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Stories of What It’s Like Returning Home After 25 Years

by dave ammenheuser

How do you honor the death of a loved one in the midst of a pandemic?

It’s not easy.

When my parents, John and Elizabeth Ammenheuser, died in the last few months of 2020, our family faced many difficult decisions. Among the toughest: How do you inform family and friends of their deaths?  

 Neither parent died from COVID-19. Dad’s heart gave out on September 1; Mom lost her battle with cancer on December 19. Both left behind clear legal instructions on what they wanted done with their bodies. Per their wishes, they were cremated and their ashes were placed in separate urns.

More than eight months after Dad’s death and more than five months after mom’s, we are finally gathering on June 13 to honor them.

The coronavirus impacted our decisions. Finding a location to hold a service was difficult. Our first choice (and second and third and fourth) were not possible, as policies prohibited indoor gatherings of any notable size. While we don’t expect hundreds of folks to attend the event, even an expected crowd of several dozen is not currently permitted indoors due to safety concerns.

So, we waited until the spring, warmer weather, and the anticipation of vaccinations before deciding on the details of a Celebration of Life (or in this case, Lives) event. 

 Thurmont Mayor John Kinnaird offered the perfect solution: A pavilion at the Thurmont Community Park. During a recent visit to my parents’ house (where he bought a paint sprayer from the estate), he told me that the town recently built a new pavilion near the basketball courts. Knowing that the park pavilions are booked far in advance for family reunions, I was astonished to find out the new pavilion was available. But, as we’ve all learned, this hasn’t been a normal year or two.

Thus, we booked the pavilion for June 13 (As a side note, the $50 fee the town charges for the full-day rental is quite the bargain).

Now that the location was chosen, informing folks of the event was the next arduous task. My mother’s address book was terribly out-of-date (her address for me was one in Southern California; my family moved to Nashville in 2012).  

After thumbing through the dilapidated book, I started addressing and stamping the postcards that I had ordered.

Certainly, there are some of my parents’ friends and former co-workers whom I missed. Apologies to them. There hasn’t been a week that’s gone by when I haven’t talked to one of their friends who were surprised to learn that my parents had died. If you’d like me to mail you a postcard to remind you of the event, please email me at

After Joe Wolf, deacon of Our Lady of Mount Carmel parish, offers an opening prayer, we’ll share stories and celebrate John and Liz’s lives.

It’s been a difficult time for all of us. Not just my family. But I’m sure for yours, too.

We all have friends and neighbors who have been impacted by COVID-19. Some have lost jobs; some have been out of work for months; some have lost loved ones. Thankfully, the country appears to be turning the corner. 

However, life will never be the same. At least not in our household. And likely, not in yours either.

Photo by Dave Ammenheuser

New pavilion at Thurmont Community Park.

On Saturday, March 20, 2021, the Easter spirit was evident at Thurmont United Methodist Church (TUMC)! From 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., the Easter Bunny and Duck paid a visit to TUMC and took pictures with children from the Thurmont Community. With a little help from Catoctin High School (CHS) cheerleaders and members of TUMC, the church had an egg hunt for the kids!

There were 500 eggs hidden in the field of TUMC. Among the fun, there were a couple of prizes to be won. CHS Class of 2021 had a gift basket from Gateway Candyland to raffle off. The winner of the basket was Brandi Thomas. TUMC also had a “guess the number of jellybeans in the egg” contest, and Serinity Zebroski won with a guess of the exact number of jellybeans: 323 jellybeans in the egg!

Everyone had lots of Easter fun on March 20 at TUMC! The church would like to thank the CHS Class of 2021 for bringing the Easter Bunny and Duck to the church for pictures, as well as the CHS cheerleaders for filling some eggs and hiding the eggs for the kids to find!

The children eagerly await the Thurmont United Methodist Church’s Easter egg hunt to begin, with over 500 eggs hidden.

Recently, members of the Thurmont Grange met to prepare fruit baskets for area shut-ins for the holiday season. Approximately 40 fruit baskets, containing fruit, canned items, apple butter, crossword puzzles, and other canned and packaged items, were made and distributed to various persons in the surrounding area. Many thanks to Catoctin Mountain Orchard for donating a half-bushel of apples along with the gift boxes that were used for the fruit baskets.

Grange members also adopted a needy family through the Thurmont Food Bank and purchased items the family requested for the holiday season. They also donated canned items to the Thurmont Food Bank as part of a community service project. 

In addition, the Grange will be sending a care package to Elijah Moser, grandson of Russell and Sidney Moser, who are members of the Grange. Elijah is in the service and is presently stationed in England. 

Several members were recognized for their membership in the Grange: Ethel and Alan Brauer (50 years), Sandy Moser (60 years), and Mary Kathryn “Peg” Long (70 years). Congratulations to all of these members for their Grange membership. 

We also are deeply saddened by the recent loss of Grange member, Gail T. Powell, who was a very active member in the Grange. She could always be found helping out during the Community Show dinner and also during Colorfest and other activities. Her smile and willingness to assist wherever needed will be greatly missed.

Thurmont Grange members prepare fruit baskets for area shut-ins.

Girl Scout Troop 81069 volunteered at the Black Mountain View Farm Draft Rescue in Thurmont in October to complete their Bronze Service Award.

The girls learned all about the horse rescue on Whates Lane in Thurmont, which takes in draft horses from auctions, kill pens, neglection, and from people who cannot care for them anymore. Black Mountain View Farm Draft Rescue rehabilitates horses that arrive malnourished or with other health problems. The rescue, run by Kelly Black, provides critical care and a loving environment to nurse the horses back to good health and find them new homes.

The troop, along with rescue volunteers, helped with twice-daily grooming, brushing, hoof care, feeding, stall mucking, and sweeping chores. The girls from the troop enjoyed learning about the rescue and its needs and about caring for the horses. The troop looks forward to continuing to volunteer with the rescue.

Pictured from left are Andi Bentz, Lauren Kelley, Katelyn Veronie, June Norton, Hannah Mosiychuk, Monkey (Horse), Bree (Black Mountain Volunteer), Grace May, Elizabeth Blank, Ruby Norton, and Faith May.

Courtesy Photo

Deb Abraham Spalding

You may have wondered what the chain link “cages” are in Emmitsburg Community Park. They’re actually the “holes” that you “shoot” for in a game of golf—disc golf, that is!

Like the game of golf that is played with clubs and balls, this version plays with discs like Frisbees®. Tally the number of throws it takes to get the disc in the cage, and you’ve created a competitive game of strategy. The winner is the player whose disc lands in the target cages with the fewest throws.

This is a leisurely game that gives the player plenty of exercise, walking from hole to hole. Emmitsburg’s 18-cage course is a little over one-mile long. A set of discs of different weights can increase the strategic complexity of the game. The heavier discs travel further; lighter ones, not so far.

I was introduced to the game of disc golf in the late 1980s in my college days in Baltimore. At the time, I met some disc-golf enthusiasts who provided a glimpse into the little-known-to-me sport. That experience inspired the disc golf course in Middletown District Park when I worked at Frederick County Parks and Rec. I was pleased to see the addition of this feature in Emmitsburg and applaud the Emmitsburg’s Parks and Rec Commission for this use of park space. In addition to Emmitsburg Community Park, disc golf courses may be found in Middletown Park in Middletown, Heritage Farm Park in Walkersville, and Woodsboro Regional Park in Woodsboro.

On October 24, 2020, a grand opening of Emmitsburg’s disc golf course was hosted by the Town of Emmitsburg in cooperation with Fredrock Disc Golf. Amateurs and seasoned players took part in play. Congratulations to all the winners of the disc golf tournament. First place winners were: MPO—Jay Gobrecht; MA1—Nathan Ellgren; MA3—Billy Bob Vigil; FA3—Diana Heaney.

More information about disc golf leagues and meetups may be found at

Photo by Grace Eyler

Community members gathered behind a disc golf cage to celebrate the official opening of Emmitsburg’s disc golf course in the Emmitsburg Community Park.

James Rada, Jr.

For the first time since the Frederick County Board of Education put off making a decision about whether to close Sabillasville Elementary School (SES), the board discussed the topic during its work session.

Some of the possible ways to keep the school open include:

Using the school as an agricultural center;

Turning it into a magnet school;

Adding career and technology services;

Adding a RISE program to the school; and

Making the school an “open enrollment” school.

Superintendent Theresa Alban cautioned the board in its approach to saving the school. She said during the board’s October work session, “I don’t want to go down the road of ‘let’s find ways to fill up the building.’”

The major problem facing the school is that it has seen declining enrollment. Last year, around 70 students were in a building rated for 160 students.

When the possibility of closing the school was raised last school year, the Sabillasville community rallied to fight the closure. The board relented and decided to address the issue later after examining possible ways to keep the school open and utilize the extra space. The school remains open this school year, but the board’s goal is to make a final decision on what to do by December.

The option of turning Sabillasville into a charter school seemed to be the idea that has the most support among the board.

Carroll Creek Montessori Public Charter School was considering the property, but Superintendent Theresa Alban said the school is also considering other locations.

However, Alisha Yocum, president of the Sabillasville Elementary Parent Teacher Association, said the community’s concern about the school becoming an existing charter school is “it really doesn’t become a community school at that point because we’re not really being involved in the decisions.”

She said community members and parents are developing the idea of creating a new charter school that would be located at Sabillasville Elementary.

If the board pursues this option, it would take time and raise additional questions of how students would be accepted to attend the school. It would also want to ensure students living in Sabillasville could still remain in their community school.

“The chartering process is quite lengthy and complex,” Board President Brad Young said.

If the school were to become an open-enrollment school, where students from overcrowded schools could attend, those students would come from outside of the Catoctin High School district because all of the schools in Northern Frederick County have excess capacity. This means the transportation costs would increase, and those students would have very long bus rides to and from school.

The board is planning on surveying parents of students in overcrowded schools to see how many of them would be willing to send their students to Sabillasville.

Board documents about the options indicate using the school as an agricultural center has problems. “To operate this center and maintain the elementary school operation would be challenging; it would also not address the dwindling enrollment numbers for SES. This option does not change the deferred maintenance needs,” according to a review of options in a document on the board’s website.

Expanding career and technology programs into the school would require modifying the school without addressing the declining enrollment program.

“I just want to commend everybody for thinking outside the box. The school is really a jewel in your community, and I’m all in favor of keeping community schools as long as we can,” said Board Member Lois Jarman.

The board will take up the issue again this month once it has had time to get feedback from parents in other schools about their interest in sending their students to Sabillasville.

Deb Abraham Spalding

Catoctin-area natives, Kevin Wantz and Andy Adelsberger, know what it’s like to be through boot camp. Having served in the United States Marine Corps and as a policeman with the Frederick County Sheriff’s Department, Kevin carried the integrity of his duty to become the foundation of the construction company he started in 2012, called Blue Line Home Improvements (BLH).

After working with the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office Corrections Bureau and then various roofing companies, Andy Adelsberger joined his friend Kevin in May 2020 to open a business called Blue Line Roofing and Exteriors (BLR) that complements and strengthens Blue Line’s core services.

While BLH builds and renovates kitchens, bathrooms, additions, decks, basements, and so on, BLR installs asphalt shingles, metal roofing, flat rubber roofing, vinyl siding, fiber cement, gutters, downspouts, windows, and provides soffit and facia work. The two business entities and businessmen share an office on Creamery Road in Emmitsburg.

In the face of competition in the roofing and construction fields, these self-proclaimed “brothers” pride themselves on running a smaller company that’s local and knows their customers. Andy grew up in Emmitsburg, attended Mother Seton, Catoctin High, and Mount St. Mary’s. Kevin grew up in Thurmont and attended Catoctin High before entering the military and then the Frederick County Police Academy.

Fully licensed and insured, Kevin and Andy are operating Blue Line the right way. Kevin said, “You get what you pay for. A lot of times, homeowners sacrifice a quality job for the cheapest price.” He suggested, “Homeowners should get three quotes and do their homework by looking up the construction company that they employ to verify their licensing.”

Andy explained that a company that pays for licenses and insurance usually won’t be the low bid because they pay the costs of those assurances. He said, “We’re priced right in the middle. We won’t leave the customer hanging.” Blue Line can help with storm-damage claims and handle the insurance company interactions for the customer.

Blue Line gives really good labor warranties backed by GAF. Andy assured, “It’s a good set up. This is a way to serve the community by giving homeowners the best warranties and the best installs. We have about 25 years of combined experience.”

Blue Line’s service area runs from Hagerstown to Taneytown, and most of the Maryland metro area, to Chambersburg, Fairfield, Green Castle, Waynesboro, and Gettysburg in Pennsylvania.

If you’re a first responder, law enforcement, or military, you get a discount. “We take a lot of pride in having integrity, earning trust, and being honest with the community and customers. In the end, it pays off.”

For more information, call 240-367-0331, visit bluelineroofingand, and check out customer reviews on Facebook, Google, and Yelp.

(left) Blue Line Home Improvement’s Kevin Wantz is pictured with “Chaos Coordinator” admin. professional Kendra Fittery, and Blue Line Roofing’s Andy Adelsberger.

(right) Andy Adelsberger and Kevin Wantz team up to provide home improvements and roofing services throughout the area.

The Jack and Shirley Little Scholarship Fund at Mother Seton School (MSS) will continue to help families seeking an affordable Catholic education for years to come, thanks to the efforts of the Little Family. Tony Little, Scott Little, Pam Bolin (Little), MaryLou Little, and Ed Little presented MSS Principal Sr. Brenda Monahan, D.C. with a check for $19,000, the proceeds from the annual Angels Above Alumni Golf Tournament. The event was held on October 5, 2018, at the Mountain View Golf Club in Fairfield, Pennsylvania.

The tournament began as a promise made to their dying father that the Little siblings would do something to repay the generosity shown their parents when they sent their six children to MSS in the 1970s and 1980s. Tony, a graduate of MSS in 1978, followed through with that commitment, and with his siblings— Tim, MaryLou, Pam, Scott, and Ed—launched the golf tournament as a means to raise money for the Jack and Shirley Little Scholarship Fund at Mother Seton School. To date, the tournament has raised over $150,000 for the fund and helped numerous families afford the cost of tuition to MSS. “We want to continue to help Mother Seton School grow and thrive, and not have money be an issue (for families who wish to enroll their children),” Mr. Little said.

“We are grateful to the Little Family for their generosity and continued commitment to Catholic education,” said Sister Brenda. “In keeping with the legacy of our Foundress and Patron Saint, Elizabeth Ann Seton, our mission at Mother Seton School is to provide solid academics and solid Christian values for all who desire it, regardless of financial means. Thanks to the support of the Little Family, we can meet the growing demand for financial assistance so that families can choose and remain in a Catholic School.”

Tony Little remains humble about the family’s contributions. “None of us do this for recognition, only to keep mom and dad’s dream alive. For that reason, we will continue our efforts to contribute to the scholarship fund.”

The next Angels Above Alumni Golf Tournament will be held on October 4, 2019.

Pictured from left are Sister Brenda Monahan, D.C., principal of MSS; MaryLou Little; Ed Little, Scott Little; Kim Bolin; Tony Little; Pam (Little) Bolin; and Mason Bolin.

What Goes Up Must Come Down

by Christine Maccabee

The chilly, windy rainstorms of May and June are over, with much flooding and sadly loss of life and property in Ellicott City, Frederick City, and elsewhere.

The humid weather has now set in, which, of course, breeds gnats, mosquitoes, and other tiny flying pests; yet, swallows and blue birds need them to feed their newly hatched babies, as well as themselves. So, I try to appreciate them, even as I  transplant my peppers and tomatoes, which should have been planted a month ago, if the rain had just abated.

Many gardening friends, both professional and serious hobbyists, have expressed frustration about the quantity of cold rain this spring. Having read a bit from good sources, and even as I use my own intuition, I now believe I know what is happening. All during that cold, rainy spell, I kept saying “What goes up must come down.” I would say it to people I met as we ran into the Food Lion or CVS, sometimes taking time to explain my theory, which at this point is no theory at all, but actual. The earth’s natural air-conditioning system is disappearing as the many amazing glaciers, Greenlands white snow/ice shield and the polar ice caps are melting. Everything is melting three times faster than expected. (Once it is all melted, then we will see even hotter weather with wildfires and drought, already occurring in many places out west.)

Some of this melting ice flows into the ocean, and some evaporates into the atmosphere. All this is simple science, which even my twelve-year-old grandson understands. The Earth is becoming confused, and so are we. Human stress levels are soaring and suicides increasing. Yes, we can no longer deny what is happening on many levels, and many people are becoming more aware. Truth is, levels of CO2 emissions (and methane, as well) remain high and our lifestyles contribute to it daily. Did you know that mowing acre upon acre of grass on large estates is one of the greatest contributors to CO2 pollution? So, who cares, you ask.

Actually, we all should care. Even if many people in our own country do not care, many of us do and are working towards positive changes, such as alternative energy use and conservation practices. Yes, when the rain comes down it affects us all, even those of us who care, and it is not getting any better. According to studies made at the University of Pennsylvania, future hurricanes will be qualitatively different than ones we have seen thus far, possibly even worse than past ones. Allow me to explain.

Due to more moisture in the atmosphere and disruption of climate patterns, hurricanes are moving more slowly and linger longer over larger areas, thus perhaps all the very cold rain and wind we saw this spring in our part of the world. Future hurricanes, due to continuing melting of ice and snow (even our beautiful snow-capped mountains are in trouble these days) could see winds up to 200 mph or greater. Recent hurricanes, such as Irma, saw 185 mph winds in the Virgin Islands, and Patricia went as high as 200 already. These are winds far beyond a category 5. Experts are saying they are in a new category: 6.

Pope Frances, a wonderful advocate of caring for Creation, invited leading oil executives to a two-day conference at the Vatican. No matter your feelings about the Pope, he says it straight, and he said it there to CEOs of ExxonMobil and other energy producers. He said we can and must do better, and though “Civilization requires energy, energy must not destroy civilization,” and he encouraged innovation. I am sure he would also encourage living more conservatively, more simply.

So, as the rains continue to fall on us all, and the winds get stronger and sea levels rise, and fires and drought increase, we will all need to be inventive and conservative in order to survive. As for me, I will persist in growing my own food and herbs, support local farmers, provide  habitat for wildlife, and mow less. I will also vote.

Such a wonderful country and world we have. I thank God for the beauty and mystery of Creation every day as I work with it and explore it. I hope you enjoy it—gnats and all—and never take anything for granted, for it is a precious gift we should all cherish and protect.

It was a long time coming, but a new Mr. Catoctin was chosen on April 5, 2018. Scott Little earned the title after displaying talent, creativity, and an ability to fundraise for Catoctin High School Safe & Sane at the 6th Annual Mr. Catoctin Pageant.

“The experience was pretty awesome, and, obviously, I’m pretty excited about being chosen,” expressed Little.

The event had originally been scheduled for March 2, but it had to be postponed twice: once for wind and once for snow. However, the delay didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of the crowd and the competitors in the Catoctin High School Auditorium on a Thursday evening.

Besides Little, Corbin Deviney, Cameron Hewitt, Matthew Imes, James Kempisty, Sean Miller, Noah Olson, and Noah Wivell had been selected by teachers to compete. Mr. Catoctin is not a beauty pageant, bodybuilding competition, or talent show. It is a fun event to raise money for Catoctin Safe & Sane, on organization that works to help seniors have a safe and fun prom, without drugs and drinking.

The eight competitors were scored on Spirit Week votes (10 percent), program ads and ticket sales (10 percent), donations and auction items (10 percent), the Mr. Catoctin opening number (5 percent), teacher impressions (10 percent), talent (25 percent), formal wear (10 percent), and onstage Q&A (20 percent). Little said that he knew that he had raised the most money among the competitors for program ads and sponsors, but he felt that he did his best with the talent competition, which was a song and dance number that included six back-up dancers.

“I was originally supposed to have twelve back-up dancers,” Little said. “But with the delays, people had to drop out because of sports and other things; I had to make things bigger and better.”

Little explained that he had started planning his talent number very early because of the choreography he wanted.

The weather delays made him both more anxious and more excited about performing, but Little didn’t disappoint as he made his spotlighted entrance from the back of the auditorium to join his dancers on the stage.

Scott Little (chosen as Mr. Catoctin) and Haleigh Bowling, performing at the Mr. Catoctin Pageant in April.

Photo by James Rada, Jr.

August 2017
by James Rada, Jr.
Town Election Coming Up
The Emmitsburg Town Election will be held on Tuesday, September 26. Registered voters in Emmitsburg will be able to vote for mayor and one commissioner seat, from 7:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m. Votes can be cast at 22 East Main Street.
As of August 8, only Don Briggs had registered to run for mayor, and Jennifer Joy had registered to run for commissioner. While the deadline for filing to run will have passed by the time this is published, September 19 is the deadline for write-in candidates.

Briggs Starts Mayor’s Corner
Mayor Don Briggs has started posting short videos called “Mayor’s Corner” on the Town of Emmitsburg YouTube channel. The first video, which runs just under eight minutes, is a recap of what is happening in town and a look at some upcoming events, as well as a review of the upcoming town meeting agenda.

Hydrants Getting Painted
The Boy Scouts will be working in conjunction with Emmitsburg town staff to paint about fifty fire hydrants in and around Emmitsburg.

Planning and Zoning Appointments
Pat Boyle and John Howard were reappointed to the Emmitsburg Planning and Zoning Commission in August. However, Boyle is expected to serve only until the first of the new year. At that time, he will step down, and Wayne Slaughter is expected to take over his duties.

Amendments to Public Services Ordinances Discussed
The Emmitsburg Town Commissioners discussed some proposed changes to the town ordinances Title 13 Public Services. Some of the changes would codify where the town assumes responsibility for repairs to the water and sewer lines and make it consistent throughout Emmitsburg. Other changes would place more responsibility on the property owner to maintain water meters on their property, such as not allowing them to freeze.
These changes will be voted on in a future meeting.

Zoning Ordinance Changes to Have Public Hearing
The Thurmont Planning and Zoning Commission prepared their opinion on proposed zoning changes. One involves residential clustering that “allows for zoned property to group the actual building in one segment of the zoning area without breaching what is allowed,” according to Chief Administrative Office James Humerick. He added that it is used in subdivisions to allow for smaller lot sizes, while maintaining the same density in that district. The other issue had to do with signage in town.
Both of these issues will have a public hearing this month, and you can find out more information about them from the Thurmont Town Office.

Thurmont’s New Police Officer
Thurmont Mayor John Kinnaird swore in Thurmont’s newest police officer, Christopher Smith, on August 8. He is a native of Walkersville, and has served as a county correctional officer and a sheriff’s deputy.

Maggie Doll Makes Thurmont Proud
Maggie Doll of Gateway Liquors was presented with a “You Make Thurmont Proud” certificate on August 8, for winning Frederick Magazine’s Best of the Best Reader’s Choice Awards, and Gateway Liquors for “Best Liquor Store in Frederick County.”

Kathy Toomey Makes Thurmont Proud
Kathy Toomey, with the Thurmont Child Care Center, was presented with a “You Make Thurmont Proud” certificate on August 8. The Thurmont Child Care Center was voted one of the five awardees in the 2017 “Best Places To Work” in Frederick County by Frederick County Work Force Services, the Frederick Chamber, Frederick County Office of Economic Development, and Thrive Frederick. The Frederick County Best Places to Work Awards campaign is a countywide program to increase the quality of life opportunities for Frederick County employees. Thurmont Child Care Center, Inc. won the Small Business category award.

New Town Brochure Available
A new Walk-Bike-Drive brochure is available highlighting points of interest in Thurmont and the area. Main Street Manager Vickie Grinder spearheaded the project, along with volunteers, Nancy Dutterer, Dick Lee, Joann Miller, Robert Eyler, and Joe Fontana. The group was recognized on August 8 by Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners, when the brochure was debuted. The brochure was funded by a TRIPP grant from Frederick County Tourism and Criswell Chevrolet, which paid the matching funds needed for the grant.

Applying for a Grant to Beautify Railroad Bridge
The Town of Thurmont is applying for a $20,000 Community Legacy grant through the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development to help refurbish the railroad bridge across North Church Street. The town will use results from a survey of area residents to help decide how the bridge should be refurbished. The bridge could have a mural painted across the abutment, LED lights with colors that could be changed for holidays, or painting the letters THURMONT across the bridge. Commissioner Martin Burns has been spearheading the efforts to find a way to use the bridge as a way to beautify the town.


by James Rada, Jr.


East Street Parking Concerns

Thurmont residents who live along East Street have expressed the parking concerns they have to Mayor John Kinnaird and the town commissioners. Because of a lack of defined spaces along the street, parking can be “a little bit jumbled.” Many residents would like to see the parking spaces along the street marked.

Commissioner Wes Hamrick expressed concern that cars might not be able to turn around at the end of the street, but this can be solved with the elimination of a parking space or two at the end of the street closest to the carnival grounds.

Chief Administrative Officer Jim Humerick also stated that a stop sign will be placed on Center Street at East Street, which will turn the intersection into a three-way stop.

Per citizen suggestions, “one way” signs will be placed on Center Street and at the top of Church Street and East Street. Also, a “Do Not Enter” sign will be posted at Center Street and East Street.


Thurmont Helps Little League Champs

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners recognized the Thurmont Little League team for winning the District 2 championship. They went 4-0 in the district and hit 22 home runs. The team’s expenses to compete in the state championship is about $20,000. The commissioners agreed to contribute $1,500 to the effort.


Update on Mural Project

Artist Yemi showed the Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners the preliminary drawings for the mural project that he is painting for the town. He told the commissioners that it is still on track to be unveiled in the spring of 2018. Fundraising for the project is ongoing, and Yemi will be using local residents as models in the mural.


Town Approves Purchase of New Pumps

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners approved the bid of C. Schultes of Maryland to replace the well No. 7 pumps for $32,200. This was an item for which the Water Department had been budgeting.


Commissioners Get Merger Update

Vigilant Hose Company Chief Frank Davis and Emmitsburg Ambulance Company President Mary Lou Little updated the Emmitsburg Mayor and Commissioners on the progress of the two companies. Members from both companies voted unanimously to proceed with the merger. Since Saturday, July 8, ambulances have been operating out of the Vigilant Hose Company building on West Main Street.

“Since these mergers have started, we have not failed on a single call,” Davis said.

The goal is for the merger to be completed by January 1, 2018.


Protecting Utility Lines

Ashley Shiwarski with Utility Service Partners, Inc. spoke to the Emmitsburg Mayor and Commissioners recently about the National League of Cities Service Line Program. The program partners Utility Service Partners with municipalities and participating residents to protect water and sewer lines that break that are on their property. Typically, if there is a line break on private property, it is the responsibility of the property owner to pay for the repairs. Those insured by the program can receive up to $8,500 per incident.

“This could really benefit Emmitsburg, because we have a lot of residents who don’t have a lot of money to pay for stuff,” said Commissioner Cliff Sweeney.

Three different types of policies would be offered, and each one would cost less than $10.00 a month. The commissioners are considering offering the program in Emmitsburg. Thurmont and Taneytown already offer the program to their residents.


Emmitsburg Multi-User Trail Work Day

There will be a work day on the Emmitsburg Multi-User Trail on August 5, from 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. Volunteers should dress for work, and tools will be provided. Volunteers will also be provided coffee, orange juice, bagels and cream cheese, fruit, and more. After the work session, volunteers will be provided lunch. For more information, contact Commissioner Tim O’Donnell at


Yard Waste and Recycling Drop-off

The next yard waste and recycling drop-off for Emmitsburg will be on August 19, beginning at 9:00 a.m. This event is held every third Saturday. Items can be dropped off at the site on Creamery Road. Recycling is available to any Frederick County resident, but the yard waste drop-off is only available to people who have an ID or driver’s license that shows they live in the 21727 zip code.


Last Town Block Party for the Summer

The last of the three block parties that the Town of Emmitsburg has been sponsoring this summer will be held on Friday, August 18, from 6:00-8:00 p.m. The party will be held at the Community Park and is free for everyone.


Deadline to Register to Vote Approaching

August 28 is the last day that you can register to vote in the upcoming Emmitsburg Town Election. You can register at the town office.

Fresh Fruits: Champion – Kylie Robertson (Sugar Giant Peaches); Reserve Champion – Kylie Robertson (Honey Crisp Apples) • Fresh Vegetables: Champion – Brian Harbaugh (Yellow Corn); Reserve Champion – Charles Sayler (Watermelon) • Home Products Display: Champion – Roxanna Lambert; Reserve Champion – Charlotte Dutton • Canned Fruit: Champion – Donald Stanley (Canned Pears); Reserve Champion – Carolyn Hahn (Whole Yellow Cherries) • Canned Vegetables: Champion – Carolyn Hahn (Whole Tomatoes); Reserve Champion – Carolyn Hahn (Yellow Tomato Juice) • Jellies & Preserves: Champion – Denise Shriver (Peach Preserves); Reserve Champion – Paul Miller (Pepper Jelly) • Pickles: Champion – Stephanie Ott (Dill Pickle); Reserve Champion – Joanna Fuss (Corn Relish) • Meat (Canned): Champion – Ann Welty (Canned Fish); Reserve Champion – Ann Welty (Canned Quail) • Home Cured Meats: Champion – Robert McAfee (Ham); Reserve Champion – Catoctin FFA Alumni (Ham) • Baked Products (Cake): Champion – Maxine Troxell (Hummingbird Cake); Reserve Champion – Maxine Troxell (German Chocolate Cake) • Honorable Mention (Cake): Burall Brothers Scholarship – Sherry Flohr (Coconut Cake) • Bread: Champion – Carolyn Eyler (Banana Bread); Reserve Champion – Debbie Wiles (Biscuits) • Pie: Champion – Denise Valentine (Apple Pie); Reserve Champion – Denise Valentine (Shoo Fly Pie) • Sugar Free: Champion – Roxanna Lambert (Diabetic Bread); Catherine Miller (Apple Pie) • Gluten Free Baked Product: Champion – Elizabeth Ruppert (Honey Oat Bread); Reserve Champion – Ann Welty (Bread) • Sewing: Champion – Peggy Vandercruysen (Quilt); Reserve Champion – Constance Smith (Infant Layette) • Flowers & Plants: Champion – Roxanna Lambert (Side Table Arrangement); Reserve Champion – Roxanna Lambert (Silk Arrangement) • Arts, Painting & Drawings: Champion – Penny Keilholtz (Acrylic); Reserve Champion – Johnny Kempisty (Drawing) • Crafts: Champion – James Garman (Handcrafted Furniture); Reserve Champion – Mary Connecher (Collage) • Photography: Champion – Debbie Swing (Color Photo – Action); Reserve Champion – Debbie Swing (Color Photo – Animal) • Corn: Champion – Matt Clark (Yellow Corn); Reserve Champion – Bridgette Kinna (Indian Corn) • Small Grain & Seeds: Champion – Rodman Myers (Shelled Corn); Reserve Champion – Rodman Myers (Wheat) • Eggs: Champion – Jen Sayler (White Eggs); Reserve Champion – Audrey Downs (Brown Eggs) • Nuts: Champion – Edward Hahn (English Walnuts); Reserve Champion – Edward Hahn (Black Walnuts) • Rabbit: Champion – Laura Dutton (Rabbit and offspring); Reserve Champion – Paige Baker (Female Breeding D’Argent Champagne • Poultry: Champion – Ann Seiss (Rooster); Reserve Champion – Jerry Seiss (Hen) • Dairy: Champion – Joseph Hubbard (Ayrshire Winter Calf); Reserve Champion – Robert Hahn (Milking Shorthorn Summer Yearling) • Dairy Goats: Champion – Olivia Dutton (Doe 2 years and under 3 years); Reserve Champion – Rose Froelich (Doe 3 years and under 5 years) • Hay: Champion – Matt Clark (Alfalfa Hay); Reserve Champion – Sam Topper (Orchard Grass) • Straw: Dallas McNair (Wheat Straw); Reserve Champion – Rodman Myers (Wheat Straw) • Junior Department: Caroline Clarke (Sewn Item – vest); Reserve Champion – McKenzi Forrest (Artwork) • Junior Department Baked Product: Ryan Martin (Chocolate Cake – Frosted); Reserve Champion – Jayden Myers (Cookies) • Youth Department: Champion – Alex Bollinger (Paper Craft); Reserve Champion – Gabriella Ferraro (Gel Pen Drawing) • Youth Department Baked Product: Justin McAfee (Peach Pie); Reserve Champion – Ruby McAfee (Bread) • Beef: Champion – Margo Sweeney; Reserve Champion – Travis Fields • Lamb: Caroline Clark; Reserve Champion – Kaitlynn Neff • Swine: Champion – Wyatt Davis; Reserve Champion – Ray Martin, IV • Market Goat: Katie Glass; Reserve Champion – Joseph Hubbard • Decorated Animal Contest: Peyton Davis (Dorothy & Scare crow); Reserve Champion – Laura Dutton (Goat – Bumble Bee) • Pet Show: Tracy Beeman (Pomeranian Dog); Reserve Champion – Pam Kaas (Dog) • Kiddie Pedal Tractor Pull: Champion – Ryan Martin; Reserve Champion – Caroline Clark.
Pictured from left seated are Jessica Valentine, Susan Free, Susan Trice, Gene Long, Karen Young Myers, Maybelin Cruz, Carrie Wivell, Bridget Nicholson, Ashley McAfee, Becky Myers Linton; standing, Mark Valentine, Brian D. Glass, Principal Quesada, Dr. Terry Alban, George Bollinger, Ray Martin, Gene Bollinger, Bob Valentine, Barry Burch, Daniel Myers, Joe Kuhn, Rodman Myers, Shawn Shriner, Tyler Donnelly, Bob Fraley, Randy Valentine for Ray Valentine, Dave Harman, and Stacey Ridge.

Left side top to bottom: Flag bearers line up for the Opening Ceremony Procession of Flags.
Matthew Offutt’s dog, Maddie, won first place (Prettiest Dog).
Abby Stouter and Kaylee Smith from the Thurmont Riding Club lead a pony ride for little Emily Roberts.
Three-year-old Rebecca Schectman enjoys the sweet dwarf bunnies in the Ag area.
Right side top to bottom: Maxine Troxell (Grand Champion Cake baker) is shown with (buyers) Gateway Candyland & Liquors, Grant Kelly, Maggie Doll, John Doll, Jamison Doll, and Eva Doll.
Bob Valentine (Community Show vice-president) and Rodman Myers (Community Show president) are shown with the 2016-17 CHS FFA Ambassador, Maybelin Cruz.
Josie Martin (six years old) enthusiastically peddles to the finish line.
2016 Reserve Market Goat Champion, Joseph Hubbard, is shown with his Boer goat, Dom.


Harold and Peggy Long (donors of FFA Scholarship Hog) are shown with Catoctin Colorfest President (buyer) Carol Robertson, David R. Young (The Long’s grandson and CHS Senior), and Maybelin Cruz (2016-17 CHS FFA Ambassador).

Horseshoe Tournament participants shown are: Gary Miller, Gary Hoffmaster, Gary Willard, Rich Willard, Carl Willard, John Holt, Dick Glass, Jim Shubert, Bill Klunk, Gil Lue Kenbaugh, Dave Miller, John Smith, Dale Kaas, Donnie Kaas. Tournament winners were: 1st Place — John Holt and Dale Kaas, 2nd — Rich Willard and Carl Willard, 3rd — Gary Willard and Donnie Kaas.

Officer Duhan (Thurmont Police Department) is shown with his dog Buddy. They did a demonstration and placed in the Pet Show.

Caroline Clarke showed the Grand Champion Lamb.

The Catoctin-Ettes, Inc., also known as the Catoctin-Aires, will be hosting its annual free, four-week introductory baton twirling course for beginner twirlers.

The course will highlight basic baton twirling skills and marching over the four-week course. It is a wonderful opportunity to determine interest and talent for twirling, with no costs whatsoever! Batons are loaned free of charge for class time. Certificates of completion are presented to all who graduate the course at the final class of the session.

These classes will run on consecutive Monday evenings at the Emmitsburg Community Center Gymnasium, beginning on October 17, 2016.

An exciting new opportunity for the very young is starting this year. A new baby doll class is forming. This class is for tiny twirlers, ages three to five years old. This special class runs from 6:00-6:30 pm.

Following the baby doll session, beginner twirlers, ages six and up, will meet from 6:45-7:30 p.m.

Participants must be pre-registered. For registration or more information, please contact Donna Landsperger, the program director, at 301-271-4326 or
In addition to baton twirling, the group also sponsors competitive Pom Pom teams; Dance-Twirl teams; competition Percussion Line; and competition Color Guard, consisting of rifle spinning and flag twirling.

Those interested in these activities may register at the above mentioned contact points.

CYA Lacrosse Registration Now Open

It’s a new year—try a new sport! Lacrosse is known as the fastest game on two feet for good reason—you’re never sitting still! The Catoctin Youth Association (CYA) Lacrosse league is happy to say that it’s that time of the year again to start gearing up for another fun and exciting spring season of lacrosse. Anyone can play lacrosse—big, small, boys or girls—the game rewards coordination and agility. There is a rise in the number of teams that play, both in Maryland and nationally. CYA Lacrosse strives to provide a fun, educational, family-driven experience. In recent years, they have been fortunate to produce a number of competitive teams, including last season when their U11 Cougars—with half of the players never having played before—went to the championship.

CYA Lacrosse offers opportunities for school-age children, ages five to fourteen. They have established teams in the boys’ division, and they are happy to announce that this year they have added a girl’s division. Many of their coaches are U.S. Lacrosse certified, and with a certified coach in each division, even children with no experience will be in very capable hands to grow in the sport. Starting a new sport can be an undertaking, and an investment. For those who are interested in trying the sport, they have equipment available.

Registration is now open; they have multiple ways for you to register—even from home. You can visit them at to learn more about the sport and to register; you can also find registration forms to print and mail to P.O. BOX 374 Thurmont, MD 21788.

Questions? They have answers. Email them at or give them a call at 240-342-6238.

Just want to see what CYA Lacrosse Cougars are up to this season? Make sure to be social with them on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Thurmont Little League is Gearing Up for an Exciting Season of Baseball

The cold weather has arrived, but Thurmont Little League is gearing up for their 65th Season of Thurmont Little League baseball. Registration is open and is in full swing until March 1, 2016. Visit their website at to register.

Players from Thurmont, Sabillasville, Emmitsburg, Rocky Ridge, Woodsboro, Taneytown, and Union Bridge are welcome to register. Come be a part of the Little League experience: #playLittleLeague.

At the Tee-ball, Instructional, Minor, and Major divisions, all of their games are played in-house at the Thurmont Little League Complex. This provides families the convenience of not having to travel around the county during school nights for games.

2016 League Divisions: Tee-Ball (ages 4-6): typically, seven to ten teams; Instructional League (ages 5-8): typically, six to eight teams; Minor League (ages 7-11): typically, eight to ten teams; Little League Major (ages 9-12): six teams.

Thurmont Little League is looking forward to seeing your player on the Little League Ball Fields. Feel free to call Ed Lowry at 267-664-5059 with questions or email

Mount St. Mary’s University to Host 16th Annual Maryland International Youth Rugby Festival in April

Mount St. Mary’s University (MSM) will be the site of the 16th Annual Maryland International Youth Rugby Festival on April 23-24, 2016. The entire community is invited to come out and see some of the best boys and girls high school rugby teams from the United States and Canada.

Event Chairman Dan Soso stated that the event was moved to MSM because of the outstanding facilities, the championship caliber play of Mount St. Mary’s rugby program, and the friendliness of the entire Emmitsburg community. “It’s an amazing opportunity for us to showcase our event, the scenic beauty of our state, and the outstanding program at Mount St. Mary’s. It is a win-win for everyone involved, and we can’t wait to bring first-class high school rugby to the Mount.”

Catoctin-Ettes Hosting Free Introductory Baton Twirling Course

The Catoctin-Ettes, Inc., a local non-profit youth organization, is again hosting its free, four-week introductory baton twirling course set to begin on Monday, February 1, 2016, at the Emmitsburg Community Center Gym (on the first floor). Each class will operate for 45 minutes and run on consecutive Monday evenings, from 6:30-7:15 p.m. The course, geared for the beginner twirler from age five and up, is completely free. Additionally, batons are loaned for class-time free of charge.

The course is designed to teach beginner baton twirling skills and marching while introducing this growing sport to the community’s youth. Classes are taught by experienced coaches within the organization in an exciting and fun atmosphere. This is an exceptional opportunity to bring baton twirling to families with no costs whatsoever and to determine a child’s interest in twirling without membership commitments. All students must be pre-registered. Please contact Donna Landsperger at 240-405-2604 or


Deb Spalding

The History of Orchards in Thurmont with Elmer “Lee” Black

Interview date September 14, 2015:

Lee and his wife, Frances, came up to Thurmont from North Carolina to make his funeral arrangements. He had purchased grave sites at Eyler’s Valley Chapel years before. He seemed excited that this would be a beautiful place to be put to rest. Lee’s grandson is a mortician in Westminster. Lee said he sat down with him and went over the whole process and costs. He said, “It’s all planned out. I want a natural stone out of the mountain. I found one where I used to live. John Kinnaird will engrave it.”

Elmer “Lee” Black, 92, passed away on November 9, 2015, in Burlington, North Carolina, following a brief illness.

Elmer “Lee” Black was born January 31, 1923, near Thurmont. He was the son of the late Willis G. and Maude Baker Black. He had a brother, Harry, and a sister, Betty. Due to the untimely death of their father when Harry was 16, Lee was 14, and Betty was 12, they all learned to work hard to help their mother during the 1930s when times were tough.

Many days were spent picking green beans at the Zentz Farm (now Rodman and Bobby Myers farm). Lee and Harry built a small chicken coop to raise and sell chickens and eggs. They took care of several bee hives to get honey for themselves and sold or bartered it. They cut, split, and sold cords of wood during the winter months for some income.

The boys would trap and skin small wildlife to get money for the pelts. When trapping skunks, you had to keep the skunk’s feet off the ground or it could spray. Lee remembered one time, when he was getting a skunk out of a trap, he held it by its tail while working the trap, but accidently got its back feet back on the ground and, got sprayed!  When he got home his mother had to scrub him down in vinegar and tomato juice to get the smell off of him!

When Lee was a kid in the 1920s and 1930s, there were two places to get fruit around Thurmont. The first was a big orchard owned by Hooker Lewis on the hill behind where Cozy stood and before the highway went through. That land is now developed. About the same time, Johnny Kelbaugh had an orchard where Gateway Candyland is now. Harry Zentz was known for making cider at the time. Lee said that before he was born, most farmers and homesteaders had a small orchard of their own.

After graduating from Thurmont High School in 1940, Lee enlisted in the Army Air Corps. While serving with Headquarters Squadron 21st Air Service Group, he served as a photographer. During WWII, he was sent to the Asiatic-Pacific Theater, and was stationed in Australia and then New Guinea. He took thousands of photographs from the ground and air for Public Relations and History Reports in locations from New Guinea to Tokyo.

Discharged in 1945 after earning the rank of Staff Sargent, Lee then started a photography business in Thurmont and Emmitsburg.

Lee met his wife Frances, at the Monterey Tea House on New Year’s Eve. She was born and raised in Baltimore City. She said, “My prudish and strict mother left me with my promiscuous aunt and she took me along to a drinking place.” Frances was 16 at the time, Lee was 10 years her senior. Within three months, they were engaged and married. The year was 1949.

With a chuckle and glance at his wife, Lee said, “We’ve been together ‘off and on’ for 67 years.” This comment earned him a thump on the shoulder from his ‘Fannie’. Still smiling, he added, “I’ve had interesting things happen to me.”

Wanting to spend more time outdoors, Lee and Frances bought Hooker Lewis’ Strawberry Field in 1950 and started Blacks Hilltop Orchard. Hooker Lewis had several little orchards around Thurmont. Lee said, “During World War II and right after – nearly everyone who had an apple tree could make money from it. But after the war, you had to be good at making an orchard to stay in business.”

Lewis’ Orchard, Pryor’s Orchard, and the original Kelbaugh Orchard were the main orchards in the area. Over the years, different people bought parts of Kelbaugh’s Orchard. Russel Flanagan, who had been a mason, quit and went into the orchard business. Right after the war, Hooker Lewis’ son-in-law opened an orchard that is now Pryor’s Orchard. Galen Pryor of today’s Pryor’s Orchard is a great-grandson.

Lee enjoyed the independence of owning an orchard. All of his and Frances’ six children – two girls and four boys – worked the orchard by picking and thinning fruit.

Ira Kelbaugh, son of Kelbaugh Orchard’s originator, Johnny Kelbaugh, originally planted the orchard along Kelbaugh Road. Lee’s brother, Harry, worked for Ira during the war. When Ira semi-retired, he told Harry he would sell him the orchard. For years, Harry took care of the orchard for half the profit and eventually bought it.

This purchase included the road-side market that was very small at the time. Lee said, “When Kelbaugh first started, he didn’t sell fruit along the road. It wasn’t until the highway came through that the market (a smaller version of today’s Catoctin Mountain Orchard Market) was built around 1948.”

The two brothers, Harry and Lee, now owned orchards. Harry said to Lee, “You take care of the picking, and I’ll take care of the selling.” Lee reminisced, “We added pick-your-own black raspberries that he (Harry) raised and strawberries that we raised. There were a lot of problems along the way, I’m sure he disagreed with me and I disagreed with him, but we never had an argument.”

A regional University Of Maryland Extension man named Charlie Dunbar told Harry to build a retail market and to pack baskets with “good fruit!” Most fruit stands or “hucksters” at the time would place seconds (bruised or spotty fruit) in the bottom of a basket and top it off with good fruit! Lee and Harry used good fruit throughout and that is how it made both of their farms successful businesses.

Lee said there wasn’t any place that sold good peaches and apples between Thurmont and Washington, D.C. So, when they first opened, they had more business than they could handle. People canned at the time and would load up bushels at a time. The biggest apple growers were in Adams County, Pennsylvania, but, Lee said, “That fruit was all bruised up — the workers didn’t care.”

Business was up and down because of the economy and the weather. Lee said that at one point the orchard business was so bad that they started to raise broiler chickens.

Blacks Hilltop Orchard was, and Catoctin Mountain Orchard still is, known as “conservation showcase” orchards. Harry’s family and Lee and Frances’ family worked closely with the State of Maryland to implement smart ideas. In doing so, things changed with orchard procedures and standards.

They started to grow smaller trees to save on costs of picking and spraying; while they always used pesticides of some sort, the pesticides became more effective and made better; over time, the types of fruit were made stronger and more vibrant in color. Lee did some budding on trees, but didn’t do any genetics like the Catoctin Mountain Orchard Black family (Harry’s son Bobby’s family, Harry’s daughter, Pat) does today…

Read Part II in January issue.


Pictured left to right are Pat Black, Frances and Elmer “Lee” Black, and Bobby Black.

by Carie Stafford

download_20151114_114630My name is Tigger, and I am a four-year-old crested gecko.  My scientific name comes from the fringed crest that runs over my eyes and down my neck and back.  I am also known as the “eyelash” gecko, because the hair-like projections above my eyes look like eyelashes. I don’t actually have eyelids; I use my tongue to keep my eyes moist.

I am originally a native of the southern New Caledonia rainforest and my species was almost extinct. In 1994, there was a tropical storm and one of my kind was washed ashore; since then, we are no longer on the extinct list. We are a common household pet. Our life span is unknown, since we were extinct at one point. We currently have a few crested geckos that are about fifteen to twenty years old in captivity.

I love to climb, jump, and be in high places. People think I have suction cups on my feet; they are actually little seta hairs that give me griping action when climbing. I have tiny claws that assist with climbing, and I can also use my tail for climbing and holding. If I am in danger or feel threatened, I can lose my tail; it does not grow back. I can come in a variety of color groups, including grey, brown, red, orange and yellow, with markings of spots, stripes, and tiger-like stripes. I can grow to about seven to nine inches long.

There is more to learn of my species, but let me fill you in about me particularly. My mom adopted me with a mate, Cupcake, and we had three babies: Pooh, Piglet, and Eyore. My mom loves Disney, that is how we got our names. I lost the tip of my tail, because Cupcake thought it was a cricket—crazy woman!  Females and young are more susceptible to calcium depletion that can lead to Metabolic Bone Disease, which is fatal to us; that is how I lost my family a year and a half ago. It was sad and my mom was heartbroken.

My mom is awesome! She plays with me and I adore her. I love to climb up her long hair and sit on top of her head. She lets me climb inside her shirt sleeves, and I love to curl up in her pockets. She is very diligent with my care. I live in a twenty-gallon terrarium. I thrive in a tropical environment, so my mom ensures I have a heat lamp for the day and a red night light at night, and plenty of water. I have things to climb on and love to hang off the side of my tank. Did I tell you I was nocturnal. I eat crickets and my mom mixes a special calcium/vitamin mix in my favorite baby food: banana and mango. Well, daylight is here, and I have had a busy night. It is my bedtime. Goodnight.



A Friend, Indeed

by Valerie Nusbaum

Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver, the other gold…” A long time ago, I was a Girl Scout who would sit in front of a roaring campfire, toasting marshmallows for s’mores and singing that song. Sitting beside my best friend, Carey, I was secure in the knowledge that we’d be friends forever. Carey lives in South Carolina now. I occasionally hear from her on Facebook, and I’ve seen her at a few of our high school class reunions. We grew apart during high school, as kids will do, and we probably haven’t thought too much about each other during the last few decades. Friendships come and go; yet, sometimes friends come together again at different points in life. Maybe that will happen for Carey and me. Who knows?

Having lunch with a group of somewhat new friends the other day got me thinking about women and our friendships. I was taking stock of the conversation around the table, and I noted that we were talking about the World Cup soccer win for the ladies’ team, the best grocery stores in the area, gardening, and food. We weren’t gossiping about anyone we knew or sniping at each other about anything. We laughed a lot, and the conversation kept working around to business opportunities and marketing and sales techniques. Everyone in this particular group is an owner of a small business, making and selling original handmade items. I was impressed with the generosity of the women, and our willingness to help and support each other.

I came home from that lunch feeling proud of all of us. I sat down at my computer and shot off an email to my friend Kathy, telling her a ridiculous story about the new project I was working on, and that’s when it hit me again that we’re different things with different people. With Kathy, I tend to make jokes, and she and I tell each other things that I might not tell my other friends for fear that they’d think I’m not socially conscious. Everyone needs that one friend who lets us say bad things without calling us on the carpet. Usually, that friend reciprocates. At the very least, she laughs at what we’re saying.

Speaking for myself at least, my friends aren’t always other women. Over the years, I’ve had some wonderful male friends. Jay and I met when I was sixteen. We thought we might want to date each other, but then we realized that we weren’t that interested. Instead, we became the best of friends, and we shared years of escapades. We told each other about our love lives and didn’t hold anything back. Jay died before Randy and I got married, but they did meet each other once, and I like to think that, given time, they would have become friends, too.

I’ve been getting on Randy’s case lately, telling him that he needs more friends and that he needs to do some fun things with them. Perhaps go fishing? Randy’s response to that was a dissertation on the joy of fishing in solitude. My hubby is not much of a partier, and he isn’t overly competitive. Group activities don’t interest him much. Being a bit of a loner myself, I can understand his feelings. Sometimes I have to force myself to socialize, but in the end, I’m usually glad I did it.

We’ve tried “couples dating” in the past without much success. At one time or another, Randy has gamely gone out to dinner with each one of my close friends and her husband or significant other. One guy spent the entire evening telling Randy where to find the “best” of everything—best vacation, best food, best drinks, and so on. Another man demonstrated his prowess with a remote control, and promptly flew his little car out the front door where it crashed into a million pieces, falling off the porch. Yet another fellow fell asleep at the table and snored loudly. Worst of all was the time the wife (my friend) spent the entire meal telling us about a cat sitting on her husband’s head and loudly describing the cat’s anatomy. The other diners were horrified, and I tried to crawl under the table, all while her husband beamed. Granted, these nights out provided fodder for Randy’s repertoire of funny stories; he and I still chuckle over them. In recent years, Randy and I have met some couples who do share interests with us, and since neither of us has a prior relationship with either the man or the woman, we seem to be avoiding the crashes. Maybe we’re ready to try “dating” again. If not, I’m still very fortunate to have a husband who’s such a good friend—to me, at least.

As I’m getting older and, hopefully, more wise, I realize that of all the best friends I’ve had in my life, the one who has always been there for me is my mom. Granted, she lets me know it when I mess up, but she’s still the first person I think of when I have news—good or bad.

Having women friends of my own age and with similar interests allows me to talk about things I wouldn’t necessarily discuss with my mother or my husband. And, of course, we women can talk about our husbands, although I don’t do that…ever. I save that stuff for my newspaper column.

Guardian Hose Company Yard Sale

The Guardian Hose Company is sponsoring a yard sale on May 30, 2015, at the Thurmont carnival grounds on 123 East Main Street in Thurmont. Spaces are $5.00 each.

Vigilant Hose Company’s Spring Fling

The Vigilant Hose Company’s Annual Spring Fling will be held on Saturday, May 16, 2014, at the ARCC Athletic Complex area at Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg. This annual event features horseshoes, great food, live music, 50/50 tip jars, and much more. It’s great fun for everyone! Tickets are $60.00 each (good for two people). Get your tickets today; there are limited tickets remaining. Spring Fling gives $30,000 away in prizes! Benefits the Vigilant Hose Company and VHC Explorers Post.

Concert at Germantown Church of God

Germantown Church of God Presents Rich Kiser—a solo, finger-style guitarist—in concert on Sunday, May 17, 2015, at 6:00 p.m., at 16924 Raven Rock Road in Cascade. Admission is free.

Lewistown Fire Department Sportsmans Bingo

The Lewistown District Volunteer Fire Department, located at 11101 Hessong Bridge Road in Frederick, Maryland, will be holding a Sportsmans Bingo on Saturday, August 22, 2015. Doors will open at 4:00 p.m.; buffet meal will begin at 6:00 p.m., and games will start at 7:30 p.m. The cost is $40.00 per person (includes dinner, ice tea, and beer). Advanced ticket sales only.

Creagerstown Community Dinner

The Creagerstown Community Dinner will be held on Saturday, May 9, 2015, from noon-5:00 p.m. Dinner will feature pot pie, fried chicken, country ham, and more. The cost is $16.00 per adult, and $8.00 per child. Proceeds will benefit the upkeep of Creagerstown Cemetery and street lights.

Zurgable Brothers Holds Grill Demo

Stop by Zurgable Hardware, located at 1663 Old Emmitsburg Road in Emmitsburg, on Saturday, May 16, 2015, between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. See demonstrations of Holland Grills.

Old Field Woodworking Open House

Spring is a great time for an Old Field Woodworking Open House! Come see handcrafted and original designed furniture, or order custom-designed furniture on Saturday, May 9, 2015, at 13333 Graceham Road in Thurmont, from 11:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.

John Dowling, Kathy Dowling, Theresa Keeney, and Jack Cogan will be on hand to assist you. Receive 10% off of your purchases when you show their advertisement from page 29 of this issue. Call 301-271-4439 for more information.

Fun Festival

Don’t miss the Fun Festival at Victory Tabernacle, located at 6710 Kelly Store Road in Thurmont, on May 30, 2015, from 9:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. Event features games, crafts, face painting, live music, clowns, and much more!

Guardian Hose Company’s Flower Sale & Chicken BBQ

Don’t miss the Guardian Hose Company’s Flower Sale and Chicken BBQ event on May 8, from 10:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m., and May 9, from 8:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.

Thurmont Senior Center Yard Sale — May through September

Join the Thurmont Senior Center for a yard sale on the second Satruday in May through September. Reserve your spot for just $10.00.

Thurmont Art & Wine Walk

Come on out to the Art & Wine Walk on Main Street in Thurmont on Friday, May 8, 2015, from 6:00-8:30 p.m., for an art, wine, cupcake, and appetizer walk! The event will feature local artists.

All About Birds Art Exhibit

Don’t miss the All About Birds Art Exhibit on June 5-6, 2015, from 2:00-5:00 p.m., at the studio, located at 14726 Old Frederick Road in Rocky Ridge. Original paintings, photographs, prints, and cards will be available by local artists. The event benefits the Catoctin Forest Alliance.

Take-a-Tour Tuesday at Mother Seton School

Visit Mother Seton School for Take-a-Tour Tuesday on May 12, 2015, from 10:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. and 4:30-6:30 p.m. Mother Seton School is located at 100 Creamery Road in Emmitsburg.

Blue Ridge Sportsmen’s Events

The Blue Ridge Sportsmen’s Association in Fairfield is hosting many events in May, including a Final Wagner Shoot on May 2, 2015; a Cash Bingo on May 3, 2015, at 1:00 p.m., with doors opening at 11:30 a.m.; a Kids Fishing Rodeo on May 9, 2015, for ages 2-17 years old, with registration beginning at 8:30 a.m.; and a Crab Leg Feed on May 23, 2015.

His Place Car Show

Mark your calendar for the 6th Annual His Place Car Show, being held on Saturday, May 2, 2015, at Mother Seton School, located at 100 Creamery Road in Emmitsburg. Event features three awards each, for five categories; raffle, food, door prizes, and more.

Thurmont Anytime Fitness Offers “Free Workout Saturdays” Throughout May

Get ready for some outdoor fitness fun! Anytime Fitness of Thurmont is hosting fun-infused exercises—tug-of-war, relay races, obstacle courses, and more—at Thurmont Community Park at 11:00 a.m. every Saturday during the month of May.

The five consecutive “Free Workout Saturdays” will be led by certified personal trainers and are designed for people of every fitness level. They are open to all adults, not just Anytime Fitness members. The concept, inspired by grassroots efforts of a few Anytime Fitness clubs that regularly offer free outdoor “boot camps,” has grown into a nationwide campaign to promote physical fitness.

“We want our community to be as healthy and active as possible, and we hope that the Free Workouts Saturdays will show folks that exercise can be fun,” said George Puvel, owner of Anytime Fitness Thurmont. “We hope this is the jumpstart and motivation to continue their own personal healthier lifestyle journeys.”

Anytime Fitness Thurmont is one of more than 1,000 Anytime Fitness clubs across the United States that will host the free outdoor exercise classes.

View a Free Workout Saturday video at

“At Anytime Fitness, we’re passionate about helping people ‘get to a healthier place,’” said Puvel. “That can mean different things to different people. For some, it’s losing weight or gaining strength. For others, it’s improving balance or flexibility. The important thing is to find physical activities that you enjoy, so being active is something you look forward to—rather than dread.”

The Taney Corporation Welcomes Special Guests to Tour Facilities

The Taney Corporation, located in Taneytown, Maryland, welcomed U.S. Congressman Andy Harris’ Chief of Staff, Kevin C. Reigrut, and Community Liaison Mary O’Keeffe, to tour their office and plant facilities on February 5, 2015. 

Established in 1958, The Taney Corporation is a family-owned business considered to be the premier stair and rail manufacturer in the Mid-Atlantic market. Owned by Eric, Jeff, and Brian Glass, The Taney Corporation sells to dealers and builders throughout Maryland, Virginia, D.C., Delaware, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey.  Nancy McCormick, director of economic development for the City of Taneytown, was instrumental in coordinating the visit of Reigrut and O’Keeffe, and accompanied the congressman’s staff on their visit to The Taney Corporation. 

Mary O’Keeffe writes, “The state of Maryland is fortunate to have a manufacturing company like yours remain in operation. The motto on your card reads, ‘Over 50 years of excellence’ and after seeing the craftsmanship of what you do, I am a true believer in The Taney Corporation.” 

The Taney Corporation manufactures straight stairs, circular and spiral stairs, pre-built rails, handrails, balusters, and newels in all wood species, including red oak, yellow pine, white oak, poplar, walnut, hickory, and many others.  They employ over sixty-five people, and pride themselves on their fine craftsmanship and dedication to excellence.

Pictured from left are Community Liaison Mary O’Keeffe; Chief of Staff Kevin Reigrut; Taneytown Economic Development Director Nancy McCormick; The Taney Corporation Vice-President Brian Glass; The Taney Corporation President Jeff Glass.

Deb Spalding

Employees of the former Cozy Restaurant in Thurmont gathered at the restaurant for a group photo with Cozy’s owner, Jerry Freeze, on March 30, 2015. Many of the employees shared memories about their times together, and some of the famous customers they served. It was sobering and sad to notice how much of the historical restaurant has disappeared, including the main Cozy Restaurant sign and a few shingles from the wishing well.

Many wishes were made in that wishing well, and many memories were made by diners and employees. Former Cozy Restaurant employee, Linda Ballenger, of Rocky Ridge, recalled serving Joe Lockhart, President Clinton’s Press Secretary, the year Bill Clinton hosted a summit at Camp David. It was Lockhart’s birthday, and, after a party in his honor at Camp David, Lockhart returned to Cozy because he liked it there.

Linda said she collected a few autographs from some famous diners, but noted that Jerry Freeze wouldn’t ever ask for an autograph, because he felt it was invading the diner’s privacy. “That’s our Jerry!” said Linda.

It was important to Jerry to make sure the employees know how much they are appreciated. On the marquee, he stated, “Cozy thanks you, terrific employees, pleasure of serving 15 million,” so that everyone would know his sentiments.

Diners from all kinds of professions, ethnicities, and different countries enjoyed dining at the restaurant. Because of its proximity to Camp David, notable news journalists and political figures would utilize the restaurant. It is not to be overlooked that non-famous patrons supported the restaurant, whether passing through or meeting for a habitual meal. Jerry Freeze extended his appreciation to everyone—employees and diners.

Jerry indicated that the Smithsonian Institute has been gathering information about the restaurant for their records. He has given the mining cabin and some pig iron to the Catoctin Furnace Historical Society. An old 1929 cottage will be restored. Jerry said, “It’s crazy how excited people are about this history, and I hope more places in town will be preserved and shared historically.”

The mural on the back of one of the shops in the Cozy Village, visible from Frederick Road, was created by C. Colley in 2000, and depicts Jerry’s father, Wilbur, in the early days of the property with his dog, Rover, at the original gas station and tourist camp with tents and cabins.


Cozy employees gathered for a photo on March 30, 2015. Owner, Jerry Freeze, is shown in the middle of the bridge.


Mural by C. Colley shows the original station.

James Rada, Jr.

Brace yourselves. It could be such a cold winter that one of the best-known prognosticators—the wooly bear caterpillar—is hiding out looking for a place to stay warm.

“I haven’t seen one since August,” said Bill O’Toole, a prognosticator with the Hagers-Town Town and Country Almanac.

Though he doesn’t recall how that shy caterpillar was colored, other people have said that the few wooly bears they’ve seen are all black, a sign of a cold winter approaching. Unscientific studies done in the 1940s found a correlation between how brown the middle of a wooly bear caterpillar was and how mild the winter was. The wider the brown band in the middle, the milder the winter; therefore, an all-black caterpillar is a warning to all who follow the predictions of the wooly bear. It’s going to be cold out there!

O’Toole says that the Hershel Chart method of weather prediction that the almanac uses also shows that it will be cold this winter. Farmers developed the Hershel Chart centuries ago.

“They tracked the weather and noticed trends based on moon phases and changes,” O’Toole said.

It is not exact and things like active sunspots can play with the accuracy of the predictions.

“Right now, it looks like it will be very similar to last year; colder than normal, snowier than normal,” stated O’Toole.

He even explains that the conditions going into this winter are similar to those we had five years ago, during the winter of Snowmaggaden.

“I’m not saying that that’s going to happen,” he quickly added. “Only that things are similar.”

However, Christy Purdum noted on The Catoctin Banner’s Facebook page that the last time she saw an all-black wooly bear was the autumn before the region got hit with Snowmaggaden, and she had seen them again this fall.

Some readers chimed in on the Facebook page with their thoughts about a snowy winter.

“No thank you to a cold Winter! I want a mild Winter like we had a couple of years ago!” wrote Dawn Bonsby.

“I believe it will be a bad winter and a lot of snow,” wrote Laura Hoyt.

A few people are looking forward to northern Frederick County being a winter wonderland.

“Let it snow, let it snow…I hope it is a really deep snow,” Chris Digilarmo wrote.

So, now it’s just a waiting game. When will the first snow fall, and can I get to Arizona before it does?