimated 150-year history of the parade. We have heard so many compliments, but this was not the town that put it on. The credit goes to Michael Strausbough and the American Legion Post 282 who organized it and did a great job. It was also nice to have WWII Battle of the Bulge Veteran James Derry in attendance in the parade.

On June 2, the town closed on the property at 605 S. Main Street. Bidding has begun for estimates to demolish the property. Demolition will be several weeks out, as we cannot move forward until the electric company can come and remove the overhead power lines. The town is excited about the next steps to come in getting a town office built.

The town was able to receive approval for a $240,000 grant that I applied for from the Maryland Community Parks and Playground Program. This grant will be used to build a restroom in the upper part of the park, close to where the stage has been built. In addition, the town was approved for grant funding through Playground Open Space to have new ADA-compliant playground equipment installed, a pavilion built at the disc golf field, and new flag poles at the monument, where we will be adding two more poles for a total of three so that we can fly the American flag, the Maryland State flag, and the Woodsboro flag.

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 had been for the last several decades. I have lined up three bands for the festival on Sunday October 16 at the stage in the park, along with several vendors and food trucks that will also be set up there. 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.

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

If you have any questions, concerns, complaints, or compliments, please feel free to reach out to me at or by phone at 301-401-7164. Woodsboro Town meetings are held on the second Tuesday of each month at 7:00 p.m. In addition, Planning and Zoning meetings are at 6:00 p.m. on the first Monday of the month, as needed. If you have an item for the agenda, it needs to be submitted 14 days before the P&Z meeting. The current location for meetings is St. Johns United Church of Christ, located at 8 N 2nd Street, Woodsboro, MD 21798. The public is always invited to attend

by James Rada, Jr.


Water Main Replacement on Old Pryor Road Approved

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners approved the replacement of the water main on Old Pryor Road, which is a project the town has wanted to do for many years. Funding for the project comes from a Maryland Department of the Environment Water Quality Financing loan. The town received five bids for the project, with Guyer Brothers of New Enterprise, Pennsylvania, offering the winning bid of $475,191. The project is expected to be completed in November.

New Softball Field Approved at East End Park

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners approved a new softball/baseball field at East End Park. The low bid was $440,275 from Green Ridge Contractors. The project had to be scaled back a bit because the bids were so much higher than the $262,000 grant funds from the Local Parks and Playground Program. The commissioners decided to fund the difference of $178,275 from its American Rescue Plan funds. The project is expected to be completed by September.


Crime on the Rise in Emmitsburg

According to the Emmitsburg Community Deputies, crime is on the rise in town. “There’s been an uptick of everything in town,” Frederick County Sheriff’s Deputy Ahalt told the Emmitsburg Mayor and Commissioners during a recent meeting.

The town is seeing drugs, thefts, and assaults. Where robberies from cars used to be a crime of convenience if the car door was unlocked, thieves are now smashing windows to grab items from inside the cars. Two hot spots for crime are 2 E. Main Street and the DePaul Street Apartments.

The town is looking into having the community deputies authorized for overtime so they can patrol more. Also, the sheriff’s deputies in the north county area have been asked to drive through town when the community deputies aren’t around.

On the bright side, it is believed that the vandalism problem in the ball parks has been taken care of with the perpetrators and their parents.

Mount to Have a Building in Town Limits

Mayor Don Briggs told the Emmitsburg Commissioners that Mount St. Mary’s Seminary would soon have a presence within the borders of Emmitsburg. The Mount will be using the C-Wing of St. Joseph House complex. First-year seminarians will live there, and it will be called the “Blessed Stanley Rother House.” The wing will be renovated and is expected to open in August 2023.

Hostels Recommended to be Allowed

Village Liquors’ goal to create a new liquor store with a hostel above it is moving forward. The Emmitsburg commissioners voted to forward a recommendation to the Emmitsburg Planning Commission to add hostels to the town code. This wouldn’t have had any impact on the project from the town’s perspective. It was a request of the project’s financial partner. What was new was that the project could be used as housing for Mount St. Mary’s University or National Fire Academy students.

“The National Road”

(US 40A)

JoAN bittner FRY

While perusing information for books I wrote, I was intrigued by the history of the National Road. This road links centuries of American history. Taverns and towns that are over 250 years old and mountain passes that were of strategic importance during the Civil War can be found on over 25 miles of this old road. If you’re looking for a day trip this summer, you may want your children or grandchildren to help plan a mystery trip to investigate the wonders close by.

Begin with the wonderful Mason Dixon Welcome Center on Route 15 in Emmitsburg, the South Mountain Welcome Center on Route 70 in Myersville, and/or the internet. As you travel, wonder about the miles and miles of straight road between Frederick and Middletown and ponder how this could be done with horses and men and very few hand tools and without modern equipment.

Climb the first Washington Monument in Boonsboro, see Gathland State Park and the War Correspondents Memorial Arch honoring Civil War correspondents, the overlook at Gambrill State Park, Braddock Heights (which was an amusement park in the 1920s), or the WWI Doughboy statue in Funkstown.

Let your passengers be your guide and don’t forget Potomac Street Creamery in Boonsboro or More Ice Cream (was Main’s) in Middletown.  Take a picture to send to The Catoctin Banner. Next time you may want to go to Cumberland on the National Road.


Just west of Frederick, Route 40 splits in two: the old road and Route 70. Bear left and take US 40A, which is the old road. Stay on US 40A for this trip. In the early 1900s, travelers stayed at motor lodges or tourist cabins, such as the former Barbara Fritchie Cabins in Frederick.

Middletown is a small village near the base of South Mountain, west of Frederick. It was the center of activity in the days before the Battle of Antietam. In September of 1862, Union and Confederate forces would march along the National Road through the town.  US 40A crosses South Mountain at a point called Turner’s Gap. It was there, along with nearby Fox’s and Crampton’s Gaps, that the Battle of South Mountain was waged on September 14, 1862. The battle, which was a Union victory, is called by some the “Prelude to Antietam,” which would occur three days later near Sharpsburg.

The Middletown Valley was a north-south route that brought German immigrants to the area.  This German heritage is evident in Middletown’s two Lutheran Churches, as well as Christ Reformed Church, built in 1818, and Zion Lutheran Church, built in 1859.

There is plenty more history at Turner’s Gap besides being a battle site in the Civil War. First, the Appalachian Trail crosses the National Road there. The Old South Mountain Inn has seen plenty of history since it was built in 1732. Many dignitaries in early American history once stayed here, including Henry Clay, who many consider the father of the National Road. The tavern was commandeered by John Brown’s militia before his raid on Harpers Ferry. During the Battle of South Mountain, it served as headquarters for Confederate General D. H. Hill.  Today, South Mountain Inn is well known throughout the area for its fine dining.


Sitting west of Turner’s Gap is the town of Boonsboro. The National Road through Boonsboro has historical significance because a 10-mile section here was the first to be built with a macadam surface in 1823. The process, named for John Loudon McAdam, greatly improved the quality of the National Road, and by 1830, 73 miles of the highway had been converted to a macadamized surface. The method simplified what had been considered state-of-the-art up to that point. Single-sized aggregate layers of small stones, with a coating of binder as a cementing agent, were mixed in an open-structured roadway.

The First Washington Monument

Boonsboro was founded in 1792.  The town prospered in the 1830s when the National Road was alive with westbound horse and wagon traffic that kept its blacksmith shops and 82 stores busy, and its inns and taverns filled with travelers and teamsters.  Boonsboro has the distinct honor of being the first town or city in America to dedicate a monument to George Washington.  Standing on South Mountain 1,200 feet above the town of Boonsboro, it commands a view of overwhelming beauty of the Cumberland Valley and several counties of West Virginia.

Early on the morning of July 4, 1827, two years before the completion of the majestic shaft on Mount Vernon Place in Baltimore, the patriotic citizens of Boonsboro assembled in the town square and marched to the “Blue Rocks” high above the town and by the heaving and hauling of heavy limestone rocks, nearly completed a memorial 54 feet in circumference and about 20 feet in height dedicated to the Father of Our Country.  The day was spent in hard work, the men stopping only briefly for a noonday meal and rest.  Heavy stones were moved and put in place, many of them weighing as much as a ton.  Before nightfall, several Revolutionary War veterans climbed its crude stairway and fired a volley of musketry from the top of its masonry.

The monument, once in ruin, was rebuilt in 1936 by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), which was in existence from 1933-1943.  It is easily accessible a short distance off Route 40A, two miles east of Boonsboro. This quaint but impressive monument, built by the hard toil of inspired men, testifies to the fervid patriotism and loyalty of Maryland citizenry.

The CCC was a public work relief program that operated from 1933 to 1943 in the United States for unemployed, unmarried men from relief families, ages 18-28.  James McEntee was the head of the agency.  A part of the New Deal of Franklin D. Roosevelt, it provided unskilled manual labor jobs related to the conservation and development of natural resources in rural lands owned by federal, state, and local governments.  The CCC was designed to provide employment for young men in relief families who had difficulty finding jobs during the Great Depression while at the same time implementing a general natural resource conservation program in every state and territory.  Maximum enrollment at any one time was 300,000; in nine years 2.5 million young men participated in the CCC, which provided them with shelter, clothing, and food together with a small wage of $30 a month ($25 of which had to be sent home to their families).

From Boonsboro, follow US 40A to Funkstown, noticing the beautiful Pennsylvania-German bank barns with their limestone-faced gable ends.  In Funkstown, find the Doughboy Monument to WWI veterans.

Dahlgren Chapel

Across from the South Mountain Inn and bordered by the Appalachian Trail is The Dahlgren Chapel.  Dahlgren is located at the summit of Turner’s Gap in Western Maryland between Middletown and Boonsboro.  The Gothic Revival stone chapel was built in 1881 and was consecrated as the Chapel of St. Joseph of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.  Most of the building materials came from the immediate area of the site, while a marble altar was imported from Italy.

The chapel was built for Sarah Madeleine Vinton Dahlgren, daughter of Congressman Samuel Finley Vinton, who had married Admiral John A. Dahlgren, inventor of the Dahlgren gun in 1865.  John A. Dahlgren designed the 9-inch “soda bottle” gun combining greatly improved ballistic characteristics with a higher safety factor.  Dahlgren guns were muzzle loading naval artillery designed by Rear Admiral John A. Dahlgren (1809-1870), mostly used in the period of the American Civil War.  Admiral Dahlgren died in 1870.  In 1876, Mrs. Dahlgren, who was a noted author, purchased what is now the Old South Mountain Inn and transformed it into a private residence. 

After a period under the ownership of the Sisters of the Holy Cross from 1922 to 1925, the chapel returned to the Dahlgren family.  It was purchased in 1960 by Richard G. Griffin who undertook a restoration.

The property was acquired by the Central Maryland Heritage League in 1996.

The chapel is included in Turner’s and Fox’s Gaps Historic District but as a non-contributing structure, owing to its post-Civil War construction, which places it outside the historic district’s time of historic emphasis.

Middletown Valley from Braddock Heights, MD, showing National Highway (U.S. 40).

Remains of Washington Monument, peak of South Mountain, erected by citizens of Boonsboro, MD, in 1827.

Courtesy Photo of Postcard

BY Richard D. L. Fulton

To some people, squirrels may seem a public nuisance, chewing on wiring and rubber tires, or finding ways into attics, making a mess out of the insulation. 

Some see squirrels as being a free meal, beginning as far back as whenever the original human occupants of the Americas figured out how to catch them.

But to others, merely observing or documenting squirrel behavior provides a glimpse into one of nature’s basic forms of governance, tribalism…hewn into animal perfection in the case of the squirrels during their 40 million years of existence. 

Having initially evolved in North America, squirrels, as a whole, have survived a half-dozen major ice ages and an equal number of periods of moderate-to-maximum global warming and, along the way, ultimately resulted in their inhabiting every continent, except Australia. 

Today, there are over 300 species of squirrels worldwide. Of the five squirrel species that are found in Maryland, the gray squirrel tends to be the species most encountered in Frederick County. Somewhat scarcer species to be observed include the red squirrels, fox squirrels, and Southern flying squirrels. As an aside, there is no shortage of Eastern chipmunks, which are also considered squirrels, as is the woodchuck, according to a county-generated watershed study.

The 23-acre Thurmont Community Park provides the perfect habitat for the gray squirrels, who are arboreal (tree-loving) by nature, and provides park visitors with ample opportunity to enjoy observing their interactions with each other and humans, as well as the playfulness of their young—and they are not particularly camera-shy as well.

In fact, one of the local Thurmont photographers recently found himself engaged in photographing the grays in the park after having returned from his previous employment in Alaska.

Brenton Knott, a Thurmont photography enthusiast, began searching the area for potential photography subjects. He found himself exploring Community Park, where he noticed the prolific gray squirrel population (he had also spotted a rarer red squirrel on one occasion).

Knott said he came across the park when he was in the process of “scouting out potential landscape compositions.” He said, upon arriving at the park, “Immediately after I got out of my car, three squirrels came up to me (seeking edible handouts), so I changed my focus on the squirrels.”

“I did have a chance to feed the squirrels,” he said, adding, “The most interesting thing about them, I thought, was that they were very friendly. They (generally) kept their distance, but they were not afraid to come up to you.”

Knott, who originally hailed from Monrovia in Frederick County, developed an interest in photography while he was attaining his associate degree in music in 2011 at the Frederick Community College. His interest in photography carried over into art classes that he then attended at the University of Maryland.

Knott explained his fascination with photography by its ability to allow one to “capture a whole story in an image.”

In 2014, Knott accepted a position as a deli and bakery manager for the Alaska Commercial Company (and, subsequently, with the State of Alaska Court System), resulting in his move to Kotzebue, 34 miles north of the Arctic Circle. 

While the position was grocery supply related and not photography related, the Alaskan scenery and wildlife further fueled his interest in photography. He soon found himself expanding on the cameras and lenses, and frequently ventured out to take pictures, which included wildlife (mainly birds), scenic landscapes, and his favorite: the Northern Lights. “I shot pictures the whole time I was in Alaska,” he said.

But, when he adopted a seven-week-old female husky, named Coconut, last year, the puppy’s allergic reaction to certain dog foods created a problem. The nearest veterinarian was not within a reasonable driving distance. In fact, it required Knott to secure flight passage for himself and Coconut in order to acquire medical help for his dog. 

With this in mind, he decided to return to Frederick County earlier this year.

Presently, when not indulging in his photography, he is now employed at the Farmhouse Exchange in Thurmont.

Knott said that, ultimately, he would like to relocate to Upstate New York, where he plans “to work remotely, build a homestead, and live a simpler lifestyle,” along with Coconut, whom he believes would more than likely feel more “at home” in the Upstate New York climate.

Brenton Knott has captured thousands of photos of the Thurmont Community Park’s community of squirrels.

Joan Bittner Fry

The Enchanted Forest was about an hour away, so it became a nice place to go to entertain the kids and “eat out” in the mid-50’s. Our family of four, at the time, went there, and the kids explored the fairy tale houses and rode the wonderful rides. I wonder if this brings back a memory or two for you.  

The Enchanted Forest in Ellicott City, Maryland, officially opened on August 15, 1955, following a preview party the afternoon before—one month after Disneyland Park’s opening. Appealing mostly to families with small children, the park had a nursery-rhyme theme.  

The park featured fairy tale buildings and characters, but no mechanical rides, originally. Track rides were added later, including the Alice in Wonderland ride with teacup-shaped cars, a Cinderella’s castle ride with mice for the cars, the “Little Toot” boat that took children to Mount Vesuvius for giant slides, and the Jungleland Safari that was driven by open Land Rover-type vehicles. 

Children’s birthday parties were often held in the picnic areas among the attractions; many local teenagers worked as ticket-takers at the park. It was unlike many other attractions of the time.

Admission cost one dollar for adults and fifty cents for children. The park expanded from 20 acres to 52 acres. At its peak, the Enchanted Forest welcomed 300,000 children per summer season. After its original owners, the Harrison family, sold the park for $4.5 million to JHP Development in 1988, the park closed for the first time in 1989.  After turning more than half the land (primarily the parking lots) into the Safeway-anchored Enchanted Forest Shopping Center in 1992, JHP Development reopened the park for the 1994 summer season, predominantly for children’s birthday parties.

The park was permanently shuttered from 1995 to 2005, when active preservation began. Much of the theme park sat undisturbed, yet neglected, behind a chain-link fence. In 1999, the Friends of the Enchanted Forest was formed, with the goal of reopening the park. In 2003, the Enchanted Forest Preservation Society was formed, with the long-term goal of reviving the Enchanted Forest. Their work focused on preventing the artifacts from being lost forever.

History of Forest Diner

A trip to the Enchanted Forest Park wasn’t complete without visiting the Forest Diner across the highway. For 66 years, Forest Diner meant great food, good friends, and a real treat, especially for families from more than an hour away.

For 66 years, Forest Diner meant great food, good friends, and a hot cup of Joe. Now, the diner is closing (2012). Customers crowded in for one final meal. “I’m going to miss it. It’s been so nice every time we come here. It’s like family. As soon as you walk in, they know you right away,” said Dorothea Cox of Arbutus.

Waitress Ellen Jackson has been here 19 years. “It’s starting to hit me now. I knew it was going to happen. This is my family. I think I’m gonna make it. I have to. I’m hoping they’ll all come across the street. That’s what I’m waiting for,” Jackson said.

At this beloved Ellicott City landmark, every customer has a story. “It’s a little sad. It’s the end of an institution. I’ve been coming here 25 years. There’s a lot of history and our kids came here,” said Bruce Peen, a customer from Ellicott City.

Forest Diner employees will not lose their jobs. They’ll move across the street to Jilly’s, where the menu will be the same. “I’m trying to be brave,” said Barbara Carroll, an employee for 43 years. “It’s like losing part of the family. This is my second home. I have so many customers that I love, who are like family to me.” That family came out in force Monday for the food and the memories.

“It’s very sad. It’s the end of an era. I’ve been here for 15 years. It’s been great. It’s like a family, and the people who are all grown up now are bringing their children,” said Mary Harrell, Forest Diner employee.

The brothers who own the Forest Diner will create retail space and 38 apartments on the property.

The official notification hanging in the diner:

Dear Loyal Forest Diner Patrons,

After 66 years of serving the finest food in Howard County, the Forest Diner will be opening our doors for the last time on Monday, May 28, 2012. We would like to thank everyone who has allowed us to become part of their lives over the years. It has been our pleasure to serve each and every one of you.

While the Diner will be closing, we have partnered with Jilly’s Bar and Grill, which is right across the street in the Enchanted Forest Shopping Center, to continue the tradition of fine food and service that you have come to expect from us. This means the Forest Diner without the dining car. Starting on May 29, 2012, Jilly’s will be open at 6 am to serve you. You will be able to get the same food as the Forest Diner, prepared and served by the Forest Diner staff for the same price.

Once again, thank you for being part of our family over the years.  And while we will miss the dining car, we do hope to see you at our new home at Jilly’s. 

~Truly Yours, The Staff of the Forest Diner

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

Note: This is the fourth 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 #4: Believing Is Seeing

Believing is seeing. No, I didn’t get it backward. If you want that perfect job, relationship, house, adventure, or anything else in your life, you must begin to plant the seeds.

The Seeds to a New You

• See the outcome in your mind.

• Believe that what you see will come to pass.

• Focus daily on what it is that you want and how you will feel once you acquire it.

At this point, you are not yet picturing what you have to do to acquire what you want, only how you will feel once you have it. Emotion matters greatly as we will soon see.

Using the three seeds above, begin to create a movie of how you will live once you have what you wish. You are the producer of this movie and have complete control over the direction in which this film will go. Be creative, and do not let those monkey-mind thoughts enter your script. Example: “I’ll never have enough money to start my own business.” Never is a very long time, so let’s get rid of that energy right now.

Take a piece of paper, and as precisely as you can, create the look, the feel, the atmosphere, the actual environment of that perfect movie outcome. That gorgeous new car with the heated leather steering wheel you have always wanted (don’t forget to imagine what color it will be.) That dream kitchen you have thought about for years. Be very specific about what the finished project will include. Write it all down, even to the type of coffee maker that you will have and the colors in window treatments.

This movie is a must-see, a visual feast starring you. Remember, you are seeing and feeling all the luxuries you want to have and that acquiring your dream will provide for you.

Next, take out that list of undesirable things you created in Power Action #2 in the March edition of The Catoctin Banner. After each item on the list, repeat out loud: “I will never see myself doing (fill in the blank) again.”

I suggest you perform this exercise every day. There is no longer any reason for you to do anything that does not allow your light to shine. Repeating this affirmation daily will reinforce to your subconscious mind that you are worthy of doing only those things that you desire to do.

Next, take out your “I Spy” list from last month, adding even more conditions that you want in your new future. After each one, say out loud (and with gusto), “I see myself happy, challenged, and thriving in my new job, relationship, house, car, or whatever your dream is. I see myself experiencing (list each “I Spy” item) _____________.”

Close your eyes and envision yourself doing and having all of the things on your “I Spy” list. See that dynamite sales team that you lead. See the colors in your new kitchen, the heated seats in your new car, the adventures on your bucket list. See that salary you want in your career. Draw a blank check on a clean sheet of paper and fill in the desired annual income that you want. Make copies of this check and place them all over the spaces in which you currently live. Put a check in the bathroom, on the fridge; put one in your wallet and one next to your computer. Put one of these checks next to your bed and look at it before you go to sleep. Imagine how you will feel when that salary is achieved, that car is in your garage, and that new updated kitchen is done. Imagine how you will feel accomplishing what you desire!

Affirmation: I am deserving of all that is good, prosperous, and healthy. I am an unlimited being in an unlimited Universe with an unlimited imagination for all things good. All things good find their way to me easily. I am inspired to clearly see all my options and to choose only those that allow me to be the person I am meant to be.

Caution, Monkey Mind Ahead!

Here’s a great idea: Don’t believe everything you think! Negative thoughts will come calling, but you can change this. Be sure that you think about what you want, not what you don’t want. Some people get turned around with this. They think thoughts like, “How am I going to live without that job or that person?” or “How am I going to get out of debt?”

These are very emotional subjects. When you focus on something with emotion (joy, fear, confusion, despair), the subconscious acts even more quickly to bring you more of what you are focusing on. Change those thoughts to, “I see myself having all I need at the moment,” or “Today is the day of my most amazing good fortune!” Add emotion to your positive thoughts and powerful things will happen.

Remember, the goal of your subconscious is not to tell you what is a right (positive) or wrong (negative) thought. Its sole goal, now and forever, is to grow the seeds (thoughts) that you plant. Remember, you are creating a brand-new habit. It may take a few days of practice, but I promise the monkeys of doubt will soon disappear. It is very important to remember that you are in control of your thoughts. No one else is in that head of yours. It’s all you!

I assure you that I understand you might be overwhelmed at times, even while reading these words. Scary thoughts may be trying to get your attention.

Each time one of those undermining thoughts pops up, replace it with, “I am in control of my destiny. I am creating a brand-new life for my family and myself. I am free to become all that I was meant to be. Thank you, (past job or individual’s name), for allowing me the opportunity to grow beyond what you thought I was capable of becoming. My destiny is nothing short of miraculous.” 

It’s a good idea to print this out (or create your own powerful affirmation) and put it on the ceiling over your bed, so you see it when you wake up. Lying there before your day begins, imagine all that you were meant to be and start each day with a positive expectant feeling.

Place a copy of this affirmation everywhere, on your forehead if necessary, anywhere to surround yourself with these positive thoughts. They are your partners in your success. Positive thinking is a habit. Imagining all things good is a habit. As humans, we sometimes tend to think the worst, especially when we are faced with fear, and losing unhealthy emotional patterns can feel scary. After all, change can be daunting. But, I promise, if you begin to replace those negative and fearful thoughts with positive input, and constantly repeat them, you will establish a new habit—one that will serve you very well as we move through this adventure together. 

Adventure? Did she say adventure? Oh yeah, baby, and the adventure continues!


 Mayor John Kinnaird

Here we are in June already! We got a real feel for summertime the weekend of May 21-22, when the temperature soared to the low 90s. This summer, we may be looking forward to higher average temperatures, and we must be prepared to handle the heat and sunshine. Remember to keep hydrated when the temps rise; we need to drink more water when we sweat. Also, be sure to wear a hat and long sleeves, and use plenty of sunscreen if you plan on working, picnicking, or playing outdoors. I know everyone loves a nice tan, but please do not overdo it; sunburn can lead to skin cancer later in life. Keep sunscreen close at hand for the little ones when they are outdoors.

The board of commissioners has been hard at work reviewing the Master Plan Update, 2022-2023 town budget, and an annexation proposal for the Simmers property. These topics are being discussed during our town meetings, BOC workshops, and public hearings. The public is welcome to attend any of these meetings, watch them live streamed on Cable 99, or on the video archives on the town website ( Typically, during town meetings, we will ask for public comment; at workshop sessions, we do not take public comment; and public hearings are designed to include public comment. I encourage everyone to watch our meetings and attend if you have any comments to include in the discussion. Many times, I am approached by residents that have heard mistaken or confused facts from others. Watch our meetings, attend them in person or ask me or one of the commissioners if you have any questions regarding current topics being addressed by our Board of Commissioners.

I want to congratulate the members of Catoctin High School Class of 2022 for finishing twelve of the most important years of your life! We are all extremely proud of each and every one of you, and we hope that you can follow your dreams as you move on to your next adventure. Some of you will be going on to higher education, some may be entering the military, many of you will be entering the workforce, and some may be starting families. Whatever your career path is, be sure to enter it with pride, knowing you are a graduate of CHS! Wherever life takes you, please remember you will always be welcome in the Thurmont and Emmitsburg communities.

With summer close at hand, we will see our children out and about on our streets and sidewalks. Always be on the lookout for children crossing our streets or riding their bikes, skateboards, or scooters. Kids are often unaware of their surroundings, and we need to be extra diligent when they are close to our streets.

Thurmont is once again offering our “A Day in the Park” Summer Recreation Program (for kids in 1st through 8th grades). This year, there will be three week-long sessions with a maximum of 30 kids per week. Each week-long program will be filled with lots of fun, educational experiences, and adventure. Each one-week session costs $45.00 per child and includes an official “A Day in the Park” T-shirt, knapsack, and more. You can stop by the town office at 615 East Main Street (Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.) to pick up a registration packet. If you can’t get there in person, call 301-271-7313, and we will send you a registration packet.

The Thurmont Farmers Market is being held each Saturday morning, from 9:00 a.m. until noon, at the Community Park on Frederick Road. Each market offers a wonderful selection of fresh vegetables, fruit, baked goods, eggs, beef, cheeses, handmade soaps, crafts, and other goodies.

On Friday, May 20, we had our first Art & Wine Stroll in over two years. It was an outstanding success, with several hundred guests enjoying the entertainment, vendors, food, artwork, and the wine and moonshine tasting. If you missed this one, be on the lookout for our next Art & Wine Stroll.

Thurmont residents can put out grass clippings and leaves for pickup on Monday mornings. The grass and leaves must be placed in paper bags, no more than 40 lbs. in weight. Have the bags at your curb no later than 6:00 a.m. on Monday mornings. Grass clipping and leaves only—no sticks, rocks, root balls, etc. will be collected.

I hope everyone has a nice June! I can be reached at 301-606-9458, by email at, or on Facebook if you have any comments or concerns.


Mayor Don Briggs

Mayor Briggs was unavailable to write his Mayor’s message for this edition. He will return next month with double the news!

At the Woodsboro town meeting on May 10, we had a few topics on the agenda. The main one, of course, was the upcoming budget that will be voted on at our next meeting on June 14. There was not much discussion around it, as there wasn’t many changes from last years.

Another item that was on the agenda, which I was very excited about, was awarding the ARPA (COVID Relief Grant) to some of our town businesses. We had six businesses apply for the $5,000 grants, and all six were approved to receive the grants by our commission that viewed the applications. The following businesses received $5,000 grants: The Olde Towne Restaurant, Trout’s Market, Forestheart Studio, Affordable Pest Control, Gardner’s Garage, and Dynamic Graphics. The business owners were all in attendance to receive these funds. The town council and I were all happy to be able to assist our small businesses who are the backbone of our community.

After issuing the $30,000 in grants to the small businesses that applied, that left us with $20,000 in allocated funds towards grants remaining. I proposed to the town council, and it was voted on unanimously, to add in another $1,000 to the $20,000 dollar pool and divide it between our six nonprofits in town, which include four churches, the American Legion, and the Woodsboro Volunteer Fire Department. We will be issuing checks for $3,500 to each of them over the next couple of weeks.

Commissioner Crum reported on the items that she submitted for funding for the annual Program Open Space grant through the county. This year, she submitted for funding for some new ADA-compliant playground equipment, a pavilion to be built near the disc golf course, a message board at the disc golf course, lighting, and new flag poles at the memorial in town. We will know in early June what has been approved. Commissioner Crum and I will be attending the POS meeting on May 26, where we will get more information on what has been approved.

On June 2, the town will be going to closing on the purchase of the lot at 605 S. Main Street. This is where we will be building the new town offices. A large portion of that funding will be coming from the grant we were able to secure in Governor Hogan’s budget. Funding to purchase the lot was made possible through Woodsboro Bank.

I am also very happy to announce that the American Legion’s annual Memorial Day Parade will be back this year after a couple of years of hiatus due to the pandemic. The parade will take place on Main Street in Woodsboro on Sunday, May 29. The events of the day will begin at 12:00 p.m., with a memorial service taking place at the War Memorial on Main Street, followed by the parade at 1:30 p.m.

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

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

Woodsboro Town meetings are held on the second Tuesday of each month at 7:00 p.m. In addition, Planning and Zoning meetings are at 6:00 p.m. on the first Monday of the month, as needed. If you have an item for the agenda, it needs to be submitted fourteen 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 in Woodsboro. The public is always invited to attend.

by James Rada, Jr.


Mayor and Commissioners Get First Look at Budget

The Thurmont Mayor and Board of Commissioners got their first look at the Fiscal Year 2023 town budget.

•   General Fund: Revenues-$4,768,518; Expenditures-$4,278,662; Capital Expenditures-$489,000.

•   Water Fund: Revenues-$1,062,150; Expenditures-$838,257; Capital Expenditures-$222,000.

•   Wastewater Fund Revenues-$1,764,009; Expenditures-$1,471,239; Capital Expenditures-$292,770.

•   Electric Fund Revenues-$5,760,224; Expenditures-$5,633,798; Capital Expenditures-$125,000.

The budget needs to be approved before June 30 because it takes effect on July 1.

Micro-Breweries Approved as a Thurmont Business Use

The Thurmont Mayor and Board of Commissioner approved a text amendment to allow small-scale micro-breweries to operate in general business and town business zoning districts in Thurmont. Josh Bollinger, with Bollinger’s Restaurant, made the request to the Thurmont Planning and Zoning Commission in February. They approved it and sent it to the commissioners. Bollinger intends to expand his current business with a small micro-brewery. Under Maryland law, a micro-brewery can produce no more than 15,000 barrels of beer a year.

Easements and Rights Of Way Approved for Hammaker Hills

The Thurmont Mayor and Board of Commissioners approved the phase 1 easement and rights of way for the proposed Hammaker Hills Subdivision. The easements are for utilities and three parks. The rights of way are for two roads. The commissioners gave the subdivision conditional approval last year if the easements and rights of way could be secured. With this approval, the subdivision can now move forward.


Commissioners Get First Look at Budget

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners got their first look at the Fiscal Year 2023 town budget. The general fund revenues have increased 8 percent to $2,053,217, and it includes a 5 percent cost-of-living-adjustment (COLA) for town employees to try and keep up with inflation. Tax equity revenues from Frederick County are up over this year, but still lagging behind what the town received in 2021 and 2020. Currently, $1,880,067 has been budgeted with the difference marked to be used for capital projects. The budget needs to be approved before June 30 because it takes effect on July 1.

Changes to Parking Begin

The Town of Emmitsburg is looking to update how it handles parking in town. A 5-year plan was introduced to the board of commissioners in May and tabled for future consideration. Among the things the town is looking to do is purchase parking boots and digital meters. The new meters would also be able to accept digital payments. The town is also looking to install meters at the community pool parking lot, although parking would still remain free for pool patrons.

The town has already made one change to parking. Tickets are now white instead of orange because of a new system the town is using. Also, the town now accepts payment of parking tickets and permits online at the town’s website.

New Wayside Approved

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners approved the 12th wayside exhibit for the historic walking tour of Emmitsburg the down is developing. This wayside will feature St. Euphemia School and include the fact that the school integrated 10 years before the Brown vs. Board of Education Supreme Court ruling in 1954. The exhibit will be in front of the apartment building at 50 DePaul Street where the school was. The total cost is $7,095, including town funding and an in-kind match of $3,548. The installation of the wayside is expected to be complete by June 15.

Town Adding to Bike Trail

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners approved a proposal to construct a new quarter-mile section of trail. It will line the green and yellow multi-user trails at Rainbow Lake.

Parks and Recreation Committee Members Re-appointed

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners re-appointed Shannon Cool, Glenn Blanchard, Sandy Umbel, Steve Starliper, and Amanda Ryder to the Parks and Recreation Committee. Their terms run from December 3, 2021 through December 3, 2023.

Evan & Stephanie Felmet, CHS Music/Drama Directors

Over the weekend of April 8 and 9, 2022, Catoctin High School’s (CHS) drama program put on three shows of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s, State Fair. The three shows were attended by over 600 people from across the Catoctin community and beyond.

Part of the draw was the involvement of more than 40 cast and crew members in the show. There were also live animals, provided by FFA students, that were carried across the stage during the musical number “Our State Fair.”

Students performed in front of a beautiful six-piece background, depicting the fair that had been painstakingly painted over many months by art teacher, Laura Day, and her students.

Before each show, the drama students partnered with students in Catoctin’s thriving FFA program to put on a carnival in and around the school’s cafeteria.

In the weeks leading up to the show, students from the Catoctin feeder elementary schools had received flyers in their take-home folders, letting them know about the event, and families turned up in droves during each carnival. Ring toss, petting zoo, dime toss, bingo, pony rides, face painting, and a fortune telling booth were only a few of the exciting attractions offered to visiting families. One particularly popular spot was the flush tank, where CHS staff members were soaked with ice-cold water if their students could hit the target. Some of those staff included Principal Clements, Assistant Principal Lininger, Drama Director Evan Felmet, and English Teacher Olivia Aungst. Many high school students spent their tickets ensuring their favorite staff members were drenched multiple times, leaving them shivering but smiling.

Overall, the venture was a great success for both the drama program and the FFA, raising much-needed funds for next year’s endeavors.

Photos by Mike Miller

(above) The cast welcomes the audience with the song, “Our State Fair.”

(above) The hard working crew members of State Fair.

(above The directors pose during the carnival with CHS alumni (and former thespians) Addi Eyler, Sophia DeGennaro, and Joe Hawkins.

(Above) Justin Clair jumps clear over Amelia Phillips as the cast performs “All I Owe Ioway.”

(above) Drama Director Evan Felmet gets soaked in the flush tank.

by James Rada, Jr.

It’s hard to believe that Edmund, a common snapping turtle at the Cunningham Falls Aviary, was the size of a quarter when he first came to Cunningham Falls.

“He was found in a sand trap on a golf course in Frederick County,” said Park Superintendent Mark Spurrier.

He believes that the little turtle’s mother must have come from a nearby water hazard and laid her eggs in the trap. Snapping turtles typically lay 20-30 eggs, but Edmond was the only one left in the sand trap. He was brought to the park and left there about 20 years ago.

Rangers and naturalists named him after Maryland’s first park ranger, Edmund Prince. They cared for him, and he grew… and grew… and grew… and grew some more. Today, he weighs in at 85 pounds and has a shell that is nearly two feet long. He is one of the largest common snapping turtles known. He is still growing, too. He hasn’t even reached middle age.

Edmund now has an outdoor warm-weather enclosure that’s the size of a baby swimming pool. He swims under the water, poking his head up to watch the attention he draws from visitors to the Manor Area Visitor’s Center. When he wants to warm up, he has a platform he can lumber onto and sun himself.

“A lot of people like him, and a lot of people watch him, especially at feeding time,” Spurrier said.

When the outdoor enclosure is cleaned, Edmund is carried out to the grass. This can be quite the workout for the ranger who has to lift the snapping turtle by his shell, while keeping their hands out of reach of Edmund’s mouth to carry the gargantuan turtle to the grass. Edmund is used to it. He waits patiently until he is set down, and then he lumbers across the grass.

When the weather turns cold, Edmund is moved into the aviary, where he can spend the winter in warmth.

Common snapping turtles are known to be combative when out of the water. They will snap with their powerful jaws if something comes too close, and they have long necks that reach further than you would probably expect. However, Edmund is laid back and used to being around people. This is not to say he won’t snap, but he is not as aggressive as he probably would be in the wild.

However, Edmund can no longer survive in the wild. His size keeps him from moving as quickly as a wild snapping turtle does, so he would have trouble catching food. He also has no fear of humans and has no territory. For now, he is healthy and well fed and, hopefully, happy.

If you want to see Edmund, you can visit the aviary, daily, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. When Edmund is in his outdoor enclosure, which is usually from around Memorial Day to Labor Day, you can visit him when Cunningham Falls State Park is open, from 8:00 a.m. to sunset.

At 85 pounds, Edmund is one of the largest known common snapping turtles in the United States. His shell is about 22 inches long.

Cunningham Falls State Park Superintendent Mark Spurrier carries Edmund, the snapping turtle, out of the aviary for a little exercise in the grass.

Richard Fulton

The Emmitsburg Vigilant Hose Company (VHC) offers Mount Saint Mary’s University (MSMU) students, and other area residents, a rare opportunity to train for fire and rescue services while residing in an actual firehouse.

The opportunity, known as the Live-In Program, allows for up to five individuals to participate at a time. Participants must pre-qualify by having completed basic training before they may become firehouse residents.

Also, as a part of their residency requirements, participants must invest an agreed-upon amount of time in the service of the fire company, either as firefighters or ambulance medical technicians, as well as participate in other company administrative and fundraising activities. Participants are not charged rent for their firehouse residency.

MSMU students must maintain a certain number of credits while participating in the program, while non-students must be gainfully employed. The program was launched by VHC in 2019. 

Assistant Chief Joshua “Josh” Brotherton told The Catoctin Banner that eight to ten individuals have participated in the Live-In Program since its inception.

Charlie Rustigian, from Boston, Massachusettes, is a senior Criminal Justice major with a minor in cyber security at MSMU.  He started volunteering with the Vigilant Hose Company during his freshman year. He said, “I wanted to be a firefighter since I was three years old.”

Within the volunteer co-op that even allowed him to live at the fire station, Rustigian has become a firefighter and was the #1 Top Fire Responder in 2021 with 353 calls. “Being able to live in at the fire station and learn true responsibility while working with others and the community has been great. We’re making a difference,” he shared.

Patrick O’Hanlon (Class of ’21), from Wheaton, Maryland, majored in Public Policy and Emergency Management, and Sociology and Criminal Justice with minors in Business History and Human Services. From that large course load, one may surmise that he’s an over-achiever. We joked that he’s about 80 years old, disguised in a twenty-something’s body. It is only fitting that O’Hanlon was a Top EMS Responder for 2020, coming in at #3.

O’Hanlon started volunteering when he was 16 in Wheaton. When looking for colleges, the volunteer opportunities with the Vigilant Hose Company were important. He started volunteering the summer before his freshman year and he’s been an active member ever since.

O’Hanlon was a live-in at the station as well.  He explained, “It really helped me grow as an individual. I learned a lot about myself. Working as a team member, we really are a good family.” He explained that there were good fires that provided good learning opportunities and that he’s met and learned from “a lot of really good people.” He added, “The Vigilant Fire Department – It really is a family. You feel a part of the community from doing the bingos and events, too. Back home, it was a city department where we run a call and then we’re off calls.”

Elizabeth Beaton (Class of ’21), from LaPlata, Maryland, joined the VHC program during her sophomore year at the MSMU.  She joined to become an EMT while considering med school. One of the first calls she responded to was a house fire.  She was able to observe the fire calls and found she was eager to respond. She started fire and rescue classes.

In 2021 Beaton was #10 in the Top Ten Responders even though she only lived at the station from January to May during her senior year. “It was really cool to see how much the Vigilant Fire Department does for the community. A lot of times people just call the station number and we go out to help [on non-emergency calls]. You really get to know people in the community. It seems everybody knows everybody.”

Other participants include Rachel Wheeler and Deysie Diaz.  Wheeler, who met her requirements in December 2021, will be graduating in May. What’s interesting about Rachel is that she applied to the Sheriff’s Office as a deputy. Diaz, a health science major in the MSMU’s Class of 2022, has become EMT-certified.

Luke Hoenig, from Essex, Maryland, a criminal justice major in the MSMU’s Class of 2023, is presently undergoing basic training which will allow him to qualify as a Live-In participant.

Thus far, Brotherton said, “The company is extremely happy with how the program is working and hope it continues over the years.”

Individuals interested in participating in the Live-In Program may contact VHC via their website at

Pictured from left are Luke Hoenig, Deysie Diaz, Charlie Rustigian, and Elizabeth Beaton.

Pictured from left are Charlie Rustigian, Patrick O’Hanlon, and Elizabeth Beaton during the annual VHC Banquet in January 2022.

Lisa C. Cantwell

Thurmont has been home to many a war hero, past and present.  The town has also been a safe place for immigrants, refugees, and those seeking a safe, friendly community in which to raise a family. One of Thurmont’s newest residents is not only an immigrant and refugee, but also a war hero, who is credited with saving the lives of American soldiers during the war in Afghanistan.

This new neighbor goes by the name “Amana.” She is a petite and, at first glance, unassuming woman, who is happy to shop, work, and raise her family in our quiet mountainside community. But assumptions aside, she is a brave woman with military skills who directly supported U.S. Special Operations Forces as a Captain in the All-Female Tactical Platoon (FTP). Her 39-member platoon’s mission included hunting down and capturing Taliban and terrorist combatants wanted by the U.S. and Afghan Defense forces. She and her family’s story is one of great risk, survival, heroism, and ultimate rescue from war-torn Afghanistan. 

The journey from her native country to the United States included her two teenage daughters, Maryam and Omulbanin, or “Omul” for short. They have lived in Thurmont for several weeks. Both of the girls are enrolled at Catoctin High and Thurmont Middle School, respectively, and according to Maryam, who speaks English, have been “warmly welcomed” by students and teachers, alike.

Omul is pleased that she has met another Afghan friend who attends her school. Both girls claim math as their favorite subject, with Maryam liking psychology, too.

Amana is currently enrolled in English language class at Frederick Community College (FCC). She is currently working at a local eatery and hopes to return to a career serving the U.S. military, once fluent in her new language. She says she and her girls feel very safe in Thurmont. They are enjoying strolls in the park, bicycling, and trips to the grocery store and library. This is a remarkable development, for within current Afghan culture, females must have a male escort.

When asked how she came to serve alongside U.S. armed forces in Afghanistan, Amana reminisced  about how she came to assist U.S. armed forces with a sparkle in her eyes. “At the end of 2011, while still a high school student, I saw a television commercial advertising for the Female Tactical Platoon (FTP). I applied, and after 10 months of training, I became a soldier involved with American soldiers in internal defense operations.” Amana and the FTP soldiers were trained to U.S. standards in weaponry, counter-IED expertise, navigation, medical skills, and tactical exercises. With over 2,000 missions conducted between 2011-2021, these Afghan women soldiers not only assisted U.S. Army Special Ops, but also Navy Seals, Green Berets, and Army Rangers. Additionally, Amana served as an instructor, training female police at the U.S.-led Afghan National Police Center.

Toward the collapse of the once democratic Afghan government, before the imminent Taliban takeover, Amana had to quit her job and become a teacher. It was too dangerous to continue as a soldier and policewoman. She eventually had to leave her home in Mazar-e-Shariff and move her daughters to Kabul to plan their departure from Afghanistan. Her life was in grave danger due to her close association with the U.S. military.

On the last day before the Taliban takeover, Amana’s American female counterparts, known as the Cultural Support Team (CST), helped her and her girls get to the airport and board one of the first U.S. planes to exit Afghanistan. In fact, all 39 members of the Afghan Female Tactical Platoon (FTP) were successfully evacuated due to the efforts of the CST. 

What followed their departure was a whirlwind of airports, countries, and refugee camps.  Amana and her girls spent 36 hours in Qatar, four days in Germany, four days in D.C., six weeks at Quantico, and five months in Atlantic City, before finally finding a home in Thurmont. The non-profit relief organization, Samaritan’s Purse, placed them in the care of a group from Grace Community Church of Frederick. Members, David and Kathy Afzali and Charlie and Diane Powers, took 12 courses, numerous written tests, and passed all vetting requirements of the non-profit to become sponsors of this refugee family. Samaritan’s Purse continues to support Amana and her family in partnership with these sponsors to ensure a successful transition to life in the United States. 

Although she misses her family that remain in Afghanistan, Amana is hopeful for the future, emphasizing again her desire to work for the U.S. military that means so much to her. For the time being, she and her daughters are contented to be in Thurmont and safe at last, in a place they can truly call “home.” 

For more information on refugee sponsorship, check

To read more about the FTP, refer to “The Untold Story of the Afghan Women Who Hunted the Taliban” 4/8/2022.

For more information about the CST, consult

Amana pictured in Thurmont with two new bicycles provided for her daughters by a generous donor.

BY Terry Pryor

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

Note: This is the third 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 #3: I Spy

Do you know that game that children play where they spy something red or bigger than a cow or something green that you eat? Well, this power action #3 is the adult version.

This month, using that same legal pad or notebook you used last month (don’t throw away that list of things you never want to do again just yet), you are going to “spy” the things you want in your new life. You are going to spy (imagine) your dream job, your perfect relationships, the places and spaces where you feel at home.

List them as fast as they come. Do not try to think anything through at this point. What you want to create is a free flow of thoughts as they come to mind. Make them short and sweet.

Here are a few examples, but you create whatever it is that you desire.

•   I spy a better-paying position than my previous/current job (be sure to

     spy that paycheck amount).

•   I spy excellent health benefits.

•   I spy a 36-hour week…or less!

•   I spy working from home.

•   I spy an incredible loving and caring relationship.

•   I spy travel.

•   I spy fun in my work and in my life.

•   I spy contentment.

•   I spy the feeling of abundance of love, money, safety, and opportunity.

•   I spy a great connection with the world around me.

Whatever you want and can imagine having, regardless of how impossible you think it will be to achieve, write it down. Do not edit or second-guess yourself by thinking it is impossible. Do not stop to correct spelling. This is not a business report and no one but you will see it. Nothing is too big or unrealistic for you to spy.

“Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.”

                                                                          —Albert Einstein

Now imagine that huge, fertile garden with rich, loamy soil. Each thing that you want in your new life is a seedling being planted. Imagine yourself as the gardener, carefully tucking in the plants of your thoughts, patting the soil around them as you go down the rows. You are in control of your seedlings—your thoughts. You are a Master Gardener, tending to your precious desires.

It’s spring…time to prepare and plant the new you!


My mind is a rich and fertile garden. I now plant incredible ideas to help create the perfect life for me. I am smart and savvy and possess the skills others seek. I am open to receiving new avenues of income, social events, relationships, and adventure.


 Mayor John Kinnaird

Hopefully, we are now enjoying a beautiful spring! As you are aware, we had frost well into April and snow on the 18th. Mother Nature seemed to be having trouble deciding when to move on from winter.

The improved weather will get everyone outdoors for yard work. The Town of Thurmont will be picking up grass clippings on Monday mornings. This pickup is for grass clippings and leaves only, with no sticks, root balls, dirt, or stones! Please have the yard waste in paper bags by 6:00 a.m. for pick up and keep the bags under 40 lbs. The yard waste drop-off site on Moser Road will be open from 8:00 a.m. until noon on May 8, June 12, July 10, August 14, September 11, October 16, November 13, and December 11. The yard waste site accepts grass clippings, leaves, shrubs, sticks, and tree limbs up to six inches in diameter. We ask that you use paper bags or that you empty your plastic bags, then remove the bags. We do not accept tree trunks, large root balls, or fencing.

Our parks will also be getting busier with the nice weather. Picnic pavilions can be reserved by calling the Thurmont Town Office at 301-271-7313. Please be watchful when driving near or through our parks; children are not always aware of their surroundings.

The Thurmont Little League and the CYA are getting up to speed and offer great opportunities for our children to participate in group sporting activities. Be sure to stop and watch them play this season; the kids will be happy to see you in the stands. The Thurmont Little League is making much-needed improvements to the restroom facilities at Leisner Field.

CYA football recently completed the construction of a new field house, including a meeting room, storage area, and a press box. The town had the newest football field resurfaced and seeded in anticipation of this year’s schedule. All of our youth sports organizations would be very appreciative of any financial support you can provide.

The update to the Thurmont Master Plan is nearly complete and should be approved by the board of commissioners. This update is two years in the making and has involved many steps, including more than a dozen dedicated planning and zoning meetings, several public hearings, and reviews by the state and county. I want to thank the members of the Planning & Zoning Commission; our planner Chris Jakubiak; and town staff members, Kelly Duty and Jim Humerick, for all the time and thought they have invested in this document.

The Thurmont Board of Commissioners is wrapping up the budget considerations for the fiscal year 2022-2023. The budget gives us a fiscal plan for the year ahead, based on expected revenue and expenses for our general fund, electric department, water department, and wastewater department. The budget is crafted with input from the department heads and our Chief Financial Officer Linda Joyce. As mayor, it is my responsibility to introduce the proposed budget to the board of commissioners, and after their review and recommendations, we will adopt the budget. The new budget will take effect on July 1, 2022.  

Spring will bring a great time to Thurmont and all of our residents. I hope everyone has an enjoyable month ahead.

Have any questions, suggestions, compliments, or concerns? I can be reached at 301-606-9458 or by email at


 Mayor Don Briggs

I recently had the opportunity, along with other county municipal leaders, to meet USDA Rural Development/Department of U.S. Agriculture, Under Secretary Xochitl Torres Small. The event was held at a midday gathering at the South Mountain Creamery in downtown Frederick. The event was hosted by our to-be 6th District Congressional Representative David J. Trone, who was in attendance with members of his staff. Most questions fielded by both centered around scrambling to staff and pay for the ever-increasing load of regulatory demands being placed on municipalities.

The town project to replace 122 curb ramps throughout the town with the American Disabilities Act (ADA)-compliant ramps is now complete. It was about a year-long project. Thank you to all for your perseverance.  Added to the project, with efficient management savings, are funds for the stormwater piping along Cedar Avenue (southside of community center) to South Seton Avenue. Installing a sidewalk over new piping is planned for the town’s 2023-2024 fiscal year. The estimated project cost of $623,000 will be funded by a state-administered, federal community block grant. Congratulations to the town staff for applying, assisting the contractor, and overseeing the project.

The final phase of planting 250 trees of the town’s 3,300+/- native-tree program was completed by approximately 50 volunteers on the beautiful, sunny Saturday morning of April 16. This was the day the town designated to celebrate Arbor Day this year. All 3,300 trees are planted on 11 acres of town-owned land by our wastewater treatment plant on Creamery Road (east side of U.S. 15). Thank you to Town Clerk Julie Scott and Town Planner Zach Gulden for working with Streamlink Education, which managed the plantings funded by a Chesapeake – Atlantic Coastal Bays Trust Fund grant. The plantings are one of the town program accomplishments to meet the state-mandated time phase MS-4 requirement.

Also in planning is the North Seton Avenue Green Street project. The streetscape project is part beautification to replace bare, open concrete/asphalt culvert with improvements to include sustainable plantings designed to impede the flash-flood storm sheet flow that, on more than one occasion over the years, has contributed to flooding at the base of Federal Avenue-North Seton Avenue and limiting access through the area and entry into the Northgate subdivision. Adding to the practical aspects of the design will be 23 designated on-street parking spaces. The estimated project cost of $291,000 should be 100 percent funded by a Chesapeake Trust Community Legacy Federal Flood grant. The Green Street Project is planned for 2023-2024 fiscal year.

NEW: Pickleball is now part of the array of town outdoor activity offerings. The tennis court in Meyers Community Park has an overlay imprinted of the smaller 20-feet wide by 44-feet long pickleball court over the tennis court. The lines are only visible from close-up and should not affect tennis play. It is a game that has caught on with seniors that uses the same net height as tennis, played with a wiffleball.  

New sidewalk connections, new bleachers at ball fields, new family picnic gazebos, and now pickleball. Soon, there will be a new paved parking lot at Memorial Park, while all the time continuing to work on the existing infrastructure.

Memorial Day cookouts and graduations are almost here. Things are good. Keep in your thoughts and prayers the people of Ukraine.