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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.  

Thurmont  Mayor John Kinnaird

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Emmitsburg Mayor Don Briggs

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

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

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

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

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

Emmitsburg

Mayor Don Briggs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thurmont

 Mayor John Kinnaird

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Emmitsburg

Mayor Don Briggs

As if queued with the changing colors of fall, and a wink from a reluctant fall, all permits in hand, the long-awaited start of construction of the Rutter’s store has finally begun. Many months after getting town approvals, site work has started and moving at a rapid pace to take advantage of the mild weather.

Another solemn and appropriate Veteran’s Day observances were held by the VFW Honor Guard with a 21-gun salute tributes at the American Legion, the Doughboy, and five area cemeteries. The commemoration is celebrated on the anniversary of the end of World War I, Armistice Day, when hostilities with Germany ended at the “11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918.” The honor guard holds the salute ceremony on only two occasions every year: Memorial Day and Veterans Day. It has been an honor to stand with them over the last 11 years on these occasions, and I look forward to doing the same next year.

Irishtown Road upgrades will be delayed now until late December to early January 2022. The contractor hit rock. Again, the completion of upgrades will include leveling out a crest on Irishtown Road and enhancing safer conditions for driver visibility, accommodating the opening of Brookfield Drive onto Irishtown Road to two-way traffic, and bringing Ryan Homes building 19 single-family homes on the last remaining lots in the Brookfield subdivision. Thank you for your patience.

The Seton Center and local churches are seeking our charity to contribute gift cards from local grocery stores to share our blessings with our neighbors for holiday meals. Please contact your church or the Seton Center. They have a sizable list of those in need.

Please join us on Monday, December 5, at 6:00 p.m. for the town Christmas tree lighting in front of the Emmitsburg Community Center. From there, walk to the Carriage House Inn for Christmas music, free hot dogs, cookies, hot chocolate, hayrides, and to meet Santa.

On Saturday, December 11, the Lions Club will host meeting Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus at Vigilant Hose Company Activities Building on Creamery Road. The event is open to all, at no cost, featuring photos with Santa Claus, hot dogs, and hot chocolate from 10:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. Later that day, the American Legion will hold a ham and turkey raffle from 6:00-9:00 p.m.

Heads up, the town has been awarded a grant for (license) tag readers. The readers will be positioned along thoroughfares around town.

Our town has been blessed over the last year with grants, building restorations around town and on the square, four new businesses (and more on the way), getting Ryan Homes back building, upgrades to Irishtown Road, and welcoming new families.

Don’t want to forget, from Lib and me: Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Thurmont

 Mayor John Kinnaird

Thurmont’s Annual Gateway to The Cure was a great success this year, with over $18,500 being raised to help support the Patty Hurwitz Breast Cancer Fund and the good work at the Frederick Health Hospital and its partners. I want to thank each and every resident of the Town of Thurmont for helping us realize another banner year for this great annual event. Those who participated in the many events, including the Golf Tournament, 5K Fun Run, pumpkin decorating, as well as everyone who purchased light bulbs, pinwheels for the garden, t-shirts, hoodies, and the other items, should be very proud for helping with this year’s effort.

The Town of Thurmont recently held elections, and I am pleased to have been reelected as mayor. I want to congratulate Commissioner Wayne Hooper on his reelection and Bill Blakeslee on his election as a new commissioner. I look forward to serving the residents of Thurmont for this four-year term, and I will be working closely with the Board of Commissioners to continue the work we have at hand. Funding from the American Recovery Act and the recent infrastructure funds will be put to good use in Thurmont. Our plan is to invest the majority of the Recovery Act funding in our water, wastewater, and stormwater infrastructure. One of the first projects we will be working on is the upgrade of water and wastewater lines on North Church Street. Important upgrades to many of our stormwater management facilities will also be completed. It is my hope that the recent infrastructure funding will help us with much-needed street repairs. I will also keep pushing for the reinstatement of 100 percent of the important Highway User Revenue, so we can apply those funds to our streets. Thurmont and all other Maryland communities saw drastic cuts in our HUR funding several years ago, and our streets have suffered from these cuts. HUR funds come directly from gas taxes, user fees, and license and registration fees. We continue to pay these fees, and yet the HUR funds are still not back to the level they were 12 years ago.

With Christmas and winter upon us, I encourage everyone to support our local food bank and Clothes Closet. Many of our neighbors are not as fortunate as we are and would benefit greatly from your generosity during this season. The Thurmont Food Bank depends on community donations and would appreciate donations of nonperishable food, toiletries, baby products, or cash. The Clothes Closet would appreciate your donation of warm winter clothing for both adults and children. Winter is especially hard on families and warm clothing is a must. Your donations can help bring much-needed joy and comfort to local families.

Christmas in Thurmont is well underway, and I hope everyone has had a chance to participate in some of the festivities. The Frederick County Society of Model Engineers is hosting an amazing model train display at 21 East Main Street. There are also pop-up shops offering great gift ideas at 21 East Main Street. I want to wish everyone good luck in the Christmas Decoration Contest—they always put a lot of effort into it! I think that Santa, the Grinch, Frosty the Snowman, and, hopefully, Buddy the Elf and Jovie will be making appearances at the Square in Thurmont, so girls and boys can drive past and wave to their friends. A big “thank you” to Thurmont businesses, organizations, and volunteers for helping make Christmas in Thurmont a success.

I want to remind everyone that free COVID-19 vaccinations and testing are available at the Thurmont Town Office every Friday evening, from 5:00-7:00 p.m. All three current vaccinations are available, as are the boosters. Members of the 104th Area Support Medical Company of the Maryland Army National Guard stationed at Camp Frederick, Reisterstown, have been assisting with the vaccinations, and I want to thank them for helping our community. Appointments or doctor’s orders are not required for the vaccinations or testing. This service is made possible through the Frederick County Health Department and the Town of Thurmont.

Karen and I hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas and the happiest of New Year’s. We look forward to what the New Year will bring. See you in 2022!

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

Emmitsburg

Mayor Don Briggs

With heavy hearts, the southern Adams County, Northern Frederick County community mourn the loss of Battalion Chief Joshua D. Laird. He gave his life in the line of duty at a residential fire in Ijamsville on August 11. Chief Laird was a 21-year veteran of Frederick County Fire and Rescue. He resided with his family in Carroll Valley, Pennsylvania. As a further bond, the family is a part of the Mount family. The viewing and funeral memorial service were held at the Mount athletic arena. 

Recently, Northern Frederick County lost another dear friend, Tom McFadden, a former superintendent of Catoctin Mountain Park. I first met Tom in the mid-80s at a Rotary Club luncheon. In not too short a measure of time, I was a volunteer. Soon, Lib and I were founding members of the Catoctin Area Mountain Park Resources, Inc. (CAMPER), a nonprofit organization set up by Tom. Initially, we worked on clearing trails for President Reagan to ride. My role expanded to the shared leadership duties of a newly formed park horse patrol. The responsibility of the patrol was to assist in assuring safe passage for visitors. Patrol members were holstered with then state-of-the-art “walkie-talkies.” Horses and tack were kept high on the mountain at the Misty Mount stable near Camp David, the Presidential retreat. Unlike today’s less-inviting identification, back then there was a simple roadside sign: “Camp David.” Once, I took a photograph of a visiting student from Nigeria by the sign. It was a special time and an honor to be a part of the park, absorbed into the mountain’s palette of wildlife, birds, mountain laurel, ferns, and a broad cooling canopy of hardwood trees. 

The Irishtown Road construction started in mid-August. The intention was to not shut down the road and have flag-men there to assist the traffic flow during construction. However, in a more-encompassing perspective for the safety of workers and vehicular traffic, there will be road closures. Soon, there will be two-way traffic off Irishtown Road to Brookfield Drive. This is a vital connection needed to balance expanding town traffic flow. The timetable is fluid, but the intention is to wrap up road construction by mid-fall. With the road project will come 19 homes built on the south side of the road to finish out the Brookfield subdivision. So, another segment of town connectivity will be completed, with sidewalks and lighting in front of the homes. Think about it, in the not-too-distant future, with the completion of the proposed Emmit Ridge II subdivision and finally a second entrance to Northgate, there will be a second east–west sidewalk connection through town.

Under the long list of taking things for granted…40 years ago, we might have laughed at the thought of buying water or at the possibility of a water shortage in the area. But, once again for many reasons—development, weather changes—the town has implemented phase 1 voluntary conservation restrictions.

The town has issued its permit for development of the Rutter’s site. It is our understanding that the permit from the county is being processed.

Envision Frederick held its monthly meeting in Community Park on Saturday, August 28. I welcomed visitors and was a panel speaker.

The town pool will close after Labor Day weekend (September 6). From all reports, a good season was had by all.

Praying that our students can get back to school this fall in an orderly and comfortable way. They are our present; they are our future.

Thurmont

 Mayor John Kinnaird

I am very pleased to announce that the contract for installing the new skate park has been awarded. Construction should start within two months. This has been a very interesting process that began with a group of teens approaching the Board of Commissioners about getting a skate park in Thurmont. Since then, we acquired Project Open Space funding to help finance the project, and the members of the Skate Park Commission have raised about $15,000 in donations to help with the funding. The park commission has also played a part in designing the park and made a recommendation for the selection of the contractor. The skate park will be located at East End Park. Be sure to keep an eye open for the groundbreaking ceremony.

The Frederick County Health Department is offering COVID-19 testing and vaccinations at the Town Office parking lot every Friday, from 5:00-7:00 p.m. You can also get the booster shot if you qualify with medical issues. At this time, you must use the same vaccine as your original shots. I believe Frederick County will be expanding the booster shot to everyone else within the next two months. Check the Frederick County Vaccination page for vaccination clinic locations, times, and the vaccinations available at www.health.frederickcountymd.gov/629/COVID-19-Vaccine.

The Town of Thurmont will be holding elections this fall for mayor and two commissioner positions. Here are dates to keep in mind as the elections approach.

September 28, 2021—Nominating Convention at 7:00 p.m. at the Thurmont Municipal Offices.

September 28, 2021—Last day to register to vote in the election. You must register at the Municipal Offices before the close of business at 4:00 p.m. on September 28.

October 8, 2021—Absentee ballot applications will be available.

October 19, 2021—The last day to make an application for an absentee ballot. You must apply at the Municipal Office before the close of business at 4:00 p.m. on October 19.

October 26, 2021—General Elections to be held at the Guardian Hose Company Activity Building, 123 East Main Street, Thurmont. Polls will be open from 7:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m. Persons in line at the time of closing will be permitted to vote.

For more information contact the Town Office at 301-271-7313. I encourage everyone to get out and vote!

Colorfest for 2021 is in the planning stages, and permits will be available soon. After last year’s cancellation, I hope that this year will be a huge success. Many of our local non-profits, churches, Scouts, organizations, the Guardian Hose Company, and the Thurmont Community Ambulance Service depend on Colorfest for much of their annual income. We will follow Maryland COVID-19 recommendations in place at the time.

I hope everyone has a great September. As always, I can be reached at 301-606-9458 or by email at jkinnaird@thurmont.com with any questions or comments.

Thurmont

 Mayor John Kinnaird

Here we are in the month of August; time flies when you are having fun! I hope everyone had a great time at the Guardian Hose Company Carnival. Be sure to watch for upcoming events at both Guardian Hose Company and the Thurmont Community Ambulance Company. I know they are planning car shows and other events for the upcoming months. They will also be out in full force at Colorfest. Both of these great organizations need our continued support!

The Thurmont Skate Park is getting closer to reality with the public request for bids on the project. The town has secured $40,000 in funds to help with the construction, and I know the Skate Park Committee has been hard at work collecting donations. Once the design has been approved and the contract awarded, we will be planning a groundbreaking ceremony at the Skate Park grounds at the East End Park. Be sure to watch for upcoming details and join us as we kick off this wonderful project.

Frederick County recently received $6 million in parks improvement funding from Federal Recovery Funding, and the municipalities in Frederick County will be sharing half of that funding. We have submitted several projects that are shovel-ready and expect to be able to move forward on several of them as soon as possible. We will keep you updated.

As many are aware, the Federal American Rescue Plan has allocated funds to the state, county, and municipal levels. These funds are to be used for a very narrow set of circumstances, with most of the funds targeted at infrastructure repair and improvements. The Town of Thurmont has received $3.78 million to be invested in the first phase of this program. It is our intention to focus on several important water and wastewater projects. These will include the replacement of water and sewer lines on North Church Street from the railroad bridge to Rt. 15, much-needed repairs to the water service line on West Pryor Road, improvement to several Storm Water Management facilities to bring them up to current MS4 requirements, and several water service items to help improve water flow and availability. The Thurmont Board of Commissioners will be discussing these projects during upcoming meetings.

Finally, I want to remind everyone that the Frederick County Health Department is offering free COVID-19 vaccinations every Friday afternoon, from 5:00-7:00 p.m., at the Thurmont Municipal Offices at 615 East Main Street. I want to thank the Frederick County Health Department for making the vaccinations available to the residents of Thurmont and Northern Frederick County. I also want to thank everyone that has received a vaccination and to encourage those of you that have not received a vaccination to think about doing so. The vaccine is one of the best ways to slow the spread of COVID-19!

As always, I am available for comments or suggestions at 301-606-9458, by email at jkinnaird@thurmont.com, or via Facebook..

Emmitsburg

Mayor Don Briggs

The State of Maryland COVID-19 State of Emergency has been lifted. Governor Hogan made the announcement at the Maryland Municipal League (MML) late June conference. Maryland is back in business. For the most part, all COVID-19-related mandates have ended. Masks in places of worship, restaurants, and stores are optional.

Looking to the future with the experience of losing over 500,000 citizens to COVID-19 is the not included 93,000 drug-overdose-related deaths, of which approximately 70,000 were related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Let us reach out and talk to people. We are in this community together, not alone.

After the governor’s announcement, the town requested that Frederick County Government, our landlord, allow the town to reopen the office to the public. County buildings are now open. The request was granted with certain restrictions. We must all wear masks in public areas of the building. Ordinary transactions, paying bills, licensing, etc., will be handled at the receptionist service window. If you need specific attention with a staff member, it will be by appointment only. Office hours are 9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m., Monday through Thursday; 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. on Friday.

Gym use will commence Sept. 1. Groups interested in using the gym should contact the town. Like in pre-pandemic times, there will be a meeting in September to work out sharing the gym. Please contact the town for the date and time of the meeting.

June closed out with yet another grassroots Community Heritage Day success. Other communities have their special events but this is Emmitsburg’s. The events, displays, parade, and fireworks combine to make it a unique day. Lots of elbow grease in this one. Lions Club members, businesses, town staff. Congratulations and thank you. Comparatively the 4th of July was quietly celebrated in our hearts with flags out, and visitations to the new businesses in town. The smoothie shop and comic book and more shop in the strip center by Jubilee and the ice cream stand (soon to be Dairy and possibly bakery shop) on E. Main Street. Coming soon is a pizzeria at the Stavros location on the Square (with, I have been told, the Stavros pizza recipe).

Quietly, a major investment in the downtown is taking place. On the building facing the square in the northwest corner. Total rehabilitation of interior, electrical, plumbing, and windows. Renovation is planned to be completed in mid-August.

Four wayside historic exhibits were dedicated on the last day of June. On East Main Street, the John Armstrong long rifle maker home. On South Seton Avenue, the train terminal, the fire museum glass etching, and the Mother Seton’s White House. This brings us to a total of eleven waysides. Another set is in the works that will include tributes to St. Euphemia grade school on DePaul Street and the free school on West Lincoln Avenue. Please enjoy your walkabouts.

I attended the opening of the “Seton Family Treasures” museum on the lower level of the Basilica. Very attractive presentation with informative historical displays. Congratulations.

And congratulations to the Catoctin State Championship baseball team.  What a group of young men! Winning two state championships within 18 months is an incredible achievement. A third championship most likely could have been won in basketball, too, if not for the pandemic.

As I mentioned in the previous article, Emmitsburg is one of the top 10 most beautiful, charming small towns in Maryland, and also known as “Green Town” over the last decade. The goal has always been to reduce expenses, cost, and waste through the use of renewable energy. By implementing, we contribute to the sustainability of the fragile balances in our ecological systems.

Lots of walking, park use, baseball, and disc golf is an overwhelming success.

We have gotten some rain, but “droughts are out there,” so please water the yard and plants at night or early mornings. 

Back to school soon. Please be vigilant in watching out for children walking to school or to catch a bus.

Emmitsburg

Mayor Don Briggs

June has been special with the swiveling three-season weather experience. The next generation of homeowners are now settling in throughout the town. Included are the families purchasing the new homes that will finish out the Brookfield subdivision. Their settlements started in June and are queued throughout the summer and fall. With the completion of the buildout in the subdivision will come the completion of the necessary upgrades to Irishtown Road to permit opening Brookfield Drive onto Irishtown Road to two-way traffic. The road work is expected to be completed before Labor Day.

To our new neighbors, welcome to Emmitsburg, a place settled in pre-Revolutionary War times. Indeed, history has been very kind and generous to us. Our heritage includes Main Street being a primary western migration route for the early settlers. The place where master craftsman John Armstrong made signature Kentucky Long Rifles at the turn of the nineteenth century. Later, to where thousands of Union soldiers encamped and were nourished before moving on to Gettysburg. The town is the seat of mercy from which the Daughters of Charity went the ensuing days to tend to those wounded in the Battle of Gettysburg.

To the prestige embodied, the town, being recognized as a National Register of Historic Places, has picked up the monikers of “Fire Town” and “Green Town.”

It is left to wonder what those who formed our history would say to a town being a regional leader in the use of renewable energy. What we did eight years ago is where most of the country must go. The town has an electric car, four electric vehicle (EV) charging stations, solar-powered algae control at the town lake, and 94 percent of our town government energy needs are provided by renewable solar power. But, they still would recognize a quiet town idyllically set amid a natural balance of mountains, farmland, and streams absorbing what comes their way. Earlier this year, Emmitsburg was recognized as being one of the top ten most beautiful small towns in Maryland.

Today, unlike in the past, residents go about their “day to days” amidst their daily scurries and interactions at our restaurants, three museums and four archives, the world’s most visited fire house: Vigilant Hose Company, the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Shrine and Basilica, the Homeland Security/Fire Academy facility, the Fallen Firefighters Memorial, the Grotto of Lourdes, and Mount St. Mary’s University, hosting over 400,000 visitors a year. All cylinders running 24/7/365. We welcome you, as we do the streams of returning university students, alums, firefighters, and winter-season skiers on their way to and from the nearby Ski Liberty.

Our history is harrowed deep from what those before us did and left. Like them, we are day-in, day-out committed to growing the quality of life in Emmitsburg.

 Emmitsburg is a great place to live, work, and visit. Join us. Your choice, step back in time, follow the wayside exhibits or step into the future forward in a regionally recognized sustainable leading community. Embody it; let its place speak to you.

Maybe this is your first experience of the Emmitsburg annual Community Heritage Day festivities and parade, do not stop now, go to the pool, farmer’s market, library, dog walk, or just step out your front door and take a leisurely walk.

To all: Best wishes for a wonderful 4th of July.

Thurmont

 Mayor John Kinnaird

First, I want to congratulate the Catoctin High School Cougars Baseball Team for their 1A State Championship win. We are all extremely proud of this amazing accomplishment!

We will see the 2021 Guardian Hose Company Carnival in Thurmont on July 6-10. After over a year of COVID-19 cancelations, it will be great to get back to the GHC Carnival. Be sure to get out and enjoy the amazing selection of food, rides, games, and entertainment. Karen and I are looking forward to attending and meeting friends and family for a great evening. I will be providing several all-you-can-ride tickets for kids during the carnival; be sure to check my Facebook page each day of the carnival for details.

As we all know, Governor Hogan has lifted the State of Emergency for Maryland residents and businesses as of July 1. This action removes the remaining restrictions on masks, gatherings, and social restrictions. Please note that individual businesses can still request face masks. With the help of the vaccination, we are past the most critical months and can look forward to decreasing cases of COVID-19. The Town of Thurmont and the Frederick County Health Department are offering free COVID-19 vaccinations every Friday evening, from 5:00-7:00 p.m. at the Town Office parking lot. Please take advantage of the free vaccinations if you have not already received a vaccination.

The Thurmont Skate Park is getting closer to reality! I recently acquired $40,000 in Open Space Funding for developing the skate park. We had requested $43,750, and I was extremely pleased to bring home 40K! I want to thank the teens and adults in the Skate Park Commission for pressing forward with this project. They have secured financial support from many donors. They are also selling T-shirts and raffle chances on two amazing skateboards. There has been a skate park booth at the Main Street Farmers Market where you can buy chances and shirts, make a donation, or chat with the kids. Project Open Space Funding comes from the State of Maryland through Frederick County. The County is awarded funds that the County can split with all the municipalities. Municipal leaders gather and decide how the funds are invested. Each municipality can request funds for the acquisition of park property and funds for development. The funds are generally split equally between acquisition and development; this year, there was almost $400,000 available for each. I was able to get acquisition funding for two properties we are considering.

The Town of Thurmont welcomed two new businesses to Main Street on June 19. KTS Mental Health Group opened its Thurmont practice at 5B East Main Street. They specialize in children and family mental health. Cuddles Cat Rescue opened at their new location at 3 East Main Street. Cuddles Cat Rescue is a non-profit, all-volunteer organization dedicated to humanely reducing the feral and stray cat population in the Thurmont area.

School is out for summer, and our kids will be out and about playing and visiting friends. Be sure to be on the lookout for kids crossing our streets or riding bikes and skateboards. They are not always aware of their surroundings, so we need to be extra careful while driving. The kids are out having fun, so let’s take the extra time necessary to make sure they stay safe.

As has been the practice for many years, the Thurmont Board of Commissioners will have only one meeting in July. The meeting will be on Tuesday, July 27, at 7:00 p.m. The regular schedule of weekly meetings will resume on July 27. Please feel free to contact us during July. The Town Office and staff will be operational on their regular schedule the entire month.

I hope that families going on vacation this month have a great time. We all need some time off and the opportunity to get away for a few days!

Questions, comments, or suggestions? Please call me at 301-606-9458 or contact me by email at jkinnaird@thurmont.com You can also follow me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/john.kinnaird.3.

Emmitsburg

Mayor Don Briggs

With each spring comes not only warmer longer days but also preparation of the next year’s town budget. The town fiscal year does not run concurrent with a calendar year. The next year budget period, 2021-2022, starts on July 1 and ends June 30. The different cycle gives the town, like most towns and cities, time to prepare during the closing months that is generally a time of slower activity barring another pandemic. The town has a General Fund account, and separate Enterprise Funds for water and sewer that must come to a performance balance between revenues and expenses. Coming through a pandemic affected year at times presented challenges to our resources to meet expected services. We bent but did not break. Thank you to the staff with their years of public service experience.

Traditional graduations are beginning to, yes, happen. A gold rush. Masks are being shed. Opportunities to attend graduation are opening for more people to attend. I attended the Mount St. Mary’s University 2021 class graduation. It was held outside at Waldron Stadium. The graduation was broken into four parts, two on Saturday and two on Sunday. Masks were optional, noticeably social distancing was reduced. The stadium was near capacity with family members and friends of graduates.

On the last Saturday of June, as is the tradition, the 39th Annual Community Heritage Day will be held in the Eugene Myers Community Park. Starting time is 9:00 a.m. for a full day of games, crafts, music, food, free swimming, open disc golf tournament, and biking event. The parade down W. Main Street and South Seton Avenue is planned to start at 5:00 p.m. Then, back to the park for more activities. Fireworks start at 9:45 p.m. Thank you to the Lions Club and other volunteers for putting the celebration together. As always, thank you to the town staff for all the behind-the-scenes work, and the town businesses and residents for donations. Every year, the town budget supports funding for the fireworks.

Over the last two years, the town has been bombarded with interest in the development of property within the town corporate boundary and properties identified within the current town comprehensive plan approved growth boundaries. Within our town limits, there are about 24 remaining lots in Brookfield, including lots facing on Irishtown Road. That is all the new homes projected to be completed this year. There is a yet-to-be-approved 48-unit subdivision along Irishtown Road that may start this fall, potentially delivering homes in 2022. There have been some discussions on annexations, but none are in the planning process.

This year, Memorial Day falls on Monday, May 31. A special day, “honoring the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military.” Look for the flags in the cemeteries you may per chance pass by. They stand for a lot.

Flag Day is the quiet observation celebrated annually on June 14. The event is held interchangeably by the towns of Emmitsburg and Thurmont, alternating every other year. American Legion, VFW, and American Veterans (AMVETS) from both towns co-host the event. This year, the commemoration will be held in Thurmont. The observance was officially noted by proclamation by President Woodrow Wilson in 1917. The flag design was adopted by second Continental Congress on June 14, 1777. In 1949, Flag Day was officially recognized but not as a federal holiday by Congress. This is the one event where old flags may be burned. The Boy Scout troops from each town do that for us.

Happy Fourth of July. It’s finally, summer, a well-earned one it will be.

Thurmont

 Mayor John Kinnaird

With the recent and unexpected changes to masking requirements, we may feel like jumping back into life with both feet. Even with these new changes, we still need to think about our family, friends, and neighbors. The new rulings allow those who have been vaccinated more opportunities to get out and mix with others. Those who have not been vaccinated are asked to continue wearing masks at this time. As we move forward, many who have been vaccinated may continue to wear masks; please do not be critical of their decision. Those who have chosen not to get vaccinated should be sure to follow the guidelines when interacting with others. It has been a tough year, and it looks like we can see the light at the end of the tunnel. At this time, it is important that we continue to follow the guidelines and help ensure the safety of our family, friends, and neighbors.

I am happy to announce that the Guardian Hose Company is planning their 2021 Carnival for Tuesday, July 6 through Saturday, July 10. The carnival will be open from 5:00-10:30 p.m. If you are like me, I am looking forward to the great food, fun games, and getting to see family and friends. Sadly, there will be no parade this year. The Guardian Hose Company Carnival will be held at the GHC Carnival Grounds, 123 East Main Street, Thurmont. Parking is available at the Boundary Avenue entrance. Be sure to come out and support the Guardian Hose Company Carnival.

The Thurmont Community Ambulance Service will be holding its carnival from Tuesday, June 1 through Saturday, June 5. There will be entertainment each evening, with plenty of good food, rides, games, and raffles. A nightly buffet will be available for $15.00 and will be served from 5:00-7:00 p.m., daily. Entertainment includes the Taylor Brown Elvis Show on Tuesday, Open Road Band on Wednesday, Full Effect on Thursday, The Rock and Roll Relics on Friday, and Borderline on Saturday. The Thurmont Community Ambulance Service Carnival will be held at the Thurmont Event Complex, 13716 Strafford Drive, Thurmont. I will see you there!

This fall, we will be having Colorfest on October 9-10! Be sure to keep an eye out for more information as we finalize plans for this long-standing community event. Colorfest is the single, biggest fundraising opportunity for our local churches, civic organizations, and non-profits. The past year has been a difficult time for many organizations, and I hope Colorfest will help kick-start their fundraising.

I want to remind everyone to sign up for the Town and Main Street newsletter. We are switching to an electronic version soon, so be sure to sign up now. Email kschildt@thurmontstaff.com and ask to be added to the email list. Your email address will not be used for any other purpose. Print copies of the newsletter will be available at the town office and other locations.

Again, it is important that we continue to follow the COVID-19 guidelines and help ensure the safety of our family, friends, and neighbors.

I can be reached by cell phone at 301-606-9458 or by email a jkinnaird@thurmont.com.

E m m i t s b u r g

Mayor Don Briggs

Well, the vaccine shots are here. Yes, they’re at a convenient place for us up in these parts: the Vigilant Hose Company activities building on Creamery Road. Thank you, Vigilant Hose, for pulling this together. But, not so fast. The vaccine assigned was Johnson & Johnson. This vaccine type was pulled with urgency from delivery because of possibly being the cause of blood clotting to several inoculated women. To those who had signed up for shots, the Frederick County Health Department was very responsive in offering rescheduling in other parts of the county. Not so much for those who signed up, but to all those behind the scenes—and there are many—a seamless adjustment. Amazing how they do it.

This horrible virus is still with us. I’m hoping it will subside with the coming pleasant weather, much like last summer, where we spend more time outside as the healthier thing to do. Walk, jog, or bike through our connected town to our beautiful parks. Yet, still be wary, as there is again an uptick in demand for hospital beds. As of this writing, county-wide cases are up to 18,903 cases and 297 deaths. In the 21727 zip code, we have 397 cases.

The Masters Golf tournament in Augusta, Georgia…what would we do without it? Our national annual harbinger to spring, blooming, and, yes, warmth. For us morphing along in reluctant climate zones, holding fast to its tradition, it is almost a solemn event. The beautiful setting of immaculate grounds; antebellum reminiscent clubhouse; plush fairways; and landscaping, flush with blooming azaleas. I do not play golf, a youthful incurable proclivity to slice shots cut my play short. This year, the coverage by ESPN and CBS intensified the drama, with expanded coverage, drones, and exhibits, moving from player to player with fluidity, almost like watching a soccer match. As networks interpret, TV appetite screen presentations must change every seven seconds to keep the American viewers engaged. The networks did a good job keeping it moving with only a few commercials. Made it personnel.

Youth baseball in Emmitsburg is going full throttle, with many of the fields now in regular use. Weekends bring tournaments. Some pressure to other uses, but we can accommodate everything.

The Boys and Girls Club will be back this fall with expanded abilities to accommodate before- and after-school childcare. The town contributes funding to this service to the community. I will have more on this.

So fast, first crocuses, trees budding, farmers tilling, gardners planting, and seniors graduating. The buildup. Here we are. Happy Memorial Day.

T h u r m o n t

Mayor John Kinnaird

The Thurmont Main Street Farmers Market has been open for several weeks at the Thurmont Plaza Shopping Center and will be moving to its summer location at the Municipal Parking lot on May 8. The Farmers Market offers an amazing selection, including locally grown produce, homemade baked goods, fresh eggs, Red Angus beef, bacon, sausage, pork chops, fresh flowers, vegetable plants, and handcrafted items. The Farmers Market is open Saturday mornings from 9:00 a.m. until noon.

The town has several parks projects in the works! The parks crew has been working on an extension to the south end of the Thurmont Trolley Trail. The extension will carry the trail across Moser Road and down to a loop trail that will connect the trolley trail with the nature trail at the Thurmont Regional Library. A new walking trail is being added to the Eyler Road Park. This new trail encircles the lower playing fields and will provide residents with another safe walking path. Both trail improvements will be completed this summer.

The Town of Thurmont in partnership with the CYA will be building a new press box, storage area, and concession stand at the Eyler Road Park football field. This new building will replace several temporary structures and will provide additional storage and meeting space.

At the April 13th town meeting, the commissioners heard from a group of teens interested in having a skate park built in town. After a very impressive presentation, the commissioners voted to apply for Program Open Space funding to help kickstart the development of a skateboard park. This new facility may be located at the East End Park. Design recommendations will be drafted by the Parks and Recreation Commission and teen representatives of the skateboard group. During the April 20th town meeting, lifelong resident Louie Powell, Sr. spoke in favor of both the press box and the skateboard park. Mr. Powell donated to both projects and challenged everyone that uses our parks to also donate to these projects. Donations can be sent to the town office; please indicate on your check that it is intended for these projects.

The board of commissioners has been working on the Fiscal Year 2021-2022 Municipal Budget. There will be a public hearing on the budget before it is adopted. I encourage everyone to watch the town meetings as the budget is finalized. Once adopted, the budget will take effect on July 1, 2021.

Work on the Thurmont Master Plan update continues at the Planning and Zoning meetings. This process also includes comprehensive rezoning. You are welcome to attend the P&Z meetings and to provide comments on the process. There will be public hearings and presentations prior to the adoption of the Master Plan update. I hope everyone has a great May! If you have any questions, concerns, or compliments, I can be reached at 301-606-9458 or by email at jkinnaird@thurmont.com

Emmitsburg

Mayor Don Briggs

With the new year comes Emmitsburg onlyinourstate.com recognizing Emmitsburg as one of “The 10 most beautiful, charming small towns in Maryland.” Congratulations! Thank you to former Emmitsburg Mayor Ralph Irlan for bringing this to our attention.

Adding to that good news, the following grants are now in process: FY21 Two Mini Picnic Pavilions in the back of Community Park—$30,750; FY20 Band stand renovation—$11,250; FY20 Memorial Park ball field no. 7 bleacher replacement—$5,250; FY20 Community gardens rehab—$2,550; Disc golf course construction—$14,000; FY21 Wayside Exhibits—$12,052 grant; Engineering study for the waterline replacement project—$25,000.

At the January 2021 regularly scheduled town meeting, commissioners approved four additional wayside exhibits.

The effects of a second surge in coronavirus have hit our zip code. As of January 13, Maryland reported total numbers as follows:

Testing volume: 6,254,353; 24 hr. change +34,334 with 314,867 confirmed cases.

Positive tests: 24 hr. change +2,516.

Deaths: 6,233 deaths, 24 hr. change +37.

In Frederick County, there have been 13,676 positive cases and 207 deaths. In the 21727 zip code, 274 cases. For hospitals, ICU bed demand is up, acute beds demand is up, and total bed demand is up.

From the county executive’s office, first responders and frontline healthcare workers are designated as “Phase 1a” of the vaccine protocol by the state and have begun to receive vaccinations. Adults over 75 years old fall into “Phase 1b,” and the vaccine should be available by late January. For those 65–74 years old in the “Phase 1c” designated bracket, vaccinations are projected to begin in March. We have requested the use of more-convenient facilities than Frederick Health Hospital. We are working on assisting in transportation for those in need of shots wherever they might be administered. We have the vaccine; let’s not let our guard down. Wear a mask, social distance, and wash your hands.

Thank you to all our first responders, hospital staff, and frontliners who serve us every day.

If we are looking for bellwethers as to the progress of our town, all-site approvals for the proposed Rutter’s convenience gas-and-go have finally been accepted by the various levels of government. The expectation is to break ground in early spring. Most notable remaining ones would include grading and seeding along the Flat Run north of the Myers bridge and work along Irishtown Road.

With the recent snow and slow melt, groundwater has been partly replenished, but another slow-melting snow would be wonderful. We need the moisture. Your vigilance in conserving water use is greatly appreciated.

My monthly mantra: Please support our local restaurants and businesses. These are good people who serve us. As a community, through the town, the grants applied, qualified for, and received by the restaurants and businesses pale in comparison to the economic reality of the loss these businesses have experienced. Treat yourselves and help our neighbors: BUY LOCAL – BUY CARRY OUT – DINE OUT and enjoy!

It’s lining up to be a busy spring: vaccines, longer daylight hours, lots of prayers for activities, Groundhog Day, Ash Wednesday (February 17), and Easter (April 4).

Lib and I wish you the best for a happy and healthy 2021. Let us get our shots, wear our mask, wash our hands, and social distance until this virus is just another one of those things out there well under control through vaccines.

Thurmont

 Mayor John Kinnaird

The Thurmont Board of Commissioners (BOC) has opted to return to virtual meetings for the next month. This decision was made based on an increase in positive COVID-19 test results within Frederick County and the 21788 zip code. Residents can watch the meetings on Cable Channel  99, via the streaming video page on the www.thurmont.com website, or by Zoom. The Zoom meeting code is: 671 626 6523; the passcode is: sXxm96. The BOC will reevaluate this decision after the February 9 meeting. 

Free COVID-19 testing continues every other Friday, from 5:00-7:00 p.m. in the parking lot of the Thurmont Town Office at 615 East Main Street. The tests are free and are currently a drive-up test. If you need a COVID-19 test prior to the next one in Thurmont, please go to the Frederick Health Village on Monocacy Boulevard in Frederick. They test seven days a week, from 7:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. Test results typically take four to five days; if you have an upcoming procedure, they will fast-track your test results.

The State of Maryland is about to institute Level 1-B of the COVID Vaccine program. You can sign up for text messages regarding scheduling by texting FredCoVID19 to 888777. More information can be found at https://bit.ly/3bCp1Om. Please be patient; vaccines may be in short supply, and everyone is as anxious as you are to get one.

The Town of Thurmont has been making improvements to the Ice Plant Park and the Woodland Park playgrounds. This includes new climbing pieces, swings, seesaws, and other playground items. This work is being funded through Program Open Space funding and will be completed in the spring. The parks playgrounds are closed temporarily when items are being installed and are open all other times. Our thanks to the Maryland Program Open Space program for helping fund these improvements and to Thurmont’s own Playground Specialists for the amazing equipment and installations.

With winter upon us, I want to remind everyone that when it is calling for snow, we ask that cars be moved off the streets whenever possible. This allows our plows free access to clear the streets to the curb where possible. We also recommend that you do not clear the ends of your driveways until the streets have been cleared. The plows push the snow off the roadways and can reclose driveways. Sidewalks can also be an issue with snow plows. We live on North Church Street, and our sidewalks are regularly pushed shut by the SHA snow plows. It is helpful to wait until the streets are plowed before clearing sidewalks, where there’s no place to throw the snow or where there is no separation from the roadway. This is especially something to consider if you live on one of our State Highways, including East and West Main Street and North Church Street. Please be careful driving in icy or snow conditions.

The Thurmont Planning and Zoning Commission continues to address the Master Plan update and will be holding hearings to address this update throughout the next several months. P&Z meets the fourth Thursday of each month at 7:00 p.m. and can schedule special meetings. At this time, meetings are closed to in-person attendance, but residents can watch online or on Channel 99 and contact P&Z with questions or comments. Planning and Zoning Agendas are posted on www.thurmont.com on the Video Streaming page.

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

Emmitsburg

Mayor Don Briggs

In the face of a larger second wave of COVID-19 cases, and with new restrictions, there was an individual “community” 5K walk-run Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving Day morning. It was not done in person. Thank you, Commissioners Burns and O’Donnell.

As of this writing, the 32nd Annual Christmas Tree Lighting and Evening of Christmas Spirit will occur as planned. The Christmas Tree Lighting will be held on Monday, December 7, at 6:00 p.m. in front of the Community Center. The tree lighting will be followed by hayrides, seasonal inspiring music and song, and free hot chocolate and hot dogs at the Carriage House Inn. Please check our town website and our Facebook page for further details and updates on both events. Masks required.

We are asking you to do your best to conserve water. The town is in Phase 2 of its water conservation mandate that includes not washing cars or boats, etc. We have been blessed with some rainfall but are still below our optimum water supply levels at Rainbow Lake and town wells as established in 2011.

November 11 at 11:00 a.m., Commissioner Davis and I joined the American Legion VFW Honor Guard at several local sites in town for the annual observance to celebrate the end of WWII, Veterans of all wars, and those who gave their lives for our country. It is always a very moving and special experience. 

Rutter’s Convenience Store is now working on its last hurdle: a Maryland State Highway approval of entrance onto Route 140. The reality is close that construction will start at the first of the year. 

Ryan Homes’ model is complete, with final landscaping underway. Ryan Homes marketing is extraordinary. Homes for Emmitsburg will be marketed in all their projects in the area, as well as on-site.   

The town office is still closed to the public. The county-owned community center building continues to be closed to the public except for the Head Start program, which has a separate entrance to the building. 

Please get out and enjoy our wonderful parks and connected sidewalk system. Safe outdoor exercise is a strong ally of social distancing and wearing a face mask.

Libby and I wish each of you and your families the very best for the holidays.

Thurmont

Mayor John Kinnaird

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! Karen and I spent the day at home, and we enjoyed a nice, quiet day together. I want to give a big shoutout to our streets, electric, and park crews for doing a fantastic job with our Christmas lighting and Christmas tree. If you haven’t had the opportunity to drive by or stop at Mechanicstown Square Park to admire the decorations, I invite you to do so. I also invite you to take a drive through the Community Park to see the decorations along the roadway. The Thurmont Lions Club has their Remembrance Tree set up at the corner of South Center Street and East Main Street. Be sure to stop and have a look at that tree as well. Seeing the decorations on the tree always brings back memories of those I knew. Christmas in Thurmont is a little different this year. We are not having the program downtown as we normally would. Santa will be available for virtual visits on Saturday, December 5; call 301-271-7313 to make a reservation. There will be prize drawings for kids, and the adults can once again participate in the map contest. Check the Thurmont Main Street Facebook page for all the details at Facebook.com/ThurmontFirst/. 

The extremely popular Frederick County Society of Model Engineers (FCSME) Christmas Train Display will be set up in unit C2 at the Thurmont Plaza Shopping Center on North Church Street. The train display is always a lot of fun for kids of all ages! The display will be open Wednesday evenings, from 5:00-9:00 p.m.; Saturdays, from 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m., during the month of December. The display is free of charge, but donations to the FCSME are welcome. Everyone must wear a mask while in the train display; if you are not wearing a mask, you will be asked to leave.

Sadly, COVID-19 infections are once again on the rise. The Governor’s Orders require the wearing of face masks in all public locations, and we are encouraged to maintain a distance of at least six feet from others whenever possible. Wearing a mask may be a small inconvenience, but it helps protect you, your family members, your friends, and everyone else.

Christmas is almost here, and we will be visiting family and friends. A thoughtful and easy Christmas gift for all your family and friends is to wear your face mask! If you need a face mask, please call me. I have plenty of handmade face masks, made and donated by local residents. At this time, we should also think about our less fortunate neighbors and friends. A donation to the Thurmont Food Bank can help bring a more cheerful Christmas to many needy families.

One of my favorite things to do on Christmas Day is to watch A Christmas Carol; I especially like the 1938 version with Reginald Owen as Ebenezer Scrooge. Each of us knows an Ebenezer Scrooge, and we may have acted like him at some time. After all, we are only human and can sometimes let our thoughts make us blind to the needs of others or ourselves. I think the closing lines of A Christmas Carol are the best part of Charles Dickens wonderful story, “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, Every One!”

I can be reached at 303-606-9458 or by email at jkinnaird@thurmont.com with any questions or concerns.

Karen and I wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Emmitsburg

Mayor Don Briggs

Now, alas, the election is behind us. Humbly, I say thank you. Reelected Commissioner Joe Ritz, III and I look forward to serving you, our business community, and our visitors for the next three years. As we cope with COVID-19 limiting lifestyles, let us continue to be patient, accepting, and thankful. As always, what makes Emmitsburg so special is that Emmitsburg is a small town. An intimate feel. Let us conduct and direct our activities so as not to lose that feel. 

There will be a Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving Day morning. The Emmitsburg Business and Professional Association (EBPA) is again organizing the event. Big time, fun event. Soothe your conscience by getting out for some fresh air, a run, or a walk before the unabashed enjoyment of a Thanksgiving feast with your family. Please check our town website or our Facebook page for more information.

At the October 5th regularly scheduled town meeting, following several months under voluntary water conservation restraints, the council concurred with the staff and my recommendation to elevate water use restrictions to Phase 2 of Town Code 13.04.160. Phase 2 includes mandatory conservation restraints by all users of town water. From the town code, “Mandatory restriction of any or all of the following uses: (a.) Filling or replenishing of swimming pools; (b.) Outside consumption of water, including, but not limited to, washing of motor vehicles, houses, sidewalks, or any public ways, or watering lawns, gardens, or shrubs; (c.) The providing of drinking water by operators of restaurants and taverns, unless requested by patrons.” For large-volume users, there are additional restrictions. Abusive water use will be tested first by warnings, then by fines. We are getting some assistance from the seasonal change in weather and some steady Hurricane Delta-related rain that can be absorbed by dry-packed lawns. Assuredly, water demand to refill swimming pools is down. This mandate will be reassessed at the November regularly scheduled town meeting.

The town office is still closed to the public. The county-owned community center building continues to be closed to the public, except for the Head Start program, which has a separate entrance to the building. You miss the contact, and we miss the contact. 

Thanks to the American Legion, AMVETS, and Lions Club for pulling things together during these COVID-19 tested times to sponsor/host our traditional Halloween Parade. The parade route started out where it always has at DePaul Street and Federal Avenue; but this year, due to COVID-19-related reasons, ended in Community Park.

The Seton Center is hosting an Outside Halloween Festival the morning of October 31. There will be food trucks, a plant nursery, some craft tables, and more.

The much-anticipated Dunkin’ (Donuts) opening is now history. Amen. The ribbon-cutting was held at 8:00 a.m. on Sunday, October 18.  

Now, on to the status of the Rutter’s convenience store and gas-and-go. No change from the last month’s update. All county approvals have been met. Now they are waiting on state highway approval of the entrance onto Route 140 and the Maryland Department of the Environment sign-off on their stormwater pond plan.

Ryan Homes is moving along with the construction of its model in Brookfield. With the build-out of the remaining lots will come two-way traffic at Brookfield Drive onto and off of Irishtown Road.   

Please take care, get out for a walk, take in the changing colors of the leaves during this beautiful fall season. On the evening of October 14, Lib and I were out on a walk with our yellow lab, Finn. This time around Memorial Park, sharing the beautiful weather, lots of people were out walking, some with dog companions, but strikingly, there were large numbers of young baseball players and a wonderful cadre of coaches. These were very young entry-level baseball players, all who looked like they were totally enjoying themselves. Thank you to the coaches and the parents for getting the players there to use the town fields. Libby and I wish each of you the very best for the fast-approaching Thanksgiving holiday. Let us treasure the time with our families.

Thurmont 

Mayor John Kinnaird

COVID-19 continues to be an issue in all our communities. I encourage everyone to wear a face mask while around others and practice social distancing whenever possible. With the holidays coming up, please be sure to take extra precautions when gathering with friends or family. Remember that face masks not only protect you, they also protect your family and friends.

Although we will not be holding Halloween in the Park, trick-or-treating will be held as usual on Halloween from 6:00-7:30 p.m. We encourage everyone to wear face masks and observe social distancing. It is a good idea to place treats in individual bags to hand out to the ghouls and goblins. This will serve to limit the number of little hands pulling candy out of a single bowl or bag. I ask everyone to please drive with extra care on Halloween as our children are out and about. The children may not always be aware of their surroundings and may not look both ways when crossing our streets. 

The Frederick County Health Department continues to offer free COVID-19 testing every other Friday evening, from 5:00-7:00 p.m., at the Town Office parking lot. You do not need a doctor’s note to get a test, nor do you need to be exhibiting any symptoms. The Thurmont Town Offices are located at 615 East Main Street. Testing will be available on November 13 and 27.

Keep an eye out for the Annual Christmas tree lighting on Saturday, November 28. We will be lighting the tree and singing a few Christmas songs. Christmas in Thurmont will be held on Saturday, December 5, this year. There will be several changes to Christmas in Thurmont due to COVID-19 restrictions. We will be posting more information on the Town of Thurmont Facebook page as it becomes available.

I am happy to see that our local businesses are doing well and ask that you consider shopping locally whenever you can. When you shop locally, you are supporting not only our local businesses, but also our community. Our businesses hire local residents and support our community in many ways.

Get ready to get some delicious food and deals during Thurmont’s To-Go BOGO week from Thurmont’s Locally Owned Restaurants! November 6-14: Eat, Eat, Repeat! Participating restaurants are Bollinger’s Restaurant, Celebrations Catering, Fratelli’s NY Pizza, Rocky’s NY Pizza & Italian Restaurant, Roy Rogers, Thurmont Bar & Grill, and Thurmont Kountry Kitchen. Look for To-Go BOGO specials posted on the Thurmont Main Street Facebook page. Restaurant Week in April had to be canceled. The To-Go BOGO is in honor of our Traditional Restaurant Week.

As always, if you have any questions or comments, I can be reached by email at jkinnaird@thurmont.com or by telephone at 301-606-9458.

Emmitsburg

Mayor Don Briggs

The new American flag mural on the southern face of the Jubilee store is a welcoming sight. It is a beautiful complement to the farm setting painting on the east face of the store. Thank you to Jubilee for sponsoring these works. Now we have three public artworks when we include the William Cochran glass etching in front of the Fire Museum on South Seton Avenue.

September has been a wonderful month hosting in-person guests for the weekly COVID-19 update podcasts: Sister Martha, Secretary of Commerce Kelly Schulz, Mount President Tim Trainor, and our deputy Ben Whitehouse.

At the September regularly scheduled meeting, the town council concurred on extending the town voluntary water conservation restraint by all users of town water. This perspective will be reassessed at the October town meeting. Always to note, because the town office is housed in the county-owned Community Center building, which continues to be closed to the public, the meeting will be virtual.

The community pool closed on Labor Day.  Thanks to our town, we successfully got through all the COVID-19 related issues to run the pool. Thank you for your patience. A new building interior and new mural exterior additions to our one-year old renovated pool awaits the 2021 season. 

The Dunkin’ Donuts opening has been pushed back to mid-October. Reasoning for the delay is sound: pandemic supply-chain-related delays.

As mentioned in last month’s article from the site engineers working on the Rutter’s convenience store and gas and go, all county approvals have been met and now they are waiting on state highway approval of entrance onto Rt. 140 and the Maryland Department of the Environment sign-off on their stormwater pond plan.

Now that Ryan Homes is back in Brookfield (as of September 17, the model home foundation on Wheatley Court foundation is poured and framing materials are on site), the prospects of opening Brookfield Drive to two-way traffic at the intersection with Irishtown Road is moving closer to becoming a reality. The Brookfield subdivision includes approved and platted lots on the west side of Irishtown Road. To build homes on those lots, the developer is committed to eliminating the crest in Irishtown Road east of where Brookfield Drive opens onto Irishtown Road. The crest currently impedes safe sight-distance viewing for an expected heavier volume of traffic converging at the intersection if two-way traffic were permitted (in and out) of Brookfield Drive; hence, we have the present condition, exiting-only traffic onto Irishtown Road.  

From practical experience and from what I am being told repeatedly, a Ryan Homes project in your town brings with it immense marketing attention to the town. Good to have Ryan back. This should be a big plus for our businesses, especially after what the businesses, as well as consumers, have been through in the last six months.

Several community events are planned for October, including a unity gathering in Community Park on Sunday, October 4; a daytime Halloween event at the Seton Center; and the Lions and Vets annual Halloween Parade. We can pull these events off safely if we adhere to the mandated request that we wear masks and social distance. I mention this because September has seen an uptick in positive COVID-19 cases in our zip code. We cannot let down our guard. This is a very serious disease. We need to wear our face masks, properly social distance, and wash our hands a lot going into the flu season months.

Take care and get out and enjoy this wonderful weather.

Thurmont

 Mayor John Kinnaird

I find it hard to believe that fall is here already. Being someone who keeps track of the seasons by the events I attend, this year has been upended by the COVID-19 virus. Many of the events have been canceled for this year due to concerns about spreading the virus. It is important that we limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus whenever possible. The State of Maryland currently has restrictions in place that require the wearing of face masks and the observance of social distancing. We all must wear face masks and keep the 6-foot distance when possible while shopping or gathering in groups at social events. Please observe the current requirements; this protects you and the people with whom you come in contact.

As everyone is aware, Colorfest has been canceled this year due to vendors’ concerns related to COVID-19. One of the biggest features of Colorfest week is yard sales. Yard sales can be held this year, regardless of the cancellation. Residents are not required to obtain a permit this year for yard sales on Colorfest week. We only ask that you observe current COVID-19 restrictions and make sure cars do not block the streets. Several organizations and neighborhoods will be holding yard sale events that week. The Guardian Hose Company will have yard sale spaces available at the Carnival Grounds on Friday, October 9, from 8:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m., and Saturday, October 10, from 8:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. Vendor spaces are available by calling Lori at 240-575-5469. There will be ample parking, and food will be available from the GHC membership.

The Thurmont Parks and Recreation Commission is planning a family picnic day and movie night. This event will be held at the Thurmont Community Park, beginning at noon on Saturday, October 17. You are invited to join us at Community Park starting at noon to enjoy a picnic lunch. There will be local food vendors and ample picnic tables! Food will be served from noon until they run out. Get there early and enjoy a tasty lunch. You can also bring your own lunch or an early dinner and use one of the picnic tables or enjoy one of the many individual picnic areas at the back of the park. In the early evening, there will be a drive-in movie! The movie will be shown in the large parking lot with a section for lawn chairs and blankets and room for cars to enjoy the drive-in-movie. The movie night is free and complementary popcorn will be available. Drive-in-movie parking is limited, so get there early. Those viewing the movie from chairs and blankets can park in the designated areas. Face masks and social distancing are required.

Thurmont’s annual Halloween in the Park has also been canceled for this year. We are looking for volunteers to help with future Halloween events. If you are interested in volunteering, please keep an eye open for planning announcements this coming year.

Trick-or-treating will be held in Thurmont on Halloween from 6:00-7:30 p.m. Please observe current COVID requirements for masks and social distancing. I recommend putting candy and other treats in individual bags to hand out to the little ghouls and goblins. This will serve to limit contact from grabbing treats out of a single bowl or bag. As always, keep your porch light on if you are providing treats and be careful while driving on our streets; our kids may not be paying close attention to traffic while going house to house.

Elections are coming up soon! Here are some dates to keep in mind ahead of the November 3 general election: Tuesday, October13—deadline to register to vote; Tuesday, October 20—deadline to request mailing, faxing, or emailing a mail-in ballot; Monday, October 26 through Monday, November 2—early voting will be available from 7:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. at Catoctin High School for Thurmont, Emmitsburg, and Northern Frederick County residents;  Tuesday, November 3—General Election voting will be held at Catoctin High School for Thurmont, Emmitsburg, and Northern Frederick County residents, 7:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m.; a drop box for mail-in ballots will be at Catoctin High School during early voting and on Election Day.

I hope everyone has an enjoyable fall and that you enjoy some of the many local opportunities for events in our area. Remember to continue to support our local restaurants and businesses!

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

Emmitsburg

Mayor Don Briggs

Getting back to “normal”…whatever that means to each of us. From experience, every moment, hour, and day brings with it a new “normal.” But what seems even more challenging now is that we can’t apply our plan to at least attempt to bring in the next “normal” with some balance of predictability. Will there be school in the fall? Will there be Catoctin High and CYA sports in the fall? Any afterschool student activities? We are left with less degree of certainty than what our wonderful farmers contend with every spring—God love’em—who till, plant, and hope for rain, while for our schools and towns, we’re not allowed to even “till” (move forward with a plan).

We do not tell this to any of our graduating classes at Catoctin High School, Thurmont Middle, Mother Seton School, and all the feeder elementary schools. No reminder needed. It is a shame what they all had to go through this year: no graduations ceremonies, no extended family celebration get-togethers, no proms. Still, it certainly will stand out among all graduations as a memorable one.

On the heels of permission to have outdoor dining at restaurants, our restaurants can now open for indoor dining. Sadly, the 2020 Emmitsburg & Thurmont Community Show for this fall has been canceled, except for the Catoctin FFA Alumni Livestock Show & Sale for market goat, beef, sheep, swine is scheduled (for now) on Saturday, September 12, 2020.

Thank goodness Flag Day was not canceled. Flag Day was June 14, and it is very special for us up this way. Held on a rotational basis between the towns of Thurmont and Emmitsburg, this year, it was our honor to hold the tribute in Memorial Park. It is a time where the two towns, Thurmont and Emmitsburg, rich in their histories, come together as one to pay tribute: the Emmitsburg American Legion Post No. 121, Thurmont American Legion Post No. 168, Emmitsburg Post No. 6658, and Thurmont AmVets Post No. 7. Like for our Memorial Day commemoration three weeks prior to Flag Day, the Emmitsburg Color Guard visited all of our cemeteries. The tribute started with a three-volley 21-gun salute; this time, however, by a joint Thurmont and Emmitsburg Color Guard. Then the Pledge of Allegiance was humbly lead by Mayor Kinnaird and myself, the invocation was given by Rich Kapriva, and an inspirational speech was given by guest Ronald Holcombe, Department 2nd Vice Commander. Boy Scout Troop 727 dutifully retired old flags used in our communities by burning them.

Due to COVID-19 concerns, Community Heritage Day was changed to a night of music and fireworks, to be held on Saturday, June 27. So much hard work went into it: music from 6:00-9:00 p.m. and then fireworks. Move over COVID-19, Emmitsburg traditional fireworks show is coming through.

The pool opening is planned for Friday, July 3. Please bear with us since only 25 percent of the pool’s surface area can be occupied, which equates to 27 people in the pool at one time.

Farmer’s Market opens June 29. Please support our area farmers.
Try our new disk golf course in Community Park.

Groundbreaking for Dunkin’ (Donuts) will be on July 23. Check with the town website for a time. This COVID-19 is a terrible scourge. Do not think it is a thing of the past. Keep up social distancing, get rest, make proper eating choices, and get out and exercise for short periods of time each day. Whatever challenges are brought, this will be our best 4th of July ever.

Emmitsburg

Mayor Don Briggs

In mid-February, going into whatever this thing was and is, only the words of Charles Dickens from his mid-19th-century novel seem aptly to describe: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” So much going for us, the economy, a mild winter, gearing up for March Madness, going to work, church, children’s school events, everything going on at full pace. Everything in overdrive. Then everything stopped. The governor invoked a state of emergency, under which we were directed to shelter in place. Sitting out on the back porch, except for nature’s noises, especially the birds, this must be what it sounded like living here 200 years ago.

We are now working under Governor Hogan’s April 24, three-stage recovery plan, “Maryland Strong: Roadmap to Recovery.” No more “Stay at Home”; now “Safer at Home” advisory. If it seems confusing about reopening businesses, well, it is. But everyone is doing more than their best.

We knew this COVID-19 virus was serious, but we are only finding out now how serious. As of this writing, 2,045 persons in the state have died from the virus in two months, while there were 63 deaths in the state from the flu during the seven-month flu season. Johns Hopkins researchers have been saying the COVID-19 is at least 10 times more contagious. The battle is not over.

I’d like to write more, but everything is changing quickly, and I’m going from one meeting to another or listening.

Here are a few things I do know.

Mayors have a weekly telephone conference with the county executive. Very informative.

I have a weekly live interview that is recorded. Typically, the interview is at 1:00 p.m. on a Wednesday. Guests to date have been Dr. Trainor, president of the Mount; County Executive Jan Gardner; and Helen Propheter, executive director, Economic and Workforce Development, Frederick County Office of Economic Development. So kind of these people to come on for us with all that is going on.

The budget for next year is coming along. It is a smaller budget than last year. We held a budget presentation at the special meeting, and we will have further discussions at the June 1 town meeting. Parks are open. Wear masks and bring sanitizer if you or your children are using any play equipment.

The farmer’s market is still a possibility.

The pool, with new changing rooms, will hopefully open in mid-June.

There will be no Little League this summer. A lot of hard work led by Commissioner Davis went in to bringing baseball back to Emmitsburg.

Take care and be safe. We are coming through this together.

Thurmont

Mayor John Kinnaird

Things have changed drastically since my last column. We have spent two months in near lockdown conditions. Many businesses are just now reopening, and many of our family, friends, and neighbors have been laid off or have lost their jobs. The COVID-19 crisis continues to impact all of our lives, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. I encourage everyone to continue to wear face masks when you are out in public, to practice social distancing whenever possible, and to wash your hands regularly and thoroughly. Please keep in mind that these last couple of months have been exceptionally difficult on your neighbors, and nerves are getting frayed. Keep an eye on your elderly neighbors and offer assistance if they need it. Many are more dependent on the Food Bank than ever before. The Food Bank continues to help many local families and is there to help anyone in need. So, be patient and follow the recommendations from Governor Hogan and the CDC. Let’s do our part to limit the rate of infection from COVID-19; you may save the life of a loved one or neighbor.

Many local events such as carnivals, banquets, raffles, and other events have been canceled. Keep an eye out for these events to be rescheduled in the future. Especiallly hard-hit are all our fire companies, churches, non-profits, and private schools. If you can make a donation to help any of these organizations during this time, it will be greatly appreciated by the organization and your community.

Here in Thurmont, we canceled bulk trash pickup, yard waste drop-off, and the Community Shred Event. The next bulk trash pickup is set for July 11, 2020; contact the Town Office if you have any questions at 301-271-7313. We will be restarting yard waste drop-off soon, and we will announce it on our web page and on Facebook. The Community Shred Event will be rescheduled to a later date.

Our parks are open, as are our Trolley Trail and walking trails. You are invited to use our parks for recreation and as a place to enjoy the great out of doors.

Please contact me at jkinnaird@thurmont.com or by telephone at 301-606-9458 if you have any questions or concerns. Be sure to follow the Thurmont Facebook page and my personal Facebook page for news about local events, updates, or cancellations.

I hope everyone stays safe and healthy!

Emmitsburg

Mayor Don Briggs

Happy Birthday, Emmitsburg! Established (platted) in 1885, we are now 235 years old. Speaking to age… infrastructure, infrastructure, infrastructure…there are all kinds. Water, sewer, sidewalks, ADA compliance, parks and recreation, schools, youth activities, and seniors, to name a few. Every municipality needs and wants to provide and maintain its infrastructure.

Within the $3 million town square and sidewalk revitalization, unbeknownst to some, was the inclusion of $124,000 of decades of deferred water infrastructure work. Two years ago, we completed the construction of a $19 million+ wastewater (sewer) treatment plant.

Last year, lines under East Main Street were relined, and we’re about to start relining behind the post office to Creamery Road. In addition, a leaking water line under MD 140 at Tract Road will be addressed.

To accomplish all of this work, we have applied for state aid to upgrade water lines at part of North Seton Avenue and DePaul Street.

We have a new dog park, a new all-inclusive playground, a virtually new pool (after years of neglect), 10 sidewalk connections, and a road connection from Brookfield-Pembrook to Irishtown Road, not to mention $4 million solar arrays and first-time renewable energy savings. All of these improvements have been achieved with significant grants sourced by our great staff.

We have a budget, and we have worked within our means to catch up on years of deferred work. We’re on it!

It was good to have the Honorable John Kinnaird, our neighboring Thurmont’s mayor, at the State of the Union address to add dignity that speaks of Northern Frederick County values to the State of the Union.

At our February town meeting, Roger Wilson, the first Frederick County Director of Government Affairs, was honored. Roger, also a Frederick City Alderman, is leaving his county position. He was powerful, and an accessible friend to Northern Frederick County interests. He will be missed. A wonderful, competent person named Joy Schaefer is taking his place.

Like many, I was saddened by the death of Kobe Bryant, the iconic basketball player who died tragically in a helicopter crash with his daughter, Gianna, and seven others. The challenges of such a gifted athlete were many. To those challenges of training and playing at the highest level of competition also came those of human frailty to fame and fortune. He wasn’t perfect. Nor am I, but he was a father and a family man. What was most heartfelt for me was, yes, a consummate basketball player had died, but more so, a father with his daughter had died. Like all of us, we will know not the hour. But he and his daughter, with the rest of the family, had the blessing of attending a 7:00 a.m. Sunday Mass at Our Lady Queen of Angels Catholic Church together in Newport Beach, California, just hours before the crash.

The funeral service was private. A public memorial service was held on February 24, significant as his daughter’s jersey number was 2 and his 24. He left us with his own personal challenge and now tribute, “I want to outwork my potential.” I like that.

Here we are again; the county school board wants to close Sabillasville Elementary School, the only five-star-rated elementary school in the county. Furtively, it seems, only one-week notice was given before the first public hearing. I attended and spoke before the Board of Education to oppose the closing of the county’s only infrastructure improvement in Sabillasville-Harbaugh Valley. The meeting was in the Frederick County Board of Education Headquarters, which is an almost new multi-million-dollar facility, located one block from the $100-million-dollar Carroll Creek Linear Park. Inside was a packed room of supporters for keeping the school open. In my opinion, this is an insane and predatory action. Never has there ever been a peep out of anyone from the valley for anything even in light of what could be readily seen in luxurious-like investment in schools in other parts of the county. The school is the facility hub, serving not only students but also as a place for community groups to meet and hold activities.

Fifty years ago, Emmitsburg lost its high school, a void still felt today by many. In my remarks to the board, I asked if the Emmitsburg Elementary School could be next.

So much more to write about, but I will leave you with, “Enjoy your Lent, and bring it on, spring!”

Thurmont

 Mayor John Kinnaird

The United States Census 2020 is less than one month away! U.S. households will receive 2020 Census Invitations between March 12 and March 20. During this time, invitations to participate in the 2020 Census will start arriving at houses. It is critical that all residents are counted. Billions of Federal Tax dollars are distributed based on Census information. Any shortage in our count can lead to less Federal spending in local programs. Funding for highway planning, public transportation, Head Start, teacher support grants, special education programs, housing assistance for the elderly, wildlife restoration, school lunches, Pell Grants Children’s Health Insurance, Medicare Part B, Department of Aging, hospitals, and many others depend on accurate Census counts. Each person not counted could cost our community $18,000 in Federal support over the next 10 years.

The invitations will remind respondents to include everyone living in the household, whether they are related or not. This includes young children. It is also essential that household members serving in the military are counted, and marriage relationships are very important to report. Your response will impact communities for the next decade.
“The Census Bureau is ready for the nation to respond next month,” said Census Bureau Director Dr. Steven Dillingham. “Millions of Americans are applying for 2020 Census jobs, more than 270,000 local and national organizations are engaged, and in less than 30 days, the majority of U.S. households will receive an invitation to respond to help ensure that every person in the U.S. is counted.” “The Census Bureau has successfully tested its data collection systems, has built backup systems to support resilient operations, and is ready to receive responses from all around the country,” added Dillingham.

This invitation will include instructions on how to respond to the 2020 Census online or by phone. By April 1, most households will have received an invitation, delivered either by mail or by a census taker. In areas of the country that are less likely to respond online, a paper questionnaire will be included in the initial mailing to households. Reminder mailings will be sent to households that do not respond; in the fourth mailing, every household that has not yet responded will receive a paper questionnaire.

The best way to fill out the Census will be online. If you do not have a computer at home, you can use the computers at our local libraries. The Senior Centers will also be set up to assist with the Census. Thurmont residents that do not have the ability to go to the library or Senior Center can call the town office at 301-271-7313 or call me at 301-606-9458 for assistance.

Mark Your Calendar with these Important 2020 Census Dates: March 12-20: Initial invitations to respond online and by phone will be delivered by the U.S. Postal Service. Areas that are less likely to respond online will receive a paper questionnaire along with the invitation to respond online or over the phone. March 16-24: Reminder letters will be delivered.
March 26-April 3: Reminder postcards will be delivered to households that have not responded. April 8-16: Reminder letters and paper questionnaires will be delivered to remaining households that have not responded. April 20-27: Final reminder postcards will be delivered to households that have not yet responded before census takers follow up in person. May 13-July 31: If a household does not respond to any of the invitations, a census taker will follow up in person.

Mayor Don Briggs of Emmitsburg and I will be doing our best to see that all of our residents are counted! We will have a contest to see which community can get the highest percentage of Census participants. It is my hope that we both get over 90 percent participation, and it would be fabulous if we both tied at 100 percent.

Let’s make sure we are all counted!

As always, you can email me at jkinnaird@thurmont.com or call me at 301-606-9458 with any comments or suggestions.