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James Rada, Jr.

You can indulge the kid in you with the new Emmitsburg business with a most-unique name: Wookiee Walkers. This new comic book store with comic-related merchandise is located in the Silo Hill Shopping Center.

The store is still filling up as more and more comics, graphic novels, and merchandise arrive. At the core of its offerings, Wookiee Walkers has thousands of new and old comic books. For youngsters who are looking to get into comic book collecting, they can purchase penny comics.

“We’re a niche market, but with our proximity to Gettysburg, college gamers, and the visitors Emmitsburg gets, we think we’re in a good location,” says Casey Myers, who co-owns the store with Amber Phillips.

Although the store has been open since May 22, 2021, owners Casey Myers and Amber Phillips are planning a grand opening celebration for July 17. The store should be easy to find on that day. Just look for the superheroes outside. Inside, Myers is hoping to have comic book artists and writers.

A comic book collector himself, Myers says, “This has been a dream of mine for a long time.”

This month, they also started game nights on Thursdays, from 8:00-9:30 p.m. If you like playing fantasy-inspired board games like Dungeons and Dragons, come in and compete or discover a new favorite game.

Myers said he would like to see the store expand eventually to include a lounge area where the gamers can compete. He is also slowly working sports collectibles and trading cards into the store’s offerings.

“This is our home. The community is so supportive of each other, we couldn’t imagine being someplace else,” said Myers.

You can visit Wookiee Walkers’ website at or give them a call at 443-794-8160.

The store is open Tuesday through Thursday: noon to 7:00 p.m.; Friday and Saturday: 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.; and Sunday: noon to 5:00 p.m.

Casey Myers in the new Wookiee Walkers comics and collectibles in Silo Hill Shopping Center.

Photo by James Rada, Jr.

Blair Garrett

Emmitsburg has a new face in town, with Mason Dixon Mixin shaking up how we see sweets.

Mason Dixon Mixin’s grand-opening weekend kicked off with a bang on Saturday, June 19, putting a new spin on healthy gourmet shakes.

Excited first-time customers packed the house, eager to try some of the team’s fun new drinks.

From energy teas to decadent red-velvet smoothies, the variety of options is vast and there is something for the whole family. With over 40 flavors to enjoy, you may never run out of sweet options to perk up your morning.

The group prides themselves on making picturesque smoothies and drinks with health-boosting effects, and Emmitsburg’s premier juice bar is ready to take off. All of their smoothies are under 250 calories, have 24g of plant-based protein, are low in sugar/carbs, and have 21 essential vitamins and minerals in them. They are nutritious and delicious!

Mason Dixon Mixin is located at 101 Silo Hill Road in Emmitsburg. You can catch them throughout the week, from 6:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Saturdays.

Mason Dixon Mixin has a hugely successful grand opening, giving Emmitsburg a much-needed sweet-treat shop. Pictured is owner Kelly Moreland (right) with Joyce Kidwell (left).

Photo by Blair Garrett

Courtesy Photos

(above) The Town of Thurmont welcomed KTS Mental Health Group to 5 B East Main Street, Thurmont on June 19 (from left): (front row) Thurmont Commissioner Bill Buehrer, Dr. Natasha Smith (Licensed Psychologist), Christian Adams, Caleb Adams, Olivia Adams, CEO Chris Adams, Chris’s wife Misty Adams, Chief Financial Officer Keith Boring; (back row) Thurmont Commissioner Wayne Hooper, Thurmont Mayor John Kinnaird, Chris Adams Jr., Chief Operating Office Cynthia Covington Boring, Licensed Counselor Cheryl Back, & Licensed Clinical Social Worker Montana Love. For more information on Key Therapeutic Solutions, visit

The Town of Thurmont welcomed Cuddles Cat Rescue to their new location at 3 East Main Street, Thurmont on June 19 (from left): Joan, Linda, Thurmont Mayor John Kinnaird, Thurmont Commissioners Wayne Hooper & Bill Buehrer; (center) President Michelle Shaw, and Founder, Karen Kinnaird;  (the right on sidewalk) Dawn and Kim. For more information on Cuddles Cat Rescue, visit

Deb Abraham Spalding

Dan and LuAnn Moser welcome your consignments at the D&L Auction Barn, located at 17319 North Seton Avenue in the former Emmitsburg Auction Service location. Formerly located in Mountaindale, the couple outgrew that location and fully moved to the new space at LuAnn’s parent’s former Emmitsburg Auction Service location.

D&L provides a walk-in consignment shop and online Facebook auction service. For consignment customers, drop your items during operating hours. You will be given a lot number, and D&L will sell the items for a 35 percent commission. After the items sell, D&L will mail you a check.

The shop is open Fridays and Mondays, from 12:00-6:00 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays, from 12:00-3:00 p.m.

“DnL Sale-Barn” is the Facebook page where the Mosers host three auctions per week: a main auction, a box-lot auction, and a coin auction.

What can you consign with D&L? Dan said, “Anything legal,” but further explained that VHS tapes, paints, chemicals, stuffed animals, some electronics, and other obviously non-transferrable items are not accepted.

D&L will even pick-up from your house! They provide estate clean-outs and estate auctions. Call now to talk to Dan at 301-788-9946 to form a consignment plan and visit for more information.

Courtesy Photo

Pictured are LuAnn and Dan Moser, proprietors of D&L Auction Barn in Emmitsburg.

Deb Abraham Spalding

Christy Hawkins and Damanda Forrest are in the shoe groove, and that’s why they’re the ShoeGurus! A grand opening was held on May 15, 2021, at their store located at 14961B East Buchanan Trail (directly behind the Blue Ridge Summit Post Office) in Blue Ridge Summit, Pennsylvania.

“It was always our dream to own a shoe store,” Christy said, “We both have a love for sneakers. There’s nothing with this variety in the area.”

ShoeGurus is open Tuesdays through Thursdays from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and Fridays and Saturdays from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

The duo plans a food truck once a month at the store to bring in people. In June, during store hours, stop by for Stillwood BBQ on the 19th and Antietam Dairy on the 26th.

ShoeGurus sells brand-new shoes with a limited supply of retail “resale” shoes. “Resale” shoes have been worn once or twice but are basically new. They sell at a cheaper price than the brand new version. Christy explained, “We’ll either pay you for your resale shoes or give you a discount off a pair of shoes in the store.”

ShoeGurus saves footwork for shoe customers by carrying work boots, Muck Boots, kid’s shoes, ladies casual,  sought-out-brand sneakers, and much more—in the store and online at

If you have a specific shoe you’re looking for, ShoeGurus will find it, and might even sell it to you for a better price than you’ll find online or elsewhere.

During this interview, a new release Nike Uptempo was in the store. It is in high demand and can be found online for $400. ShoeGurus has a $220 price tag on this sneaker in the store.

For your shoes that have been worn more repeatedly but still have some wear in them, ShoeGurus will clean them up and donate them to an appropriate charity.

Call 717-785-1189 for more information or with shoe questions. You’ll find ShoeGurus on Facebook (, on Instagram (, and online at

Christy said, “Come in and see what we have!”

Grace Eyler

We all have high hopes that retirement will one day bring us relaxation and more time with friends and family. Officially on June 1, 2021, Emmitsburg’s Jubilee Grocery Store’s long-time manager, Rich Boyd, will join the ranks of the retired and discover the truth or fallacy of that assumption.

Over the course of 40 years, Jubilee Foods (formerly known as SuperThrift until 1993) has been lucky enough to have Rich on the team as store manager. He’s seen many changes during his career, including the extension of store hours and the 12,000-square-foot expansion of the Emmitsburg store in 1998. Not long after, Steve Trout and Lorne Peters purchased the store in 2000.

Rich has many fond memories of his time with Jubliee. “I could write a book,” he said.

He has been a jack-of-all trades throughout the years, and he has been able to work wherever he’s needed and at any given time. Most people wouldn’t guess what his favorite part of the job is: stocking yogurt. Many of us passing through Jubilee would frequently see Rich alongside Margaret or Jeff, carefully stocking stacks of yogurt. As it turns out, Rich doesn’t only enjoy the challenge of perfectly stacked yogurt, but it’s been his favorite time to get out and chat with his customers as they strolled through the store.

A resident of Fairfield, Pennsylvania, he has been very involved in the Emmitsburg community throughout his employment with Jubilee by helping the Vigilant Hose Company, Catoctin’s Safe & Sane, Mother Seton School, our local 4-H groups during the Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show, and various other groups and churches. Many may, or may not, know that Jubilee wasn’t Rich’s only job. You may have seen him bartending over at Carroll Valley Golf Club in the past. There he helped his fellow golfers have a good time for almost 10 years.

“It’s just been a pleasure working in such a fine community, with some of the best people,” he said.

Rich is extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to hire teenagers working their first job, with many of them branching into their own successful careers. Some of his former employees’ children work with him now.

“I am grateful and humbled at the many customers who have given me well-wishes and very kind words. I’ve been overcome with the amount of support and love I’ve been shown from the community.”

Rich plans to plunge into retired life by getting caught up on housework, visiting his three sons and his grandchildren, and enjoying lots of sunny days golfing.

Courtesy Photo

Rich Boyd is shown in the office of the former Emmitsburg SuperThrift.

Photo by Deb Abraham Spalding

Jubilee’s assistant managers, Tim Ridenour and Gabe Baker, jokingly give store manager, Rich Boyd, the boot out the door to retirement.

Courtesy Photo

Pictured left to right are Sharen Cool, Michele Orndorff, Rich Boyd, grandson Tommy Boyd, Brandi Houck, Megan Cool.

James Rada Jr.

Thurmont is one of the leading business creators in Frederick County, according to the database used by the Frederick County Office of Economic Development.

Data Axle (formerly Reference USA) reports on businesses by zip code across the country. In the Thurmont zip code (21788), Data Axle reports there are 468 businesses, and second only to the Frederick zip codes in the county.

Thurmont Economic Development Manager Vickie Grinder said, “That sounds about right. Thurmont is pro-business. We promote our businesses, and more importantly, we retain our businesses.”

She said being pro-business is not always about attracting new businesses. You also need to retain them, which, in times like these, can mean helping them stay open.

“We have not lost any businesses during this pandemic, and we have even opened some,” Grinder said.

During the months of the pandemic last year, Thurmont saw ribbon-cuttings for three new businesses: Tracie’s House of Hair in July, Thurmont Veterinary Clinic in August, and Beautiful You Salon and Spa in October.

It is not surprising that Frederick, the county seat and largest city in the county, by far, dominates with the number of businesses in its zip code. However, Thurmont, Walkersville, and Brunswick are all roughly the same size, and Thurmont has nearly the same number of businesses (468) as Walkersville (302) and Brunswick (200) combined.

Grinder attributes the larger number, in part, to initiatives like the Thurmont Business Network. Any Thurmont business is welcome to the meetings to hear speakers, talk about business opportunities, and share knowledge.

The town also runs advertising, promoting the town’s businesses and recognizing successful businesses with its “You Make Thurmont Proud” awards. The advertising even tied into the small-town and parks aspect with a tagline: “We’ve been socially distancing for decades.”

The town also started helping local businesses with micro-grants before the federal government announced it would reimburse such programs through CARES Act.

“I’m here to tell you… that $1,000 that was given to those businesses… people cried,” Grinder told the Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners during a recent meeting.

Some of the leading employers in Thurmont include NVR, R.R. Donnelly, Criswell Chevrolet, and Playground Specialists. However, the town also has lots of small businesses that employ just a handful of people.

Besides storefront businesses, the numbers also include home-based businesses. Grinder estimated that home businesses probably make up 75 to 100 of the Thurmont-area businesses.

Blair Garrett

The recession in the late 2000s affected businesses across the country.

The unemployment rate skyrocketed, and the vast majority of Americans lost any financial security they once had.

KLS Home Improvement in Rocky Ridge was born from that hardship, and they’ve been thriving ever since.

Father and son duo Jeff Sharrer and Kevin Sharrer have laid the foundation for quality home improvements over the past decade.

“We started out of necessity,” Kevin said. “We both got laid off in 2008, and we couldn’t find work. A lady I had been doing side work for suggested we go out on our own, and we did. We’ve been here ever since.”

The economy was in a turbulent place when the Sharrer family started their own business. There was a lot of uncertainty that came with such a huge risk.

“We were worried, but we were at the point where it didn’t really matter because we were going to lose everything if we didn’t make something happen,” Jeff said.

KLS has produced decks, home restorations, landscaping, and just about everything in between for Northern Frederick County and Pennsylvania residents for 11 years.

Jeff is a veteran of the trucking industry, and Kevin has worked in home improvement since high school.

“What’s kept us afloat all these years is being diversified in just about anything to do with home improvement,” Jeff said.

“It keeps it interesting because it’s not the same thing all the time,” Kevin said.

Many companies focus on one particular aspect of home improvement, whether it’s decks, doors, or landscaping. The KLS guys take pride in doing anything they can to give their customers the best experience possible.

“One thing we do that a lot of home improvement companies won’t touch is working on old houses,” Jeff said. “We’ve done some pretty nice restorations.”

From large jobs to small, KLS has built its name on coming up with solutions for the community’s home improvement problems, often taking on the jobs others can’t—or won’t.

“We get all the jobs that no one else wants, and to me, that’s the fun part,” Kevin said. “Just figuring stuff out.”

Since KLS got its start, the company has had its blend of new customers and returning customers. The returning customers stay for the quality work and great service, and many of the new customers stem from a familiar resource.

“We have a lot of repeat customers, as far back as when we first started,” Kevin said. “The Banner is all the advertising we do, and everything else is word of mouth.”

In addition to doing some local advertising, KLS is revamping its online presence with a brand-new website. They plan on offering customers an online portal to seamlessly pay invoices and to see first-hand some of the group’s proudest handiwork.

Jeff and Kevin have learned a lot over their carpentry careers, and the opportunity for new business is always available if you’re willing to push for it. The team has expanded into new avenues to keep jobs flowing in.

“One new thing we’re getting into is working with real estate agents and private sellers to restore or repair property to sell,” Jeff said. Connecting with real estate agents and homeowners can be a great two-way relationship.  

Spending a little money ahead of time can put people in a position to sell a fixed-up property for a lot more money and much quicker. It’s become an investment that has picked up a lot of traction in recent years.

“We took care of a family’s house after they moved out, so we emptied the house out, and it needed lots of repairs,” Kevin said. “Those folks wanted to get it fixed up, so they could get the most out of it.”

While many commercialized home-improvement companies have goals of expansion into new markets and large-scale development, KLS continues to serve its community in more ways than meets the eye.

Kevin is the president of the Frederick County Students Construction Trades Foundation, Inc. He works with high school students to construct a new house every two to three years. Building the houses gives students a real-world, hands-on learning experience, and the foundation sells the house to keep funding for the program flowing.

In fact, since KLS started, the Sharrers have brought on multiple CTC students to learn and work with them as employees of the business.

“I’ve hired about five people from the career center,” Kevin said. “They come here, and I train them up.”

Jeff does most of the office work, and Kevin handles most of the day-to-day labor on job sites. Another CTC graduate will be joining the team in the near future to fulfill a crucial role for KLS.

“I would like to get to where I have three guys in the field. A lead, a carpenter, and a laborer. That way, I can float out there if I need to,” Kevin said.

Despite the uncertainty 2020 brought, the train keeps rolling for KLS, and the Sharrers are looking forward to a much brighter 2021.

“We picked up last July, and we’ve been full throttle ever since,” Kevin said. “We’re booked out until the middle of May.”

One thing is for sure, if there’s a carpentry challenge out there the Sharrers haven’t seen or conquered, Kevin is up for the challenge.

“If we haven’t done it, I’ll do my best to figure out a way.”

KLS Home improvement has provided locals quality residential work over the past 11 years. Pictured left is Jeff Sharrer with his son, Kevin Sharrer.

Deb Abraham Spalding

Eagerly, local residents have been anticipating the opening of Los Amigos Restaurant in the former Pizza Hut building in Thurmont for over a year. Owner Roberto Joaquin jokingly “blames his daughter” for this business venture. One he claims as a venture from the heart.

Joaquin moved from Mexico to Hagerstown at age 20. He said he was, “full of dreams and looking for adventure.” He became the main cook at a restaurant in Hagerstown, and eventually, he opened his own restaurant, Los Amigos. Los Amigos in Hagerstown has been open for four years. He and his wife, Rosario, have four children, ages four, six, fourteen, and twenty.

Three years ago, at the request of his daughter, now age six, to visit a petting zoo, Joaquin and his family visited the Catoctin Zoo. The family looked for a place to eat afterward, but their short search showed fast food and pizza.

Because of that experience, Joaquin identified a need for a Mexican venue in Thurmont. Already operating the Los Amigos Restaurant in Hagerstown, he considered opening a second location in, or near, Thurmont, and kept his eyes open for commercial locations. Soon the Pizza Hut location was posted.

The community watched and waited through renovations, permits, and COVID. Many were eager for the local Mexican cuisine option since they had to drive at least fifteen miles in any direction for it.

Joaquin did not let the community down. Los Amigos Restaurant officially opened on Monday, February 15, 2021. He prepared for the new location’s opening by bringing a tenured bartender, several wait staff members, and an experienced chef from the Hagerstown location, and using the various renovation and COVID delays to train new staff at the Hagerstown location.

That plan worked. Things are going great. The quality at the new location matches the quality of that at the Hagerstown operation. You can feel the professionalism and calm from the experienced staff and taste the quality of the cuisine in Thurmont. Joaquin said, “I didn’t want anyone to say Thurmont wasn’t as good.”

Los Amigos uses only fresh ingredients to create and fulfill a varied and tasty menu from scratch every day. The same attention to quality can be found in their margaritas. House margs are delicious and come in three sizes; small (enough), medium (I’m having a good time), and large (Wowzer!). For the marg connoisseur, even Los Amigos’ house variety exceeds expectations. Try top shelf for a five-star delivery!

Joaquin said, “Thank you!” to the community. He said he wasn’t expecting such a warm welcome. He promises to bring the best food and service for our community!

“I care about the customer so much. I want them to have a parking space; I want them to have a good experience.” Joaquin always seeks comments from diners and constantly makes improvements. He listens. He added, “Make your comments; I want to make things the best.”

The facility is clean and staff adheres to COVID guidelines. Despite the restaurant’s spacious size, it fills quickly at 50 percent seating and often overflows to a wait for seating. Diners are encouraged to plan accordingly when deciding when to visit. The restaurant is open daily from 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Stop by for in-house dining or call for take-out at 301-271-8888.

Pictured from left are servers Zefe, Joel, Alex, and Edgar.

Los Amigos owner, Roberto Joaquin.

The Catoctin Veterinary Clinic in Thurmont now offers dog grooming services at the clinic. Michele Miller is experienced with all breeds, large and small, including poodles and terriers. She brings 30 years of grooming experience to the clinic.

Customers may call the clinic at 301-271-0156 to set an appointment. Appointments are scheduled Mondays through Saturdays at 8:30 a.m., 9:30 a.m., or 10:30 a.m. Appointments for smaller pets take approximately one hour, while bigger dogs usually take two hours.

Catoctin Veterinary Clinic is located at 4 Paws Place in Thurmont near Catoctin High School. See the advertisement in this edition for more information.

     Michele Miller is shown grooming with Olivia.

deb abraham spalding

While America, the world, and our local community was learning how to social distance and quarantine last spring as the Coronavirus Pandemic changed our way of living, Sherry and Rob Myers and staff members at the Thurmont Kountry Kitchen Restaurant stepped up to provide meals for kids in Northern Frederick County. For several months, the Kountry Kitchen team served between 125 and 170 bagged meals per day. This endeavor allowed those impacted by these times to stop by the restaurant in Thurmont or the Vigilant Hose Company Fire House in Emmitsburg to pick up a bagged lunch for free.

Sherry said, “We know that a lot of the kids rely on meals they get in school and could go hungry without them. My employees didn’t care about the risk of COVID-19 to themselves, we just wanted to do something to help out the community.”

This project would take money and resources that Sherry didn’t know if she had the ability to provide on her own, since her life and business was impacted by the pandemic as well. She “just knew we had to do it.” Soon, both food and monetary donations emerged as the community supported the mission.

Sherry beamed, “You don’t really know how loyal your customers are until something happens like COVID. They really stepped up! It’s inspiring.”

Putting her hands out in expression, she added, “It made a world of difference for many families. The kids really appreciated the kind gesture. They made Muppets from their lunch bags and gave them to us as a sign of their appreciation.”

“It just proves that if you set the example, others will follow.”

It is through this selfless commitment to a mission of service that Sherry; Rob; their children Bobby, Nick, and Jayden; and the Kountry Kitchen employees have maintained an impactful community business for the past 36 years. Sherry explained, “The Kountry Kitchen started in 1984 when Dad brought life to my Mom’s dream of owning her own restaurant.”

Sherry’s mom and dad are the late Pat and Roger Ridenour. These two iconic locals were fixtures at their business. Prior to opening, Pat worked at Gentleman Jim’s (now Carriage House Inn) in Emmitsburg as a line cook, and Roger was a shoemaker at the Freeman Shoe Company in Emmitsburg.

In the beginning, Pat, her mother Olive Misner, and a waitress dug in tirelessly to run the new business. Pat and Roger’s children, Sherry, Tracy (Boyd), and Andrea (Shafer) helped in various ways. New staff members were added as the business grew. Shortly after, Roger resigned from his full-time job to concentrate on the growing venture. Sherry reminisced, “Mom and I trained him [Dad/Roger] to be a grill cook. He was one of the best we ever had.”

While working the grill behind the counter, Roger became a friend to many, carrying on conversations that would last a lifetime. Sherry recalls that her dad “served as lawyer, doctor, psychiatrist, and friend.” In the beginning, the restaurant was open 24 hours on weekends to accommodate a robust party crowd that would meet up after a night out in Thurmont at Skippers, Blue Mountain Inn, Texas Lunch, or Tommy’s Tavern. There was a counter in the main room with bar stools, a video game, a juke box; it was heated with a woodstove that was positioned prominently in the middle of the room. Sherry exclaimed, “We had so much fun!”

Pat was always a socialite. She would sit at the table with her customers and talk. She loved carrying on with the kids, often greeting them with a hug. Pat’s dream had become reality! Pat emanated happiness and was greatly satisfied to host her Kountry Kitchen family.

In addition to being the business owner and the socialite, Pat was a life-long culinary student. Sherry and Tracy estimate that Pat collected as many as 15,000 cookbooks. In Pat and Roger’s home, Roger had renovated a bank vault by installing bookshelves to accommodate Pat’s culinary library.

Kountry Kitchen diners often have a standard favorite order ranging from specialty sandwiches to salad, but it’s important to note that the menu is very extensive. At one point, Pat presented the menu in one-inch binders, complete with the latest of her newsletters and a copy of an article about the restaurant’s most recent Broasted® Chicken award!

Over the years, unique menu items have come and gone at Kountry Kitchen, “We’ve named things like ‘Joshua the Constipator’ because Joshua [a former cook] put every kind of cheese we had on it. Another is ‘Big John’s Whaler,’” Sherry grinned, “That was interesting!”

Sherry explains that a top seller is Hog Maw. The community looks forward to it as a special, and it sells out fast. Slippery Pot Pie sells fast, too. Puddin’ and scrapple are standard on the menu.

Recently, the Kountry Kitchen was designated to serve the Best Broasted® Chicken in the State of Maryland by MSN News. Back in 2004, Pat purchased what soon became her prized possession, her Broaster! It became one of the best purchases they ever made, as Broasted Chicken continues to be a best-seller at the restaurant. The Broaster produces great chicken that is “plump, succulent, and good to the bone.” Sherry said their chicken sales since COVID-19 are unbelievable. They actually had to purchase a second Broaster to keep up with the amount of orders. She explained, “Our chicken is fresh; it’s not put in hold ever! It takes about 20-25 minutes. It’s well worth the wait.”

It’s a fact that while Kountry Kitchen’s mission of community service is important, it has repeatedly proven that the food and flavor keep the customers coming back.

Pat and Roger made changes to the restaurant to make way for new regulations and business growth. First, the old woodstove was removed from the dining area, ending a long-standing early morning tradition of getting the woodstove going and setting up for Roger by Bob ‘Bear’ Sharrer, Daddy Ridenour, and Cutter Eyler. “They were here every day! They were so loyal,” Sherry shared.

Next, the video game and juke box were removed to create more seating. Then, an addition was added in 1999 that ended an era. Roger and his grill were relocated from the main dining area to the new kitchen in the addition. With this change, Pat could still be seen making her social rounds in the dining room, but it took more effort to see and talk with Roger.

In 2000, a final addition was made. A second dining room, dubbed the Rideau Room, was added on the back of the building. The Rideau Room was named after the Rideau Inn in Ocean City, Maryland, where Pat and Roger stayed on their honeymoon.

Roger passed quietly in his sleep in 2014. This was a turning point for the business, as Sherry and Rob had already stepped in more to help run it. Pat started having conversations about Sherry and Rob buying the business. This took place as Pat became increasingly saddened by the loss of Roger. Pat became ill in May of 2019, and after a long battle at The University Of Maryland, she passed in July of 2019. “Knowing that mom and dad worked so hard to build my mom’s dream is very gratifying. Mom always liked seeing the repeat generations of customers. Adults who were once customers as kids would bring their kids to share the experience that they once had as a child.”

Now, with Sherry and Rob owning and operating the business, they are supported by their family and many committed and talented staff members who serve an amazing array of grateful customers. About her customers, Sherry said they have become friends. For instance, “Dottie Ramsburg sat next to me on a stool at the counter 36 years ago when I was a young kid. We started up a conversation, and now we’re best friends,” Sherry explained. The original bar stool Dottie sat on at the L-shaped counter was given to Dottie as a gift. Sherry added, “When she comes in now, she’ll joke that someone’s sitting at her table. Miss Dot will always hold a special place in my heart. She’s more than a customer; she’s become family and a great friend.”

Sherry recalled that when her daughter, Jayden, was really sick, they were in financial despair. They connected with the Patty Polatos Fund, and Debbie Williams, the administrator of that charity, encouraged Sherry to let them help. Sherry said, “The community came out for us. We raised over $6,000 from a bake sale that helped pay Jayden’s medical bills. The community still supports us, and we’ll be there for them for many years to come. Like grandma said, “You reap what you sew!”

This memory inspired another. Sherry reminisced, “One day Debbie [Williams] came in after church and asked for breakfast an hour after we stopped serving breakfast. Sherry, knowing that Debbie had a phenomenal voice, said, ‘Tell her if she’ll sing Amazing Grace, I’ll cook her breakfast.’ Sure enough, Debbie stood right in the kitchen and sang to me. It brought tears to my eyes!”

Today, with tighter restrictions due to COVID-19, take-out is outselling dine-in. Sherry admits that things have been challenging through the pandemic, trying to keep everyone safe and following all the guidelines. Now, the problem is, “We’re lacking help.” Our loyal employees have really stepped up and have been working hard to fill in the gaps.

Sherry and Rob rewarded their employees who worked from day one during COVID, without missing a day, with what she calls, a “COVID Bonus.” She said, “That was a power booster for us,” and explained, “Last month, we had the highest sales month we’ve ever had over 36 years in business, even with Colorfest being canceled. We are extremely grateful!”

Sherry is filled with hope, commitment, and drive. “I’d like to thank each and every one of you who have stuck with us. It must be commended that our employees have stepped up in every way they can. It hasn’t always been easy, and they’ve stuck with us through the good and bad times. Thanks for your dedication and continued support. We would like to thank our customers for being our friends, family, and our favorite people. You are the heart of our business. Your loyalty and continued patronage over the years is greatly appreciated. Without you, there would be no us!”

The Kountry Kitchen is located at 17 Water Street in Thurmont. The dining room is open with limited seating at 50 percent. Call for take-out at 301-271-4071. If the line is busy or rings and rings, keep trying.

Congratulations to the Kountry Kitchen Family for all of your successes, your service, and your unwavering commitment to our community. Happy Wedding Anniversary to Sherry and Rob for 30 years in November!

Courtesy Photos

Owners Rob and Sherry Myers are shown in the kitchen at Thurmont Kountry Kitchen.

Sherry Myers (right) is shown with her parents, Pat and Roger Ridenour, in the kitchen at Thurmont Kountry Kitchen.

Pictured left are Brian Toms, Joey Miller, Marsala McKissick, Betty Mowdy, and Dottie Ramsburg.

The other photos show the exterior and interior of Kountry Kitchen in the earlier days, with the old woodstove, juke box, and video game.

Blair Garrett

“Being in the kitchen, it’s like a passion. If you don’t have it, you better get out.”

Tony Testa of Rocky’s Pizza in Thurmont knows a thing or two about culinary creativity, the people of Thurmont, and steadfast dedication.

For the past 30 years, owners Tony and Tina Testa have brought smiles and delicious classic Italian dishes to Thurmont. Yet, their long-standing business wasn’t built overnight. It’s been a lifetime of cultivating skill, technique, and learning the trade of becoming a pillar in the community. 

Born and raised in Naples, Italy, Tony moved to the United States when he was 24 years old. The lessons he took from his background have tremendously contributed to his decorated career in the business.

“I had my first job when I was 12 years old as a dishwasher in a restaurant,” Testa said. Back in the day, Coca-Cola came in wooden crates, and I had to flip those upside down and stand on them to reach into the sink. If I would have fallen in, I probably would have drowned.”

Testa didn’t spend his whole career washing dishes, though, and in just a few short years, he found himself on to bigger and better things. “I moved on to hotels and then culinary school in Italy and worked as a server and on cruise lines.”

To truly learn the restaurant industry, one must be knowledgeable and proficient at each job in order to keep the restaurant on track. Testa learned the ins and outs of his industry through decades of experience, but he has taken lessons from many sources and opportunities throughout his life, which have shaped how he has grown his business and himself.

“I’ve worked with great, great people since I was a kid,” Testa said. “I was 15 or 16 years old when a guy quit, and they moved me from the dishroom to being a chef. I was lucky the guy really liked me, and he taught me a lot of things. And, here, over 40 years later, my brain still goes back to that.”

Rocky’s popular dishes are a product of years of learning piece-by-piece how to operate yourself in a kitchen, along with a dash of creativity from the head chef. “You have to put your touch into things,” Testa said.

One thing Testa heavily emphasizes is the commitment to never stop learning. That lesson was instilled in him from a young age and has been a huge motivational chip for him in the kitchen.

At the age of 17, Testa found a mentor at his culinary school who made a lasting impact, which he fondly remembers to this day. “He was originally from Saudi Arabia. He knew seven languages,” Testa recalled, as he raised his hand to his face, reminiscing.

“I’ll never forget this, but this one time for his birthday, we bought him a gift and went to visit him at his house, where he brought us in this studio. It looked like a lawyer’s office, with his big desk and nothing but books all around the walls. It was all culinary books, and he told us that he got new ones in every day.”

Testa glanced around as if he was still in that room, peering at every wall. “We asked, ‘Why, Chef? Once you’re out of culinary school, you’re a chef. You’re done,’” Testa said. “He told us no, and that every day there is something new that comes out that he needed to learn about. What he did not know yesterday, he needed to know by tomorrow, and I’ll never forget that.”

These days, it can be challenging to read emotion and facial expressions through masks. Still, Testa was visibly beaming, recollecting the memories that guided him to where he is today. “Life is a learning experience from day one, all the way to the end. It never stops, and it never ends, my friend.”

Testa is also a firm believer that the good you put out eventually comes back to you in some form. Testa has spent lots of time giving back to the community, whether it’s working with Thurmont Little League or just being a friendly face accompanied by a hot meal.

“We help out in the community, and all of that stuff has paid back through my business throughout the years,” he said. “People support us, and we support them.”

That kind of community connection has established Rocky’s Pizza as a staple of Thurmont and the surrounding area, and it’s a huge reason why he and his family have stayed here for 36 years.

While he was already a well-rounded chef, Testa gained a key skill that has led his business when he came to America. “I did not know how to make pizzas until I moved over here,” he said. Just like before, Testa worked his way up until he branched out and opened his own Rocky’s Pizza in Thurmont in 1990. The Testas moved the location in 1996 to Tippin Drive, where they’ve found their home and have been working ever since. “When I came over here, I had to learn a new trade, and three or four million pizzas later, here we are,” he said.

It’s no mystery why the Testa’s have been a go-to spot for a hot meal in Thurmont for so long. Throughout his life, Testa has improved his recipes and techniques by taking a look over his shoulder and learning from other excellent chefs. But it’s that commitment to keep learning and growing that has had locals raving about his recipes for decades.

There’s nothing quite like breaking bread with people you care about and a perfectly crafted meal right in front of you. That’s something the Testas plan on continuing to provide Thurmont for years to come.

Photo by Blair Garrett

Owners Tony and Tina Testa are shown in their popular restaurant in Thurmont, Rocky’s NY Pizza & Italian Restaurant, celebrating 30 years in business.

People who live and work in Emmitsburg can run on Dunkin’ faster and more conveniently than ever before, as the brand officially opened the doors to its first next-generation restaurant in Emmitsburg on Sunday, October 18, 2020. Located at 103 Silo Hill Parkway, the next-generation restaurant offers Emmitsburg Dunkin’s store-of-the-future experience, with a modern atmosphere and new and innovative technologies and design elements. 

At 8:00 a.m. on October 18, Dunkin’ franchisee network GN Southwestern, LLC celebrated the new store with a ribbon-cutting ceremony alongside Emmitsburg Mayor Don Briggs.

The new restaurant features a modern look that provides a fresh, friendly, vibrant, and engaging environment for guests to enjoy their favorite Dunkin’ offerings. Complete with a new, warmer interior color palette, the restaurant also offers comfortable guest seating, atmospheric lighting, and a convenient, contactless drive-thru. Other exciting elements of the store include:

Premium Pours: Dunkin’s signature cold beverages are now served through an innovative tap system, serving eight consistently cold beverages, such as coffees, iced teas, cold brew coffee, and nitro infused cold brew coffee. Crew members will also use top-quality flavor-maximizing espresso machines to make hand-crafted drinks to order.

Dunkin’ on Demand: With fully-integrated digital kiosks, guests will be able to choose to order with or without the help of a crew member. Dunkin’ has also introduced an area dedicated to mobile pickups, so members of the DD Perks® Rewards program who order ahead via Dunkin’s Mobile App can get in and out of the restaurant faster than ever before. Guests will be able to track the status of their orders placed for pickup inside the restaurant via a new digital order status board.

Increased Energy Efficiency: The new Dunkin’ will be a DD Green Achievement™ restaurant, which is designed to save 25 percent more energy compared to a standard Dunkin’ restaurant. 

Open daily from 4:00 a.m.-10:00 p.m., the 1,500-square-foot restaurant employs approximately 15 crew members and offers free Wi-Fi.

Dottie Davis of Emmitsburg posted on Facebook on October 18, “Guess who was their first customer? Frank and me,” with a photo of Dunkin’s coffee and to-go bag.

To learn more about Dunkin’, visit or follow them on Facebook @DunkinUS, Twitter @dunkindonuts, or Instagram @Dunkin.

Dunkin’ in Emmitsburg opened its doors to its first next-generation restaurant on October 18, 2020.

Courtesy Photo

Deb Abraham Spalding

Some locals are aware of the long-standing history of Eyler’s Stables in Thurmont. Harry Eyler began selling horses and livestock at the barn on Emmitsburg Road in Thurmont in 1933. Harry and his daughter-in-law Ruth traveled far and wide buying riding horses that were shipped back to Thurmont on rail cars to be sold at the auction. The auctions continue to this day as generations of Eylers have worked to continue the business.

In September, Nikki Eyler contracted with the long-standing Wolfe Auction family to continue the coveted service. Wolfe Auctions are owned and operated by another local family by the name of Ruby. You may have noticed the now-vacant space the Wolfe Auctions has leased along Route #15 near Lewistown. During Coronavirus, the auction’s owner Caythee Ruby and her son, Joshua Ruby (president), merged the 25-year Wolfe Industrial Auction services near Lewistown into auction space they own in York Springs, Pennsylvania.

Meanwhile, Joshua, Thurmont born and raised, noticed an opportunity to lease the long-standing Eyler’s Stables auction service and operate the new Wolfe Agricultural Auctions there.

Joshua has always loved Eyler’s Stables. The auction barn and grounds host many memories for him and his family. His parents would go on dates on Friday nights at the stables. He fondly remembers picking out his first horse, his dad buying it for him for his 6th birthday, and riding it for the first time in the riding ring. Throughout his life, Friday nights at Eyler’s Stables were a social event for him and many other local farm folks.

Now, he’s seizing the opportunity to manage the auctions and auction barn to keep the tradition alive. Joshua said, “It’s our opportunity to continue to serve the community. This is near and dear to our hearts. It’s much more than just an auction.”

The Wolfe Agricultural Auction family includes Joshua’s mother, Caythee; Tyler Donnelly, agricultural barn and sale manager; Cathy Little, office manager; and Joshua, auctioneer.

Operations are in place for the buying and selling of quality horses, re-homing horses, horseback riding lessons, and trail riding.

As with tradition, the first Friday of every month will feature an ag auction with livestock, produce, trailers, and anything needed on the farm. The third Friday of the month features a horse sale.

Three to four times a year, the Wolfe’s will host an industrial auction at Eyler’s Stables to sell equipment and trucks. At all other times, the industrial auctions will be held in Pennsylvania.

So far, in the first month of ownership, Joshua said, “Things are going exceptionally well. We had over 65 horses at the first auction held in September. We’re looking to double that number for the New Year’s Sale.”

The Eyler’s Stables New Year’s Day Horse Auction has been a tradition for a very long time. It’s a whole community social event. This year, this auction will be held the Saturday after New Year’s Day. It’s a very large event that draws people from near and far.

Joshua explained how things work: “If you are no longer in need of a horse, bring it in, and we will re-home the horse in responsible homes to give them the best life they can get. Horses come mostly from private individuals who are going through a divorce, moving, or stepping up to a higher performance horse.

Once here, go see Cathy or Caythee at the registration trailer to get a bid number. There’s an inspection prior to the auction. We sell tack the first two hours of the sale while buyers check out the animals on the grounds. You bid in the auction barn. Purchase at a price that’s right for you, pay your bill, and go.”

To learn more and keep up with auctions and events, visit Eyler’s Stable on Facebook, online, call the auction’s main number at 301-898-0340, Tyler Donnelly at 301-712-5176 to consign animals to the sale, or call Joshua at 301-748-2924.

Events include a Halloween Party on October 30 that features a Trot-and-Treat, complete with social distancing. Local businesses get a stall and set-up to hand out candy. There’s a horse in every other stall. Pumpkin carving is $5.00, and there’s a costume contest for both kids and horses.

November will include the regular auction; a mini pony sale; a horse auction; an Open House on Friday, November 20; and Wolfe Industrial Auctions on November 21. Joshua said, “The Open House on Friday night is to show everyone exactly what we’re capable of here at Wolfe Auctions.”

“We really appreciate the local business that we’ve already received,” Joshua explained, “We want to be part of this community, participate in this community as much as possible, and do good for all.”

After New Year’s, call Tyler to sign up for full care boarding at Eyler’s Stables.

Please note, it should be mentioned that Joshua’s dad, the late Randy (Charles Randolph Ruby), worked at Wolfe Auctions, a Wolfe Family business owned by Gayle and Kathy Wolfe that started in 1976. Randy purchased Wolfe Auctions from Kathy Wolfe in 1983 when her husband Gayle died.

Photo by Deb Abraham Spalding

Auctioneer Joshua Ruby is shown in the auction barn with Tyler Donnelly, agricultural barn and sale manager; Georgia, a registered miniature horse; and Flipper, a Boer goat.

The Town of Thurmont staff hosted a ribbon-cutting on Saturday, October 23, 2020, to welcome Beautiful You Salon & Spa to Thurmont.

The day spa has relocated from Emmitsburg (formerly Emmitsburg Day Spa) to a beautifully renovated space at 9 Water Street in Thurmont (formerly Browns’ Jewelry Store). The spa’s personnel are experienced in microblading, manicures, pedicures, massage therapy, waxing, and hairstyling, with five licensed technicians. Sandy Willis serves as its proprietor.

Courtesy Photo

Pictured from left are Stacey and Mike Hobbs; Thurmont CAO Jim Humerick; Thurmont Commissioner Wayne Hooper; stylist Carmella Devilbiss; massage therapist Loretta Strine; Thurmont Mayor John Kinnaird; receptionist (and Sandy’s mother) Yvonne Willis; Owner, Sandy Willis; eye lash and brow specialist Jenny Snuffer; nail tech Lisa Talbert; Thurmont Commissioners Marty Burns and Bill Buehrer. (Not pictured is stylist Katie Anderson.)

Please welcome Dr. Barbara Stastny, DVM & Dr. Becky Arthur, DVM of Thurmont Veterinary Clinic to their new location in the Thurmont Plaza, 224 North Church Street. Thurmont Veterinary Clinic was previously located at 23 North Carroll Street.

Thurmont Veterinary Clinic will be increasing its hours of operation in the new facility, with appointments on Monday and Friday mornings and Wednesday afternoons and evenings, and will be out-patient only. This is the Opossum Pike Veterinary Clinic’s second location, and currently has a four-doctor AAHA-accredited (member of the American Animal Hospital Association) veterinary clinic on Opossumtown Pike in Frederick. They offer medical care for dogs and cats, as well as exotic pets such as rodent pocket pets (mice, rats, hamsters, guinea pigs, chinchillas), rabbits, birds, and most reptiles, excluding snakes.

You can contact them at 301-271-3212. Check out their services at

Dr. Barbara Stastny and Dr. Becky Arthur will be the attending veterinarians at this location and are two of the four partners of Opossum Pike Veterinary Clinic.

Courtesy Photo

Thurmont Veterinary Clinic staff are shown during the ribbon-cutting at their new location.

Deb Abraham Spalding

It’s been a while since there’s been a store in Foxville. From 1961 through the early 1980s, a convenience store was located on top of the hill along Route #77 (Foxville Road). That little convenience store was run by the Leahy Family, then the Fogles, then the Prices, then the Connors. Then the space changed in function to house lawnmower repair, a sign shop, a contractor’s building, and then just storage. On August 28, 2020, Chris and Cathy Linetty, along with their canine greeters Raven and Gunner, opened as the new Catoctin Furnace Liquors.

With the lifting of the dry district regulations by Frederick County a few years ago, Chris and Cathy, who live nearby in Washington County, saw an opportunity to open the liquor store. Chris has been in the liquor business for 16 years. He’s managed, operated, and sold several liquor stores, including Country Spirits in Cascade, Village Spirits in Smithsburg, and most recently, he still owns North End Liquors in Hancock, Maryland. Cathy also has background in the industry, working for a local Maryland distributor and as a manager at Country Spirits in Cascade. She’s now learning the role as an owner, but as you can see, there is no shortage of expertise from this husband and wife team.

Cathy named this store Catoctin Furnace Liquors in order to pay homage to the greater area’s iron and metalwork history. Customers will notice this influence in the rustic industrial décor that uses 100-year-old barn wood, old pallet wood, whiskey barrels, and black iron pipe for shelving. Chris explained, “It’s unique, comfortable, clean, and cozy.”

The space is well-designed with wine and liquor in the main shop space complemented by a giant, 12-door walk-up and self-service walk-in cooler in a connected room. Here, you’ll find the latest and greatest products in the beer industry. Pumpkin beers and Oktoberfest beers are out in full force now. Nearby, a licensed tasting bar waits empty until the COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.

The Linettys are tuned in for customer feedback about brand preferences and essential stock. Chris assured, “Look around. If you don’t see what you want, and if we can get it, we will get it.”

The location provides a closer alternative for convenience runs by local military, park service employees, and tourists. There is interest in scheduling food trucks for lunch in the future and stocking pre-packaged food items. Locally owned food truck, The Sauced Savage BBQ, was on-site for the store’s grand opening on Saturday, September 5, and did extremely well. So well, in fact, that they asked to return again to serve the community both lunch and dinner. Future dates for food service are in the works. Updates to food availability will be on Catoctin Furnace Liquors Facebook page.

Cathy stated, “It’s important for folks in the area to know we’re here for them, and building our inventory based on their demand.” The application for the state lottery is in process.

Connect with Catoctin Furnace Liquors on Facebook and the Nextdoor app. Stop in Mondays through Thursdays, 8:00 a.m.-9:00 p.m.; Fridays and Saturdays, 8:00 a.m.-10:00 p.m.; and Sundays, 10:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m. Call 240-356-1997 for more information.

The building that houses Catoctin Furnace Liquors received a facelift for the new business.

Customers can enter the walk-in or access several self-serve coolers for products.

Catoctin Furnace Liquors owners, Cathy and Chris Linetty are shown with Gunner and Raven (dogs) inside the new liquor store.

James Rada, Jr.

Corn mazes have become a popular fall attraction over the years, and Thurmont is home to the largest corn maze in the state. Taylor Huffman with Winterbrook Farms said their maze was also one of the first in the area.

In 2000, Jan Lawyer climbed on a skid load and cut Winterbrook Farm’s first corn maze. It was a way to introduce agritourism to his family farm. It was a random design, but visitors who tried out the maze had fun.

The following year, Jan and Kristen Lawyer hired a small company in Idaho called Mazeplay to design and cut that year’s corn maze. Mazeplay introduced a map and checkpoints to the design.

Each checkpoint has a uniquely-shaped hole punch to use to punch a hole on the map. You can try to make it through the mazes on your own, or you can use the map that shows the maze’s design from above, and try to find the checkpoints within the maze.

“Mazeplay allowed us to do more intricate mazes,” Huffman said.

Cutting the maze continued annually until last year. Some of the designs have featured Iron Man, Drink Milk, and Support Our Troops

“Last year, we started to do GPS planting of the corn maze instead of cutting,” said Huffman.

The maze is open on weekends in the fall.

“We get about 15,000 over the 16 days we’re open,” said Huffman, who is Jan and Kristen’s daughter.

Once the maze closes for the season, the corn is harvested.

“The yield is down a bit because of the trails, but we crossplant the field so it has double the normal amount of corn,” Huffman explained. “It makes sure the corn is thick for the maze.”

Crossplanting means the corn is planted in two directions. This leads to less maze damage from people cutting through the corn walls and less time putting up barricade tape or netting.

By the end of the year, Huffman and her family start planning for the next year’s maze. Mazeplay will then plant the corn the next spring, and once it grows, the trails are already there. No cutting is needed.

This is the 21st season for Winterbrook Farms offering a corn maze to visitors. This year’s maze is actually four separate mazes and more than five miles of trails that form a picture when seen from above. The maze covers 15 acres of cornfields.

Winterbrook Farms is a fourth-generation, 327-acre family farm, and farming continues on the rest of the farm while tourists enjoy the corn maze and other attractions at the farm.

Find out more about Winterbrook Farms corn maze by visiting their website at View their advertisement on the back page.

The Farm Market at Winterbrook Farms, featuring over 20-plus varieties of pumpkins and gourds, straw bales, corn shocks for decorating, local honey, goat soap and goat milk lotion, bottled BBQ sauce, freshly made apple cider donuts, apples, and much more.

James Rada, Jr.

When Tracie Stull-Miller was a young girl, her father operated a barbershop from the basement of his home in Yellow Springs. So, it is safe to say that barbering is in her blood.

Although her father is deceased, his picture still looks out over Tracie’s House of Hair in Thurmont, as if giving his nod of approval. Tracie opened her business in July at 7 Water Street in Thurmont. She offers a variety of services, including haircuts, beard maintenance, perms, coloring, keratins, and waxing.

“I always wanted a shop of my own,” she said. “Now, I’m living my dream.”

With 31 years of haircutting experience, Tracie last worked at a barbershop in Emmitsburg. However, the opportunity to go out on her own arose, and things “fell into place.” She signed a lease for the Thurmont location, and her husband built her workstations.

Since she would be spending many hours in the shop, Tracie decorated it with items of interest to her. In particular, it’s hard to miss the music theme. Instruments, some signed, are mounted on the wall, as are album covers and pictures of bands.

She chose the name Tracie’s House of Hair because it was neutral sounding. She believes barbershops skew more towards male customers, and hair salons skew more towards females. House of Hair doesn’t have any gender resonance. Also, the name is a tribute to the radio show The House of Hair, hosted by Dee Snider, who was a member of the rock band Twisted Sister.

It wasn’t the best time to open a barbershop because coronavirus had all the barbershops shut down at the time. Once they were allowed to open, though, Tracie found herself with plenty of business since many of her regular customers from Emmitsburg followed her to Thurmont.

“If they like you, they will follow you,” she said.

Some customers even brought Tracie flowers to congratulate her on her new business. She displays them in her store windows.

“You need to be a people person in this job,” she said. “If you care about people, it makes a difference.”

It certainly has for Tracie, as she is staying busy with both regular and new clients. She does take walk-ins, but she recommends that you call for an appointment at 301-556-6119.

Tracie’s House of Hair is open Tuesday through Thursday, 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.; Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; and Saturday, 8:00 a.m. to noon.

On August 8, 2020, a team of more than 35 volunteers came together for the first “Ritchie Revival” event at the former Fort Ritchie Army Base property in Cascade. The event was organized by John and Joyce Krumpotich, who are in negotiations with Washington County to purchase and restore the property. 

Volunteers of all ages came out to help with beautification efforts at the Fort, including mulching, weeding, trimming, and trash removal.

John noted his appreciation at the large turnout, saying, “We are very grateful for the tremendous community support we have received. The community recognizes the significance of this great property, as well as the potential it has to be a centerpiece of the area. They genuinely want to be a part of it. The Fort has a rich history, and there is a real need and desire among the people of Cascade and the surrounding areas to restore and preserve it.” 

While legal delays have extended the timeline for the purchase of the property by the Krumpotich family, they remain optimistic that those issues will be resolved.

“We really appreciate the special connection the Cascade community has with the Fort, and we want to honor that and build upon it as we move forward,” Joyce noted.

Another community cleanup day is being planned. Anyone interested in participating in future events can visit the Ritchie Revival page on Facebook or call the Fort Ritchie Community Center at 301-241-5085 for more details.

Helpers of all ages participated in the first “Ritchie Revival” event on August 8 at Fort Ritchie in Cascade

Members of the Fort Ritchie Community Center can win a free T-shirt if they can properly guess their temperature upon entering the facility.

The Community Center has established a COVID-19 prevention protocol based upon guidelines from the CDC, State of Maryland, and Washington County. The protocol includes each member answering a series of questions related to their possible exposure to the virus, as well as having their temperature taken by a Community Center staff member.

“We came up with what we hope is a fun way for our staff to approach each member,” said Buck Browning, executive director of the Community Center. “It can be intimidating to have someone hold an infrared thermometer to your forehead, so we are trying to make it a little less awkward for both people,” he added. 

The Community Center features a fitness center, weight room, gymnasium, and multi-purpose athletic room, along with other amenities.  Equipment such as treadmills, stationary bicycles, and strength machines have been aligned so that they are at least six feet apart. Some machines have been closed off to improve the social distancing among members Browning said. 

The T-shirt initiative has been well-received by members. We had ten members guess correctly on the first day we offered the T-shirts,” Browning said. “I thought we might do this for a month or so, but at this rate, we will run out of shirts in a week or two,” he laughed. The initiative will continue while supplies last.   

The Community Center is a 501c3 non-profit organization, located in Cascade on the former Fort Ritchie U.S. Army Post. In addition to the fitness center and weight room, the Fort Ritchie Community Center offers group exercise classes, youth programs, and a wide variety of community events, such as craft shows, holiday celebrations, and speaker presentations. 

For more information on the Fort Ritchie Community Center, please visit online at    

A Fort Ritchie Community Center staff member checks a member’s temperature upon entering the facility.

Q&A with Emmitsburg Mayoral Candidates

Why Should Residents Vote For You?

Don Briggs: I put my neighbor first, and I do what I say. I have had a business and/or have lived here over 25 years. I love the Mount. I am a former coach and graduate. While I’ve been mayor, taxes have been reduced 14 percent. The town has received $593,000 in grants to revitalize the Square, the “Foyer to all our homes.” Sidewalks were put in connecting the town for the first time. The pool was rebuilt, the dog park opened, Brookfield Drive onto Irishtown Road was opened, renewable solar energy was added, we switched to LED street lighting, and we purchased an electric car for the town. The Boys and Girls Club is also here.

Jim Hoover: Experience and knowledge. As mayor, I established several programs, events, relationships, and projects. I established the pool parties, farmers market, concerts in the park, BBQ competition, the After School Program, and a partnership with Mount Saint Mary’s University allowing town residents to attend University programs. Also during my time as mayor, we replaced the sewer and water lines on South Seton Avenue and Mountain View Road, relined sewer lines under Tom’s Creek and Flat Run, cleaned the water line from the town’s reservoir to the treatment plant, connected the town’s water service with Mount Saint Mary’s water service and secured a long-term agreement for emergency water service as needed, secured state grant funding of 74 percent of the total cost to replace the town sewer plant. The town needs a mayor that is proactive in protecting and planning for the town’s future.

Cliff Sweeney: I have 23 years of experience running the town of Emmitsburg. I have held every position on the board except mayor. I would like to take Emmitsburg to the next level to be the best small town in Maryland.

Why Should Residents Vote For You?

Don Briggs: I put my neighbor first, and I do what I say. I have had a business and/or have lived here over 25 years. I love the Mount. I am a former coach and graduate. While I’ve been mayor, taxes have been reduced 14 percent. The town has received $593,000 in grants to revitalize the Square, the “Foyer to all our homes.” Sidewalks were put in connecting the town for the first time. The pool was rebuilt, the dog park opened, Brookfield Drive onto Irishtown Road was opened, renewable solar energy was added, we switched to LED street lighting, and we purchased an electric car for the town. The Boys and Girls Club is also here.

Jim Hoover: Experience and knowledge. As mayor, I established several programs, events, relationships, and projects. I established the pool parties, farmers market, concerts in the park, BBQ competition, the After School Program, and a partnership with Mount Saint Mary’s University allowing town residents to attend University programs. Also during my time as mayor, we replaced the sewer and water lines on South Seton Avenue and Mountain View Road, relined sewer lines under Tom’s Creek and Flat Run, cleaned the water line from the town’s reservoir to the treatment plant, connected the town’s water service with Mount Saint Mary’s water service and secured a long-term agreement for emergency water service as needed, secured state grant funding of 74 percent of the total cost to replace the town sewer plant. The town needs a mayor that is proactive in protecting and planning for the town’s future.

Cliff Sweeney: I have 23 years of experience running the town of Emmitsburg. I have held every position on the board except mayor. I would like to take Emmitsburg to the next level to be the best small town in Maryland.

What Are Your Qualifications To Be Mayor?

Don Briggs: My experience in business and in local government. I love sports and education. I am an innovator, and I believe in God. I have coached football or rugby over a span of five decades. I have been awarded the Mount St. Mary’s University President’s Medal, and have been inducted into the Mount Athletic Hall of Fame. I served in the National Guard. I love our country and Emmitsburg.

Jim Hoover: As the previous mayor from 2002 through 2011 and as a town commissioner from 1998 through 2002, I have the relative experience and knowledge of the town government. Additionally, I have over 30 years of management experience. This includes project management, managing and overseeing over 400 employees, and managing multimillion-dollar budgets. I have over 30 years of work experience in state government, county government, and municipal government. I have and can create working relationships that benefit the town.

Cliff Sweeney: I have 23 years of service for the town, and 35 years working in water and sewer, storm drain, and road repairs. I have been president of the Lions Club, commander of the Sons of the American Legion, and president of the EOPCC. I devote all my free time and community service to the town.

Why Are You Running?

Don Briggs: People. We have more to do to provide innovative grant-driven, cost-saving services and activities for our residents.

Jim Hoover: I love living in Emmitsburg, and I want Emmitsburg to be the best small town to live and raise a family in. I’m concerned that the town is not properly maintaining or planning for the replacement of its critical infrastructure. I also want Emmitsburg to have a more user-friendly government.

Cliff Sweeney: I want to bring Emmitsburg to the next level with new businesses and more jobs for our town folks. I want to bring back our youth and community involvement with neighbor getting to know neighbor.

What Is The Biggest Issue You See Emmitsburg Facing?

Don Briggs: Infrastructure. We need to ramp up replacing decades of ignored work on underground pipes. We also need to do more for our children.

Jim Hoover: The town’s deteriorating infrastructure is not being addressed. For several months, the town has experienced brown water. The town needs to re-establish a short- and long-term plan to replace and upgrade the deteriorated sewer and water lines. In particular, the oldest sewer and water lines are on DePaul Street and North Seton Avenue. A plan needs to be put in place to make the funding and replacement of these sewer and water lines a priority.

Cliff Sweeney: Right now, COVID-19, repairing the old water and sewer lines, new pumping station on Creamery Road, the new water clarifier at the water plant for the lake water, finishing our developments out, and keeping our current businesses and bringing new ones to town.

What Are The Town’s Strengths?

Don Briggs: Seton Shrine, FEMA, the Mount, and Fallen Firefighter Memorial. We are an award-winning sustainable town. We are friendly people with a good work ethic. Emmitsburg is a great place to live, grow jobs, and attract tourism.

Jim Hoover: Community pride and character. Emmitsburg residents have a lot of pride in where they live. Many families have lived here for multiple generations. Emmitsburg is a town that still has that small-town atmosphere and character. While many cities and towns have seen a decrease in volunteering, Emmitsburg has seen an increase in volunteering, many being new residents and Mount St. Mary students. Seeing new residents and students from Mount Saint Mary’s University volunteering and getting involved demonstrates Emmitsburg’s pride and character.

Cliff Sweeney: Coming together in a time of crisis to help each other. Our first responders are the best in the state. I think we are the best small town in the USA.

What Is Your Vision For The Town?

Don Briggs: I want to keep the small-town feel and maintain our heritage. I want to add things to do using grants to make Emmitsburg a better place today and for future generations.

Jim Hoover: Improve the town’s infrastructure. Put a plan in place to update and replace town equipment and infrastructure as it ages, not after it fails. Work with other municipalities, counties, state and federal governments to obtain funding and programs to enhance Emmitsburg. Re-established more youth- and family-oriented activities.

Cliff Sweeney: I want to finish out all the empty development lots, to upgrade the water lines and sewer lines ASAP, especially the brown water ones, and to bring our youth activities and new businesses to town.

How Do We Get Back To Normal After COVID-19?

Don Briggs: Business is back, and new businesses are on the way. Ryan Homes is back in Brookfield. We need to protect our most vulnerable and children. Accept the new “normal,” take a deep breath, and play on.

Jim Hoover: The truth is nobody knows what the “new normal” will be yet. The full effects of COVID-19 are not yet known. We also don’t know the length of time it will last as we see it today. As a municipality, we must follow state, county, and federal mandates, but, at the same time, we need to do as much as we are legally allowed to do to provide the services and support to the Emmitsburg residents and businesses. The town is required to follow county, state, and federal mandates, but we’re not necessarily required to follow suggestions or recommendations. Suggestions and recommendations made by other government agencies need to be considered, but the best interest of Emmitsburg also needs to be considered before we apply any suggestions that are made by other government agencies.

Cliff Sweeney: Everyone has to follow the CDC guidelines. Wear a mask, social distance when possible, do what the doctors say, and we will get back to school and work and normal life sooner than later.

Deb Abraham Spalding

If you are a Maryland resident receiving power from Potomac Edison, you should request a Quick Home Energy Check (QHEC) to receive energy saving products that lead to cost savings on your energy and water bills as part of the EmPower Maryland Program.

In 2008, the State of Maryland mandated that all power companies reduce residential energy consumption by 20 percent. To help achieve this objective, Certified Home Energy Professionals will conduct “home energy checks” of residential buildings in the Potomac Edison Maryland service area.

Your Quick Home Energy Check (QHEC) will be completed by Emmitsburg native and retired FEMA/NETC facility manager, Perry Joy.

By submitting a request on, you may request a QHEC at your home. Perry will visit you in your home, and he will follow COVID-19 sanitization and prevention protocol during his visit.

During your QHEC, and only with your permission, Perry will install energy-saving LED bulbs that use less electricity (he can install up to 14 LED bulbs), install faucet aerators to reduce water consumption in your kitchen and bathroom, install efficient showerheads to reduce shower water usage, and install electric water heater pipe insulation and a surge protection power strip.

You are already paying for this service and the provided products in the EmPower MD line item on your Potomac Edison electric bill. There is no additional cost for the QHEC or the products. It’s time to save money on your energy consumption. Schedule your QHEC on the website.

Please note, this program has nothing to do with any solicitation whatsoever. There are no phone calls or requests to change energy providers. This service is only available to Potomac Edison customers in Maryland.

To summarize:

(1) All Maryland Potomac Edison residential customers are eligible for one QHEC.

(2) To schedule a QHEC, the eligible customer must submit a request online at

(3) Perry will reach out to you via email or telephone (at your request) to schedule a date and time to visit.

(4) The QHEC is already paid with your monthly Potomac Edison bill, under the “EmPower MD Surcharge” line item. There is no additional cost.

(5) Mention that you saw this in The Catoctin Banner.

(6) Result: You’re helping to reduce energy and lower your monthly electric and water bill.

This process may be utilized as a non-profit fundraiser. A $50 friend and family referral fee will be paid to participating charities to raise money for your group (scouts, senior citizen groups, dance groups, 4-H, sports organizations). There is nothing to sell, and you make money for your organization. It’s a win-win!

Please indicate the charity of your choice during your QHEC scheduling at Regardless, please indicate that you saw it here in The Catoctin Banner in the referral field, so we can track the effectiveness of this outreach.

Perry Joy is shown with some of the goodies he will use during QHEC appointments.

Deb Abraham Spalding

As the popular Ott House Restaurant and Pub celebrates its 50th anniversary starting in July 2020, its matriarch and patriarch, Susie (Ott) Glass and Bobby Ott, siblings, said, “We made it fifty years because of family! It’s all about family.”

Bobby and Susie manage the overall business that usually employs around 15 family members making up their average crew of 36 staff. The pair started working at the business as teenagers as did their siblings when their father, Bernard ‘Bud’ Ott, a painter by trade, opened the Ott House in 1970 as a hobby and “something for their son, Pat, to get into,” said Chris (Ott) Wilson. They had nine children, Buddy (deceased), Pat (deceased), Dave, Susie, Chris, Cathy, Bobby, Rosie, and Ritchie.

Today, four—Bobby, Susie, Chris, and Rosie-—are still heavily involved in the day-to-day operation of the business that continues to run on the foundation that was set in motion from the beginning with their dad, Bud’s, strong work ethic and Pat’s outgoing personality.

Running a family business for 50 years has created a bond with the community that extends the Ott House family circle to include the community and customers.

Susie said, “Not too many places can say they made it 50 years in business. But, customers are still coming back. They have to get their fix. We have our family. Our customers become our family. We have friends all over the nation. There are 50 years of Mount students, Fire Academy staff and students, local patrons, and our own staff members who have become a huge family.”

The Ott House family now spans the nation, and the Otts are humbled by the gracious reception they receive while traveling. They’re grateful for many great friends.

The foundation of family includes the many people who met their husbands or wives at the Ott House. There are many stories of successful relationships of couples who met there, even stories of meeting first and second spouses at the Ott House.

The Ott House is famous for the fire company patches that cover the interior. When the Fire Academy came to town in the early 1980s, the Otts dedicated a wall of the bar for the patches. Bobby called the Fire Academy, “a wonderful addition to our town.” As more and more patches were added, antiques and keepsakes were removed to make space.

Some of the patches were emulsified into the surface of the bar in the early 1990s. Today, there are patches throughout the bar and dining area. It’s become somewhat ceremonial to add a fire patch to the wall. All that are displayed were added by actual visitors to the pub.

In 1980, the Ott House shuttle bus service was added to provide a  transportation option for students at the Mount and the Fire Academy. This option was popular and has continued ever since in order to keep customers safe.

With the occurrence of Coronavirus, it may be a while until the bus service resumes its full use, however, the Ott House family has adapted as well as can be expected.

During Coronavirus, the once-thriving restaurant and pub has become what Susie disappointedly described in one word, a “deli,” she added, “with delivery.” She explained, “We used to be a little bit of everything — restaurant, pub, gathering place…”

As the business emerges from Coronavirus, the Otts are focused on getting back to business. As of this article’s printing, the Ott House added some outdoor seating and is open to 50% patron capacity while following state and county guidelines for sanitation and social distancing.

Susie said, “It’s a difficult job. You have to show up and work hard every day.” Most important she explained, “You have to love what you’re doing. It’s a labor of love.”

To commemorate the 50th anniversary, the Otts are planning a celebration. Details will be announced when they are known. Meanwhile, you can purchase anniversary shirts, glasses, and growlers.

The Ott House’s hours are 11-10 Thursday through Monday. For the time being, the pub is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Please note that hours can change quickly as Coronavirus regulations change.

The Ott House is located at 5 W. Main Street in Emmitsburg. Call 301-447-2625 for more information.

The Dalmation mascot on the bar in the Ott House has been fitted with a mask and provided some sanitizer in keeping with Coronavirus safety guidelines.

Susie (Ott) Glass and Bobby Ott of the Ott House Pub and Restaurant in Emmitsburg stand behind the bar in the pub. On the wall behind them is a photo of their dad, Bud, from WWII; a Civil War photo of William B. Ott, a distant cousin who resembles their late brother Bud; and a photo of their late brother Pat who started the Ott House business with their father.

Some of the Ott House family members and staff are pictured for Fallen Firefighters weekend.

A plexiglass divider was installed in order to meet Coronavirus safety guidelines during the quarantine. The Ott House, like all restaurants who chose to be open during the pandemic, provided carry-out food during limited hours through June 19, 2020.

In June 2020, the Ott House building received a fresh coat of paint in cream and blue colors. The work was completed by Nusbaum & Ott Painting Company.

Outdoor patio seating was added as a dining option in compliance with COVID regulations. Pictured left to right are Hannah, Lauri, Lindsay, Claire, and Rayven.

On June 23, 2020, Dunkin’ hosted an official groundbreaking ceremony to celebrate the coming of its first next generation restaurant in Emmitsburg located at 103 Silo Hill Parkway. Tentatively slated to open in Fall 2020, the next generation restaurant will offer Emmitsburg a first-hand look at Dunkin’s store of the future experience, with a modern atmosphere and new and innovative technologies and design elements.

As part of the ceremony, representatives from Dunkin’ franchisee network GN Southwestern, LLC were joined by Emmitsburg Mayor Donald Briggs, Frederick County Council Vice President Michael Blue and President of Mount St. Mary’s University Timothy Trainor for the official ceremony to break ground at the new site.

“This is an exciting opportunity for us to become part of the Emmitsburg community and bring the local citizens an enhanced Dunkin’ experience through our next generation store design,” said Neil Patel, Dunkin’ Franchisee. “We are thrilled to be part of Dunkin’s next generation store initiative and feel the new, modern features will offer our guests superior levels of convenience and choice to help keep Emmitsburg running on Dunkin’ for years to come.”

The new restaurant will feature a modern look that provides a fresh, friendly, vibrant and engaging environment for guests. Complete with a new, warmer interior color palette, the restaurant will also offer comfortable guest seating, atmospheric lighting and a convenient, contactless drive-thru. Other exciting elements of the store will include:

Premium Pours: Dunkin’s signature cold beverages are now served through an innovative tap system serving eight consistently cold beverages such as coffees, iced teas, cold brew coffee and nitro infused cold brew coffee. Crew members will also use top-quality flavor-maximizing espresso machines to make hand-crafted drinks to order.

Dunkin’ on Demand: With fully-integrated digital kiosks, guests will be able to choose to order with or without the help of a crew member. Dunkin’ has also introduced an area dedicated to mobile pickups, so that members of the DD Perks® Rewards program who order ahead via Dunkin’s Mobile App can get in and out of the restaurant faster than ever before. Guests will be able to track the status of their orders placed for pickup inside the restaurant via a new digital order status board.

Increased Energy Efficiency: The new Dunkin’ will be a DD Green Achievement™ restaurant, which is designed to save 25% more energy compared to a standard Dunkin’ restaurant.

Upon opening, the 1,500 square foot restaurant will employ approximately 15 crew members and will offer free Wi-Fi. To learn more about Dunkin’, visit or follow us on Facebook @DunkinUS, or Twitter @dunkindonuts .

Emmitsburg Town and Frederick County dignitaries gather with Dunkin’ representatives for the official ground-breaking of the Emmitsburg location coming this fall.