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Blair Garrett

Photos by Deb Abraham Spalding

Mountain View Convenience Store in Thurmont is like a whole new place.

Long-time business partners, Ashish Parikh and Gagan Rao, have poured time into giving Mountain View Convenience Store the revitalized look it has today.

The store’s new facelift has all the features locals are looking for in a one-stop shop. You can get your gas, snacks, drinks, beer, and liquor, all at the same spot.

You may remember the location as an old 7-Eleven off Frederick Road years ago. Parikh and Rao have been hard at work turning their store into the success it is today, and it’s come quite a long way.

“I started in 2001 in September,” Rao said. “We took over and remodeled the old store. It used to be a 7-Eleven, and now we’ve got our own convenience store and a beer and wine store.”

The store is open 24 hours a day and has been a staple of Thurmont for decades. Despite Rao getting his start in the industry in Baltimore, he knew Thurmont was a special place to run a business, and his time has paid off tremendously.

“This was our first time in this gas station and convenience store business, but we’ve been in the liquor store business for a long time in Baltimore,” Rao said. “It’s a long commute to Thurmont, but I am happy. It’s a nice place with honest people, and we’ve had no problems in the community.”

Rao has been hard at work, making the trek each day to get Mountain View Convenience Store and the beer and wine store ready to offer locals great products at great prices.

“I have a one-hour drive in the morning and evening every day from Towson,” Rao said.

The truck stop has also been a huge convenience and a huge source of business to their store and the town. An attraction like that brings a great deal of drivers into Thurmont, and the more people passing through, the more money that gets recycled back into the town.

While Mountain View Convenience Store is its own standalone store now, the team has big plans brewing with more hopes that a strong brand name will be another lucrative venture for the duo.

“We’ve already signed the contract to merge with the brand name Sunoco, Rao said. “We’re looking to begin that in March.”

Thurmont has a lot of great businesses with great people, and Mountain View Convenience Store has all of that to offer and more.

The following are the status of new businesses and development coming to Emmitsburg from the town planner’s report:

Federal Stone — The Federal Stone company is proposing changes to its previously approved preliminary site plan at Creamery Court to reflect a proposed new building format and footprint and related changes to the site. The applicant has presented its revised plans to the Emmitsburg Planning Commission.

Rutter’s — Rutters fuel station and convenience store is proposing an amendment to its approved site plan to remove a forest conservation easement. This would allow the removal of trees that are now protected by the easement.

Seton Village — The Daughters of Charity Ministries, Seton Village Property, is seeking to formally replat the property, creating two lots for purposes related to ownership. This is a technical plat change, and the surveyor has been advised on the Town’s plat requirements and procedures.

The following are the status of new businesses and development coming to Thurmont:

Subdivisions

Hobb’s Division: Two approved building lots in Mixed-Use Village 1 listed for sale.

Hammaker Hills, Phase 1: 37 single-family dwelling lots in R-2 zoning district. Two homes under construction.

Hammaker Hills, Phase 2: Preliminary plat approved for 22 single-family dwelling lots.

Mechanicstown, LLC: Preliminary plat approved for 31 single-family dwelling lots.

Mountain Brooke: Preliminary plat approved for 11 single-family dwelling lots.  

Meunier Minor Subdivision: Preliminary/ final plat approved for 1 new lot and adjustment of two lots.

Simmer’s Minor Subdivision: Preliminary/final plat approved for 1 new lot.

Oak Forest Townhouse Community: 36 units in R-5 zoning district. Concept plan reviewed by the Planning & Zoning Commission December 15, 2022.

Site Plans

Weis Gas & Go (2 Thurmont Blvd.): Weis Markets did a partial site redevelopment – a Gas & Go fuel station to consist of three pumps and one manned kiosk – under construction.

Thurmont Business Park: Lot 1 to be developed for the relocation of Goodwill into a 17,850 square foot building – final site plan under review.

Other

The Thurmont Board of Commissioners approved the Resolution for the Annexation of 16.68 acres for an intergenerational mixed-use neighborhood with daycare and an assisted living center. Petition for annexation was suspended after a special election was held, where the town voted against the annexation.

The Gulf Company purchased Thurmont Bar & Grill. It is currently closed for some rehabilitation and will reopen at the end of February or first of March. The new name is Tavern Ten.

New Business Openings

Catoctin Mountain Massage & Wellness Center at 31B Water Street.

Mountain View Convenience Beer & Wine Store at 140 Frederick Road.

T- Mobile in Thurmont Plaza at 224 North Church Street.

Richard D. L. Fulton

Photo Courtesy of MSMU

Proposed addition (left) to the university’s Coad Science Building.

Mount Saint Mary’s University (MSMU) will be receiving $4 million in federal workforce development STEM funds to help meet the region’s increased demand for growth in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

STEM is an acronym for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

According to Donna Klinger, MSMU executive director of communications, the funds will be used to help complete the 21,000 square-foot addition and renovation of the university’s Coad Science Building, noting that, “The Mount has experienced significant growth in science and technology programs and the funds will be used to create state-of-the-art labs and teaching spaces to meet the demands of future learners.”

Klinger reported that the scope of work for the Coad Science Building includes three phases that will begin in March, with the addition of neuroscience, computational, and microscopy research labs, as well as collaborative learning spaces. The second phase will contain the second and third levels of the addition with science labs, classrooms, and experiential research spaces. The third phase will renovate the existing space in the Coad Science Building, according to the communications executive director.

The appropriation, she said, was secured by U.S. senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen and Representative David Trone, “who support the expansion of the Coad Science Building and work-based training in rural Maryland,” adding, “The members of Congress expressed support for the Mount’s efforts to build educator-industry partnerships and strengthen cross-disciplinary STEM courses, especially in computer science, cybersecurity and the physical sciences.”

The federal funds stem from federal congressionally directed spending from the Fiscal Year 2023 Omnibus Appropriations Bill, signed into law on December 29, 2022. Congressionally directed spending allows members of Congress to recommend important projects in their state or district for consideration by the Senate and house appropriations committees.

MSMU President Timothy Trainor stated, “We are grateful to Congressman Trone and senators Cardin and Van Hollen for their support of the university’s expansion and renovation of our STEM research facilities to support American competitiveness in high-demand fields such as computer science, data science, cybersecurity, neuroscience and biological, environmental, and physical sciences, as well as contribute to a highly trained STEM workforce for the state of Maryland.”

Senator Cardin stated, “Maryland’s future economy is a STEM economy, and our workforce must be trained and equipped to thrive in these fields. This new, $4 million investment in Mount Saint Mary’s Coad Science Building will ensure that its students who are seeking expertise in the STEM fields have a first-class learning facility to prepare them.”

Senator Van Hollen, a member of the Appropriations Committee, emphasized that STEM skills are more in demand than ever, and teaching students in these fields will help prepare them for well-paying jobs while strengthening Maryland’s workforce, adding, “That’s why we fought to deliver this direct federal funding for Mount St. Mary’s.”

“Providing every Marylander an opportunity to succeed, especially in high-skill, sought-after trades like STEM, is a win-win for all of us. Not only will these programs help develop our country’s future leaders, but they will also create and fill jobs down the line in our state,” Congressman Trone stated.

Built in 1964, Coad is a three-story 50,100 square-foot building serving the School of Natural Science and Mathematics, which has outgrown the existing space and needs to be renovated for modern STEM pedagogical practices. The new classroom and lab spaces will be technology-rich, multi-use, flexible, and configurable for a variety of instructional formats and class sizes.

The $20 million Coad expansion and renovation project is also being funded by a $2 million grant from the State of Maryland, in conjunction with donations made in support of the project through the “Forward! Together as One Campaign.”  A lead donation from George B. Delaplaine, Jr. will provide the collaborative space, to be called the Delaplaine Family Academic Commons. 

Other top-level donors contributing to the expansion project are the Page Family Foundation; Trish and D.J. Monagle; Paula and Fred Neuer; and Christina Lee and Mark Sobus, J.D.

Empowering Residents to Improve Their Lives

Deb Abraham Spalding

In the glory days of the former military base called Fort Ritchie in Cascade, its recreation facilities were considered by some to be the “best-kept secret” in the Army! These days, the recreational facilities still exist and operate as the Fort Ritchie Community Center, Inc. (FRCC). “That statement is still true today!” claims FRCC’s Executive Director Buck Browning. 

The mission of this non-profit center is to improve lives. He assures us that, “We’re not just a fitness center.” Browning, along with Director of Operations Samantha Phillips, Special Events Coordinator Bev Coyle, and Director of Wellness Brenda Walker, work together to provide quality programs, classes, facility rentals, healthy lifestyle opportunities, and social recreation to local residents, regardless of their age.

For youth, the “Kids Club” is held twice a week and provides a great opportunity for parents to drop their kids off and go work out in the fitness center. “Sports Saturdays” begins on the 14th of January for kids (ages 6-13) to develop various skills or try out a variety of different sports.

Also in January, a Junior Staff program will begin where tweens (ages 12-16) can enjoy the FRCC and brush up on interpersonal soft skills. Browning said, “It’s our hope that they’re [Junior Staff program participants] prepared to become junior staff for our summer camp, as well as quality employees for other local employers.” 

If you’ve considered joining FRCC but would like to learn more about it, an Open House will take place on January 7. Anyone can drop in for free and enjoy class demonstrations that are ongoing from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Director of Wellness Brenda Walker assures that it’s a “Great way to determine your ‘thing’ to achieve your class goals.” If you decide to join FRCC, the special in January is unlimited group fitness classes for $25.00 (you have to be a member).

For those dedicated to fitness, FRCC has comprehensive equipment, professional trainers, and space to train the entire body from top to bottom.

FRCC boasts the “Fortress.” While the fortress requires an additional monthly fee to members, it provides a clean, spacious room with top-notch York dumbbells and barbells that are necessary for those dedicated to fitness. Also, when the “Blue” gym (multipurpose room) isn’t being used for classes, it is set up as an interval-style training place with battle ropes, plyo box, red viper, slam ball, and more. These provide heavy lifters (or anyone) a creative cardio aspect with Hiit circuits and interval training. 

In the fitness center, strength and cardio machines are available for use by members and guests. Recent upgrades to equipment include two new exercise bikes that are extremely user-friendly, especially for those who are completing rehabilitation following knee or hip replacement.

There are two personal trainers on staff, but only for members. Brenda Walker will chat with you first to determine your goals. FRCC provides very affordable one-on-one coaching that is especially suited to those who need to fill the gap between physical therapy and jumping back into fitness. Email Brenda directly at bwalker@thefrcc.org to arrange your chat. Five one-hour sessions are exceptionally affordable for only $150.

FRCC has entered into partnerships with Meritus Health and the Washington County Health Department, along with other organizations, including Frederick County-based agencies, to address the issues facing rural residents in Maryland. The Rural Health Initiative is a grant-funded program that aims to increase access to healthcare and improve the quality of life for rural residents.

Browning said, “This separates us from being ‘just a gym.’ The open houses are part of this grant. Rural Americans have higher rates of diabetes, cancer, and heart disease than their peers. A lot of that is a lack of access to health care, including prevention programs that promote healthy life habits. We’re trying, along with our partners, to improve access to health care through screenings, vaccinations, and other activities to improve their overall quality of life.”

Walker is very excited about the February Fitness Challenge next month. She says individuals or teams may enter the challenge. Participants will earn points for special workout sessions, completing “pop-up” challenges, and preparing food plans. She says it’s a fun way to be active, lose weight, and generally improve your life. In addition to earning points for special activities, participants are expected to work out a minimum of three times per week during the month. Walker says she likes the team approach to the challenge because people will hold each other accountable when they are expected to help their team. Prizes include cash, free fitness class passes, and gift cards. 

Many may have already shopped for some local arts and crafts at one of FRCC’s craft shows. They’re held in April, October, and December.  Indoor yard sales are held in February and November, annually. Other activities hosted by the FRCC include a Speaker’s Series, Breakfast with Santa, Halloween Drive-Thru, Easter Egg Hunt, and the Cruise In Car Show. The community center also features a variety of rooms available for special event rentals. Among the spaces available to rent are the gymnasium, multipurpose room, and meeting room.

You are invited to stop in and take a tour of the Fort Ritchie Community Center, including its Camp Ritchie museum, which features an exhibit designed by Ritchie Boy Guy Stern.

The FRCC is located at 14421 Lake Royer Drive in Cascade. You can take a virtual tour of the community center online by visiting www.thefrcc.org.

FRCC Director of Wellness Brenda Walker instructs Hannah Spinx.

Mountain View Convenience Beer & Wine

Pictured from left are Thurmont Chief Administrative Officer Jim Humerick, Thurmont Commissioners Bill Blakeslee and Wes Hamrick, Gagan Rao, Thurmont Mayor John Kinnaird, Ashish Parikh, Thurmont Commissioner Wayne Hooper, and Woodsboro Bank Thurmont Branch Manager David Crum. Front left and right are your friendly staff!

Catoctin Mountain Massage

Pictured from left are Thurmont Chief Administrative Officer Jim Humerick, Thurmont Commissioner Bill Blakeslee, Shannon Knighton, Cherie’s sons Buck & Anthony, Owner Cherie Knighton, Thurmont Commissioner Wes Hamrick, Thurmont Mayor John Kinnaird, Mindfulness Coach Terry Pryor, and Chris Gardner.

T-Mobile

Pictured from left are Catoctin Colorfest President Carol Robertson, T- Mobile team member Danny Blackstock, T-Mobile Store Manager Jorge Granica, T- Mobile team member Jesus Escobar, T- Mobile District Manager Ryan Elkin, Thurmont Commissioner Bill Blakeslee, Thurmont Mayor John Kinnaird, Thurmont Commissioner Wayne Hooper, Thurmont Chief Administrative Officer Jim Humerick, and David Crum, Woodsboro Bank Manager at the Thurmont Branch.

The status of new businesses and development coming to Emmitsburg follows:

Emmit Ridge 2 — The property is for sale.

Federal Stone — The company has proposed changes to its previously approved site plan at Creamery Court to reflect a proposed new building format and footprint and other changes related to the site. The revised plans were expected to be submitted to the Emmitsburg Planning Commission for its Dec. 19th meeting.

        Frailey Farm — The property is under contract. The proposed developer held a public workshop with the mayor and Board of Commissioners to discuss the project last month.

        Mason Dixon Logistics Park (Trout Property) — The concept plan has been submitted to staff for a commercial/industrial park.  Submitted an informal floating zone amendment for comment.

        MDOT/SHA Park & Ride — MDOT/SHA restarted design work on July 1. It is expected that 30 percent of the project will be complete by the end of 2022. 

        Ripleigh’s Creamery — Construction was to begin in October.

        Rutter’s — The project is under active construction. Rutter’s has proposed an amendment to its approved site plan that would remove a forest conservation easement. This would allow the removal of trees currently protected by the easement.

        Seton Village — The Daughters of Charity Ministries is seeking to formally replat the Seton Village property to create two lots for purposes related to ownership. This is a technical plat change, and the surveyor has been advised of the town’s plat requirements and procedures.

                Village Liquors & Plaza Inn — Property owner has informed the town he is now phasing the project — Phase 1: first-story convenience area and Phase 2: second- and third-story hotel. They are currently waiting on Frederick County improvement plan approval.

The status of new businesses and development coming to Thurmont:

Subdivisions:

Hobb’s Division — Two approved building lots in Mixed-Use Village 1 listed for sale.

Hammaker Hills, Phase 1 — 37 single-family dwelling lots in R-2 zoning district. Two homes under construction.

Hammaker Hills, Phase 2 — Preliminary plat approved for 22 single-family dwelling lots.

Mechanicstown, LLC — Preliminary plat approved for 31 single-family dwelling lots.

Mountain Brooke — Preliminary plat approved for 11 single-family dwelling lots.  

Meunier Minor Subdivision — Preliminary/ final plat approved for 1 new lot and adjustment of two lots.

Simmer’s Minor Subdivision — Preliminary/final plat approved for 1 new lot.

Oak Forest Townhouse Community — 36 units in R-5 zoning district. Concept plan reviewed by the Planning & Zoning Commission December 15, 2022.

Site Plans:

Weis Gas & Go (2 Thurmont Blvd.) — Weis Markets did a partial site redevelopment – a Gas & Go fuel station to consist of three pumps and one manned kiosk; under construction.

Thurmont Business Park — Lot 1 to be developed for the relocation of Goodwill into a 17,850-square-foot building; final site plan under review.

 Other:

The Thurmont Board of Commissioners approved the Resolution for the Annexation of 16.68 acres for an intergenerational mixed-use neighborhood with daycare and an assisted- living center. Petition for annexation suspended. Special election to be held on January 17, 2023, 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Complete and accurate information available at Thurmont.com.

New Business Openings:

Catoctin Mountain Massage & Wellness Center at 31B Water Street.

Mountain View Convenience Beer & Wine Store at 140 Frederick Road.

T- Mobile in Thurmont Plaza at 224 North Church Street.

The status of new businesses and development coming to Emmitsburg follows:

Emmit Ridge 2: The property is for sale.

Federal Stone: The forest and site plans have been approved. The next step is to submit an improvement plat with the town. Construction is being pushed back due to high construction cost caused by inflation.

Frailey Farm: The property is under contract. The proposed developer held a public workshop with the mayor and board of commissioners to discuss the project last month.

Mason Dixon Logistics Park (Trout Property): The concept plan has been submitted to staff for a commercial/industrial park. Submitted an informal floating zone amendment for comment.

MDOT/SHA Park & Ride: MDOT/SHA restarted design work on July 1. It is expected that 30 percent of the project will be complete by the end of 2022.

Ripleigh’s Creamery: Construction was to begin in October.

Rutter’s: The project is under active construction. It is expected to be completed this month.

Village Liquors & Plaza Inn: Property owner has informed the town he is now phasing the project – Phase 1: first-story convenience area and Phase 2: second- and third-story hotel. They are currently waiting on Frederick County improvement plan approval.

The following are the status of new businesses and development coming to Thurmont:

   Hobb’s Division: Consists of two approved building lots in the Mixed-Use Village 1. They are listed for sale. 

   Hammaker Hills, Phase 1: Consists of 37 single-family dwelling lots in the R-2 zoning district. Final plats have been recorded. Permits have been issued for two lots.

   Hammaker Hill, Phase 2: Received preliminary plat approval for 22 single-family dwelling lots.

   Mechanicstown, LLC: Received preliminary plat approval for 31 single-family dwelling lots.

   Mountain Brooke: Received preliminary plat approval for 11 single-family dwelling lots.   

   Meunier Minor Subdivision: Received preliminary/final plat approval for one new lot and adjustment of two lots in R-2 residential.

   Simmers Minor Subdivision: Preliminary/final plat has been approved for one new lot.

   Weis Gas & Go (2 Thurmont Blvd.): Weis Markets did a partial site redevelopment for converting existing underutilized overflow parking area to a Gas & Go fuel station that will have three pumps and one manned kiosk. It is under construction.

   Thurmont Business Park: Lot 1 to be developed for the relocation of Goodwill into a 17,850-square-foot building. The final site plan is under review.

   Criswell Automotive (105/107 Frederick Road): Relocating the existing accessory structure and paving of the parcels for automotive sales and storage. It is complete.

   Thurmont Main Street Pop Shops (224 North Church Street): They are open every Saturday through December 17, from 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m., in the Thurmont Plaza. They offer handmade and commercial products, along with four bakers. A different food truck will be there each week.

   Simmers Property: The Thurmont Board of Commissioners have approved the Resolution for the Annexation of 16.68 acres for an intergenerational mixed-use neighborhood with day care and assisted living center. Complete and accurate information is available at Thurmont.com. A petition for referendum has been received and adequate signatures verified to suspend annexation until special election.

   New business and services coming: Catoctin Mountain Massage, T-Mobile, and The Rose Boutique.

James Rada Jr.

Ever since Fort Ritchie closed for good in 1998, Cascade has settled down in its role as a small community. According to the 2020 U.S. Census, the Cascade-Highfield area has 1,082 residents. People, for the most part, are happy in their small town.

However, recent efforts have been made to revitalize Fort Ritchie and create housing, museums, and boutique shops from the existing buildings. This seems to have attracted other development as well, as a DG Market is planning to build right outside the gates of the Fort Ritchie community. DG Market is a larger version of a Dollar General Store that is more focused on being a supermarket.

According to documents submitted to the Washington County Board of Zoning and Appeals, the proposed location will be 2.18 acres across from the American Legion in Cascade. The store will have 12,480 square feet, with a third of the space dedicated to selling fresh produce and market items. It will be open seven days a week, opening at 8:00 a.m. and closing at 9:00 p.m. or 10:00 p.m. The board granted Outdoor Contractors a special exception to build the store on a parcel zoned rural village.

Residents feel the store would change the character of the community, disrupt scenic views, and harm long-time businesses in the area. They also feel it is not needed since the Blue Ridge Summit Dollar General is less than two miles away and there are three stores within five miles of Cascade.

“The store will bring to this community—with its charm, clean air, bright starlit nights—light and noise pollutions, the closure of local small grocery businesses, the destruction of farmland, substantial traffic increases that will result in more traffic accidents and possible train accidents since the tracks are feet from the proposed entrance, increase in violent crime, and eventually, causing complete economic [demise] of the hosting community,” Allison Coles Severance with Highfield Pottery wrote in an email to The Catoctin Banner.

Residents have started an effort to stop the store from coming to Cascade. They are appealing the zoning decision and started a Facebook page to get the word out about the efforts small towns are taking to stop Dollar Generals from coming. They have collected 500 signatures on a petition opposing the store as opposed to the opposition who has collected 30 signatures in favor. They have organized community meetings and set up fundraising events and campaigns to finance attorney fees. 

Julie Sanders with Sander’s Market said the county didn’t take into account the ripple effect when you allow a store like Dollar General in.

“The community relies on these small businesses,” she said. “When you look out at the home-run wall of the Little League field, you don’t see box stores advertising, you see the little guys.”

Sanders Market has been serving the community for 66 years. When churches need food for raffles and sales, they come to the market for help. When there was a fire in the area, the market opened up to supply the firefighters with something to drink.

“It’s little things these businesses do that people don’t understand they would miss if businesses close because of Dollar General,” Sanders said.

So, what will happen to Sanders Market if the Dollar Store gets built? According to the Institute for Self-Reliance, it may close. According to a fact sheet it published about dollar stores, “Dollar stores are taking a toll on grocery stores and, in many cases, reducing people’s access to fresh food. In small towns, which are often served by a single locally owned supermarket, a dollar store’s arrival typically cuts sales at the supermarket by about 30 percent. In most cases, that’s enough to put a local grocer out of business, leaving the community’s commercial district without an anchor and negatively impacting other businesses.”

Sanders said that when the Blue Ridge Summit Dollar General opened, it hurt their business more than when the Super Walmart opened in Waynesboro.

GTs gas station and convenience store is another business that has been serving Cascade for years.

“This DG severely threatens his business,” resident Shelly Strong wrote in an email. “It also threatens the property values of those around it, will create light pollution, attract crime, and potentially create a food desert.”

Once the store is established, some people have heard talk that it may start selling beer, which could affect other businesses. “It’s a mini-Walmart,” Sanders said. “It doesn’t fit in our rural community.”

In October, the community submitted a letter of request for reconsideration to the Board of Approval members, which has been approved. To stay up to date on what is happening and for the latest news, follow their Stop Dollar General In Cascade, Maryland Facebook Page.

“I fear the tight peaceful community feel will be lost forever if Dollar General moves into the neighborhood and becomes my neighbor,” Severance wrote.

This photo shows the beautiful view from Allison Severance’s barn. The Dollar General dumpsters would come right up to the fence.

Patronage was brisk when the doors opened at Fort Ritchie Revival’s new Greenhouse Café on the morning of October 21, 2022, despite short notice of its opening on Facebook. Ritchie Revival’s Joyce Krumpotich (or John?) had said, “As soon as the permits are approved, the doors will be open!” Those enjoying their first breakfast sandwiches and coffee said the food was, “very good.” 

At the café, hot and cold drinks, pastries, and breakfast and lunch foods are offered Mondays through Fridays from 6:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., and weekends from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. The ice cream operation that was set up on the back side of the former military base will be set up soon in the café. The Greenhouse Café is located across from the Fort Ritchie Community Center at 14410 Lake Royer Drive, Cascade, MD 21719. Parking is on base.

Fort Ritchie Revival is a project to bring back business and residential life at the former Fort Ritchie military base in Cascade with the goal of “showcasing the mountain and the Fort’s natural beauty.”

Workers and volunteers have been preparing diligently to attract and facilitate this mission. 

In October, the season’s final Farmers Market was held; a Fall Fest was held in collaboration with the Washington County-run Fort Ritchie Community Center; filming for a major film production took place; the Distorted Dreams Haunted House was held; and a Halloween Drive-Thru was held.

On tap soon, the Meritus Health primary care will be open; the Tap Room, Ritchie Rejuvenation, and the Fort Ritchie Museum are on the way to opening as well. One thing is for sure, the Old Fort is alive!

Operations on the opening day of the Fort Ritchie Greenhouse Café ran smoothly, thanks to the efforts of (left to right) Nick Riley, Erika Churnesky, Serena Johnson, Melanie Coyle, Jaden Naylor, and Angeline Johnson.

The Greenhouse Cafe at Fort Ritchie in Cascade is officially open.

Vehicles are being packed in October, after a major film production took place on the grounds of Fort Ritchie.

Photos by Deb Abraham Spalding

Emmit Ridge 2 — The property is for sale.

Federal Stone — The forest and site plans have been approved. The next step is to submit an improvement plat with the town. Construction is being pushed back due to high construction cost caused by inflation.

Frailey Farm — The property is under contract. The proposed developer held a public workshop with the mayor and board of commissioners to discuss the project last month.

Mason Dixon Logistics Park (Trout Property) — The concept plan has been submitted to staff for a commercial/industrial park. Potential zoning text and/or map amendment applications are expected in the near future.

MDOT/SHA Park & Ride — MDOT/SHA restarted design work on July 1. It is expected that 30 percent of the project will be complete by the end of 2022.

Ripleigh’s Creamery — The owners are working on obtaining a Frederick County building permit.

Rutter’s — The project is under active construction. It is expected to be completed this month.

Village Liquors & Plaza Inn — Property owner has informed the town he is now phasing the project – Phase 1: first-story convenience area, and Phase 2: second- and third-story hotel. They are currently waiting on Frederick County improvement plan approval. Warthen’s Court 5-unit townhomes — A sketch plan has been submitted

Hobb’s Division: Consists of two approved building lots in the Mixed-Use Village 1. They are listed for sale.

Hammaker Hills, Phase 1: Consists of 37 single-family dwelling lots in the R-2 zoning district. Water and sewer installation complete. Electric installation almost complete. Final plats have been recorded.

Hammaker Hill, Phase 2: Received preliminary plat approval for 22 single-family dwelling lots.

Mechanicstown, LLC: Received preliminary plat approval for 31 single-family dwelling lots.

Mountain Brooke: Received preliminary plat approval for 11 single-family dwelling lots.

Meunier Minor Subdivision: Received preliminary/ final plat approval for one new lot and adjustment of two lots in R-2 residential.

Weis Gas & Go (2 Thurmont Blvd.): Weis Markets did a partial site redevelopment for converting existing underutilized overflow parking area to a Gas & Go fuel station that will have three pumps and one manned kiosk. Waiting for Frederick County permit approval.

Thurmont Business Park: Lot 1 to be developed for the relocation of Goodwill into a 17,850-square-foot building.

Criswell Automotive (105/107 Frederick Road): Relocating the existing accessory structure and paving of the parcels for automotive sales and storage. It is under construction.

Thurmont Main Street Pop Shops (224 North Church Street): They are open every Saturday through December 17 from 10 a.m.- 2 p.m. in the Thurmont Plaza. They offer handmade and commercial products along with four bakers. A different food truck will be there each week.

Simmers Property: The Thurmont Board of Commissioners has approved the Resolution for the Annexation of 16.68 acres for an intergenerational mixed-use neighborhood with day care and assisted living center. Complete and accurate information available at Thurmont.com.

New business/services coming: Catoctin Mountain Massage, T-Mobile, and The Rose Boutique.

Blair Garrett

It’s an exciting time to be a beer drinker in Thurmont.

Craft beer aficionado and local restaurant owner Josh Bollinger has taken his home-brew talents to the restaurant scene.

Bollinger’s newest project, Uncle Dirty’s Brew Works, is ready to start rotating beers into his longtime successful venture, Bollinger’s Restaurant.

“I started home brewing about two years ago,” Bollinger said. “We’ve had craft beers in the restaurant for about five years now, and I’ve seen all these small-scale places open up and just felt like that’s what I wanted to do.”

With the integration of craft beer into his already established restaurant, Bollinger is planning on filling a much-needed absence of great local beer to Thurmont. 

“The home brew was fun, and I made some really good beers,” Bollinger said. “I just wanted to take it to the next level and be Thurmont’s first microbrewery.”

Bollinger’s food is well-known in the area for its expert craftsmanship, and his beers are no different. He’s bringing something a little different to the table than your typical microbrewery, and that’s sure to be a big draw for new business.

“One thing that separates us is a lot of breweries will have food trucks pull up with one item, but here, you’ll be able to get a variety of food that pairs well with our beer,” Bollinger said.

“Beer and barbecue go together. I might even try to do pairings or specials, where I’ll make a dish to go with a particular beer.”

Bollinger and his team are running a small-batch operation, with a true focus on high-quality beer. When you make beer in small, controllable quantities, it’s much easier to come up with something of quality that really lights up your taste buds.

With the changing of the seasons, heavier, darker beers are sure to replace your typical light summer beers.

“Our first beer on tap is called ‘I’m Not Going To Get Rich Off This I Promise,’ and it’s a pale ale,” Bollinger said. “It’ll be our first beer on tap, and it might be our only beer on tap for the next week or two.”

The team has nearly a dozen working recipes, and a few that are primed and ready for the colder seasons. “We have one that’s got a higher ABV (alcohol by volume),” he said. “It’s a wheat wine, brewed with apple fritter donuts, dried apples, brown sugar, and some other deliciousness. Now I’m brewing a pumpkin coffee porter, and it should be done right around Halloween.”

For now, he plans to slowly add his newer beers in, but a big release is on the horizon for 2023. 

“We start our 16th year here in April, so that’s what I’m thinking for a full-blown grand opening,” he said. “It’s very exciting, and we just have to stick to the process and make really good beer. From now until April, that’ll give me the opportunity to refine all of my recipes.”

Bollinger currently has a crowler machine, so if you find one of Uncle Dirty’s Brew Works beers that really hits the spot, you can take home your very own 32-ounce can for a later date.

While getting everything running and operational is important, Bollinger’s focus is on making the best product he possibly can.

“There are a lot of bigger breweries out there that don’t make that good of a beer, but they sell a lot of it,” he said. “I want to sell a small amount of really, really good beer.”

For now, everything is business as usual for the Bollinger team, but be sure to keep your eyes peeled for Uncle Dirty’s Brew Works beers hitting Thurmont soon.

Be

Brian Lare (left) and Josh Bollinger (right) hard at work on some of their newest beers.

Photo by Blair Garrett

The following lists the status of new businesses and development coming to Emmitsburg:

Emmit Ridge 2 — The property is for sale.

Federal Stone — The forest and site plans have been approved. The next step is to submit an improvement plat with the town. Construction is being pushed back due to high construction cost caused by inflation.

Frailey Farm — The property is under contract. The proposed developer will schedule a public workshop with the mayor and board of commissioners to discuss the project.

Mason Dixon Logistics Park (Trout Property) — The concept plan has been submitted to staff for a commercial/industrial park. Potential zoning text and/or map amendment applications are expected in the near future.

MDOT/SHA Park & Ride — MDOT/SHA restarted design work on July 1. It is expected that 30 percent of the project will be complete by the end of 2022.

Ripleigh’s Creamery — The owners are working on obtaining a Frederick County building permit.

Rutter’s — The project is under active construction. It is expected to be completed in October or November of this year.

Village Liquors & Plaza Inn — Property owner has informed the town he is now phasing the project – Phase 1: first-story convenience area; and Phase 2: second- and third-story hotel. They are currently waiting on Frederick County improvement plan approval.

Warthen’s Court 5-unit townhomes — A sketch plan has been submitted.

The following lists the status of new businesses and development coming to Thurmont:

Hobb’s Division — Consists of two approved building lots in the Mixed-Use Village 1. They are listed for sale.

Hammaker Hills, Phase 1 — Consists of 37 single-family dwelling lots in the R-2 zoning district. One lot was pre-existing and built. Water, sewer, and stormwater management installation is almost complete. Final plats should be recorded soon.

Hammaker Hills, Phase 2 — Received preliminary plat approval for 22 single-family dwelling lots.

Mechanicstown, LLC — Received preliminary plat approval for 31 single-family dwelling lots.

Mountain Brooke — Received preliminary plat approval for 11 single-family dwelling lots.

Weis Gas & Go (2 Thurmont Blvd.) — Weis Markets did a partial site redevelopment for converting existing underutilized overflow parking area to a Gas & Go fuel station that will have three pumps and one manned kiosk.

Thurmont Business Park — Lot 1 to be developed for the relocation of Goodwill into a 17,850-square-foot building.

Criswell Automotive (105/107 Frederick Road) — Relocating the existing accessory structure and paving of the parcels for automotive sales and storage.

The Dirty Dawg DIY Dog Wash & Pet Supplies (224 North Church Street in the Thurmont Plaza) — Opened on August 13.

Frederick Health, the largest healthcare provider in Frederick County, is pleased to announce that it was recently awarded accreditation for the next three years by the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC). This is an important milestone in the continuing growth and success of Frederick Health as an organization.

Pursuing accreditation demonstrates Frederick Health’s commitment to providing the highest levels of quality care to patients, and the same high-level of quality in its business practices. Achieving AAAHC accreditation is proof that the Frederick Surgical Center has met the rigorous standards of a nationally recognized third party.

“Frederick Health is proud to have received a three-year accreditation from AAAHC. These efforts are just another way of Frederick Health providing award-winning care to the entire community,” said Dr. Mihir Jani, chief of staff, Frederick Health.

Having earned AAAHC accreditation, Frederick Health embodies the “1095 Strong” philosophy. This idea is a commitment to ongoing improvement and quality each day of operation. During the three-year or 1,095-day accreditation term, AAAHC accredited organizations continue to develop and foster the kind of everyday habits that enable leaders in the industry to provide the utmost in health care delivery and patient safety.

“This accreditation reflects the consistent professionalism of every member of our expert team.” continued Dr. Jani.

Frederick Health is proud to have met the challenge of accreditation and intends to consistently uphold the principles of quality improvement in patient care. This success is all thanks to amazing work of team members and providers.

The Knights of Columbus Grand Knight, Pat Joy (left), honored our Vincentians with a plaque of the names of all the pastors, assistant pastors, and assisting priests who served at St. Joseph’s from 1852 to 2022.

Pictured from left are Pat Joy, Grand Knight; Rev. Eugene F. Sheridan; Rev. William M. Allegretto, C.M. Pastor; and Rev. Harry F. Arnone, C.M., Vincentian Community Superior Chaplain to the Daughters of Charity. Courtesy Photo

Richard D. L. Fulton

Mount Saint Mary’s University (MSMU) staff held a ribbon-cutting ceremony on September 9 to launch the newly expanded and renovated Knott Academic Center.

According to Donna Klinger, executive director of MSMU’s Communications Office of University Marketing & Communications, the $9.1 million project, in the making since the summer of 2019, “resulted in multiple collaborative learning spaces, new classrooms, technological upgrades, improved faculty offices, new flooring and lighting, the student-run Saxbys’ café and more.”

At the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Robert Brennan, vice-president for University Advancement, welcomed attendees, and introduced President Timothy Trainor, who thanked faculty, students, staff, donors, trustees, and alumni leaders for coming to celebrate the fruition of the project.

In his remarks, Klinger reported, Trainor emphasized the collaborations that the improved building encourages, noting, “These collaborative learning spaces are where, what I like to call intellectual collisions. – happen during informal interactions between students, and between students and faculty.”

“Meaningful mentoring also occurs, helping students on their path to leading lives of significance in service to God and others,” the university president said, adding that the center’s completion was a “successful milestone in the university’s commitment to improve the learning and living environment for students, faculty and staff.”

Trainor also mentioned other recent and future projects, including the new Frederick Health Emmitsburg healthcare center on campus, and the upcoming Coad Science Building expansion and renovation project, which will begin in Spring 2023.

The president also acknowledged the donors who helped make the improved Knott Academic Center possible, including the Bolte Family Foundation (named in honor of Richard J. Bolte, Sr. in 2011), whose foundational donation funded improvements to the business school facilities, as well as Raphael, Class of 1992, and Charlene Della Ratta, whom Trainor said, “gave generously in support of the College of Liberal Arts spaces,” Dr. John F. Donovan for supporting the Seminar Room, and Robert, Class of 1975, and MBA 1986, and Susan Bream both of whom funded the Robert & Susan Bream Academic Commons. 

Trainor also thanked contributing staff members and contractors for their hard work and dedication.  A state grant and other gifts also supported the project.

Klinger stated that Frank Bolte, Class of 1987, representing himself and his six brothers, all of whom are alumni, and Bream “gave brief, but impactful reflections on the role the Mount has played in their lives.” Closing remarks were delivered by Dr. Barbara Marinak, dean of the School of Education, who praised the Knott Academic Center as a “space that redefines collaboration and engagement in higher education.”

Msgr. McLean Cummings, director of spiritual formation at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary, gave a blessing for the Knott Academic Center. Trainor, Bream, Della Ratta, Bolte and Provost Boyd Creasman, Ph.D., came forward together to cut the ceremonial ribbon as the crowd clapped and cheered.

The ceremony concluded, with student- and faculty-led tours of the facility, with stops at the John F. Donovan, Ph.D. Seminar Room; a typical classroom with enhanced technological capabilities; Palmieri Center for Entrepreneurship; Saxbys’ student-run café; Honors Program suite; and Robert & Susan Bream Academic Commons.

Maryann Marotta of Marotta/Main Architects designed the 12,500 square-foot addition and the renovations to the original 49,074 square-foot building, and Morgan-Keller Construction served as the general contractor.  Morgan-Keller President and CEO Bradley Guyton is an alumnus, earning both a Bachelor of Science in business and finance and an M.B.A. from the university, Klinger reported.

One of the recently completed assets to the Knott Academic Center included a Saxbys’ sponsored café, which is being managed by Mount students and staff, as part of Saxby’s

“Experiential Learning Platform (E.L.P.),” through which, the company states, “… young people are proving that they have what it takes to mold the business movement of the future. We call these our entrepreneurial proving grounds,” the company stated.

Ribbon-cutting (from left): Boyd Creasman, Frank Bolte, Tim Trainor, Raphael Della Ratta, and Robert Bream.

 Terry Pryor

Did you know that gasoline was initially discarded as serving no purpose? Edwin Drake dug the first crude oil well in Pennsylvania in 1859 and distilled the oil to produce kerosene for lighting. Although other petroleum products, including gasoline, were also produced in the distillation process, Drake had no use for the gasoline so he discarded it. It wasn’t until 1892, with the invention of the automobile, that gasoline was recognized as a valuable fuel. By 1920, nine million vehicles powered by gasoline were on the road, and service stations selling gasoline were opening around the country. That included Thurmont’s, which is now known as, Direct to You.

(Throughout the 1920s, gas prices averaged 21 to 30 cents per gallon.)

The earliest image I rounded up of Direct to You, thanks to John Kinnaird and David Q. Fisher, is from when the Kifer family owned the garage. Not surprising, it was called Kifer’s, and at this time, the main building was the only structure. The service bays had not yet been built.

The exterior of the main building remains almost unchanged since 1940. It is unclear if the garage was established by Kifer or Hahn & Baker. At some point, it belonged to Hahn & Baker. Mr. Baker lived across the street in the two-story house at the corner of N. Altamont and N. Church Street. Baker also ran a furniture repair shop in the structure behind his house.

(Gas prices during the 1940s averaged 18 to 29 cents per gallon.)

Vernon Myers ran the station for several years before building his own garage. The Langdon family from Westminster took over after Vernon Myers. James Langdon, Sr., (called Joe) owned a garage in Westminster, which is still there and owned by the family. Joe traveled all over the state, delivering minerals to farmers, and spotted the Thurmont property for sale. He purchased the property in 1957. Almost immediately, the old tanks had to be dug up and replaced.

(Gas prices during the 1950s averaged 27 to 30 cents per gallon.)

My interview with “Joe” Langdon’s son, Jim, took place at his Westminster station. As we sat in two very old, saggy, but comfortable chairs, time stood still as he spun the stories of his father’s life. The Westminster location has quite a tank of its own history.

The name, Direct to You, was thought up by Joe and his wife, Ina. For years, Ina took care of the books. She had taught accounting and typing, and together they created quite a nice business life for their family.

Early in the 1960s, the IRS came around and wanted to see all of their receipts for the stations. Years of these slips of paper were stored in boxes in the Langdon’s attic. On one of the many up and down stairway trips, Ina asked one of the agents why they didn’t want to see the books instead of all this paper? “Books?” he replied? “You have books?”

“We certainly do,” she exclaimed. In fact, there were two sets, one of which the IRS left with. That was the last time the IRS made a call.

(Gas prices in the 1960s averaged 31 to 34 cents per gallon.)

There are other stories associated with this little spot in town where “the boys” serve you up your gas while you wait in your car.  If you need to know something, they know about it at Direct to You. Vetting any of that information is up to you, however.

Truth is, you don’t find this kind of service anymore. In fact, it was in 1947 that a man named Frank Urich opened the first modern self-serve gas station at the corner of Jilson and Atlantic in Los Angeles, California. His slogan? “Save 5 cents, serve yourself, why pay more?”

It wouldn’t be until the 1970s that two periods of gasoline shortages (1973 and 1979) caused higher fuel prices, which in turn, resulted in the permanent closure of many full-service gas stations, as consumers looked for pricing relief.

(Gas prices nearly doubled in the 1970s).

My burning question was how they keep the gas prices so low. Besides being an independent, James (aka Joe) Langdon, Sr. would call daily to check on all the suppliers pricing. Luck and timing are a big part of what you pay, and he seemed to have a knack for ordering on the low end. That practice is still followed today.

At this writing, gas prices in Thurmont are $3.85 to $4.19. Don’t blink, that will change.

Photo was taken around the late 1950s when James (Joe) Langdon, Sr. purchased the station.

James Langdon, Jr., still pumps gas at his Westminster location.

Blair garrett

Dirty Dawg DIY Dog Wash had its grand opening this August, with owners Becky and Tim Clarke cutting the ribbon before prominent town officials and excited community members.

Customers got their first peek into the doggie spa, where there are dog treats, toys, pet-themed mats, and so much more. There are even non-alcoholic doggie beers in flavors your pooch is sure to love.

Dirty Dawg’s first day open was a shocking turnout, and certainly more than owner Becky Clarke was expecting. “I want to thank everyone for the huge success we had today at the grand opening,” Clarke said. “We had an overwhelming amount of people here and just a ton of support from everybody in the community.”

The shop’s biggest attraction is the state-of-the-art doggie showers, equipped with all the tools and shampoos you need to have yourself one happy pup.

A DIY style shop definitely has its advantages over cleaning up the dogs in your tub at home and getting to spend time taking care of your pet provides quality bonding time you might not have otherwise.

“If your dog is one of the nervous types with a groomer, or you’ve got to make your schedule work with a groomer, it can be a lot to combine,” Clarke said. “Here, you can bring your dog in where they’re more comfortable with you doing their baths. It’s like a spa day for them.”

Dirty Dawg’s tubs are designed to handle the 50 pounds of golden retriever fluff washing down the drain from your favorite furry friend, so if you don’t have the time or the money to shell out to your local plumber, consider Dirty Dawg as a fun alternative. “The best part is we clean up the mess,” Clarke said.

The Clarke family got their inspiration to enter in the dog-washing business from an offhand thought that blossomed into what it is today. “We’ve used dog washes up and down the coast, and we realized there’s nothing here close to home comparable to what they have out there, so it was my idea and I just said, ‘I want one of these,’ so we looked into it.”

Complementing their puppy showers, the team has a line of gourmet dog treats that rivals human desserts, and they’re sure to have the dogs howling for more.

“We have a lot of stuff that you’re not going to find at your typical box stores, so once you check us out, I think you’ll find a lot of unique and fun things here,” Clarke said.

The Dirty Dawg is open Wednesday through Sunday in the Thurmont Plaza on North Church Street in Thurmont.

Thurmont’s newest do-It-yourself pet spa has locals testing out the waters in the dog wash.

The following are the status of new businesses and development coming to Emmitsburg:

Emmit Ridge 2 — The property has sold to an investor. RJD Development and Ryan Homes are working with the investor to purchase it. Wetlands have been found that compromise eight of the proposed lots and part of the proposed Irishtown Drive. Wetland mitigation will need to be approved by the State of Maryland. Forty-eight lots have been proposed.

Federal Stone — The forest and site plans have been approved. The next step is to submit an improvement plat with the town.

Frailey Farm — The property is under contract. The Emmitsburg town planner met with a potential developer on June 30.

Mason Dixon Logistics Park (Trout Property) — The concept plan has been submitted to staff for a commercial/industrial park. 

MDOT/SHA Park & Ride — MDOT/SHA restarted design work on July 1. It is expected that 30 percent of the project will be complete by the end of 2022. 

Ripleigh’s Creamery — The owners are working on obtaining a Frederick County building permit.

Rutter’s — The project is under active construction. It is expected to be completed later this year.

Village Liquors & Plaza Inn — The owners are working with Frederick County on erosion and sediment control and stormwater management permits. Also, they are working on conditions for approval on the town site and improvement plans.

Warthen’s Court 5-unit townhomes — A sketch plan has been submitted.