Currently viewing the tag: "From the Mayor"

Emmitsburg

Mayor Don Briggs

On Monday, October 8, 2018, the Seton Center will hold the 2018 Job Fair for Northern Frederick County at Mother Seton School, located at 100 Creamery Road in Emmitsburg. Please call the Seton Center for further information at 301-447-6102 x18. This is a great opportunity for those looking for a job and those businesses looking for people.

I cannot say it enough, congratulations to the Catoctin High School and Catoctin Youth Association fall sports teams; all the pre-season practices and scrimmages are paying off. Across the board, results attest to well coached and prepared teams that are taking the “field” and “court.” Congratulations.

As of this writing (mid-September), preparations are well underway for the 37th Annual National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Weekend, October 6-7, 2018. The weekend events are attended by approximately 6,000 visitors to honor firefighters who died in the line of duty during 2017 and previous years.

As I mentioned in an earlier article, Emmitsburg will have a William Cochran public artwork. The glass etching depicts firemen boarding a fire truck, setting out on an emergency run. Again, Mr. Cochran is best known for his interpretive painting on one of the bridges that span the City of Frederick Carroll Creek Linear Park. Through generous gifts, funds have been raised to construct a lighted case outside the Fire Museum, located on South Seton Avenue, to house the 9-feet-high by 15-feet-wide work. The hope is to have a groundbreaking at the museum Sunday afternoon after the Fallen Firefighters Memorial service.

It is, perhaps, the “hurry up and wait” acceptance that I, and many others, developed as a description of our service in the military that has helped me survive the town effort to complete the two electronic-vehicle charging-stations project. Now, we have been told, that it is only a right-of-way agreement from the power company that is holding up things, and the stations should be installed by no later then November 1.

Emmitsburg was recently honored as a recipient of the 2018 “Infrastructure & Large Project” Award by the Frederick County Department of Business and Economic Development. The award was in recognition of the town developing a 50 percent matching grant program for historic district property owners. To date, over $500,000 of improvements have been added to our downtown streetscape. The town has applied for more grant money for 2019.

Mark your calendar and follow up for details on the town and the Emmitsburg Lions Club websites for the Emmitsburg Annual Halloween Parade and Party at Vigilant Hose Company on Wednesday, October 31. The parade is scheduled to start at 7:00 p.m. The event is sponsored is by the Lions Club and supported by most of the local businesses and civic organizations.

Thank you to incumbent commissioners O’Donnell and Sweeney for running again for the two open town commissioner seats.

Happy fall and stay dry.

Thurmont

 Mayor John Kinnaird

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and the Town of Thurmont is once again helping raise awareness and funds for breast cancer research and support. Through the ‘Gateway to the Cure’ program we are inviting residents and businesses to join us as we work together to fight this terrible disease. As in previous years, we are encouraging everyone to purchase a pink light bulb for your porch light and turn it on each evening in October as a sign of your support. The bulbs are $3.00 each and are available at Cousins Ace Hardware, Hobbs Hardware and the town office. The town office also has magnets, tote bags, t-shirts, vinyl clings, water bottles, and vo-tive candles. All proceeds from the sales of these items is added to our total donation. Local restaurants will be offering to make a donation to the Gateway to the Cure when you order certain items from their menu. If you like wine, please visit Catoctin Breeze Vineyard where $1.00 will be donated for each bottle of Mead purchased. Gateway Liquors will donate $1.00 for each bottle of pink wine sold, while Towne & Country Liquors will be donating $1.00 for each bottle of pink or red wine. Please help us by visiting participating businesses!  Last year the town donated $15,000.00 to the Patty Hurwitz Fund at Frederick Memorial Hospital, every dollar received goes toward research and patient care.

While we are talking about cancer, please be careful while you are outdoors and do not allow your children to get sunburned. Sunburn is a leading cause of skin cancer and you can reduce your chance of developing skin cancer by following these simple guidelines. Wear a hat while outside for extended periods of time, apply and reapply a good SPF sunscreen to exposed skin, wear long sleeves and long pants if you are outdoors working and do not allow your children to get sunburned. They will thank you later in life. Please remember that you can get sunburn even in cooler temperatures. Always wear protective clothing or sunscreen!

Colorfest is just a few days away and Thurmont will be ground zero for tens of thousands of visitors each day. Remember to apply for Colorfest permits if you are planning to hold a yard sale on Saturday or Sunday. A yard sale permit is required on those days only. Be sure to allow for extra time if you are running errands or driving through town during Colorfest. Remember that Water Street, South Center Street and Frederick Road will be closed to traffic both days. Street parking will be prohibited on many streets during Colorfest weekend, so be sure to check for no parking signs before you stop somewhere. Colorfest weekend represents the single biggest fundraising opportunity for many of our service organizations, churches, non-profits, Girl and Boy Scouts and many other groups. Why not get out and support them by stopping at their booths while you enjoy Colorfest weekend.

As always, I can be reached at 301-606-9458 or at jkinnaird@thurmont.com if you have any question, comments or recommendations.

Emmitsburg

Mayor Don Briggs

The new signs about the square, “Old Main Streets,” are part of the State of Maryland Tourism program. Its promotional anthem is: “Vibrant streets invite visitors to explore history, heritage, and architecture, while savoring the flavor of local shops, eateries, and lodging.” The signs accurately reflect the vibrancy enfolding in our downtown. The square is special again, not just something left to speed through. Embellished now with enhanced crosswalks, the Mount four-faced clock, flowers blooming, and the commemorative centerpiece to the fountain where it was once set. New businesses, possibly a new restaurant, and new homes are coming to our town. To the square sidewalk revitalization, “If you build it, they will come.” Our grant request from the Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area for three interpretive signs for the old square fountain, Doughboy, and Emmit House was approved. The signs will be like those in other historic towns, on a stand that will contain a picture and a narrative for each landmark. Walk, walk, walk…the town is connected, so let’s get out of the cars and walk to the downtown and the parks.

Good to see landscaping going in around the square, and this fall will come the trees to complete the revitalization taking place up and down Main Street. Green soon will line our downtown. Our community parts of Pembrook Woods and Brookfield to the west are now connected by sidewalks, as are the homes along Route 140 west of the Doughboy. The approach coming into town from the west, looking up Main Street, now paralleled with sidewalks on both sides, is inviting.

The Farmers Market opened in June with thirteen vendors, fresh vegetables, and more. Stop by the farmers market on South Seton Avenue through September, Fridays, from 3:00–6:30 p.m.

Great initiative of the Emmitsburg Business and Professional Association on a trash pick-up brigade. Much appreciated. Thank you to that lady who weeds, waters, and picks up trash around the square. She’s back at it for, what, the sixth year?

Great to have a pool. Great to have a new pool. In all, 437 swimmers used the pool on Community Heritage Day in the first month. Over 5,700 sun lover’s made trips to the pool, almost tripling the 2016 same period of use. Thank you to those who choose to make those anonymous gifts so that families can use the new pool this summer. Also, thank you to our town staff for all the hard, high-pressure work needed to make sure the pool was finished for the summer season. With a pool and a 14-mile multi-use trail, exercise trail, and dog park, very few towns offer the passive and active recreational choices of Emmitsburg.

Final Pool Party will be Friday, August 17, from 6:00–8:00 p.m. Cost is a $1.00 admission. The party will feature a DJ, free hot dogs, lemonade, and maybe McDonald’s hamburgers.

We had wonderful summer visits from the Frederick Rescue Mission summer campers. All forty-eight strong. The first visit started off in the Community Park pavilion with a magic show by our Michael Cantori, pizza from Stavros for lunch, and then up to the pool. On the second visit, there was a stop at the Carriage House for lunch and dining etiquette lessons, then up to the Frederick County Fire Rescue Museum and National Fire Heritage Center. One more visit is scheduled for an August swim.

The Town election is coming up at the end of September, with two, three-year term council member seats. The deadline to file is 4:00 p.m. on August 27.

Farewell to our planner Sue Cipperly. After a decade with the town, she is retiring. Her role as an umpire calling the balls and strikes for development expanded to grant writing and being a part of the Square-sidewalk project. Job, well done! Her attention to detail will be hard to replace.

Welcome to Zachary R. Gulden, our new town planner. Zach holds a B.S. and MPA degrees.

It’s summer. Enjoy. Be careful in your travels.

Thurmont

Mayor John Kinnaird

We have been having wild weather so far this year. Recently, two sets of thunderstorms managed to knock out some of our electric service. These outages can be very inconvenient, regardless of how quickly power is restored. When power goes out, you can call the town to report the outage by dialling 301-271-7313. After regular business hours, you will be instructed as to how to speak to an electric department employee. Please keep in mind that after power goes out many people are calling to report the outage, and, more than likely, our crew is aware of the situation. It can take some time for our crew to come in and get their trucks out, then it can take some time to identify the problem and repair the damages. I am happy to report that outages in Thurmont are repaired fairly quickly due to the size of our service area and our hardworking crew. We have also had several heavy rains recently that caused flooding of several streets. This flooding is something we have little control over, other than to close flooded roads to traffic. If you come upon a flooded road, especially one that has barricades, please do not attempt to drive through the water. Remember, when you encounter flooded roads: Turn around, don’t drown!

The summer brings with it long outdoor days, working or playing. When you are outdoors, please wear sunscreen and a hat. Be especially careful with children, and make sure they have sufficient sunscreen while outdoors playing or swimming. A childhood sunburn can lead to skin cancer later in life. When we were young, sun block was not as available as it is today, and many of us now suffer from skin cancers that were preventable. Do your kids a favor and make sure they are protected while outdoors;they will thank you for it later in life.

The Thurmont Main Street Farmers Market is held every Saturday morning, from 9:00 a.m.-noon. There is always a great selection of locally grown produce, fruit, locally raised Red Angus beef, local pork products, fresh cut flowers, delicious baked goods, jams, and many handcrafted goodies. Be sure to get there early for the best selection, and bring your friends!

This summer, there will be two carnivals in Thurmont, something we older residents remember from years ago. The Thurmont Community Ambulance Service will be hosting a carnival at its Events Complex, located on Strafford Drive in Thurmont. The carnival will be held from August 21 through August 25, and will feature live entertainment, nightly. Kids will enjoy all-you-can-ride fun for one low price each evening. There will be a nightly buffet, homemade food, games, and raffles. I hope to see you there.

As always, you can contact me with questions, concerns, or complements at 301-606-9458 or at jkinnaird@thurmont.com.

Emmitsburg
Mayor Don Briggs

With the arrival of our timid spring, all the hard work of the town staff is finally evident. I mean, hours and hours of hard work, planning, grant writing, and construction administration: the new dog park, the renovated pool, and the entire streetscape of Main Street, Seton Avenue, and the square. Not to forget in April, we held our first Arbor Day community tree-planting celebration. Scouts and the Mount men’s rugby team were there to assist the community in the planting of twelve native – adaptive trees along the Willow Run winding channel through Community Park. Guests included County Executive Jan Gardner and Roger Wilson; Government Affairs and Public Policy Director (and also a Frederick City Alderman); Tonya Hoover, Superintendent of the U.S. Fire Administration’s National Fire Academy (NFA); and Sister Martha with Seton Center Outreach. Also, representatives from the town council and staff, Emmitsburg Business and Professional Association, FEMA, Knights of Columbus, Lions Club, Council of Churches, Mother Seton School, Emmitsburg Elementary School, and residents all pitched in. We are now a Tree City USA town.

On the first Saturday of May, Catoctin High School student Aedan Myles had the honor of cutting the ribbon to open the new dog park. It was her drawing three years ago that prompted its development. Amid gifts, treats, and the music, “Who let the dogs out” and Elvis’ strumming, “You ain’t nothing but a hound dog,” thirty-plus canines of all varieties—to one person’s count—joined in. Another great community interaction event.

The renovated (really new) community pool will open on Saturday, June 2, at noon. It was very hard not having a pool last year. It is planned to be a special occasion, with County Executive Jan Gardner on hand for the ribbon-cutting.  Included in the renovations are landscaping, fencing, and a new roof for the changing-rooms building. There will be no charge for swimming on opening day.

Mid-Maryland baseball and the town present summer United Baseball Academy’s “Schools Out” Summer Baseball Camp, Monday, June 18, through Wednesday, June 20, from 9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. (each day); lunch from 12:00-12:45 p.m. *Lunch is not provided; pack a lunch* Drop-off is 9:00 a.m., sharp; Pick-up is 3:00 p.m., sharp. Camp will be held at Emmitsburg Community & Memorial Parks. The cost is $130. This camp is free to residents of Emmitsburg (address verification required). Camp is for ages eight to fourteen. Registration: mmubaseball.net (click on the Schools Out Camp tab in the upper right corner). If you have questions about the clinic, please email them to mmumanager2023@gmail.com or call 267-664-5059.

In May, I presented to the council the 2019 budget of $3,147,116. The council is obligated to approve a budget by no later than June 30.
In June, predicated on staff investigation, I will propose to the town council that we install four electronic vehicles (EV) charging stations at the Community Center parking lot.

The four-faced clock, the gift of Mount St. Mary’s University, is now set on the square. We are almost there. Again, thank you to everyone for your patience; we are getting great reviews on the brickwork and refreshed facades of buildings and the new setting. Rededication of the square will be held at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday, June 30, by the new town clock. This is also Community Heritage Day, a great day of food, vendors, entertainment, parade, and fireworks.

The first Pool Party will be held July 15, from 6:00-8:00 p.m. Admission is $1.00. We will have a DJ, free hot dogs, and lemonade.

Thank you to Mayor John Kinnaird and Thurmont Main Street Economic Development Manager Vicki Grinder for a second season of developing a north county description insert for the Frederick News-Post. It was, again, a privilege for me to write, and for Emmitsburg to be a part of it. We look forward to working with Thurmont on the fall edition.

Thurmont
Mayor John Kinnaird

If I told you that I could see into the future, many people would question my sanity, but I know it is possible to see our future if we just take the time to look. No one can see specifics of what is to come, but I have met with and spoken to the very people that will craft our future, and I am impressed! Of course, I am referring to the next generation of residents currently attending our schools.

It has been my honor to speak to students at all of our local schools, and I can assure you that they are up to the task ahead. Several weeks ago, I spent a morning talking with students at the Thurmont Elementary School about a wide range of topics, including our local government and immigration. Every student was very attentive, and they asked many thoughtful questions. As part of the fourth grade program, I invited the students to write an essay, describing what they would do if they were mayor. After careful consideration, the teachers selected two essay winners: Lily Winn and Chase Jackson. As essay contest winners, Lily and Chase were invited to our meeting on May 22 to read their essays and to participate in the meeting. I thank all the students for participating in this contest and want you to know that every essay was wonderfully written and expressed a genuine interest in our community.

I also had the opportunity to speak to some of the third-term Honor Roll students at the Thurmont Middle School (TMS). It was surprising to see how many students qualify for inclusion in the Honor Roll at TMS. My congratulations to each of the TMS Honor Roll students, their parents, and their teachers! It is obvious that the student body at TMS is determined to enter adulthood as well-educated and socially responsible individuals.

I encourage all adults to take advantage of any opportunity to visit our schools and to see how positive our youngest residents are about our community and their future in it. I want to express my thanks to all the teachers and staff at the schools for their amazing compassion and dedication to the education of our youth. Finally, thanks to the parents for investing in the future of our community by raising these considerate and well-rounded future leaders.

While I am thinking about our youth, I want to remind everyone that the Town of Thurmont is hosting a Summer Park Program, “A Day in the Park.” The program will be held at the Thurmont Community Park on July 23-26, and again on July 30 -August 2; hours are 8:30 a.m.-noon. A different theme will be featured each day, and the cost is $10.00 per day or $35.00 per week. Activities include crafts; hiking; games; a visit by Fire, EMS & Police personnel; baseball; and local history. Be sure to register for this great summer program, so your children can join in on the fun! You can stop at the town office to register or call 301-271-7313 and ask to have a registration form sent to your home.

With the school year coming to an end, I want to encourage everyone to be extra careful while driving in our neighborhoods. Children are not always aware of their surroundings, and as they adjust to summer break, please be on the lookout as they play with their friends and cross our streets.

If you have any questions or comments, I can be reached at 301-606-9458 or by email at jkinnaird.thurmont.com

Emmitsburg

Mayor Don Briggs

Finally, spring is gaining some traction. Thank you to the town staff for promptly taking care of the late March snow—a great job done. And, thank you to Vigilant Hose Co. for feeding them when all the restaurants were closed.

With spring comes the new and renewed. McDonald’s will be getting a redo; design renderings are attractive.

Now at the Frederick County Fire and Rescue and National Fire Heritage Center shared museum on South Seton Avenue is the glass etching of nationally renowned public artist, William Cochran, depicting firemen and a fire truck responding to an emergency. The etching was in place at the old Independent Hose Company, No. 1 (IHC) building, located on West Church Street in the Frederick City Historic District. Thirty years ago, the building owner, who had purchased the property from IHC, commissioned Mr. Cochran to do the etching to commemorate the history of the fire company presence at one time on the site. Recently, the building was resold, and the new purchaser had no further use for the etching and approached IHC, which had space limitations. So, the glass panels were offered to the museum board. All of this has been going on during the 200th anniversary of the IHC.

Professional services were needed to bring the etching to Emmitsburg, as the work consists of three glass pieces together, weighing 1,500 pounds. It was our Emmitsburg Glass Company that provided those services. Thank you Emmitsburg Glass for ever so delicately doing whatever it took to deliver the etching to the museum, safe and sound.

Mr. Cochran has several public artworks in Frederick, including three wall murals and most notably his, “trompe l’oeil (“fool the eye)” stone bridge that transforms an otherwise standard bridge spanning the Carroll Creek Promenade into a spectacular tourist attraction.

I have known William for many years. Soon after being elected to my first term, I approached him about painting a wall mural in town. Unfortunately, at that time, other public efforts were unfolding that took precedence.

To have a William Cochran public artwork here is a tourist attraction asset for our community. It will complement not only our fire emergency services attractions, but also our green efforts. William and his wife, Teresa, specifically do artworks, “…to contribute to sustainable cities and healthy communities.” And we are one sustainable-oriented community.

The goal is to have the etching installed in a protective manner outside the museum. The museum boards, along with the town, are seeking grants and donations.

The Emmitsburg Dog Park ribbon-cutting is scheduled for May 5, 2018, at 9:00 a.m. (rain or shine). There will be drawings for pet-related prizes. The park is located in Community Park, behind the tennis court. There will be separate areas for small and large dogs and water stations for each, to boot. Handlers will have nifty benches to relax and enjoy while their pets romp. With the opening comes a stepped-up responsibility for the users to take care of the park and leave it as you would like to find it. Clean up any mishaps and respectfully share the use of the dog park with others. Remember, we all love our special friends. Thank you to our donors. Through their tributes, benches and signs in the dog park were made possible. If you would like to have a similar tribute to one of your cherished pets, please call the town at 301-600-6300.

The community pool will open on Memorial Day weekend, Saturday, May 26, at noon, and remain open through Monday. The pool grand opening will be held the following weekend, on Saturday, June 2, at noon. The pool will open on a weekly basis, starting on Friday evening, June 15.

Congratulations to Emmitsburg based Mid-Maryland United baseball 10U, 12U and 13U teams. All were big winners in early outings, defeating teams throughout the state and also in Pennsylvania. All this success before the teams even got onto our fields for their first practice on April 10. Three, and possibly four, baseball/softball programs are using our fields. Look for tournaments and clinics in June.

There is a wonderful feature article in the April edition of Frederick Magazine, “Emmitsburg the Green Town,” written by our own Jim Rada.  Thank you, Jim.

Thurmont

Mayor John Kinnaird

With spring here in full bloom, we are all thinking about the great outdoors! First and foremost, on most of our minds is getting outside for some fun and games. Thurmont has many great neighborhood parks, spread throughout town, that offer great facilities. These neighborhood parks feature basketball hoops, tot playground equipment, and picnic tables. The Community Park has a great walking trail, basketball courts, tennis courts, exercise stations, picnic tables, grills, two pavilions, and lots of wide open space to have fun. The Eyler Road Park has two great playgrounds; a pavilion; football, soccer, and lacrosse fields; and is a wonderful park for walking and running. The East End Park features a pavilion with picnic tables and an amazing all-inclusive playground, where children of all physical abilities can enjoy the opportunity to play outdoors. New ADA restroom facilities are currently being constructed at the East End Park, and paved walkways provide easy access to the playground and facilities. A new addition to our parks this year will be our summer program at the Thurmont Community Park. This program will feature organized games, activities, and maybe even day trips to local attractions. Be sure to be on the lookout for further details about this new program.

Thurmont is again sponsoring the Concert in the Park series at Memorial Park. The current schedule for the concerts feature the Thurmont Brass Ensemble for the Memorial Day Ceremony, and the Frederick Spires Brass Band on Sunday, June 10, beginning at 6:00 p.m. The concerts are a great, early evening event for the entire family. Bring along a lawn chair or blanket and enjoy an hour of great music with friends and family.

Another outdoor activity we will all be doing is yard work! For those that would like to dispose of your grass clippings in an environmentally positive way, the town offers grass clipping pickup every Monday morning, from April 2 through November 26, with the exception of October 15. Place your grass clippings at the curb in paper bags on Sunday evening for pickup early Monday. Clippings in plastic bags will not be accepted, and we ask that the bags weigh 40 pounds or less. The town also offers yard waste drop-off at the Moser Road location next to the Regional Library. The days are on Saturday, May 12, June 9, July 14, August 11, September 8, October 20, November 10, and December 8. We accept a variety of yard waste, including grass clippings, leaves, small branches, flowers, vegetable plants, and other items, but no tree limbs over 6” in diameter and no tree trunks or root balls.

I am looking forward to a great spring and summer, and I hope you enjoy the upcoming season as well.

Any questions or comments? You can reach me at jkinnaird@thurmont.com or by phone at 301-606-9458.

Emmitsburg

 Mayor Don Briggs

In a late February journey to Annapolis, Commissioner Tim O’Donnell and I met up with representatives of other Frederick County municipalities to demonstrate our support at a hearing before a House of Delegates subcommittee on our earned share of highway user revenues (HURs). In 2009, just this side of absconding, the State of Maryland reduced our earned share of HURs funds, substantially. HURs are created from gasoline taxes. We need our share back. The funds are needed desperately for road repairs. So, if you don’t like your potholes or deteriorating road surfaces, I encourage you to please contact our state representatives: Senator Ron Young (ronald.young@senate.state.md.us, 301-858-3193); Senator Michael Hough (michael.hough@senate.state.md.us, 301-858-3713); and House of Delegates Kathy Afzali (kathy.afzali@house.state.md.us, 301-858-3184).

We are gearing up for the annual spring visit by fourth-grade students to the town office. This year, students from Mother Seton School will not only visit us to observe, but also participate in town department activities. The day will end with students being posed questions and speaking from the mayor and board of commissioners’ dais.

I attended the Black History commemoration at the FEMA/National Emergency Training Center campus. The commemoration started with the presentation of the colors by our VFW Honor Guard. C. Lilian Virgil, Chief Mitigation Branch, Acting Chief, Preparedness Branch, Emergency Management Institute, gave a gracious welcome. Dr. Denis Onieal, Deputy U.S. Fire Administrator, U.S. Fire Administrator, and Steven Heidecker, Acting Deputy Superintendent, Emergency Management Institute, gave moving tributes. Interspersed were musical selections by renowned Gospel singer, Patricia Jones. Our very good friend to the needs of Emmitsburg, Roger Wilson, Government Affairs & Policy Director at Frederick County Maryland, Office of the County Executive, and also a Frederick City Alderman, was the keynote speaker. When our town has “irons in the fire” (which we do now), he has and always is there in support.

Thank you to all the volunteers who have put in hundreds and thousands of hours of service to our community. Backpacks for kids, food bank, pregnancy center, churches, Seton Center, and our scouts, to name a few, and now we welcome the new volunteers for our youth baseball. This year, three different groups will be using our fields, one of which is a girls’ softball team. The primary impetus for this change in use is homespun. We have a town resident with an excellent perspective and the successful experience to grow baseball here again. The refresh button has been pushed. The torch has been passed from one wonderful generation of volunteers to another. Fields are being prepped; clinics and games are being scheduled. A strong base is being redeveloped. Thank you to all who have volunteered over the years—baseball is coming back.

Coming up is our Community Arbor Day Tree Planting Celebration on Saturday, April 28, 2018, from 9:00 a.m.-noon at Community Park in Emmitsburg. Twelve trees will be planted. Planting will be done by a representative from community service groups and institutions, myself and town commissioners. Five River Birch, two Swamp White Oaks, and five Red ‘Autumn Flame’ Maples. Joining us will be Dr. Tim Trainor, President of Mount St Mary’s University, Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Becky Wilson, Western Region Coordinator for Urban and Community Forestry and Mike Kay, Project Manager for DNR Forest Services. From the celebration, the town will become certified as a Tree City USA town in 2018. Light refreshments will be available. We plan to have a fall planting at a date to be announced.

In early March, we had a burst water line emergency along Flat Run, near the bridge construction area, and on a cold and damp weekday afternoon, no less. Perfect timing, too, right when the kids are coming home from school and the commercial area of town is starting to bustle with after-work activity. The inconvenience with a water shut-off would be immense, affecting all the businesses and residences east of Flat Run, but it would have to be done. Without hesitation, staff members in both the town office and field responded immediately and adeptly; town staff in notifying the affected businesses and residents by all means of social media, notices, personally or phone, and the field staff by going out and fixing the problem. The water service was back on in two hours, by 5:30 p.m., before dinner. Thank you, town staff.

The square revitalization and sidewalk project is approximately 80 percent complete. When we get beyond freezing weather, tree plantings and landscaping will begin.

Hoping that everyone has a wonderful Easter.

Thurmont

 Mayor John Kinnaird

As I write this, we are just recovering from the unexpected snow storm on March 20 and 21. What a surprise it was to have the biggest snowfall of the year on the first day of spring! I want to take this opportunity to thank all the hardworking men and women of the state, county, and our municipalities for their hard work and long hours keeping our roads clear during this snow storm. Hopefully, we can now move on to spring.

With spring comes a lot of new outdoor opportunities, and our children will be out there playing, skateboarding, and riding their bikes. Please be on the lookout for our children as they get back outdoors. They may not always be aware of their surroundings, so we need to be especially careful driving in our neighborhoods.

I want to invite everyone to try one or more of the many amazing restaurants we have during Thurmont Restaurant Week. This Thurmont Main Street event will be held April 13-22, 2018. Be sure to try something new or enjoy your favorite menu items at any number of local restaurants. Experience Thurmont’s locally owned restaurants and enjoy the prix fixe menu special or some of their signature dishes! Main Street is also hosting the Annual Thurmont Business Showcase on April 28, 2018, from 11:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. The Showcase will be at the Thurmont Community Ambulance Company Event Complex on Stratford Drive. Be sure to attend and see all the local businesses on display. There are always a few surprises and new businesses to learn about.

As we are all aware, the opioid and addiction epidemic continues to impact our communities and has touched all of our lives. The Thurmont Addiction Commission (TAC) has been created to help educate and inform our residents on three important pieces of the addiction puzzle. Education and Awareness, Support & Recovery, and Prevention & Outreach are the three pillars the members of TAC are helping address. Please visit the Facebook page to see when the next presentation will be held, and attend to learn about the signs of addiction and what you can do to help in this critical battle.

This past March 15, I attended the first meeting of a new group, intent on helping our youngsters choose a healthier and safer path through their teen years and into young adulthood. Abandon Teen Center will be hosting events and get togethers to help our youth set a path free of drug use and the many peer-pressure pitfalls they face. Please support this worthwhile organization, and take the time to discover if this group is an option for your children.

The nice weather will be bringing some road work and infrastructure improvements to our streets. Be aware and drive carefully whenever you see a construction site.

As always, I can be reached at 301-606-9458 or by email at jkinnaird@thurmont.com

Emmitsburg

Mayor Don Briggs

My February calendar started off with the Maryland Municipal League Winter Mayors Conference. Featured speakers included Thomas V. “Mike” Miller, Jr., President of the Senate; Michael E. Busch, Speaker of the House of Delegates; Secretary Mark J. Belton, Department of Natural Resources; and, Secretary Kenneth C. Holt, Department of Housing & Community Development. Though I did not attend all of the events this year, I did attend grant programs and small group discussions. On everybody’s mind was the status of the state giving back to the municipalities its earned share of the highway user revenue.

Like most months, February comes with opportunities and, oh yes, often obstacles to those opportunities. The foremost obstacle, understandably, has been the intractable cold, damp weather affecting everything, in particular, delays and inconvenience to all with regards to the sidewalk – square revitalization project. I know, ‘tis the season, and we come into it disarmed and lulled by the mild late fall weather, but the state contractors cannot do concrete work when the temperature is below 32 degrees and cannot lay bricks when there is high moisture content in the air, as it affects the application sand seam bonding material. Patience. We are doing something special for the town. The town “scape” is improving.

But, spring is out there, and the first gate to it has been Lent. My Lent this year, besides the usual girth/related abstinence issues, will include a commitment to visit the aged and a ramp-up in seasonal-related readings and gatherings. Lent always reminds me that, if I have worries, get above them and in front of them through giving, caring, and prayer for others.

The Mount Relay for Life, sponsored by Mount St. Mary’s University, in conjunction with the American Cancer Society, will be held on March 23, 2018. To donate or enter a team, go to the Mount St. Mary’s University website, then to “Mount Relay Page.” Great time, great event, and great cause.

The second to the gate is St. Patrick’s Day. And what is St. Patrick’s Day without Irish poetry?  To that, here are a couple Irish quotes/poems:

 

There are no strangers here, only friends you haven’t yet met.

— W.B. Yeats

 

I composed habits for those acres

So that my last look would be

Neither gluttonous nor starved.

I was ready to go anywhere.

 

— “Land” Seamus Heaney

From Ireland: Failte and Slainte

Thurmont

Mayor John Kinnaird

The Maryland Legislature is currently in session, and I recently attended a House Hearing on a bill that would restore the Highway User Revenue (HUR) funding to our municipalities. Simply stated, HUR funding is collected by the state through gasoline and diesel taxes, tag renewals, and other sources related directly to the use of our streets and roads. These funds are then distributed to Baltimore City, the counties, and municipalities. In 2008, almost $45 Million in HUR funds were distributed statewide; it fell to $1.6 Million in 2010. This year, we are expecting to receive $27 million, almost 50 percent short of the funding from 2008! The HUR funds help us repair and improve our streets and are an important source of funding for our community. Since 2008, Thurmont has seen as much as $1 million in reduced HUR funding. This has caused us to delay the repair and maintenance on our streets. The funds are being collected at the state level, but are not being returned to our communities to help repair our streets. I hope that this year the Legislature will correct this issue and restore the HUR funding we need.

There are some great events coming up soon in Thurmont. Be on the lookout for the Annual Business Showcase and A Taste of Thurmont, featuring many local restaurants. The Thurmont Green Team will be hosting the Thurmont Green Fest on Saturday April 21, 2018, at the Thurmont Regional Library. This event will feature over twenty-five exhibitors and vendors, as well as music, tree planting, live demonstrations, kid-friendly activities, and more. The Green Fest is the place to learn about living sustainably while having fun. It will soon be Farmer Market season. The Thurmont Main Street Farmers Market is the place to be for fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables, fresh cut flowers, jams, fresh eggs, and other goodies!

As the weather improves and we get back outdoors, you will notice that more of the damaged ash trees in the Community Park have been removed. The town has successfully been treating a number of the ash trees, and we will continue this program in an effort to retain as much of the mature canopy in the park as is possible. As you walk through the park, you will notice the large number of new trees that have been planted. There are a wide variety of trees, including flowering trees and others, that will replace the ash trees. The trees are being planted with the help of the Thurmont Green Team and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.

As always, I can be reached via email at jkinnaird@thurmont.com and by phone at 301-606-9458. I hope everyone has a great month.

Emmitsburg

 Mayor Don Briggs

The Emmitsburg Christmastide started with the traditional town Christmas tree lighting on Monday, December 4, in front of the Community Center. DJ lead-in Christmas music, caroling by the Mother Seton School and Christ Community Church choruses. Santa Claus arrived in a vintage Vigilant Hose truck to light the tree. Then, it was on to following Santa on foot, north two blocks, to the Carriage House Inn for the 29th annual “An Evening of Christmas Spirit.” The weather was kind, and the crowd, like the one downtown for the Halloween parade, was the largest in memory. Thank you to town staff for decorating, planning, and managing the tree lighting and also to the Carriage House Inn staff.

In our community Christmas stocking:

  • Thank you to all the volunteers who have made Emmitsburg such a wonderful place to live over the last year. This would include individual volunteers, groups, and local churches.
  • Thank you to Alenjandro Canadas for accepting the invitation to be a Trustee of the Community Foundation of Frederick County. The Community Foundation is a pillar of the greater Frederick County community. The Foundation manages at least five scholarship funds for Emmitsburg area organizations and individuals. Canadas, PhD, an associate professor of economics at the Mount, and his bride, Cynthia (also a PhD), live with their family in Emmitsburg.
  • Thank you to our town staff, State Highway Administration staff, and the contractors. The square revitalization sidewalk project connected the west end Pembrook and Brookfield subdivisions for the first time. Coming into town from the west, the viewscape has certainly changed. Lots of compliments.
  • Thank you to the uptick in home building in Frederick County. It has been heard that Ryan Homes intends to build 900 homes in Frederick County in 2018. In Emmitsburg, the remaining 47 residential lots in Brookfield subdivision are now under contract of purchase by Richmond America. The recent sightings of the men doing test borings, etc., is a normal part of their due diligence prior to purchase. With the build-out, the builder will be responsible for modifications to Irishtown Road to improve sight distance issues that then would allow two-way traffic in and out of the two subdivisions on Brookfield Drive.
  • Thank you County Executive Jan Gardner and her staff. Emmitsburg now has midday bus service to and from Frederick. The service started on Tuesday, December 5, and will continue every Tuesday (only on Tuesdays) as a complement to morning and evening return trips from Frederick. Estimated arrival of bus service at DePaul Street is 1:03 p.m. and at Jubilee is 1:07 p.m., arriving at the Frederick Transit Center at 1:42 p.m. This is a six-month to twelve-month pilot program. Thurmont Mayor John Kinnaird and I worked very closely for this additional service. Finally, you will not have to wait all day. Please call the town office if you need additional information.
  • I attended the Frederick County Association of Realtors (FCAR) legislative breakfast, at which I had the opportunity to speak on the merits of our town and also to hear what our state representatives are intending to propose as bills when in session next spring 2018. There was a lot of across-the-aisle agreement, led by our District Councilman Kirby Delauter and State Senator Ron Young, on tax credits for senior citizens, to keep them in Maryland. Presently, Pennsylvania and other states offer tax credits to make it more attractive for seniors to retire there. We want seniors to stay here because this is where they want to live, and their strong commitment to volunteering in the community.

Emmitsburg is a great place to live. Hoping you all have a wonderful New Year.

Thurmont

Mayor John Kinnaird

Here we are at the end of another amazing year in Thurmont. Looking back on 2017, it seems that there was something going on every day of the week, and as we enter the new year, I am sure it will be as busy, if not more so.

We made several improvements this past year, including new sidewalks on Moser Road, the inclusive playground at East End Park, a new playing field at the Eyler Road Park, improvements to the Moser Road intersection, paving the Trolley Trail, improvements to our electric distribution system, paving Eyler Road Park driveways, and many other projects.

The coming year will bring several new projects, including water and sewer line repairs and street work. As always, we appreciate everyone’s patience and understanding as we work to bring these improvements to our residents.

In the next few weeks, we will be welcoming two new businesses to Thurmont. Nu-Way Cleaners will be opening at 12 East Main Street in January, offering home pick-up and delivery, as well as an on-site seamstress. Images Of U Hair Studio will be opening at Thurmont Plaza; appointments and walk-ins will be welcome at this full-service hair salon for the entire family.

There is much to look forward to in 2018, and Karen and I hope that the New Year brings you good health and happiness.

Question, concerns, or comments? Contact me at jkinnaird@thurmont.com or call me at 301-606-9458.

Thurmont

Mayor John Kinnaird

October brings a lot of activity to Thurmont! The month of October is Breast Cancer awareness month, and Thurmont is participating with our Annual Gateway to the Cure Fundraiser. During the entire month, residents are encouraged to burn pink light bulbs in their porch lights to show support for this effort. Pink bulbs are available at ACE and Hobbs Hardware. The 3rd Annual Gateway to the Cure 5K will be held on Saturday, October 21, beginning at 8:00 a.m., at Eyler Road Park. Be sure to come out to participate or to cheer on all the walkers and runners. Many local businesses will be running specials this month, with a portion of the sales being donated to the cause. Help make this a successful fundraising event by making a donation at the Town Office. All proceeds from this month-long program are going to help the Patty Hurwitz Fund at FMH.

Colorfest is fast approaching and will be held October 14-15. As always, yard sales will be a draw for Thursday and Friday, October 12-13. The big days are Saturday and Sunday, and with good weather, we could be hosting upwards of 50,000 or more visitors each day. Be sure to visit all the craft areas and enjoy the good times, amazing crafts, delicious food, and friendly crowds of Colorfest! Be on the lookout for some new parking restrictions and be careful driving through Thurmont on Colorfest weekend.

Town Elections will be held on October 31, 2017. Three positions are up for election this year: two commissioner seats and the mayor. Be sure to come out and vote for the candidates of your choice on Tuesday, October 31, at the GHC Activities Building, from 7:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m. Remember these important dates: October 3 is the last day to register to vote, absentee ballot applications will be available on October 6, and the Election will be held at the GHC Activities Building on October 31. Remember, your vote counts, so be sure to come out and cast your vote for the candidates of your choice. Let’s get as many registered voters out as possible!

As you may have noticed, the trolley trail has been blacktopped and new bollards installed at the intersections. This is an amazing improvement to the trail and will allow all residents to utilize the trail, including those in wheelchairs or walkers. If you have not been on the trail recently, be sure to take a walk and check out the improvements!

We recently installed crosswalk warning signs on several crossings on East Main Street, Frederick Road, Poplar Avenue, and Moser Road. These are bright yellow signs, placed in the center of the road, to remind drivers that they are required to STOP for pedestrians in the crosswalks. Since the installation, I have noticed that many more drivers are extending the right of way to pedestrians.

I recently attended the Spirit Ride ceremony at the GHC Carnival Grounds. This event is meant to draw attention to the nationwide Slow Down, Pull Over laws, now adopted by all 50 States. There are over 100 deaths per year on our roadways involving first responders, tow truck drivers, and public works employees. These workers are assisting with accidents, fires, medical emergencies, vehicle break-downs, and public service calls; they deserve your full attention as you pass by them. The law requires that you Slow Down when approaching emergency vehicles, tow trucks, and service vehicles working at the side of the road and, if possible, Move Over one lane. One death is one too many for our first responders; let’s make our roads safe for these brave men and women as they assist others.

Questions, suggestions or comments? You can call me at 301-606-9458 or drop me an email at jkinnaird@thurmont.com. I hope everyone has a safe and healthy October.

Emmitsburg

 Mayor Don Briggs

With a blink, the cascade of fall sports, activities, programs, and the 61st Annual Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show were all seamlessly underway to the all-too-quiet and assuring backdrop of Catoctin Mountain and the proud fall crops below. Unseen in the alchemy were the months of behind-the-scenes work by administrators, teachers, coaches, students, and volunteers. Congratulations and thank you. All is vibrant and exciting. It’s no wonder Catoctin High School, for the fifth time, received the Maryland “Character Education” award. If that wasn’t enough, the school was also recognized for its sportsmanship of not only its teams but also its fans— students, families, and friends.

With the exciting reality of the school events, to our youth in action also came a somber reality. Almost unnoticed is the suffering in other parts of the country hit by Harvey and Irma. There they were, back and forth to the locations hit, from the different states, moving south along US Rt. 15, the caravans of power company trucks with their boom lifts—solemn, sobering processions.

The Seton Center held its third “Getting Ahead” program graduation, with six program participants. Congratulations. The program centers on making participants aware of the different resources available to them to enhance their lives.

If you are looking for a job or an employer looking for workers, mark your calendar for the Seton Center “Job Fair” on Tuesday, October 9, 2017, from 1:00-4:00 p.m. Another opportunity to get ahead. Call Missy Miller at 301-447-6012 ext. 11 or 12.

Frederick County Office of Sustainability and Environmental Resources Program Coordinator Lisa Orr made a presentation to the town green team. Lots of good information on how the town can make residents aware of more innovative ways to reduce their home energy costs was provided. Soon, we hope to be posting information on new programs on the town website and Facebook.

On September 18, I had the privilege to be a part the “U.S. Constitution Day Celebration” that the Mount St. Mary’s University Office of the Institute of Leadership (iLead) program held in the Patriot Hall student dining area. My part was to read the Preamble of The Constitution.

Libby and I attended the Town EBPA-sponsored breakfast for town businesses (forty-five businesses) and the Mother Seton School grandparent’s day.

As mentioned last month, coming up is the 36th Annual National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Weekend, held October 7-8, 2017. As in the past, thousands of people will be visiting our town. It is an honor to be a part of this tribute, so let’s welcome all. For a schedule of events, Google “National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Weekend.”

Mark your calendar and follow up for details on the town website for Emmitsburg’s Annual Halloween Parade and Party at Vigilant Hose on Tuesday, October 31. The parade will start at 7:00 p.m. The annual event is sponsored by local businesses and organizations.

There are many community project updates. Pool construction is back on track and steadily progressing. The Square revitalization and sidewalk project is moving at a good pace (weather permitting), along the south side of East Main Street. We were not awarded the second grant for the Dog Park, so we are in need of donations. With the site cleared, we will probably install the perimeter fence this fall. Flat Run Bridge has seen slow, difficult work around a Chesapeake Bay feeder. The State Highway Administration is working with their contractor about the location of town water line.

Thurmont

Mayor John Kinnaird

I am writing from the Maryland Municipal League Annual Summer Conference in Ocean City. This is my eighth time at the summer conference, and it looks like this trip will be as exciting and informative as all the others. The four days are filled with meetings, discussion groups, and classes, all of which help our elected officials better understand the responsibilities and mechanics of serving our communities. One of the best things I have found is that we get the chance to speak with others and see how they address issues in their communities; but more importantly, we see firsthand that other communities generally have much bigger issues than we have to contend with. The opportunity to meet face-to-face with many of our elected state officials and the heads of State agencies is another advantage of attending these conferences. This gives us a direct line of contact with those that can have a positive impact on how Thurmont fares when dealing on the state level, as well as with the many grants and funding opportunities of which we take advantage. My thanks to Commissioner Hamrick, CAO Jim Humerick, Kelly Duty, and Vickie Grinder for attending this year’s conference and expanding their knowledge of governmental issues and for increasing their networking contacts.

Two weeks ago, I sat down with representatives of seven Frederick County municipalities to help assign Project Open Space (POS) funding to our communities. POS funds are monies granted to counties by the State of Maryland to be used to enhance open space or park lands. Typically the money is split 50-50 between Frederick County and the municipalities. This year, a little over $507,922 in funding was available to municipalities in Frederick County. Of that amount, $126,981 was available for the acquisition of park land and $380,941 was available for improvements to existing parks.  I am happy to announce that Thurmont was able to garner a total of $107,000 for two projects we applied for: $89,000 will be used to help complete the All Inclusive Playground at the East End Park (more about that later), and $18,900 will fund the installation of an ADA-compliant restroom facility at the East End Park. It is always an interesting evening when we get together to discuss the POS funds. As you can imagine, there is never enough funds to satisfy everyone’s requests. This year, there was almost $800,000 in requests from the seven municipalities, so it was obvious to the seven of us that we could only fund 50 percent of the proposals. Given this, it would seem to be a real problem. But as I have seen repeatedly, the municipalities are always willing to take less so that others can get funding for their special projects. This year, the Town of Thurmont benefited from this practice and was awarded almost 30 percent of the money available! In past years, we have cut back on our request during the discussions to assist others, and this year we benefited from that courtesy.

Earlier, I mentioned the All Inclusive Playground at the East End Park. This project is a joint venture between the Town and the Catoctin Area Civitan Club. The Civitans made a proposal to establish an All Inclusive Playground last year, and I am happy to say that with funding from both the town and the Civitans, the project is moving forward. The town portion of the initial funding came from Project Open Space; and now with the recently awarded POS funds, we will be able to move the project closer to completion. The first phase of this amazing park has been dedicated and is now open. Be sure to stop for a look and remember that this playground is designed to be used by children with all levels of physical and emotional capabilities. All the equipment can be accessed by children in wheelchairs and walkers, so they can enjoy the thrill of outdoor fun with their friends and family. I want to thank the Catoctin Area Civitan Club for their vision and help in establishing this playground right here in Thurmont.

I look forward to seeing everyone at the Guardian Hose Company Carnival, and I hope you have a great time watching the Annual Fireman’s Parade!

As always, I can be reached by email at jkinnaird@thurmont.com, by phone at 301-606-9458, or on Facebook.

Emmitsburg

 Mayor Don Briggs

In June, the Town of Emmitsburg received the Maryland Green Registry 2017 Leadership Award. Due to a lot of “sweat equity” from lots of people in a body of work, we are very proud of receiving the reward. “Green” is shorthand for living in a more natural way, with a determination to reduce waste, use renewable energy, and enhance walkability through community connectivity. A simple, workable definition of Green is: “use what you need today and save what you don’t need for future generations.” Green is shorthand for sustainability. Sustainability, boiled down, is to keep, hold, or maintain for an extended period of time. Sustainability is nothing new to the crop farmers working the land around us, who plant, grow, reap, and replenish, to then plant again, all the while taking care of their soil. These farmers, like farmers for thousands of years, are renewable energy reliant on the seasons, sun, and water—surface, ground, or rain, and do everything they can to reduce waste. Now is the time to bring that consciousness to our uses.

As a strong impetus to and validation for our sustainability goals, the town was honored to host on separate days the 4th-grade classes of Mother Seton School and Emmitsburg Elementary School. Our special guests moved in small groups throughout the office to meet with staff in four stations: accounting, receptionist–office manager, the town clerk, and mayor’s office, before moving on to the council meeting room. Every student sat in the mayor’s and/or council member’s seats and introduced themselves over the microphones. A mock hearing was conducted before a visit to the Frederick County Fire Museum and Fire Heritage Center, where they climbed aboard.

Coming up are several town-sponsored events in the park. Please check the town website and Facebook page for descriptions, dates, times, and specific locations. Please note on your calendar Tuesday, August 1, from 5:00-8:00 p.m. for National Night Out (NNO) at the field behind the town office. NNO is an annual event that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie to make our neighborhoods safer, more caring places to live. This is a new event to Emmitsburg, “but across the nation, different communities host block parties, festivals, parades, cookouts, and various other community events, with safety demonstrations, seminars, youth events, visits from emergency personnel, exhibits, and much more.”

What is the Impact Club? And what is Blessings in a Backpack to Frederick?

Blessings in a Backpack to Frederick was started by educator Hermine Bernstein, who literally stumbled on the problem in Frederick County of over 11,000 children that are on FARM (Free And Reduced Meals). Hermine saw a greater calling in helping these kids, so she started Blessings in a Backpack to Frederick for children in strained family situations.

The Impact Club is a group of people wanting to contribute to the good of the community. Every quarter, Lib and I, along with 230-plus other residents in Frederick County, donate $100. Every quarter, members nominate community causes from which one is selected by membership vote. For this quarter, Blessings in a Backpack to Frederick was selected and received a $23,600 check.

Community Heritage Day 2017: Thank you to the Lions Club, American Legion, Knights of Columbus, Christ’s Community Church, and many businesses and civic organizations in Emmitsburg, for working together to provide a day full of fun and activities, ending with Independence Day Fireworks. Please go to Emmitsburgevents.com for details on a great day of fun.

Finally, the Square revitalization and sidewalk project has begun on the west end of Main Street.

Thurmont

Mayor John Kinnaird

The months of April and May are budget-crunching time here in Thurmont. Our department heads have submitted their department budgets and capital project requests, and our CFO has been busy organizing the requests and reviewing the recurring funding needs for the operation for the town. Beginning in April, the Board of Commissioners will be discussing our Draft FY2018 Budget, with the input of our staff and department heads. Budget workshops will be held on April 4, 11, and 18. The final budget will be introduced on May 2, with a public hearing on the tax rate and proposed budget on May 16. The tax rate and budget will be adopted on May 30. Residents are welcome to attend any or all of the budget workshops or hearings. Public comment will be welcome during the May 16 public hearing.

I am happy to announce that Frederick County is planning a dedication ceremony for the newly rebuilt Roddy Road Covered Bridge, and the vastly improved Roddy Road Park. The ceremony will be held at 3:00 p.m. on April 17 at the Roddy Road Park. I want to thank Frederick County for stepping up and repairing our covered bridge to its original appearance. There are three covered bridges in Frederick County, all of which are maintained by the Frederick County Department of Public Works. The County has demonstrated time and time again that they are interested in maintaining these historic structures so future generations can enjoy the living history embodied in these cherished bridges. There are new truck-height warning devices installed at both ends of the bridge to warn drivers of the height limitations. There is also a new truck turnaround being placed on the South side of the bridge for those drivers not deterred by the warning signs at the intersection of Apples Church and Eyler Road. The County is also installing new signage, intended to direct truck traffic back onto Rt. 15 to help keep trucks from getting to the covered bridge.  The improvements to Roddy Road Park will bring a new appreciation to the bridge and Owens Creek. There is a new parking lot with playground, picnic facilities, and even a new restroom! Roddy Road has been moved away from Owens Creek, so visitors can walk along the creek and enjoy the view of the covered bridge without worrying about dodging traffic. I look forward to the dedication ceremony and to visiting the bridge and park for many years to come.

The nice weather will mean that our children will be spending more time outdoors in the coming weeks. Be sure to watch out for children, and remember that they may not be watching out for you. I am sure everyone remembers what it was like when we were kids and the weather improved enough that we could get out on our bikes, play ball, ride skateboards and scooters, and walk to our friend’s houses! We were not always aware of our surroundings and would occasionally cross the street without looking both ways. Please be aware of our speed limits and watch out for pedestrians in the many crosswalks in Thurmont.

As always, I welcome your phone calls, emails, and text messages! I can be reached at 301-606-9458 or jkinnaird@thurmont.com, and on my Facebook page. Enjoy the nice weather before it gets too hot!

Emmitsburg

 Mayor Don Briggs

Warm weather, blooming flowers…and then eight-plus inches of “Robin’s snow.” No alarm, instead it was a quiet respite, a beautiful settled gesture to coax a slowdown to enjoy.

On the way to the town office last week, there, at the far edge of the parking lot, was a man and woman with two goats on lead lines and a group of children. The man, as it turns out, was a dear friend, Sam Castleman of Thorpewood, and the lady was his associate, giving Head Start program children the opportunity to learn, hands-on, and to lead the goats on the grassy school grounds behind the town office. Several years ago, Sam and I were two of the three founders of the Catoctin Land Trust (CLT), a conservation group, formed to preserve land in the Catoctin Mountain area. Through CLT efforts, a green belt of over 1,300 acres surrounding Emmitsburg has been preserved.

Spring weather or not, on Saturday, April 8, at noon at the Doughboy, the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and town, will conduct a service to commemorate the 100 year anniversary of the United States declaring war on Germany and entering World War I. (The actual date is April 6, but the commemoration will be held on Saturday, April 8.) Please join us.

Also, on Saturday, April 8, at 11:00 a.m., the sprinkler system at the Frederick County Fire/Rescue Museum National Fire Heritage Center on South Seton Avenue will be dedicated. This is a celebration of the two-year private and public collaborative effort. An effort of donated sprinkler industry materials and equipment and local installers labor working with town, county, state, and national elected officials and administrators. The National Fire Sprinkler Association intends to conduct a live-burn demo, using one of their “Side-by-Side Burn Trailers.” The unit then will go on directly to New Jersey for statewide public education use there. An identical unit will shortly be donated to the Maryland State Firemen’s Association for use across Maryland. That time is of the essence is never truer then when there is a home or building fire. Sprinkler systems can provide that time that saves lives. Vigilant Hose Company Chief Chad Umbel has approved fire company apparatus and personnel being on-hand in support of the live-burn demo.

Please note that even though the pool will be closed this summer for a major makeover, the town will still be hosting the Mayor’s pool parties. The venue will be the Community Park pavilion. Please join Lib and me for free hot dogs and lemonade, a DJ, and more! The dates for the pool parties are as follows: Friday, June 16, 6:30-8:30 p.m.; Friday, July 21, 6:30-8:30 p.m.; and Friday, August 18, 6:30-8:30 p.m.

All this will be going on while the $3.5 million State-Highway-Administration-funded downtown streetscape–square revitalization and sidewalk project should be underway. At the March town meeting, the State Highway Administration (SHA) staff made a presentation and took questions from a resident-packed room. The project is scheduled to start the first week of April, with work beginning at the entrance to the Brookfield subdivision.

Renewable energy is provided using the natural sources the sun, wind, or hydrology. The town is committed to the renewal source of solar energy, now and in the future. Through this commitment, the town is doing its part not to compete with town residents for energy and driving up their energy bills. The town has twenty electric accounts. Currently, our solar production is outperforming our professional-supported expectations. By agreement, the excess is repurchased by our provider at wholesale costs, so there is a gap from our retail purchase. The gap is in the neighborhood of $1,300 a month. We have new accounts to bring on that should level this out, but we are currently not permitted to do so until after December of this year. Our goal is to provide the energy needed for the excess capacity of the state-mandated new wastewater treatment plant. Alas, growing pains.

Lent, in the past, seemed to always be attached to some form of mortification in giving something up. Today not so much; more so, it is the time to do things for those in need. In some ways, it seems to becoming the season of giving. The residents, the town, Lions, EBPA, churches, Knights, and Masons, are all contributing to the richness of the Lent and Easter season. Happy Easter.