Mayor Frank Davis
Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would be sitting here writing the “Mayor’s Column” for our local newspaper. I’m sure Mrs. Richards, my English teacher, would tell you the same thing. But here it goes.
My first few weeks in office have been very busy. I have spent a lot of time in the town office, learning the daily routines of our staff and working my way around the office. We held our first staff meeting with all town employees, and the meeting was recorded and sent to the town commissioners. Even though they were unable to attend in person, I felt it was important they heard the message I had for the staff. Transparency is my top priority. Over the next few weeks, I will be meeting with each staff member individually to learn more about their responsibilities and to gather ideas from them on how we can improve our operations.
While I will do my best to be available for you every day, Thursdays will be my designated “Office Day.” I will be available to meet with you to discuss concerns, listen to ideas, or just to have a cup of coffee. You are free to stop in anytime, but it would be great if you could call the office and schedule a designated time to meet.
The water rates are a major concern of many of our citizens and businesses. The town staff and commissioners are exploring options to relieve some of this financial burden from the taxpayers. One of Mayor Briggs’ last announcements in office was that funds have been found to assist with relief for the water fund. This will be discussed and, hopefully, passed by the commissioners at our November meeting.
There are several openings on committees and boards, and we need your help filling the open slots. I also plan to establish several new committees to gather more community input and to review many codes and ordinances that need updating. Please visit the town website and Facebook page to get vacancy announcements.
With winter just around the corner, it is important for you to remember that all town streets are now snow emergency routes. This means that when the Snow Emergency Plan is activated by the State of Maryland, all vehicles must be moved from roadways. We are working with area businesses and organizations to provide parking in their lots to assist citizens who don’t have off-street parking during snowstorms. More information will be forthcoming.
While there are several pressing issues that need attention, be assured we are working to resolve them. With that, I ask to please be courteous to our staff. If for some reason they are unable to help you with your concerns or problems, please ask to speak to me. If you need to vent to someone, let it be me. I have worked in a firehouse for years; I have thick skin and can handle it.
In closing, I want to thank the citizens for trusting me to lead our great town, and I will work hard every day not to disappoint you. Please feel free to contact me at [email protected], and I will do my best to respond within the same business day.From Lib and me, thank you.
Mayor John Kinnaird
Fall is upon us, and with it, comes colder weather and changing daylight hours. I ask that everyone be extra careful when driving in and around Thurmont by watching out for school kids coming and going to school. Many of our kids are out before dawn to catch a bus or to walk to school. They are crossing our streets and may not take the time to look both ways before stepping off the curb. On streets without sidewalks and on rural county roads, many kids are forced to walk along the edges of the roads. Your extra attention will be greatly appreciated.
The water and wastewater infrastructure work on North Church Street is now underway. Traffic will be impacted Monday through Thursday as the crews replace water lines and wastewater lines from the railroad bridge out to near Catoctin High School. There are flaggers in place to direct traffic, with special attention being paid to school traffic in the mornings and afternoon. I would encourage you to take different routes if you need to get through the area. During the construction phase, one lane will be closed throughout the day. At the end of each day, the roadway will be patched and both lanes reopened. Occasionally, both lanes may be closed for short times, as equipment is moved or construction involves both lanes. Once this project is completed, the State Highway Administration will be replacing North Church Street.
Thanksgiving is coming on Thursday, November 23. Karen and I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving with friends and family. On this day, our Pilgrim ancestors first enjoyed a communal meal as thanks for the well-being and success of their community. As part of our modern-day Thanksgiving, I ask everyone to consider others less fortunate than us and help support the Thurmont Food Bank and other organizations. By supporting the Thurmont Food Bank with a cash donation or with a donation of non-perishable foods, you can help guarantee a wholesome Thanksgiving meal for many of our families, friends, and neighbors. The food bank is always looking for volunteers to help—even just a few hours—with sorting donations or helping to distribute goods. It will give you a sense of making a positive difference in the lives of our neighbors.
Cold weather means we will be wearing jackets, hats, boots, gloves, and other cold-weather clothing. This year, when you start pulling out your cold-weather clothing, be sure to consider making a donation of extra jackets, sweaters, hats, gloves, and boots to the Thurmont Clothes Closet. The Clothes Closet will distribute your wearable warm clothing to those that may not be able to afford warm clothing. This is especially important for children; warm clothing helps kids enjoy school, outdoor play, and can let them be more comfortable at home if the thermostat needs to be set lower. Be on the lookout for opportunities to help schools fulfill the wishes of students for new clothing through anonymous Santa and Christmas present support. The kids will appreciate the warmth and love that warm clothes can bring them.
Thurmont just completed another Gateway to the Cure month-long event to help raise funds and awareness for Breast Cancer research and patient care. Our events support the Patty Hurwitz Breast Cancer Fund at Frederick Health. The funds raised are used locally to help provide research and patient support for Frederick Heath patients. Each of us knows a family member or a friend who has been impacted by breast cancer. We can make a difference by spreading the message of breast cancer awareness. Sadly, cancer in many forms touches too many families across our community, state, nation, and countries around the world. Sometimes, it seems like cancer can be overpowering, but today, new treatments and a better understanding of the causes of cancer have greatly improved the outlook for many patients.
November has just begun, and I am now going to remind you about upcoming Christmas events in Thurmont. We will be having our annual Christmas Tree Lighting event on Saturday, November 25, at the Mechanicstown Square Park. Then, on Saturday, December 2, we will be at the Guardian Hose Company for Christmas in Thurmont.
Comments, concerns, or compliments? I can be reached at 301-606-9458 or at [email protected].
Burgess Heath Barnes
Happy Thanksgiving. It’s hard to believe that we are less than two months away from the end of the year. I hope you enjoy time with family and friends this Thanksgiving. Always remember the ones who do not have extra funds or family during this time. If you can volunteer at a place in the community providing Thanksgiving to the less fortunate, I encourage it. I can promise you it is very rewarding.
Our annual Woodsboro Days festival on October 14-15 was a great success. Saturday saw many yard sales around town, with the largest group of them being at the Woodsboro Lutheran Church, where they also had food sales. It was great seeing so many out in the community. The weather on Sunday was great for the 3rd annual music festival in the park on the band shell that we had built three years ago. It was also the first year we had electricity to the stage—the last two years, we ran on generators. All the bands, food trucks, and vendors were wonderful. Special thanks to Billie Fulmer and the local Boy Scouts, who, once again, helped with parking. We are already looking forward to next year’s event.
Also on October 14, we held the grand opening of our skate park. This project was made possible by a suggestion from town resident Ben Marshall to the council last year. At the time, it seemed like a pipe dream, with the cost of the project and the lack of funds, but myself and former Commissioner Dana Crum (particularly) fought hard for the grant to complete the project and were successful. Now we have a wonderful skate park for the community. Thank you, Ben and Dana for your hard work, and Matt Arment from Arment Concrete for constructing it.
In addition, on October 14, the Woodsboro Volunteer Fire Department had an open house that several enjoyed going to.
As many noticed, water bills for this quarter went out late. This was due to 12 residents not having completed the water meter change upgrade yet. Billing could not be completed until all were updated. The town had to spend extra money and bring in a new plumber on October 20 to complete these final 12, as the contractor’s time in town was only for the month of September. We have finally completed the upgrade. This will make billing much smoother. In January, we will be able to start taking electronic payments, which has been a request for a long time now.
The latest town hall update is that the permits have all been approved by the county. Our architect has listed for the contractors to bid, and we must keep bids open by law for 30 days. Once the 30 days have expired, the council will select a contractor. We will open the bidding process any day now, and we are looking forward to the next step in finally building Woodsboro’s first town hall.
Halloween trick-or-treating was held on October 31 in town. It was nice seeing so many children and families out enjoying the evening.
As always, I encourage everyone to support Glade Valley Community Services (GVCS) if you have clothes or food donations, as they are always in need of items for members of the community. For more information, please contact GVCS by email at [email protected] or by calling 301-845-0213.
If you have any questions, concerns, complaints, or compliments, please feel free to reach out to me at [email protected] or by phone at 301-401-7164. Woodsboro Town meetings are held on the second Tuesday of each month at 7:00 p.m. In addition, Planning and Zoning meetings are at 6:00 p.m. on the first Monday of the month, as needed. If you have an item for the agenda, it needs to be submitted 14 days before the P&Z meeting. The current location for meetings is the St. John’s United Church of Christ, located at 8 N. 2nd Street, Woodsboro, MD 21798. The public is always invited to attend.