Mayor Don Briggs
With the new year comes Emmitsburg onlyinourstate.com recognizing Emmitsburg as one of “The 10 most beautiful, charming small towns in Maryland.” Congratulations! Thank you to former Emmitsburg Mayor Ralph Irlan for bringing this to our attention.
Adding to that good news, the following grants are now in process: FY21 Two Mini Picnic Pavilions in the back of Community Park—$30,750; FY20 Band stand renovation—$11,250; FY20 Memorial Park ball field no. 7 bleacher replacement—$5,250; FY20 Community gardens rehab—$2,550; Disc golf course construction—$14,000; FY21 Wayside Exhibits—$12,052 grant; Engineering study for the waterline replacement project—$25,000.
At the January 2021 regularly scheduled town meeting, commissioners approved four additional wayside exhibits.
The effects of a second surge in coronavirus have hit our zip code. As of January 13, Maryland reported total numbers as follows:
Testing volume: 6,254,353; 24 hr. change +34,334 with 314,867 confirmed cases.
Positive tests: 24 hr. change +2,516.
Deaths: 6,233 deaths, 24 hr. change +37.
In Frederick County, there have been 13,676 positive cases and 207 deaths. In the 21727 zip code, 274 cases. For hospitals, ICU bed demand is up, acute beds demand is up, and total bed demand is up.
From the county executive’s office, first responders and frontline healthcare workers are designated as “Phase 1a” of the vaccine protocol by the state and have begun to receive vaccinations. Adults over 75 years old fall into “Phase 1b,” and the vaccine should be available by late January. For those 65–74 years old in the “Phase 1c” designated bracket, vaccinations are projected to begin in March. We have requested the use of more-convenient facilities than Frederick Health Hospital. We are working on assisting in transportation for those in need of shots wherever they might be administered. We have the vaccine; let’s not let our guard down. Wear a mask, social distance, and wash your hands.
Thank you to all our first responders, hospital staff, and frontliners who serve us every day.
If we are looking for bellwethers as to the progress of our town, all-site approvals for the proposed Rutter’s convenience gas-and-go have finally been accepted by the various levels of government. The expectation is to break ground in early spring. Most notable remaining ones would include grading and seeding along the Flat Run north of the Myers bridge and work along Irishtown Road.
With the recent snow and slow melt, groundwater has been partly replenished, but another slow-melting snow would be wonderful. We need the moisture. Your vigilance in conserving water use is greatly appreciated.
My monthly mantra: Please support our local restaurants and businesses. These are good people who serve us. As a community, through the town, the grants applied, qualified for, and received by the restaurants and businesses pale in comparison to the economic reality of the loss these businesses have experienced. Treat yourselves and help our neighbors: BUY LOCAL – BUY CARRY OUT – DINE OUT and enjoy!
It’s lining up to be a busy spring: vaccines, longer daylight hours, lots of prayers for activities, Groundhog Day, Ash Wednesday (February 17), and Easter (April 4).
Lib and I wish you the best for a happy and healthy 2021. Let us get our shots, wear our mask, wash our hands, and social distance until this virus is just another one of those things out there well under control through vaccines.
Mayor John Kinnaird
The Thurmont Board of Commissioners (BOC) has opted to return to virtual meetings for the next month. This decision was made based on an increase in positive COVID-19 test results within Frederick County and the 21788 zip code. Residents can watch the meetings on Cable Channel 99, via the streaming video page on the www.thurmont.com website, or by Zoom. The Zoom meeting code is: 671 626 6523; the passcode is: sXxm96. The BOC will reevaluate this decision after the February 9 meeting.
Free COVID-19 testing continues every other Friday, from 5:00-7:00 p.m. in the parking lot of the Thurmont Town Office at 615 East Main Street. The tests are free and are currently a drive-up test. If you need a COVID-19 test prior to the next one in Thurmont, please go to the Frederick Health Village on Monocacy Boulevard in Frederick. They test seven days a week, from 7:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. Test results typically take four to five days; if you have an upcoming procedure, they will fast-track your test results.
The State of Maryland is about to institute Level 1-B of the COVID Vaccine program. You can sign up for text messages regarding scheduling by texting FredCoVID19 to 888777. More information can be found at https://bit.ly/3bCp1Om. Please be patient; vaccines may be in short supply, and everyone is as anxious as you are to get one.
The Town of Thurmont has been making improvements to the Ice Plant Park and the Woodland Park playgrounds. This includes new climbing pieces, swings, seesaws, and other playground items. This work is being funded through Program Open Space funding and will be completed in the spring. The parks playgrounds are closed temporarily when items are being installed and are open all other times. Our thanks to the Maryland Program Open Space program for helping fund these improvements and to Thurmont’s own Playground Specialists for the amazing equipment and installations.
With winter upon us, I want to remind everyone that when it is calling for snow, we ask that cars be moved off the streets whenever possible. This allows our plows free access to clear the streets to the curb where possible. We also recommend that you do not clear the ends of your driveways until the streets have been cleared. The plows push the snow off the roadways and can reclose driveways. Sidewalks can also be an issue with snow plows. We live on North Church Street, and our sidewalks are regularly pushed shut by the SHA snow plows. It is helpful to wait until the streets are plowed before clearing sidewalks, where there’s no place to throw the snow or where there is no separation from the roadway. This is especially something to consider if you live on one of our State Highways, including East and West Main Street and North Church Street. Please be careful driving in icy or snow conditions.
The Thurmont Planning and Zoning Commission continues to address the Master Plan update and will be holding hearings to address this update throughout the next several months. P&Z meets the fourth Thursday of each month at 7:00 p.m. and can schedule special meetings. At this time, meetings are closed to in-person attendance, but residents can watch online or on Channel 99 and contact P&Z with questions or comments. Planning and Zoning Agendas are posted on www.thurmont.com on the Video Streaming page.
I hope everyone has a great month! As always, I can be contacted by phone at 301-606-9458 and via email at [email protected].