Currently viewing the tag: "emmitsburg"

James Rada, Jr.

Thurmont

Town Votes to Annex Simmers Property

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners voted recently to annex nearly 17 acres of the Simmers property into the town. Part of the property was already in the town and the rest of the property had been included in the town’s master plan for annexation and R-5 zoning since 2010.

Cross & Company of Frederick is working with the owner, Patricia Simmers, to develop the property. Daniel Cross wants to build a 150-townhome community, assisted-living facility, and a day care center.

The annexation sparked some heated debate, but the town reviewed some of the concerns raised such as school overcrowding, traffic, and services. All of these things are not projected to be an issue. In addition, the town will collect at least $2.2 million in impact fees after the property is developed.

The commissioners’ approval for annexation will allow the project to move forward, but a long review process remains.

Senior Center Parking Lot to Expand

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners voted to have the Remsburg Family Partnership of Middletown expand the Thurmont Senior Center parking lot. The lot will increase by 1,500 sq. ft. and add nine additional spaces. The cost of the project will be $7,498.

Colorfest Services Approved

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners approved the various services needed for the annual Colorfest Festival. The cost of these services is paid for with vendor fees for their Colorfest booths.

Security: May Security of Frederick will provide 26 security guards, 2 supervisors, and 2 relief guards for the festival for a cost of $19,080. They were the only bidder.

Bus service: Rills Bus Service of Westminster will provide nine buses and two wheelchair-accessible buses on Saturday and seven buses and two wheelchair-accessible buses on Sunday for a cost of $22,000. They were the only bidder.

Sanitation: Key Sanitation of Dickerson will provide 114 porta-potties and 16 handicapped-accessible porta-potties for $19,500. They were not the low bid, but their sanitation bid was tied with their trash service bid, for which they were the sole bidder. Because of this, the commissioners decided to go with Key for sanitation.

Trash service: Key Sanitation will use the same employees who will maintain the porta-potties to collect trash during the festival. The cost is $3,150.

Colorfest Fees Will Not Increase This Year

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners will not increase vendor fees this year, primarily because of the late notice it would create for vendors. However, they are expected to increase the craft vendor fees from $50 to $60 next year.

Stormwater Basins to be Replaced

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners voted to replace 15 stormwater basins along Frederick Road. The Remsburg Family Partnership will perform the work for $70,875. The town will use Highway User Funds to pay for the work.

Emmitsburg

Changes to Deal With Tall Grass

Although it is not a major problem, the Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners approved an ordinance that allows the town to mow tall grass at the property owner’s expense and makes it chargeable as a lien against the property. Most recently, the town hung 127 door hangers on property doors where the grass was taller than eight inches. Of this number, only three property owners did not comply. Of these, two were abandoned properties and one was a property that had multiple complaints against it.

Currently, the town has to follow a lengthy process that can take months before the town gets an order of abatement. This shortens the process and increases the fine from $75 to $100 a day. The changes will cut the process down to a couple weeks.

Change Order Approved

The first change order has come from the Silo Hill basin retrofit project change order request in the amount of $42,555. It is primarily from things required by the Frederick County Soil Conservation District. It was necessary to continue the project and meet MS-4 requirements.

Town Seeking Federal Assistance from USDA Rural Development

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners authorized Mayor Don Briggs and the town manager to file an application for federal assistance with the USDA Rural Development. The application will be through the department’s Community Facility Disaster Grant Program to purchase and install streetlights, with an estimated total dollar value of $234,089. USDA would provide $128,700, and the county would need to provide $105,389.

Town Approved Stormwater Management Fee

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners approved an ordinance to implement a new stormwater management fee based on the recommendations and study results of the Environmental Finance Center of the University of Maryland. The fee will be based on the amount of impervious surface in the town. The fee is $20 per Equivalent Residential Unit (ERU), which is 2,932 square feet of impervious surface on a recorded lot.

Emmitsburg Gets a Sister City

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners issued a proclamation declaring Lutsk, Ukraine, a sister city to the Town of Emmitsburg. Lutsk is in northwestern Ukraine and has a population of more than 213,000. The goal of the relationship is that it will establish a more culturally integrated society and foster the opportunity for both communities to share ideas.

Mount St. Mary’s University has also expressed interest in partnering with Lutsk universities, such as Lesya Ukraine Volyn National University, Lutsk National Technology University, and Lutsk University Institute of Human Development.

Resignations and Appointments

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners accepted the resignation of Terri Ray as an alternate on the Planning Commission for consideration. They also appointed Brian McKenney as an alternate to the Board of Appeals to serve a term from September 12, 2022, to September 12, 2025.

Thurmont

 Mayor John Kinnaird

Where did summer go? We are now looking forward to all the fun of fall. There are plenty of events to enjoy and places to visit during the fall season.

Let’s start with Colorfest on October 8-9. There will be plenty of crafts to see at the Community Park, GHC Carnival Grounds, the American Legion, and lots of other locations all over Thurmont. As always, there will be lots of great food available all over the Colorfest area. I will be enjoying tasty sausage gravy at the Thurmont Lions Club stand on Frederick Road. Be sure to visit Thurmont on the days leading up to Colorfest to take advantage of the many yard sales all over town. Please be careful while driving on Colorfest weekend; there will be street closures on Water Street, South Center Street, Park Lane, and Frederick Road. Be sure to observe the “no parking signs” and pay attention to our traffic control officers. If you are planning to sell crafts or food, get your permit from the Town Office before Colorfest. This year, yard sales can be held without a permit on Saturday and Sunday. Above all, visit local non-profits during Colorfest and help support our many organizations, churches, Scouts, school groups, and others. Many of these groups depend on Colorfest for a large part of their annual fundraising efforts. Remember that other communities will be holding events on Colorfest weekend: Rocky Ridge, Sabillasville, Graceham, Creagerstown, and others may have great events to visit and enjoy.

The state and federal parks always have programs on the weekends, and you should check them out. The cooler weather will also bring beautiful fall colors on Catoctin Mountain and on our rolling countryside. A nice slow drive on Park Central or Catoctin Hollow Road is a great way to enjoy all the amazing colors of fall. Our covered bridges also make for great afternoon drives and offer amazing scenery and beautiful picnic areas.

If you are looking for delicious fresh fruit, fall decorations, delicious jelly and jam, or fresh baked goodies, stop at any of our local orchards. Catoctin Mountain Orchard is on Rt. 15 (north of Thurmont), Pryor’s Orchard is on Pryor Road (off of Rt. 77, west of Thurmont), and Mountain View Orchard (on Rt. 550, north of Thurmont, close to Sabillasville). All three orchards raise their own fruit and are always fresh picked!

For great Halloween fun, join us at the Community Park, 19 Frederick Road, on October 29 at 7:30 p.m., for our Movie in the Park. This year, we are showing It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, followed by the main event, Hotel Transylvania! Bring chairs, blankets, or sit in your car just like at a drive-in. The Thurmont Lions Club will be serving free popcorn and hot chocolate.

Trick-or-treat in Thurmont will be held from 6:00-7:30 p.m. on Monday, October 31. Turn on your porch light if you are handing out treats to the ghouls and goblins. Drive carefully on Halloween and help make it a safe night for our children.

For family fun on the weekends through Halloween, check out the activities, entertainment, and great food at Magnolia Meadow Farms at 13001 Creagerstown Road. The amazing corn maze, Moonlit Maze kids games, gem mining, pedal cars, and other games and adventures are waiting for you to arrive and enjoy.

We are holding several events for the Gateway to the Cure Cancer research fundraiser. The Gateway to the Cure 5K Run will be held on Saturday, October 16, at the Eyler Road Park. Check-in starts at 7:30 a.m., and the walk/run kicks off at 8:30 a.m. You can register by phone through October 13 by calling 301-271-7313 & pressing 0. We also have pink light bulbs, T-shirts, sweatshirts, and other items for sale at the Town Office, Main Street Center, and several businesses in town.

Call me at 301-606-9458 or email me at jkinnaird@thurmont.com with any questions, comments, or suggestions.

Emmitsburg

Mayor Don Briggs

Community, what is it?

Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom for more than 70 years, passed away on September 8, 2022. She became Queen at 25 years of age and shared most of her 96 years with us. Sadness, yes, in her passing, for the continuity of dignity and ease she brought to respect for the law, history, and traditions. On one of her visits to our country, she and Prince Phillip attended the Maryland – North Carolina football game at College Park on October 19, 1957, dubbed the “Queen’s Game.” It was a beautiful day, stands were packed, everybody was dressed up. Women with corsages, men in coats and ties. In attendance were my season ticket-holder father; my mother; my brother; president of the student government, whose responsibility it was to explain the game to the Australian ambassador; and me, sitting across the field with my CYO football coach. Coach and I had come after playing a CYO football game on the Ellipse behind the White House that morning. What a game. An upset 21-7 victory over a team coached by former Maryland coach Jim Tatum. A legendary game, a part of Maryland history.

On Sunday, September 11, I participated in the 9/11 commemoration at the Emmitsburg NETC campus chapel with students, instructors, and staff. The service began promptly at 8:46 a.m., the moment in time when the first plane of the attacks that day hit the North Tower of the World Trade Center. Eriks Gabliks, superintendent of National Fire Academy presided. A prayer was led by Rev. Timothy May. The tolling of the bell, three sets of five, 5-5-5, to commemorate the firefighters and first responders making their last call. After the service, everyone was invited to go up and light a candle. We all did.   

Community, what is it? With the town amidst its annual election cycle, this time for four candidates vying for two municipal commissioner seat openings, it’s as good a time as any to think about its meaning. What are the ideals, what are the expectations, what are the realities? I mention the “Queen’s Game” and the observance at FEMA Chapel for 9/11 because continuity and history are needed in the “Being” of a community.

To the topic of community, I started off my summer reading Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle, an exposé of the exploitation of immigrants who came here following a dream, but only to be sucked under by the meat packing conglomerates in Chicago in the late nineteenth-early twentieth century. Hence, the expression, “you don’t want to know how the sausage is made.” I finished the summer by reading Lorraine Hansberry’s play, A Raisin in the Sun. Again, the setting is Chicago. This time in the 1950’s. The role of nuclear family. Again, people separated from the dream.

Lutsk, Ukraine, our sister city, what is keeping those 200,000 people together? Barbaric times for them. Let’s stay committed to share our community with them.

What is a footprint for our community? As good a reference as any is from the Bible. Take the Book of Deuteronomy, it has more than met the test of time for its wisdom. We seek a community to live and raise our families, “A land flowing with milk and honey.” Choose wise, understanding people to lead and heed (cf 1:13), and “not be partial in judgments; the small and the great alike” (1:17). To possess that land as a community, like here, is a blessing that comes with commandments, statutes, and ordinances adhered to (4:14, 6:1, 7:1, 10:13, 11:1, 11:32, 12:1), and a curse if not adhered. 

To me, Emmitsburg is idyllic, very close to a land flowing with milk and honey. A community formed by centuries of generations developing statutes and ordinances to live under and rely on to live in peace and harmony. Where foundations are formed for seamless assimilations of generations that follow. Today, the town operates under a statute that has codes that have changed from time to time to maintain continuity. They are a work in progress. To keep to those blessings, a unity must be formed by acceptable commandments, statutes, and ordinances. From this book of the Bible, a community will not exist without laws, as over time, some laws develop flaws. Let’s do something about it and really take a close look at them. We need people to step forward.

To Dan Fissel, the town water and sewer facilities superintendent who is retiring after 28 years of service, “Thank you.” Have a wonderful retirement—you earned it.

Woodsboro

Burgess Heath Barnes

It’s now fall, and the smell of pumpkin spice is in the air wherever you go it seems. I hope everyone had a great summer. To me, it seemed to go by way too fast. It was a busy summer for the town of Woodsboro, with projects and things in the works for the town.

At the September 13th town meeting, we discussed the progress of the demolition of the property that the town purchased at 605 S. Main St. The overhead power lines have now been removed, and the demolition will begin soon, as we were waiting for Potomac Edison to remove them. Before the building is demolished, we are allowing the Frederick County Fire Department to use the building for drills. This will be a good training activity for them also, and the town was happy to offer this up to them.

We also had some concerns from townspeople brought up at the meeting. The town code written in 1974 does not allow chickens or livestock in town limits. With the town not having a code enforcer until a few months ago, many things went under the radar. Since the code enforcer has started, chickens have become an issue. A few town residents plan to appeal to change the town code to planning and zoning and then ultimately the town council. If this takes place, it will be shared to the public for a public hearing before any action is taken. As of right now, there has not been any formal petition made to have the code changed, but I will keep the town up to date if things go forward on this.

Town Clerk Mary Rice and I made a proposal to the council about the possibility of replacing the water meter-reading system. We are still working on gathering final numbers for the cost, but this is a project that we must have done soon, as the system we currently are using has become obsolete and outdated. The challenge with this is that each home will have to have a piece in their water meter replaced; this could take a while, as the crew would need to enter each person’s home to replace the reader. One of the great things about this is that it will allow electronic readings to be tied to electronic payment processing that allows residents to pay their water bills via debit or credit cards, which has been asked a lot lately. We plan to present final numbers to the council at the October meeting for a vote. Thankfully, this project would fall under the approval to be used with ARPA funds that the town received.

Do not forget to mark your calendars for October 15 and 16, as Woodsboro Days will once again be a two-day festival instead of just the one day as it has been for the last several decades. We have lined up three bands for the festival on Sunday the 16th at the stage in the park, along with several vendors and food trucks that will be set up there also. On day one, Saturday October 15, there will be yard sales in town with a large sale at the Woodsboro Lutheran Church with food and bake sales. In addition, the Woodsboro Historical Society will have their 5K run at 9:00 a.m. Last year’s music festival in the park was well-attended and successful, and we are looking forward to this year’s event. If you are a vendor or food truck interested in attending, please reach out to me.

Trick-or-treating in town will be October 31, from 6:00-8:00 p.m. If you plan to participate, please turn on your porch light. Please also be careful that night driving around town, as children will be out and about.

As always, I encourage everyone to support Glade Valley Community Services (GVCS) if you have clothes or food donations, as they are always in need of items for members of the community. For more information, please contact GVCS by email at gvcs.inc@verizon.net or call 301-845-0213.

If you have any questions, concerns, complaints, or compliments, please feel free to reach out to me at hbarnes@woodsboro.org or by phone at 301-401-7164.

Woodsboro Town meetings are held on the second Tuesday of each month at 7:00 p.m. In addition, Planning & Zoning meetings are at 6:00 p.m. on the first Monday of the month as needed. If you have an item for the agenda, it needs to be submitted 14 days before the P&Z meeting. The current location for meetings is the St. Johns United Church of Christ, located at 8 N. 2nd Street Woodsboro, MD 21798. The public is always invited to attend.

What do horses with asthma and a national science fair in Washington, D.C., have in common? Answer: Emma and Sarah Simmons, eighth-grade twin sisters from Mother Seton School in Emmitsburg. These 13-year-olds of Carroll Valley, Pennsylvania, were recently selected as two of the Top 300 Broadcom Masters in the 2022 STEM competition held in Washington, D.C. Their win at the Top 300 Broadcom Masters competition locates them in the top 2 percent of middle schoolers in the country and makes them eligible to participate in the Top 30 Broadcom Masters this autumn.

The engineering project that caught the attention of judges in the nation’s capital was titled, “A Portable Bronchodilator Delivery System for Equine Inflammatory Respiratory Diseases.” Emma and Sarah, daughters of Dr. A. Jeffrey Simmons and Dr. Lisa S. McLeod-Simmons, began their project last autumn when they were in seventh grade at Mother Seton School. They explained that the purpose of their biomedical invention is to develop a portable bronchodilator delivery system that allows a horseback rider to administer pharmaceutical therapies to a horse suffering from a sudden onset of severe Equine Asthma Syndrome or other respiratory diseases without having to dismount or return to the stable.

“We ride horses,” Emma said, “and one of the horses we ride has asthma. Sometimes when we rode, we could see the horse struggling to breathe.”

 Sarah continued, “Then we would have to dismount and take the horse back to the barn for him to cool down and for his owner to give him medicine. Seeing this made us think about what would happen if we were farther away from the stable and not near the asthma medicine.”

 “So, Sarah and I began thinking about how to solve the problem,” said Emma, who is interested in a career in equine veterinary medicine and research. “How could we make riding a horse that had a respiratory disease, but was otherwise healthy, safer for the horse and for the rider?”

 “And what we engineered was the portable bronchodilator delivery system,” noted Sarah, who is planning to study either biomedical or aerospace engineering. “The unit is small and portable and can easily deliver emergency medicine whenever needed without the rider having to dismount. It’s a manual system, so it doesn’t require electricity like a mask inhaler or a muscular injection. And, it can be used in any weather.”

Emma and Sarah won their school STEM fair’s top seventh-grade project and the school’s best overall award last fall for this project. They then advanced to the Frederick County STEM fair early this spring, where they won top honors in the biomedical engineering category, as well as several other county science fair awards.

Their project was then nominated to participate in the national level Top 300 Broadcom Masters STEM competition. There were nearly 2,000 entries in this competition from the top 10 percent of middle school students in the country. On September 7, 2022, Broadcom Masters announced that a panel of judges, comprised of engineers, scientists, and educators from around the United States, had selected Emma and Sarah Simmons as two of their Top 300 young engineers and scientists across the country.

“We were so excited when our mother told us we had placed in the Broadcom Masters,” Sarah commented.” It’s an amazing feeling to work so hard on a project and then to have that work recognized. Emma and I thank the Frederick County STEM fair and Broadcom Masters for giving us this opportunity.” Emma added, “And we are so grateful to our parents; our teachers, Mrs. Kuykendall and Mrs. Beard; and our church family at Trinity UMC in Emmitsburg, who have always been so supportive. We really are blessed.”

Sarah Simmons (left) and Emma Simmons (on the horse) demonstrate their Portable Bronchodilator Delivery System used to administer asthma medicine to horses.

by James Rada, Jr.

Thurmont

Town Considering Raising Colorfest Permit Fees

Once again, the Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners are considering increasing the Catoctin Colorfest permit fees. The income generated from the fees pays the town’s costs for security, sanitation, and transportation at the festival that attracts an estimated 100,000 people to Thurmont during the second weekend in October. As these costs increase, the mayor and commissioners may need to increase the permit costs to cover the increases. They are seeking to be proactive if this year’s bids for services come in significantly higher than last year.

Another thing that might drive up permit fees is if the number of vendors continues to fall. Last year, the festival had 615 vendors, a drop from the 720 vendors in 2019. Colorfest President Carol Robertson is hopeful that the number of vendors will increase this year.

If the commissioners raise the fees this year, it could put a strain on organizations that host vendor sites because many vendors have already paid for this year’s vendor spaces based on the current permit fee costs.

Parking is already expected to cost visitors more this year because the mayor and commissioners had voted previously to require $4.00 for every parked vehicle instead of $2.00. The town has encouraged those organizations that provide parking during the festival to increase their cost to customers, so they don’t lose money.

Thurmont May Get a Brewery

Scott Austin has approached the town about opening a brewery at 6 East Main Street. Austin is a New Market resident who owns two other Thurmont businesses: Structural Building Solutions and Hobbs’ Lumber and Hardware

Austin proposed to the Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners that if the town purchases the property, Austin will lease it from them and open a brewery there.

Vickie Grinder, the town’s economic development manager, used a Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development grant to cover the purchase price of the building. Austin is now working on opening the promised brewery.

The town made zoning rule changes recently so that a microbrewery is now allowed in general business zoning districts. Bollinger’s Restaurant is also planning to add a brewery.

Mayor John Kinnaird and Grinder both hope the breweries will create an anchor to bring people into downtown Thurmont in the evenings.

Parks & Recreation Commission vacancy

The Town of Thurmont has an open position on the Thurmont Parks and Recreation Commission. The commission assists in maintaining the town park system and programming, while also providing recommendations for new parks, facilities, programs, and events.

If interested, contact the chief administrative officer at jhumerick@thurmontstaff.com.

Emmitsburg

Sister Anne Higgins is New Emmitsburg Poet Laureate

The Emmitsburg Mayor and Commissioners proclaimed Sister Anne M. Higgins as the new Emmitsburg Poet Laureate during the August town meeting. As poet laureate, she “encourages the reading, writing, sharing, and celebration of poetry.” Her term as the poet laureate will expire in August 2024.

Sister Anne is a native of West Chester, Pennsylvania, and a long-time Emmitsburg area resident. She has taught English for over 22 years at Mount St. Mary’s University and has been a Daughter of Charity for nearly 50 years, as well as a graduate of Saint Joseph College in Emmitsburg.

Sister Anne is an accomplished poet with nine published poetry books. She has had more than 100 of her poems published in journals and magazines, and she has given readings at various venues along the East Coast.

Emmitsburg Gets a Sister City

The Emmitsburg Mayor and Commissioners are planning to proclaim Lutsk, Ukraine, a sister city to the Town of Emmitsburg.

Appointments

During the August Emmitsburg town meeting, Mark Long was reappointed to the Emmitsburg Planning Commission, with a term of August 5, 2022-August 5, 2027. Dan Darnetz was appointed as an alternate member to the Emmitsburg Board of Appeals, with a term of August 1, 2022-August 1, 2025.

The board of commissioners also appointed Sharon Hane, Tammy May, Charlotte Mazaleski, and Lynn Orndorff as town election judges. All of the women have previous experience helping with town and county elections.

Thurmont

 Mayor John Kinnaird

Summer has come to an end, and our children have returned to school. Please be extra careful driving during school hours, and be watchful of kids crossing our streets and getting on and off school buses. As we all know, kids are not always aware of their surroundings and can dart out from between cars without looking both ways. I hope all our children have a great year at school. The teachers, administrative staff, and support staff at each of our schools are dedicated to providing the best education available in welcoming and secure schools. I am happy to see the renovations recently completed at the Thurmont Elementary School (TES). As many will remember, TES was remodeled many years ago to the open classroom design. The recent remodeling has returned our students to individual classrooms. I believe this will be a positive change for the students and teachers!

With fall on the horizon, we can look forward to cooler days, earlier evenings, and some great events in Thurmont. After a two-year break, the 66th Annual Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show will be held at Catoctin High School on September 9-11. I want to thank Rodman Myers, his family, and all the volunteers for organizing and presenting the Community Show. A “thank you and best of luck” to the entrants in every category for making the show a success. You are guaranteed to have a great time at the Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show!

Please be sure to attend the Art & Wine Stroll in downtown Thurmont on Friday, September 9, from 5:00-8:00 p.m., featuring great entertainment, food, and drink!

The Town of Thurmont will be hosting several Gateway to the Cure events in support of the Patty Hurwitz Cancer Fund at Frederick Health: the Golf Classic on Friday, September 23, and the Gateway to the Cure 5K on Saturday, October 16. Watch for more information about these and other opportunities to help us raise funds to support cancer patients and advancements in cancer treatment. To date, the residents of Thurmont have raised over $114,000 to support this worthwhile cause.

The 58th Annual Colorfest is on the way, and it’s never too early to start planning your weekend of yard sales, great food, and amazing crafts. On October 8-9, from 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m., Thurmont will welcome tens of thousands of guests, each and every one of whom is here to enjoy our hospitality, our spectacular scenery, and all the amazing offerings at Colorfest. Please be sure to visit local stands and support the Guardian Hose Co., Thurmont Community Ambulance Co., Thurmont Lions Club, Thurmont Scouts, and many of our churches and associations. Many of these organizations get a large portion of their operating funds from Colorfest weekend!  

The Thurmont Police Department and Woodsboro Bank will be hosting a Community Shred Event on Saturday, September 24, at the Police Station. To learn of the Shred Event and others, be sure to sign up for the Town of Thurmont Newsletter by emailing kschildt@thurmontstaff.com.  

I am available at 301-606-9458 or by email at jkinnaird@thurmont.com.

Emmitsburg

Mayor Don Briggs

A busy month to close yet another too brief a summer. To attest, here is a partial recap of my schedule for the month.

August 2, 1 p.m.: Meeting with 20 seniors from the community to give updates and address their concerns. Always productive. A recurring concern is transportation. We cannot provide more transportation alternatives to Frederick, but the ribbon-cutting ceremony for Frederick Health Center at the Mount will help. The ceremony was held on Tuesday August, 16. Urgent care, lab work, attending physician, and physical therapy are all now available here in Northern Frederick County. A first!

August 2, 6 p.m.: I attended National Night Out, held in Myers Park, with pony rides, pet-a-pet zoo, lots of vendors, and free food. A special tip of the hat to our deputies and first responders. I served food along with commissioners, O’Donnell, Sweeney, Ritz, and Davis.

August 3, Noon: Lunch with Woodsboro Bank President Steve Heine, Chief Retail Banking Officer Tom Ramsey, and Dynamic Automotive (Formerly His Place) owners Jose Bueso and Dwayne Myers. The owners have already rolled up their sleeves in volunteer work with the Seton Center. Welcome!  

August 9, 11 a.m.: Tour of Fallen Firefighters Memorial and National Fire Academy with Congressman Trone, Deputy U.S. Fire Administrator Tonya Hoover, and Tyler Myles. I had invited the congressman to tour the Homeland Security facility, and he took me up on it.

August 9, 1-2:30 p.m.: Sustainable Maryland Executive Committee Zoom meeting. It’s always interesting talking with people from across the state.

August 10, 10 a.m.: Ribbon cutting was held for St. Euphemia School wayside exhibit, DePaul Street. Lots of people turned out for this exhibit, a very special tribute that is close to my heart.

August 17, 10 a.m.: President Trainor’s Welcome Back State of the Mount address to the faculty and administrators. I was not able to attend due to a scheduling conflict.

August 19, 10 a.m.: Phone call with Ronald Jon Siarnicki, National Fallen Firefighters Foundation’s executive director.

August 19, 1 p.m.: Lunch with Kim Johnson, executive director of development, Mount St. Marys University, and Deputy U.S. Fire Administrator Tonya Hoover, at the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA). 

August 20, 1 p.m.: Bollinger Construction Inc.’s 30th year of business, 1 Creamery Road. Homespun company makes it big. Congratulations.

August 20, 6 p.m.: Welcoming event in Myers Park for incoming Mount freshmen. First-time event.

August 22, 10 a.m.: Meeting with Maddy Shaw, Emmitsburg grant administrator and wayside exhibit developers.

August 23, 10:30 a.m.: Things are moving along on Sister Cityhood with second Zoom meeting with myself, Conrad Weaver, Michael Zhovnir, Lutsk, Ukraine Mayor Igor Polishchuk, and President Anatlly Tsios of Lesya University, to introduce President Trainor of our very own Mount St. Mary’s University.

August 28, 10:30 a.m.: Mass and reception ending Vincentians Community of priests’ 170 years of service at St. Joseph’s Parish. Farewell to good servants to our community. Welcoming Father Alberto Barattero, IVE, and associate pastor Father Andres Ayala, IVE.

August 29, Noon: Lunch with Father Michael Roach, Mount St Mary’s University Seminary.

August 31, 11 a.m.: Meeting with planning consultant, Chris Jakubiak.

August 31, 3:30 p.m.: Dedication of John Donavan Room, Knott Academic Center, Mount St. Mary’s University. Wonderful tribute to a person who has impacted so many students’ lives.

And this is what I do in one month of being mayor in Emmitsburg.

Congratulations to our new Poet Laureate, Sister Anne Higgins. The good Sister Anne, a native of West Chester, Pennsylvania, has been a member of the Daughters of Charity for 44 years and taught at the Mount for 22 years. Nine of her poetry books have been published. More than 100 of her poems have appeared in journals and magazines. Several times her works have been featured in Garrison Keillor’s The Writer’s Almanac.

Back to school “best wishes” to all.

Woodsboro

Burgess Heath Barnes

It has been a challenging month in Woodsboro as COVID hit the town employees and council members. Several things had to be postponed. The town offices were closed August 3-10, as three of our four town employees were out sick. With this, we also had to postpone our August 9 meeting to August 16. With the postponement, two council members were not able to make it. We had the meeting but didn’t have a quorum, so nothing could be voted on. Thankfully, all are recovered, and the town is up and running again. I want to send out a special thank you to Sean Williams from the town of Walkersville. Sean reached out to me and sent over two of their employees (Robbie Norwood and Ian Orndorff), who cleaned up our park for us since I was out of town for a work conference and both of our maintenance men were out with COVID. The town and I personally thank you all for your kindness.

At our August 16 meeting, I announced that we officially closed on and sold the lot at 503 S. Main Street. The town was able to net a profit of a little over $48,000 from the purchase price that was paid in 2018. I also announced that we are still waiting on Potomac Edison to remove the power lines to the building at 605 S. Main Street that the town purchased so that we can demolish it and start on the town hall project. I will be meeting with electricians to start the process of running electricity into the upper part of the park to the stage, large pavilion, and the spot where the new bathroom will be built.

Do not forget to mark your calendars for October 15-16, as Woodsboro Days will, once again, be a two-day festival instead of just the one day as it had been for the last several decades. I have lined up three bands for the festival on Sunday, October 16, at the stage in the park, along with several vendors and food trucks. Last year’s music festival in the park was well attended and successful, and we are looking forward to this year’s event. If you are a vendor or food truck owner/operator interested in attending, please reach out to me.

As always, I encourage everyone to support Glade Valley Community Services (GVCS) if you have clothes or food donations, as they are always in need of items for members of the community. For more information, please contact GVCS by email at gvcs.inc@verizon.net or call 301-845-0213.

If you have any questions, concerns, complaints, or compliments, please feel free to reach out to me at hbarnes@woodsboro.org or by phone at 301-401-7164.

Woodsboro Town meetings are held on the second Tuesday of each month at 7:00 p.m. In addition, Planning and Zoning meetings are at 6:00 p.m. on the first Monday of the month as needed.

If you have an item for the agenda, it needs to be submitted 14 days before the P&Z meeting. The current location for meetings is St. John’s United Church of Christ, located at 8 N 2nd Street, Woodsboro, MD 21798. The public is always invited to attend.

Thurmont

 Mayor John Kinnaird

This morning, I am writing from London! Karen and I have been vacationing in Great Britain since July 1. We started our trip with eleven people, including one daughter, a bunch of grandchildren, and companions! The first stop was Aberdeen, where we caught the overnight ferry to Lerwick on Shetland. The crossing took 13 hours and was a little rougher than our last trip.

While on Shetland, we visited puffins, Shetland Ponies, and 5,000-year-old ruins. We then sailed to Orkney to visit a cathedral built in the 900s. After a day on Orkney, we arrived back in the North of Scotland.

We took a drive down the coast to the Kinnaird Head Lighthouse and then back to Aberdeen. I took everyone to see the house I lived in when I was born, and the place where we moved to the U.S. in 1960. Then, it was time to send eight of our group home.

We spent a peaceful night at the village of Pennan and then headed to the Isle of Skye for three days. Our granddaughter, Megan, stayed with us for the second half of our journey.

While traveling from Skye to Ripon, we stopped at the Falkirk Wheel. Then we stopped at Ripon, Yorkshire, to visit our friends Paul and Helen Smith. While in Ripon, we stayed at a wonderful little pub called The Bay Horse Country Inn.

We then went to Liverpool, where we stayed at the Titanic Hotel on the Mersey waterfront. While in Liverpool, we took the Beatles Tour and visited Penny Lane, Strawberry Fields, Eleanor Rigby’s grave, the place where Paul McCartney first met John Lennon, and the Beatles’ childhood homes. I recommend taking this tour if you visit Liverpool.

We are finishing up in London visiting my Uncle Grant, Cousin Ian, Cousin Tracy, and their family. We are taking a boat on the Thames, and I hope to see the Cutty Sark.

We have had a great time, but I am looking forward to getting back home to Thurmont.

Please don’t forget the Thurmont Farmers Market on Saturdays, from 9:00 a.m.-noon. The Board of Commissioners holds our weekly meetings on Tuesdays at 7:00 p.m.

Please call me with any questions, comments, or concerns at 301-606-9458 or email me at jkinnaird@thurmont.com.

What visit to Scotland is complete without a stop at Eilean Donan Castle? After leaving the Isle of Skye, we came across the Kylerhea-Glenelg Ferry and backtracked a bit to see this outstanding fortress. They say this is the most photographed castle in Scotland; I know I took about a hundred shots myself. Eilean Donan Castle sits on an small Island (Eilean), jutting out into one of the many sea lochs on the coast.

Photo by John Kinnaird

Emmitsburg

Mayor Don Briggs

After 170 years, the Vincentian priests are bidding farewell to the St. Joseph parish. The town was only in its 67th year from being established when they first arrived. The issue is vocations to the Order.

In June 1852, Archbishop of Baltimore, Samuel Eccleston S.S., offered the Saint Joseph’s Parish to the Lazarist Fathers or Vincentians, as they then were interchangeably known. The Order, founded in Paris in 1625 by St. Vincent de Paul, accepted the offer only one year after the dedication of their American seminary in Germantown, Pennsylvania. Father Mariano Maller, C.M., was the pastor of St. Joseph, the Order’s first parish east of the Mississippi River.

In November 1852, a property across DePaul Street was purchased for a rectory. The Order brought continuity to the parish during the Civil War, deadly influenzas, world wars, the 1929 stock market crash, the Great Depression, the Korean War, the assassinations of the Kennedy brothers and Martin Luther King Jr., the Vietnam War, President Nixon’s resignation, 9/11, the COVID-19 pandemic, and so much more. They shared peace with other community pastors in the formation of the Emmitsburg Council of Churches in 1966 and continuing works.

There have been bumps and bruises along the way, as there surely always are. Thank you, Fathers. Well done. “To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven.” (Ecc 3:1-8). Manning the 229-year-old parish, effective September 1, will be the IVE (Spanish) or the Institute of the Incarnate Word Order, who currently are chaplains to the Basilica and the Grotto. They soon will serve the three parishes of Northern Frederick County: St. Josephs, St. Anthony’s, and Our Lady of Mount Carmel. 

I will be asking the town commissioners by proclamation to honor Sr. Anne M. Higgins to be the Town Poet Laureate for a two-year term. Sister Anne, a native of West Chester, Pennsylvania, has been a member of the Daughters of Charity for 44 years, and teaching at the Mount for 22 years. Nine books of her poetry have been published.

Emmitsburg and Northern Frederick County’s own, Carolyn Melody and Kiernan Myles, in mid-July set off on a 12-day rugby tour of Ireland. Having honed their rugby skills with the West Carroll Marauders, they were selected after play in Chicago last year for a 22-person team. The “Eagles Impact Rugby Academy” (EIRA) sponsored the tour. Matches are scheduled in Limerick, Dublin, and Belfast. They leave July 18 and return July 30.  Congratulations and much gratitude for lots and lots of parental elbow grease.

It was a wonderful day in the park for a visit from our friends, the Frederick Rescue Mission “Summer Enrichment Campers.” After a morning tour of the Mount, hosted by the members of the Mount Rugby team, 20-some kids and counselors enjoyed pizza and play in Myers Park along with a surprise visit from Vigilant Hose firefighters with a fire truck (thank you Commissioner Davis). Campers got to get in the truck, handle a fire hose to spray out in the field, and ask lots of questions before going to the town pool for a swim. The focus of this year for the campers was kindness. That, you could feel.

We had another fantastic town-sponsored pool party, the second of the year. About 215 people showed up to enjoy a sunny and low humidity evening. I’m sorry that there were not enough hot dogs and lemonade, but there was lots of ice cream. The lemonade and hot dogs were once again donated by the Carriage House Inn. Great to have Commissioner Burns and family on hand to welcome and enjoy. The final pool party will be on Friday, August 12, from 6:00-8:00 p.m., with more free food and music.

National Night Out will be held on Tuesday, August 2, from 6:00-8:00 p.m., in Myers Community Park. This is an event where we can meet the firefighters and deputies who run toward danger in our community. Enjoy free food, ice cream, music, pony rides, petting zoo, and vendors.

Congratulations to Bollinger Construction Inc., celebrating its 30th year of business this August.

Congratulations to the Sabillasville Environmental School. A grand opening for the new school was held on Saturday, July 23, for the re-adaptation in new mission. 

 Thank you, Gonzaga High School, for painting the yellow restrictive curb areas along Main Street as one of the school’s summer community service projects. This is not the first time the school has pitched in up here in Emmitsburg. Go Eagles, but don’t beat St. John’s.

The town received a wonderful note from the Community Heritage Day Committee, thanking the town staff for helping bring about the annual celebration. Wait a minute, thank you also to Community Heritage Day Committee and volunteers.

It’s back to school soon. It’s been wonderful seeing summer’s lost friends again, catching up, and enjoying lots of sports. Bring it, harvest moon.

by James Rada, Jr.

Emmitsburg

For more information on the Town of Emmitsburg, visit www.emmitsburgmd.gov or call 301-600-6300.

Parking Discussions Get Heated

Parking became a hot topic during the July meeting of the Emmitsburg Mayor and Commissioners. As town staff looks to replace old and outdated parking meters with digital ones, the topic of increasing parking ticket fines, meter fees, and permits came up. Any increase in parking ticket fines would seem to affect out-of-town residents the most. Town Planner Zach Gulden reported that 90 percent of the tickets issued were to non-town residents.

The fees have not been reviewed since 2018, but the commissioners appeared reluctant to raise any fees. In particular, Commissioner Frank Davis took issue with meters that were not calibrated to give the proper time paid for and quick ticketing when meters ran out. He said what put him over the edge was when a funeral home vehicle was ticketed during a funeral for facing the wrong way when it was something the business had been doing for years without any issue.

Mayor Don Briggs noted that town staff was only enforcing the ordinances on the books and that if the commissioners wanted it handled a different way, the commissioners needed to change the code.

For now, it appears no changes will be made until the new meters are installed and calibrated.

Crime Comments Get Corrected

Although the Emmitsburg Community Deputies reported an increase in crime across the board during their June report to the Emmitsburg Mayor and Commissioners, they revised their opinion during the July meeting. They told the commissioners they were seeing no statistical difference in most crimes in the town over previous reports. The only difference was with property crimes and that could be attributed to construction site thefts.

Municipal Charges Will Become Property Liens

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners approved a new ordinance that will allow any charges, taxes, or assessments issued by the town against town property owners to become property liens. They will then be able to be collected in the same way town taxes are collected.

Two More Historic Waysides Approved

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners approved two new waysides for the town’s historic walking trail. These exhibits will be for St. Joseph College and Emmitsburg High School. The Emmitsburg High School wayside will be placed in front of the community center, since the building once served as the high school. The St. Joseph College wayside will be placed along the sidewalk outside of the National Emergency Training Center. These two waysides bring the total number of exhibits on the walking tour to 14. This is currently all the waysides the town has planned. They will be installed and unveiled in September.

Thurmont

For more information on the Town of Thurmont, visit www.thurmont.com or call 301-271-7313.

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners did not meet between June 28 and July 26, so we do not have any meeting briefs for August.

Woodsboro

Burgess Heath Barnes

I hope everyone is enjoying their summer and staying cool and hydrated. This is my favorite time of the year, but the heat can also be dangerous, so please take precautions.

At our July 12 meeting, I announced that a new code enforcer had started work on July 11. With this addition to town employees, we now have three full-time employees and one part-time employee who are employed with the town.

The town put out a request for bids last month to demolish the property at 605 S. Main Street where the new town hall is to be built. We received four bids and the council voted unanimously to accept one for $16,500. The demolition will begin shortly after Potomac Edison can come and remove the overhead power lines.

The council also voted to approve listing the lot at 503 S. Main Street with Realtor Melanie Cooley. The lot was listed for sale for $148,000 and within 72 hours we received an offer for the full asking price. The offer has been accepted, and we are tentatively closing the deal on July 29. This was a great profit for the town, as we paid $90,000 for it in 2018. This amount will help us to pay down the loan that was taken out to purchase the new lot.

We had a town resident attend the meeting with the proposal of raising funds for a possible skate park like the one that Thurmont built. The council and I were very open to hearing more on this idea. We invited them to attend the August town meeting with their proposal. More details to come in next month’s column if this project will move forward. Many people have asked for the town to clean up and mow the ice-skating pond to prepare it for winter. The pond has been mowed and cleaned up and will be maintained so that when winter arrives the skating pond will be able to be used if we have cold enough days for it to freeze.

Mark your calendars for October 15 and 16, as Woodsboro Days will once again be a two-day festival, instead of just the one day as had been for the last several decades. I have lined up three bands for the festival on Sunday the 16th at the stage in the park, along with several vendors and food trucks that will be set up there also. Last year’s music festival in the park was well attended and successful, and we are looking forward to this year’s event. If you are a vendor or operate a food truck and are interested in attending, please reach out to me.

As always, I encourage everyone to support Glade Valley Community Services (GVCS) if you have clothes or food donations as they are always in need of items for members of the community. For more information, please contact GVCS by email at gvcs.inc@verizon.net or call 301-845-0213.

If you have any questions, concerns, complaints, or compliments, please feel free to reach out to me at hbarnes@woodsboro.org or by phone at 301-401-7164.

Woodsboro Town meetings are held on the second Tuesday of each month at 7:00 p.m. In addition, Planning and Zoning meetings are at 6:00 p.m. on the first Monday of the month as needed.

If you have an item for the agenda, it needs to be submitted 14 days before the P&Z meeting. The current location for meetings is the St. Johns United Church of Christ, located at 8 N 2nd Street, Woodsboro, MD 21798. The public is always invited to attend.

Thurmont

 Mayor John Kinnaird

Here we are in July already; time seems to fly by ever faster as we age! July is vacation time for many, and the Thurmont Board of Commissioners (BOC) is no exception. The BOC has only one meeting during the month of July; this year, it will be on Tuesday, July 26.

Of course, the town staff will still be on the job, providing all the services and assistance they usually do. The town office is open Monday through Friday, from 8:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. You can call the office at 301-271-7313 during regular business hours. For any after-hour electric, water, or wastewater issues, please call 301-271-7313. As of July 1, we will be using a call service that will take your information and a description of your issue and then contact our on-call staff. The new call service will allow our staff to continue working on the issue without the need to answer additional calls. For police service, call 301-271-0905, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. The after-hours, non-emergency police call number is 301-600-2071. CALL 911 for all police and medical emergencies.

We recently enjoyed the Guardian Hose Company Carnival; it was a fun-filled week. I especially enjoyed the Thursday night parade! Having the parade sort of gave me a feeling that things are getting back to normal. Unfortunately, things are not back to normal as far as fundraising goes for the volunteers at the Guardian Hose Company and the Thurmont Community Ambulance Service. Both of these organizations depend on community support, and the last two years have had a negative impact on fundraising efforts. Please be sure to support both of our first-response organizations by attending their events or by making a cash donation to help support their critical work in our community.

I am happy to announce that the new path connecting the skatepark and the all-access playground at the East End Park will be paved in the next month or so. The skatepark has seen several recent improvements, including a new small pavilion over the picnic tables, designed and built by town staff. There is also new lighting at the skatepark, installed at no cost by G&S Electric. I want to thank G&S for this generous addition to the park. Town staff designed, excavated, and installed the base for the new walkway. As always, our staff is up to the challenge when it comes to park improvements. Future work at East Park will include the replacement of the existing picnic pavilion.

The town is currently having engineering work done for two large projects, both of which will be completed using American Recovery Act funds. The first is a project to replace the water main and wastewater lines on North Church Street. This project is expected to cost almost three million dollars and will begin in the summer of 2023. The second project will be a connection between our low-pressure and high-pressure water systems. This will include a pumping station and associated water main lines on our Radio Lane property. This project will help resolve several maintenance issues and will provide increased water capacity on the high-pressure system. A third project will be getting underway within the year. This project will see the rebuilding of stormwater drains, and the repaving of Frederick Road from Water Street to Tippin Drive. This project will be completed in stages, with the storm drains and some water valve work being completed first.

I do not usually discuss politics, but the Primary Elections are coming up on July 19. Watch for voting information from the Board of Elections, telling you when and where you can vote. Our right to vote for elected officials is something we should not take lightly. I encourage everyone to participate in the Primary Elections and in the General Elections on November 8.

I hope everyone has an enjoyable July, and as always, I can be contacted by email at jkinnaird@thurmont.com or by phone at 301-606-9458.

Emmitsburg

Mayor Don Briggs

For 13 years, I’ve driven a grand Ford 150, Rosinante. Recently, we went to fill up. The gauge read below a quarter of a tank, so I put in $75.00 of mid-grade. To my surprise, the fuel gauge read only slightly over half full. Not good. The stress on people living on fixed and unfixed incomes alike, coping with rising fuel and food prices and with no end in sight, has reached a point where elected officials on the national level have to be held accountable.

Please take time to read the banners recently put up on town light posts for those relatives of ours who served our country. I am so proud of this town.

Congratulations to staff on putting together a spectacular proposal for “Green Streets, Green Jobs, Green Towns” Award program. The town will receive $121,400 for green infrastructure North Seton Avenue plan.

June was filled with lots of graduations and events. Activities included Flag Day on June 14 in Memorial Park, the grand opening of the Carriage House renovated interior décor and outside seating, the opening of the Shrine Museum on June 24, Community Heritage Day festivities on June 25, and upcoming 4th of July. I was unable to reschedule my yearly physical at Johns Hopkins, so I missed the Flag Day ceremony. I attended an annual family reunion in New Mexico, so I missed the Carriage House event, museum opening, and Community Heritage Day. Give the grill a good scrub. Hello, burgers, hot dogs, coleslaw, potato salad, and all the fixings. This is Emmitsburg at its best.

Congratulations to the Catoctin Cougars boys track and field team on winning the IA State Championship.

Commissioners Sweeney, O’Donnell, and Davis attended the Maryland Municipal League Summer Conference in Ocean City on June 12-15.

From the regularly scheduled town meeting held Monday night, June 6, the following were decided:

The board of commissioners approved and accepted the agreement and right-of-way dedication at 500 East Main Street. The property owners are giving the town a 25-foot right-of-way along its property on Creamery Road. A 109-foot-long privacy fence will be installed at 500 East Main Street in exchange for the right-of-way. The town will use excess Community Development Block Grant funds to construct a sidewalk that will connect East Main Street’s sidewalks to the future Christ’s Community Church development at 17550 Creamery Road.

Approval of Resolution 2022-01 (Community Legacy grant authorization) for façade for consideration. Each year, the town applies for $75,000 in Community Legacy grant funds for its façade restoration program. The resolution is required for the state’s grant application. Board Approved.

Approval of Resolution 2022-02 (Community Legacy grant authorization) for Street Light Replacement Project for consideration. Forward proposed Ordinance 22-07, zoning text amendment application to Sections 17.04.020 – Definitions and 17.20.030 – Commercial Districts, to the Planning Commission and set public hearing for July 14, 2022 for consideration. If approved, it would add “Hostel / Inn” as a permitted use in the General Commercial (B-2) zoning district. Board Approved.

Consideration of a sewer and water connection fee payment plan waiver application for 201 Silo Hill Parkway, Village Liquors & Plaza Inn, in the amount of $29,484. Board approved against the recommendation of mayor and staff.

I have engaged the Mount on many occasions over the 11 years that I have served as mayor to establish a presence in our town. Primarily, the target area was the square. On June 6, Msgr. Andrew Baker, Rector of Mount St. Mary’s Seminary, announced the university is coming to Emmitsburg proper. The Mount “has entered into a special relationship with the Daughters of Charity” to use the C-Wing of St. Joseph House complex (aka to most of us the “Basilica”).  The wing will house first-year seminarians and be called the “Blessed Stanley Rother House,” or colloquially, “Rother House,” after the martyred former Mount seminary priest. Renovations of the wing have a scheduled opening of August 2023.

 I’m hoping everyone enjoys the community pool on the hot days to come. Thank you to town staff and all the volunteers for making the special events in Emmitsburg possible. Happy Fourth of July! 

by James Rada, Jr.

Thurmont

Water Main Replacement on Old Pryor Road Approved

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners approved the replacement of the water main on Old Pryor Road, which is a project the town has wanted to do for many years. Funding for the project comes from a Maryland Department of the Environment Water Quality Financing loan. The town received five bids for the project, with Guyer Brothers of New Enterprise, Pennsylvania, offering the winning bid of $475,191. The project is expected to be completed in November.

New Softball Field Approved at East End Park

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners approved a new softball/baseball field at East End Park. The low bid was $440,275 from Green Ridge Contractors. The project had to be scaled back a bit because the bids were so much higher than the $262,000 grant funds from the Local Parks and Playground Program. The commissioners decided to fund the difference of $178,275 from its American Rescue Plan funds. The project is expected to be completed by September.

Emmitsburg

Crime on the Rise in Emmitsburg

According to the Emmitsburg Community Deputies, crime is on the rise in town. “There’s been an uptick of everything in town,” Frederick County Sheriff’s Deputy Ahalt told the Emmitsburg Mayor and Commissioners during a recent meeting.

The town is seeing drugs, thefts, and assaults. Where robberies from cars used to be a crime of convenience if the car door was unlocked, thieves are now smashing windows to grab items from inside the cars. Two hot spots for crime are 2 E. Main Street and the DePaul Street Apartments.

The town is looking into having the community deputies authorized for overtime so they can patrol more. Also, the sheriff’s deputies in the north county area have been asked to drive through town when the community deputies aren’t around.

On the bright side, it is believed that the vandalism problem in the ball parks has been taken care of with the perpetrators and their parents.

Mount to Have a Building in Town Limits

Mayor Don Briggs told the Emmitsburg Commissioners that Mount St. Mary’s Seminary would soon have a presence within the borders of Emmitsburg. The Mount will be using the C-Wing of St. Joseph House complex. First-year seminarians will live there, and it will be called the “Blessed Stanley Rother House.” The wing will be renovated and is expected to open in August 2023.

Hostels Recommended to be Allowed

Village Liquors’ goal to create a new liquor store with a hostel above it is moving forward. The Emmitsburg commissioners voted to forward a recommendation to the Emmitsburg Planning Commission to add hostels to the town code. This wouldn’t have had any impact on the project from the town’s perspective. It was a request of the project’s financial partner. What was new was that the project could be used as housing for Mount St. Mary’s University or National Fire Academy students.

Ripleigh’s Creamery dares to think differently about ice cream. The creamery is inspired and owned by 15-year-old Ripleigh Maring (pictured right), a rising sophomore at Delone Catholic High School and a member of the school’s volleyball team. You can find Ripleigh creating new flavors in the kitchen and whipping up some awesome shakes and other treats at one of the two Ripleigh’s Creamery locations!

The first location in Emmitsburg was launched when Ripleigh was 14 years old, and she has just completed the successful grand opening of her second location in McSherrystown, Pennsylvania. 

Ripleigh’s love of traveling has been a huge inspiration for her creative thinking. Visiting 12 countries and 42 states, she has seen and tasted some of the craziest treats in the world. From this exposure, she noticed that ice cream seemed to be a universal happiness. So, with the help of her parents, she decided that she would open her own ice cream shop. If you know Ripleigh, you know she is anything but boring so the ice cream needed to match her vibrance! She’s developed some pretty interesting flavors, too. Spicy Pineapple Avocado, Maple Bacon Caramel, Mango Siracha, and Green Bean Casserole (seasonal) are just a few of the wild creations!

Ripleigh feels that being a locally sourced company is also a top priority, so Ripleigh’s is a proud partner with a local family-owned dairy farm from East Berlin, Pennsylvania, providing the freshest dairy available. Ripleigh’s is also a peanut-allergy-conscious company, having protocols to prevent cross-contamination for customers with nut allergies, based on her childhood friends growing up with peanut allergies.

In Pennsylvania, Ripleigh’s Creamery can be found at 2 South 6th Street, McSherrystown, open daily from 12:00-9:00 p.m., offering homemade small-batch ice cream, along with Cookie Dough, Italian Ice, Freak Shakes, and Pop-It Waffles. For more information, visit www.ripleighs.com or www.facebook.com/ripleighs

Thurmont

 Mayor John Kinnaird

Here we are in June already! We got a real feel for summertime the weekend of May 21-22, when the temperature soared to the low 90s. This summer, we may be looking forward to higher average temperatures, and we must be prepared to handle the heat and sunshine. Remember to keep hydrated when the temps rise; we need to drink more water when we sweat. Also, be sure to wear a hat and long sleeves, and use plenty of sunscreen if you plan on working, picnicking, or playing outdoors. I know everyone loves a nice tan, but please do not overdo it; sunburn can lead to skin cancer later in life. Keep sunscreen close at hand for the little ones when they are outdoors.

The board of commissioners has been hard at work reviewing the Master Plan Update, 2022-2023 town budget, and an annexation proposal for the Simmers property. These topics are being discussed during our town meetings, BOC workshops, and public hearings. The public is welcome to attend any of these meetings, watch them live streamed on Cable 99, or on the video archives on the town website (thurmont.com). Typically, during town meetings, we will ask for public comment; at workshop sessions, we do not take public comment; and public hearings are designed to include public comment. I encourage everyone to watch our meetings and attend if you have any comments to include in the discussion. Many times, I am approached by residents that have heard mistaken or confused facts from others. Watch our meetings, attend them in person or ask me or one of the commissioners if you have any questions regarding current topics being addressed by our Board of Commissioners.

I want to congratulate the members of Catoctin High School Class of 2022 for finishing twelve of the most important years of your life! We are all extremely proud of each and every one of you, and we hope that you can follow your dreams as you move on to your next adventure. Some of you will be going on to higher education, some may be entering the military, many of you will be entering the workforce, and some may be starting families. Whatever your career path is, be sure to enter it with pride, knowing you are a graduate of CHS! Wherever life takes you, please remember you will always be welcome in the Thurmont and Emmitsburg communities.

With summer close at hand, we will see our children out and about on our streets and sidewalks. Always be on the lookout for children crossing our streets or riding their bikes, skateboards, or scooters. Kids are often unaware of their surroundings, and we need to be extra diligent when they are close to our streets.

Thurmont is once again offering our “A Day in the Park” Summer Recreation Program (for kids in 1st through 8th grades). This year, there will be three week-long sessions with a maximum of 30 kids per week. Each week-long program will be filled with lots of fun, educational experiences, and adventure. Each one-week session costs $45.00 per child and includes an official “A Day in the Park” T-shirt, knapsack, and more. You can stop by the town office at 615 East Main Street (Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.) to pick up a registration packet. If you can’t get there in person, call 301-271-7313, and we will send you a registration packet.

The Thurmont Farmers Market is being held each Saturday morning, from 9:00 a.m. until noon, at the Community Park on Frederick Road. Each market offers a wonderful selection of fresh vegetables, fruit, baked goods, eggs, beef, cheeses, handmade soaps, crafts, and other goodies.

On Friday, May 20, we had our first Art & Wine Stroll in over two years. It was an outstanding success, with several hundred guests enjoying the entertainment, vendors, food, artwork, and the wine and moonshine tasting. If you missed this one, be on the lookout for our next Art & Wine Stroll.

Thurmont residents can put out grass clippings and leaves for pickup on Monday mornings. The grass and leaves must be placed in paper bags, no more than 40 lbs. in weight. Have the bags at your curb no later than 6:00 a.m. on Monday mornings. Grass clipping and leaves only—no sticks, rocks, root balls, etc. will be collected.

I hope everyone has a nice June! I can be reached at 301-606-9458, by email at jkinnaird@thurmont.com, or on Facebook if you have any comments or concerns.

Emmitsburg

Mayor Don Briggs

Mayor Briggs was unavailable to write his Mayor’s message for this edition. He will return next month with double the news!

by James Rada, Jr.

Thurmont

Mayor and Commissioners Get First Look at Budget

The Thurmont Mayor and Board of Commissioners got their first look at the Fiscal Year 2023 town budget.

•   General Fund: Revenues-$4,768,518; Expenditures-$4,278,662; Capital Expenditures-$489,000.

•   Water Fund: Revenues-$1,062,150; Expenditures-$838,257; Capital Expenditures-$222,000.

•   Wastewater Fund Revenues-$1,764,009; Expenditures-$1,471,239; Capital Expenditures-$292,770.

•   Electric Fund Revenues-$5,760,224; Expenditures-$5,633,798; Capital Expenditures-$125,000.

The budget needs to be approved before June 30 because it takes effect on July 1.

Micro-Breweries Approved as a Thurmont Business Use

The Thurmont Mayor and Board of Commissioner approved a text amendment to allow small-scale micro-breweries to operate in general business and town business zoning districts in Thurmont. Josh Bollinger, with Bollinger’s Restaurant, made the request to the Thurmont Planning and Zoning Commission in February. They approved it and sent it to the commissioners. Bollinger intends to expand his current business with a small micro-brewery. Under Maryland law, a micro-brewery can produce no more than 15,000 barrels of beer a year.

Easements and Rights Of Way Approved for Hammaker Hills

The Thurmont Mayor and Board of Commissioners approved the phase 1 easement and rights of way for the proposed Hammaker Hills Subdivision. The easements are for utilities and three parks. The rights of way are for two roads. The commissioners gave the subdivision conditional approval last year if the easements and rights of way could be secured. With this approval, the subdivision can now move forward.

Emmitsburg

Commissioners Get First Look at Budget

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners got their first look at the Fiscal Year 2023 town budget. The general fund revenues have increased 8 percent to $2,053,217, and it includes a 5 percent cost-of-living-adjustment (COLA) for town employees to try and keep up with inflation. Tax equity revenues from Frederick County are up over this year, but still lagging behind what the town received in 2021 and 2020. Currently, $1,880,067 has been budgeted with the difference marked to be used for capital projects. The budget needs to be approved before June 30 because it takes effect on July 1.

Changes to Parking Begin

The Town of Emmitsburg is looking to update how it handles parking in town. A 5-year plan was introduced to the board of commissioners in May and tabled for future consideration. Among the things the town is looking to do is purchase parking boots and digital meters. The new meters would also be able to accept digital payments. The town is also looking to install meters at the community pool parking lot, although parking would still remain free for pool patrons.

The town has already made one change to parking. Tickets are now white instead of orange because of a new system the town is using. Also, the town now accepts payment of parking tickets and permits online at the town’s website.

New Wayside Approved

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners approved the 12th wayside exhibit for the historic walking tour of Emmitsburg the down is developing. This wayside will feature St. Euphemia School and include the fact that the school integrated 10 years before the Brown vs. Board of Education Supreme Court ruling in 1954. The exhibit will be in front of the apartment building at 50 DePaul Street where the school was. The total cost is $7,095, including town funding and an in-kind match of $3,548. The installation of the wayside is expected to be complete by June 15.

Town Adding to Bike Trail

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners approved a proposal to construct a new quarter-mile section of trail. It will line the green and yellow multi-user trails at Rainbow Lake.

Parks and Recreation Committee Members Re-appointed

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners re-appointed Shannon Cool, Glenn Blanchard, Sandy Umbel, Steve Starliper, and Amanda Ryder to the Parks and Recreation Committee. Their terms run from December 3, 2021 through December 3, 2023.

Thurmont

 Mayor John Kinnaird

Hopefully, we are now enjoying a beautiful spring! As you are aware, we had frost well into April and snow on the 18th. Mother Nature seemed to be having trouble deciding when to move on from winter.

The improved weather will get everyone outdoors for yard work. The Town of Thurmont will be picking up grass clippings on Monday mornings. This pickup is for grass clippings and leaves only, with no sticks, root balls, dirt, or stones! Please have the yard waste in paper bags by 6:00 a.m. for pick up and keep the bags under 40 lbs. The yard waste drop-off site on Moser Road will be open from 8:00 a.m. until noon on May 8, June 12, July 10, August 14, September 11, October 16, November 13, and December 11. The yard waste site accepts grass clippings, leaves, shrubs, sticks, and tree limbs up to six inches in diameter. We ask that you use paper bags or that you empty your plastic bags, then remove the bags. We do not accept tree trunks, large root balls, or fencing.

Our parks will also be getting busier with the nice weather. Picnic pavilions can be reserved by calling the Thurmont Town Office at 301-271-7313. Please be watchful when driving near or through our parks; children are not always aware of their surroundings.

The Thurmont Little League and the CYA are getting up to speed and offer great opportunities for our children to participate in group sporting activities. Be sure to stop and watch them play this season; the kids will be happy to see you in the stands. The Thurmont Little League is making much-needed improvements to the restroom facilities at Leisner Field.

CYA football recently completed the construction of a new field house, including a meeting room, storage area, and a press box. The town had the newest football field resurfaced and seeded in anticipation of this year’s schedule. All of our youth sports organizations would be very appreciative of any financial support you can provide.

The update to the Thurmont Master Plan is nearly complete and should be approved by the board of commissioners. This update is two years in the making and has involved many steps, including more than a dozen dedicated planning and zoning meetings, several public hearings, and reviews by the state and county. I want to thank the members of the Planning & Zoning Commission; our planner Chris Jakubiak; and town staff members, Kelly Duty and Jim Humerick, for all the time and thought they have invested in this document.

The Thurmont Board of Commissioners is wrapping up the budget considerations for the fiscal year 2022-2023. The budget gives us a fiscal plan for the year ahead, based on expected revenue and expenses for our general fund, electric department, water department, and wastewater department. The budget is crafted with input from the department heads and our Chief Financial Officer Linda Joyce. As mayor, it is my responsibility to introduce the proposed budget to the board of commissioners, and after their review and recommendations, we will adopt the budget. The new budget will take effect on July 1, 2022.  

Spring will bring a great time to Thurmont and all of our residents. I hope everyone has an enjoyable month ahead.

Have any questions, suggestions, compliments, or concerns? I can be reached at 301-606-9458 or by email at jkinnaird@thurmont.com.

Emmitsburg

 Mayor Don Briggs

I recently had the opportunity, along with other county municipal leaders, to meet USDA Rural Development/Department of U.S. Agriculture, Under Secretary Xochitl Torres Small. The event was held at a midday gathering at the South Mountain Creamery in downtown Frederick. The event was hosted by our to-be 6th District Congressional Representative David J. Trone, who was in attendance with members of his staff. Most questions fielded by both centered around scrambling to staff and pay for the ever-increasing load of regulatory demands being placed on municipalities.

The town project to replace 122 curb ramps throughout the town with the American Disabilities Act (ADA)-compliant ramps is now complete. It was about a year-long project. Thank you to all for your perseverance.  Added to the project, with efficient management savings, are funds for the stormwater piping along Cedar Avenue (southside of community center) to South Seton Avenue. Installing a sidewalk over new piping is planned for the town’s 2023-2024 fiscal year. The estimated project cost of $623,000 will be funded by a state-administered, federal community block grant. Congratulations to the town staff for applying, assisting the contractor, and overseeing the project.

The final phase of planting 250 trees of the town’s 3,300+/- native-tree program was completed by approximately 50 volunteers on the beautiful, sunny Saturday morning of April 16. This was the day the town designated to celebrate Arbor Day this year. All 3,300 trees are planted on 11 acres of town-owned land by our wastewater treatment plant on Creamery Road (east side of U.S. 15). Thank you to Town Clerk Julie Scott and Town Planner Zach Gulden for working with Streamlink Education, which managed the plantings funded by a Chesapeake – Atlantic Coastal Bays Trust Fund grant. The plantings are one of the town program accomplishments to meet the state-mandated time phase MS-4 requirement.

Also in planning is the North Seton Avenue Green Street project. The streetscape project is part beautification to replace bare, open concrete/asphalt culvert with improvements to include sustainable plantings designed to impede the flash-flood storm sheet flow that, on more than one occasion over the years, has contributed to flooding at the base of Federal Avenue-North Seton Avenue and limiting access through the area and entry into the Northgate subdivision. Adding to the practical aspects of the design will be 23 designated on-street parking spaces. The estimated project cost of $291,000 should be 100 percent funded by a Chesapeake Trust Community Legacy Federal Flood grant. The Green Street Project is planned for 2023-2024 fiscal year.

NEW: Pickleball is now part of the array of town outdoor activity offerings. The tennis court in Meyers Community Park has an overlay imprinted of the smaller 20-feet wide by 44-feet long pickleball court over the tennis court. The lines are only visible from close-up and should not affect tennis play. It is a game that has caught on with seniors that uses the same net height as tennis, played with a wiffleball.  

New sidewalk connections, new bleachers at ball fields, new family picnic gazebos, and now pickleball. Soon, there will be a new paved parking lot at Memorial Park, while all the time continuing to work on the existing infrastructure.

Memorial Day cookouts and graduations are almost here. Things are good. Keep in your thoughts and prayers the people of Ukraine.

by James Rada, Jr.

Thurmont

Town Increases Tax Rate

The Thurmont Board of Commissioners voted to increase the town’s property tax rate from $0.2992 to $0.3206 per $100 of assessment. Because of growing assessment of real property in town, this will generate an additional $129,291 in tax revenue that will help offset the rising inflation costs and their effect on costs to run the town. Even with the increase, the town will continue to have one of the lowest tax rates in Frederick County.

Town Maintains Its Tree City USA Status

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources has named Thurmont a Tree City USA for the sixth year in a row. Towns can earn this designation by having a board or department that cares for trees, a tree care ordinance, a community forestry budget of at least $2 per capita, and a proclamation and observation of Arbor Day.

Mayor John Kinnaird said in a news release, “I am very pleased that we have achieved this level of tree care here in Thurmont. Our staff and volunteers have done a great job planting trees, maintaining them, and working hard to ensure that our trees remain healthy for future generations.”

Thurmont also received the Growth Award for the second year in a row. It recognizes the work Thurmont has done to build a sustainable community forestry program.

Town Has Board of Appeals Vacancy

The Town of Thurmont has a vacancy on the board of appeals. If you are a town resident and would like to serve, submit your interest in writing to Becky Long at blong@thurmontstaff.com. You can also drop off the letter at the town office.

Town Approves New Trash Contract

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners voted to continue using Ecology Services Refuse and Recycling as the town’s trash hauler. The contract is a lump-sum bid of $339,199 for a two-year agreement.

Emmitsburg

Town Maintains Tax Rate

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners voted to maintain the town’s property tax rate at $0.3464 per $100 of assessment. Because of growing assessments of real property in town, this will generate an additional $26,414 that will help offset the rising inflation costs and their effect on costs to run the town.

License Plate Readers Coming to Emmitsburg

License plate readers are coming to Emmitsburg to assist police with investigations.

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners voted Monday 4-1 to approve a contract with Applied Technology Services of Middle River for advanced license plate readers. The contract is for $42,140.

The recommendation is supported by the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office, who believes the readers will help with investigations, according to Town Manager Cathy Willets.

Madeline Shaw, town grant administrator, noted these are not speed cameras.

The proposed locations for the plate readers are East Main Street (near East North Avenue), West Main Street (near Warthens Court), and South Seton Avenue (near Pizza Hut). However, the police will be consulted before the readers are placed.

Commissioner Joseph Ritz III voted against the contract, saying he was unsure how beneficial it would be.

Town Participates in Water Assistance Program

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners unanimously approved the town’s participation in the Low Income Household Water Assistance Program during the April town meeting.

Maryland was allocated more than $14 million through the program, which is funded through December of 2023. Eligibility requirements include submitting a current water and/or wastewater bill, showing accrued past-due bills of at least $100. Total household income cannot exceed 60 percent of the state median income. One bill account per service address per utility is eligible. Applicants must provide proof of residency and live in Maryland.

Eligible residents will receive a one-time grant ranging from $100 to $2,000. The money can be put toward residential water and/or wastewater accounts with past-due bills. It is paid directly to the utility supplier.

Visit dhs.maryland.gov, click “home energy/water,” then “apply for energy assistance” to reach the application.

Brookfield Parcel Rezoned

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners approved a zoning map amendment that will allow for the construction on seven new houses on the west side of town.

They will be added to the Brookfield subdivision. The subdivision has about 117 houses already. The rezoned property is 2.85 acres on Timbermill Run.

Deb Abraham Spalding

Adam Trawick of Sabillasville jumped at the opportunity to move from the New Market Dynamic Automotive location, where he worked as an auto technician, to become the manager at the new Dynamic Automotive location on Creamery Way (formerly His Place) in Emmitsburg.

Trawick has been working on cars “since he could hold a wrench.” As a teenager, he built his first car behind his dad’s shed, so he had something to drive, a gray 1979 Mustang.

To gain auto repair experience, he worked at various auto shops in Frederick while in high school. Then, he attended Lincoln Tech to earn his certificate in auto repair. Today, he’s a master certified ASE technician with a Maryland State Inspection license. Transmissions, brakes, and more, Trawick prides himself on being a pretty good diagnostic technician. He said, “I like a problem. I like to see if I can fix it.”

Trawick is joined by Gwen Delauter, Jesse Johnson, Dennis Smith, and Brady McKenzie (student) to provide any, and all, general auto repair, to include anything from tire repairs to engine replacements and advanced diagnostics.

“The community is awesome. I’ve gotten to know the businesses and I’m a fan. The community and first responders are important, and we support them,” said Trawick.

There are five locations of Dynamic Automotive: New Market, Urbana, Libertytown, Emmitsburg, and Frederick.

Dynamic Automotive has earned Frederick Magazine “Best of Frederick” designations for several years.

Dynamic’s hours are 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. Customers can schedule service online at www.dynamicautomotive.net/emmitsburg/or by calling 301-447-2800. Night drop is available.

Pictured are Jesse Johnson, Gwen Delauter, and Adam Trawick of Dynamic Automotive in Emmitsburg.

Emmitsburg

Mayor Don Briggs

So, we went again into spring and mid-March with snow. Sometimes, for those of another generation, the snow event is characterized as a “Robin’s snow.” At this turn of the seasons, looking back, the winter season, for the most part, was a dry one. Even though it’s hard to visualize a drought during the winter months, we may have experienced one. The concern is replenishing the groundwater supply, of which snow plays an important role.

To the 20 young women and men students from Virginia Tech who recently graced our town to work on projects for those in need in the Emmitsburg area, that was so kind of you. Thank you for spending your spring break with us. Also, thank you to the Seton Center and Daughters of Charity for pulling the pieces together to host and provide housing for the students. To our elderly and those in a squeeze, if you need help with projects around the house, contact Sister Martha at the Seton Center (301-447-6102) because our local Mt. St. Mary’s University; Gonzaga High in Washington D.C.; and St. Mary’s High in Niagara, New York, are coming to town this spring eagerly looking for things to do.

The rising cost of fuel affecting us at the gas pump is compounded by the rising embedded cost to produce and deliver items to the grocery store shelves. Producers, wholesalers, and retailers all must pass the cost on to us. So far, rising gas prices seem to have not affected the market demand for homes in the northern part of the county. The secret is out. It’s a great place to live.

At the March 2022 regularly scheduled meeting, the Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners approved the recommendation of the mayor and staff to design and construct a town sign in front of the town office/community building with the capability of providing updated information for time of day, weather, and special events. The masonry stone base of the sign spans eight feet and the height is nine feet by three inches. The sign will feature the town name, logo, and a two-faced message board. We hope to commence with install as soon as county gives permission to replace current sign.

It was two years ago, in a March 2019 meeting, that the town meetings were first affected by COVID-19. At the current calendar March meeting, the last remnants of the COVID-19 protection—Plexiglass dividers between commissioners—were removed. Also, the commissioners approved the mayor and staff recommendation to pave the parking lot and circular drive at Memorial Park this year. The hope is to have the work completed this spring.

Most of Irishtown Road improvements are completed, but the weather delayed “detailing” shoulder work remains to be done. Additionally, home construction work on the Brookfield remaining 19 lots along Irishtown Road is in full gear. Lots of trucks and workman activity.

Please rejoice in the benefit of now two-way traffic but do so at a moderate speed.

Congratulations to our Catoctin High School Cougar girls’ basketball team after securing a berth in the state championships game after a decisive 56–27 win over rival Brunswick; they lost a tough one to Pikesville in the championship game. Great season for coach Amy Entwistle, the team, and especially seniors Emma Wivell, Emily Williams, Paige Smith, and Lily Gadra.

The work to replace 120-plus sidewalk curb ramps throughout town to meet current Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) guidelines is about done. The project cost was $683,000, which was funded totally through a federal block grant. Way to go, staff!

Thank you, Dee Connolly, for once again bringing the Gettysburg Walking Club for a tour of the town wayside exhibits and lunch at one of the fine restaurants in town.

Hope all are having a blessed Lent, and let’s all pray for the Ukrainians. Lib and I hope you have a wonderful Eastertide.

Thurmont

 Mayor John Kinnaird

History plays a big part in our lives and in our community. Memories, keepsakes, family histories, bits of our past, and the structures we all recognize help make up the fabric of our lives and our community. Each of us collects memories of our family and community; in some cases, it can be as simple as the family Bible handed down through several generations, in others, it can be a basement full of valued local artifacts and documents. Here in Thurmont, we are fortunate to have a group of individuals determined to help keep our personal and community memories and treasures intact and on display for us to enjoy and cherish.

The Thurmont Historical Society (THS) was established in 1988 by a group of local residents intent on honoring and preserving our history. One of the driving forces behind the creation of the THS was a wonderful gift from the Creeger family. Ethel Creeger donated her family home at 11 North Church Street to be used as the home of the Historical Society. The society invested untold hours in bringing the house back to life after it had stood vacant for many years. The work included a complete replacement of the double porch at the rear of the house; installation of a modern HVAC system; finishing the basement with a concrete floor; repairing wiring and plumbing; and major repairs to the windows, shutters, and cornices. As with any home, regular maintenance is an ongoing issue. In recent memory, the society repointed much of the brickwork, replaced the concrete walkways at the rear of the house, and replaced the aging HVAC system. Current projects include the scraping and repainting of all the trim on the exterior of the building. This is a $30,000-plus project, being funded in part by generous grants from the Maryland Historic Areas Trust and the Delaplaine Foundation. The society is also working toward digitizing five decades worth of the Catoctin Enterprise newspaper.

The Thurmont Historical Society is open on Sundays from 11:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m., and at other times by appointment. There are many informative displays and local artifacts to see, and there is an amazing library of local family and community history. Please consider helping the Thurmont Historical Society by becoming a member or by making a donation to help ensure the success of the many projects the society undertakes. The Thurmont Historical Society and its members are committed to preserving our history so that we, and generations to come, can look back and understand our past. Be sure to visit the new Society webpage at www.thurmonthistoricalsociety.org.

The Frederick County Health Department continues to offer free COVID-19 vaccinations, booster shots, and testing to Thurmont residents.  Vaccinations and boosters are available at the Thurmont Regional Library on Monday evenings, 5:00-7:00 p.m. COVID-19 testing is available at the Thurmont Town Office on Friday evenings, 5:00-7:00 p.m. I want to thank the Frederick County Health Department and their amazing staff for making these services available to our residents and our north-county neighbors.

The Thurmont Farmers Market has started for the season! The indoor market is located at 21 East Main Street and will be there Saturday mornings, from 9:00 a.m.-noon through May 7. The outdoor market will then be open Saturday mornings, 9:00 a.m.-noon, at the Thurmont Community Park for the rest of the market season.

The Thurmont Business Showcase is on Saturday, April 23, from 11:00 a.m.-2: 00 p.m., at the Thurmont Event Complex. The Thurmont Green Team will be hosting the 2022 Greenfest at the Thurmont Regional Library, Saturday, April 9, from 10:00 a.m.- 2:00 p.m. The Woodsboro Bank and Thurmont Police Commission are hosting a Community Shred Event on Saturday, April 30, from 8:00 a.m.-noon, at the Thurmont Police Department Headquarters.

I am available for your comments, questions, or suggestions at 301-606-9458 or by email at jkinnaird@thurmont.com.

by James Rada, Jr.

Thurmont

Town Gets Tips to Improve Safety In Electric Department

Tim Lawrence, electric utilities director for the Town of Berlin, gave the Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners some advice from his 41 years of work in municipal electric departments on how to improve safety at the Thurmont Electric Department. What most of his advice came down to was making sure that the employees were fully and competently trained.

“You have jobs you can mess up on,” Commissioner Wes Hamrick said. “This is one job you can’t.” That is because the employees are working with high-voltage lines, and a mistake can kill someone.

Berlin has all its linemen complete a state-certified course. The course takes four years to complete, including two weeks of classroom time each year. The linemen have to be certified to do various jobs in the electric department. Berlin’s electric department also issue each employee their own copy of the American Public Power Safety Manual and federal safety guidelines.

Town to Purchase Downtown Property

The Town of Thurmont will use $80,000 in grant funds to purchase the business property at 6 E. Main Street. The town’s goal is to preserve this property and find a business to occupy it. Failing that, they will try to find a public use for it. The belief is that anything that can be done to attract more people downtown will ultimately benefit other downtown businesses.

Colorfest Parking Fees to Increase

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners voted to increase the amount they receive per vehicle parked during Colorfest from $2.00 to $4.00. They will also encourage parking vendors to increase the cost of parking from $10.00 per car to $15.00. However, the amount is ultimately left up to the vendor. The mayor and commissioners also plan to look at increasing the cost of permits for craft vendors.

Town Votes to Fund Little League Field Improvements

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners voted to fund repairs and improvements “critical to the safety and sanitation needs of the Little League fields,” according to Mayor John Kinnaird. The improvements and repairs will be made to the bathrooms. The estimated cost is around $22,112, pending bids for some items. The town will pay for the project using American Rescue Plan funds that it received from the Federal Government.

New Board of Appeals Member

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners appointed Mickey Blank to serve in the open alternate member position on the Thurmont Board of Appeals. He will become a permanent member automatically when the next position opens.

Emmitsburg

Town Moves Toward Implementing a Stormwater Fee

The Emmitsburg commissioners voted to move forward with possibly implementing a stormwater fee that would cost most residents $20.00 a year. The revenue from the fee would be used to pay for water-related projects required as part of an unfunded Federal Government mandate. With the unanimous vote, the town and state will look at how the fee can implemented.

The town has completed all of the affordable projects that can be done. However, more needs to be done to meet the federal goal. It is estimated $1.4 million will be needed between fiscal years 2023 (which begins July 1) and 2028. Even with grant funding, it is expected the town will still need to pay around $700,000 for the needed work. The restoration projects that need to be done are: Northgate stormwater management basin; North Seton Avenue Green Street; increased street sweeping; 12 acres of tree plantings with StreamLink.

These actions are needed to reduce and eliminate pollution from run-off that ends up in the Chesapeake Bay. If the municipalities don’t meet the federal goals, they can be heavily fined.

A stormwater fee is not required under the mandate, but many municipalities are using it as a way to pay for the projects that do need to be done under the mandate. Maryland has 17 municipalities doing this, including Frederick City.

According to the Environmental Finance Center at the University of Maryland, the average single-family residential stormwater fee nationwide is $5.94 per month or $71.28 annually, compared to the proposed $20.00 fee for Emmitsburg.

The proposal calls for a three-tier fee. Parcels less than 1,466 square feet would pay $10.00 annually. Parcels greater than 4,398 square feet would have a calculated fee. Parcels between 1,466 and 4,398 square feet would pay the $20.00 fee. The proposal is projected to generate about $34,850, annually.

Town Can’t Do Anything About Eyesore Property

Because of complaints about the condition of the property at 507 E. Main Street, the Emmitsburg Commissioners and town staff have been exploring options for what can be done about it. The town was not able to work with the owner to rectify the situation, so an administrative search warrant was obtained to inspect the property. Although it does not look pretty, the property was found to be structurally sound. This means the town cannot deem it a “dangerous and hazardous building.” It also means that the town cannot do anything about the building.

New Town Office Sign Approved

The Emmitsburg Commissioners approved the design of a new sign for the town office that will be placed on South Seton Avenue. Now, bids will be solicited for the construction and installation of the sign.

New Board of Appeals Member

During their March town meeting, the Emmitsburg Commissioners accepted the resignation of Levi Essess from the Emmitsburg Board of Appeals and appointed Scott Frager to the open position for a term that will run through February 17, 2023.

Thurmont

 Mayor John Kinnaird

In light of the recent decline in COVID-19 cases in Frederick County, County Executive Gardner has rescinded the mask order for public places. Many businesses and restaurants may still require you to wear a mask in their establishment.

COVID-19 vaccinations and booster shots are available on Monday evenings, from 5:00-7:00 p.m. at the Thurmont Regional Library on Moser Road. COVID-19 tests are available on Friday evenings, from 5:00-7:00 p.m., at the Thurmont Town Office at 615 East Main Street in Thurmont. The tests are free and do not require a doctor’s note or an appointment.

Spring is headed our way, but there’s still plenty of opportunity for winter weather. I just want to remind everyone that if you can get your cars off the street, it makes for a better job of clearing snow from our streets. Please do not clear the end of your driveway until our trucks have plowed to the curb. Chances are the plowed snow may block the end of your driveway, and I don’t want you to have to clear your driveaway more than once, if possible.  Also, be aware of snowplows as they work to clear the streets. Give all snow plows ample space as they are working or as you drive past them. These trucks are wide!

Speaking of spring, the Thurmont Farmers Market will be open on Saturday, March 26, at 21 East Main Street in Thurmont. The early indoor market was a big success last year and this year will be no different. The indoor market will be open Saturdays, 9:00 a.m. until noon, through May 7. The indoor market will feature mushrooms, locally made sauces and rubs, baked goods, organic greens, and much more! Bantam Coffee Roasters will be at every Farmer Market with their trailer, serving up freshly roasted coffee, lattes, espresso, and more. The Farmers Market will then move to its new outdoor location in the Thurmont Community Park on Frederick Road. The outdoor market will be open Saturdays, 9:00 am until noon, beginning Saturday, May 14.

Cunningham Falls State Park is a great recreational resource right on our doorstep. There are plenty of trails to hike; streams for fishing; campsites; a beautiful lake for swimming, fishing, and canoeing; the beautiful Cunningham Falls, and tons of history! Be sure to visit the Maple Syrup Festival at Cuningham Falls State Park, from 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m., on March 12-13 and March 19-20. There will be two boil sites, the fresh syrup will be for sale, and there will be hot beverages and light fare available.

The Thurmont Planning and Zoning Commission has wrapped up the Master Plan Update and Comprehensive Rezoning. Both are now in the hands of the board of commissioners and will be the topic of a public hearing in the near future. If you are interested in the Master Plan and Comprehensive Rezoning, please watch for the board of commissioners’ public hearing dates.

Please contact me with any questions, comments, or concerns at 301-606-9458 or by email at jkinnaird@thurmont.com. I hope everyone has a very nice March!

Emmitsburg

Mayor Don Briggs

With spring almost here and months of talking about the new businesses and major town improvements, here are some things about people.

Over the last year, unimpeded by COVID variations, the Frederick County Health Department, partnering with Dr. Portier, has conducted a sample group program of 40 patients to enhance self-care blood pressure care and awareness. Forty (40) “cuffs,” medical parlance for the wide band you put around your bicep and squeeze a rubber ball kits, were distributed to the patients. The intent is to develop patient motivation in using cuffs, provide literature, and a more than “one and done” follow-up support system to keep blood pressure in a healthier range. It is my understanding that the program is still being tweaked before being opened to the public. Preventive medicine at work.

Providentially, with spring comes another restaurant option on the Square. The vacated Stavros space is occupied again. Tuscany’s Pizzeria held its grand opening on February 23. Please welcome them with a visit. 

So who is Father Gene? He is the gentle octogenarian, who walks several miles every day and has run 15 marathons. Besides being a very spiritual parish priest at St. Joseph’s Church, he is an ardent Auburn Tigers fan. In his earlier days, he was pastor at Auburn University. His number of marathons run is impressive and noteworthy, posing possibly a challenge to Bridget McCarthy in marathons, but I do not think so. Included in his marathons run is the Marine Corps. Marathon in Washington D.C. I ran it in 1980, followed a year later by the one notable initiates of the club Libby ran (an hour faster than me). 

 So, where are we with the Change for Food program, the donations placed in those little jars throughout town retail checkouts? The initiative to raise money for Emmitsburg Food Bank was started ten years ago by Bob and Jean Rosensteel and has been maintained by them and the Emmitsburg Business and Professional Association (EBPA). The latest tabulation is $54,056 raised. To add to that, the EBPA college scholarship assistance fund, administered by the Frederick County Community Foundation, now exceeds $27,000. Well done business community.

 There is a Catoctin High student program known as “Family, Community, and Career Leaders of America” (FCCLA). A school-sponsored club whose mission is “Leading Others to a Better Tomorrow,” and whose motto is “Caring and Sharing.” The goal is, by performing services for the community, students learn and develop leadership skills. Notable initiates of the club include “adopting” area elderly and Thurmont Primary School students for engagement in activities throughout the school year. Well done.

 If you want to be nudged in an intellectual way, consider the Mount’s Alumni Symposium, sponsored by the Mount St. Mary’s University College of Liberal Arts. Now in the third year of fall and spring sessions, this may be the one for you. The overseer of the program is Dr. Peter Dorsey. You do not have to be a Mount grad to join in person or by zoom. For the 2022 spring session, in January, Drs. Elizabeth and Charles Strauss led a discussion on Catholics and Jews after the Holocaust. Followed in February by Fr. Jim Donohue, “The Hospitality of God: A Reading of Luke’s Gospel.” March will be Dr. Carol Hind, “Sanctification of the Ordinary in Mark Salzman’s Lying Awake.” In April, Dr. John Hershey: “Star Wars and the Force of Philosophy.” In May, Dr. Jack Dudley: “The Everyday Life of the Priesthood, The Short Stories of J.F. Powers.” The symposium sessions are held at the Mount Frederick campus one evening a month. There is a fee that includes reading materials and dinner. Contact the College of Liberal Arts for information on the 2022 fall semester.

We mourn the loss of Francis G. Smith, 96 years young. He was a wonderful person and renowned area artist and poet. In 2019, he was recognized as the town of Emmitsburg Poet Laureate for 2019-2021. From his poem, “The Poet’s Fantasy”:

Pent-up within the bounds of my humanity,

My restless spirit, ever straining upward,

Thrills to harmony.

Not so much giving up something but rather do something special for others during Lent.  

by James Rada, Jr.

Thurmont

Town Reinstates Commissioner Liaisons to Public Works

Although Thurmont used to have commissioner liaisons to the town’s public works departments, the assignments have stopped being made at some point in the past. At Mayor John Kinnaird’s suggestion and with the approval of the commissioners, this has been reinstated. The following liaison assignments were made to the commissioners: Water—Wayne Hooper, Wastewater—Bill Blakeslee, Electric—Bill Buehrer, Streets and Parks—Wes Hamrick.

Part of Trolley Trail to be Dedicated In Memory of Former Employee

At the suggestion of a town employee, the Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners agreed to dedicate the section of the Thurmont Trolley Trail from East Moser Road to the wastewater treatment plant pond entrance to Jeff Kilby. Kilby was a town employee in the wastewater department who died unexpectedly in October 2020. A bench with a plaque on it will be placed on the trail to note the dedication.

Armstrong Named Thurmont Police Officer Of The Year

The Thurmont Lions Club named Sgt. Dave Armstrong as the Thurmont Police Officer of the Year. He joined the Thurmont Police Department in 2012 after he retired from the Frederick Police Department. He was promoted to sergeant in 2018. Besides his work as a police officer, he helped the town youth organize themselves to get the new Thurmont Skatepark built.

Jonathan Hamrick with the Thurmont Lions Club presented Armstrong with a certificate and gift certificate for a local restaurant. His name will be added to a plaque of other Thurmont Police Officers of the Year, and the Lions Club will make a $400 donation in his name to the Thurmont Boy Scouts.

Wood Named Thurmont Police Civilian Employee Of The Year

Code Enforcement Officer Kristi Wood was named the Thurmont Police Civilian Employee of the Year. She began work with the department as a part-time employee in 2014. However, her hard work and initiative to take on other duties allowed her to become a full-time employee in 2017. Citizens have often complimented her good work to the department.

“Her caring and concern for everyone is noticeable every day,” Eyler said. “Ms. Wood has proven to be an outstanding employee for the Thurmont Police Department and the Town of Thurmont.”

Purchases Approved to Extend Gateway Trail

The Town of Thurmont and Catoctin Mountain National Park have been working to develop the Gateway Trail. It begins in Community Park, through town on Altamont Avenue, and out of town on West Main Street. It will then connect to trails in Catoctin Mountain National Park. To complete the trail, the town needs to purchase three pieces of property on West Main Street in order to make a direct connection to the west end of Community Park. Using $75,000 in funds from the county, the Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners voted to purchase properties and easements at 128 W. Main Street, 202 W. Main, and a parcel along Hunting Creek for $23,500 to build a six-foot-wide asphalt trail.

Thurmont United Methodist Church Petitioning for Annexation

The Thurmont United Methodist Church has asked to be annexed into the Town of Thurmont. The church leadership would like to create a daycare center, but to do so, it needs to add a sprinkler system, among other improvements. It is uncertain that the church’s well could support the sprinkler system, so it would like to connect to the town’s water system. The church is included in the town’s master plan for future growth.

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners voted to forward the request to the planning and zoning commission for review and recommendation.

Emmitsburg

New Business News

Christ’s Community Church has submitted their concept plan to build a new 12,500-square-foot church on Creamery Road near Quality Tire.

Federal Stone is preparing engineering plans to submit to the Emmitsburg Planning Commission. The company purchased all of the Emmitsburg East Industrial Park II for its business. The company also planned to submit the final subdivision plat and forest conservation plan to the planning commission in February.

Ripleigh’s Creamery is working to obtain a county building permit for its building work.

Rutter’s is under construction and expected to open late this summer.

The MDOT/SHA Park and Ride design is 15 percent complete, but the project is now on hold due to state budget cuts.

Tuscany’s Pizzeria is now open on the square.

Village Liquors and Plaza Inn is working on completing the final subdivision plat and improvement plat conditions the planning commission asked for. They also need to secure the necessary permits from the town and county.

Residential Work

Emmitsburg continues to see growth, with 32 new residential permits being issued in the town last year.

Park Work Approved

The Emmitsburg Commissioners approved a bid of $14,325 to Frederick County Paving in Thurmont to pour eight concrete slabs for bleachers in town parks. Frederick County Paving was one of 25 bidders for the project.

Green Sites, Inc. of Elkridge will be installing seven new 15-foot-long bleachers (three in Eugene Myers Community Park and four in Memorial Park) for $42,600. Green Sites was one of 11 bidders for this project.

HMF Contractors in Frederick will be paving the gravel area in Memorial Park for $28,980. HMF Contractors was one of 21 bidders for this contract.

All the projects will be paid for with FY2022 Local Parks & Playgrounds Infrastructure (LPPI) from the state.

New Hires

The Emmitsburg Commissioners approved hiring Julie Scott as the new town clerk. She lives in Cascade and was one of 115 people who applied for the position. Her salary will be $63,000 a year. Current Town Clerk Maddie Shaw stepped back to take a part-time position as the town’s grants administrator. This job pays $35.00 an hour but offers no benefits. It is expected that she will be working 16-20 hours a week.

Sabrina King has also been hired as the town office coordinator. She lives in Taneytown and is one of 85 people who applied. She will earn $41,900 a year.

Pool Management Contract Approved

The Emmitsburg Commissioners approved a three-year contract (2022-2024) to have RSV Pools in Gaithersburg manage the town pool during the season. The company will be paid $65,952 for 2022, $67,848 for 2023, and $70,980 for 2024 for the work.

Blair Garrett

Emmitsburg’s newest restaurant has officially opened its doors, giving patrons a piece of Italy, one slice at a time.

Tuscany’s Pizzeria and Italian Ristorante on the square in Emmitsburg made its grand entrance on February 23, with Emmitsburg Mayor Don Briggs helping to unveil the town’s newest family-owned business.

The ristorante is owned and operated by a tight-knit team, and they’re excited to start dishing out authentic Italian meals to locals who are itching for a new great place to eat.

The shop is run by owner Cesar Ramos and four brothers, all who play their part in making Tuscany’s into a hopefully thriving business.

“We wanted to give people a place in town they could stop by and enjoy and see if we could give people what they want and deserve,” Ramos said.

Owning a restaurant runs in the family for the Tuscany’s.

“Most of my family has been running restaurants since the 1980s,” Ramos said.

That experience offers Ramos and his team something to lean on while they get everything moving at full capacity.

They’ve absorbed as much information as they can to be successful, and that hard work looks like it’s paying off already.

“Since we moved to this country, we’ve been working with a family who has taught us everything about this business,” Kelvin Martinez said.

Tuscany’s offers a variety of Italian favorites, but their specialty is in their pizza. They’ve got over a dozen styles of gourmet pizzas, with each option as unique as the next.

The new ristorante takes over the shop where Stavros Pizza used to be, with the hopes to continue to bring great pizza to the people of Emmitsburg.

“We want to give people something different and something new from what this restaurant used to be,” Ramos said. “We come in with a new name, new ownership, new menu, and new ingredients. We’re trying to give people the best we can do.”

The team is offering a variety of foods that are sure to please even the pickiest of eaters. Between the assortment of hot subs, Sicilian pizzas, and house favorites, it’ll be tough to narrow down which specialty meal you like best.

Despite only being here a short time, the crew at Tuscany’s already feels a connection to this town.

“We’re Catholic, so we would come to town sometimes to see Mount St. Mary’s soccer and basketball games, and we support them,” Kelvin Martinez said. “We would always see this town and we really liked it, and the people are always very nice, too.”

Catch Tuscany’s Pizzeria at the square in Emmitsburg to try out some of their specialty dishes.

You can find more information online through their Facebook at: facebook.com/TuscanysEmmitsburg.

Enrique Martinez, Kelvin Martinez, Cesar Ramos, and Yusthin Martinez represent Tuscany’s Pizzeria, the newest restaurant in Emmitsburg.

Photo by Blair Garrett

Thurmont  Mayor John Kinnaird

Winter has arrived! Please keep an eye on your elderly or disabled neighbors during this time of the year. With the recent cold weather, they may not be able to get out for groceries or to clear their walkways. I also ask that everyone helps the Thurmont Food Bank with donations of nonperishable food, toiletries, diapers, or cash. The Thurmont Clothes Closet is in need of warm clothing for all ages. Also, keep your pets indoors if possible during the brutally cold days and nights; if you can’t bring them indoors, be sure to provide them with shelter, clean bedding, plenty of water, and fresh food.

With the recent snow, our plow crews have been hard at work clearing the streets. When snow is in the forecast, please move your vehicle off the road if possible. This will allow our plows to clear the streets from curb to curb. This is especially important in our residential cul-de-sacs. I also recommend not cleaning the end of your driveway until our trucks have cleared the roadway; this way, the trucks will not plow your driveway shut every time they pass. When driving around Thurmont and on other roads, please give the snow plows ample room as they do their job.

You may have noticed the work being done on the Rt. 15 bridge over Rt. 77 at the west end of Thurmont. This State Highway project will replace the deck on the northbound Rt. 15 bridge. There will be lane closures on Rt. 15, and you may experience lane closures on Rt. 77 during construction. There will be flagmen directing traffic on West Main Street (Rt. 77) when there are closures. Be sure to follow their directions.

The Thurmont Planning and Zoning Commission is continuing the Master Plan and Comprehensive Zoning update. If you are interested in this process, be sure to attend the meetings in person or tune in live on Cable 99 or online at Thurmont.com. The P&Z meets the third Thursday of each month in the Town Office Meeting Room at 7:00 p.m.

New playground equipment has been installed in Woodland Park. There is a large piece with rope ladders, bridges, and three slides. There are also several smaller exercise pieces, new benches, and covers for shade. Be sure to stop at Woodland Park and check out the new playground equipment.

The Board of Commissioners recently approved the purchase of right of ways that will allow a connection from the Thurmont Community Park from West Main Street. This will eventually incorporate a pedestrian/bike bridge over Hunting Creek, allowing a connection between Community Park, residents on West Main Street, and the Gateway Trail. The Gateway Trail is a cooperative effort between the Federal and State Parks and the Town of Thurmont. This will allow hikers and bikers to access the trails in both parks and our Trolley Trail. We are working to get the Trolley Trail extended to Catoctin Furnace as part of a loop trail from Thurmont to Catoctin Furnace, across Rt. 15 and up Catoctin Hollow Road to the State and Federal Parks and then back to Thurmont.

The Maryland Board of Public Works recently approved Project Open Space funding for several park projects in the Town of Thurmont. These projects include a new baseball/softball field at East End Park. This will include the design and construction of a new regulation-sized baseball/softball field to include fencing, backstops, dugouts, a gravel driveway, and a parking lot. The project will also include a stormwater management system and an ADA-compliant walkway. A second project will install new athletic field lights for the new baseball/softball field. The proposed outdoor recreational lighting system is designed to perform its intended function, be energy efficient, and minimize light pollution. The third project will see the construction of an ADA-compliant asphalt walking trail at East End Park.

Please contact me at 301-606-9458 or by email at jkinnaird@thurmont.com with any questions or comments about these projects or anything else to do with the Town of Thurmont.

Emmitsburg Mayor Don Briggs

Here we are, a new year, 2022, duly anointed there to enfold, there onto judgment, hopefully, a blissful repletion be ours. To that goal, we seem to be tracking well. A “big snow” event is now behind us. It has been a dry fall into winter period. Snow is good for replenishment of the water table, as its tendency when melting is to slow seepage into the ground and less is lost to runoff. Irishtown Road is complete enough to accommodate two-way traffic on and off Brookfield Drive, a decade after opening to one-way out. From permit applications and conversations, with the 19 proposed houses along Irishtown Road, 10 homes have been placed under contract.  

To the questions of no masks, masks, shots, boosters, variants, what is medicine, the role of science, and discovery. Why the back and forth? From Stephen Hawking’s, The Brief History of Time, “…redefining the goal of science: our aim is to formulate a set of laws that enables us to predict events only up to the limit set by the uncertainty principle… On many occasions we have increased the sensitivity of our measurements or made a new class of observations, only to discover new phenomena that were not predicted by existing theory and to account for these we have had to develop a more advanced theory.” Knowledge is frustrating, as it is a never-ending progression. With every question comes more questions. This adds credence to the old axiom, “When you think you know, you don’t know.”

At the town’s regularly scheduled monthly meeting, Deputy Ben Whitehouse was honored for his six years of service to the town as a resident deputy. He is moving on to other responsibilities within the sheriff’s department. Ben once went into a building fire and led people out to safety. Thank you, Ben, for your service. Also announced at the meeting were several changes on the planning commission. Joyce Rosensteel stepped away from her 20 years of public service as an elected member of the town council and later as an appointed member of the planning commission. Thank you, Joyce. Well done. It has been a pleasure to work with you over the years. Lured by a fellowship grant at Harvard, Dr. Bernard Franklin is relocating to Cambridge, Massachusetts, and has resigned from his appointment to the planning commission.

To the two vacancies on the commission, Kevin Hagan moved from being the alternate to a regular member, and Amy Boehman-Pollitt is a new member. Terri Ray, a former employee of the town, has accepted the invitation to be an alternate on the commission. Terri Ray is an exceptional person. Her warm voice greeted us all as the former receptionist and office manager. After over six years with the town, Terri has accepted a position in the accounting field with one of our local organizations. Thank you, Terri, for your service to the community and best to you for the bright future that lies ahead for you.   

Now on to Lent and budget preparation for the upcoming 2022-2023 town fiscal year.

by James Rada, Jr.

Thurmont

Commissioner Liaison Appointments Made

For 2022, Mayor John Kinnaird appointed the following town commissioners to serve on the various Thurmont commissions and committees:

•    Wayne Hooper — Mayor Pro Tem, Addictions Committee, and Special Activities Committee.

•    Bill Buehrer — Board of Appeals and Economic Development Committee.

•    Wes Hamrick — Parks Commission and Thurmont Ministerium.

•    Bill Blakeslee — Police Commission and Thurmont Senior Center.

•    John Kinnaird — Planning and Zoning Commission.

Town’s County Capital Budget Requests

In recent years, Frederick County Government has asked municipalities for local projects they would like the county to fund. For Fiscal Year 2023, the Town of Thurmont is asking Frederick County to fund the following things for Thurmont:

•    $25,000 for Thurmont Senior Center operation.

•    $180,000 for the sidewalk on Moser Road, from the wastewater treatment plant to Jermae Estates.

•              $50,000 for asphalt on Old Pryor Road.

Emmitsburg

Emmitsburg Fields Stay Free To Use

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners voted to continue a no-fee policy for town ball fields use that has been in effect for two years. However, town staff is exploring maintenance options and how the town and sports leagues can share maintenance costs if no fee is charged.

Some towns ask sports leagues to provide basic field maintenance for the free use of the fields. Brunswick is one local municipality that does this, according to Town Manager Cathy Willets. Currently, the town pays all maintenance for the fields, which amounted to more than $10,000 last year.

Commissioner T.J. Burns was also concerned that when the new regional park opens along Motter Station Road, it could attract teams away from the town fields, so the town needed to make it attractive to use its fields.

Community Deputy Recognized

The Town of Emmitsburg recognized the six years of service Frederick County Sheriff’s Deputy Whitehouse gave the town. Board President Tim O’Donnell said Whitehouse had “consistently gone above and beyond” in his service to Emmitsburg as a community deputy. Whitehouse was promoted within the sheriff’s office and will no longer be working as a community deputy.

Former Commissioner Rosensteel Recognized

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners issued a proclamation recognizing Joyce Rosensteel’s 20 years of service to the town as town commissioner and a member of different committees in town.

Appointments Made

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners approved the following appointments to town commissions:

•     Kevin Hagan as a regular member of the planning commission, with a term of January 18, 2022–January 18, 2027.

•     Amy Boehman-Pollitt as a regular member of the planning commission, with a term of December 10, 2021–July 2, 2022.

The commissioners also accepted the resignation of Dr. Bernard Franklin from the planning commission, effective December 10, 2021.

Frederick Health, the largest healthcare provider in Frederick County, is pleased to announce the groundbreaking of a new, top-of-the-line facility in Emmitsburg. This facility—which will be built and operated in partnership with Mount St. Mary’s University—will provide award-winning local care to residents of the area, as well as staff and students of the university.

This facility will offer a wide range of healthcare services, focusing on prevention, treatment, and the overall wellness of the community. Urgent care, primary care, lab, imaging/X-ray, and other important medical services will be offered once the facility opens next year.

The development and construction of this facility will continue to improve access to quality care in the northern parts of Frederick County.

 “The construction of the new Emmitsburg facility is yet another way of increasing access to the award-winning care provided by Frederick Health. These kinds of improvements help our neighbors and community grow healthier together,” said Tom Kleinhanzl, president and CEO of Frederick Health.

The facility, which broke ground in October 2021, is expected to open to the public in the middle of 2022. It will be the 23rd facility within Frederick Health’s expanding network. Currently, the healthcare system includes Frederick Health Hospital, Frederick Health Medical Group, Frederick Health Employer Solutions, Frederick Health Home Care, and Frederick Health Hospice. The healthcare system also has more than 100 providers, 17 specialties, and multiple locations across the county. The system has several ambulatory-care locations, the freestanding James M. Stockman Cancer Institute, two urgent care locations, and the Frederick Health Village.

“Bringing care to residents of the northern part of Frederick County is extremely important. As our county continues to grow, we must ensure that all Frederick County residents can receive quality medical treatment,” added Kleinhanzl.

Frederick Health was pleased to partner with an institution with nearly 215 years of history in the community. Under this partnership, Mount St. Mary’s University graciously donated the land upon which the facility will be built. This facility, which will be open to the general public and operated by Frederick Health, will also serve as the university’s new student health center.

Mount St. Mary’s first entered into a strategic healthcare partnership with Frederick Health in 2018, allowing for expansion and improvement of health and wellness services for students and student-athletes. Since that time, the two organizations have worked to strengthen their partnerships, with the goal of bettering healthcare access to the community.

“We have been very pleased with our partnership, which has become even stronger during the pandemic and was a major factor in our ability to have students living and learning on campus last year,” said Mount St. Mary’s President Timothy E. Trainor, Ph.D.

University leadership echoed the benefit of expanded services to the northern part of Frederick County.

“As part of our commitment to our students’ and the local community’s health and well-being, the partnership has evolved to further improve services to our students and help bring needed healthcare services to Northern Frederick through this healthcare facility,” stated Trainor.

With over 3,300 employees, Frederick Health provides a full spectrum of healthcare and wellness services to support its mission to positively impact the well-being of every individual in our community.

Emmitsburg

Mayor Don Briggs

Lots of things to unwrap in our town Christmas stocking for 2022. To add to the Christmas decorations adorning the square are the new façade improvements on the building on the northwest corner. From the impetus of becoming a state-recognized sustainable community leading to downtown upgrades, now the properties on three corners of the square have benefitted from grants offered through the town.

The construction work along Irishtown Road (I know, I am tired of talking about it, too) is moving closer to completion. On more than one occasion, the contractor has said the delays have been because of the opacity of the rock. The impermeable nature, the igneous rock family, of the rock bed along Irishtown Road has caused the installation challenges of water and sewer lines. This groundwork could not be accomplished through dynamiting but only by more tedious labor-intensive drilling. 

The Boys and Girls Club after-school program has grown its student body. This is a much-needed program for the community. There have been discussions about providing a before-school program if it can find the volunteers.    

The long-awaited Rutter’s store is moving along to a now-scheduled completion and opening in late summer 2022.

Federal Stone, which is relocating to Emmitsburg, is still planning for groundbreaking spring 2022 off Creamery Road east of U.S. 15 for their new home, a 50,000 sq. ft. office-warehouse.

The repairs to Brookfield Drive caused by construction traffic are scheduled to be completed in spring 2022. There is the possibility for the development of the Emmit Ridge II single-family subdivision off Irishtown Road. The development process could begin in spring 2022. With the development will come the long-awaited second entrance into Northgate.

In a town December podcast, Mount President Tim Trainor confirmed that the Mount, in partnership with the Daughters of Charity, will open a Professional Health Graduate School in town. The school will occupy a two-story wing of the Basilica. The initial focus of program offerings will be a graduate Physician Assistant degree. The first class of 40 students is planned for September 2023. Other graduate programs planned for later include one for applied behavior analysis and another for athletic training, and the possibility for several more.

The Frederick Health and Mount St. Mary’s Partnership medical facility is now under construction and planned to open in the summer of 2023. The facility services will be available to the entire community.

Major infrastructure projects continue with a pump station upgrade $1,000,000+/-, water clarifier $800,000+/-, and DePaul Street water line $1,000,000+/- scheduled for 2022.

Wonderful to have a town Christmas tree lighting again. Holding to the tradition of the first Monday evening of December in front of the community center, defiant to and humbled by a winter mix, those in attendance stood their ground to join the caroling offered by the raised voices of the Christ’s Community Church children’s choir and music of the Mount St. Mary’s flute ensemble. From there, a short scamper walk to the Carriage House Inn for Christmas music, free hot dogs, cookies, hot chocolate, hayrides, and meeting Santa. Thank you.

Even with COVID-19 out there, we will move forward to add to our wonderful life here. Happy New Year.

Thurmont

 Mayor John Kinnaird

Happy New Year! I hope that 2022 brings everyone some relief from the last two years of uncertainty and worry. COVID-19 continues to cause widespread sickness, and I recommend that everyone get a vaccination or the booster if they can. The Frederick County Health Department offers free testing, vaccinations, and boosters at several locations throughout the county. A list of locations and times is updated regularly at this web address: https://health.frederickcountymd.gov/629/COVID-19-Vaccine.

The Town of Thurmont fiscal year begins on July 1 each year, and with the arrival of January 1, we find ourselves halfway through the 2021-2022 Fiscal Year. I am happy to report that Thurmont is in sound fiscal health. We are on track with our budget projections, and the next two quarters should be as on-target as the first two.

The town recently received the results of our 2020-2021 audit by Zelenkofske Axelrod LLC, Certified Public Accountants. The audit found no issues with our bookkeeping, accounting practices, and record keeping. I credit our accounting staff and CFO Linda Joyce for this clean audit. Due to the diligence and hard work of the accounting staff, all the financial records are held to the highest standards of Governmental Best Accounting Practices. 

I know we have not seen any snow yet, but we all know it is coming. Please drive carefully on our streets when we are experiencing snow or ice. Our snow crew is made up of workers from all of our departments, and they are always at the ready to tackle any snow event.

When it does snow, please keep the following thoughts in mind. If you can, please park your vehicles in your driveway to keep the streets clear for the plows. Streets with no cars can be plowed to the curb and will be passable as opposed to streets with cars parked on the curb. Be sure to leave the snow at the ends of your driveway until after our plows have completed their work. It can be aggravating for residents when the snowplow comes back around and plows your driveway shut. I experience this issue with my sidewalk every year! Speaking of sidewalks, snow must be removed from all sidewalks within 24 hours of the cessation of any fall of snow, sleet, or freezing rain, or within 36 hours when the accumulation exceeds eight inches. The owner, tenant, occupant, lessee, or person responsible for a lot or part of a lot abutting a paved sidewalk shall remove or cause to be removed any snow and/or ice from the abutting sidewalk for a width of three feet, or the width of the sidewalk, whichever is less. These regulations can be found in Thurmont Code, Chapter 84 Property Maintenance, http://thurmont.com/DocumentCenter/View/1827/Chapter-84—Property-Maintenance-2020.

The year 2022 will see some much-needed water and sewer infrastructure projects, including the replacement of mains and laterals on North Church Street. We expect to start the bidding process for this project in the early spring. There will be work on several stormwater basins on Frederick Road and some upgrades to our high-pressure water system. Improvements are on the way to several parks through Project Open Space Funding, and a new softball field is in the works for the East End Park.

The Planning and Zoning Commission is still working on the Master Plan and Comprehensive Zoning updates. If you are interested in this process, please keep an eye on the P&Z Agenda published available on the town website in advance of their monthly meeting. Due to a large amount of project review, the month of January will have two P&Z meetings.

Please contact me at 301-606-9458 or by email at jkinnaird@thurmont.com with any questions, comments, or suggestions.

by James Rada, Jr.

Thurmont

Commissioners May Adjust Colorfest Fees

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners reviewed the costs and revenues the town incurred during the 2021 Colorfest. The town had $25,707 deficit, which was the greatest loss since 2014. The town works to balance the income it receives from permits and fines against the costs of signs, security, labor, sanitation, and transportation. Since these numbers can’t be projected accurately, these numbers can vary greatly, but the amount of the deficit seems to have surprised the commissioners. A large contributor to the revenues was that there was a significant decrease in vendors. Surprisingly, various speakers told the commissioners that COVID seemed to have little direct impact on the numbers. Other health issues among vendors, vendors going out of business, and making other plans for that weekend were mentioned.

Commissioner Bill Blakeslee suggested increasing the fee that the town receives from each parked car from $2.00 to $4.00 and raising the parking cost from $10.00 to $15.00 a vehicle. This would allow the town to receive, perhaps, another $18,000 while not costing the vendors more of their profit.

They also will adjust some of the costs to see what money can be saved there. They plan to re-examine the issue later this month.

Stormwater Ordinance Introduced

The Thurmont Mayor and Board of Commissioners introduced a stormwater management ordinance required by the Maryland Department of the Environment. Much of the discussion around the proposed ordinance centered around what sorts of discharges were illegal and what enforcement authority the town had, such as entering and examining private property.

Town Receives a Clean Audit & Gateway to the Cure Donation

Mike Samson with Zlenkofske Axelrod, LLC, presented the results of the annual independent audit of Thurmont’s financial statements for Fiscal Year 2021. He gave the town an unmodified or clean opinion, which is the highest rating that can be given. The auditors had no difficulties performing the audit nor had any disagreements with the management.

Economic Development Manager Vickie Grinder recently told the Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners about the town’s 8th Annual Gateway to the Cure efforts. This year’s events pushed the amount of Thurmont’s donations to the Patty Hurwitz Breast Cancer Fund to over $100,000. The 2021 donation was $18,000. The money will stay within Frederick County and go toward direct patient care.

“I brag about you everywhere. I tell everyone what a great town you are and how supportive you have been to our efforts, and we just appreciate it very much,” Hurwitz said.

Emmitsburg

Town Will Conduct a Connection Fee and Rate Study

The USDA told the Town of Emmitsburg that its current rates for water and sewer don’t appear to be enough to sustain the projected growth and maintenance on the system. Most municipalities will update their rates every three to five years. Yet, it has been at least 15 years since Emmitsburg conducted a rate study. The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners approved a bid of $35,000 to have NewGen Strategies & Solutions in Annapolis conduct a study of the town’s water rates, sewer rates, and connection fees. Although not the lowest bid, NewGen had excellent references and extensive local experience.

Town Receives a Clean Audit

Michelle Mills, CPA with Deleon and Stang presented the results of the annual independent audit of Emmitsburg’s financial statements for Fiscal Year 2021. She gave the town an unmodified or clean opinion, which is the highest rating that can be given. The auditors had no difficulties performing the audit or had any disagreements with the management.

Board of Appeals Appointments

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners accepted the resignation of Ronald Lind from the Board of Appeals, effective October 12, 2021. They also appointed Levi Esses as a regular member to the Board of Appeals for a term to run from December 7, 2021, to February 17, 2023, and appointed Scott Frager an alternate to the Board of Appeals for a term to run December 7, 2021, to January 11, 2024.

Town Sets Price for 303 West Lincoln Avenue

Having declared that 303 West Lincoln Avenue has no public use, the Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners had the property appraised. The recommended listing price for the property is $625,000. The town is expected to negotiate first with the current building occupants, Christ Community Church, to sell the property. If an agreement can’t be reached or the church is not interested in continuing to use the property, it will be placed on the market.