Frederick County Public Schools (FCPS) is accepting nominations for the 2019 Charles E. Tressler Distinguished Teacher Award. Named for a former Hood College faculty member who encouraged young people to enter the teaching profession, this award recognizes an FCPS teacher who has had a significant positive impact on young people.

Hood College presents the Tressler award annually to honor distinguished teaching in the Frederick County public schools system. A gift from the late Samuel Eig of Gaithersburg established the award. Hood College will recognize the winner during its master’s degree reception on Wednesday, May 15, 2019.

FCPS has posted eligibility and nomination criteria, nomination process and selection guidelines at The school system welcomes nominations from current or former students, teachers and support staff, parents, community members, administrators, and supervisors.

Nomination packets are due to the FCPS Communication Services Office, 191 S. East Street, Frederick, MD 21701, by 3:00 p.m., Friday, March 22, 2019.

Frederick County Public Schools (FCPS) is accepting nominations for the school system’s 2019 Support Employee of the Year Awards. The awards recognize outstanding members of FCPS support staff.

Nomination eligibility, criteria, and process information are online at Nomination packets are due Thursday, March 28, 2019, by 3:00 p.m. to the FCPS Communication Services Office, 191 S. East Street, Frederick, MD 21701.

FCPS will recognize one finalist from each of eight broad job classifications at the June 12 Board of Education meeting.

The job classifications are bus drivers; business support (which includes some Food and Nutrition Services, Transportation Office/Garage, and Technology Services positions); non-school-based custodian/maintenance/warehouse staff; school-based custodian/maintenance staff; Food and Nutrition Services staff; instructional and mainstream assistants/community liaisons/user support specialists; non-school-based secretaries; and school-based secretaries.

During the recognition, Superintendent Dr. Theresa Alban will name two of the eight finalists—one school-based and one non-school-based—the 2019 Support Employees of the Year.

It is time to recognize that special teacher who has made an impact on your child’s life and on your school community. Do you know a teacher who goes beyond what is expected? You can let this teacher know how important he/she has been to you by nominating him/her for the Thurmont Lions Club Teacher of the Year Award. Anyone can nominate a teacher: parents, students, fellow teachers, and administrators.

This award is open to pre-k through grade 12, full-time teachers, in the Catoctin feeder school system: Catoctin High, Thurmont Middle, Thurmont Elementary, Thurmont Primary, Lewistown Elementary, Sabillasville Elementary, and Mother Seton. 

All nominations will be recognized at a reception to be held on April 2, 2019, beginning at 5:30 p.m. at the Thurmont Regional Library. The Teacher of the Year for each school will be announced at the reception. The overall Teacher of the Year will be announced at the Thurmont Lions Club’s Education Night held in May 2019.

Nomination forms are available at and at the principal’s office at each school. Nomination forms are due no later than March 15, 2019.

If you have any questions, please contact Lion Susan Favorite at  or 240-409-1747 or Lion Joyce Anthony at or 240-288-8748.

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.

Blair Garrett

As temperatures rise, the snow begins to melt, and February comes to a close, high school spring sports will be kicking into high gear.

A cast of new athletes are coming in to provide Catoctin High athletics spring sports teams with the energy, drive, and dedication to be successful on and off the field. Catoctin spring sports include: boys baseball, girls softball, boys and girls lacrosse, and tennis.

Baseball. The Cougars look to improve on last season’s 6-4 record. The team has multiple matchups versus Boonsboro and Brunswick on its plate, which may be the deciding factor for the success of Catoctin High’s season. With a crop of talented athletes across the field, Catoctin Baseball appears to have another strong season in the works. The season tees off  March 21, against familiar foe Gov. Thomas Johnson.

Softball. Catoctin Softball’s 11-4 2018 season was a smashing success, and the team hopes to replicate its winning ways for the 2019 campaign. The team was bounced by the Bohemia Manor Eagles in the Maryland Girls Softball State Championships, but the Cougars’ trail back to the playoffs runs through its rivalry games early in the season.

Boys Lacrosse. Catoctin Lacrosse struggled across the board last season, but with a fresh team, fresh year, and a fresh mindset, the boys head into the 2019 season with the goal to continue improving. Getting off to a strong start might make the difference for the Cougars. The team kicks off its season in an away game on March 26 against Gov. Thomas Johnson.

Girls Lacrosse. After a rough previous season, Catoctin Girls Lacrosse has its sights set on a new start, as the team kicks off its season versus North Hagerstown on March 21. A win in the first game of the season could turn the tides and build confidence for the team moving forward.

Tennis. Catoctin Tennis kicks off with back-to-back matches March 21 and March 22 in back-to-back exhibition matches against local rivals, Boonsboro and Linganore. The team will look to get back into the win column after its hot start last season.

Blair Garrett

A scorching hot second half led the Mount to its biggest win of the season, smashing conference rivals Robert Morris University, 76-62.

The Mount struggled to keep consistent pressure in the first half, with RMU taking an early stranglehold on the game. Robert Morris clung to a double-digit lead for the majority of the first half, battling the Mountaineers up and down the court for every possession.

Mount St. Mary’s pushed back, closing the gap to a three-possession game just before the buzzer sounded for the first half. After a halftime show filled with dancing, fun, and dogs doing double dutch jump rope, the crowd was fired up, and so was the Mount to go out and finish the game strong.

That’s exactly what they did, firing off an explosive start, putting up a 10-2 run to even up the scores. The Mount looked dominant on offense, threatening quality scoring chances on every drive, but they were even stronger on the defensive side of the ball.

As the Mountaineers turned up the pressure with its full-court press, Robert Morris shooting percentages plummeted, and turnovers became their Achilles heel. The tides were officially turned on a defensive clinic put on by freshman guard Damian Chong Qui, who stole the ball at the Robert Morris baseline and immediately fed the ball with a no-look pass to Omar Habwe, who was waiting just inside the paint to slam it home.

Hawbe’s dunk came at the perfect time, igniting the crowd and the offense when Mount St. Mary’s momentum was peaking. The defender watched helplessly as Habwe slammed the basked out of his reach, prompting the bench to storm the court after a Robert Morris timeout.

The Colonials never recovered throughout the rest of the game, getting outscored 45-24 in the second half and failing to put together consistent pressure. The Mount kept its foot on the gas, thwarting the Robert Morris offense at every turn.

Mount St. Mary’s guard Vado Morse led the charge all game, sinking critical shots to continue propelling the Mount to victory. Morse ended the game with a game-high 21 points, four rebounds, and four assists.

The defining difference in the game was Mount St. Mary’s ability to transition quickly into offense, leaving Robert Morris struggling to keep up. The Mount outscored RMU 11-0 in points on fast breaks, and the team’s bench put up a staggering 21 points, one of its best totals on the season.

Forward Dee Barnes had a few important contributions off the bench, but none at a better time than his four-point play with the score knotted at 43. Barnes drained a three, getting fouled on the play, and put the free throw home to grab a lead for the Mount that it would hold for the rest of the game.

The win was particularly sweet as RMU had defeated the Mount in a nail biter earlier in the season, giving the team a bit of redemption with the final games of the season approaching. As February comes to a close and March rolls in, the team will be looking toward playoff season and hopes to carry momentum from the team’s win over RMU into the postseason.      

The Mount’s Vado Morse drives the lane en route to a 21-point game.

The CYA Basketball 2nd Annual Shoot-A-Thon event was held on Sunday, February 10, 2019, at Catoctin High School. It was a great success. Committee members planned an action-packed, fun-filled day for all the players that participated. The Shoot-A-Thon featured concessions, music, a face painter, and a bunch of high-fives and hugs. There were plenty of smiles, great shots, entertaining games, and community bonding that conveyed the spirit of our Cougar family.  

CYA is pleased to announce the raising of $9,600 from the event. In addition, over 500 non-perishable canned foods were collected that were donated to the Thurmont and Emmitsburg Food Banks.

Prizes were awarded for highest percentage foul shots made in seven groups, as well as the highest fundraiser. Winners were recognized at the Lady Cougars last home game of the season on February 15. Congratulations to all the winners: Austin Van Echo, Raegan Smith, Ethan Tokar, Corine Jewell, Kourtney Bell, Parker Davis, Colton Gray, Cooper Wiles, Dalton Reed, Abbey Shaffer, Melanie Topper, Drew Nicholson, Derek Nicholson, Jacob Kiltsch, Kaydense Cox, Eli Yocum, Emily Wetzel, Kamryn Goodin, Ava Ganjon, Paige Sweeney, and Brayden Grable. Winners of the canned food raffle include Olivia Morroni, Eli Yocum, Logan Berg, and Chase Cregger.

Student volunteers with the canned goods collected during the CYA Basketball 2nd Annual Shoot-A-Thon.

Blair Garrett

Senior Night for the Catoctin High girls basketball team (pictured above) went off without a hitch, as seniors for the Cougars led the team to a 41-28 victory.

Head Coach Amy Entwistle led the team’s senior ceremony, offering kind and inspiring words for each graduating player on the roster. “I’m so proud to share the court with each and every one of you.”

Each senior lined up beside their families, receiving the commendation and acknowledgment they deserve for the time and effort they put in week after week for the team.

“If my kids grow up to be half as good as you guys, I will have done my job,” Coach Entwistle said.  

After the ceremony, the team reconvened in the locker room to resume its usual pregame routine. This one, however, had a bit of a different feel, as each senior stormed the court for the team’s final home game of the season.

Senior players included Olivia Crum, Drucilla Long, Melanie Topper, Kelly Glass, and Raegan Smith, who all took part in the starting lineup in the team’s senior night showdown against Clear Spring.

The game got off to a rocky start for the Cougars, faltering a bit in the first quarter; but, thanks to the team’s veteran core and leadership, the team settled down and began to shut Clear Spring’s offense down.

Pressure was the key for closing down the shooting lanes against Clear Spring, with Catoctin’s star players taking over and forcing turnovers to take the lead and hold it throughout the rest of the game.

Clear Spring was held without scoring through a lengthy stretch of the second quarter, struggling to get clean shots off against the Cougars. Catoctin’s Melanie Topper and Raegan Smith played a big part in forcing Clear Spring to play their game, allowing the team’s offense to start taking over.

Freshman Emma Wivell stepped up big for Catoctin, driving the lane and jumpstarting the Cougars off to a sizeable lead just before the second half.

As the buzzer for the third quarter sounded, the Cougars again came out flying, outscoring their opponents 15-2 in a remarkable run. Catoctin held Clear Spring to just six points over the course of the second and third quarter, effectively neutralizing the team’s offense for half the game. Catoctin closed out the rest of the game smoothly, logging a 13-point victory for the team’s second win over Clear Spring this season, and its ninth win of the year.

Catoctin finished the year against one of its toughest opponents, Oakdale, dropping the away match 50-30 to cap off the season. The Cougars finished 9-13, but bounced back after a tough start to the season to go on a tremendous run through the month of January. 

The season has officially wrapped up for Catoctin. But the future is bright for the Cougars, and with the dedication and commitment the 2018-19 senior class showed, next year’s group has all the tools to have yet another strong season.

Catoctin’s Melanie Topper looks for an open target.

Saint John the Baptist Orthodox Church, Lewistown

by Theresa Dardanell

“1833…Rebuilt 1883.”  That’s what you see on the cornerstone of the historic building that is now Saint John the Baptist Orthodox Church in Lewistown.  Inside the church, you will find a small, but growing, congregation that includes young families with children, as well as members of the original parish that began as a small mission in 2005.

Although the chapel was originally a Methodist church, it became the home of the Lamb of God Charismatic Episcopal Church in 2005, under the leadership of Father James Hamrick. In 2009, they were received into the Orthodox Church and blessed as Saint John the Baptist Mission. 

On the welcome page of the Saint John the Baptist Orthodox Church website, you will find the message: “We endeavor to bring the ancient Faith of Christ and the Apostles to the people of Frederick County and beyond.” Their Sunday service begins at 9:30 a.m. with “Matins,” which includes psalms, hymns, and readings. The Mass, according to the Rite of Saint Gregory, begins at 10:00 a.m. There are hymns, readings, prayers, a sermon, and communion. Visitors and friends are always welcome to attend Matins and Mass and, in the spirit of Christian fellowship, are invited to receive the priest’s blessing and blessed bread during communion. Fellowship continues after Mass with coffee hour. Once a month, everyone meets for a potluck dinner after Mass. The children are invited to move to the pews at the front of the church for the sermon. Father Hamrick speaks to the children, as well as to the adults, during his homily. The children’s education continues during children’s church on Saturdays. 

Local and worldwide ministries are beneficiaries of the church.  Monetary and food donations are given to the Thurmont Food Bank. The Antiochian Women of St. John the Baptist meet every other week for bible or book study and choose various service projects. They are in the planning stages of a program that will supply backpacks filled with supplies to various parishes. One of the previous service projects was a summer lunch program in Lewistown. Father Hamrick and one of the parishioners are members of the Order of St. Ignatius, a charitable order that provides funds for the support of seminarians, a camping ministry, prison fellowship, and Orthodox charities. Father Hamrick, a life member of the Guardian Hose Company and Thurmont Community Ambulance Company, serves as a Chaplain for the Guardian Hose Company.

Saint John the Baptist Orthodox Church is located in Lewistown at 11199 Angleberger Road. Their very informative website,, includes information about the Orthodox faith, an archive of sermons, the “Path to Sainthood” lecture series, as well as a calendar and contact information.  Pre-recorded sermons are aired on Sunday mornings at 7:30 a.m. on WTHU.

Colleen Mcafee, parishioner and public relations coordinator for the Antiochian Women of the Mid Atlantic Diocese, said, “We know people who have been on lifelong journeys.  They are searching for something more. This fullness of the faith that’s really found in Orthodoxy. We never say where the grace of God is not but we know that the grace of God is here.  For anyone searching for the fullness of the faith, explore your local Orthodox Church.”

Pictured are Father James Hamrick (center, holding the baby), along with Deacon Stephen Kerr (next to Father James) and members of the parish.

by James Rada, Jr.

Four Club Meetings Today

At Emmitsburg two clubs have merged, the Catholic School Club and the Protestant School Club. The two organizations will alternate in meetings, one being held in the Catholic school one week and the next in the Protestant school.

About 40 members have already enrolled for club work for the coming season.

                                          – The Frederick Post, March 24, 1919

Making Road Survey

A corps of engineers began the work of making a survey of the public road leading from Thurmont, through Graceham, Rocky Ridge, Union Bridge and New Windsor to Westminster on Monday of this week.

It will be recalled that at the last session of the Legislature a bill was passed authorizing the survey of this road its entire distance between Hagerstown and Westminster. Thurmont is about half way between the two cities, the distance to Hagerstown by railroad being 28 miles and that to Westminster by rail 25 miles.

The engineers are now working from Thurmont to Westminster. Probably another corps will survey the road from Thurmont to Foxville, Smithburg (sic) on to Hagerstown.

The benefits from this road, if built, will be many. To the east of us it would take farmers out of the mud and place them on solid ground and to the west it would give the mountain people a good smooth road over which to bring their produce to railroad points.

                                          – Catoctin Clarion, March 27, 1919

Red Cross Asks Emmitsburg For $1,111.70 Quota

Emmitsburg’s quota in the Red Cross War Relief campaign started Wednesday is $1,110.70, it was announced today by George L. Wilhide and A. L. Leary, co-chairmen for the borough.

Mr. Wilhide, cashier of the Emmitsburg State bank, and Mr. Leary, principal of the Emmitsburg schools, said today that the new quota is not much higher than the amount turned in by Emmitsburg during last year’s campaign when they oversubscriber (sic) their quota by $153.20. The total given by residents of Emmitsburg last year to help the Red Cross in its services to the men and women of the armed forces and their families was $1,013.20. Mr. Wilhide, who was manager of last year’s campaign, said today.

                                          – Gettysburg Times, March 2, 1944

Sabillasville Soldier Congratulates Friend

Tech. Sgt. Joseph H. Dingle, of Sabillasville, Md. received congratulations from an old home-town friend, First Sgt. Harry L. Bittner, following the former’s completion of his 25th mission over Nazi Europe as engineer and top turret gunner on a Flying Squadron.

Bittner, who is First Sergeant of a station complement squadron, and Dingle happened to meet recently in a town near here and discovered that both were stationed at this heavy bombardment base. Both are natives of Sabillasville where Sergeant Bittner’s father, S. P. Bittner, and Dingle’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin R. Dingle, are good friends.

                                          – Frederick News, March 27, 1944

Fight Mountain Fire Near College

Emmitsburg firemen walked over a half a mile through wooded area early Thursday evening to put out a fire that destroyed over an acre of woods on a mountain about a mile from the Mt. St. Mary’s College campus.

Fire Chief Guy McGlaughlin said the blaze was apparently caused by carelessness. Armed with portable fire fighting equipment several firemen made their way on foot up the steep mountain to the fire scene.

Later, firemen were able get additional men to the fire by means of a truck after they opened a closed road leading to an old qarry.

The fire, Chief McGlaughlin said, was in the same wooded area where they had fought a blaze a few days ago.

                                          – Gettysburg Times, March 21, 1969

New 1969 Ambulance Arrives

The American Legion Ambulance Service, Inc. proudly announces the arrival of its brand new 1969 Cadillac ambulance.

The red and white, four-patient, air-conditioned “vehicle of mercy” replaces the 1963 Cadillac ambulance which has faithfully served the community for the past five years. During the past year, over 150 cases were handled by the drivers and assistants who are all on a voluntary and non-paid basis.

The new ambulance will be housed as its predecessors were, in the American Legion building. The drivers and assistants are all members of the Legion. Membership in this organization is divided in three categories, Regular, Associate, and Social membership.

                                          – Catoctin Enterprise, March 7, 1969

Emmitsburg Fire Company Auxiliary Pledges $100,000 to Capital Program

The Emmitsburg, Md., Vigilant Hose Company kicked off a major capital campaign recently and received its first significant pledge from the VHC Auxiliary, a pledge of $100,000.

The Auxiliary has made its first payment on the pledge when it presented a check for $30,000 to VHC officers at the Company’s annual dinner and awards program recently.

The capital campaign is being conducted to raise $650,000 to help the fire company purchase a 100 foot ladder truck and to build an addition to the fire station on West Main Street in Emmitsburg.

The total cost of the project, according to VHC campaign co-chairmen Gabe Baker and Steve Hollinger, is estimated to be about $990,000.

“This represents the largest investment the Vigilant Host Company has ever made in its 110 years of service to our community,” the noted “And, it’s certainly the largest capital campaign ever conducted in our community.”

                                          – Gettysburg Times, March 2, 1994

Emmitsburg readies Easter Sunrise Service

Christians of all denominations will gather on the mountainside above Mount Saint Mary’s College again this year for the annual Easter Sunrise Service on Sunday, April 3.

The service, sponsored by the Emmitsburg Council of Churches, has drawn more than 1,000 worshippers in good weather, when visitors can stroll among early spring flowers and visit the Italian mosaics of the Rosary and the Stations of the Cross.

The service will begin at 6:30 am and Msgr. Hugh. Phillips, chaplain of the Grotto, will extend greetings, and Rev. Dennis Schulze, pastor of Tom’s Creek Methodist Church, will deliver the sermon.

Music will be provided by the Emmtisburg Community Chorus, directed by Gary Schwartz.

                                          – Gettysburg Times, March 22, 1994

How to Be Kind in an Unkind World

by Anita DiGregory

Last week, after a particularly bad day, I settled in on the couch with my little ones for a much-needed movie night. After scrolling through our choices, we finally decided on an older movie (and one of my favorite family flicks), Evan Almighty, the lesser-known (but in my opinion, better) sequel to Bruce Almighty.(For a parent’s guide to the movie, see:

The movie tells the story of Evan Baxter (Steve Carell), television news anchor turned congressman. Newly elected, Baxter wants to “change the world” for the better, and he has grandiose plans on just how to do it. That is when God (Morgan Freeman) steps in to gently guide Baxter along the proper path of changing the world…a very different way than he had envisioned, with acts of kindness. 

Although released in 2007, the movie, complete with scheming political leaders set on their own personal agenda, biased, opinionated television media, and intolerance, seems quite apropos today. Although the irony was lost on my children, they enjoyed the light-hearted comedy. And, hopefully they picked up on the moral of the story, because, as it turns out, acts of random kindness really can change the world, and this world could use that right now.

In 2016, Sesame Workshop conducted a survey on kindness.  They issued the following statement:  “We chose to shine the spotlight on kindness because we have noticed an increasing number of news stories on anger, fear, bullying, and violence, as well as an overall sense of negativity permeating social discourse. We read research indicating that narcissism is on the rise, empathy is on the decline, and that middle and high school students think their parents prioritize grades and happiness over being kind to others. We also read articles about the importance of empathy and social-emotional skills.”

According to the survey, entitled “K Is for Kind: A National Survey on Kindness and Kids,” over 70 percent of parents and 86 percent of teachers often worry that the world is an unkind place for children. The survey found that both parents and teachers believe people do not go out of their way to help others. Well over 70 percent believe that kindness is essential for future success, stating that it is more important for children to learn and model kindness than for them to be academically successful. 

In fact, scientific studies continue to prove the importance and positive effects of kindness. For example, acts of kindness produce chemicals in the body that are shown to lower blood pressure, stress, depression, and anxiety, while increasing optimism, energy, happiness, and self-esteem. 

According to Christine Carter, author of Raising Happiness: 10 Simple Steps for More Joyful Kids and Happier Parents, “About half of participants in one study reported that they feel stronger and more energetic after helping others; many also reported feeling calmer and less depressed, with increased feelings of self-worth.” She adds that kindness has been found to lessen the incidence of aches and pains while protecting overall health.

Yet, in a time when news outlets spotlight stories of hatred and social media, and internet news sites are filled with angry, nasty comments, can we even make a difference; how can we “change the world” for the better? Each of us can commit to kindness. Think of what would happen if we chose to perform just three acts of kindness each day.  What if we challenged our spouses and loved ones to do the same?  What if we taught our children to commit to this as well? 

Research has found that kindness is teachable and contagious. Often acts of kindness lead to a “pay it forward” ripple effect. This means that one kind act can lead to dozens within a very short amount of time.

Lizzie Velasquez, author of Dare to Be Kind: How Extraordinary Compassion Can Transform Our World, states, “Kindness starts in the home.” Kindness begins with empathy, the ability to imagine how you would feel in the other person’s place. Parents can choose to teach and model empathy, compassion, gratitude, respect, and kindness to their children. Here is some advice from the experts on how to instill these virtues in your children.

Talk about it. Depending on their age, children may not be able to give a name to an emotion. When watching a show or reading a book with your child, talk about the characters’ feelings. Discuss their facial expressions, behaviors, and actions. Ask your child questions such as “How do you think she feels?” and “What makes you think she feels happy?”

Model Empathy and Kindness.  Children learn more from what they experience than what they are told to do. Strive to not only show them empathy and kindness, but also allow them to see you behaving this way with others.

Be a Coach. Provide your children with opportunities for kindness. Give them ideas for showing compassion and kindness in school and the community. Talk about their experiences and offer them tips and advice on developing those skills. Start a “Kindness Challenge” for your family.

We may not all be congressmen, but we can still do our part to change the world for the better, one random act of kindness at a time.

by Valerie Nusbaum

With St. Patrick’s Day right around the corner, those of us who celebrate the holiday need to be thinking about which shade of green we’ll be wearing on March 17. I usually go with a nice Kelly green, but I might change it up this year.

I had always thought that puce was a shade of green, but I found out that I was wrong. After a little research, I learned that puce is the French word for “flea.” The color puce is actually a drab brownish-reddish shade that is supposed to resemble the stain a flea would make when crushed on linen, or the color of flea droppings. Doesn’t that sound lovely? I won’t be wearing puce on St. Patty’s Day or any other time. Chartreuse, olive, lime, forest, and seafoam greens are all acceptable choices, though. So are sap, moss, and avocado. Did you know that there’s a Hooker’s green?  A lovely ensemble with a Hooker’s blouse and some puce pants might be one way to go, or not. There’s also a shade called clover green, which is a good segue to my next thought.

What is the difference between a shamrock and a clover? I’m glad you asked because this gives me the opportunity to learn something. 

As far as I can tell, a shamrock is a species of clover. There is some confusion as to which species is actually the one that serves as a symbol of Ireland. Shamrocks and most clovers have three leaves on each stem. According to legend, Saint Patrick used the three leaves to illustrate the Christian Holy Trinity.  I think I’m correct in saying that the common clover weed found in most of our lawns is not a shamrock.  However, one can occasionally find a common clover, which has four or more leaves and is considered a symbol of good luck for the finder. However,  this is a totally different thing and it doesn’t pertain to St. Patrick’s Day.

Luck, on the other hand, is associated with the Irish. Why is that? Well, it seems that during the times of the gold and silver rushes of the late 1900s, some of the most famous and prolific miners had come to the United States from Ireland. The term “luck of the Irish” was coined by other miners, and it is said that the term was used in a derogatory way that implied that the only way the Irish miners could strike it rich was through luck because they weren’t smart enough to do it any other way. How rude!  I suppose that’s how the image of the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow came about.

Of course, the pot of gold is said to belong to a leprechaun, and in order to possess the gold, one must catch the leprechaun (a tiny old man dressed in a green or red suit). Leprechauns are known tricksters, but supposedly if one is caught, he will grant his captor three wishes if the captor agrees to let him go. Leprechauns are said to enjoy drinking alcohol in large quantities, so homeowners in Ireland tended to keep their cellars locked down. It’s also interesting to point out that some historians believe the term leprechaun originated from “leath brogan,” an Irish term meaning shoemaker, which could account for those snazzy buckles we see on the shoes of most leprechauns.

Speaking of shamrocks, which I did earlier, it’s been a tradition of mine for many years to have lunch at The Shamrock restaurant on St. Patrick’s Day. I’m usually a person who’s bothered by crowds and noise, but not on March 17. I also don’t drink beer—green or otherwise—so it might seem strange that I enjoy this holiday so much, but I do. I love corned beef and cabbage, and a good Reuben sandwich (minus the Russian or Thousand Island dressing) is something I’d never turn down. People dress up in their green and wear goofy hats and accessories at the restaurant; the Celtic music is playing and the atmosphere is one of fun and good humor. It started out with me taking my mom out to lunch, then our cousin Pat joined us, and then we decided to include Randy and Pat’s husband Keith. It’s become a tradition to have lunch at The Shamrock and come back to our house for dessert. I even enjoy coming up with green treats and Irish-themed sweets.

I think I’ve told you before that my mom makes shamrock-shaped green pancakes for the holiday.  She started that tradition when my brother and I were children and she continues it to this day, unless I make the pancakes before she gets a chance to do it.

Randy’s family, being of German descent, didn’t usually join in the festivities, but I’ve managed to convince Randy that he’s a little bit Irish, if only for one day. Plus, he never turns down a good meal, a celebration, or a chance to wear a silly hat.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day to those of you who will be celebrating with us, and happy spring to all!

by Christine Maccabee

To De-Ice or Not to De-Ice, That Is the Question

I was a bit shocked, but not really surprised, when I read of the harm that is being done to the environment by the salt we throw on our sidewalks, steps, parking lots, and roads. After the Second World War, when the economy began to boom and more cars were manufactured—and, of course, more roads were built—the salt industry began to expand as well. Keeping people safe was the premise, but the environmental consequences became increasingly dire, and over many decades of use, has led to consequences most people did not see coming.

Until I began digging into some facts and figures on the subject, I worried a bit as to how the streams and rivers—the watershed, generally—was able to handle large influxes of salt during icy, snowy winters such as the one we have been experiencing this year. Increasingly over the years, I have used less and less salt on my walkways and porch due to this suspicion, and now I have some facts to support my concern that I thought I would share with you.

According to a 1991 study made by the Forestry Commission in the UK, 700,000 trees were killed annually in Western Europe by salt. Studies made by our U.S. Geological Survey has estimated 19 million tons of salt are used annually on our roads and other impervious surfaces each year. The increased use of salt since the 1950s has created long-term salination in 44 percent of 284 freshwater lakes in the Northeast and Upper Midwest. According to this study, lake ecosystems, human drinking water, fisheries, and certain aquatic lifeforms require pure, fresh, water. Our fresh water is increasingly being attacked on all sides by other pollution sources, such as overflow of coal and animal holding ponds, herbicide and pesticide run-off from farms and lawns, oil spills, other chemical spills, etc.

A pretty gloomy picture, eh?  Well, there are solutions, at least to the salt problem, and everyone can help out, if willing, especially caring homeowners and store owners and town and county officials. This winter, I have noticed a different approach to my road up here in the mountains, where the salt is applied in stripes, not thrown out loose. This may help. Also, there is salt with an additive called “deicer,” which is a combination of beet juice, alfalfa meal, or calcium magnesium acetate. However, it is still  recommended to use it sparingly.

One suggestion by National Wildlife is to shovel or sweep sidewalks early and often. I know I do, and it works quite well as melting can then occur more quickly, and sometimes even drying, all without the use of salt. Guess you might say I am on a low-salt diet!

When there is truly dangerous ice, however, I will sprinkle a bit of salt only on the area of the steps I plan to walk on. Otherwise, I am just careful, and sometimes I just rough it without any salt. I suppose roughing it, however, is not very popular anymore in this age of convenience, yet there are likely less broken bones and sprains.

Living lightly and with less is always best, as many of us are learning. As Hilary Dugan, a freshwater scientist from the University of Wisconsin said, “Chloride is an environmental problem that we could solve by purely stopping putting so much of it into our environment.” Most of us know that globally fresh water is increasingly less available as human populations increase, and this is becoming more and more of a problem every year.

So, the next time you begin to overdose with salt on your sidewalk or driveway, stop and think about where all that salt will ultimately go as it flows into our storm drains and further into our streams, rivers, and lakes.

If not this year, then next…stop and remember. Our precious Earth thanks you!

Trolley Beheads Woman

by James Rada, Jr.

The Hagerstown and Frederick Railway trolley car ran north along the Thurmont line out of Frederick on the morning of October 16, 1917. The car left Frederick City heading to Montevue and Yellow Springs and onto a crossing at Charlesville. When it reached Thurmont, it would head back on its U-shaped route to Shady Grove on the MD/PA line.

“When the car was hardly half its length away, Mrs. Wastler sprang from the bushes by flinging herself straight out from her position, and placing her head on the rail,” the Catoctin Clarion reported.

Motorman Luther Horine braked the passenger car, but he wasn’t quick enough. He wasn’t supposed to be.

The trolley ran over the woman.

Once it finally rolled to a stop, Horine and Conductor Albert Kefauver jumped to the ground to try and help the woman. It was quickly obvious that she was dead. The trolley had beheaded her. “The upper part of the skull, minus the hair, was found a short distance from the body. A large portion of the brains was found at another spot,” the Clarion reported.

Someone notified Sheriff William C. Roderick and the coroner.

Traffic on the Thurmont Line stopped as the sheriff sought answers. He soon identified the woman as sixty-three-year-old Sarah Wastler from Yellow Springs. She had waited alongside the track for the trolley to arrive to commit suicide.

The authorities notified her husband, David E. Wastler of Yellow Springs. David said his wife had a mental illness. Not only had she tried to commit suicide previously, she had also threatened to kill him and some of their eight children.

David had sworn out a warrant against his wife a few years earlier, saying Sarah was abusive and a public nuisance. He told the judge “she had threatened to kill the members of her family if not allowed to spend the money of her husband in riding upon the cars and enjoying herself in Frederick,” according to the Frederick Post.

David said his wife had abused the customers in his shoemaking shop and scared them away. “He said conditions had become so bad in the last year and that ofttimes he would sleep in his shop rather than go home and be tormented by his wife,” according to the Frederick Post.

Because of her “insane” actions, he could not hire someone to watch her while he was at work.

David told one story of how he had purchased lard to be used for cooking. However, Sarah took half of it just to waste and use for something other than cooking, so he locked up the other half because it was needed for cooking. Sarah took an axe and broke into the locked room just to take the rest of the lard and also waste it. Another time, she wasted their firewood, meant to get them through the winter, by building a large bonfire.

Then David said Sarah threatened to kill their son, Lee, and went after him with a knife. Lee was able to get the knife away from her, though, so he hadn’t been injured. Lee told the judge that “his mother had thrown knives and forks at him and that she was continually saying she was going to have him sent to the House of Correction.”

Justice Anders corroborated this and added that Lee was a good kid who did not belong there.

Other witnesses testified that Sarah would scream so loudly that it could be heard a quarter mile away, and she was always trying to have warrants served on different people.

Sarah is buried in the Faith United Church of Christ Cemetery in Charlesville. Even after death, she left one last headache for her husband. Sarah apparently ran up a large number of bills, buying things she didn’t need. David only found out about this after her death because he ran notices in the Frederick Post that he wouldn’t be held responsible for bills Sarah incurred unbeknownst to him.

The Hagerstown and Frederick Trolley traveling through the countryside on its way to Thurmont.