Developing the “soft” skills necessary to be successful in the workforce is the goal of a new teen program offered by the Fort Ritchie Community Center. The Community Center has received a $30,000 grant from the Rural Maryland Council to pilot the new initiative. In addition to learning new skills, the teens will also have the opportunity to earn some money, according to Buck Browning, executive director of the Community Center.

“The teens will have the chance to earn stipends as they successfully complete the skill development sessions,” Browning said. “Along with our local partners in this initiative, we felt it was very important to make the program simulate an employer-employee relationship. Thanks to the funding from the Rural Maryland Council, the teens will be able to earn and begin to manage money.”

The job skills program will have three main components: Education, Practice, and Evaluation. The education component will provide information to the participants on skills as basic as how to professionally answer a telephone call and take a message for a co-worker. Activities will be fun and very interactive, according to Connor Brown, operations director for the Community Center and the staff in charge of the program.

“The instructional portion is going to be fast-paced and fun,” Brown said. “We will use a wide range of strategies and techniques to keep the messages clear, consistent, and understandable,” he added. Brown said the participants will then demonstrate their new skills as they are assigned tasks within the Community Center. “The teens will have a schedule just like our current employees and they will be expected to complete their assigned tasks with the training they have received as part of the practice and evaluation components.”

A participant-parent information meeting will be held at the Community Center on November 1, 2018, at 6:30 p.m. To register for the meeting or to find out more information on the program, please call the Community Center at 301-241-5085.

For a number of years, the Thurmont Lions Club has sponsored the Thurmont Community Remembrance Tree during the Christmas season. Starting with the 2018 Christmas season, the concept of this tree has been expanded to encourage local residents and organizations to express any seasonal sentiment that they desire. As in years past, the tree will be placed on the corner lot next to the PNC Bank at East Main and South Center Street. Individuals and organizations are being asked to place their own ornaments on the tree (must be weather-proof). The ornaments can express a seasonal sentiment or simply identify the individual/organization that placed the ornament, as long as they are in good taste.

The tree will be dedicated at 4:30 p.m. on December 1 (Christmas in Thurmont Day). Ideally, we would like to see individuals/organizations place their ornaments on the tree as a part of the dedication ceremony; however, if that is not convenient, the ornaments may be placed at any time after the tree is erected (around November 25).

Please join the Thurmont Lions Club in celebrating the spirit of the Christmas Season this year.

The Emmitsburg Council of Churches (ECC) enjoyed excellent participation and inspiring speakers at its first Community Unity Day, September 23, 2018. Addressing a large number of citizens, speakers at the event emphasized the importance of love and tolerance in direct opposition to the hatred and fear scattered by the carriers of racism and bigotry.

The Home Comfort Band provided bluegrass renditions of much-beloved hymns and songs. Their Psalms celebrating a loving and merciful God were appreciated.

Mark Long, Emmitsburg citizen and organizer, began the speaking portion of the celebration by welcoming everyone. Mark stepped forward to help organize the Community Unity Day in direct response to hateful literature left on the doorsteps of many Emmitsburg citizens. He recognized the speakers and government officials attending, including Emmitsburg Mayor Don Briggs; Thurmont Mayor John Kinnaird; town commissioners; county commissioners; and candidates for local office.

Pastor Richard Baker of Trinity United Methodist Church (UMC) welcomed everyone. He spoke about how his own denomination struggles with welcoming gay couples. He then offered the opening prayer for the unity celebration.

Mayor Don Briggs spoke about how important connection is within Emmitsburg. He shared about efforts to upgrade infrastructure and the community swimming pool, both of which build up and encourage community connections, to make the town a welcoming place for all persons.

The Rev. Jon Greenstone, President, Emmitsburg Council of Churches, and Pastor of Elias Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) spoke about the importance of countering the literature left by white supremacists on Emmitsburg residents’ doorsteps. He recounted the stirring history of Emmitsburg citizens standing up against slavery and bigotry.

The Rev. Bill Goal, Bishop, Delaware Maryland Synod of the ELCA, told how he has encountered racism in his own life as a parent of adopted biracial and African-American children. He provided ways to address “funny” racial remarks that are bigoted and hateful.

Roger Wilson, Director, Frederick County Government Affairs and Policy, spoke about how Frederick County had become a place persons want to live, work, and raise their families. He spoke about how this county, through its openness and diversity, welcomes all persons.

The Rev. Stacey Coles Wilson, Baltimore-Washington Conference of the UMC, spoke passionately of the history of racism and bigotry in the United States and the currents of change toward a diversity of humankind, united by love and tolerance.

Fr. Marty McGeough, St Joseph’s Parish, Roman Catholic Church, closed with prayer and loud Amens. The ECC will continue its efforts to demonstrate love and tolerance in Emmitsburg and beyond.

Rev. Stacey Coles Wilson, Baltimore-Washington Conference of the UMC, speaks of positive currents of change towards love and tolerance at the Community Unity Day on September 23, 2018.

Photo Courtesy of Debbie Wivell and Friends

The Catoctin High School (CHS) 2018 homecoming activities were held on Friday, October 5, 2018, before and during the Cougar’s varsity football game against Rising Sun, which the Cougars won 33-13. Before the game, a Homecoming parade was held for the first time in several years and featured Cougar students infused with school spirit.

The half-time Homecoming ceremony began with introductions of the Catoctin High School Administrative Team and Athletic Directors: Assistant Principals, Jason Lininger and Mary Jacques; Principal Bernie Quesada; Athletic Director, Keith Bruck; and Assistant Athletic Director Kim Flabbi.

Catoctin High School’s first Homecoming Queen (Fall 1971) Mary Ann Rice Clever crowned the 2018 senior king and queen, Logan Rickerd and Sydney Zentz (pictured above).

Mary Ann traveled from Georgia to attend the ceremony to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the opening of Catoctin High School.

The underclass princes and princesses were: Freshman Prince—Logan Simanski, Freshman Princess—Danielle Baker; Sophomore Prince—Bronson Snurr, Sophomore Princess—Alexia Healey; Junior Prince—Owen Bubczyk, Junior Princess—Maddie Williams.

The Senior Homecoming Court nominees were: Pablo Archila, Mark Rogers, Isabel Stydinger, Hannah Hartness, Chase Wilhelm, Caroline Michael, Hunter Grimes, and Hannah Boone.

CHS 50th Anniversary activities continue throughout the year, with acknowledgements during each sport’s senior nights and commemorative t-shirts and sweatshirts available for purchase.

If you are interested in purchasing t-shirts or sweatshirts, please contact Kathy Herrmann at or 240-409-9434.

Catoctin High School’s Marching Band performs during halftime.

Photos by Deb Abraham Spalding

Theresa Dardanell

See someone alone. Reach out and help. Start With Hello! In September, Frederick County Public Schools (FCPS) participated in the third annual Sandy Hook Promise Start With Hello Week. This national anti-violence campaign encourages students to reduce social isolation with acts of kindness that starts with just saying hello. Schools created activities to promote a welcoming and inclusive place for all students.

Catoctin High School

Catoctin High School (CHS) students started the week by decorating outside the cafeteria with slogans to promote the Sandy Hook Promise Campaign. On “Hey Day Thursday,” students and staff were given name tags and the challenge was to greet new people. Representatives from the Mental Health Association distributed information, and students were given the opportunity to sign up for the Out of the Darkness Walk. A team will represent CHS during this walk at Baker Park. On “Green Out Friday,” students and staff wore green in support of the campaign, and a group picture was taken of students spelling out “Hello” on the baseball field. School Social Worker Debbie Wivell said, “It was wonderful to see many students and staff participate in the Hey Day. This early in the year, teachers and students are still getting to know each other and this is important. Green Out day was also a success.”

Thurmont Middle School

Students at Thurmont Middle School (TMS) had lots of opportunities to connect with each other. On “Hey Day Monday,” they started by saying hello to new people. The challenge on Tuesday was to make sure no one sat alone at lunch. TMS student Charlotte Bradley said, “I really liked the lunch activity of not sitting alone, where we sat with students based on our interests. The lunch activity seemed to really encourage inclusiveness and connectedness with students that we don’t normally talk to.” School Counselors Becky Krauss and Sherry Bueso agreed that Wednesday’s activity was also very successful. They said, “We are thinking that the positive post-it-notes were the most successful because most of our students participated in their classes. Students left positive, encouraging messages on their desks to be received by the next student sitting there.” The challenge on Friday was to perform a random act of kindness for a teacher or student. Principal Daniel Enck said, “The various activities that our students, staff, and community members participated in throughout the week helped bring our school community closer together. Additionally, the activities allowed students to see the benefits of reaching out to other students who they may not typically interact with. I can’t thank our students, staff, and community members enough for all of their efforts in making Start with Hello week such a success.”

Thurmont Elementary School

Students at Thurmont Elementary School especially enjoyed having community members greet them in the mornings during the week.  Special guests included directors from the FCPS central office; Mayor John Kinnaird; Keyote, the Frederick Keys mascot; athletes and cheerleaders from Catoctin High School; members of the Thurmont Police Department; Boy Scout Leaders; and employees of the local Kountry Kitchen restaurant. Activities during the week were geared toward making all students feel welcome. They had daily ice breakers during lunch and courtesy lessons on how to introduce yourself to a new person. Darby Carson said, “It helps people and makes them feel like they matter. I think we should keep doing it and let that legacy live on.” Claire Daly said, “It is helpful for those kids who don’t have a lot of friends. They won’t be so lonely.” Tyler McCallion said, “Once you get to know people more, you realize you could be really good friends.” Shalina Weitzel said, “Start With Hello Week makes us feel inspired to help other kids.” School Counselor Tammy Brotman said, “I think this is a really important message to give our students.  Having Start with Hello Week gives students both the opportunity but most of all the courage to try reaching out to others.  We are trying to build a culture of kindness, and this is a great way to continue to support that goal and really make it a genuine part of what we’re about at TES.”

Sabillasville Elementary School

Sabillasville Elementary School (SES) students started the week with one important word: Hello. On Tuesday, they wore clothing that displayed something about themselves so that they could learn about each other. School Counselor Niki Kayser said, “The students and staff really enjoyed sharing why they chose the shirt they did. It encouraged them to learn a little more about their peers’ interests.” Students performed random acts of kindness on Wednesday and participated in special activities on Thursday and Friday.  Kayser said that she received positive feedback from staff and students and heard the comment, “It’s important to be kind all the time!” many times during the week. She also said, “I feel this message is wonderful! It’s a simple way to help create a more connected and inclusive school community. This message reminds us to encourage and support one another on a daily basis, and to understand how important it is to help students learn how to be accepting of others and to see that all it takes to make a difference is just a few simple words.”

Emmitsburg Elementary School

Emmitsburg Elementary School (EES) will be incorporating the idea of friendship throughout the school year to support the Leader In Me Positive Behavior Intervention System. Activities for the week included wearing green on Monday, signing a school banner on Tuesday, breakfast buddies on Wednesday, sharing stickers on Thursday, and making posters on Friendship Friday. School Counselor Sarah Fawley said, “The students really enjoyed working with other students in making their posters. They enjoyed the morning greeters in the front lobby, who greeted students with ‘hello’ and passed out stickers and pencils.” She said that students were more aware of others; they invited other students to sit with them at lunch.

Fawley also said, “This message is very important. There is so much power in five little letters (Hello) that can impact someone’s day or life forever.”

Starting the Day by saying “Hello” at Thurmont Elementary School: Dr. Keith Harris, FCPS executive director of Accelerating Achievement & Equity; Debra O’Donnell, TES principal; students, Adania Kreitz, Darby Carson, Carolyn Mercer, Claire Daly, Tyler McCallion, Chase Jackson, Summer Bostic, Tristan Lease, Shalini Weitzel, Warren Schafer; and Thurmont Mayor John Kinnaird.

Photo by Theresa Dardanell

St. Stephen’s United Church of Christ, Cascade

by Theresa Dardanell

How does a church with a small congregation not only exist — but thrive — for over 125 years? St. Stephen’s United Church of Christ has continued to flourish, because it’s not only a place to worship but also a place where the community comes together.

The church celebrated its 125th anniversary in 2017. Originally named St. Stephen’s Reformed Church, it was built in 1892. Over the years, there were additions and renovations. Stained glass windows were installed, and a new organ was purchased; the kitchen, bathroom, and offices were remodeled. These improvements added to the beauty and functionality of the church. The addition of a community prayer room and a pavilion, complete with an additional kitchen, transformed the church into a community gathering place.

The annual Fall Festival, which features food, music, games, and an auction, is a popular community event. The pulled pork and beef sandwiches, homemade soups, French fries, ice cream, and baked goods receive great reviews on Facebook. After current renovations are complete, the community prayer room will be open day and night to provide a quiet place for prayer and meditation. The facilities are also used by a local group for A.A. meetings. Vacation Bible School is usually held at St. Stephen’s; this year, a joint Vacation Bible School was held at Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church in Rouzerville, Pennsylvania. Christmas is a special time for children attending Cascade Elementary School (CES); a Santa shop is set up either at the church or at the school. Members of the congregation provide sweet treats and inexpensive gifts that the children can purchase in secret for loved ones.

Members of the congregation are generous with contributions for local and worldwide needs. They donate food and household items to the CES food pantry; they purchase Christmas gifts for residents at Homewood and also for families in need at CES. Donations from local businesses and members of the congregation were assembled in emergency clean-up buckets that were sent to Church World Service and distributed to areas affected by natural disasters. A bake sale at Sabillasville Elementary School during Mountain Fest weekend provides some of the funds for these contributions.

Pastor Beth Firme said, “The people in this church truly have a heart for the work that God is giving them to do. They don’t let their numbers or lack of numbers stop them. They’re not afraid to work. They’re not afraid to share. They’re welcoming, they’re kind, and they want to include people in what they’re doing. They don’t always talk about what God does but you see it in what they do.  Their actions speak louder than anything else.”

Everyone is invited to join them for the 10:00 a.m. service on Sundays; there is communion on the first Sunday of each month.  St. Stephen’s United Church of Christ is located at 25445 Highfield Road in Cascade, Maryland. Check out its Facebook page for information and lots of photos.

Pastor Beth Firme (front row, on left) is pictured with members of St. Stephen’s United Church of Christ.

Photos by Theresa Dardanell

“Importance of An Attitude of Gratitude”

by Anita DiGregory

 “Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.” ~William Arthur Ward

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, the spirit of gratitude is typically celebrated in the month of November. However, increasing scientific studies are verifying the importance of fostering and demonstrating an attitude of gratitude year-round.  Science continues to confirm the myriad of benefits from gratitude, including, but not limited to: improved health, happier disposition, career boosts, better sleep, and longer life, as well as increased energy, spirituality, relaxation, self-esteem, and positive feelings, and decreased anxiety, depression, self-centeredness, and envy. Remarkably, scientists studying gratitude have witnessed the correlation between thankfulness and better marriages, stronger friendships, deeper relationships, better decision-making, productivity, and overall management. With so many positive effects, gratitude is a simple, yet powerful, characteristic we can strive to practice, emulate, and model, not only for ourselves but also for the benefit of our families, children, and communities.

“It has been said that life has treated me harshly; and sometimes I have complained in my heart because many pleasures of human experience have been withheld from me…if much has been denied me, much, very much, has been given me.” ~Helen Keller


Of course, life isn’t always easy, especially in today’s climate.  In fact, in today’s world, an attitude of gratitude can almost seem counterintuitive or even countercultural; however, here lies the powerful paradox. In a time when there is so much anger, discontent, judgement, and pain, this humble, seemingly inconsequential virtue becomes a powerhouse of healing.

In his article “3 Reasons You Should Adopt an Attitude of Gratitude,” Adam Toren states, “Adopting a gratitude practice takes you out of a problem and towards a solution. It removes you from complaining mode and into a best-outcomes mindset. That’s a skill you need in your life and in your business decision-making. Whole companies and industries have been created from seeing solutions where others only saw obstacles.”


“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson


Focusing on gratitude is a life skill that benefits not just the person practicing the virtue but also that individual’s community. The proven benefits are so numerous that companies are providing gratitude workshops to their employees.


“I am happy because I’m grateful. I choose to be grateful. That gratitude allows me to be happy. ~Will Arnett


Gratitude is contagious. People who practice thankfulness tend to be positive individuals. As a result, others want to be around them.  Those who demonstrate gratitude tend to create an encouraging ripple effect, which can be felt by those around them. This is even more evident within families and among children.


“Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude.” ~A.A. Milne


Fostering gratitude and instilling this virtue in our children is beneficial to all. Practicing thankfulness helps children develop a positive outlook. Teaching our kids to reflect on the day’s blessings helps them to appreciate more and to stop taking life’s gifts for granted. Practicing gratitude can also foster increased compassion and altruism. Teaching the art of gratitude can be quite simple and rewarding.


“Let gratitude be the pillow upon which you kneel to say your nightly prayer.” ~Maya Angelou


Model thankfulness. Children are always watching. By mindfully exhibiting thankful behaviors day-to-day, we can teach our children the virtue of gratitude. Looking someone in the eye, smiling, and saying “thank you” are all ways to exemplify gratitude. Allowing our children to observe us leaving a positive review, completing a complimentary comment card, or even informing a local business manager of their employee’s helpful service empowers our kids to become grateful as well.

Count your blessings. Take some time, perhaps in the evening, to reflect on the day. Set aside in your mind those blessings, small and large, from the last 24 hours.  Help your children reflect on their day and center on three things for which they are thankful. Teaching our children how to take time each day to do this helps them to not only focus on the positives, but to also celebrate them.

Create a journal of blessings.  Journaling can help in the articulation of feelings. It also reinforces memories, emotions, and feelings of thankfulness. A gratitude journal does not require a huge time commitment. Studies have shown positive results from merely five minutes a day of journaling.  Journals can be handwritten or typed.  Even young children can participate by illustrating in a sketchpad their thoughts on the day’s blessings.

Form a habit. Practice makes perfect, so practice the attitude of gratitude. By making thankfulness a daily practice, it becomes an automatic behavior and part of who we are.

Have share time. Gratitude is contagious. When parents model gratitude, children will be positively influenced, learn how to be grateful, and mimic that behavior.  By setting a regular time each day, such as at dinner or before bed, for each family member to share their blessings, parents can help foster the spirit of gratitude, its importance, and its positive effects.


“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” ~John F. Kennedy

by Valerie Nusbaum

This column is for the November issue, so it should be about Thanksgiving and/or being grateful for what we have. In truth, I’m writing this in early October and Thanksgiving is just a blip on my radar at this point.

I’m in the middle of getting things ready for Randy’s and my 24th wedding anniversary (October 15), and I’m hoping the weather will cooperate enough for us to get away for overnight or at least for a day trip. I’ve bought a couple of things for Randy and I got him a nice card, but remembering where I’ve put them is something else entirely, and I fear that the hunt will involve me cleaning up my studio.

Writing this column, I know Catoctin Colorfest is coming up and the town is busting loose, so I need to be aware that I can’t come and go as usual for the next few days.

I’m planning a Halloween get-together for my cousins and extended family, and we’re also preparing for trick or treat. Trick or treat would be a no-brainer for most people, but we have between 300-400 little goblins that descend upon us each year and that takes a lot of candy, not to mention that we try to do some yard decorating and that Randy wears a costume while he passes out treats and takes abuse from the little darlings.

It’s been a crazy week, and I haven’t had much time to get things done at home. Mom, Randy, and I have all had doctor’s appointments this week. I also made a pilgrimage to a new dentist because I will most likely need a root canal. The exterminator was here on Tuesday and the air conditioner repairman came on Wednesday. In between all of this, there was work, the yard guy was here, and I took Mom to Walmart. If the mailman is Randy’s nemesis, Walmart is mine.

Maybe that’s why I was thrown for a loop when I ordered a Southwest salad at the McDonald’s in Brunswick and was given a spoon for eating it. Seriously? The store was out of knives and forks. The kid at the cash register couldn’t think to tell me that when I ordered my salad? Needless to say, this didn’t end well and I can’t go back to that McDonald’s.

Sensing that I was gearing up for a meltdown, Randy thought he’d distract me with an episode of the Halloween Baking Championship on the Food Network. I love those shows. One of this season’s contestants is a young man with a lovely Carribbean accent. As we watched this guy bake, Randy looked over at me and said, “Well, that makes no sense at all.”

I asked what he meant, and he said that he’d been sure this particular contestant was from Jamaica. I still didn’t understand what he was getting at, so he explained. “The guy just said, ‘We don’t do dat in Ireland.’”

The guy actually said, “We don’t do that on our island.” And this is how we watch television at our house. One of us interprets for the other, and we take turns doing it.

Now, I wouldn’t want you to think that I’m not even contemplating Thanksgiving. I have given it some thought. In fact, I posed a question to my Facebook friends and asked them to tell me their preferred way to cook a turkey. More than one person responded that they prefer their turkey to be cooked by someone else. A few offered up smoking as a method of choice, but most people told me that they’ll do a turkey the traditional way by roasting it in the oven with something stuffed in the cavity. A lot of us do a covered roaster method to make broth for use in gravy and dressing.

I also asked people to name their favorite Thanksgiving side dish. A surprising number of people said sweet potatoes. I like sweet potatoes done many different ways, but my favorite way is mashed up in a casserole with a crunchy, sweet pecan topping. Randy prefers them on someone else’s plate, but he’ll eat them if I go to the trouble of making them. The sweet potato casserole I like best takes two days to make from scratch, or I can buy a very similar one for $3.49 at Aldi.  It fits perfectly in my fancy white casserole dish, and no one knows the difference.

We had a debate over the difference between dressing and stuffing. Dressing wins out at our house. I don’t stuff my turkey.  Randy and I like dressing with lots of celery and onions. If you’re in a pinch and can’t make your own, Mountain Gate has a delicious stuffing/dressing.

Also, I can’t stress enough that a fresh turkey tastes best.  For us, part of the tradition of Thanksgiving is standing in line on the Wednesday before the holiday at Hillside Turkey Farms to pick up our fresh bird. I have nothing against a frozen turkey. I’ve cooked my share of them, but once a year I like to go for broke.

No matter what your food preferences are or how frantic or unsettling your lives have been recently, I hope you’ll join me in taking a few minutes to realize that we all have things for which we are grateful. For me, it’s family, friends, and all of you who read my words each month.

Happy Thanksgiving!

P.S.  Thank you, Barb, for the delicious banana crème pie!


“Amazing Insect Migrators”

by Christine Maccabee

Most commonly, we think of migration as a ritual birds and Monarch butterflies undertake, but a surprising variety of insects also migrate hundreds, even thousands, of miles to spend winters in warmer habitats. Like most people, I was unaware of these amazing aeronautical feats until I read an article about it in the National Wildlife Federation magazine, which I receive due to my membership in this great conservation organization (to read the entire article and see photos of these heroic insects, look up its August-September issue).

In the article, I learned that two of my favorite and regular visitors to our flowering plants here in North America are the painted lady and the common buckeye, which are both in the same family of brush-footed butterflies. They are considered inconsistent migrants, as some die with early onset of cold weather. In more southern states where the weather is a bit warmer, they can successfully winter over in log piles, old sheds, and loose bark on trees. However, brave painted lady butterflies (which weigh less than a paperclip), flying south from frigid northern climates, such as Canada, have been detected on radar to be traveling together in massive clusters of thousands!

Reading on, I learned that the large milkweed bug, which we commonly see on milkweed seed pods and which have the same coloration as monarchs, develop wings as they mature and fly south to Mexico in the autumn. In the spring, their progeny return north following the emergence of milkweed, along a pathway similar to the Monarchs. Such amazing journeys earth’s small, beautiful, orange and black winged insects travel in order to survive treacheries of weather. I cannot help seeing parallels between them and our southern human neighbors migrating north in order to escape danger, all of us together enduring impediments such as wind and rain of hurricanes, hunger and fatigue, even other human predators. In the case of insects, unfortunately many will die from the inordinate amount of pesticides and herbicides we use on our fields to grow our food.

The champion of insect migrants is the Wandering Glider which is a small dragonfly or damselfly which I see frequently around my pond and fields during the summer; they are busy all day feeding on airborne plankton and smaller flying insects such as gnats and mosquitoes. This amazing insect has been known to cover 11,000 miles in the Eastern Hemisphere, 2,200 miles of that while crossing the Indian Ocean.  It is the only transoceanic insect migrant. Are you blown away yet?!

There is not yet, and may never be, a complete record of all the insects which migrate, but researchers have compiled a list of at least 71 species ranging from butterflies and moths to grasshoppers and even some beetles. So far, butterflies are the largest group at 27 species, followed by 20 species of moths and 15 different dragonflies, according to entomologist Mike Quinn.

The diversity of lifeforms on our planet is astounding and all of them require natural habitat and have patterns of behavior which we as human caretakers/stewards should not only be amazed about, but also should protect to the best of our abilities. So, as I continue my research and work at providing habitat on my own property, I hope you too will join me and many others in this great, important effort to preserve precious life on our planet.

Go to and become a member in order to help their efforts and to receive their great magazine.


Clifford Stitely Died Helping Others 100 Years Ago

by James Rada, Jr.

On November 6, 1918, the peace talks between the Allies and Germans had been completed. Men who had fought so hard for years looked forward to the peace that would take place on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.

The Meuse-Argonne Offensive had started on the Western Front on September 26, and it continued as peace fast approached. It was the largest in United States military history, involving 1.2 million American soldiers. It was the largest and bloodiest operation of World War I. The men were worn down and tired. Over the forty-seven days of the battle, more than 55,000 soldiers lost their lives, including 26,277 Americans.

Clifford Stitely of Thurmont was a young private in the Army. He had been inducted into the 79th Division at Camp Meade just four months earlier.

“The departure of 110 Sammies for Camp Meade on Saturday wrung tears from many women and men alike,” the Frederick Post reported. “They tried bravely to put up a cheerful front to their sons, brothers and sweethearts, but many eyes were red and many cheeks wet before the final goodbyes had been said.”

The newspaper reported that a crowd of 3,000 showed up to see the draftees off at the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad depot.

With less than a month of training at Camp Meade, Private Stitely boarded a ship in Hoboken, New Jersey, and headed overseas to France as part of Company B, 312th Machine Gun Battalion.

In France, he fought in the Avocourt Sector and Troyon Sector of the Meuse-Argonne. His great-nephew Bill Bollinger said that on November 3, 1918, “He was on a detail picking up the wounded, and he was killed by artillery fire.”

Records show that Stitely didn’t die right away. He was taken to a field hospital where he died three days later, with less than a week to go before peace was declared.

His parents, Jacob and Mary, must have wondered why they hadn’t heard from their son, especially after peace was declared. As the days turned to weeks, they might have suspected the worst, but luckily confirmation did not arrive until after Christmas. A telegram arrived on December 28 with the news that Clifford had died “under honorable conditions,” trying to help others.

Clifford is one of eleven men that Thurmont lost during World War I. His name is inscribed on the WWI Monument in Memorial Park.


Roll of Honor

Thurmont’s lost heroes of WWI:

  • Louis R. Adams
  • Murry S. Baker
  • Benjamin E. Cline
  • Edgar J. Eyler
  • William T. Fraley
  • Roy O. Kelbaugh
  • Jesse M. Pryor
  • Clifford M. Stitely
  • Raymond L. Stull
  • Stanley M. Toms
  • James Somerset Waters

Photo Courtesy of Bill Bollinger

Get Out of the Thanksgiving Box

by Buck Reed

If Thanksgiving is a celebration or thanks for the bounty of the season, then why do we limit the foods we eat to the same thing every year? Why not add a dish or two to your table? A new dish might add a little pizzazz to your holiday and get you into the mood for a fabulous fall. Just don’t mess with the turkey or screw up the gravy.

Keep the traditional stuffing next to the turkey, but maybe think about adding another bread-based dish to your meal: bread pudding. It’s easy to add a bread pudding with pumpkin or maybe cranberries or apples to your dessert table, so take the plunge and give a savory bread pudding a try. Make a standard custard and pour it over some stale bread cubes laced with onions and filled with sautéed mushrooms, spinach, or cooked and mashed winter squash. With a little imagination, you can put a grand spin to this idea.

Another dish that could make its way as a new tradition is roasted apples stuffed with sausage. Let’s face it, “anything” and sausage is welcome on my plate. Also, consider roasted Brussel sprouts or cauliflower to add a different flavor. For the beer lovers on your guest list, try a beer and bacon vinaigrette drizzled on your roasted vegetables.

Maybe a great corn dish could find its way to your home. Corn bread (yawn) is a good start, but spoon bread is another southern favorite, or perhaps a corn soufflé or pudding could be an elegant, yet easy, dish to prepare. Don’t overlook grits, as you can add to them almost anything to transform them into a fantastic side dish. Or take a lagniappe from our Cajun friends and try corn Maque Coux.

Maybe you want to finish your meal with a bang. Got an ice cream machine collecting dust? Break it out and try your hand at making a pumpkin or cranberry ice cream. Or make a cheese cake with a cranberry curd. If we are pushing cranberries away from being a mere side dish next to turkey, let’s try a cranberry pecan trifle or a parfait featuring this berry. A sweet potato cake with spiced whipped cream might even break you out of the cranberry funk I just put you in. Note to self: Cranberry Funk would be a great name for a band.

You don’t have to make an extraordinary effort to add another dish. Perhaps you can make something that can be set up a few days in advance, or better, put your slow cooker or grill to work for you. Ladies, what better way is there to get the man in your life involved than to have him fire up the grill? For especially large families that require more than one turkey, perhaps a grilled turkey could fit the bill.

With a little planning and some thinking outside the box, you can perhaps add a little spark to an otherwise dim holiday meal. Heck, forget outside the box, step out of it and kick it away. Or if you really want to be different, head to the local Chinese restaurant for some Peking turkey.

Need a recipe for any of these Thanksgiving ideas drop me an email at Otherwise have a great holiday.

My View of the Honor Guard and Why I Am Proud to be a Part of It

by Jim Houck, Jr.

I am a member of the Sons of AMVETS Squadron 7 Thurmont, and I really enjoy the welcoming feeling the people at the post have conveyed to me since I joined. I consider myself a part of the family of Veterans, Auxiliary, and Sons, who work together to make our post one of the best in America.

The different factions and functions of our family make whatever we choose to venture into almost always a success. I say almost because we are not perfect; but, we are working on it. The officers of the post are always thinking about ways to improve our post and you can see the improvements with each visit.

We strive to help our Veterans and our community every day. AMVETS Post 7 has an award-winning Honor Guard, led by Ed McKinnon, who are invited to post colors at many events and to participate in several parades. The members stand guard at Veteran’s funerals and do graveside services, such as the folding and presentation of the flag to the next of kin and a rifle volley with the playing of taps at the end of the firing. I was asked to join the Honor Guard and, at first, I thought they were joking, because I was sixty-six years old and I thought they would not want an old overweight codger like me on an award-winning team. Boy, was I wrong, as they already had men older than I am on their team. So, I said yes and attended my first meeting with them, not knowing what to expect. I have to say, I was hooked after that meeting and never again thought about not joining.

Ed McKinnon was, and is, a very patient man, who will teach, with the help of all the other great guys on the team, everything you need to know. He doesn’t expect you to learn everything all at once, which is why he holds practice each month or as often as needed. I know without practice that I would get rusty and forget things when I needed them, and I want to do the best job possible. I remember when Ed told me to go get fitted for a uniform. I went to the tailor shop to get fitted; it really didn’t take as long as I thought it would. They told me the uniform would be ready in about two weeks and they would call me. I called Ed, explaining what they had said. He said he would call them and tell them to call him first, so he could take them the things they needed to sew on the uniform that they would not have.

I waited and I waited. It was three weeks and I had heard nothing from them. I called Ed and he said he would give them a call, which he did. They told him the uniform got lost in shipping. I had never heard of such a thing, but the only thing I could do was wait. I was told by Billy—one of the team—that Omar the Tent Maker was on strike, and they couldn’t make my uniform until he returned. I mumbled under my breath a few syllables and went merrily on my way. I had to go for another fitting, and they stated they would call me when it was in so they could make adjustments. They didn’t give me a time frame this time, so I waited and finally got the call. I went immediately down there, and I walked out with my uniform in hand. I think Ed probably had a little talk with them when he took the patches and things down to them. I think he probably threatened to take his brother Donnie down for a visit if they didn’t have the uniform soon.

When I got home, I tried it on and had a picture taken—I was so proud. I was so proud, not of the way I looked in it, but the way I felt in it.

Then came my first parade to march in and, boy, was I ready for it—all 5 feet 8 inches, 270 pounds of me. I was carrying a rifle on the left side of our Flag. I was marching and stepping right along for about four blocks, and then it happened: I could feel my pants starting to fall. I tried hearing marching orders, while handling my rifle with one hand and pulling up my pants with the other, but it got too frustrating and I had to drop out. I was humiliated and upset at myself for having no butt or hips to hold up my belt and pants. I was offered a chair and some water from a kind lady watching the parade, who told me she knew as red as I was, the heat was just too much for me. I didn’t have the heart to tell her my pants were falling down, and that was the reason I was so red.

The next parade, the same thing happened, and, again, a lady offered me a seat and water and made the same remark to which I again offered no explanation and just said, “Thank you.”

Ed came looking for me after the parade each time and walked me back to meet the rest of the team. He is a thoughtful and caring person who watches everything and who will not put his men in jeopardy.

I feel the Honor Guard Team has accepted me for who I am, and I certainly have accepted them. I truly believe the Honor Guard of Post 7 to be a vital part of the AMVETS organization. By the way, Billy had his pants fall down in one of the biggest parades of the year, falling all the way down to his ankles. Omar the Tent Maker, indeed!

I am seventy-five years old now and still a member, and still as proud of my teammates as I was the very first day I joined. We are also the Honor Guard for the Department of Maryland, and we are really proud of that as well. Ed McKinnon is still our captain, and as far as I’m concerned, the best Honor Guard leader in our AMVETS Organization!

God Bless the United States of America, God Bless the American Veteran, and God Bless You.

by Dr. Thomas K. Lo

Depression is a serious mental health condition, and women are twice as likely as men to be diagnosed with it. Depression is not a normal part of being a woman. Most women, even those with the most severe depression, can get better with treatment.

So What is Depression?

Depression is when you feel sad (including crying often), empty, or hopeless most of the time (or losing interest in or taking no pleasure in daily activities) for at least two weeks. Depression can affect your ability to work, go to school, or have relationships with friends and family. Depression is one of the most common mental health conditions in the United States. It is an illness that involves the body, mood, and thoughts. It can affect the way you eat and sleep, the way you feel about yourself, and the way you think about things and others.

Depression is different from feeling “blue” or “down” or just sad for a few hours or a couple of days. Depression is also different from the grief that we can experience over losing a loved one or experiencing sadness after a trauma or difficult event.

Depression is Categorized in Different Ways

Major depressive disorder, also called major depression, is a combination of symptoms that affects a person’s ability to sleep, work, study, eat, and enjoy hobbies and everyday activities.

Dysthymic disorder, also called dysthymia, lasts for two years or more. The symptoms are less severe than those of major depression but can prevent you from living normally or feeling well.

Other types of depression have slightly different symptoms and may start after a certain event. These types of depression include:

Psychotic depression — a severe depressive illness, happens with some form of psychosis, such as a break with reality, hallucinations, and delusions.

Postpartum depression —diagnosed when a new mother has a major depressive episode after delivery. Depression can also begin during pregnancy, called prenatal depression.

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) — a depression during the winter months, when there is less natural sunlight.

Bipolar depression — the depressive phase of bipolar illness and requires different treatment than major depression.

Who Gets Depression?

Depression is more than twice as common for African-American, Hispanic, and white women compared to Asian-American women. Depression is also more common in women whose families live below the federal poverty line.

What Causes Depression?

There is no single cause of depression. There are many reasons why a woman may have depression. Here are a few of those reasons: (1) Women with a family history of depression may be more at risk, but depression can also happen in women who don’t have a family history of depression; (2) In someone who has depression, parts of the brain that manage mood, thoughts, sleep, appetite, and behavior may not have the right balance of chemicals; (3) Changes in the female hormones estrogen and progesterone during the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, postpartum period, perimenopause, or menopause may all raise a woman’s risk for depression. Having a miscarriage can also put a woman at higher risk for depression; (4) Serious and stressful life events, or the combination of several stressful events, may trigger depression in some people. Examples of stressful events may include trauma, loss of a loved one, a bad relationship, work responsibilities, caring for children and aging parents, physical or mental abuse, and other life circumstances; (5) Dealing with a serious health problem, such as stroke, heart attack, or cancer, can lead to depression. Some medical illnesses, like Parkinson’s disease, hypothyroidism, and other diseases can cause changes in the brain that can trigger depression; (6) Women who feel emotional or physical pain for long periods are much more likely to develop depression. The pain can come from a chronic (long-term) health problem, accident, or trauma.

What are the Symptoms of Depression?

Not all people with depression have the same symptoms. Some might have only a few symptoms, while others may have many. How often symptoms happen, how long they last, and how severe they are will likely be different for each person.

If you have any of the following symptoms for at least two weeks, you may want to talk to someone who can help you: Feeling sad, “down,” or empty, to include crying often; Feeling hopeless, worthless or useless; Losing interest in hobbies and activities that you once enjoyed; Decreased energy; Difficulty staying focused, remembering, or making decisions; Sleeplessness, early morning awakening, or oversleeping and not wanting to get up; Lack of appetite that leads to weight loss or eating to feel better, leading to weight gain; Thoughts of hurting yourself; Thoughts of death or suicide; Feeling easily annoyed, bothered, or angered; Symptoms can also be constant physical symptoms that do not get better with treatment, such as headaches, upset stomach, and pain that does not go away.

Can Exercise Help Treat Depression?

Researchers think that exercise may work better than no treatment at all to treat depression, and they think that exercise can help make depression symptoms happen less often or be less severe. People with depression often find it very difficult to exercise, even though they know it will help make them feel better.  Walking is a good way to begin exercising if you have not exercised recently.

Are there Other Natural or Complementary Treatments for Depression?

Researchers continue to actively study natural and complementary treatments for depression. They have found that natural or complementary treatments that have little or no risk, like exercise, meditation, and relaxation training, may help improve your depression symptoms and usually will not make them worse.

If you are struggling with some of the symptoms listed above and would like a free evaluation, call the Advanced Chiropractic & Nutritional Healing Center at 240-651-1650. Dr. Lo uses a non-invasive way to analyze the body to determine the underlying causes of ill or non-optimum health. We also offer free seminars, held at the office on rotating Tuesdays and Thursdays. The office is located at 7310 Grove Road, Suite 107, Frederick, MD. Check out the website at


*Resource for the article was the Office on Women’s Health (OWH).


Blair Garrett

Emmitsburg-based filmmaker Conrad Weaver’s new documentary, Heroin’s Grip has been making waves in a community affected by an addiction epidemic.

The documentary offers viewers hope, understanding, and empathy for those who have struggled with addiction or are currently dealing with the effects of opiates.

Weaver’s in-depth look at the critical issues of opioid addiction premiered locally this September, and the impact of the film is already catching the eye of filmmakers around the country. It all started by Weaver paying close attention to the people close to him and their personal issues with addiction.

“One of my friend’s kids got tangled into this mess, and hearing their stories and their struggles and seeing it on the news every day made me decide to jump into it and figure out how to tell this story,” Weaver said. “I couldn’t sit on the sidelines any longer and just turn my head away. I just had to get into it and get involved somehow.”

The response from the community has been tremendous for Weaver and his team, and it comes at a time when Frederick County and thousands of others need the message most.

“We had a screening [locally] a couple weeks ago and the feedback to that was just amazing,” Weaver said. “Immediately, I started getting calls from people around the country looking to screen the film.”

The reach of the film is perhaps what may drive awareness most, and that awareness is what Weaver is striving for. “We really hope to help people understand addiction, help them to have a little more empathy for those who are caught up in it, and I believe that is what that film is doing.”

While the documentary has been a local hit so far, soon the world may get to understand Weaver’s vision behind Heroin’s Grip. “My goal is for as many people to see it as possible,” Weaver said. “It really does change your perspective on this problem, and specifically what opioids do to the brain.”

Weaver plans to show his film locally again and hopes to have it broadcast in theaters nationwide. For Weaver, if Heroin’s Grip helps erase some of the stigma surrounding addiction or helps another to understand and support those in recovery, the documentary will have done its job.

The sense of satisfaction in filmmaking is not always about the money. Sometimes, a story needs to be told for the good of the people, and Weaver’s documentary is giving people just that. “This is my third feature documentary I’ve produced, and I love telling stories. Projects like this are near and dear to my heart.”