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Blair Garrett

Tucked away on a quaint 38-acre property in Thurmont lies a little-known winery full of rich experiences, friendly faces, and, of course, plenty of wine.

Links Bridge Vineyards, off Old Links Bridge Road, provides local residents a refreshing getaway from life’s stresses, with a variety of red and white wines sure to please even the pickiest wine connoisseurs.

The small-scale winery is run by Bob and Joan Cartier, a couple who has been creating wine for a decade. While the pair normally focus on dry wines, a rainy 2018 forced the Cartiers to improvise, beginning to make a few sparkling wines for the future.

“We started selling the grapes to Old Westminster, and we’d go over there and help process them, and it was just so interesting what they were doing,” Joan said. “So we decided that maybe we could try making wine ourselves.”

The area is perfectly fit for an intimate setting with friends and family, without the commotion and traffic of a big facility. “We’re right on the Monocacy River, and we have a picnic area and a patio down by the river,” Joan said. “People can bring a picnic, buy a bottle of wine, and go down to the river.”

The science of wine making is far from exact, and recipes are often hard to recreate. Many things can affect the taste of a wine from batch to batch, including weather, temperatures, different grape harvests, and many other often unknown factors.

The Cartiers are relatively new to the scene of wine making, with both having previous careers far outside their current field. Robert was an assistant dean at a university, and Joan still does work in Washington D.C. Wine making is a much more relaxing profession than the stresses of running a university. “It’s a nice change,” they both said in unison.

With a small winery, keeping customers aware and interested in events can be a challenge. Links Bridge offers wine tastings on weekends, where you can try numerous different reds and whites with cheese and crackers. But there is more on the horizon for Links Bridge winery. The vineyard plans to host goat yoga, a hot new fad, connecting goats with the relaxation and zen of yoga. Miniature goats will climb onto the backs of participants, who balance the goats in a series of poses and stretches. The vineyard even has plans to have a wine stop for people tubing down the Monocacy River.

The growth of the wine industry has taken off since the rise of social media. Today, people can find something they enjoy and share it with the world; so, naturally, wine fits perfectly into that idea. The exposure of good wines and great food have opened wineries up all over Maryland.

“When we first started growing grapes, there were 15 or 20 wineries in Maryland,” Bob said. “Now there are 90-some wineries in Maryland, and that’s happened in the space of a dozen years.”

With the couple’s passion for making great wines, it’s no surprise that Links Bridge Vineyards has exceeded expectations for a small Thurmont winery. Whether it’s a bottle of wine by the river, or a wine tasting among close friends, Links Bridge has something to offer everyone, and that’s something worth getting excited about.

Links Bridge Vineyards is located at 8830 Old Links Bridge Road in Thurmont. Visit the website at

Bob and Joan Cartier, proprietors of Links Bridge Vineyards in Thurmont.

Photo by Blair Garrett

Deb Abraham Spalding

Charla Acker (pictured right) is a professional in dress, demeanor, and presentation. She works out of her home office in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and often ventures out to appear at community events. She defines her profession as, “Service work. It’s hard work, but it’s very fulfilling.” She is committed to her profession and finds great joy in “seeing clients transform.”

Her clients’ transformation is often an emotional relief from grief or the reassurance that we are not alone in life, nor do our souls cease to exist after our physical bodies die. You see, Charla Acker is a psychic medium by profession. She admits, “We don’t choose this work, it chooses us. It’s a huge responsibility. It’s a life-long education.”

Charla explained that we all have some psychic ability; intuition at its least-developed level and psychic mediumship at a professionally trained level. About being a psychic medium, she added, “You’re already starting at a disadvantage in this profession because there are so many people out there claiming to be a psychic medium when they’re not. In this work, you’re called crazy and a fraud. As professionals, we need to bridge that perception.”

How to bridge the negative perception is through education. Professional psychic mediums don’t “fish” for facts. They present specific information. It’s called evidential information, and it leaves no doubt. “People should be at this professional level before calling themselves a medium. Those who don’t do more damage than good.”

Charla is skeptical and tough on spirit. For example, “Last week a father came through during a client’s reading, and I saw the strangest thing. I saw cases of creepy clowns. I looked at the client and said, ‘I have to tell it like I see it.’ I told her what I saw. Her face turned white and she started to cry. She said there were three people in the whole world who knew that her father was in a circus as a kid and collected creepy clowns. They are still in her parent’s attic.”

I first saw Charla when she presented a psychic gallery for charity at the Totem Pole Playhouse near Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, last August. A friend offered me one of her tickets and I accepted, not because I wanted a reading nor did I expect one in an audience of 350 people. I told my friend that I would video when she got her reading. And, that’s what I did! I started to video as quickly as I could when Charla said, “I have ‘Tom’ here bringing through his daughter, ‘Ash.’” Charla named their names, no questions asked. She did that with every reading she gave that evening. I’d never seen a psychic who was so accurate with names, not even big-name celebrity psychics.

The second time I saw Charla was in March of this year. This time it was just me and Charla. The first thing Charla said during my reading, after explaining how it works and her role, was, “Who’s Diane?” After conveying the message that, “Diane has transitioned and wants everyone to know that she’s happy,” Charla went on to mention several other names throughout my reading that were significant to me.

Charla feels that she’s “just the radio” who brings through the message from the spirit realm frequency. She explained, “It’s the love that bridges the gap.” She describes her energy as being like a balloon. It starts out full of energy and with every reading, it deflates a little until it’s all gone.

Her advice to a client is to not have expectations about who will come through during a reading, stating, “It’s not 1-800-Dial-the-Dead! Whoever chooses to come through, comes through!” The spirit who comes through could be an uncle who’s been dead longer than you’ve been alive or a family friend who steps forward instead of your deceased mother. This can leave you scratching your head about things. Be assured that if the facts presented don’t make sense in the moment, they’ll usually make sense later.

Charla was raised in a church-going Protestant family in Ohio. In kindergarten, she remembers playing with spirit children on a memorial playground located on a former school site that was destroyed by fire in 1908: 172 children, 2 teachers, and 1 firefighter perished in that fire. She said, “As a child, you really don’t know what to do with that energy. It’s a lot to take on.”

As she grew older, Charla dabbled in the topic of energy as a hobby and furthered her knowledge. She got married and lived in Pittsburgh with her husband who was a criminal attorney. Then, at age 30, she had a stroke. “That’s when my ability exploded.” She had become spiritually heightened. The adage, “When the student is ready, the teachers will come,” was evident.

At a book signing for John Edward (he did the television show Crossing Over) he said to Charla, “Wow, you’re going to be doing this work. Buckle up and enjoy the ride!” After that, she met people with like interests, and she attended workshops and group development sessions. She couldn’t get enough learning about energy. Yet, although she was fascinated by the whole process, it was still just a hobby. She said, “You don’t grow up wanting to be a psychic!” She used to be like everybody else and battled with the perception of being different.

Regardless of her internal excuses, her talents expanded, and she started giving tarot card readings to her friends and then started to take on paying clients. One day, while giving a reading for a client, she started seeing visions and hearing voices (hearing comments in her head). This was the beginning of her mediumship development. She took every class she could to understand the process. It had become her mission, her purpose in life.

Charla and her husband moved to Gettysburg from Pittsburgh when her husband started a new career. Her business continued to expand. Her clients are doctors, lawyers, garbage men, and people from all walks of life. Today, Charla has a full schedule. She is accessible and affordable. She is reaching to impact many people because she feels that’s her calling.

For Charla, it’s about healing, clarity, and transformation. She assures us, “There is life after death. This isn’t all there is.”

Charla is certified through the Tarot Certification Board of America and is a member of The American Tarot Association & Forever Family Foundation. Charla is also an Ordained Minister with the Universal Life Church Ministries. She is certified in Usui Reiki Levels 1, 2 & 3 Master/Teacher. The wait time for a reading (in-person or on the phone) with Charla is currently one year.

Find out more about Charla or see some of the videos of her in action online at

James Rada, Jr.

It’s been six years since Bogley’s Chevrolet closed in Thurmont. Last month, Gene Bogley came out of retirement and opened Bogley’s Auto Sales of Thurmont at 906 East Main Street.

Bogley is a familiar automotive name in Thurmont. Bogley’s Chevrolet was on Frederick Road from 1981 to 2013. After selling cars for thirty-three years in Thurmont, sales was in his blood, and Bogley wasn’t enjoying retirement as much as some people.

“I traveled some, but unless you play golf a lot and have a lot of hobbies, you get bored,” said Bogley.

He wasn’t the only one missing his former dealership. He was hearing often from former customers, expressing that they hadn’t bought a car since his dealership had closed because new cars were just too expensive. According to Bogley, the average cost of a new car is now over $40,000.

“You can buy a car here for under $20,000 and trucks for under $30,000,” Bogley said. “I’m not selling anything over $30,000.”

He decided to open a new automotive lot and focus on selling quality, low-mileage cars. The new dealership is a small lot with forty vehicles that Bogley has purchased primarily from other dealer contacts that he has developed over the years.

“Every car I have out here, I hand-picked,” Bogley said. He is proud that every car also has a clean Carfax and required less than $200 to pass inspection.

Bogley’s employees are part-time workers and most of them are like Bogley, retired but still wanting to work.

“You won’t believe how different your outlook is on life when you have something to do,” Bogley said.

Bogley said he wants his new dealership to have the same reputation that Bogley’s Chevrolet had. He wants to be known for giving people good deals. Already, many of his former customers have been stopping by to see what he has for sale.

“If you treat people right and give honest deals, people will come back to you and tell others about you,” stated Bogley.

Buyers can also get financing and extended warranties through Bogley’s.

Bogley’s Auto Sales is open Monday through Thursday, 10:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m.; Friday, 10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.; and Saturday, 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.

Gene Bogley stands in front of his new used car dealership on East Main Street in Thurmont.

Photo by James Rada, Jr.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Seton Center. What began as a day care center to meet the needs of local preschool children and their families has grown into a community landmark, a place of “Hope in the Valley” for our neighbors who aren’t simply looking for a handout, but are seeking a way to improve their lives.

To celebrate this legacy, Seton Center is hosting a “Welcome Home to Seton Center” party on May 4, 2019 from 1:00-4:00 p.m. on the grounds of the new building at 226 E. Lincoln Avenue in Emmitsburg. It’s an opportunity to reconnect with old friends and see what a difference fifty years can make! This is a free event, with games and activities for children and adults, raffles, door prizes, and light refreshments.

It all started in 1969, when a small band of mothers advocated for a safe place to send their preschool-aged children, where they would be nurtured and given the opportunity to learn about God and caring for one another in the community. The Daughters of Charity answered the call. Over the years, the center grew to accommodate a thrift store and outreach office. While the “Blue School” ceased operations in 2013, having finished its faithful service, the programs established to meet the changing needs of Northern Frederick County community continue.

Come back and see that while some things may have changed—most notably, Seton Center’s new location—the most important thing hasn’t: the mission to work with its neighbors to build a hopeful future in the spirit of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton and Saint Vincent de Paul. Get information on the various programs offered by Seton Center, such as free Build Your Resources seminars, which give important tips like buying a car without getting ripped off, starting a savings plan, and caring for your mental health.

During the reunion party, the Seton Family Store will be open until 3:00 p.m. Browse the current selection of quality items and see how the support of the Family Store helps the outreach programs operate. Seton Center relies on the generosity of donors and funds from the store to continue helping our neighbors in need.

Seton Center has sustained for the past fifty years because of volunteers, clients, donors, and staff. It’s because of the determination of mothers like Cheryl Bushman, Nancy Cool, Elise May, and Marlene Springer that Seton Center got its start, and it’s the dedication of people like the Daughters of Charity who keep it going.

Please join in celebrating the past fifty years, and come be part of the next fifty.

Seton Center’s new location at 226 E. Lincoln Avenue in Emmitsburg.

Local travel advisor, Barb Cline (pictured above) of Barb Cline Travel, earned the elite Millionaires Club status with Cruise Planners®, an American Express Travel Representative, the nation’s largest and most-awarded travel advisor network.

As a member of the recently announced 2019 Millionaires Club, Cline is recognized as a top-producing travel advisor for Cruise Planners. She has been a full-service travel advisor in the Frederick area since 2009, specializing in Alaska, Europe, River Cruising, Multi-Generational Travel, and escorting groups all over the world!

Cruise Planners franchise owner, Cline, who plans customized vacations and specializes in personal and professional travel services is a member of the network’s 2019 Millionaires Club.

As a full-service travel agent, Cline is dedicated to offering superior customer service and planning customized cruise, land, and resort vacations for her clients. When people book through Cruise Planners Millionaires Club member, travelers can confidently know their vacation is being handled and managed by a proven professional. Client benefits include:

• My Trips Account — Once logged in, clients can view their past and upcoming trips, account information, specials, and more. In addition, they can submit payments for bookings and purchase travel insurance and shore excursions.

• Mobile App — The Cruise Planners Mobile App connects to clients’ My Trips accounts, giving them information about their upcoming trips and allowing them to book new cruises. It’s available for Androids and iPhones – Google Play and Apple App Store.

• Voice-Activated Alexa skills — Travelers have the ability to link their My Trips accounts to Amazon Alexa, letting Alexa provide important information about the upcoming trips.

• Price Tracker — Cruise Planners travel advisors’ system will continually check for any fare reductions on a clients’ cruise bookings, potentially saving clients’ money or giving them access to upgraded cabin types.

“As a Cruise Planners travel professional, I am also a small business owner and entrepreneur, dedicated to ensuring every customer has a personalized and memorable travel experience,” said Cline. “As an experienced, award-winning travel advisor, travelers will benefit from my years of expertise and trust that I will provide them the best vacation planning experience.”

Travelers can discover a world of vacation possibilities by reaching out to Barb Cline at 240-575-5966 or by visiting View the advertisement on page 40.

The Classmates4Life Foundation invites students at all levels—elementary, middle, and high schools—to enter a video and poster contest called Classmates4Life to curb drug abuse.

Contest creator and founder Billy Shreve says, “Drug abuse continues to be a serious problem in our county, our state, and our nation. Our community needs to do everything possible to make sure our young people are aware of the dangers of drugs. It’s also important that kids have the loudest voices rallying against drug abuse. The Classmates4Life video and poster contest is a creative approach to help make that happen.”

The contest is intended to send a message that preventing drug abuse is one of our county’s highest priorities. Several local organizations and businesses are collaborating as sponsors in the contest: Frederick County Public Schools, the Frederick County Health Department, Rotary Clubs of Frederick County, the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office, the PTA of Frederick County, the YMCA, Frederick Memorial Hospital, Frederick Community College, and Wells House.

The goal for students is to produce a creative video, 30-60 seconds long, that highlights drug-abuse danger and motivates their peers to choose life. The videos should answer one of two questions: at the elementary level, “How are drugs bad?”; at the secondary level, “How can drugs wreck your world?” Videos are due by Thursday, April 4, 2019.

This year, students are also invited to submit posters that capture the same anti-drug message. Posters, also due by Thursday, April 4, can be dropped off at the FCPS Central Office, located at 191 S. East Street in Frederick or at their school’s main office. The public can view each entry and vote on YouTube by clicking the thumbs up symbol for the one they deem best. Voting will take place from April 4-14. An expert panel of judges will also review the entries. Winners will receive prizes and attend a “red carpet” awards ceremony and resource fair at Frederick High School on Monday, April 15.

Prizes include: iPhone, GoPro, tickets to a Frederick Keys game, pool parties, pizza, and more. Classmates4Life began in 2016 and has over 74,000 views on YouTube. The most viewed video has 3,300 views.

Blair Garrett

Off the beaten path, tucked away in a quiet corner of Blue Ridge Summit, lies the Orvis Hill Country shooting range, where members can shoot clays, hunt wildlife, and be a part of a tight-knit community.

The gun club offers a variety of activities and perks for members and non-members, but the crew has big plans for events in the future. While you need to be a member to go on the upland bird hunts on the 572-acre property, non-members are still encouraged to shoot clays and take in the mountain scenery.      

Orvis Hill has big plans for its official grand opening April 6-7, 2019, where they plan on bringing vendors and potentially thousands of hunting and sport fanatics to see what the group has to offer.

“We’re sending out a lot of invitations for the grand opening,” Orvis Hill Manager Jeremy Mays said. 

The grand opening is a lead-in to much more for Orvis Hill, which plans to offer members a variety of fun events to bring its tight-knit community even closer.

“We’re going to do a guns and clubs event, where they’ll shoot here in the morning and then they’ll go play golf at Liberty or a local course,” Mays said.

The massive property still has plenty of area prime for development, with the group only using about 150 acres and featuring a plethora of clay shooting bunkers and stands.

“We have a 15-station course, 100 round clays,” Mays said. “We still have plans to move things around and reorganize, but that will come eventually.”

While the club has been open to accepting new memberships for a short time, the growth of the member list has been substantial over the past couple months. “The growth has been really good, so it’s exciting,” Mays said.

Orvis Hill also utilizes local hunters to lead members to have a fun and safe time.

“For our upland hunts, we have all local guys who bring their dogs in, and they’ll run the hunt,” Mays said. “They also do a safety speech beforehand.”

Orvis Hill has more to offer than just hunts, though, allowing members to enjoy the community and the comradery that the shooting grounds offer. The Orvis lodge is a log cabin formerly used as a deer hunting facility, which offers several cozy rooms for members to kick back and relax after a long day.

“We have a member room here where after they’re done hunting, guys will just come up and sit, drink, talk, and smoke cigars,” Mays said.

The future for Orvis Hill is bright though, with events like fly fishing and competitions on the horizon.

“We want to get some stuff going on the clays side of things as far as competitions after our grand opening,” Mays said. The team is also looking into developing youth programs for young outdoorsmen to participate in. 

For those looking to get away and have fun with friends or family, or those who are looking to be a part of a sportsmen community, Orvis Hill Country Shooting Grounds sits off Gladhill Road in Blue Ridge Summit and features a pro shop with hunting gear, apparel and everything in between.  

James Rada, Jr.

Catherine “Cat” Szafran remembers that when her family left Spain, a bonfire at her house burned for four days, for the purpose of consuming her father’s artwork. Years later, when the Barnstones left England, a bonfire burned for a week, again turning Myron Barnstone’s work to ash.

It wasn’t that his work wasn’t exceptional. Barnstone had an excellent reputation as an artist in Europe. The truth was that he didn’t want to pack up the paintings for the move or leave the unsettling images he painted behind. Much of his work visualizes the way he saw the Holocaust and nuclear war survivors.

“He also did floral pieces that don’t slap you as hard,” Szafran said.

Leaving Europe, Barnstone moved his family to Pennsylvania, where he opened the original Barnstone Studios near Allentown. It was a destination for students from around the world who wanted to learn painting and drawing from Barnstone. The self-taught artist had developed a way of teaching art, which is called the Barnstone Method.

When Barnstone died in 2016, Szafran set about to honor her father’s legacy and continue teaching the Barnstone Method. She brought out the remaining works her father painted and opened the Barnstone Studio in Thurmont at 202A E. Main Street last September.

“This is a nice, little town working toward becoming more artistic,” said Szafran, who lives in Frederick.

She also noted that commercial space is much more affordable at the north end of the county, and that the location is a half hour closer to Philadelphia and the Lehigh Valley, where a lot of her customers live. The studio has about five hundred pieces of art from Barnstone.

“We are selling his work to fuel the education side,” explained Szafran.

Besides selling art, Szafran continues to teach the Barnstone method to students. Master guides teach the method during classes and workshops. They are available live, on DVD, and online.

For collectors, the Barnstone Studios offers original works, artists’ sketches, and limited-edition prints. For the more-expensive pieces, Szafran offers a program called Home Is Where the Art Is. It allows collectors to purchase the art in twelve equal, interest-free payments.

If you would like to see Barnstone’s work, visit the Artist Angle Gallery at 124 S. Carroll Street in Frederick, which is hosting a Barnstone exhibit beginning February 9, 2019. The show, “A Celebration of Colors: Myron Barnstone’s Palette” will feature some of Barnstone’s brighter art.

Learn more about the Barnstone Studios at

Cat Szafron, owner of Barnstone Studios, sits in front of some of her father’s artwork that is available at the art studio.

Blair Garrett

Whether it’s fixing up European classics at his local full-service auto shop or rescuing a sinking business, Thurmont business owner and Discovery Channel star Chris Stephens is making an impact.

The Discovery Channel’s Garage Rehab, featuring Stephens and his two co-hosts, Russell Holmes and Richard Rawlings, tackle a struggling business each week in a race against the clock to set up auto shop owners around the country with a business plan for success. 

The hit show has just entered its second season, where Stephens and company are continuing to pour blood, sweat, and tears into building a life-changing garage for shops in desperate need of a business intervention.

Fortunately for Stephens, the difficulties of the expedited rehabbing of a struggling body shop has gotten easier throughout the development of season one, heading into season two.

“Nobody’s ever rehabbed a garage in about 7-8 days,” Stephens said. “When we first did it, we weren’t even sure if we could do it. Now we have it streamlined.”

Outfitting a shop with the correct equipment, tools, and training is a near impossible task to accomplish in a week’s time. But, implementing a business plan to bring the necessary changes for these families and companies to turn their futures around seems like a truly impossible feat.

Yet week after week, the Garage Rehab team hits the road and designs a game plan for success that is personally tailored for each location and demographic to build a better future. Spending time in the area, talking with locals, and doing market research gives the group an idea of what will work and what won’t, and Stephens takes that information and builds a foundation for the new garages.

Sometimes, the changes aren’t easy, but in the end, the rewards are felt by the families, friends, and communities built around these auto shops.

The show features Stephens and the crew fixing the issues plaguing the business, making changes to put them in a position to make money, and, eventually, revealing the brand new shops to owners with a touch of dramatic flair.

“My favorite day is always the last day when you’re giving it back to people,” said Stephens. “When you first start it, you don’t know them, you have no connection with them. But after you spend time with them at the beginning, and we bring their family in, the community comes together, and their friends come to help. So, at the last day, you get to see all those emotions come alive, and they see that people actually do care about their business and they want you to survive.”

The reveal is often an emotional passing of the torch, from the old, struggling business to the new and improved shop. But the team’s work is not done there. The training then begins, showing the garage owners how to use their new tools and resources to put them in a position to succeed for the future.   

Over the course of the two seasons so far, Stephens has been a part of a wide variety of garages, all with different stories to tell.

“We’ve done regular mom and pop body shops, and then we’ve done a lot of hot rod shops. We also did a motorcycle shop,” said Stephens.

When Stephens isn’t out touring the states with the Discovery Channel, you can find him turning wrenches on European classics at his auto shop off Putman Road. His brother, Marc, runs the day-to-day operations of their shop Eurotech Classics, which services all European cars, from vintage European roadsters to modern day Volkswagens. 

If you would like to catch new episodes of Garage Rehab, the show premiers Tuesdays at 9:00 p.m. on the Discovery Channel, or you can find previous episodes online.     

Eurotech Classics business owner and star of Discovery Channel’s Garage Rehab, Chris Stephens.

Blair Garrett

Mountaindale Convenience Store offers more to its customers than just quality foods, hot meals, or gasoline.

Owners Rida and Julian Mitchell bring a warm, inviting atmosphere to the people of Thurmont, along with great service with a smile.

The family has followed and finally capitalized on their dream of doing something bigger and better, opening up a second convenience store back in October. The new store provides all the same services as the existing previous one, but with expanded room and variety, and, of course, the same friendly customer service.

Owning a convenience store for nearly thirty years teaches you a thing or two about how things work. You learn to effectively manage costs, how to balance a budget, and the intricacies of how a business is supposed to run. But one thing you do not learn is how to connect with a community. That is a skill that must be cultivated, practiced, and then implemented with perfection.

The Mitchell family has cornered that country market feel, hitting home with the residents of the greater Thurmont area, and giving customers the exact atmosphere to make them feel at home while grabbing a bite to eat or a pack of their favorite sweets.

The initial store, still on Mountaindale Road in Thurmont, was taken over by the Mitchells in 1990. The store has that blue-collar town look, featuring the same faces that have been stopping in for decades, day after day. And even though the new second location has a brand-new kitchen, larger floor space and more varieties of sodas than a person could ever ask for, it has not lost an ounce of that same country charm.

“The bottom line is, we are a country store,” Julian said. “That old building was built in 1870. It’s always been a country store. I wanted to be able to do something bigger.”

The new location just off U.S. Route 15 on Putman Road offers a wider selection of goodies, deli meats, and bakery items, but the same friendly faces that have been there to offer a helping hand remain the same.

The business features a plethora of custom-made benches, frames, and counters made by locals, for locals. The countertops from the deli to the checkout counter all come from local people, which shows that the roots of this community run deep in Mountaindale Convenience Store. 

But with the location of the new store, it is no longer just the same crowd passing through. “We’ve got locals that have been checking us out to see what’s going on,” Rida said. “Most of the people are new people who we’ve never seen before, but I can see them becoming regular customers because we’ve already heard them say this is going to be their regular stop.”

The store has even been catering to a younger demographic, packing the coolers with popular craft beers and specialty drinks, gaining popularity in breweries across the nation. “My son has been helping us out with that,” Rida said. “We have got shelves and shelves and shelves full of craft beer, so when they come in here, they’re shocked to see it all.”

Through the highs and lows, Mountaindale Convenience Store is still thriving and looking forward to building new relationships with customers who stop in from places near and far. But one thing is certain, no matter how much growth and development the convenience store has, that comforting country-store feeling will always stay the same.

Mountaindale Convenience Store owner, Rida Mitchell, is shown inside the store’s second location, just off of U.S. Route 15 at Putman Road.

Photo by Blair Garrett

Fitzgerald’s Heavy Timber, located on Powell Road in Thurmont, received the Pennsylvania Historic Preservation Award for the restoration of Pine Bank Covered Bridge. Fitzgerald’s Heavy Timber is a full-service timber framing specialist, producing elegant, cost-effective building solutions by combining traditional craftsmanship and technical innovation.

Located in Western Pennsylvania, the Pine Bank Covered Bridge was originally constructed in the early 1800s and relocated to Meadowcroft Rock Shelter in the 1960s to become a part of the Meadowcroft Rockshelter and Historic Village. The bridge serves as an essential part of their facilities; all visitors navigate through the parking area through the covered bridge. A conservation assessment conducted in 2012 noted numerous significant problems, including structural issues. Work on the bridge began in 2016 to remove deteriorated sections of the truss, splicing in new replacement timber, raising the elevation of the bridge to correct drainage issues, and installing a new standing-seam metal roof that returned the bridge to its original appearance.

If you would like more information about this topic, please call Dean Fitzgerald at 301-639-2988 or e-mail

Pictured is the restored Pine Bank Covered Bridge at the Dedication Ceremony in 2018.

Courtesy Photo

Mayor James L. McCarron, Jr. began his presentation to The Taney Corporation by saying, “Sixty years is a long time to be contributing to the community with the folks Taney has hired & families they have supported…”

Since 1958, The Taney Corporation has helped to preserve the long tradition of wood sculptors and craftsmen that have been part of its history since its earliest days with its creation of quality stairs and stair parts.

In a visit with the Glass Family and their staff, the mayor and city council of the City of Taneytown hereby declared a proclamation that November 8, 2018, is Taney Corporation Day.   

As a family-owned business, the Glass Family—Eric, Audrey, Jeff, and Brian—continue the tradition as the premier manufacturers of wood stairs and rails in the Mid-Atlantic. With the help of their dedicated craftsmen and entire staff, The Taney Corporation has been a mainstay in Taneytown, enjoying the support of the community throughout their sixty years of business.

Started in 1958, with four employees, the business has grown to seventy employees under the leadership of Eric Glass, who bought the business in 1962. His two sons joined the business in the early 1980s and continue the high levels of quality and service that are the cornerstones of their success.

The Taney Corporation is proud of its association with the City of Taneytown and looks forward to another sixty years in their wonderful community.

The Taney Corporation, celebrating sixty years in business on November 8, 2018, is presented an award from the Mayor and City Council of the City of Taneytown.

Megan Doolittle

Elower-Sicilia Productions (ESP) of Dance and Music in Thurmont is celebrating its 50th year in business, and the dancers continue to work hard and diligently on their new choreography. They had a great time performing some of their new dances at the Thurmont Colorfest. The rain didn’t hold them back!

ESP would like to thank all who came out and participated in the 8th Annual ESP 5K “Tutu Cute Edition.” A portion of the proceeds went to help support Maggie Kudirka (aka “The Bald Ballerina”).

Maggie is a Maryland native who was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer at the age of twenty-three, while she was dancing with the Joffrey Ballet Company in New York.  Maggie has been a strong advocate for breast cancer awareness. The money raised will help with the cost of Maggie’s increasingly large medical bills.

ESP will be holding a Bingo event at the Thurmont Carnival Grounds Activity Building on Sunday, November 4, 2018. Doors will open at 2:00 p.m. The cost is $10.00 admission for a 6-pack of regular games, specials, and jackpot. Early birds, 50/50, and additional cards are also available for purchase. Games are being played for restaurant and business gift card prizes. Early birds and 50/50 are monetary prizes, including a $200 jackpot. Delicious homemade food and baked goods will be available for purchase.

ESP is currently accepting sponsors for the 2018-2019 year. There are a lot of perks to sponsoring. Please contact the office if you are interested in becoming a sponsor. Please help our dancers make their way to the Nationals competition in June 2019.

The dancers have been hard at work with choreography and training for the new dance season. They will be traveling for regional and national dance conventions and competitions throughout the season, including Baltimore;  Norfolk, Virginia; and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The dancers love to travel and work with master teachers from all over the world, but their favorite place to perform is for their home community. Other local performances for the season will include Thurmont Main Street’s Arts and Wine Stroll on November 9, 2018 (dancers will be performing between 6:00-7:00 p.m.); the ESP Showcase is scheduled for February 23, 2019, at Mount Saint Mary’s Knott Auditorium; and Frederick’s Festival of The Arts will be held in June 2019. The dancers are also excited to be performing at the Mount Saint Mary’s halftime show on December 8.

ESP specializes in all types of dance, including tap, jazz, ballet, hip hop, acro, lyrical, and pointe. Classes are currently enrolling for the fall season.  For more information, contact the studio at 301-271-7458 or register online at Be sure to check them out on Facebook. ESP would like to give a special “Thank You” to the Thurmont community, The Catoctin Banner, and The Frederick Arts Council for all of their continued support.


Deb Abraham Spalding

It’s becoming an epidemic. People either don’t have health insurance or they can’t afford to use the insurance they do have. Whether needing basic health care from time-to-time, a sick visit, or suspecting a bigger health problem, the new Franklin Family Medicine Direct Primary Care (FFM) in Blue Ridge Summit, Pennsylvania—located in the shopping center near the Blue Ridge Summit Post Office—offers services that can help.

FFM founders, Dr. Gary Gallo and his wife Margie, a registered nurse, are the first in our area to offer Direct Primary Care (DPC) services. At the suggestion of their daughter, Jacki, a physician in the Family Medicine Residency program at UPMC St. Margaret’s Hospital in Pittsburgh, the family researched the DPC concept and took a year to set it up. The FFM DPC opportunity is new. “It’s all about good patient care and getting back to good service,”Dr. Gallo said.

FFM gives us an opportunity for primary health care that we can afford. Now, those who have no insurance, those who have insurance with high deductibles, and employers who want to offer their employees a healthy benefit, have an option that works.

FFM is a family medical practice where an affordable monthly membership fee pays for all of your primary care, routine, and sick visit health needs, plus 24-hour access by phone with Dr. Gallo for any medical question or concern. Dr. Gallo’s DPC services are affordable so that those with no insurance will have these basic health services covered, and those with high deductibles can opt to use DPC rather than pay the high price out-of-pocket for their sick visits and routine medical care (thus the advantage of offering this perk by an employer).

Basically, by cutting out the middleman (the insurance companies), the office staff who make the calls to haggle with insurance companies are no longer needed, thus reducing the overall inflation within the health care system. DPC membership is affordable and smart.  Membership is just $70.00 per month per adult, plus just $10.00 per month for each child under the age of twenty-six. Dr. Gallo serves people of all ages, regardless of where the patient resides—Maryland, Pennsylvania, or any other state if in the area for a long-term temporary assignment. Please note that, at this time, Medicare patients are not eligible for membership in FFM.

With FFM membership, here’s what you get for NO ADDITIONAL FEE: a yearly physical with routine bloodwork (FFM has its own lab in-house, so standard blood work is included in DPC); yearly well-child checks; health maintenance visits; sick visits with in-house testing (if needed for strep, mono, flu, etc., plus no additional fee for antibiotics if needed); recommended vaccinations; and 24-hour access by phone to your doctor for any medical question or concern. Those suffering from—or suspecting they may have—diabetes, heart problems, high blood pressure, COPD, and/or asthma may find that FFM is an affordable way to manage their care with this opportunity. FFM uses prescription drug affiliates that cost less than even our cheapest pharmacy. Prescriptions are either picked up locally or mailed directly to your home.

When needing specialist visits, radiologic diagnostic studies, therapy, and non-routine labs and testing, FFM has established, and continues to expand upon, a local-area network of providers who will offer these services at discount pricing. Does this mean we should all start to opt out of our high-priced, high-deductible insurance? Firmly, No! But, DPC services are just beginning and the future is bright with alternatives to the costly practices currently faced in our insurance-based health care system.

Dr. Gallo explained that FFM club members rarely have to wait to be seen, and they receive more time with the doctor for more thorough care. Hundreds of DPC practices have opened around the country, and the concept is revolutionizing our nation’s broken healthcare system.

Originally from the Pittsburgh area, Dr. Gallo, Margie, their son Marcus, and daughter Jacki moved to the area in 1999. Dr. Gallo earned a bachelor’s degree from the United States Military Academy at West Point, and a law degree at Georgetown University Law School before pursuing a career in medicine. He graduated from East Tennessee State University’s Quillen School of Medicine, then completed the Family Practice Residency Program at Latrobe Hospital in Pittsburgh. He has been Board Certified in the specialty of Family Medicine since 1999, and he is a member of the American Academy of Family Practice Physicians, as well as the Pennsylvania Medical Society.

It is a bonus that while operating FFM, Dr. Gallo is the managing partner physician with Waynesboro Family Medical Associates (WFMA) in Waynesboro, Pennsylvania. Thus, there is a flow of service that can transition beyond basic and sick services to either the traditional care at WFMA or the local-area providers through FFM. Please note that the two practices, FFM and WFMA, are separate entities.

If you think FFM may serve your needs, call 717-785-1151 to learn more and to set up a free get-to-know-us introductory visit. The address of the office is 14961 Buchanan Trail East, Blue Ridge Summit, Pennsylvania. Visit for more information and see their ad on page 31.

Margie Gallo, Registered Nurse, and Dr. Gary Gallo, are shown outside the Franklin Family Medicine offices in Blue Ridge Summit.