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by James Rada, Jr.


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

Residents Overwhelmingly Vote Down Annexation

During January’s special election, Thurmont residents voted 834-157 to not annex 16.7 acres of agricultural land into the town for high-density development. Although part of the property is already in town, and the lot in question was in the town’s master plan for residential development, residents gathered enough votes for the special election on January 17.

Frederick-based developer Cross and Company planned on a 24.5-acre mixed-use “intergenerational community” on the property. It would have included 172 homes, a day care center, and an assisted-living center.

With the vote results, the current plan cannot move forward, although something can be done with the portion that is already in the town boundaries.

Pavilion Rental Fees Increased

The Thurmont Mayor and Board of Commissioners voted to increase the rental fees for the pavilions in the town parks this year. The small pavilions will now cost $40.00 to rent and the large pavilions at Community Park will cost $60. The pavilion at Eyler Road Park is not included in this.

Purchases Approved

The Thurmont Mayor and Board of Commissioners recently approved some capital purchases for various town departments.

The electric department is purchasing a pick-up truck from Fitzgerald’s in Frederick for $42,909.

The wastewater treatment plant will be installing an emergency generator system in the plant for $370,500. This will cover the cost of the machinery and the initial $5,000 fuel charge. Most of the funds ($322,000) come from the American Rescue Plan. The remainder will come from the town’s budget surplus.

The streets department is purchasing a dump truck from Crouse Ford for $103,923. Most of the cost ($100,000) was a budgeted capital expense. The remainder will come from the town’s unrestricted fund balance.

Nearly Five Acres Added to the Town

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners approved a resolution to annex 4.881 acres of property owned by Apples United Church of Christ and town-owned property into the Town of Thurmont.

Liaison Appointments

The commissioner liaison appointments for 2023 will remain the same as 2022: President Pro Tem – Wayne Hooper; Planning and Zoning – John Kinnaird; Thurmont Addictions – Wayne Hooper; Parks and Recreation – Wes Hamrick; Thurmont Ministerium – Wes Hamrick; Police – Bill Blakeslee; Board of Appeals – Bill Buehrer; Senior Center – Bill Blakeslee; Economic Development – Bill Buehrer; Special Activities – Wayne Hooper.

Zoning Changes Made

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners made some adjustments to the town’s zoning ordinance and how land can be developed.

The mayor and commissioners repealed the Traditional Neighborhood Floating Zone. This was a development option that had never been used in Thurmont. It had been applied for once, but not approved.

The mayor and commissioners also approved a Planned Unit Development zoning option for the town.


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

Frailey Farm Developer Backs Out

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners announced during the January town meeting that the developer who was seeking to build new housing on the property was not pursuing the project. The reason given was that the economy was slowing and financing for the project was becoming more expensive.

The proposed plan would been to have the town annex the 118-acre farm and then the developer would build 300 homes on it. Although the farm was in the town master plan for future residential development, some residents were not happy with the idea.

System Upgrade Approved

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners approved $56,937 for the ChemScan system at the wastewater treatment plant. A similar upgrade had been made at the water treatment plant and has been very successful.

Change Order Approved

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners approved a change order for Bearing Construction to have trees removed on the dam at the Silo Hill Basin. This was something that Frederick County Soil Conservation required per MDE guidelines. The cost for the change is $47,185. The board also approved an agreement with Barton and Loguidice for the Silo Hill Basin tree removal engineering services. This was part of the change order request that was not in the initial scope of work.

  The cost of the work is covered by the grant that is funding the project.

American Rescue Plan Monies

Emmitsburg received $3.2 million in American Rescue Plan funds. The first payment was in 2021, and the second payment of $1.6 million came last August. The money can be spent to support public health expenditures and address negative economic impacts; replace lost public sector revenue; provide premium pay for essential workers; and invest in water, sewer and broadband infrastructure.

The first payment was used for the water clarifier and pump station projects. Town staff recommended that the second payment be used for water infrastructure projects such as the 16-inch main water line, with which the commissioners agreed.

Amending Development Fees

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners amended the town ordinance to approve changes to the subdivision, plan review and annexation, and forest conservation procedures. The goal is that the developers will pay the legal costs the town incurs for work related to proposed developments. This will keep the taxpayers from having to pay for work on proposals that ultimately go nowhere.


Mayor Don Briggs

The New Year brought some excitement with Rutter’s opening Tuesday, January 17. With town approvals in hand and most of the county approvals, too, the protracted construction was complicated by supply chain issues, state highway approval, and state environmental approvals, but FINALLY, it is open. The station offers wide, spacious access to the many pumps, along with an attractive, open interior convenience store and deli. Lots of people were taking pictures and selfies. A good day for our community!

The Frailey Farm annexation intrigue as to its potential impact is no more. The developers notified the town over the Christmas holidays of their intent to not move forward with the project. They appreciated the time given by the community. Their reasoning centered around the timing and economic climate. The good news is it allows the community to assess where we are and what we want to see.

Duck and cover! COVID variations, flu bronchitis, and common colds seem to be flowing through the community. Finally, the flu got to our town office staff, which caused the moving of the town’s regularly scheduled meeting to Wednesday, January 18, 2023. A summary of the agenda items are as follows:

For consideration, approval of Bearing Construction change order for removal of trees on the dam at the Silo Hill Basin. Mandatory requirement from Frederick County Soil Conservation per MDE guidelines. Approved unanimously by the board members present, Commissioner O’Donnell not present.

For consideration, approval of agreement with Barton and Loguidice for Silo Hill Basin tree removal engineering services. Part of the change order request that was not in the initial scope of work. Approved unanimously by the board members present, Commissioner O’Donnell not present.

For consideration, approval of the HACH estimate for the ChemScan upgrade at the wastewater treatment plant (WWTP). The Board previously approved a similar upgrade at the WTP. This was included as an asset project for the WWTP in the FY23 budget. Approved unanimously by the board members present, Commissioner O’Donnell not present.

For consideration, approval of Resolution 2023-01 bond reduction request for the Irishtown Road project. Approved unanimously by the board members present, Commissioner O’Donnell not present.

For approval, designation of the second tranche of the American Rescue Plan monies. Approved unanimously by the board members present, Commissioner O’Donnell not present.

For consideration, approval of Ordinance 2023-03 amendment to Title 16 changes to subdivision fees. Approved unanimously by the board members present, Commissioner O’Donnell not present.

For consideration, approval of Ordinance 2023-02 amendment to Title 17 changes to zoning fees. This ordinance will amend the collection process for zoning fees. Approved unanimously by the board members present, Commissioner O’Donnell not present.

 There are lots of events planned for the year: Earth Day, Tree City, Arbor Day, Community Heritage Day, National Night Out, just to name a few. I hope you join us! Dates and information to follow.

With the gathered gusto, as usual for the new year, comes a reluctant resolve to move the belt in a notch or two, again. So be it, the days are getting longer…


 Mayor John Kinnaird

As everyone must be aware, the referendum opposing the annexation of the Simmers property was successful and that project is now halted. This is a great example of residents getting involved in the processes regarding the growth of our community. Moving forward, I hope that more residents make themselves aware of what is happening with our master plan and planning and zoning topics before the need for public referendum arises. The agendas for planning and zoning, the board of appeals, and the board of commissioners are all posted on the website, The agendas identify the topics being discussed and those that action will be taken on. These agendas can be viewed on the video streaming page, along with videos of past meetings.

This spring and summer will see several public works projects starting. The first will be the replacement of the water line on Old Pryor Road. This work will include the replacement of outdated water mains and the installation of a new line tying into the Hillside subdivision. Only residents on Hillside Circle and Old Pryor Road will be impacted by this work. Next, we will be upgrading the stormwater catch basins on Frederick Road. The basins will be rebuilt and may require single-lane closures on Frederick Road, so please follow traffic control measures during this work. Once the catch basins are completed, we will be milling and repaving Frederick Road. This work will also require lane closures during the work. A new ball field will be constructed at East End Park to feature lighting for nighttime games. Construction of this new field should not impact residents. A new pavilion will replace the existing one at East End Park. This will involve removing the old pavilion and pad, then installing a new pad and a metal pavilion. Later this year, we will begin with a large project on North Church Street. This will involve replacing all the water and wastewater lines on North Church Street and installing new water service lines and lateral lines where needed. This will require long-term line closures during the project, with limited inconvenience to residents in the area as the work progresses. Once completed, North Church Street is scheduled to be resurfaced.

Please keep in mind our neighbors, friends, and family members in need of food and warm clothing over the winter months. Donations of non-perishable food, sanitary items, baby food, diapers, and cash donations to the Thurmont Food Bank will help ensure nutritious meals are available to those in need. Donations can be dropped off at the Thurmont Food Bank at 10 Frederick Road. Clothing donations to the Thurmont Clothes Closet at Thurmont United Methodist Church at 13880 Long Road in Thurmont will help families keep warm. Donations can be dropped at the donation box at the Clothes Closet. Any jackets, coats, and warm clothing you donate will be greatly appreciated.

Luckily, we have managed to dodge any accumulating snowfall, but that will probably end soon. When it snows, please try to keep vehicles off the streets wherever possible, so our snow crews can clear the streets to the curb. As much as you want to clear your driveway, try to wait until the trucks are finished, so they don’t plow your driveway shut. Sidewalks must be cleared within 24 hours of the snow stopping or within 36 hours if more than eight inches of snow accumulates. Snow cleared from sidewalks, driveways, etc. cannot be placed onto any streets. If you would like to volunteer to help senior citizens with snow removal, please contact the Thurmont Police at 301-271-0905.

As always, I am available at or at 301-606-9458 if you have any questions, comments, or suggestions. I hope everyone has a great February!


 Mayor John Kinnaird

Welcome to the New Year! I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas. I remember my parents telling me that the older we get, the faster time seems to pass. This past year really seemed to fly by for me, but looking back, I had a great time.

With winter upon us, be sure to be prepared for snow and ice. Keeping a bag of cat litter and a small shovel in your trunk can help you get out of snow and ice. Make sure your cell phone is charged when you go out and bring along warm clothing just in case you get stuck somewhere. Also, be sure to keep an eye on your elderly neighbors when bad weather hits. They may not be able to get out for groceries or to doctors’ appointments. When we do get snow, try to get your cars off the streets so that our plowing crew can clear the streets more effectively. Keep your pets indoors in the cold weather; otherwise, make sure they have clean bedding, fresh water, and ample food. In case of electric outages, keep your doors closed to retain heat in your house. Our electric crews respond to outages 24/7 and work hard to get repairs completed as soon as possible. If you or a neighbor depend on a medical device, such as an oxygen generator or respirator, you can call the non-emergency Fire/Police/ Rescue at 301-600-2071 and ask that the fire department provide an emergency generator. If you are elderly and can not clear your walkway, call the Thurmont Police Department and ask if any volunteers are available to help you clear your walkway.

There will be a special vote on January 17 regarding the Annexation of the Simmers property on Apples Church Road. Eligible Thurmont residents can vote on the annexation at the Guardian Hose Company Activities Building at 123 East Main Street in Thurmont. Voting will run from 7:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m. This vote will be done with paper ballots. Results will be available after the votes are counted the following day.

The new calendar of important Thurmont dates, covering trash pickup, bulk trash, yard waste drop-off, etc., will be showing up in one of the town bills. One of the first important dates will be January 14 for bulk trash pickup and yard waste drop-off. Contact the town office at 301-271-7313 to see if you need stickers for any bulk trash items. Even if you don’t have anything that requires a fee or a sticker, be sure to let them know you will be putting out bulk trash. Yard Waste drop-off will be held the same day at the location on Moser Road. This service is for Thurmont residents only; be sure to have your permit showing when you arrive.

Please keep our less fortunate friends, neighbors, and family members in mind all year, but especially during these difficult winter months. Your donations of non-perishable foods and sanitary items to the Thurmont Food Bank and warm clothing, hats, and gloves to the Thurmont Clothes Closet will make a positive change in our community. Both organizations also accept cash donations.

I hope everyone has a great January! If you have any question, comments, or recommendations, I can be contacted at 301-606-9458 or by email at


Mayor Don Briggs

According to a recent article predicated on Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics information, inflation slowed down as consumer prices grew by only 0.1 percent in November. The same study found that for the period of September 2020 through March 2022, food prices increased 12.2 percent and energy costs increased 13.0 percent. Hmmm, whoever ran those calculations at the bureau, with a good measure of certainty, Lib and I can say they do not shop in Northern Frederick County where we do.

At the December 6th regularly scheduled town meeting:

        Dianne Walbrecker was reappointed to the Board of Appeals. 

        Jack Pollitt was appointed to the Parks and Recreation. 

        Valerie Turnquist was appointed to the Planning Commission as an alternate member.

        Mark Walker was reappointed to the Citizen’s Advisory Committee. 

Agenda Items:

        A public hearing for consideration of Ordinance 2022-12 that would increase water and sewer rates over a three-year period. Tabled deliberation until February 2023.

        For consideration, approval of Ordinance 2022-13, which would change Board of Commissioners meeting to 7:00 p.m. Passed.

        For consideration, approval of the three-year sewer relining bid. Bid approved.

        For discussion and consideration, an offer from Richard Lindsay to purchase three acres from the Town of Emmitsburg, located near the WWTP. Accepted the Lindsays’ offer to purchase three-plus acres from the town of land they have cared for more than over 30 years.

        For consideration, approval of revertible forest conservation easement with Daughters of Charity.

        Daughters of Charity are providing a 9.2013-acre revertible forest conservation easement to the Town to plant trees for the 2023-2028 MS-4 permitting term. Parcel located on east side of US 15.  Approved.

        For consideration, amending the hours of the Farmers Market. Hours will be extended to 2:00-8:00 p.m.

The Christmas tree lighting went well. As part of the evening plan, an Ukrainian tribute to Lutsk our sister city was held. Thank you to DJ, Ramius Entertainment; the Christ Community Church Children’s Chorale; the Emmitsburg Community Chorale; and touching remarks by our guest tree-lighter, Natalie Randall, a native Ukrainian, now U.S. citizen. We invited V. Rev. Elia Yelovich of the Emmitsburg Orthodox mission church to bless the tree and all in attendance, as he did. To the follow up photos sent by staff to him, the V. Reverend responded, “…by far the best tree-lighting ceremony I have been to.” Let’s carry that perspective into 2023. We can do it. Emmitsburg is that special.

Thank you, Lions Club, Seton Center, businesses, and all of our churches for what you do for our children and elderly every day of the year. A special thank you to the Carriage House for delighting all with their generous annual Evening of Christmas Spirit.

Lib and I hope you had a wonderful Christmas, and you and your family have the best New Year ever!

by James Rada, Jr.


Annexation Comings and Goings

The town suspended the Simmers Property 16.7-acre annexation, which the Thurmont Mayor and Board of Commissioners had approved last year.               

Thurmont residents submitted a petition with 1,154 verified signatures. The group, Envision Thurmont, collected the signatures and submitted them to the town office. Only 906 verified signatures (20 percent of Thurmont’s registered voters) were required to put the annexation to a referendum vote.

Now that the annexation has been suspended, a special referendum vote will need to be set to put the issue before the town.

In November, the town also introduced two more annexation requests. Apples Church United Church of Christ and a portion of town-owned property comprising 4.881 acres is requesting annexation. Thurmont United Methodist Church, a 4.3135-acre parcel, is also requesting to be annexed. Both of these properties will be zoned institutional if the annexations are approved.

East End Park Picnic Pavilion to be Replaced

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners voted to replace the East End Park picnic pavilion with a new 30-foot by 30-foot pavilion to be built by Playground Specialists. The cost is $89,999 and will be paid for with a Program Open Space grant. The town will be required to pay $22,500 of the amount, which has already been budgeted.

Town Receives a Clean Audit

Mike Samson and Alison Burke with Zlenkofske & Axelrod, LLC, presented the results of the annual independent audit of Thurmont’s financial statements for Fiscal Year 2022. Samson 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.

Town Makes Gateway to the Cure Donation

Economic Development Manager Vickie Grinder recently told the Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners about the town’s 9th Annual Gateway to the Cure efforts for 2022. This year’s events generated $22,174 for the Patty Hurwitz Breast Cancer Fund, which is more than $4,000 above what the town raised last year. The money will stay within Frederick County and go toward direct patient care.


Developer Wants Frailey Farm Annexed

Water and Sewer Rate Increases Postponed

Reluctant to drastically raise the town’s water rate for residents, the Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners postponed making a decision on the increases. Instead, they asked staff to prepare some additional scenarios in the hopes of finding one that isn’t so drastic. They arrived at the decision after hearing from town residents and discussing it among themselves.

Rates are expected to rise. The question is just how much. The new rates are expected to be approved by the end of March so that they can be in effect for the following billing cycle.

Sewer Relining Bid Approved

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners approved a three-year sewer relining bid of $5,992 from Guyer Brothers in New Enterprise, Pennsylvania. The company utilizes a new technology that uses steam to thermo-cure the lining. It does not involve the use of chemicals like current technology, and the work is guaranteed for 10 years.

Meeting Time Changes

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners voted to change the meeting time for its monthly town meetings from 7:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. This should provide the board with a little extra time each month since the meetings have tended to run around three hours each month and sometimes longer.

Moving and Expanding the Community Garden

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners is considering moving the present community garden to a location next to where the Farmer’s Market sets up. This would also allow the garden to be expanded.


The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners made the following appointments and reappointment during its December meeting.

•   Dianne Walbrecker to the Emmitsburg Board of Appeals, with a term of December 15, 2022 – December 15, 2024.

•   Jack Pollitt to the Emmitsburg Parks and Recreation Committee, with a term of December 6, 2022 – December 2, 2024.

•   Valerie Turnquist as an alternate member to the Emmitsburg Planning Commission, with a term of December 6, 2022 – December 6, 2027.

•      Mark Walker to the Emmitsburg Citizen’s Advisory Committee, with a term of November 7, 2022 – November 7, 2024.


 Mayor John Kinnaird

Here we are, already in December! Thanksgiving has come and gone. I hope everyone was able to celebrate with family or friends. By the time you read this, Christmas in Thurmont will also be no more than a pleasant memory.

We are still left with the better part of December ahead of us! Getting together throughout the month with our family and friends while shopping, or at meals, parties, and faith-based events, we can all enjoy the spirit of the season. This is a season of personal reflection, of expressions of love for others, and of giving and sharing. Come Christmas Day, we will be watching children open gifts, enjoying a delicious meal with those close to us, and for many, the relaxation of a well-deserved afternoon nap. All too close to Christmas will follow the eve of the New Year, with more partying and celebration.

Please keep in mind those of our community that may not be as fortunate as others. Join in the Christmas spirit by making donations to the Thurmont Food Bank and Thurmont Clothes Closet. This is a great way to help others experience the joy of good hot meals and warm, comfy clothes for the cold months ahead. Food Bank donations of non-perishable foods and toiletries can be dropped off at their 7 Frederick Road location. There is a bin in front of the building for donations. The Thurmont Clothes Closet is located at the Thurmont Methodist Church on Long Road. There is a bin for donations at the rear of the church near the Clothes Closet.

I want to leave you with the final passages of one of my favorite stories. This story is about a man who had forgotten the value of both kindness and caring for others. He was reminded of these virtues during a night of reflection, terror, and joy. He discovered that it is never too late for us to mend our ways even as others laugh, and he promised to live out his life with kindness and caring in his heart and in his actions.

“Scrooge was better than his word. He did it all, and infinitely more; and to Tiny Tim, who did not die, he was a second father. He became as good a man as the good old city, town, or borough, in the good old world. Some people laughed to see the alteration in him, but he let them laugh, and little heeded them for he was wise enough to know that nothing ever happened on this globe, for good, at which some people did not have their fill of laughter in the outset; and knowing that such as these would be blind anyway, he thought it quite as well that they should wrinkle up their eyes in grins, as have the malady in less attractive forms. His own heart laughed and that was quite enough for him. He had no further intercourse with Spirits, but lived upon the Total Abstinence Principle, ever afterwards; and it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us! And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God bless Us, Everyone!”

Karen and I wish everyone the Merriest Christmas and the Happiest New Year. Please be careful in your travels and watch out for others.

Questions or comments? Contact me at 303-606-9458 or by email at


Mayor Don Briggs

At the November 12th regularly scheduled town meeting, the commissioners concurred with the mayor’s recommendation to appoint Dan Garnitz to serve as a regular member of the planning commission for a term of November 7, 2022, through January 18, 2027. Additionally, the board concurred with the mayor’s recommendation to appoint Jack Pollitt to serve as an alternate member of the board of appeals for a term starting November 7, 2022, expiring October 1, 2025.

At the direction of the board of commissioners, predicated on an independent study of the water/sewer rates, water bills will increase 44+/- percent annually for the next three years, starting in January 2023, then 2024, 2025, and thereafter, an increase of 3 percent annually. 

The commissioners voted 4-0, with one member abstaining, to deny approval of an ordinance to allow the private shooting ranges in the industrial zone and the use of firearms at private shooting ranges in the town of Emmitsburg.

The commissioners relaxed some of the hunting restrictions and recreational usage at Rainbow Lake and watershed. Certain small game will now be allowed to be hunted during deer season.

The Maryland Mainstreet staff paid a visit to Emmitsburg for a tour of the town. The town currently is a Main Street Affiliate. For over a decade, the town has been recognized as a Maryland Sustainable Community which entitled, among other things, access to grants for private property facade improvements in the historic district that has contributed to over $1 million. Ultimately, full Mainstreet membership is the goal but can only be accomplished responsibly in terms of town staffing and funding capabilities.  

I attended a wonderful presentation on Ukrainian Icons by Kateryna Dovgan at Mount Saint Mary’s University. The slides of Ukrainian Icon art complemented Ms. Dovgan’s extensive knowledge and love as an expert art conservator that she poured into the presentation. The town and the Mount were joint sponsors for the event, with all donations going to the victims of Russo-Ukraine war.

I made a special presentation to the fourth-grade class at Mother Seton School on being mayor and what is going on in town. These presentations are always a joy. I try to alternate between schools in town; next year, I will visit Emmitsburg Elementary.

Congratulations to Emmy award-winner town resident Conrad Weaver on the rollout to a sold-out crowd of the world premiere of his latest film, PTSD911 (Post Traumatic Stress), on November 3, in Irving, Texas. Conrad put in well over three years of work, dozens of interviews, and lots of miles of travel in the production of this film. Next summer, Conrad plans to ride a bicycle across the country as a part of the rollout of the film to 25 cities nationwide.

Recently, Conrad and I had the honor to welcome Michael Zhorvrin, a Ukrainian ex-patriot, now USA citizen, up from Naples, Florida. Mr. Zhorvin played an important role in uniting the town of Emmitsburg to the City of Lutsk as a sister city. Mr. Zhorvin will deliver our town proclamation recognizing Lutsk as such personally to Mayor Ihor Poiishchuk within the next few weeks.

Don’t forget that December 5th is the town Christmas tree lighting, starting at 5:00 p.m. DJ and Christ Community Church child choir is at 5:45 p.m., the Emmitsburg Community Chorale is at 6:00 p.m., and Santa and the tree lighting is at 6:15 p.m. at the community center. This year, a special tribute to our sister city Lutsk in Ukraine will be incorporated into the program. Then, everyone will go down the street to the Evening of Christmas Spirit festivities at the Carriage House Inn.

Lib and I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday, and our best wishes to you and your family for the Christmas season and New Year.

by James Rada, Jr.


Bond Sale Approved

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners recently approved the sale of $513,207 in bonds to finance the replacement of the Old Pryor Road water line. It is a 20-year loan from the Maryland Department of the Environment.

The project will replace the old water main, install new house services and meters, and replace asphalt pavement.

Guyer Brothers was previously approved as the contractor for the project. The company has already ordered material and is waiting for delivery.

PTA Asks to Keep More of Parking Fee

During a recent town meeting, members of the Thurmont school PTAs asked the Thurmont Board of Commissioners to reconsider the $4.00 fee they collect for the town for each vehicle they provide parking for during Colorfest.

During the festival, groups providing parking typically charge $15.00 for each car, of which $4.00 goes to the Town of Thurmont to help offset the town costs for security, buses, trash collection, and porta-potties. The PTA provides the volunteers to staff the lots, and they keep the difference between what they charge and the $4.00 fee to the town. It is a large fundraising opportunity for the groups.

Christy Donnelly, treasurer of the PTA for the elementary and primary schools, asked the town to consider not charging organizations a parking fee and instead raising the cost for vendor permits.

The commissioners did not support this, but they did agree to have the shuttle bus stop at the middle school to pick up and drop off people who park there.

Simmers Annexation May Go To Referendum Vote

Thurmont residents submitted a petition with 1,253 signatures that could put Thurmont Mayor and Board of Commissioners vote to annex 16.7 acres of the Simmers property and rezone it for a high-density development to a vote by residents.

The group, Envision Thurmont, collected the signatures and submitted it the town office. The signatures will be verified, and if there are at least 906 verified signatures (20 percent of Thurmont’s registered voters), the issue will be placed before town residents for a vote.

Potential plans for the property include building up to 194 homes, an assisted-living center, and a day care center.


Developer Wants Frailey Farm Annexed

A developer wants to build nearly 300 homes currently outside Emmitsburg, but he wants the property annexed into the town. A small portion of the Frailey Farm, which is southwest of Emmitsburg, is already within the town’s borders.

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners heard a preliminary proposal for the annexation. Jeff Ott of OPi Holdings told the commissioners that the development would offer townhomes priced in the $300,000 range, small single-family homes in the $400,000 range, and larger homes in the $500,000 range, although these are preliminary prices. It would also include a park and hiking and biking trails.

The property is in Emmitsburg’s 2015 Comprehensive Plan as being an area for future residential housing.

The commissioners expressed a number of reservations, but the process is just starting.

No Shooting Ranges in Emmitsburg

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners heard from town staff, their planning consultant, the town attorney, the applicant and his attorney, and other members of the public about an ordinance that would allow private shooting ranges in Emmitsburg. The commissioners voted 4-0 with one abstention against the ordinance.

Small Game Hunting

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners approved a policy that allows small game hunting in the town’s watershed during the same time as deer and turkey hunting will take place.

Appointments Made

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners accepted the resignation of Dan Garnitz from the Emmitsburg Board of Appeals. The commissioners then appointed him as a regular member of the Emmitsburg Planning Commission, with a term running from November 7, 2022, to January 18, 2027.

They also appointed Jack Pollitt as an alternate member of the Emmitsburg Board of Appeals, with a term expiring October 1, 2025.

The Thurmont Grange #409 recently presented dictionaries to all northern Frederick County third-grade students. This is a community-service project called “Words for Thirds,” and all of the third-grade students in the Catoctin feeder system received dictionaries (Sabillasville, Lewistown, Thurmont, and Emmitsburg Elementary Schools).

The Grange is an agricultural organization, which is deeply rooted in the community. Many of its members are farmers, businessmen and women, and its focus is on community service, legislation, education, and agriculture. Many of our members hold local, county, and state offices to promote the Grange.

Every year, the Grange helps at events such as the Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show, the Frederick Fair (where they put in an exhibit at the Farm and Garden Building), the Catoctin Colorfest, and the annual Cookie Walk in December, to name a few. The Grange holds a Veterans’ Appreciation Night, and has also donated funds and items to the Thurmont Food Bank, Catoctin FFA, Boy Scouts, Catoctin Safe & Sane, and so forth. 

The dictionary has many features, such as the history of the Presidents of the United States, the solar system, sign language, and also the longest word in the United States.

Emmitsburg Elementary School (from left): (front row) Patrick Morgan, Payton Fritz, Clary Walker, Vivian Satterlee; (back row) Paulette Mathias, Robert Wiles, and Carolyn Wiles.

Sabillasville Environmental School (from left): David Savage, Michele Heerema, Emma Santos, Blake Wagaman, Mattee Lambert, Catherine Riggs, Ryan Balsley, and Jane Savage.

Thurmont Elementary School (from left): Jody Eyler, Caythee Ruby, Jennifer Reynolds, Carol Long, Nancy Wine, John Wine, Charlotte Donnelly, Carli Savage, Kaylee Hoff, Braden Weber, Aaron Oden, Caroline Stevens, McKinnly Glotfelty, Ryan Vorndran, Harper Strobel, Kam Dal, and Lukas Bromwell.

Richard D. L. Fulton

Note: The following account is based on the research of cultural geographer Dr. Raymond O’Brien and that of the reporter, conducted in the 1980s on the German Lutheran architecture and folklore of Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

During the 18th century, thousands of German Lutherans migrated to Pennsylvania, and from there, pushed into neighboring states. They had begun their migration from the Germanic states in Europe in the 17th century by establishing settlements in New York. As the 19th century unfolded, their migratory numbers soared into the millions.

Regarding the surge in Pennsylvania, alone, Benjamin Franklin said that the Pennsylvania Assembly should consider German interpreters unless the migration could be dispersed to other colonies.

The story—or legend—of the Devil in Frederick began in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and spread throughout the country wherever the German Lutheran population migrated and settled.

The German Lutherans believed that the Devil was a physical being, in addition to a spiritual entity, and that, apparently, one of the evil one’s primary objectives was to follow the German Lutherans in its effort to punish them for their devout allegiance to Christianity.

The German Lutherans also believed that physical evidence could be found to prove that the Devil was present, and that physical measures could be employed to thwart his incursion into their homes and outbuildings.

Physical Evidence

The first item of physical evidence of the Devil dogging in the footsteps of the German Lutherans could be found in Bucks County in the form of a cave, known as the Durham Cave, because, according to the legend, the Devil followed the German Lutherans by migrating under the Atlantic Ocean and surfacing via this cave system. The cave, which was in more recent times quarried, still exists, although, it was fenced off sometime after the author had explored the outer chamber due to its dangerous nature.

The Devil, having initiated his pursuit from the Durham Cave all the way to Frederick County and beyond, left his “footprints” along his trek, thus confirming his physical trek. Those that were found in the 1800s appeared in flagstones of what was once the flagstone path that led to Saint Joseph’s College in Emmitsburg (shown above), and now reside in the Prince George’s County Dinosaur Park.

According to the early German Lutherans, as the Devil walked about, his three-toed footprints were literally burned into the rocks beneath his feet, and his tracks can be frequently found from the Connecticut Valley into North Frederick County and beyond.

Such tracks were found in the 1800s in the flagstones leading up to Saint Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church in Emmitsburg when the walkways were being replaced.  The dinosaur tracks had come from a quarry located on land that was since dubbed Silver Fancy, but not from the abandoned quarry commonly referred to as the “dinosaur quarry.” 

A survey conducted along Flat Run by the reporter in the early 2000s determined that the tracks actually originated from a (then heavily overgrown) flagstone pit, located a short distance north of the so-called  “dinosaur quarry”).

In spite of the few dinosaur tracks that were found in Emmitsburg, dinosaur tracks have been, and continue to be, more commonly encountered just across the Mason Dixon Line in Adams County, first in the 1930s, in the now-abandoned Trostle Quarry, located just east of York Springs, and, during the course of the past few years, another significant find of a considerable number of dinosaur tracks was discovered in an active quarry in Hamiltonban Township.

However, the tracks are no longer called the Devil’s footprints. They are presently known as the tracks of the long-extinct, non-avian dinosaurs. And of course, they weren’t burned into the rock. They were embedded by the dinosaurs when the rock was actually mud, some 220 million years ago. Other physical evidence manifested itself in explicably burned homes and outbuildings, or other “mysterious” natural or medical situations.

Warding off The Devil

Because the German Lutherans believed the Devil was a physical and spiritual entity, they developed measures they believed could prevent the Devil from gaining access to their homes and associated outbuildings, complete with a “secondary line of defense.”

Based on research conducted by cultural geographer Dr. Raymond O’Brien and that of the reporter in the 1980s, the first line of defense against the Devil was to paint window and door sills white, which apparently was not commonplace in America until the German Lutherans employed the method as a deterrent to prevent the Devil from accessing the buildings.

The presumption was that white represented spiritual purity, through which the Devil could not proceed.  However, “just in case,” the German Lutherans took additional precautions.

The porch roofs were invariably painted sky-blue in order to represent heaven, which, of course, no self-respecting Devil would dare pass under. The reporter verified that while working on a similar story for The Gettysburg Times, through recovering original paint chips from the porch ceilings of the “Jennie Wade” house (McClellan house) and “General Lee’s headquarters (Thompson House)”—both German Lutheran-constructed homes—had originally been sky-blue (the NPS failed to take this into consideration when they acquired “General Lee’s Headquarters” and mistakenly painted the roof ceilings white). 

To demonstrate the persistence even into modern times, when the reporter’s father started to paint the reporter’s grandmother’s porch at her home in Brunswick, he started to paint it white and she stopped him, telling him it had to be sky blue.  When he asked her why, she said she didn’t know except it had always been that way.

Not completely trusting the measures taken thus far, another feature was developed, which, like painting window and door sills white, also became popular and can be seen just about anywhere today—that being the creation of the “Cross-and-Bible” doors, which employ the cross and the “open pages” of the Bible above or below.”

Yet, all of this was not enough in the minds of the German Lutherans.  Just in case the Devil managed to get past all the aforementioned precautions, a means was developed of diverting the Devil into the basement where he would be compelled to exit… via the fireplace (which was in the basement of these early homes).

The German Lutherans would paint their basement fireplaces red (even if the fireplaces had been constructed of red bricks or fieldstones), in the hope that the Devil would mistake these fireplaces as portals back to Hell, and he would be enticed to enter and, thereby, depart from the premises.

Of course, when one is walking along at night near the forests or fields of Frederick County, perhaps that breaking tree limb or loud, rustling leaves could be a deer, but if one becomes overly concerned, just head for the nearest sky-blue porch or cross-and-Bible doors, or a home or barn with white-trimmed windows or door sills!

Emmitsburg Dinosaur Tracks: Courtesy of Pete Yancone, Senior Educator, The Maryland Science Center


 Mayor John Kinnaird

November will be a busy month! There are many events to participate in this coming month, and opportunities to spend time with family and friends.

November 8 is Election Day, and voters will be selecting candidates to serve as members of the Frederick County Council, County Executive, Clerk of the Court, Register of Wills, Judge of the Orphans Court, Judge of the Circuit Court, Judge of the Court of Special Appeals, and Sheriff. On the state level, we will elect State Delegates, State Senators, Treasurer, Comptroller, States Attorney, Lt. Governor, and Governor. National elections will fill seats for U. S. Representatives, and U. S. Senate. Elections can be confusing, especially with all the advertisements we are hammered with day and night. I ask everyone to look closely at each candidate you will be voting for and select those that you feel will represent us with dedication and honor. Each of us old enough to vote has the right to register to vote in local, state, and national elections, and I encourage everyone to vote on Election Day. Remember, your vote does count!

The Pop Up Shops are now open every Saturday, from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m., at the Thurmont Plaza Shopping Center, located at 224 N. Church Street, Suite B. Stop in for a great selection of jewelry, baked goodies, Colorstreet nail polish, Scentsy, hand-crafted seasonal gifts, handmade decorative signs, and other offerings. Each Saturday will feature a different food truck, thanks to the good folks at Dirty Dawg DIY Dog Wash! This is a great opportunity to pick up Thanksgiving housewarming gifts, stocking stuffers, and Christmas gifts for family and friends.

The Thurmont Community Christmas Tree Lighting will be held on Saturday, November 26, at 6:00 p.m. at the Mechanicstown Square Park. Join us to sing a couple of Christmas songs, see the Christmas tree lighting, and see the street Christmas decoration lighting. Also be sure to check out the lighting at Community Park. Keep a watch out for the Annual Christmas Decorating Contest. It’s a month off yet but take time to drive around Thurmont in December to see the amazing Christmas decorations on every street in town.

Christmas in Thurmont will be held on Saturday, December 3; details will be made available in a couple of weeks.

As you prepare to gather with family for Thanksgiving dinner, remember our friends and neighbors less fortunate than we are. Consider donating to the Thurmont Food Bank or the Emmitsburg Food Bank—cash or non-perishable foods will go a long way in helping our entire community realize a happy Thanksgiving. With cold weather coming, think about donating any wearable warm clothing, coats, gloves, hats, or winter footwear you may have to the Thurmont Clothes Closet, located on Long Road at the Thurmont United Methodist Church.

Karen and I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving.

If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, I can be reached by cell phone at 301-606-9458 or by email at


Mayor Don Briggs

Congratulations to newly elected Commissioner Amy Boehman-Politt and Commissioner Frank Davis (re-elected to a second term). Thank you to candidates Mark Long and Kevin Hagan for stepping forward and running good races.

Presented at the October 12th town meeting for consideration by the commissioners, and subsequently approved, was a proposal to retain Jakubiak & Associates, Inc. (Chris Jakubiak, AICP, principal), a Towson planning consultant firm. Duties will include assisting in planning and zoning functions, annexations, project review, development code amendments, land use and related studies, and comprehensive plan review.” Chris Jakubiak comes with significant years of experience in working with municipalities that include assisting the town in its 2009-2010 Comprehensive Plan update.

At the same meeting, consultants presented a study of town water rates. The study was prompted by the USDA opinion that town water rates are too low and need to be raised if the town should seek any further USDA financial assistance. The town has an ongoing deficit in the town water account. The study recommendation to raise rates was given, but by over 100 percent was a shock to many. If an increase was needed, why were they not raised gradually? A good question. Here is some reasoning. In the last decade, to accommodate the construction of a new wastewater treatment plant, sewer rates were incrementally raised significantly in two steps. During the same time, raising water rates was considered repeatedly, but it was felt that coming out of the 2008-2009 recession, already raising sewer rates, getting through cleaning up discolored water from aged pipes, and weathering the COVID-19 pandemic, any increase in water rates would impose too much of a burden on residents. So, now we are dealing with an inflation surge that has not been seen in 40 years.

October activities I was honored to attend included: Thursday the 6th—Ribbon cutting for St. Joseph’s College – NETC wayside exhibits, EMI Deputy Hoover, DOC Archivist staff, myself, Maddy Shaw, and Vince Hodge, NETC MOSS Director; Saturday the 8th—41st Annual National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Weekend, NETC campus. Welcoming address at Candlelight Service; Thursday the 13th—St John’s College, Annapolis – Santa Fe, Classics Seminar; Friday the 21st—Mount St. Mary’s University College of Liberal Arts Advisory Board meeting; Monday the 24th—Workshop with Commissioners – Frailey Farm Annexation, public workshop.

Town new business/development update: Emmit Ridge 2, potential residential subdivision, east side of Irishtown Road, no development plan. Federal Stone – proposed industrial building east side of US 15 off Creamery Road. Forest and site plans approved/awaiting submission of improvement plat. Frailey Farm – 100+ acres, annexation request. The property borders Myers Community Park to the west, south side of Frailey Road, east side of Annandale Road. Mason Dixon Logistics Park, 185+/- acres, east side of US 15, north of MD 140. Concept plan submitted – commercial/industrial park/potential zoning text and/or map amendment. State park and ride east of US 15, south of MD 140, MDOT/SHA restarted design on July 1, 2022; 30-percent of the project is expected to be completed by the end of 2022. Ripleigh’s Creamery on East Main St. is working on a building permit from the county for renovations. Rutter’s – Expected completion end of October/early November 2022. Village Liquors and Plaza Inn – Property owner plan phasing the project (Phase 1) 1st story convenience area; and (Phase 2) 2nd & 3rd story hotel. Working on zoning permit submittal. Warthen’s Court proposed 5-unit townhomes – Sketch plan submitted.

The town, by proclamation, declared October 2022 as Breast Cancer Awareness Month. From the proclamation, in 2022 while considerable progress has been made, about 287,850 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women; an estimated 43,250 women will die from breast cancer in the U.S.; 2,710 men will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer and approximately 530 men will die; one out of eight women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime; and there are over 3.8 million breast cancer survivors in the United States.

Veterans Day is Friday, November 11; join the tour of local cemeteries, Doughboy, local Legion and VFW with honor guard. Thanksgiving Day, Thursday the 24th, is the annual Turkey Trot. The Evening of Christmas Spirit is on Monday, December 5.

by James Rada, Jr.


Recycling Costs are Skyrocketing for the Town

The Town of Thurmont is seeking help from the county to deal with the skyrocketing cost of maintaining a recycling center on Moser Road. Frederick County Government contributes $10,000 annually to the town’s recycling center costs, and the program is very popular among citizens, not only of Thurmont but surrounding communities as well.

However, in recent years, the market for recyclables has all but disappeared. Income from selling recyclables helped offset some of the costs of the program.

Another factor has been rising inflation and fuel costs that have increased the cost of the program.

In Fiscal Year 2021, the total cost of the program was $11,480, and after the county contributed its portion, the final cost to Thurmont was $600. In Fiscal Year 2023, the expected program cost is $38,220, with the town expected to pay $28,220.

This is a problem that the Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners will be considering how to solve in the coming months.

Town Approves Purchase of RTV

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners approved the purchase of a Kubota RTV from Ripken Equipment in Frederick. It is an all-terrain vehicle with an enclosed cab that will have a snowplow. It will be mainly used to plow the 4.4 miles of sidewalks and trails that are maintained by the public works department. Currently, the town uses two snow blowers and an open-cab ATV. The vehicle will cost $19,887.92 and be paid for with the savings from the town’s purchase of an electric vehicle earlier in the year and highway user funds.

Town Approves Purchase of Trailer

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners approved the purchase of a utility trailer for the Streets and Parks Department. It will be used to haul a skid loader, a roller, and other equipment. It will be purchased for $9,718.20 from the Hitch Man in Taneytown. The town had already reserved $9,000 in the budget for the purchase. The remainder will come from the town’s capital reserve fund.

Roadway Resurfacing Projects Approved

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners awarded Pleasants Construction in Frederick a contract for $223,834.94 to resurface sections of Eyler Road, Tippin Drive, Allen Drive, Hunting Creek Drive, Stull Drive, Gateway Drive East and West, Amanda Court, and Carroll Street.

The project will be paid for with highway user funds and is expected to happen before the cold weather sets in.


New Commissioners Sworn In

During the October town meeting, Emmitsburg Mayor Don Briggs swore in the winners from the town election at the end of September. Incumbent Frank Davis and Amy Boehman-Pollitt won the election with 246 and 204 votes, respectively. In all, 290 votes were cast. Davis is serving his second three-year term. It is Boehman-Pollitt’s first term.

The other candidates for the two commissioner seats were Mark Long and Kevin Hagan. They received 64 and 60 votes, respectively.

Commissioner T.J. Burns chose not to run for re-election.

During the meeting, Briggs also made recommendations for the reorganization of the board of commissioners.

Tim O’Donnell will remain as board president. Joe Ritz III will serve as vice president and board liaison to the planning commission. Cliff Sweeney will serve as treasurer. Burns will serve as the liaison to the parks and recreation committee, and Boehman-Pollitt will be the liaison to the citizens advisory committee.

Commissioners Considering Raising Water and Sewer Rates

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners heard the recommendations from consultant Mike Maker with NewGen Strategies and Solutions for new water and sewer rates. The water and sewer rates were last increased in 2013 and 2014, respectively. It has become apparent that they need to be increased again to ensure the town has the funds to cover capital projects for the systems.

The commissioners are considering increasing the water rate 150 percent in fiscal year 2023 and then 3 percent a year for the following four years. Sewer rates may increase 3 percent a year from fiscal year 2023 to 2027.

The water increase is significant, but the rate increases would bring Emmitsburg rates in line with other communities its size in Maryland and allow the needed upgrades to the systems to be made.

The commissioners will hold a public hearing on the issue.

Town Hires On-Call Town Planner

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners approved a contract to hire Chris Jakubiak to provide on-call town planning services to the town. His primary duty will be to advise and assist primarily with annexations, development project review, zoning and other development code amendments, land use and related studies, and with other similar tasks that may be requested by the town. He will be paid $205 per hour with an average of 16 hours of work a week expected.

Town Extends Christ’s Community Church Lease

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners extended the lease for Christ’s Community Church to remain at 303 West Lincoln Avenue for another two years. The rent will increase to $2,500 a month. The church is in the process of constructing their own building in town, but they still need to remain at their current location until it is completed.

Group Wants to Alter Doughboy Statue

The National Association of Black Veterans of Western Maryland has asked the Town of Emmitsburg to redo the plaque that lists the names of Emmitsburg’s Black World War I veterans separately from the White veterans on the Doughboy statue at the west end of town. Although Commissioner Frank Davis told the group that the families of those veterans asked that the plaque be left as it was when the issue came up in 2015, the group asked the commissioners to consider integrating the names into a new plaque. The commissioners agreed to add it to the agenda of an upcoming meeting.

Emmit Ridge 2 — The property is for sale.

Federal Stone — The forest and site plans have been approved. The next step is to submit an improvement plat with the town. Construction is being pushed back due to high construction cost caused by inflation.

Frailey Farm — The property is under contract. The proposed developer held a public workshop with the mayor and board of commissioners to discuss the project last month.

Mason Dixon Logistics Park (Trout Property) — The concept plan has been submitted to staff for a commercial/industrial park. Potential zoning text and/or map amendment applications are expected in the near future.

MDOT/SHA Park & Ride — MDOT/SHA restarted design work on July 1. It is expected that 30 percent of the project will be complete by the end of 2022.

Ripleigh’s Creamery — The owners are working on obtaining a Frederick County building permit.

Rutter’s — The project is under active construction. It is expected to be completed this month.

Village Liquors & Plaza Inn — Property owner has informed the town he is now phasing the project – Phase 1: first-story convenience area, and Phase 2: second- and third-story hotel. They are currently waiting on Frederick County improvement plan approval. Warthen’s Court 5-unit townhomes — A sketch plan has been submitted

Jan Guillory

Elias Lutheran Church in Emmitsburg was the birthplace of L’Arche Frederick Maryland back in February of 2009, with Jeanne Kuhn of Quirauk School Road introducing a small group to the idea of a community of L’Arche that would welcome adults with intellectual disabilities. Father Jon Greenstone was present that day, as well as Therese Kennedy and four or five other interested persons. L’Arche was to be an inclusive community with people with and without disabilities choosing to share life, have fun together, share a spiritual life, and some of them to live together in homes we dreamed of starting. It would be a part of L’Arche International, a worldwide community in 156 locations in 38 countries, featuring communities with homes, activity centers, workshops, or socially supportive gathering places, depending on the arrangements possible in the given locale of each one.

Some months later, Jeanne Kuhn convened a larger group of professionals from the wider Frederick County area at Mount St. Mary’s, with the help of Father Jim Donohue who had been as a seminarian himself an assistant at a home of L’Arche in Stratford Ontario. “Assistant” is what L’Arche calls the support professionals who have a helping role in each community but who, indeed, find themselves helped, often deeply, by the relationships they share with friends with intellectual disabilities.

The group of professionals at the November 2009 meeting included members of the faculty and staff of the Mount; a social worker from Rock Creek School, Bill Derbyshire, who is a Thurmont resident; Sister Frances, a Daughter of Charity; and numerous representatives of related professions from the Frederick Community, as well as several people experienced with communities of L’Arche in other areas of the United States. A planning group emerged, which Jeanne Kuhn faithfully led with the help of her husband, Jim. A planning group with monthly meetings, minutes, and gradually a structure of contact with L’Arche International, a representative of which encouraged the group to conduct social events in Frederick, where there would be a larger disability community.

Through Pam Zusi, the former director of Development for Mount St. Mary’s, the emerging L’Arche community found a welcome with St. Katharine Drexel church community for social events to be held monthly at St. John’s school gym. Therese Kennedy, one of the founding members from the little group at Elias Lutheran Church, had many friends among the disability community and encouraged them to attend events, among them Lauren Vignola of Thurmont who has been a lively participant up to the present. Therese continued with L’Arche until her death in 2017.

These social events continue to the present and have had 10 years of strong community impact. Mount St. Mary’s students help with or lead many of the events. Currently, a schedule can be found on our website at All are welcome.

L’Arche has hired a community leader, Megan Guzman, and recently has purchased a home at 1818 Lawnview in Frederick. Soon, that home will welcome three adults with intellectual disabilities and three support professionals to live together.

A part of our fun together has been creating the annual Let it Shine Variety Show, showcasing the talents of adults with intellectual disabilities and their friends by offering a stage show. This year’s show was held on October 15 at the Frederick Community College theatre.

L’Arche Frederick is open to anyone interested in participating or helping. We are happy to see L’Arche growing and thankful for all the support.

L’Arche Frederick friends enjoy a Friday Night Gathering in April 2022 at St. John’s Regional Catholic School.

On Sunday, November 13, artist and art restorer Kateryna Dovgan will offer a Ukrainian Icon lecture at Mount St. Mary’s Knott Theatre in Emmitsburg for the benefit of Ukrainian war victims. 

Ukrainian-born Professor Dovgan teaches art and art history at McDaniel College. The lecture will be held from 2:00-4:00 p.m., and a goodwill collection will be taken up. The public is warmly invited to attend. 

Sponsors are the Town of Emmitsburg and the Mount St. Mary’s University Center for Service.

James Rada, Jr.


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.


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.


 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 with any questions, comments, or suggestions.


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.


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 or call 301-845-0213.

If you have any questions, concerns, complaints, or compliments, please feel free to reach out to me at 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.


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


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.


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.


 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  

I am available at 301-606-9458 or by email at


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.


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 or call 301-845-0213.

If you have any questions, concerns, complaints, or compliments, please feel free to reach out to me at 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.


 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

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


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.


For more information on the Town of Emmitsburg, visit 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.


For more information on the Town of Thurmont, visit 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.


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 or call 301-845-0213.

If you have any questions, concerns, complaints, or compliments, please feel free to reach out to me at 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.


 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 or by phone at 301-606-9458.


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.


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.


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 or


 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 ( 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, or on Facebook if you have any comments or concerns.


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.


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.


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.