Mayor Don Briggs

I was looking for the tempest, but the gift of mild weather heralded in November. However, there are signs of more sobering weather to come in December.

Thank you to everyone for your patience with the Square and all the sidewalk work. For the first time, Brookfiield and Pembrook subdivisions are connected to the town with a sidewalk. There will be a heavy concentration of work at the Square in an attempt to complete this section prior to the freezing weather. The project may be completed six months ahead of schedule.

ALERT — CHANGE IN LOCATION: Because of downtown construction, the Town Christmas tree lighting on Monday, December 4, will take place in front of the Town Office and Community Center. Christmas music provided by a DJ will begin at 5:00 p.m., followed by the Mother Seton School and Christ Community Church chorales at 5:45 p.m. Then, at about 6:30 p.m., Santa Claus will arrive. Next, we will go down two blocks to the Carriage House Inn for the 29th annual “An Evening of Christmas Spirit” event for more entertainment, hay rides, free hot dogs, and hot chocolate.

ALERT — CHANGE IN DATE: Regularly scheduled Town Council meeting is moved to Tuesday, December 5, at 7:30 p.m.

Dipping back into the last days of October: I was honored to be the starter for the ESP Performing Company’s 7th Annual Autumn 5K course, “Halloween Edition” through the Mount Saint Mary’s University east campus. Eager runners—many costumed—set the tone for the wonderful fundraiser. Also, with a nod to the mild weather, the largest crowd, by many accounts, participated in or crowded the square to cheer on the annual Halloween parade as it progressed down North Seton Avenue through the town square. Then it was on to Vigilant Hose Company for refreshments and costume awards. Thank you to the Lions Club, Vigilant Hose Company, and all the businesses and civic groups that also shouldered the event. Everyone loved it; you were a success.

In November: Another solemn Veterans’ Day 21-gun salute tribute by the joint American Legion – VFW Honor Guard at our seven area cemeteries. Out of town for a wedding, I missed this year’s commemoration for the first time in seven years. Commissioner Glenn Blanchard, a Veteran, represented the town.

On several Saturday mornings, our Boy Scout Troop 727, huddled in threes and fours in their illuminated vests, gathered for merit badge credit, applying yellow refresher coats of paint to forty to fifty fire hydrants. Good to see. Thank you for the public service, your merit noted. It’s been almost twenty years since the Mount rugby team did similar volunteer work for the town.

Interesting article on farming in the Wall Street Journal (October 24, 2017) titled, “Supersized Family Owned Farms Transform U.S. Agriculture.” Four percent of U.S. farms now produce over two-thirds of the country’s agricultural output. There has not been anything like this since the U.S.D.A. began keeping records on size/production in the 1980s. The article goes on to note that one Kansas farmer can fly his Cessna thirty-plus miles over the property he owns. That’s 30,600 acres. Farm holdings of this size enjoy the economies of scale that enables them to pressure farm suppliers and grain companies for lower prices and discounts accommodations that are not available to smaller farmers. As a result, more, and smaller, farmers are being driven out of business. The average size of a farm in Frederick County is about 140 acres. Living amidst a beautiful farm community, rimmed to the west by Catoctin Mountain, we have to support our local farmers in every way. Dine at “farm to fork” restaurants. Shop at our Farmer’s Market. Stop by a local orchard.

At the recent Frederick Chapter Maryland Municipal League (MML) meeting, the membership approved its 2018 Legislative priorities. The No. 1 priority was to restore municipal Highway User Revenue (HURS) to pre-recession levels. In 2010, HURS funds (from state budgets) for municipalities lost 96 percent of transportation revenues. Currently, they have been 61 percent restored. Thank you for last year’s nudge. Please, Governor Hogan, take us back to pre-2010 level. Our municipal budgets need the revenue.

Hoping you had a wonderful Thanksgiving, and wishing a Merry Christmas to all.

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