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THURMONT

Mayor John Kinnaird

On Saturday, May 11, Karen and I attended the remembrance ceremony for Commissioner Bill Buehrer. The gathering was held at Stauffer’s Funeral Home on Opposumtown Pike in Frederick and was well attended. I was pleasantly surprised by the number of people there that I knew. Since Bill and I were not social friends, I had the chance to meet many of his and Colleen’s relatives, personal friends, and business associates. Bill and I spent a considerable amount of time together at town meetings and municipal events. He was a true fan and great supporter of Thurmont, and he is missed dearly.

There was no formal service, but Colleen invited anyone to get up and talk about their experiences with Bill and share a humorous story about him. Several got up to speak and told us how Bill had befriended them and how nice a guy he was. After some thought, I got up to the microphone to share my amusing Bill story. But, first, I gave a little background on how Bill and I met. We met sitting in the back row at the town office while attending town meetings. As those who have been here long enough will remember, they were a pretty raucous and discouraging affair. We sat through some pretty bad meetings, and after an especially difficult stretch of meetings, we both told each other that we were going to run for office. There were several things we disagreed with, one being the effort to silence public comment during town meetings, and another was how residents were treated during the meetings. One of the biggest issues we saw was that there was a three-to-two vote on almost everything that came to a vote. Sadly, the majority vote was not always for the good of the community but rather was a vote to railroad something or as a spiteful or vindictive measure. Bill and I ran and were both successful in our campaigns. I proudly served with Bill for 12 years, every one of which was immensely productive for our community.

Now, to my funny story about Bill. We never agreed on everything, but we could each easily have a laugh at the other’s expense. One time, he was upset with me about something, and he couldn’t think of anything to say other than, “At least some of us know how to shine our shoes.” I remember looking at him and asking what the heck that meant! Then, I pointed out that I was dressed in my typical work attire of a workshirt, work pants, and work boots. I also pointed out that he was dressed in his work clothes: a suit, tie, and shiny shoes. I asked him what the difference was, and he couldn’t tell me! We parted good friends that evening, as we did every day we saw each other.

Some people thought Bill was tough or that he could be hard-headed. I know Bill was a real softy on the inside. I remember the evening when he announced that Governor Hogan had been diagnosed with cancer. Bill got all choked up just talking about it. Bill suffered from cancer, and we spoke about it often. One day, I bumped into him at the radiation therapy lab at Johns Hopkins, and we both spoke at length about our battles with cancer. Any doubt regarding the size of his heart should have been squashed if you paid any attention to how much of himself he poured into the Gateway to the Cure Cancer Fundraiser every year. We would not have been as successful without Bill’s unwavering support and hard work.

I, for one, miss Bill immensely.

Emmitsburg

Mayor Frank Davis

The month of May seems like a blur, but it gave me the opportunity to experience a different side of the mayor’s position.

On Saturday, May 4, I was honored to deliver the welcoming address to the families of 226 firefighters who lost their lives in the line of duty. Having the time to talk with the families and hear their stories was an experience that will stay in my heart. It also brought back the memories of 25 years ago when our town honored one of our own. Terry L. Myers, a 33-year member of the Vigilant Hose Company, died while battling a brush fire. His name is permanently etched in stone at the Fallen Firefighters Memorial on the campus of the National Emergency Training Center.

On May 21, I attended the graduation ceremony for the Catoctin High School (CHS) Class of 2024. As I watched each student receive their diploma, I could picture how each one will have the opportunity to make a positive impact on the world in the years to come. I am proud to be a CHS graduate and amazed by the teachers and staff who continue to mentor our students year after year. Success starts with great leadership, and Catoctin High has been blessed with Principal Jennifer Clements. I have personally witnessed her dedication to improving our school and her daily interaction with the students. GO COUGARS!!

A few months ago, I mentioned a new phone app that we would be launching to better communicate with you daily and, more importantly, in the event of an emergency. “My Emmitsburg” is up and running, and we will continue to add new features and information to keep you informed of the happenings of the town. This app can be downloaded from the Apple or Google store, or you can scan one of the many barcodes around town. If you need assistance, please contact the town office.

Some upcoming events for the month of June will include a youth baseball tournament held the first two weekends of the month. This will bring hundreds of players and spectators to town, so please graciously welcome them to our community. Flag Day is June 14, and the Francis X. Elder American Legion Post 121 will be holding a ceremony at 7:00 p.m. in Community Park off Chesapeake Avenue. To finish out the month is our Emmitsburg Community Heritage Day celebration on June 29. Please visit the website at emmitsburgevents.com for a list of events and activities.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns related to town business, please reach out to me and I will get back to you as soon as possible.

Woodsboro

Burgess Heath Barnes

Greetings and welcome to summer. Summer is my favorite season. With summer, also comes children being out of school. I urge you to use caution as more children will be out and about enjoying their summer break and may not always be aware when they are crossing the street, etc.

At our May 2nd meeting—held earlier in the month so that we could meet the minimum of 30-day notice of giving out the budget before voting on it—we had a quiet meeting. I would like to thank the Woodsboro Volunteer Fire Department for accommodating us and allowing us to use the facilities at the last minute, as our regular meeting place was being used.

Our June 11th meeting will be busy; we will be voting on the upcoming budget. Although not a lot of changes were made, a few had to be made to accommodate the ever-changing rise in prices for our water and sewer. I am also happy to announce that we have received an adjusted building cost proposal for the town hall. I will be presenting that to the council, along with financing options from Woodsboro Bank to be voted on. The hope is that we can make this new proposal quote work, and we will finally be starting the much-anticipated town hall.

We had several exciting events in Woodsboro during May. The first was the celebration of Woodsboro Banks’ 125th anniversary. They are the oldest locally owned bank in the county, and the ceremony brought elected officials and members from government offices from across the county and state to Woodsboro for the celebration. In addition, long-time bank employee JR Delauter was able to secure a historic plaque for the building from the Frederick County Landmarks Association. It is very exciting. The building that houses the headquarters was built in 1901, and at one time, was the home of the opera house, the post office, and many other things, as well as the bank. The first artisan farmers market was held at Trout’s grocery store on May 19, from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., moved due to rain. The annual Memorial Day parade, put on by the American Legion, will be held on Sunday, May 26. It is a wonderful event for our town. Thank you in advance to all who participate in the parade or come out to enjoy it.

We did sign a contract, as requested by multiple town residents, with a new street sweeper company. We are going to begin having them sweep four times a year, but we may increase to six times per year based on the need.

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 gladevalley.org@gmail.com or call 301-845-0213.

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

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

THURMONT

Mayor John Kinnaird

May is here, and nature is treating us to a spectacularly colorful show! I love seeing the mountain as the green leaves appear at the bottom and rise to the top over a few weeks. The amazing weather will also bring out bike riders, hikers, skateboarders, and runners. Be sure to give plenty of right-of-way for our neighbors and guests as they enjoy the great outdoors.

This month, I want to thank our community volunteers. Thurmont has several citizen commissions, including Planning & Zoning, Board of Appeals, Police Commission, Parks and Recreation Commission, Thurmont Addiction Commission, Ethics Commission, and Thurmont Green Team. Positions on these commissions are filled by community volunteers. Each and every one of these volunteers serves our community by sacrificing their free time to attend meetings and events, and they are deserving of our thanks and gratitude. Openings on all the commissions are advertised, and members are selected to serve for a term that averages four years. I encourage everyone to please consider applying for these positions as they are available. Being a volunteer not only helps our town, but the act of serving the community can be personally satisfying.

Recently, the Thurmont Police Commission, Woodsboro Bank, and Thurmont Police Department sponsored the Community Shred Event. The shred event is held twice a year at the Thurmont Police Department. Residents can bring as many as five boxes of personal, medical, business, financial, service, and other paper records to have securely shredded at no cost. Members of the Police Commission, Woodsboro Bank employees, and Police officers help by unloading boxes and placing the documents in the large bin before it is dumped into the shredder. Residents don’t even have to get out of their cars, but they are welcome to park and observe their papers being shredded if they desire to do so. As part of this biannual event, residents are encouraged to bring along a cash or nonperishable food donation for the Thurmont Food Bank. All the individuals helping with this event are also volunteers!

The Thurmont Green Team sponsored its annual Greenfest with the help of the Thurmont Regional Library. Last week’s Greenfest featured 28 tabletop displays, with crafts and educational material for various ecological and conservation topics. The Greenfest had over 600 attendees and was a great success. The Town of Thurmont received our eighth straight Tree City USA award during the Greenfest. A large part of this award comes from the hard work of volunteers who help plant trees and flowers in Thurmont. Several hundred trees have been planted by volunteers, including school children, Scouts, adults, and Green Team members. You may have noticed the beautiful daffodils that sprung up around town this spring, which were also planted by Green Team volunteers! The Green Team also helps with invasive plant control and flower gardens on our Trolley Trail. Thurmont has always enjoyed a beautiful green canopy; the efforts of these volunteers will help ensure our community has trees to enjoy well into the future.

Thurmont is fortunate to have several wonderful organizations that work hard to make our community the best possible place to live in Frederick County. The Thurmont Lions Club sponsored the Annual Easter Egg Hunt in Community Park. The Lions have held this spring event for more than 80 years! The Lions Club holds many events throughout the year to raise funds for its many community projects. I attended the Thurmont Grange #409 Annual Awards ceremony, where they recognized several residents for their continued support of agriculture in the community. The Grange named the Thurmont Kountry Kitchen as business of the year for their support of local children during the pandemic and their fundraising efforts for our neighbors in need. I also attend events sponsored by Thurmont Scouting. We have an amazing Scout organization that educates children in outdoor activities, sporting events, and valuable guidance so that the Scouts grow into productive, considerate, and well-rounded community members. The Scouts also hold a yearly drive to collect toys for Toys For Tots. This joint venture with the United States Marine Corps helps provide Christmas gifts for many less fortunate children in our region.

There are many other groups and associations that work selflessly to improve the lives of our residents and make our community the best it can be.

These volunteers have many reasons for doing what they do. Every one of them helps because of a deep-seated desire to improve the lives of others. They don’t expect much in return, but we, as a community, owe all of them a great deal of gratitude for their sacrifices. Again, I would like to thank the members of the town commissions and all the members of our many community organizations for all they do for our community. You may not always be thanked for your service—and, unfortunately, there are those who are critical—but each of you should be assured that the majority of our community appreciates your hard work and commitment.

I hope everyone enjoys a wonderful month of May. As always, I can be reached by phone at 301-606-9458 or by email at jkinnaird@thurmont.com.

Emmitsburg

Mayor Frank Davis

As we are halfway through the spring season, it is the time of year to work on your list of chores that have built up over the winter. You also need to take time and enjoy other activities, and May is full of things to do.

On May 3-5, we will, once again, host the National Fallen Firefighter Memorial Service. This will bring families from across the country to Emmitsburg as part of the healing process from losing a loved one in the line of duty. Please help me welcome our guests and make them feel at home during their visit.

The Emmitsburg Eagles PTO will be hosting a Spring Festival on May 4 at the E. Eugene Myers Community Park. There will be vendors and activities for the whole family.

The Emmitsburg Lions Club will hold a Chicken BBQ at the VHC Activities Building on Creamery Road on May 4.

The Vigilant Hose Company will hold its much-anticipated Annual Spring Fling at the Activities Building on Creamery Road on May 11.

Mount Saint Mary’s University will hold its 2024 graduation ceremony, which will bring family members of the graduates to celebrate this exciting event, on May 11.

Please check the organization’s social media sites for more details.

I am excited that we are kicking off our new Citizen Alert and Notification Application. Please visit the town website at www.emmitsburgmd.gov for more information.

Finally, I know many of you have experienced water issues during the last 30 days, and we appreciate your understanding. We have had several incidents that contributed to low pressure and brown water. The fire hydrant system was used for a fire incident, along with annual hydrant flushing and flow testing. We experienced two water main breaks and a malfunction with a pressure-reducing valve. We are taking steps to minimize these disruptions and will continue to upgrade our water system to reduce the effects to your homes and businesses.

I will be out and about walking the neighborhoods daily, and I hope to meet and chat with you to talk about your thoughts on our great little town.

Woodsboro

Burgess Heath Barnes

Greetings and happy May. This is one of my favorite months as we transition into the summer. I always personally associate the Memorial Day Holiday with the beginning of the fun summer months.

At our April 9 meeting, we were joined by the builders who are going to build nine townhouses on Second Street. He informed us that construction will begin before the end of the year, and once started, will go up rather quickly. As far as the town hall update, we are awaiting the updated rate proposal from the builder to take a vote on it with the council. We are hoping that we will have these numbers to present at the next meeting.

Our May meeting will be held on Thursday, May 2, at 7:00 p.m., instead of the usual second Tuesday of the month. Due to scheduling conflicts with council members and the importance of the May meeting, we moved it to accommodate. We are hopeful that at the May meeting, we will have a town hall updated bid proposal to bid on. We will present our fiscal 2025 year budget proposal to the council, which will then be voted on for approval at the June 11 meeting. Per code, the budget has to be given to the council at least 30 days before taking a vote on it, so that is why the meeting was moved to earlier in May.

Some upcoming exciting happenings are going on in Woodsboro. The first will be the artisan farmers market to be held at Trout’s Grocery Store on May 18, from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. The second will be the annual Memorial Day parade that is put on by the American Legion and will take place on Sunday, May 26, at 1:00 p.m.

Mary, our town clerk, is in negotiations with another street sweeper company since the one that we were using disappeared without notice. We have heard the concerns from residents regarding the buildup along the streets and gutters.

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

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

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

Emmitsburg

Mayor Frank Davis

 Every month brings new challenges, but each month also brings new opportunities to improve the day-to-day operations of the town. This past month was no exception. I had the opportunity to spend three days in Annapolis, meeting with fellow mayors at the Maryland Municipal League Mayors Conference. The time spent sharing information, comparing issues, and working together to find solutions was a rewarding experience. I learned that most municipalities struggle in the same areas of operations and are searching for that golden answer. So, we in Emmitsburg are not alone.

You may begin to see activity around Irishtown Road behind Northgate. The land has been purchased by a developer in hopes of completing Emmit Ridge II.

The town is close to releasing a new Citizens Notification and Alert Application. This will make it easy to communicate information on events, notices, and most importantly, emergency notifications. The app will be free to downland onto your phone and will add another means of communication with you, our citizens. Be on the lookout for the unveiling of the new system.

The flooding on Annandale Road has become a weekly occurrence and needs to be addressed. While the hazardous area is outside the town limits, it still affects our citizens, the Mount St. Mary’s community, and most importantly, our fire and police response. We are currently working with Frederick County and the Maryland Department of the Environment to correct the problem.

As the weather gets warmer, we encourage you to take a walk in our parks, take in a ballgame, try your hand at disc golf, or just get out and talk with your neighbors. Spring is a great time of year, and I look forward to seeing you out and about around town.

Woodsboro

Burgess Heath Barnes

Happy spring! Warmer weather has arrived and, hopefully, all winter weather is now gone until next winter.

Our annual Easter egg hunt in town was quite successful. The Woodsboro Volunteer Fire Department, along with the town of Woodsboro, outdid themselves again. The weather is always challenging, especially with Easter being so early this year, but we made it work.

The March 12th town meeting was quiet. Unfortunately, due to an unforeseen situation, I was not able to attend, but the meeting was in good hands and was run by Council President Bud Eckenrode. Thank you, Councilman Eckenrode, for stepping up last minute.

The main discussion was about the new building development that is coming to town. The nine townhouses that were approved several years ago are to be built on Second Street, and the project is starting to take place. The builders will begin the construction before too much longer. This will bring at least nine more families and homes to town.

It was also brought up that the town has stopped electronic payments for water bills. Electronic payments have been stopped at this time due to the revision of the fees that the processor is charging the town, along with the low utilization of this program. With those added fees, the council decided to stop them for now. We will research other options that the town can afford without taking a large loss each quarter.

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

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

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

Emmitsburg

Mayor Frank Davis

As the winter months are flying by, we are starting to plan for warmer weather. We are in the planning stage for an improved farmers’ market. We are still looking for new vendors and are excited about the return of last year’s participants.

Softball and baseball will again fill our parks with regular league play, as well as several large weekend tournaments. This is not only good for our youths who participate, but it is a bonus for our local businesses. On any given weekend, hundreds of fans can be found walking our streets and patronizing local shops and eateries. Thank you to the Thurmont Little League for bringing baseball back to Emmitsburg.

Plans are shaping up for our community garden, which is located beside the Emmitsburg Community Center on Cedar Avenue. Local resident Jack Deathridge will again take the lead with his crew, willing to expand the footprint of last year’s garden to accommodate new gardeners of all ages.

Spring sports are in full swing at Mount St. Mary’s University, and it is worth the trip to check them out. Both men’s and women’s teams are going to be extremely competitive, so check out the Mount’s website for schedules.

Town staff is working hard on updating our comprehensive plan. Workshops have been held over the winter months, with the final gathering on March 25 at the town office. The workshop will begin at 7:00 p.m.

We have openings on several committees, and we need you to become part of our team. Please visit the town website at emmitsburgmd.gov for more information or contact the office at 301-600-6300.

Beginning March 11, the town office will extend its office hours. The office will be open from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, for your convenience.

Finally, as I approach the end of my first six months in my new position, I want to thank you for your support. While we may have had different opinions and ideas on how to govern our town, everyone has been polite and respectful. Many of you have stepped forward to serve on committees and continue to be an important part of the success of the town. Please give me a call or visit me in the office to share your ideas or just for a chat.                              

Thurmont

 Mayor John Kinnaird

Here we are in March already! Winter will soon be behind us, and things will start getting green. My favorite flowers are daffodils, and this spring, I think we will see daffodils popping up all around Thurmont, thanks to the Thurmont Green Team. I hope everyone enjoys the amazing range of colors that bloom in early spring.

The North Church Street project is coming along on schedule. As with every large public works project, there are traffic delays and some inconveniences for residents. We appreciate everyone’s patience! The work from Woodside Avenue to Rt. 15 is expected to be completed by late April, while the work from Rt. 15 to Catoctin High School (CHS) will be completed during summer vacation at CHS. This project is one of the largest single infrastructure projects we have done in several years and will address several issues. Most residents are unaware of the infrastructure buried beneath our streets and sidewalks. These systems, as with all others, have a working lifespan, and the water and wastewater lines are reaching their useful ends. Over the past several years, we have been addressing I&I (inflow and infiltration) issues in our wastewater system. Much of the pipes on North Church Street are terra-cotta, and over the years, the joints have separated. These pipes can let a lot of wild water into the system, and every gallon of that has to be treated. The new wastewater lines will help eliminate much of that water. The water lines also need to be replaced with new pipes with fewer changes in pipe size and the elimination of a few bottlenecks. This project is being funded with American Rescue Act Funds. Once this work is completed, the SHA will be repaving the entire roadway.

Work has been ongoing on the new softball field at East End Park. This project is funded through Program Open Space grants. The field features lights for night games and should be ready for regular play early this fall.

The tennis court at the Community Park is being removed and replaced with a new court, lights, and fencing. The court will feature tennis and pickleball markings. Work has commenced on the renovation of the playground at the entrance to Eyler Road Park. The new equipment will feature a Cougar theme! Both of these projects will be completed before Memorial Day. I want to thank our Parks Department for the amazing work they do maintaining our parks and getting them ready for spring!

Good weather will bring out lots of kids and adults walking, running, and riding bikes or skateboards on our sidewalks and trails. Please drive responsibly, and be aware of everyone sharing the road and using our trails and walkways.

On a personal note, I recently spent some time at Frederick Health Hospital. I want to thank all the doctors, nurses, and support staff whom I had the privilege of meeting while there. We are very fortunate to have such an outstanding medical facility at our doorstep.

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

I hope everyone has a wonderful March!

Woodsboro

Burgess Heath Barnes

Happy March! The first month of spring has arrived and, hopefully, this brings more sunshine and warmth. As they say, March winds and April showers will bring May flowers, and I am ready for them and warmer weather.

I attended the annual Maryland Mayors Conference last month in Annapolis. I always enjoy this conference, as we often hear details of how pending legislation in Annapolis will affect our municipalities, in either a positive or sometimes not-so-positive way. Last month, we had to change our monthly town meeting to February 20, instead of the typical second Tuesday of the month, due to some unforeseen circumstances.

The February meeting was quiet, as we are still awaiting the new bid proposal from the town hall builder to see if we can get the bid down to the amount the town can easily afford. We are very confident, with some cuts that we have made, that we will get it down to the dollar amount we are looking for. We also discussed the next event in town, which is the annual Easter Egg Hunt that is hosted by the Town of Woodsboro and the Woodsboro Volunteer Fire Department. The Easter Egg Hunt will be held this year on March 30 at 2:00 p.m. in the town park. All children are invited to attend this free community event.

There were some issues with the lights at the basketball and tennis courts, as the line was accidentally cut off when the lights for the skating park were installed. They have been repaired, and all is working well now. Thank you to the Woodsboro Volunteer Fire Department for adding water to the pond while it was frozen to smooth it out. It was so nice seeing the frozen pond and the sledding hill being used so much this winter with all the snowfalls we have had and the cold temperatures that froze the pond.

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

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

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

Emmitsburg

Mayor Frank Davis

Welcome to the winter of 2024. Mother Nature has given us the opportunity to evaluate the recently enacted Snow Emergency Plan, and we are pleased with the results. We still encountered vehicles that failed to move from the streets, and with this, we ask for your help. If you have someone in your neighborhood who failed to move their vehicles, please offer them a friendly reminder. They can obtain the necessary information regarding the policy on the town webpage or give the office a call at 301-600-6300.

During our recent snow storms, a group of Mount Saint Mary’s University students were out in the community shoveling walks and driveways for our citizens. The students took it upon themselves to reach out to their neighbors and lend a helping hand. I want to thank the students for having a positive impact on our community.

The Emmitsburg Town Council voted to replace all existing parking meters on East and West Main Streets. After much consideration and dialog, a decision was made not to add additional meters in other areas of the town. I want to thank our citizens for their input and the town council for investing time in research and communicating with our constituents.

The council also approved a contract with a company to provide internet, video, and phone service to Emmitsburg. Shentel will begin designing their system to give you an option when it comes to phone and Internet service. This will in no way affect your current Comcast service. It now just gives you options. For more information on Shentel, please visit their website.

The installation of new streetlights in the downtown area should begin on January 28. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the town office.

Please feel free to contact me at mayordavis@emmitsburgmd.gov, and I will do my best to respond within the same business day.

Thurmont

 Mayor John Kinnaird

Mayor Kinnaird is out of the country and unavailable to write his Mayor’s message for this edition. His column will return next month.

Woodsboro

Burgess Heath Barnes

Brrrrrr! It has been a cold new year so far with some actual snow for the first time in three years! I hope everyone has remained safe, and if you enjoy the snow, I hope you have had a good time in it. Personally, I am ready for spring, and it cannot get here quickly enough for me.

This last month was quiet in town. With the winter months, there has not been a lot going on, so it has given us some time to focus on a few projects. I will be attending the annual Maryland Mayors Association Conference from February 29 to March 1 in Annapolis. During this time, I hope to hear about the status of funds availability and different initiatives that may be coming out of this year’s state legislative session and budget.

On January 10, the town clerk and I met with the architect for the town building and the potential construction company representative from Sanbower Construction. We had a very productive meeting and discussed many things that could be removed from the original plans for the town hall. Several things can be modified, and I feel very optimistic that we will get the total cost down to the amount that we are comfortable with and able to afford to pay. The goal is to have a new number before March’s town meeting to present to the council. I was also able to get numbers for the loan from Woodsboro Bank, and the numbers came out in the range of the budget we have, so financing options are looking good if we get the total cost in the range with what we can comfortably afford. I also started the paperwork process for the $400,000 grant promise that we received from the state in 2022. Things are looking very promising, and exciting things are coming to our town.

We were able to get the lights, as well as the safety and trick rails, up around the skatepark. I have also been in conversation with the contractor to get the bathroom started, to be built on the disc golf/stage side of the park. We plan to get that underway this spring and, hopefully, have it completed sometime in late summer.

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

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

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

Emmitsburg

Mayor Frank Davis

It is hard to believe the holiday season has passed by so quickly, and for the next month, I will still be dating documents 2023. With another year behind us, I hope we can all look back on our accomplishments and find the good in last year.

Things are changing in the town office. The biggest change is the hiring of two new employees. Joshua Snyder is our newest addition to our water and sewer department. Josh comes to us with over 10 years of experience in this field and will be a terrific addition to our talented crew. We would also like to welcome Kimberly Mondshour to our office staff. Kimberly has accepted a position as our accountant and brings a wealth of experience to this vital position. Please help welcome both of our new employees to Emmitsburg.

Construction is well underway for our new Sewer Lift Station on Creamery Road. This project is being tackled by Conewago Construction Company. Please be cautious while traveling around the construction site.

At times, the winter months can keep you searching for things to do with your family, so don’t forget about Mount Basketball. Both the women’s and men’s teams are playing at an extremely high level and are exciting to watch.

The town is exploring options pertaining to parking issues and meter upgrades. Conversations are running high, and there are many opinions, both positive and negative, regarding future needs. I can assure you, that the commissioners are listening, exploring options, and will decide what is best for our town—not only for now but also in the future.

There are two workshops scheduled for the town council in January and February. On January 22, we will review and discuss the financial status of the town. The February 12 workshop will be the start of identifying future projects and setting priorities. Citizens are invited to attend in person or watch on Channel 99.

Please remember that all streets in the town limits are now snow emergency routes. This means that when the snow emergency plan is enacted by the Maryland State Police, parking is prohibited on ALL streets. This will enable road crews to plow and open roads more quickly, efficiently, and most importantly, it will ensure access for emergency vehicles into your neighborhood. All town parking lots are available for off-street parking. Additional parking is also available in the 100 block of South Seton Avenue, next to Chronicle Press. If anyone has transportation issues with getting their vehicle to one of these locations, please contact the town office BEFORE the snow begins. Please be responsible and pre-plan for severe weather.

As always, please feel free to reach out to me with any questions or concerns. We are open to suggestions to make Emmitsburg a great place to live.

Please feel free to contact me at mayordavis@emmitsburgmd.gov, and I will do my best to respond within the same business day.

Thurmont

 Mayor John Kinnaird

Welcome to the New Year! Karen and I hope that everyone has an amazing, healthy and happy year ahead. We are looking forward to another great year!

The new year brings with it the continuation of water and wastewater infrastructure replacement on North Church Street from Boundary Avenue to Catoctin High School. This project will upgrade all water, wastewater, and service lines on the entire stretch of road. Work started at the intersection of Sandy Spring Land and headed toward Catoctin High School. In the coming weeks and months workers will be addressing the other end of the project area. This effort will resolve many issues along the road caused by additions to the system and multiple upgrades.

Residents will also see wastewater line work to Rte. 77 from Old Pryor Road to Park Central Road beginning on Jan. 4th. This project is being completed by the State of Maryland Department of Transportation and the Maryland Environmental Services. I’m The work will improve the wastewater lines first installed between Thurmont and the State Park back in the late 1960s into the early 1970s. There will be well marked detours set up during this project that will use Rte. 550 and Foxville Deerfield Road. Work should be completed by the end of May.

On a personal note, Karen and I will be travelling to Great Britain for a couple of weeks. We plan on visiting friends and family in London, and the city of my birth, Aberdeen, Scotland. The first part of our trip will see us visiting London, Lands End at the Southwest coast before heading north to John O’Groats at the northern most point on the British Isle. In between we will drive through Wales, visit Yorkshire, stop at the historic Auld Alloway Kirk made famous in Robert Burns’ Tam O’Shanter. We will be spending a couple of nights with friends on the Isle of Skye, a night in the wonderful North Seaside village of Pennan and then a few days in Aberdeen with cousins. Hopefully while in the Highlands we will get to see the Northern Lights! We will then return to London via Ripon and spend the last two days in Windsor.  You can follow our adventure on my Facebook page.

We will miss all our family and friends while on vacation, and we will be looking forward to returning to Thurmont.

Woodsboro

Burgess Heath Barnes

Happy New Year! It is hard to believe it’s 2024, but a new year has arrived. I hope it’s a happy and blessed year for all and that you all had a wonderful holiday season.

On December 16, the Town of Woodsboro teamed up with the Woodsboro and New Midway volunteer fire departments to participate in a Santa run that lasted several hours and covered many streets and roads in the town of Woodsboro and areas of New Midway. The response that we received from not only the young ones but people of all ages was wonderful, and we will be doing it again next year. Playing Santa is always rewarding and magical, seeing the joyous looks on the faces of the children.

At the town meeting on December 12, 2023, we reviewed the seven bids from contractors to build the town hall. We all were a little shocked, to be honest, and are back to making some changes. We have a budget of about $900,000, with the $400,000 that we were able to secure from the state for the building, but the bids came in between $1.7 million and $2.3 million. We are in talks about how we can make some changes and get the building into our price range. I also reached out to our county- and state-elected officials to request additional financial assistance. At the time of this article being written, I have not heard back. We are working diligently and going to get the building built; it just may not be the exact style we had planned.

Lights are going up around the new skate park that is being used by the community, and we are very pleased that this project was able to happen. I encourage parents to have their children wear helmets when utilizing the skate park to avoid unnecessary accidents.

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

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

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

Emmitsburg

Mayor Frank Davis

My first few months as mayor have passed quickly. It has been busy and I’m constantly learning something new. The behind-the-scenes operations that keep our town running are impressive. I have gained a new appreciation for the workload and time required to meet the needs of our citizens. Sometimes, it may seem like your concerns are not being heard, but I can assure you that is not the case. Our team, both employees and elected officials, are here to listen and will do our best to respond to these concerns promptly.

I would like to welcome Jim Hoover to the Emmitsburg Board of Town Commissioners. Mr. Hoover is a former mayor and town commissioner and will bring a wealth of knowledge to the council. Mr. Hoover will fill the remaining 11 months of my vacated commissioner term. I would also like to thank all the citizens who expressed an interest in the position; it is evident how many people truly care about making a difference.

Over the last month, I attended many meetings and met many new people, but two events stand out. I was invited to Emmitsburg Elementary School to take part in “Starts with Hello Week.” I was able to meet and speak with each student as they arrived to begin their school day. Their smiles and handshakes were a fantastic way to start the day. I also had the opportunity to speak with the fourth-grade class of Mother Seton School. I spent time speaking about what it was like to be mayor. As most of you know, kids of that age keep you on your toes, and you never know what the next question might be. My time spent interacting with those students gives me hope that the future is bright and there are good things to come.

Be on the lookout for a groundbreaking around Creamery Court. Federal Stone (currently located in Thurmont) is scheduled to begin construction of their new building in the first part of December. The construction process should take about six months, with hopes of moving into their new home in July of 2024. In addition, the remaining building lots on Creamery Court have been sold and are in various phases of pre-construction.

Please check the town website for holiday hours, as they may change in the month of December. Even with the reduced hours, know that we have staff on call, and I can be reached if there are emergency situations.

Let us cherish family and friends this holiday season. From my family to yours: Best wishes for a wonderful holiday and a very happy New Year!

Please feel free to contact me at mayordavis@emmitsburgmd.gov, and I will do my best to respond within the same business day.

Thurmont

Mayor John Kinnaird

Christmas is upon us, and Karen and I want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and the happiest of New Years!

On December 1, Thurmont Police Chief Greg Eyler retired from the Thurmont Police Department. Chief Eyler served our community for 18 years and in those years, he brought the department from a small town force to a professional police department. Greg began his police career right here in Thurmont, under the guidance of Chief Herman Shook. He moved on to the Frederick County Sheriff’s Department, where he came up through the ranks and retired as a Major before returning to the Thurmont Police Department. During his time here, our department has grown in size and moved into a new headquarters building. His leadership brought new technology, an increase in the number of sworn officers, and a new standard of community policing. One of the chief’s most recent accomplishments was instituting the switch to a dedicated retirement benefit for his officers. His service has created a police department that our community is very proud of, and we all thank him for his service. We wish Greg and Brenda all the best as they head off on a new adventure in life.

Please consider donations to the Thurmont Food Bank and Clothes Closet in the coming weeks and months. The winter months bring additional hardships to our friends, neighbors, and family members who are less fortunate than ourselves. Donations of non-perishable food, decent cold weather clothing, or cash to these organizations can make a real difference in the lives of many.

It is with great sadness that I talk about the death of former Thurmont Commissioner Bill Buehrer. Bill lost his battle with cancer last Wednesday. I have known Bill for about fourteen years, having met him while attending Thurmont Town meetings. We sat in the back row and shared our thoughts on the future of the town. Bill ran for office in 2011 and was elected as commissioner of the Town of Thurmont. Commissioner Buehrer was extremely proud to serve our community and would often state that Thurmont was the best municipality in Frederick County. He truly believed that we live in the best town possible and worked hard to make sure our residents received the best possible municipal service. As a commissioner, he was very supportive of all events in town and volunteered to help at many of them. He was proud of the sense of spirit in our community and was active in Economic Development, Main Street, and was an active supporter of the Gateway to the Cure fundraising. Bill was very supportive of all of our staff and police officers and helped ensure they got the equipment necessary to do their jobs professionally.

It was my pleasure to serve with Bill over the past 12 years. We did not always see eye to eye on every topic, but we worked to do what was best for our community. Bill and I found ourselves at the radiology department at Johns Hopkins, where we both underwent radiation therapy for our cancers. He was keenly aware of how impactful illness could be on families and was very considerate of those impacted by cancer. This is why he was such a dedicated supporter of the Gateway for the Cure campaign. We spoke often about our illnesses, and he had a very encouraging and positive outlook. I am sorry to see Bill pass, but I will be forever grateful to have known him. Karen and I send our deepest condolences to Bill’s wife Colleen and their family.

Here are some thoughts from others who served with Bill.

Former Commissioner Wes Hamrick:

“It was my honor and privilege to first meet Bill several years ago when I was hired as a staff member with Stauffer Funeral Home. He and his wife, Colleen, recently transferred from South Carolina to work the pre-needs and aftercare for the Stauffer Funeral Home. I instantly connected with both of them. Bill, along with prompting by Colleen, convinced me to run for commissioner. It was their encouragement, faith in my ability, and support that I made the decision to run.

For 10 years, I served with Bill. His personality and that of the other board members provided a nice balance on the dais. Although Bill could have a sometimes gruff and tough-minded exterior, underneath was a very kind and gentle spirit. He truly had the heart of servitude for his community and only wanted the best for Thurmont.”

“The next to the last time I saw Bill was at my last meeting as commissioner.  I went to each one and hugged and thanked them for their support and for the privilege of serving with them. Since Bill sat at the furthest end of the dais, he was the last one for me to thank. We hugged and he held on to me and we said I love you to each other. He truly was a gentle bear in the truest sense. He will be missed and my prayers are with Colleen and his family.”

May God keep you in His protective arms, my friend.”

Commissioner Wayne Hooper:

“Bill loved our community and served with the best interest of Thurmont at the heart of his work. He was always quick to say that Thurmont is the best municipality in Frederick County, and he truly believed it was.”

CAO Jim Humerick:

“I think Bill was a man of great integrity who loved Thurmont. I sincerely appreciate his support of the town employees and our endeavors to improve operations over the years.”

CFO Linda Joyce:

“I am sorry to hear about Bill. I would like to mention he was receptive to moving the town forward and embraced positive change.”

Economic Development Manager Vickie Grinder:

“I will always remember and love Bill for his compassion and support for the Gateway to The Cure campaign. He was a driving force for the Gateway To The Cure Golf Classic, and was a huge reason for its success. Even when he wasn’t feeling his best, he was always there to help with the tournament, no matter the task he was given. Bill was also a huge supporter of all of our Thurmont small businesses and their owners and could be found patronizing them all. I will greatly miss him and his ambition to bring home a larger check each year for our Gateway to The Cure for the Hurwitz Breast Cancer Fund. I sure hope he is looking down and smiling because this year was the largest total collected in our 10-year history of the campaign. I will miss you, Bill.”

Comments, concerns, or compliments? I can be reached at 301-606-9458 or at jkinnaird@thurmont.com.

Woodsboro

Burgess Heath Barnes

I hope each of you had a very happy Thanksgiving with family and friends. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and a Blessed New Year. If you can volunteer at a place in the community or help with Christmas for a family that doesn’t have the resources, I encourage it. I promise you; it is very rewarding.

On November 4, 2023, we opened the bidding process for the new town hall. Within three days, we had six contractors reaching out with interest in bidding on the project. All prospective bids are due in the town office by noon on December 4, 2023. All received bids will be presented to the town council on December 12, 2023, and a vote to select the contractor will take place at the January 9, 2024, town meeting. We are all very excited about this next step in getting the construction of the town hall started soon.

As many noticed, water bills for this quarter went out late. This was due to 12 residents not having completed the water meter change upgrade. Billing could not be completed until all were updated. The town had to spend extra money and bring in a new plumber on October 20 to complete these final 12 upgrades, as the contractor’s time in town was only for September. We have finally completed the upgrade. This will make billing much smoother; in January, we will be able to start taking electronic payments, which has been a request for a long time now.

Santa Claus (aka the burgess) will make an appearance at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday, December 17, riding around town with the Woodsboro Volunteer Fire Department. This year, we will be going down all the town streets and possibly up toward the New Midway area as well. After the Santa run, at approximately 3:00 p.m., Santa will be back at the firehouse for pictures until 4:00 p.m. All are welcome to come out and say hello.

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

If you have any questions, concerns, complaints, or compliments, please feel free to reach out to me at hbarnes@woodsboro.org or by phone at 301-401-7164.If you have any questions, concerns, complaints, or compliments, please feel free to reach out to me at hbarnes@woodsboro.org or by phone at 301-401-7164. Woodsboro Town meetings are held on the second Tuesday of each month at 7:00 p.m. In addition, Planning and Zoning meetings are at 6:00 p.m. on the first Monday of the month, as needed. If you have an item for the agenda, it needs to be submitted 14 days before the P&Z meeting. The current location for meetings is the St. John’s United Church of Christ, located at 8 N. 2nd Street, Woodsboro, MD 21798. The public is always invited to attend.

Emmitsburg

Mayor Frank Davis

Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would be sitting here writing the “Mayor’s Column” for our local newspaper. I’m sure Mrs. Richards, my English teacher, would tell you the same thing. But here it goes.

My first few weeks in office have been very busy. I have spent a lot of time in the town office, learning the daily routines of our staff and working my way around the office. We held our first staff meeting with all town employees, and the meeting was recorded and sent to the town commissioners. Even though they were unable to attend in person, I felt it was important they heard the message I had for the staff. Transparency is my top priority. Over the next few weeks, I will be meeting with each staff member individually to learn more about their responsibilities and to gather ideas from them on how we can improve our operations.

While I will do my best to be available for you every day, Thursdays will be my designated “Office Day.” I will be available to meet with you to discuss concerns, listen to ideas, or just to have a cup of coffee. You are free to stop in anytime, but it would be great if you could call the office and schedule a designated time to meet.

The water rates are a major concern of many of our citizens and businesses. The town staff and commissioners are exploring options to relieve some of this financial burden from the taxpayers. One of Mayor Briggs’ last announcements in office was that funds have been found to assist with relief for the water fund. This will be discussed and, hopefully, passed by the commissioners at our November meeting.

There are several openings on committees and boards, and we need your help filling the open slots. I also plan to establish several new committees to gather more community input and to review many codes and ordinances that need updating. Please visit the town website and Facebook page to get vacancy announcements.

With winter just around the corner, it is important for you to remember that all town streets are now snow emergency routes. This means that when the Snow Emergency Plan is activated by the State of Maryland, all vehicles must be moved from roadways. We are working with area businesses and organizations to provide parking in their lots to assist citizens who don’t have off-street parking during snowstorms. More information will be forthcoming.

While there are several pressing issues that need attention, be assured we are working to resolve them. With that, I ask to please be courteous to our staff. If for some reason they are unable to help you with your concerns or problems, please ask to speak to me. If you need to vent to someone, let it be me. I have worked in a firehouse for years; I have thick skin and can handle it.

In closing, I want to thank the citizens for trusting me to lead our great town, and I will work hard every day not to disappoint you. Please feel free to contact me at mayordavis@emmitsburgmd.gov, and I will do my best to respond within the same business day.From Lib and me, thank you.

Thurmont
Mayor John Kinnaird

Fall is upon us, and with it, comes colder weather and changing daylight hours. I ask that everyone be extra careful when driving in and around Thurmont by watching out for school kids coming and going to school. Many of our kids are out before dawn to catch a bus or to walk to school. They are crossing our streets and may not take the time to look both ways before stepping off the curb. On streets without sidewalks and on rural county roads, many kids are forced to walk along the edges of the roads. Your extra attention will be greatly appreciated.

The water and wastewater infrastructure work on North Church Street is now underway. Traffic will be impacted Monday through Thursday as the crews replace water lines and wastewater lines from the railroad bridge out to near Catoctin High School. There are flaggers in place to direct traffic, with special attention being paid to school traffic in the mornings and afternoon. I would encourage you to take different routes if you need to get through the area. During the construction phase, one lane will be closed throughout the day. At the end of each day, the roadway will be patched and both lanes reopened. Occasionally, both lanes may be closed for short times, as equipment is moved or construction involves both lanes. Once this project is completed, the State Highway Administration will be replacing North Church Street.

Thanksgiving is coming on Thursday, November 23. Karen and I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving with friends and family. On this day, our Pilgrim ancestors first enjoyed a communal meal as thanks for the well-being and success of their community. As part of our modern-day Thanksgiving, I ask everyone to consider others less fortunate than us and help support the Thurmont Food Bank and other organizations. By supporting the Thurmont Food Bank with a cash donation or with a donation of non-perishable foods, you can help guarantee a wholesome Thanksgiving meal for many of our families, friends, and neighbors. The food bank is always looking for volunteers to help—even just a few hours—with sorting donations or helping to distribute goods. It will give you a sense of making a positive difference in the lives of our neighbors.

Cold weather means we will be wearing jackets, hats, boots, gloves, and other cold-weather clothing. This year, when you start pulling out your cold-weather clothing, be sure to consider making a donation of extra jackets, sweaters, hats, gloves, and boots to the Thurmont Clothes Closet. The Clothes Closet will distribute your wearable warm clothing to those that may not be able to afford warm clothing. This is especially important for children; warm clothing helps kids enjoy school, outdoor play, and can let them be more comfortable at home if the thermostat needs to be set lower. Be on the lookout for opportunities to help schools fulfill the wishes of students for new clothing through anonymous Santa and Christmas present support. The kids will appreciate the warmth and love that warm clothes can bring them.

Thurmont just completed another Gateway to the Cure month-long event to help raise funds and awareness for Breast Cancer research and patient care. Our events support the Patty Hurwitz Breast Cancer Fund at Frederick Health. The funds raised are used locally to help provide research and patient support for Frederick Heath patients. Each of us knows a family member or a friend who has been impacted by breast cancer. We can make a difference by spreading the message of breast cancer awareness. Sadly, cancer in many forms touches too many families across our community, state, nation, and countries around the world. Sometimes, it seems like cancer can be overpowering, but today, new treatments and a better understanding of the causes of cancer have greatly improved the outlook for many patients.

November has just begun, and I am now going to remind you about upcoming Christmas events in Thurmont. We will be having our annual Christmas Tree Lighting event on Saturday, November 25, at the Mechanicstown Square Park. Then, on Saturday, December 2, we will be at the Guardian Hose Company for Christmas in Thurmont.

Comments, concerns, or compliments? I can be reached at 301-606-9458 or at jkinnaird@thurmont.com.

Woodsboro

Burgess Heath Barnes

Happy Thanksgiving. It’s hard to believe that we are less than two months away from the end of the year. I hope you enjoy time with family and friends this Thanksgiving. Always remember the ones who do not have extra funds or family during this time. If you can volunteer at a place in the community providing Thanksgiving to the less fortunate, I encourage it. I can promise you it is very rewarding.

Our annual Woodsboro Days festival on October 14-15 was a great success. Saturday saw many yard sales around town, with the largest group of them being at the Woodsboro Lutheran Church, where they also had food sales. It was great seeing so many out in the community. The weather on Sunday was great for the 3rd annual music festival in the park on the band shell that we had built three years ago. It was also the first year we had electricity to the stage—the last two years, we ran on generators. All the bands, food trucks, and vendors were wonderful. Special thanks to Billie Fulmer and the local Boy Scouts, who, once again, helped with parking. We are already looking forward to next year’s event. 

Also on October 14, we held the grand opening of our skate park. This project was made possible by a suggestion from town resident Ben Marshall to the council last year. At the time, it seemed like a pipe dream, with the cost of the project and the lack of funds, but myself and former Commissioner Dana Crum (particularly) fought hard for the grant to complete the project and were successful. Now we have a wonderful skate park for the community. Thank you, Ben and Dana for your hard work, and Matt Arment from Arment Concrete for constructing it.

In addition, on October 14, the Woodsboro Volunteer Fire Department had an open house that several enjoyed going to.

As many noticed, water bills for this quarter went out late. This was due to 12 residents not having completed the water meter change upgrade yet. Billing could not be completed until all were updated. The town had to spend extra money and bring in a new plumber on October 20 to complete these final 12, as the contractor’s time in town was only for the month of September. We have finally completed the upgrade. This will make billing much smoother. In January, we will be able to start taking electronic payments, which has been a request for a long time now.

The latest town hall update is that the permits have all been approved by the county. Our architect has listed for the contractors to bid, and we must keep bids open by law for 30 days. Once the 30 days have expired, the council will select a contractor. We will open the bidding process any day now, and we are looking forward to the next step in finally building Woodsboro’s first town hall.

Halloween trick-or-treating was held on October 31 in town. It was nice seeing so many children and families out enjoying the evening.

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

If you have any questions, concerns, complaints, or compliments, please feel free to reach out to me at hbarnes@woodsboro.org or by phone at 301-401-7164. Woodsboro Town meetings are held on the second Tuesday of each month at 7:00 p.m. In addition, Planning and Zoning meetings are at 6:00 p.m. on the first Monday of the month, as needed. If you have an item for the agenda, it needs to be submitted 14 days before the P&Z meeting. The current location for meetings is the St. John’s United Church of Christ, located at 8 N. 2nd Street, Woodsboro, MD 21798. The public is always invited to attend.

Emmitsburg

Mayor Don Briggs

In early September, I had the honor of announcing the FFA Sweetheart winner at the opening ceremony of the 67th Annual Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show at Catoctin High School. The winner was Caroline Clark. Caroline, who was raised and lives on her family farm in Rocky Ridge, among other things, is quite an accomplished tractor driver. Earlier this year, she won the Maryland State Fair tractor competition. She is the first female to do so. It does not stop there. She also competed in the New England Expo tractor event and placed sixth. The New England Expo is a five-state fair event. Congratulations, Caroline!

Before opening the envelope with the winner’s name, I looked across the stage at the seated contestants for the award. I was in awe after listening to what they love, what they have accomplished, giving us a glimpse of the trajectory of their lives going forward. It was something. These contestants are a sampling of the generations who will take care of our country. So often, younger generations are bundled into convenient characterizations as “Millennials,” “Generation X,” and so on. Every day we wake up, we are blessed by their presence and accomplishments. We often look back and say the greatest generation lived 80 some years ago. No, it is the younger generations and the generations to come that are the greatest generations. We must start there. They will have challenges and need to amass support now to be able to address those challenges. As one writer quipped, “The past is a different country, they do things differently there.”

To this topic, last summer I read an article in the weekend review section of the Wall Street Journal, “The New Rules of Success in the Post-Career World.” The present generations of a younger workforce, and seemingly those to come, are signaling new guardrails for career paths they are going to follow. The beacon for staying with one company has long been dimmed. Now, what the younger are looking for is more, “fulfillment over traditional priorities like income and status.” They will not live to work but work to live in a more balanced way.

As I leave office after four terms, 12 years, I would again like to say thank you to the residents of Emmitsburg for the honor of serving as your mayor of a top-10 small town in Maryland. I leave you, thanks to terrific staff and an understanding wife, with a sidewalk-connected town from Tract Road to Emmit Gardens; lots of new homes; a renovated square (whereas I write, a new exciting business is gobbling up the only vacant commercial space); an award-winning green town with an emphasis on reducing waste; and the Mount moving classes and administration in to the town.

From Lib and me, thank you.

Thurmont

 Mayor John Kinnaird

Fall has finally arrived and hopefully, we will get a month or more of decent temperatures and some regular rain. Central Maryland is currently under a drought watch, and residents are encouraged to conserve water wherever possible. Rains during the last week of September were helpful, but we still need more.

Colorfest is coming up and will be here before you know it. Permits are still available, and there are spaces still available around town. Colorfest will be held on Saturday and Sunday, October 14 and 15. As usual, Thurmont will be a hotbed for yard sales almost the entire week leading up to Colorfest. Be careful while driving around town that week, and be sure to get out and support all of our local non-profits, churches, civic organizations, and first responders. I hope everyone has a very enjoyable Colorfest weekend!

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and we will be raising money in support of the Patty Hurwitz Fund at Frederick Health. Our community has an amazing record of support for this annual event, and we need to keep supporting this wonderful organization. We just had our Annual Gateway to the Cure Golf Classic, with over 100 individual golfers registered for a fun day at Maple Run Golf Course. The Gateway to Cure 5K Covered Bridge Run will be held at Eyler Road Park on Saturday, October 21. There is still time to register for this popular run through our beautiful countryside and across the Roddy Road Covered Bridge. The Gateway to Cure Zumbathon will be held at the American Legion on Sunday, October 22, from 2:00-4:00 p.m. Pink light bulbs, T-shirts, sweatshirts, pinwheels, and other items are available at locations around town or at the municipal offices.

The Town of Thurmont will be holding an election for two commissioner seats on Tuesday, October 31, at the Guardian Hose Company Activity Building on 123 East Main Street. Voting opens at 7:00 a.m. and closes at 8:00 p.m. Those in line at 8:00 p.m. will be able to vote. October 3 is the last day to register to vote. Absentee Ballots will be available on October 18, and the last day to apply for an Absentee Ballot is close of business on October 24.

Be watchful of the water and waste water improvements starting on North Church Street in late October. Traffic will be restricted to one lane during work hours with flaggers on hand to provide direction. Accommodations will be made for bus traffic and for heavy trucks. I encourage everyone to take alternative routes during this six-month project. Residents and businesses on North Church Street have been informed of the plans and will be updated regularly as the project proceeds.

I hope everyone has an enjoyable October! As always, I can be reached at jkinnaird@thurmont.com or by phone at 301-606-9458.

Woodsboro

Burgess Heath Barnes

Happy Fall! Before we know it, the leaves will start changing and the temperature will begin to drop. The smell of pumpkin will be in the air, and the pumpkin patches, corn mazes, haunted houses, and fall festivals will be in full swing. Enjoy time with family and friends at these fall happenings.

Our water meter update in town had a few hiccups, but I can happily say that all but about 5 percent has been completed, and the town will be working with these residents to get theirs completed ASAP. With the delay in getting these all completed, water bills will be going out a few weeks later than normal this quarter but should have the option to pay electronically beginning with this quarter’s bill. This is something that many residents have asked for, and we listened. Please do not be concerned if the bill comes to your home a few weeks later this quarter.

Electricity to the stage has been completed, and we will not have to use a generator for the bands this year at the Woodsboro Days Festival. Please see the advertisement on page 23 for details. Come out for all the fun on October 21-22!

The latest town hall update is that the permits have all been approved by the county. Our architect has listed for the contractors to bid, and we must keep bids open by law for 30 days. Once the 30 days have expired, the council will select a contractor. We have called for a tentative special meeting with the council for October 23, 2023 at 7:00 p.m. to discuss the bids and decide, instead of waiting until the regular November meeting, so that we can get the building started as quickly as possible.

The construction of the new skate park has begun and should be completed by the end of October. The excitement around it is very high. It is being built between the concession stand and tennis courts. I am very excited to see this project happening.

Halloween trick-or-treating will be on October 31 between 6:00 and 8:00 p.m. in town. Please be sure to watch out for children in the streets that night and leave your light on if you wish to participate.

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

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

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

Thurmont

 Mayor John Kinnaird

The school year has started, and we all need to be extra careful while driving on our local and county roads and state highways. First and foremost, we must be aware of the kids crossing our streets. There are crosswalks at all intersections in Thurmont, although they may not be marked. State law requires you to stop at any marked street crossing if people are in the crosswalk or stepping into the crosswalk. This rule should also apply to every intersection if children are crossing or entering the crossing area. As often as kids are told to look both ways before crossing, we all know they sometimes do not. Please keep in mind that kids will also cross streets at any point and can walk out from between parked cars. Be aware of speed zones near schools and slow down to the speed limit posted for traffic during school hours. We also need to be aware of kids getting on and off school buses. You are required to stop for all school buses headed in either direction when the red lights are flashing. School buses will flash their yellow lights as a warning that they are preparing to stop. Be sure to stop with plenty of room between you and the bus. The only exception is if you are traveling in the opposite direction on a multi-lane highway with the lanes separated by a barrier, grass, or paved median. Please keep an eye out for our children and make sure they get to and from school safely.

The 67th Annual Thurmont and Emmitsburg Community Show is being held on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, September 8, 9, and 10. Be sure to come up and enjoy a weekend of great entertainment, agricultural displays, delicious food, amazing displays of art, photography, baking, canning, sewing, knitting, flower arranging, and other crafts. The show starts Friday evening, with the opening ceremony at 6:30 p.m. followed by the baked goods auction at 7:30 p.m. All three days will feature agriculture displays of livestock and equipment. Saturday starts with the Beef, Sheep, and Swine Show and the Market Goat Fitting and Show. Come and see how much effort the young ladies and gentlemen of the FFA invest in their Ag displays. 

The Town of Thurmont will be holding an election to fill two Board of Commissioner seats on Tuesday, October 31. There are some important dates to keep in mind leading up to the election. The Nominating Convention will be held on September 26; this is when candidates will be nominated and begin their campaign. The last day you can register to vote is on October 3. If you are already registered for state and national elections, you are registered locally as well. You can register to vote at the Thurmont Town Office during regular business hours. Absentee Ballots will be available starting on October 18. Contact the Thurmont Town Office for Absentee Ballots. The last day to apply for an Absentee Ballot is October 24.

Colorfest is fast approaching and now is the time to get permits and secure a spot if you are setting up to sell items that weekend. This year, Colorfest will be held on Saturday, October 14, and Sunday, October 15.  As usual, there will be lots of activity going on the entire week leading up to Colorfest. Preparations will be getting underway for security, sanitation, and transportation, and vendors will be setting up. Thurmont is widely known for all of the yard sales that pop up Wednesday through Friday. So, be aware of cars stopping to visit yard sales throughout the week. There will be no parking signs posted on select roadways, and we ask that you honor those signs during the times noted.

The town is working to organize the upcoming construction project on North Church Street. This will entail the replacement of water and wastewater mains on North Church from the railway bridge to out past Sheetz. Residents and businesses on North Church Street have received notification about the project and what they should expect as the work progresses. During the majority of the construction, one lane of North Church will be open, with flaggers guiding traffic through the work area. The contractors will be notified regarding the times when school buses and vehicles will be coming from CHS, and they will attempt to accommodate the traffic patterns whenever possible. I encourage you to find alternate routes to your destinations during this construction. All businesses will be open during the construction of the North Church Street improvements. Once the infrastructure work is completed, the entire roadway will be repaved. This project will get underway in late October and should continue for six months.

As always, I can be reached at jkinnaird@thurmont.com or by phone at 301-606-9458 for any comments, questions, or concerns.

Emmitsburg

Mayor Don Briggs

As I write this, one of my last two monthly mayor articles in The Catoctin Banner, I want to thank the residents, businesses, and the town staff for the honor to work with you over my four terms—12 years—it has been my humble honor. The two-fold measure of the office is to serve and govern. Sometimes, we were at odds with the governing piece, but at the foundation of every discussion was always our town charter and town code.

Together, we have done a lot. We did “take back” the square, re-did it, as it is the “foyer” of all our homes. We filled the sidewalk gaps, so now the town is connected from Tract Road to Emmit Gardens, Northgate, FEMA, and Silo Hill. We now have basically a new pool and changing rooms, a dog park, a redone bandstand, all-accessible children’s playground, and paved gaps to the walking path in Community Park. Through begging and cajoling, we got Ryan Homes back to finish the remainder of Brookfield after they swore they’d never come back here after being rudely dismissed some 15 years ago. Being recognized by the state as a Sustainable Community, the initial step to becoming a Main Street town and the thousands of dollars in grants to downtown building owners that equates to over $1 million in improvements. The three corners of the downtown square buildings benefit from that program. Finally, the Mount is coming downtown with programs and classes. Our solar field provides 94 percent of the town’s energy accounts. Adding energy saving LED street lighting, electric charging stations, and a town electric car. The thousands of trees we planted. To wit: we have the town recognized as one of the top 10 most beautiful small towns in Maryland. We did all of this together.

August started out with still trying to assist in any way the sponsors of a new Catholic High School to find a home in Emmitsburg. They have the students, Maryland Educational approved time-tested G.K. Chesterton-shaped curriculum, and the teachers. Miraculously, it has been accomplished. Fall classes will first be held at St. Anthony’s and then come into Emmitsburg around the first of the year. Congratulations to the sponsors, the Crook family.

August for me started out with attending a presentation by members of the Frederick County Economic Development Office to a group of town businesspeople over a light breakfast at the Carriage House Inn. The topic was Emmitsburg progressing on being a Maryland Main Street affiliate to full participation in the program and many additional opportunities. It was an excellent presentation, adding to the groundwork that has been done to improve the setting of our wonderful town.

That same night, Lib and I attended the Emmitsburg’s Annual National Night Out tribute held in the Community Park; we had the honor of serving, along with the town staff, pizza donated by Tuscany’s Pizzeria, along with hamburgers and cheeseburgers donated by McDonald’s, water, popsicles, school bags, and more. The weather cooperated with a cooler, less humid evening to befittingly honor our guests, the Sheriff’s deputies, and members of the Vigilant Hose Company. An ice cream truck, local churches, vendors, and children amusements, all lent to a wonderful evening.

 On August 8, the County Historic Preservation Commission approved the expansion of the Emmitsburg National Register Historic District to include West Lincoln Avenue, Emmitsburg’s historic black neighborhood. Ever since writing 20 years ago a thesis paper on black education opportunities in Northern Frederick County, I have pursued including West Lincoln Avenue in the Emmitsburg National Registry of Historic Places. West Lincoln Avenue is a history-rich African American homestead area that was not included in the original district. Thank you to Joy Shaffer with the County Executive Office and Elizabeth Comer of the Catoctin Furnace Society for pushing and pulling through.

 In honor of our sister City Lutsk in Ukraine, a Ukrainian needlework exhibit was held in the Emmitsburg Library in August, honoring the Ukrainian Day of Independence. On August 19, the second annual jointly-sponsored town and Mount event welcomed the new freshmen class at the Mount with an array of music, swimming, food, and vendors. August 22 featured a ribbon-cutting for the Mount Seminary Blessed Stanley Rother House of Formation in a wing of the Basilica building. All of this in a quiet town. September 22 will be the Blessing and Dedication of the Seton Shrine Visitors Center and Museum. Don’t forget the 67th Annual Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show on September 8-10 at Catoctin High School.

 Best wishes from Lib and me for a Happy Labor Day holiday! Don’t forget to vote in the town mayoral and commissioner election on Tuesday, September 22, at the deputy station on East Main Street. They are all really good people who love Emmitsburg.

Woodsboro

Burgess Heath Barnes

Greetings and welcome back to school to all the students, teachers, and staff. My wish is that this is a safe and productive school year for you all.

As all residents should have seen on their last water bills, we are in the process of changing out the water meters. This will allow us to begin taking electronic payments; however, we cannot move forward until all meters are updated. It does require the tech to enter your home, as stated on the water bills. Please be sure to set up your appointment with them. The sooner we get them all changed out in town, the sooner we can move forward with the system that many of you have asked for regarding electronic payments for your water bills.

I am happy to announce that groundbreaking for the new bathrooms on the east side of the park will begin to take place soon. Electricity to the east side of the park has begun as well and will hopefully be completed and run to the stage before the Woodsboro Days festival that is scheduled for October 22. If you are a vendor and would like to participate, please reach out to me.

The latest town hall update is that I signed several documents for the county permits, and we should have the process to start the bidding to build the town hall out by mid-September. This is very exciting, as a groundbreaking will take place shortly after that. With a mild winter, we should be able to be in the building by mid-spring.

The construction of the new skate park should begin in early September. The excitement around it is very high. It will be built between the concession stand and tennis courts. I am very excited to see these projects happening.

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

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

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

Emmitsburg

Mayor Don Briggs

ON VACATION

Thurmont

 Mayor John Kinnaird

It’s hard to believe we are already more than halfway through 2023! Summer has been great so far, but it looks like the temps are going to be hitting the mid-90s for the beginning of August. When the temperatures rise, be sure to stay hydrated, wear sunscreen, limit your time outdoors, wear a hat, and do not overexert yourselves. Heat Exhaustion or Heat Stroke can come on quickly and is life-threatening, with symptoms that can include a throbbing headache; confusion; nausea; dizziness; body temps over 103F; red, hot, dry, or damp skin; rapid pulse; fainting; and loss of consciousness. If you, or someone you know, is experiencing Heat Exhaustion or Heat Stroke symptoms, call 911 and get medical assistance immediately.

The Frederick Road upgrades are completed, and the roadway is much improved. We appreciated everyone’s patience. Frederick Road was one of several paving projects we have in our pipeline. Improvements will be made to other roadways as funds become available. 

The new softball field is under construction at East End Park. The mass grading is complete, and the conduit has been installed for the lighting system. The field should be ready for play by summer 2024. We are also installing a new loudspeaker system in Community Park, and the new tennis courts will be installed next spring. Planning has started on the pedestrian bridge over Hunting Creek that will provide a connection between Community Park and West Main Street. This bridge will provide an access point to Community Park for residents along West Main Street. It is also an integral part of the Gateway Trail and will allow hikers and bikers easier access to the State and Federal Park trails and will bring additional pedestrian and bike users to our downtown and Community Trail system.

We will soon be getting started on our Annual Gateway to the Cure events. The Golf Tournament will be held on Friday, September 22, at the Maple Run Golf Course, and the Covered Bridge 5K Run-Walk will be held on Saturday, October 21, at Eyler Road Park. This will be the Fifth Annual Golf Classic and the Ninth Annual Gateway to the Cure Covered Bridge 5K! Pink light bulbs, pinwheels, T-shirts, and other items will be available at the Town Office and other locations. The residents of Thurmont have been very generous in their support of this worthwhile cause. Thurmont is the only community in Frederick County to whole-heartedly support the ongoing breast cancer research, breast cancer treatment, and patient support provided to local patients through the Patty Hurwitz Breast Cancer Fund at Frederick Health Hospital. These local efforts have resulted in donations of over $137,000 from the Thurmont Community over the past eight years! Cancer is a disease that touches everyone, either personally or through family and friends. Please support us this year as we join the Patty Hurwitz Breast Cancer Fund in the fight against cancer.

The North Church Street project will be getting underway in late September. This project will include the replacement or upgrading of the water lines and wastewater mains that serve all the homes and businesses on North Church Street from the railroad bridge to past Sheetz, and will require one lane of traffic to be closed, with flaggers directing traffic. Consideration will be given to school traffic during the length of the project. You will be encouraged to find alternate routes to bypass the construction, if possible. This month-long project will bring improved dependability to the critical water and wastewater systems to a large part of our community. Once this infrastructure work has been completed, the Maryland Department of Transportation – State Highway Administration will be repaving North Church Street.

The 67th Annual Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show is September 8-10. This show offers everyone an opportunity to see how our agricultural heritage continues to play a large part in the Thurmont, Emmitsburg, and surrounding communities. The Catoctin High School FFA program is featured heavily and includes the livestock displays, livestock show, and auction. The Grange Livestock Auction helps students with the costs of higher education. The show also serves to display local talent in canning, baking, photography, fruit and vegetable growing, handcrafts, sewing & knitting, and other areas. There will be plenty of displays. The Annual Cake Auction is one of the highlights of the show and raises money to help the Grange support our Ag students. Farming is alive and doing well in Frederick County. Join us for the best community show in Maryland!

Colorfest this year is October 14 and 15. Colorfest is the single biggest fundraising opportunity for many of our churches, civic organizations, and non-profits. I look forward to welcoming tens of thousands of visitors each day.

Questions, comments, or concerns? I can be reached by cell phone at 301-606-9458 or by email at jkinnaird@thurmont.com.

Woodsboro

Burgess Heath Barnes

Greetings! I hope you all are having a wonderful summer. I cannot believe that at the end of this month, schools will be back in session for our students and teachers. I know in Woodsboro, we are currently having issues with people speeding down the streets. I highly encourage everyone to watch their speed, even more as our children begin returning to school. I did mention to the counsel that I will be gathering information on what it will take to install some speed cameras in town, as the problem has become much worse lately.

At the July 18th meeting, we had a very short meeting. I informed the council that I had met with the electric company to start the process of running the electricity into the eastern side of the park, where the stage is and where the new restroom is to be built. Based on different options, it’s possible we may have the electricity run before the music festival at Woodsboro Days in October. This will be nice for the bands, as for the last few years we have run the electricity off a generator. I also met with Ben Marshall and the contractor to build the skate park. I let them know that we had received a pending grant of $137,000 to build the park. Once we receive the official grant letter from the state, we will sign the contract and construction will begin shortly. The resurfacing of the tennis court and the pickleball lines has been tentatively scheduled and will begin any day now.

The latest town hall update is that I had a call with the engineer. He is optimistic that we will have it out for build within the next 60 days as the process is moving through the county at a good pace without hiccups right now. I remain optimistic that we will have a building started by late fall.

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

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

Woodsboro Town meetings are held on the second Tuesday of each month at 7:00 p.m. In addition, Planning and Zoning (P&Z) 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. John’s United Church of Christ, located at 8 N. 2nd Street, Woodsboro, MD 21798. The public is always invited to attend.

Emmitsburg

Mayor Don Briggs

As planned, the community pool opened without a hitch for the Memorial Day weekend, just in time to accommodate lots of us on some of those hot days. However, the town-sponsored pool party for June was interrupted by thunder and lightning delays. Not to despair, dates are set for July and August parties, with more free hot dogs, drinks, and a DJ to keep things moving. Check with the town office or social media sites for dates and times.

Another reminder to visit the Emmitsburg Farmers’ Market on South Seton Avenue next to the Community Center. The market is open every Friday, from 2:00 to 8:00 p.m., through October 6. Lots of healthy living, fresh vegetables, and fruit await you.

There comes a time—convenient or not—to accept that time, in the end, tips the scale. I have served 4 terms, 12 wonderful years, as mayor of Emmitsburg, a true honor, and I will not seek to serve a fifth term. My hope was to do positive things, big and small. In doing so, to also encourage more engagement by both the board and the community. With the help of a hard-working staff, we did, and did so always mindful of the rich history of the town. From adding wayside exhibits; to redoing the square, pool, and parks; adding solar fields; building a $19 million wastewater treatment plant; just to name a few of the things we all accomplished in light of many challenges expected, and unexpected, such as the pandemic. Again, we did all this together over the last 12 short years.

There are some wonderful capable people stepping forward to face the challenges for Emmitsburg that tomorrow brings. Let’s see what is on their pallets and move forward in support.

From Lib and I: We hope you enjoy a safe and joyful 4th of July.

Thurmont

 Mayor John Kinnaird

Welcome to July. This is the month for vacations and traveling! So, if you are traveling, please be careful on the roads. As you drive around our neighborhoods, please drive no more than the posted speed limit and watch out for kids. They may not always be fully aware of their surroundings and can dart out in front of cars without thinking about it.

The State Highway Administration has completed work on the Northbound bridge over Rt. 77. This project has taken a while, but the results are worth the wait. Many residents have been talking about the increased traffic on Frederick Road and Water Street; much of this increase was due to the bridge work and should drop off.

The Town of Thurmont has been making much-needed improvements to Frederick Road. The stormwater basins have been repaired or replaced, and several sections of municipal sidewalk have been updated in front of Community Park. This work at Community Park also includes new fencing along the sidewalk. The new wider sidewalk increased the drop-off at the rear edge of the walkway, and the new fence will ensure walkers and bike riders will be safe while passing Community Park. The next phase of work on Frederick Road will be milling and repaving. The Town of Thurmont has contracted with Pleasant’s Construction to repave Frederick Road from Tippin Drive to the Hunting Creek Bridge. Several sections of the curb and gutter will also be removed and replaced. This project will begin around July 10, and should be completed by August 1. This roadway work is being funded through Maryland Highway User Revenue. This project will bring some impacts on local residents, businesses, and traffic flow. The Town will be working closely with Pleasant’s to ensure that impacts are minimal. Your patience while this project is completed is appreciated. If you have any questions regarding this project, please contact the Town Office at 301-271-7313.

Progress is being made on the new softball field at East End Park. This new field will include lighting for night games. Grading should begin within a week, and construction will continue over the summer. The lights have been donated to this project and will make playing time on the field much more flexible. The funds for the softball field are courtesy of Program Open Space. We have also received additional POS funds to help with Gateway Trail access and amenities. The Town has also received POS funding to help expand the East End Dog Park. We were also awarded funding for the Mountain Gate Trail, connecting pedestrian and bike access from Frederick Road at Thurmont Blvd. with the trail system on Moser Road. This will improve access to the Trolley and Library Trails for those living on Frederick Road and in the Orchards Hills development.

The work on North Church Street will be getting underway this fall. Residents will be notified regarding lateral wastewater connections, as well as the construction schedule. This project will be a major undertaking and will require lane closures and delays. Please be aware of these and make plans to allow more time or an alternate route while work is being completed on North Church Street.

With summer here, you and the kids will be spending more time outdoors. I ask that you please use sunscreen, hats, or long sleeves when outdoors for any extended period of time. Sun exposure is the main cause of skin cancer, and protecting yourself and your family may prevent this painful disease. Remember, the sunburn you get today can develop into skin cancer later in life.

I hope everyone enjoys July! As always, I can be contacted by email at jkinnaird@thurmont.com or by phone at 301-606-9458.

Woodsboro

Burgess Heath Barnes

On June 13, former Burgess Bill Rittelmeyer and Commissioner John Cutshall were both sworn in for their four-year terms on the town commissioners. I would like to congratulate both of them. Thank you, outgoing Commissioner Dana Crum for your years of service to Woodsboro. She was very instrumental in obtaining grants for many projects in the park, while serving as the commissioner who oversaw the parks and recreation. Commissioner Crum was also the president of the council (the person who would step in should something happen to the burgess, etc.). At the meeting, we elected a new president of the council, who will be Commissioner Leroy “Bud” Eckenrode. He will also assume the duties of parks and recreation. Commissioner Rittelmeyer will assume the role of overseeing water and sewage that Commissioner Eckenrode previously held. Commissioner Jesse Case will continue to be the planning and zoning commissioner, and Commissioner John Cutshall will continue to be the streets and roads commissioner.

I informed the council that we have received a grant from CPP 2023 for $214,000 to build a bathroom and to run water and electricity to the eastern side of the park where the stage is located. I met with our water and sewer contractor to get an estimate to run the water, and the same contractor that built the stage will be building the bathroom. There is not a timeframe at this time for the project, as we are awaiting estimates for the project to come in. Former Commissioner Crum and I also attended the grant meeting in the county, where we were able to secure $137,000 dollars to build the skatepark in the park. Finally, we signed a contract to have the tennis courts resurfaced and to have pickleball lines added. This is a project that we cannot set an exact date on, as the weather conditions have to be in certain parameters to complete the project, but rest assured it is coming.

The FY2024 budget was voted on and approved. I am happy to say that we did not have to change the tax rates from the 2021 year, as we kept the fixed rate as the same. Woodsboro continues to have one of the lowest municipalities taxes in the county, and there are no plans to change that. As you will see, there was a small change in water and sewage rates. There has not been an increase in that in several years, but, unfortunately, with rising cost in labor and equipment costs, etc., we had no option but to raise the water flat rate from $15 to $17 and the sewage flat rate from $122 to $125. We kept the increase at the very minimal as possible. 

We will be installing four to six additional speed limit signs throughout the town to discourage the speeding that continues to be an issue, particularly on Main Street. In addition, I am doing research and in contact with the state about the possibility of installing speed cameras. There will be more to come on that. I am very concerned about the speed that I see people driving in our town, and we are addressing it.

The town hall update is that we have been cleared with the first permit with the county, and it is moving through the process. I am optimistic that there will be a groundbreaking by late summer to early fall if things continue to move as there are now.

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

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

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

Thurmont

 Mayor John Kinnaird

I hope everyone had a great Memorial Day and had the opportunity to spend time with your family. The Thurmont Main Street Farmers Market is now open on Saturday mornings at the Community Park. I encourage everyone to visit the market and any other community events we are having. Watch for upcoming Concerts in the Park and others.

You may have heard that the board of commissioners (BOC) has voted to join in a multi-jurisdictional law suit against manufacturers of PFOAs and related chemical compounds. These chemicals are known as forever compounds because they resist breaking down naturally. They were used in many products, including fire-fighting foam, waterproof clothing and boots, non-stick cookware, and even items like pizza boxes. These chemicals have managed to get into our drinking water sources, and recent changes in allowable levels from the Environmental Protection Agency and Maryland Department of Environment will require that Thurmont and thousands of other communities across the USA take action to remove these chemical compounds from our water systems. We are currently working with our engineering firm to design the filtration systems needed to bring our levels down to a non-detectable level. This will require filtration units at each of our water treatment facilities. Not only will we need the filtration equipment, we will also need to build additions to our treatment facilities to house the filters and plumbing and electrical equipment to operate them. The initial costs will be high, but what is more troublesome is the unknown costs for the safe disposal and replacement of the filter elements or filtration materials. Looking ahead, the BOC has decided to participate in the legal action in an effort to help cover the associated costs. The cost for upgrading the systems will fall on the consumers, so any relief we can get in a settlement will help off-set the costs our residents will be paying. We are moving forward with the design, purchase, and installation of the required equipment. It is our hope that we get support from the MDE or EPA and a settlement from the legal action to help defray the costs. We do not expect to be made whole by a settlement but we hope that funds will be awarded to help defray the costs. While the design and installation process is moving forward, I want to reassure everyone that we are following the guidelines set forth by the EPA and MDE.

Work continues on Frederick Road leading up to milling and resurfacing later this summer. The Thurmont Water Department installed three new 8-inch gate valves at the Frederick Road and Thurmont Boulevard intersection. This will ensure that a planned commercial improvement on Thurmont Blvd. will not require cutting the new blacktop. They have also installed a new 8-inch gate valve on the Moser Road water main at Frederick Road. This new valve will allow the crew to isolate the water main if it needs to be shut down in an emergency. A private contractor has been working to upgrade the storm water collection basin on Frederick Road. These are all over 40 years of age and have been having issues. The new basins will help improve the flow of storm water off of the road surface. They are also upgrading the sidewalk and entrance to Community Park in advance of milling and repaving. These projects have caused some delays and slowed traffic, but in the end, the new road surface will be well worth the inconvenience. The Town has just put out an invitation to bid on the milling and blacktopping. The contract should be awarded within a month, and at that time we will have an approximate start date for the final phase of work.

The Town of Thurmont will also be starting a rebuild of North Church Street this fall. This project will include the complete rebuilding of the water and waste water infrastructure on the roadway. The infrastructure has been in place for many years and sections are failing. We will be removing existing terra-cotta pipe wastewater lines and wastewater laterals. We will also be removing an abandoned water pump installation beneath the Church Street and Emmitsburg Road intersection. This work will provide much-improved services for residents served by the lines we are replacing. During the work, one lane will be closed and flagmen will be onsite to keep traffic moving as smoothly as possible. Once our work is finished the state will blacktop the roadway.

As always, please wear sunscreen, hats, and long sleeves when outdoors. Make sure your kids, family, and friends are also protected for their safety. I can be reached at jkinnaird@thurmont.com or by phone at 301-606-9458.

Emmitsburg

Mayor Don Briggs

Why should we protect our mountains, farms, and historic districts? Because it defines us. Recently, our daughter moved to Lexington, Kentucky. She had sold her horse farm in Virginia, spent a year traveling around the world, and then, surprisingly, extended her horse-related career in the horse capital of the world: the bluegrass state. In a recent visit, we drove by miles and miles of horse farms with new foals abounding; ate lunch at Keenland Racetrack; toured the Kentucky Horse Park, home of the Olympic equestrian team; and watched the world-renowned Rolex three-day competition event. Our daughter’s grandparents’ farm was named Houyhnhnm, a name taken from the Jonathan Swift novel, Gulliver’s Travels. Houyhnhnm (pronounced win-em) was a mythical country of superior intellect horses. Though our daughter will be traveling a lot in her new role in the horse world, it sure seems and feels like she lives in that special place, the Camelot of horse lovers, Houyhnhnm. We’ve got it special, too. Let’s protect our special setting that forms us. Something akin to the Irish bard’s description, Dinnshenchas, the embodiment of place and who we are.

I attended and gave the welcoming address at the 42nd National Firefighters Foundation Memorial Weekend held on the weekend of May 6-7. The commemoration was previously held annually the first weekend in October. As in previous years, thousands of guests visited Emmitsburg to honor those who gave their lives in fire service. The weather cooperated for a fitting tribute for those firefighters who were always there for us. Many people have asked what my message to our guests was, so here it is:

“Good evening. On behalf of the residents of Emmitsburg and Northern Frederick County, welcome.

Thank you for again sharing this solemn tradition with us, the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Service weekend, as today we honor these firefighters. 

Every year as mayor, I am given the honor to welcome you. And every year I have to call upon wisdom far greater than mine.

It is written that success in life is measured by whether we use the gifts/talents that we are given. It is also written, as if to answer that challenge, ‘Be not afraid.’

For your contributions to your communities across the county, responding to that call in the middle of the night, always that challenge is there and begs an answer.

As it was for these firefighters we honor today, the answer they gave was yes, and the answer they expect from you and all of us is: Be not afraid.

They were a success. They used their talents well. Welcome. Our town is yours.”

After many hours of preparation by a faithful group of volunteers led by the Lions Club and most of our civic groups, including the Knights of Columbus and Masons, the Emmitsburg Community Heritage Day will be Saturday, June 24. Great community event in Myers Community Park: vendors, games, multiple food choices, parade, and fireworks. 

Parks are alive with activities. People are enjoying the new bleachers for baseball and softball games in both Memorial and Myers parks. New covered places with grills are being used. More walkers are out and about now that the town is more connected with the sidewalk improvements throughout the town and missing connections in the parks that were made in the last decade. Again, we are becoming a well-connected pedestrian and bike-friendly town that is less car dependent and offers a diversity of both active and passive recreational opportunities.

The community pool opens on Memorial Day Weekend and will be open on weekends, then daily after schools let out. Pool party dates are set, one for each of the summer months. Check with the town office or social media sites for dates and times.

The Farmers Market, located on South Seton Avenue, opens on Friday, June 23, from 2:00-8:00 p.m., and is going to be spectacular. It’s our best one yet: lots of vendors, children’s activities, and an ice cream truck to boot.

Come on summer. Emmitsburg is here and ready for all to enjoy.

Woodsboro

Burgess Heath Barnes

On May 13, town elections were held for two council positions. Congratulations to Commissioner John Cutshall on his re-election and to former Burgess, Bill Rittelmeyer, on his election to serve as a council member. Thank you both for stepping up to serve our town.

At our May 9 town meeting, I informed the council that, unfortunately, our request for funding of $257,892.64 to be added into the county budget for a needed major electrical panel replacement at the water plant was not added. We discussed other ways to get it replaced. We will reconcile our records and see what is remaining from the ARPA funds we received as one option.

I also was informed that our request to have a grant issued under the Community Parks and Playgrounds to build a bathroom in the east side of the park was not approved. It appears, from what I can see, that out of the 70-plus projects that were awarded under this year’s governor’s budget, only one went to Frederick County.

On a bright note, we did receive the denial letter the day before the deadline for next year’s POS grant deadline, so we submitted the project under that, along with the request for funding the skate park. The meeting for that will be on June 6, along with the other municipality leaders in the county to determine the funding allocations; hopefully, we are successful.

Commissioner Dana Crum informed us that she has scheduled the company to paint the much-requested pickleball lines onto the tennis courts. That should happen in the next few weeks. The maintenance men have also removed the old playground equipment in one section of the park and the new equipment will be installed in July or August. I also gave an update on the town hall. A site plan has now officially been filed with the county and is going through the forestation and storm water management permitting process at this time. Once those are approved, the process will begin flowing through the permitting channel, hopefully, at a quick speed.

The FY2024 budget was presented to the council and several items were discussed and some changes made. At the June 13 town meeting, the budget will be voted upon during the first half of the meeting and the two new council members will be sworn in to continue the second half of the meeting.

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

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

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

If you have an item for the agenda, it needs to be submitted 14 days before the P&Z meeting.

The current location for meetings is the St. John’s United Church of Christ, located at 8 N. 2nd Street, Woodsboro, MD 21798. The public is always invited to attend.

Thurmont

 Mayor John Kinnaird

May is Skin Cancer Awareness month, and I want to help make you more aware of this common health issue. There are several different types of skin cancer, including melanoma, basal cell skin cancer, and squamous cell skin cancer.

Nonmelanoma skin cancer is a very a common cancer in the United States, with more than 5 million people diagnosed each year. Basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, which are nonmelanoma skin cancers, are the most common types of skin cancer. Nonmelanoma skin cancers rarely spread to other parts of the body. Melanoma is an aggressive form of skin cancer. It is more likely to invade nearby tissues and spread to other parts of the body than the more common forms of skin cancer. Melanoma is more common in men than women and among individuals of fair complexion. Unusual moles, exposure to natural sunlight or artificial sunlight (such as from tanning beds) over long periods of time, and health history can affect the risk of melanoma.

Many skin cancers can be prevented by using sunscreen, wearing large-brimmed hats, long sleeves, long pants, and minimizing your direct exposure to sunlight. Be sure to keep these recommendations in mind for yourself and your family, especially your children. Sunburn can be the beginning of skin cancer that will not appear for many years.

Early detection is important for skin cancer, and the following are the things everyone should be on the lookout for:

A new, expanding, or changing growth, spot, or bump on the skin;

A sore that bleeds and/or doesn’t heal after several weeks.

A rough or scaly red patch, which might crust or bleed.

A wart-like growth.

A mole (or other spot on the skin) that’s new or changing in size, shape, or color.

If you see any of the above signs, please see a dermatologist and have it addressed. My experience with skin cancer began about 35 years ago when I had a half-inch diameter piece removed from my upper back. I went to Dr. Warner who told me it probably started when I got burned as a youngster. He often told me cancer can take years to mature and that I would probably have a continuing relationship with cancer. He was right. After seeing him for about 20 years, he ended up recommending that I visit the cancer center at Johns Hopkins. I have been going there ever since. Over the years, I have had several surgeries on my nose, including two skin grafts, two surgeries that required my nose to be cut wide open, and countless sessions with topical chemo treatments. All the skin from the inside of my left ear was removed a few years ago, and I still have issues with it. I have had at least eight surgeries on my cheeks and forehead, including one in mid-April and another scheduled for mid-May. These have ranged in size from one to two inches in diameter. My scalp has been the worst area for me, having at least a dozen surgeries. Many of those have been one inch in diameter but two of them were three inches across and went all the way to my skull. Those required me to change the dressing regularly and apply salve to the skin and bone. The first one was surgically closed after two months, and my lymph nodes were removed when it was closed. I then had 28 radiation therapy sessions to kill cancer in my nerves the doctor could not remove. Since the radiation, I experience constant pain in the front part of my head. The surgery last June took nine months to close up by granulation, meaning nine months of almost daily bandage changes and wound care. This April, I had another surgery on my left cheek and my lower left back, and I have more scheduled in May. I also have a shelf full of costly cancer drugs and cremes I use every day to try to slow the progress of my cancers.

I used to tell people that I had “pretend” cancer that could be treated and removed easily. After all these years, it has occurred to me that my cancer is far from pretend; it is with me every day and causes a lot of physical and emotional pain. This is the result of not wearing sunscreen or hats for my entire outdoor working career. Please do not make the same mistakes I did. Always use sunscreen and wear protective clothing; it can make a big difference in your health for years to come.

Questions or comments? I can be reached at jkinnaird@thurmont.com or by phone at 301-606-9458.

Emmitsburg

Mayor Don Briggs

Reminder, the 42nd National Firefighters Foundation Memorial Weekend will be held this year on May 6 and 7. The commemoration previously held the first weekend in October, henceforth, will be held on the first weekend in May. This offers better weather probabilities and less roulette challenges than early October presents. Please welcome the thousands of guests who will be visiting Emmitsburg that weekend to honor those who gave their lives in fire service. I will greet families and friends on Saturday evening. It is one of the most special times for me. The Sunday memorial service is open to the public, but it does take on special arrangements in taking buses from the Mount. It is best to contact the Fallen Firefighters Foundation for directions. Check the website at www.firehero.org/events/memorial-weekend. If you can’t make it, stop what you’re doing on Sunday and listen to the bagpipes and siren at our firehouse at the end of the service, as it joins in with all the firehouses across the country that closes out the service as a final tribute to those very special people among us.

Emmitsburg Community Heritage Day is not too far away, on Saturday, June 24. It is led by the Lions Club, with most of the other civic groups, Knights of Columbus, Masons, and the town pitching in. It is a great community event in Myers Community Park, with vendors, games, multiple food choices, parade, and fireworks. Coming soon is an updated website: emmitsburgevents.com. Visit it.

Pickleball, pickleball. Last spring, the town had a pickleball court template printed over the tennis court in Myers Park, so there could be the choice for optional use. As tennis activity on the court ebbs, “pickler” use is strong, very strong. By one estimate, across the globe, 32 million people played the game last year. To take a shot at the surge, one community is developing a 32-court indoor pickleball facility. A developing consensus for the reasons for the success of the game is that it’s a great workout, easy to learn, social, low impact, equipment is affordable, and you can play doubles.

Another recreational activity that is growing almost exponentially is disc golf. One estimate is that over 4,000,000 people are playing the game. Our town course, located in Myers Park, is one of the most attractive courses in the region, drawing users from multiple states for casual and tournament play. The activity comes with an amazing cadre of volunteers who mow, weed, and maintain the course. Give it a try; we have some discs at the town office (security deposit needed).

New bleachers for baseball and softball in both Memorial and Myers Parks, covered places with grills, new tot equipment at Silo Hill Park, and basketball court installation has now started.

We are becoming a well-connected pedestrian and bike friendly town that is less car dependent and offers a diversity of both active and passive recreational opportunities.

To our seniors with fixed incomes, the presence of Frederick Health is up here, increased transit services to Frederick helps. But this is a tsunami, with the increased cost for everything. This week, we spent $7-plus for a box of cereal. The remnant government program for food stamps that paid $193 a month pre-COVID and was increased to $215 per month during COVID now has been reduced to $40 a month. How does that work?

The community Pool will open on Memorial Day weekend and will be open on weekends then daily after schools let out.

With spring upon us, summer soon to be, Emmitsburg is out there for each of us to enjoy.

Thurmont

 Mayor John Kinnaird

With the last two weeks of February surprising us with amazing weather, I think we are all looking forward to the warmth of the spring and summer months.

Now is the time to plan to attend many of our amazing events in the coming year. Here is a listing of some of the events we have planned for this summer: 2023 Concerts in the Park at Memorial Park, Green Fest, Restaurant Week, Thurmont Business Showcase, Thurmont Farmers Market, Art and Wine Strolls, Plein Air, Colorfest, Gateway to the Cure, and Christmas in Thurmont.

Information on these and many other events are available at thurmontmainstreet.com.

Questions, comments, or suggestions? I can be reached at 301-606-9458 or jkinnaird@thurmont.com.

Emmitsburg

Mayor Don Briggs

So many good things happened in February. One good thing is the town has been approved, for the tenth year, with Community Legacy Grant (CLG) funds for facade improvements of properties located in the historic area. This began when the state approved Emmitsburg as a Sustainable Community during my first year in office. A gauntlet lies ahead for property owners who choose to apply, including the Maryland Historic Trust approval. From humble beginnings, more formalized protocols have developed. Currently, after advertising the availability of funds, a committee of residents with both technical construction knowledge and community service resumes beyond reproach review the applications. All members of the committee have been approved by commissioners over the years for services to the community and some on more than one occasion. To date $455,000 in 50/50 grants have been dispersed, resulting in $988,000 in improvements. Thank you to the committee members for setting aside the time for this commitment.

Another good thing, on the first Friday of February, Conrad Weaver, my grandson Tyler Myles, and I attended the 17th Annual Ukrainian National Prayer Breakfast, held at Hilton Hotel in Washington, D.C. This is an event I have looked forward to attending after two Zoom meetings with Mayor Ihor Poishchuk of Emmitsburg’s Ukrainian Sister City Lutsk. We joined well over 300 people for a breakfast that featured a Ukrainian chorale in traditional dress; other recognized Ukrainian singers; Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant clergy, and Evangelicals. Also in attendance were three U. S. ambassadors, as many as six congressmen, one governor, and at least one mayor. More than 10 countries were represented, including Israel. To me, the most special attendees I had the opportunity to meet included Veteran soldiers, some bearing noticeably serious injuries from the ongoing defense against the invasion by Russia, and 10 children who lost their fathers in the war. They were touring the U.S. as part of a healing process program sponsored by a Ukrainian-American group, UKRHELP Foundation, based in Bellevue, Washington; Yurii Bezpiatko, member of our Sister City Lutsk City Council; and Ukrainian Ambassador to U.S., Oksana Serhiyivna Markarova. The ambassador may visit us in Emmitsburg.

The town council discussion on water rates was postponed until the March 13 town meeting. This will be the fifth time over the last year this topic has come before the council. There have been hours of discussions that included selecting a consultant to study water rates and reviewing the consultants’ findings. A lot of information is floating about, but the facts are that water rates were not raised during the last 12 years because the council approved raising sewer rates significantly twice during that time to accommodate the new $19.5-million sewer plant the town was required to build by the state. To note, if the commissioners come to an agreement on an increase in the water rate, only the water rate will increase, not the combination of water and sewer rate.

Another President’s Day has come and gone. Not much recognition attached to it any more it seems, just a day off as a part of a three-day weekend. The roots of the holiday are worth remembering. President Abraham Lincoln’s birthday is on February 12, and President George Washington’s birthday is on February 22. These two were amazing people who rose from very humble beginnings to be presidents. Their lives are worth learning more about and not forgetting.

Ash Wednesday fell on February 22 and marked the beginning of a 40-day Lenten period that leads up to Easter, which falls on April 9 this year. It’s a good time to do things for those in our community who are more in need, starting with, perhaps, being more respectful.

Take care and enjoy the off-and-on days of sun and warmth as we get ready for all the many spring youth events.

Woodsboro

Greetings to all! Our February 14 meeting was a busy, productive meeting.

The town commissioners and I went through the recommendations on an ordinance to allow chickens in town. Chickens are currently not permitted in town per the town code that was implemented in 1972. After several deliberations and changes, the vote was 3-1 to allow chickens in town. Yards less than one acre in size will be allowed up to five hens, and lots larger than an acre in size will be allowed up to 12 hens. No roosters will be allowed. This is the tentative approval. As per code, we are required to have a public hearing before amending the code. The public hearing meeting is scheduled for April 11 before our regular town meeting. At that point in time, unless the commissioners change their votes, the code change will be solidified, and all of the requirements will be codified. We will also be adding an additional code change proposal at the meeting, concerning residents’ grass height. The current code states grass can be 18 inches high. We will be proposing a change to a 9- or 12-inch height maximum.

Our planning and zoning committee sent the drawings back to the engineer for the site plan for our town hall building at their February meeting due to it not having enough green space up front to fit a sign and flagpoles. The engineer will have the revised plan back to P&Z for their March 6 meeting. If they approve it, then it will come to the town council at the March 14 meeting. If the commissioners approve the site plan, the next step is that it will be sent to the county for the permitting process to begin.

A reminder: Woodsboro has elections coming up on May 13. There will be two town commissioner seats up for election. To be eligible to run, you must be at least 18 years old and a resident within the town limits for a minimum of one year before the election. If you have an interest in running, please reach out to Mary in the town office.

We have started projects for grants that we have been approved for. Our three new flag poles have been installed at the Veterans Memorial where we will now be able to fly our American, Maryland, and Woodsboro flags all simultaneously on their own poles. In addition, construction will begin soon on the approved pavilion to be built in the upper side of the park by the disc golf course. I have also started the process of getting electricity run to the upper side of the park and will be working on getting the bathroom built up there as well. We were approved for a $214,000 grant for these projects so we will be beginning them soon. My goal is to have the electricity run before Woodsboro Days in October. In addition, we submitted a grant request to remodel the concession stand and upgrade the bathroom as well. We will have the answers for that when the governor’s FYI 2024 budget is approved.

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

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

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

Emmitsburg

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…

Thurmont

 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, Thurmont.com. 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 jkinnaird@thurmont.com or at 301-606-9458 if you have any questions, comments, or suggestions. I hope everyone has a great February!

Thurmont

 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 john@thurmont.com.

Emmitsburg

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!

Thurmont

 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 jkinnaird@thurmont.com.

Emmitsburg

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.

Thurmont

 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 jkinnaird@thurmont.com.

Emmitsburg

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.

Thurmont

 Mayor John Kinnaird

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Emmitsburg

Mayor Don Briggs

Community, what is it?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Woodsboro

Burgess Heath Barnes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thurmont

 Mayor John Kinnaird

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo by John Kinnaird

Emmitsburg

Mayor Don Briggs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thurmont

 Mayor John Kinnaird

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Emmitsburg

Mayor Don Briggs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thurmont

 Mayor John Kinnaird

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Emmitsburg

 Mayor Don Briggs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Emmitsburg

Mayor Don Briggs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thurmont

 Mayor John Kinnaird

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thurmont

 Mayor John Kinnaird

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Emmitsburg

Mayor Don Briggs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pent-up within the bounds of my humanity,

My restless spirit, ever straining upward,

Thrills to harmony.

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