The Maryland Express 16U Girls Softball will host a Bingo on Sunday, February 25, 2018, at the Lewistown Fire Hall, located at 11101 Hessong Bridge Road in Thurmont. Doors open at noon and games begins at 2:00 p.m. The bingo package includes a 6-pack of cards for regular games/jackpot, 50/50’s, WTA, and extra cards sold separately. King Tuts and holder jars will also be sold. One hundred forty tickets must be sold or payouts will be reduced. View the advertisement ad on page 15 for more details and to find out how to get your tickets today!

Celebrate Valentine’s Day at Keysville Grace United Church of Christ’s Valentine’s Dinner, Taste of Romance, on Saturday, February 10, 2018. Serving times are 4:00 p.m., 5:30 p.m., and 7:00 p.m. Reservations need to be made by February 5; seating is limited. View the advertisement on page 11 for more information and for how to reserve your seats.

Do you want to share your talent? Are you fourteen to eighteen years old? If you answered “yes” to both of these questions, you need to come out to Teen Open Mic Night on Saturday, January 20, 2018, from 6:00-8:00 p.m., at Commodore Recording Studio on East Main Street in Thurmont. View the advertisement on page 38 for more information.

Don’t miss Friday Night Bingo, every Friday night, at the Thurmont Event Complex on Strafford Drive. Doors open at 5:00 p.m. Also at the Complex, get your tickets now for You’re Lookin’ at Country, featuring Forever Young, on January 13, 2018. Buffet dinner is included in your ticket price, with a cash bar available. View the advertisement on page 15 for more information about these upcoming not-to-miss events.

Check out all of the programs and activities Frederick County Parks & Recreation offers this winter and spring. There’s something for everyone in the family, including an Art Clinic, a Pickle Ball Drop-in, Zumba, and much more. View the advertisement on page 5 for more information and visit www.recreater.com.

Erin Dingle is more than just the Frederick County Government employee responsible for the management of the Thurmont Regional Library. She was a resident of Northern Frederick County for many years before migrating to Adams County and has always been an active contributor to the community. She was awarded the Thurmont Pomona Grange Community Citizen Award at a meeting on November 27, 2017, at the Grange Hall on East Main Street in Thurmont.

It has been her contribution to her beloved community to manage the Thurmont Library in a manner that best serves its residents. About the award, Erin expressed, “Thank you for this honor. I am blown away.”

Having been lured to the meeting under the ruse that she and some library staff members were going to give a presentation to the Grange members, Erin shared the history of the library. Before she could begin, an attendee shared, “Mrs. Bruchey [former librarian] threw her [Erin] out of the library because she talked too loud.” A laugh was shared, as Erin explained that the Thurmont Library was founded by a private group of citizens in 1956, with Mr. Ross V. Smith leading the way. Private citizens raised the money to open the library in a variety of ways, including hosting a circus at the American Legion and going door-to-door, collecting donations.

Beginning in February 1955, the Thurmont Library was first housed at the former Bobolitz property on West Main Street in Thurmont. In 1967, under the direction of Vic Jagow, the building on Water Street in Thurmont—that housed the former Moravian church (built in 1874 and operated until 1918), the former Weybright store, American store, and, at one point, a teen center—became the home of the library until 2008. Renovations to the building cost about $10,000 at that time. That site is now home to Thurmont’s Main Street Center.

The Thurmont Library was the only privately-owned branch in Frederick County. The windows from the original Moravian Church on Water Street are on display in the Agricultural Center at Thurmont Regional Library, which opened on East Moser Road in Thurmont in August of 2008. The funds from the sale of the former library on Water Street are managed by the Frederick County Community Foundation and are used for current library purposes, such as special events and programs.

The Thurmont Regional Library is a model in architecture and operation. People come from all over the state to visit the new library. It was voted the Most Amazing Library in the State of Maryland in a 2016 MSN Lifestyle poll. In addition to appealing architecture that showcases local history, the windows and a beautiful outdoor deck contribute to a comfortable environment for visitors at the library. Plans are underway to add a nature trail around the library.

Erin has enjoyed serving the community. With over thirty years in the library system, she has been a part of many changes. Beginning her career before computers, Erin filed actual library cards in the catalog in the original library. For most of her career, the library served as a reference center since there was no internet. Often, people were sent to Frederick to get what they needed. As time progressed, and the internet changed the way people access information, the library has changed. Now, it serves as a resource for information, but with more of a social element. Today, for staff, the focus is programming and outreach. “My co-workers are what make the library a special place,” Erin said. “They are ready and willing to help everyone who walks into our building. They all excel at customer service.” At the old Thurmont Library, Erin started a regular story time, held on Thursday mornings. Today, they are held almost every day of the week and for a variety of ages.

“Now, the library is more about bringing people together and community. Creating community partnerships is our primary goal,” shared Erin.

At the closing of her presentation, Erin expressed, “I love that library!”

Operationally, Erin is known for having a “happy ship” meaning that she manages the library as a supportive manager and friend to staff.

Friends of the Library members who were present expressed that Erin was on board and supportive of the Friends group from the very beginning. Ann Miller, President for the Friends said, “I’ve never seen her not being enthusiastic about an idea that somebody brought to her. She’s always said, “Yes, we can do that.”

During the November 27, 2017, meeting of the Thurmont Pomona Grange, membership certificates were presented to long-time members of the Thurmont Pomona Grange.

Jane Savage (far left) and Rodman Myers (far right) present membership certificates to long-time Grange members: (from left) Paul Mathias—65 Years (pictured is his son, Dennis Mathias, who accepted for him); Harold Long—50 Years; Joe Moser—65 Years; Sidney Moser—60 Years; Virginia Moser—65 Years; Dawn Moser—55 Years.

If the residents of Thurmont have their preference, the old railroad bridge across Church Street in downtown Thurmont would be repaired, painted black, and have the word “Thurmont” painted across it.

Those are the leading findings from a survey that was conducted by a citizen’s group, trying to decide what avenues to pursue to deal with the bridge. Town resident Bryant Despeaux came up with the idea of the survey, which has been promoted by Commissioner Marty Burns.

He said during a town meeting, “I think that bridge is the biggest eyesore this town has, and as the Gateway to the Mountain, the Gateway to Downtown, anything we do is going to be an improvement.”

The survey was posted online from July 20, 2017, to October 31, 2017. During that time 354 surveys (264 from Thurmont) were submitted from four states. The brief survey asked questions about possible options for the bridge.

Nearly 59 percent of respondents said the bridge needed to be refurbished, while 5.68 percent said it was fine as it was.

The most-popular solution for the concrete abutments was to repair them and then add a stone or faux stone covering. This was the choice of 46.97 percent of respondents. Other choices were adding murals on the abutments, painting them, or just repairing them.

Painting “Thurmont” on the bridge, so that it might serve as a gateway to the downtown area, was a popular option. Other choices were merely painting it, hanging banners, or doing nothing.

The most popular choice for a color to paint the bridge was black (31.9 percent), although some people suggested painting it with Catoctin High School’s colors.

An attractive option that intrigued a lot of respondents was to add LED lights underneath the bridge that could use different colors for different seasons or occasions.

While all of these options would undoubtedly make the bridge more attractive, they come with a cost. Burns explained that because of the lead paint on the bridge, rehabilitation could cost $100,000.

“So, I’m looking at doing fundraisers, and we’re looking at grant funding for this. We’re looking at anything to help us fund this without pulling it out of any kind of fund because it could potentially cost some money and we’re receptive to that,” Burns said.

A possible option is to do the least-expensive options first so that progress can be seen while funds continue to be raised for the more-costly alternatives.

Now the town needs to decide how it wants to proceed.

Findings from a survey conducted regarding what to do with the old railroad bridge in downtown Thurmont show residents want it repaired, painted black, and have the word “Thurmont” painted across it.

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The first Open Mic Night was held in November at the Main Street Center, and the talent of the performers was incredible! Teens, between the ages of fourteen and eighteen, sang, played instruments, and entertained for two hours. The talent and professionalism of these young people far exceeded their age.

The next teen Open Mic Night will be held Saturday, January 20, 2018, from 6:00-8:00 p.m., at the Commodore Recording Studio, located in the Catoctin Center at 202 East Main Street in Thurmont. Commodore Recording Studio is a premier recording studio that has produced Grammy-nominated work. Commodore Recording Studio is the perfect environment for aspiring young artists to perform and experience the acoustical rooms, along with the professional setting. If you are a teen, fourteen to eighteen years of age, and would like to perform, sing, play an instrument, recite poetry, or perform comedy, then Open Mic Night is for you.

James Rada, Jr.

Emmitsburg residents turned out in what many people felt were record numbers for the 29th Annual Evening of Christmas Spirit on December 4, 2017.

The evening began with the lighting of the town Christmas tree. It is something usually done on the town square, but because of the work on the square and sidewalks, it was decided to move the tree lighting to the Community Center. Many people felt this change was more conducive to hosting a crowd.

Youth choirs from Mother Seton School and Christ Community Church opened the evening with Christmas songs for the gathering crowd. Jeff Rajaski’s daughter, Maryn, attends Mother Seton School and sings with the choir, so they drove up from Frederick to be part of the evening. It was their first time attending.

“It’s a very nice event that kicks off the holiday season well,” Rajaski said. “It gets you into the Christmas spirit.”

Maryn said that she really liked having the people in attendance, singing the Christmas carols with the choir.

Following the short tree lighting ceremony, the crowd moved down to the Carriage House Restaurant for the rest of the evening. A line of children quickly formed at the entrance of the restaurant to meet with Santa. Other children were inside in a dining room, making Christmas decorations.

Jennifer Caballero’s three children—Skyler, Maddox, and Shyloh—were quick to get in line to talk to Santa. “They look forward to it every year,” said Caballero, who is an Emmitsburg resident. “I like the sense of community spirit here, and they love to see the lights.”

Caballero has lived in Emmitsburg twelve years. Before that, she lived in New Market and said she couldn’t recall the town having as big an event as Emmitsburg’s Evening of Christmas Spirit.

Outside, people could take a hayride or enjoy hot dogs, hot chocolate, and cookies. More food was upstairs in JoAnn’s Ballroom, as were the musical performances by area groups. Each year, around eight hundred hot dogs and thirty gallons of hot chocolate are served.

The Carriage House Inn sponsors the Evening of Christmas Spirit each year as a tribute to JoAnn Hance, who was the mother and wife of the Carriage House founders, Bob Hance and his father, Jim, respectively.

The community gathers inside and outside of the Carriage House in Emmitsburg to enjoy visits with Santa, craft making, hayrides, and goodies, during Emmitsburg’s annual An Evening of Christmas Spirit on December 4.

Photos by James Rada, Jr.

Visiting with Santa was one of the first destinations for many of the young children who attended the much-anticipated annual event, An Evening of Christmas Spirit.

Mother Seton School’s choir ignites Christmas spirit in the crowd, singing delightful Christmas songs.

Crowds gather to witness the Christmas tree lighting ceremony, held this year at the Community Center.

Deb Abraham Spalding

“It was a Great day for everyone. Christmas in Thurmont is always a very special event,” said Vickie Grinder, Thurmont’s Main Street manager, about the 2017 Christmas in Thurmont event, held on Saturday, December 2, 2017.

Mild and sunny weather made for a pleasant trip for participants to stroll through town, traveling from store to store to collect stamps for the prize drawing.

Mayor John Kinnaird could be found smiling for photos as Santa in Mechanicstown Park. He has put his long white beard to work for several years, volunteering as Santa throughout Thurmont and surrounding areas. His wife, Karen, also helps as Mrs. Claus. Later in the day, he read “The Night Before Christmas” to a crowd of eager listeners at the Thurmont Regional Library.

In the municipal parking lot, horse-drawn carriage rides were enjoyed by many. Boy Scouts with Troop 270 helped participants on and off the carriages in a safe manner.

Prizes winners were drawn in a presentation held at Hobb’s Hardware. Almost every kid was a winner. The day was enjoyed by many.

Mayor Kinnaird expressed these sentiments on Facebook, “What an absolutely amazing day we had at Christmas in Thurmont! Everyone had a great time and the weather was perfect. My thanks to the girls and boys of all ages who visited with us today, and a special thank you to the volunteers, businesses, and donors that made today possible. Christmas in Thurmont is one of the 365 days each year that reminds me of why I would not live anywhere else!”

Pets also love to have their photos taken with Santa! Mary Dal-Favero’s dogs are too interested in Santa’s beard to smile for the camera!

Santa is shown holding a baby elf, who felt so snuggly in Santa’s lap, a little nap seemed like a good idea.

Niki Eyler (pictured right) of Eylers Stables hosted carriage rides during Christmas in Thurmont. She is shown with  Nan Collins.

Driver John Towers is shown with Boy Scout Troop 270, who assisted with carriage rides during Christmas in Thurmont.

Northern Frederick County now has an additional bus trip, taking people to and from Frederick. The new trip on midday Tuesdays leaves the Frederick Transit Center at 12:15 p.m. The shuttle bus then stops at the College Park Plaza in Frederick, DePaul Street in Emmitsburg, Jubilee Market in Emmitsburg, the Thurmont CVS, South Center Street just south of Route 550 in Thurmont, Mountainview Plaza in Thurmont, and the Catoctin Zoo.

“It’s our hope that the addition of this midday service will make a difference to the lives of citizens, by helping them to regain some time and hours in their day and by making the service more convenient,” Frederick County Executive Jan Gardner said during a press conference.

To arrive in Frederick by 8:00 a.m., DePaul Street riders were picked up at 7:10 a.m. The returning bus leaves Frederick at 4:15 p.m. This meant riders had to plan to spend the day in Frederick.

Emmitsburg Mayor Don Briggs and Thurmont Mayor John Kinnaird had been encouraging the county to add an additional daily trip so that riders who needed to go to Frederick for a single appointment wouldn’t have to give up an entire day. Briggs said during a press conference that transportation to Frederick was “becoming a dilemma” for citizens.

County transit surveys consistently mentioned the need for more rural transportation. Missy Shank of Emmitsburg started a petition for an additional daily trip as part of a class she took at the Seton Center. She gathered more than three hundred signatures on the petition.

In December, Frederick County Transit added one additional midday trip on Tuesdays, as a pilot program. This trip leaves Frederick Monday through Friday at 12:15 p.m. and returns at 1:40 p.m. The program will be evaluated after six months and twelve months to see what ridership is for the shuttle trip and whether there is a demand for additional trips.

“We’re trying to grow into where we have it five days a week,” Mayor Briggs said, during an Emmitsburg town meeting.

The cost of the additional trip will be about $10,000. About one-quarter of this will be paid by the county, while the rest will be covered by state and federal funding. Gardner said that the hope is that the county’s portion will be able to be paid through savings, by matching paratransit riders with the new midday trip.

Kinnaird said he believes the additional trip will make a big difference for north county residents.

Frederick County Transit was also named the 2017 Outstanding Transportation Program in the state by the Transportation Association of Maryland.

Deb Abraham Spalding

Do you know what time it is? It’s Christmas time at the Fishers’ house in Lewistown! Ginger and Charles Fisher have been collecting unique Christmas items over the past forty-two years. Judging from their immense collection, they look forward to Christmas time.

The Fishers didn’t set out to collect Christmas items, but they both had the interest and it slowly caught on.

Today, you will find hundreds of festive mechanical accoutrements that fill their home with song, sparkle, movement, and Christmas color. Santa’s Marching Band taps out seventeen holiday tunes; singing Santas croon holiday favorites, story-telling Santas tell tales of Christmases long-long ago (Santas range in size from life-size to very small); snow globes line up in unique sizes and scenes; flying Santas really do fly; lights flash to a tune; Christmas trees spin and dance; elves talk when you walk by; and a penguin sings “Jingle Bells” when you clap.

The Fishers have family over each year and invite guests for cookie exchanges and open houses. During Christmas and Easter, they make candy—lots and lots of candy!

There may seem to be no rhyme or reason to the Fisher’s collection until you realize that there are collections within the collections. In the penguin-filled room, you’ll find penguins that read stories to their young, and others that sing and dance their way across the floor.

In the snowman room, you know you’ll find a whole bunch of…snowmen! The Coca-Cola collection and nativity area can’t help but catch your eye. They also have extensive outdoor decorations, including a nativity set, nine reindeer, several blow ups, and more. Keep in mind that health and healing have limited their display.

The Fishers moved to Lewistown in 1975. Charles is a career oil man, who retired after thirty-eight years with Ewing. Ginger spent her thirty-seven-year career with the federal government in budget and accounting at Fort Ritchie until it closed in 1998; she then worked at Fort Detrick for the last ten years of her career.

Charles identified his most favorite—of his many favorites—in the Christmas collection: a ceramic Dickens Christmas Village that Ginger made from greenware and then painted.

Ginger’s favorite is the nativity scene that is prominently displayed.

 

Note: Ginger has donated 35 gallons of blood. She began in 1972. She was also the first Frederick County Fire Prevention Queen in 1977, representing Lewistown.

Charles and Ginger Fisher, shown with Charles’ favorite piece in the Christmas collection: a ceramic Christmas Village that Ginger made.

Just a small part of Ginger and Charles Fisher’s unique Christmas collection, collected over the past forty-two years.

Thanks to the people of Emmitsburg, with the help of the Boy Scouts Troop 776 and five FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) classes, the Emmitsburg Food Bank shelves are full, again!

The Boy Scouts collected 1,388 items and FEMA brought almost 500 items of food to the food bank on Saturday, November 11, 2017.

FEMA also brought new car seats, diapers, formula, and other things to the Pregnancy Center. They had collected $1,500, then also went out and bought these things for these two charities. Thank you.

The following week, Mount St. Mary’s University students collected food. Mother Seton students and many churches also brought food.

Much gratitude and thanks go out to all the caring people of Emmitsburg. It is because of generous and caring people like you that the Emmitsburg Food Bank continues to help your friends in the area.

 FEMA brought almost 500 items of food to the Emmitsburg Food Bank in November, and also brought new car seats, diapers, formula, and other things to donate to the Pregnancy Center.

Boy Scouts Troop 776 collected 1,388 items for the Emmitsburg Food Bank.

Representing the Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show, Denise Valentine (right) presents a check for $650 to Phyllis Kelly and Mary Price of the Emmitsburg Food Bank. The money represents half of the proceeds from the sale of this year’s Grand Champion Junior and Youth Department Champion Cakes at the Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show. A matching donation was also presented to the Thurmont Food Bank last month.