Currently viewing the tag: "Mayor Don Briggs"

Emmitsburg

Mayor Don Briggs

Town Christmas decorations are up, and the town’s main streets stand dually adorned. To the broad sweep of the engineered virus a faint tribute, a mere tip of the hat, to all the traditional events we have forgone this past year. The pandemic, with certainty, jarred our routines. We have rubbed two sticks together to make another wonderful year here in Northern Frederick County. We have had to adjust to less, but less has come to be better in many respects. In part because of who we are and the way we live. To the overwhelming generosity of everyone living in our valley. Thank you. It has been the glue.

Somewhere amidst the strands of news coverage over the last weeks was the mention of a C.S. Lewis essay he wrote in 1948, regarding going on with life with the threat of the atomic bomb. Googling to find the essay, I saw where someone had the presence of mind, and connection to the breadth of Lewis’ writings, to suggest replacing “COVID-19 pandemic” in place of “atomic bomb.” Below is the Lewis essay. A year to remember, our stint in history.

“In one way we think a great deal too much of the atomic bomb. ‘How are we to live in an atomic age?’ I am tempted to reply: ‘Why, as you would have lived in the sixteenth century when the plague visited London almost every year, or as you would have lived in a Viking age when raiders from Scandinavia might land and cut your throat any night; or indeed, as you are already living in an age of cancer, an age of syphilis, an age of paralysis, an age of air raids, an age of railway accidents, an age of motor accidents.’

“In other words, do not let us begin by exaggerating the novelty of our situation. Believe me, dear sir or madam, you and all whom you love were already sentenced to death before the atomic bomb was invented: and quite a high percentage of us were going to die in unpleasant ways. We had, indeed, one very great advantage over our ancestors—anesthetics; but we have that still. It is perfectly ridiculous to go about whimpering and drawing long faces because the scientists have added one more chance of painful and premature death to a world which already bristled with such chances and in which death itself was not a chance at all, but a certainty.

“This is the first point to be made: and the first action to be taken is to pull ourselves together. If we are all going to be destroyed by an atomic bomb, let that bomb when it comes find us doing sensible and human things—praying, working, teaching, reading, listening to music, bathing the children, playing tennis, chatting to our friends over a pint and a game of darts—not huddled together like frightened sheep and thinking about bombs. They may break our bodies (a microbe can do that) but they need not dominate our minds.”

“On Living in an Atomic

    Age” (1948) in Present

   Concerns: Journalistic Essays.

Safe outdoor exercising is a strong ally of social distancing. Wear your face mask. Enjoy our parks and connected town.

From Libby and I: We hope you had a Merry Christmas, and we wish you a Happy New Year. 2020 is behind us; now, by the grace of God, we are armed with several vaccines. Let us go on with our lives, our stockings full.

Thurmont

 Mayor John Kinnaird

The year 2020 is now behind us, and I look forward to a much improved 2021. I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas. I wish you a very Happy New Year and a healthy and happy year ahead.

The COVID-19 vaccine is being distributed and should be broadly available to all of us in the coming months. With that in mind, I ask that all of us keep doing what we can to help stem the spread of this virus. Wash your hands regularly, wear a mask when out in public and when in contact with others, keep at least six feet away from others whenever possible, and try not to gather in large groups. COVID-19 will continue to be a high health concern until the majority of our residents have been vaccinated.

As I first noted, I am looking forward to the year 2021 being a better year than 2020. It is my hope that all our friends and family stay safe, and that we move forward into the new year with an open mind and with an optimistic spirit.

Please call me at 301-606-9458 or email me atjkinnaird@thurmont.com with any questions or concerns you may have.

James Rada, Jr.

Emmitsburg’s annual Evening of Christmas Spirit had little spirit this year because of COVID-19.

About a dozen people were on hand for the lighting of the town Christmas tree in front of the Emmitsburg Community Center on the evening of December 7, 2020. Christmas music played during the brief event that usually draws a crowd and has local students singing carols.

Mayor Don Briggs thanked the small group for coming out. He acknowledged the problems that COVID has caused this year, and said, “Sometimes you’ve got to go with what you can.”

Briggs asked Dacosta Wivell, 12 years old, and the only child at the event, to assist him with the countdown. Then the pair flipped the switch, and the lights came on.

In the past, “An Evening of Christmas Spirit” at the Carriage House Inn has followed the tree-lighting ceremony. The event typically draws hundreds of people both inside and outside of the restaurant who come to enjoy free food, music, crafts, hayrides, and Santa’s visit.

None of that happened in December. For the first time in 32 years, it was canceled. State restrictions on restaurants and gatherings because of the virus forced the closure.

Mayor Don Briggs and Dacosta Wivell congratulate each other after lighting the town’s Christmas tree.

Photo by James Rada, Jr.

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.

James Rada, Jr.

Mayor Don Briggs easily won election to a fourth term as mayor of Emmitsburg on September 29, 2020. Of the 398 votes cast for the mayor, Briggs won 230 of them.

“I am humbled by the results,” Briggs said. “It just means that I have to work hard to serve the community.”

The mayor’s race was a contested election, with former Mayor James Hoover and Board of Commissioners President Cliff Sweeney. Hoover received 110 votes, and Sweeney received 58.

“I ran against two true gentlemen opponents, where only the issues were discussed,” Briggs said during the October 5 town meeting.

Briggs noted that the town has a lot going on in terms of development right now, and the town needs to proceed carefully.

“What makes Emmitsburg so special is its small-town feel, and I don’t want to lose that,” Briggs said.

Commissioner Joseph Ritz, III, was also elected on September 29. He ran unopposed and received 331 votes.

Ritz said, “In the next three years, I’d like to address the following: the lack of public parking in town; traffic issues in and around the square; business growth without so many deterring restrictions; offering more for our youth and their families; and our aging and failing utility infrastructures.”

Sandra Dalton, clerk of the Circuit Court for Frederick County, swore in Briggs during the October 5th town meeting. Briggs then swore in Ritz. The ceremony was done without family in attendance because of COVID-19 restrictions.       

During the meeting, Briggs recommended new positions for the commissioners for the upcoming year. This happens after every election.

Commissioner Tim O’Donnell was asked to serve as the new president of the board of Commissioners.

Sweeney, who has served as board president for two years, was asked to serve as vice president and the liaison to the Citizens Advisory Committee.

Commissioner T. J. Burns was asked to serve as treasurer.

Commissioner Frank Burns will continue serving as the liaison to the Parks and Recreation Committee, in part, to continue his efforts to bring local youth baseball back to Emmitsburg.

Ritz was asked to serve as the liaison to the Planning and Zoning Commission.

The board approved the mayor’s recommendations, and the commissioners are now serving in their new positions.

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

Comparing last year and years before with this August is like comparing life in a parallel universe. Some of us are wrapping up vacations—although, most likely much different vacations than years past—and others are enjoying the last days at the community pool. With the exception of Mother Seton School students, most children are not returning to school. We are amidst a slow rollout of the governor’s “Stage II of the Maryland Strong: Roadmap to Recovery” plan to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. It is so different, but let’s accept and protect those most vulnerable. We will get through it.

At the August regularly scheduled meeting, the town council concurred on extending the town voluntary conservation restraint by all users of town water. This perspective will be reassessed at the September 8 town meeting. Because our offices are housed in the county-owned community building that is closed, the meeting will be virtual.

As scheduled, the last day the pool will be open is Labor Day, September 7. We are working with pool management on opening the pool for at least one more weekend after Labor Day.

Business growth and the resale of homes in town is strong. Dunkin’ (Donuts) is still planning to open in early September.

From the engineers working on the Rutter’s convenient store and gas, all county approvals have been met. Now they are waiting on state highway entrance approval, and the Maryland Department of the Environment signing off on the stormwater pond.

We have before us a proposal for a 50,000-square-foot owner-user warehouse.

We have met with a developer for an extended-stay hotel that could well complement the needs of the Mount for student housing. There is strong interest from several developers of tracts of land off Irishtown Road that would afford the installation of a second street out of Northgate.

A daycare center provider has purchased the former food bank building on East Main Street and is proceeding with readapting the building for childcare use.

The Silo Hill stormwater basin retrofit virtual public outreach was successful. The retrofit is part of work necessary for the state for stormwater permit restoration. We have applied for a $34,000 grant from the Chesapeake Bay Trust plan. Completion is scheduled for 2021.

The North Seton Avenue Green Street conceptual plan that will abate storm runoff to the Northgate entrance at Northgate was presented to town council and approved to move to next step. We are applying for a grant from Chesapeake Bay Trust.

As a part of care for our 900 acres of forest land, we have entered our second logging contract on what we reference as Stand 6 for $37,500. The logging will be done in 2021. Last year, we logged Stand 5 and received $46,000. Just recently we followed up cutting with spraying for invasive species. Our forest care and logging are all done under a Maryland State Forestry plan and constant communication.

After being dismissed at a town meeting in 2009 and vowing to never comeback, Ryan Homes is coming back to Emmitsburg. It took several humble invitations, coupled with other influences to bring the builder back. Their intention is to build-out the remaining lots in the Brookfield subdivision. Within their noted mastery, they will find the workable market price-point for the new homes that eluded the builder.

As I mentioned last month, I am running for re-election for mayor in September. I want to keep working with you to make Emmitsburg even better. We have had great success over the last nine years. We have revitalized the downtown, “the foyer to all our homes,” connected our community with sidewalks for the first time and embarked on so many cost-saving renewable energy initiatives. How did we do this while reducing taxes 14 percent? We did it with $531,000 in grant awards and partnering with the state. Costs are still going up, and revenue dollars are starting to wane, so we must look to newer technological opportunities and grants. We are ready.

These are challenging times, but we can meet any challenge if we work together as we have during my term as mayor.

As always, thank you.

Thurmont

 Mayor John Kinnaird

Thurmont households have until September 30 to respond to the U.S. Census. So far, 81.8 percent of Thurmont households have responded to the 2020 Census, while the statewide response rate is 68 percent. Let’s make it a 100 percent response from Thurmont residents! Census data is used to determine how your federal tax dollars are distributed in our communities for programs that touch every one of our residents, from our infants to our senior citizens. Every Thurmont resident not counted can mean an annual shortfall of $1,800 in federal investment in our community. Please remember that the Census is private and confidential. All households have until September 30 to respond online, via mail, at My2020Census.gov, or by phone at 1-844-330-2020 (English)/ 1-844-468-2020 (Spanish), or #MDBeCounted. 2020census.gov.

On Saturday, August 22, we gathered to dedicate the completed murals on the old H&F Trolley Substation building on East Main Street in Thurmont. Yemi has done a masterful job of capturing the history of Thurmont and the many highlights most of us take for granted that make our town a great place to live. This project was started several years ago by the Thurmont Lions Club as part of the Trolley Trail improvements. My thanks to Yemi for bringing his amazing vision and talent to this community arts project, and to all those who supported this wonderful endeavor. The recent additions were made possible by: Delaplaine Foundation, Dan Ryan Builders, Gateway Orthodontics, Thurmont Lions Club, Market Research & Resources, Ausherman Family Foundation, Main Street Maryland, Maryland State Arts Council, Imagination Center, Church of the Brethren, Frederick Arts Council, Frederick Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics, Rowland Glass Studio, Marlene B. Young & Mike Young, Catoctin Colorfest Inc, George Delaplaine, an anonymous donor, and The Town of Thurmont. I encourage everyone to visit the substation building to have a look at Yemi’s artwork.

The Town of Thurmont has hosted a used oil dropoff site and a recycling dropoff for many years at the Public Works facility on Frederick Road. We are in the process of moving both of these facilities to a new location. The oil dropoff is temporarily closed during the move. Those with used oil looking for a dropoff should contact one of our local auto parts stores; they do accept used oil. The new facility will be open on September 1; watch for more information in your electric bill. I want to remind everyone that you should not leave oil filters, oil bottles, or other items at the oil dropoff. Be sure to put used oil only in the oil container, and antifreeze only in the antifreeze container. Recycling should be placed in the recycling roll-off. All boxes should be flattened before placing in the roll-off. There is a sign at the new location, indicating what can be recycled at this location. The roll-off is emptied regularly, but please do not leave your recycling on the ground if you find it full. Please bring it back later, or put it out on the regular recycling pick-up day.

Contact me with questions, comments, or concerns at jkinnaird@thurmont.com or by phone at 301-606-9458.

by James Rada, Jr.

Emmitsburg

Voluntary Water Restrictions Enacted

Due to a lack of rain, the Town of Emmitsburg has enacted its phase 1 water restrictions. At this phase, everyone is asked to voluntarily restrict their water usage. In mid-July, Rainbow Lake was three to four inches below where it should have been, and town wells were down one foot. Should the drop in water levels continue, additional restrictions might be required.

Town Election Approaching

The Emmitsburg town election will be held on Tuesday, September 29. The positions of mayor and town commissioner are up for a vote. So far, incumbents Mayor Don Briggs and Commissioner Joseph Ritz, III, have filed for re-election, and former Mayor James Hoover has also filed for election. Any candidate interested in running must file by August 28.

To vote in the town election, you must be registered to vote with the Frederick County Board of Elections by August 28.

Community Park Renamed

The Emmitsburg Commissioners had previously voted to rename Community Park in honor of Gene Myers. Commissioner Frank Davis met with members of the Myers Family to see what name they would prefer to be used. The new name of the park will be the E. Eugene Myers Community Park. The tentative date for the ceremony celebrating the new name will be September 12.

New Policy Approved

The Emmitsburg Commissioners approved a small cell wireless facility ordinance and policy in July. Although the commissioners still had questions and may revisit the ordinance and policy within the next few months, they wanted to have something on the books in case a company approached the town with a request for such a facility.

The ordinance and policy were approved 4-1, with Commissioner Joseph Ritz III voting against.

Fees Increased

The Emmitsburg Commissioners updated their fees for rezoning, development, annexation, and infrastructure. It had been years since the fees had been updated. The new fees are essentially the average of fees charged by the other Frederick County municipalities.

“We are seeing a large uptick in development, and we are losing money in revenue,” Town Planner Zach Gulden told the commissioners.

The new fees were approved 4-1, with Commissioner Joseph Ritz III voting against.

Forestry Bid Awarded

The Emmitsburg Commissioners approved a $37,500 bid from Tipton’s Inc. of Union Bridge to timber stand six of the town’s land. Tipton’s did a good job with a previous timbering contract on town land, and the bid exceeds the estimated value of the timber. In addition, $4,500 of the amount will be set aside for trail repair.

Thurmont

Health Department Offers Virus Testing Locally

The Frederick County Health Department is providing on-site COVID-19 testing locally. Walk-up testing will be available at the Thurmont Municipal Offices parking lot at 615 East Main Street, every Friday from 5:00-7:00 p.m. Testing is free; no insurance or doctor’s note is needed, and you will receive your results in two to four days. Please remember to practice physical distancing and wear face coverings. Contact the Frederick County Health Department with any questions.

Thurmont Joins National Clean Energy Challenge

The Town of Thurmont is taking on the challenge to see how it stacks up to other cities across the nation when it comes to clean energy successes. Thirty communities in five states are taking the Sustainable States Community Energy Challenge, which offers tools and support to assess clean energy goals and initiatives. Participating cities will be a part of an in-state peer cohort and receive technical assistance to complete a pressing clean energy initiative. Additionally, the challenge will compare clean energy achievements across similarly-sized cities, assess future initiatives, and provide project implementation assistance.

The project is a partnership of the Sustainable States Network, American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), and five state-level sustainability programs, including Sustainable CT, Green Cities California, Sustainable Maryland, Minnesota GreenStep Cities, and Sustainable Jersey.

Det. Bowen is Thurmont’s Police Officer of the Year

The Thurmont Lions Club announced recently that Detective Gerald Bowen is the 2020 Thurmont Police Officer of the Year. Bowen joined the Thurmont Police in 2013, after 19 years with the Frederick Police Department. His name will be added to the plaque of former winners. He also received a gift certificate, and a donation was made in his name to the charity of his choice. The charity Bowen chose was St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.

Property Annexed into Thurmont

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners annexed 96 East Moser Road into the town. It is 10.02 acres that will primarily be used to expand the Thurmont Trolley Trail. The property was purchased using Program Open Space funds.

Town Makes Annual Donations

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners made their annual contributions to organizations that provide services to the town: The Guardian Hose Company received $30,000; the Thurmont Community Ambulance Company received $30,000; the Thurmont Food Bank received $6,000.

Emmitsburg

Mayor Don Briggs

Hello, neighbors. Summer in Emmitsburg 2020 is surely one we will look back on in the future. So many adjustments to even our most basic daily routines. Thank you to all for the cooperation and graciousness during this pandemic. Cautiously, in compliance with the governor’s plan, our parks have opened. The new dog park is being used, some are playing tennis, children are using our new all-accessible play equipment, and there is even some baseball being played. Users seem to be adhering to appropriate COVID-19 precautions, as given to the town from the county and state. To add to that array of recreational uses, the town opened the pool on July 3. The pool is a valued community recreational use, opened under strict state/county COVID-19 advisories compliance. Only 111 people can be admitted in the pool area at a time, a number tied to a ratio of square footage of pool surface area. A mask is required at the check-in registration point, in bathroom shower areas, and when talking with the manager or lifeguard. You will have to bear with us while we implement the more-restrictive health department guidelines.

Because of the lack of rain, the board of commissioners at the July 13 regularly scheduled monthly meeting joined me in enacting Phase 1 of Emmitsburg Town Code 13.04.160 (municipal water use). Phase 1 calls for voluntary conservation restraint by all users of town water. The water use situation will be reassessed at the August 3 regularly scheduled monthly town meeting.

By the distribution of this issue of the Banner, the new Flat Run Bridge will be dedicated in the name of Firefighter Terry Lee Myers. Mr. Myers died in the line of duty in a fire-suppression incident on February 15, 1999, after a wonderful life and career that included his distinguished service to the community and as a volunteer firefighter with Vigilant Hose Company.

The groundbreaking for Dunkin Donuts was spectacular. Re-adaptive use construction has begun, and the opening is planned for on or about September 1. The Dunkin store will have indoor and outdoor seating and a drive-thru window. This type of retail foodservice with a national brand name is generally referred to as “destination retail,” in that we will go out of our way to go there. As such, like a grocery store to a larger extent, Dunkin could bring additional retail services. At a minimum, it strengthens our commercial base and could act as a traffic generator for additional retail and possible office space.

We had another wonderful Community Heritage Day with evening events and fireworks. Thank you to the Lions Club and the management of Jennifer Joy and Cliff Sweeney.

Businesses, barbers, and restaurants are all open, and from feedback, they are adhering to state COVID-19 protocols. We are still waiting to hear about school and school-related activities for the fall.

The governor’s slow rollout “Stage II of the Maryland Strong: Roadmap to Recovery” is the proper cadence and wise thing to do. This is a very serious disease, and keeping an eye on how other states that have opened are doing is the right thing for us.

It gives me great pleasure to humbly announce that I am running again for Mayor of Emmitsburg this fall. I have been so honored to serve the community over the last nine years. A time where we worked together in unity to “Take back the Square” and made it attractive and welcoming again. But that is not all. We have increased walkability in town by connecting and adding new sidewalks, developed a dog park, walking paths, installed new all access playground equipment and refurbished the pool. We put in energy saving streetlights, state-of-the-art solar energy systems, initiated grant programs for downtown properties where now close to a million dollars in improvements have been made. We have a new wastewater treatment plant and so much more. All in all, we have realized over $30,000,000 in improvements in such a brief period. We must keep our focus on infrastructure. With urgency, we are including in our infrastructure plans the work not tended to in previous years. Please bear with us. In the ensuing weeks, I will lay out my ideas for the future and seek your input.

These are challenging times, but we can meet any challenge if we work together, as we have during my term as mayor.

As always, thank you.

Thurmont

 Mayor John Kinnaird

I hope everyone is doing the best they can this summer! As a result of COVID-19, a lot of local events and many vacation plans have been canceled. I ask each of us to observe social distancing and wear a mask when you are with others; this is a small inconvenience that can save lives. Please be sure to follow the guidance of Governor Hogan and his staff as we continue to fight this widespread virus.

As you know, all the local carnivals have been canceled, as has the Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show and Colorfest. Most of the canceled events serve as fundraisers for our local fire and ambulance departments, churches, Lions Clubs, Scouts, Little League teams, and other organizations. All these organizations are going to see drastic drops in their donations this year and possibly into the near future. If you can please support them with donations, and if they decide to run small projects, be sure to attend and support their efforts. All these organizations play a big part in our daily lives. They need our continued support, especially during these difficult times.

In the last three weeks, many restaurants have opened to indoor seating with limited capacity and social distancing requirements. The majority of our local restaurants are still offering carryout, and our community has been, and continues to be, very supportive of this change.  All our restaurants appreciate the continued support of our residents and look forward to returning to normal service in the future. The majority of stores now require visitors to wear a face mask while shopping. Please wear one if you can; however, there are those among us with medical issues that may prevent them from wearing a mask. I ask that you be understanding of our fellow residents, and if you feel uncomfortable in a store or restaurant, please move to someplace you feel more secure. It is also important to keep in mind that if a store employee asks you to wear a mask, they are only responding to store policy; it is not a personal slight against you. In the last few months, we have all become a little more nervous and can be easily aggravated. Try the old count to ten rule if you find yourself in a situation where you are getting upset.

The Frederick County Health Department is offering free COVID-19 testing in both Thurmont and Emmitsburg. These tests are free and do not require a doctor’s order or that you have any symptoms. The next Thurmont Clinic will be held on Friday, August 7, at the Thurmont Town Offices, 615 East Main Street, from 5:00-7:00 p.m. The next clinic in Emmitsburg will be on Tuesday, August 11, at the Seton Center, 226 Lincoln Avenue, from 12:00-2:00 p.m. Testing will be offered at these locations every other week until further notice. Be sure to check www.thurmont.com or emmitsburgmd.gov for changes to the COVID-19 testing schedule.

Finally, I want to once again congratulate the Catoctin High School (CHS) Class of 2020 graduates! This has been a very difficult year for all students, especially those that graduated this year. The class held their picnic at Mt. Tabor Park in July. This is the last time the students had a chance to get together to celebrate their graduation, and I know they had a great time, thanks to the hard work of the parents and volunteers.

As the CHS Class of 2020 heads out on a new adventure, whether it be furthering education, starting a career, establishing a family, or enlisting in the Armed Services, we want you to know that your community wishes you the best in whatever you choose to do!

As always, feel free to contact me by email at jkinnaird@thurmont.com or by cell phone at 301-606-9458. I hope that everyone has a wonderful summer and that you get to spend quality time with family, friends, and soon-to-be-new friends!

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

With a prompt from a timely spike of cold weather—perhaps, an awakening to the holiday season—and the closeout of the 2019 year, it’s a good time to look back at some of the things we did over the last year. 

•  With County Executive Jan Gardner, town staff, commissioners, Boy Scout Troop 727, arborists, and residents, we held our second Arbor Day tree planting (April). We planted along Willow Rill, where it crosses through the elementary school grounds.

•  With County Executive Gardner and the renewable energy-minded residents, we held the ribbon-cutting for the four electric vehicle charging stations (May). The stations are located at the town office/community center.

•  With town staff, we hosted three pool parties (June 21, July 12, August 16), drawing record attendance (for the whole season). The pleasant weather, food, Rita’s Ice, and new pool served as additional inducements.

•  With County Executive Gardner, the town held ribbon-cuttings for the first set of three wayside exhibits: the Doughboy, Emmit House, and town square (June). Next year, we’ll be adding exhibits for the Great Emmitsburg Fire, Vigilant Hose Company, Chronicle Press, and the Carriage House Inn.

•  Completion of replacing lighting in all town-owned buildings with LED lights. More energy efficiency, more savings.

•  Another spectacular Heritage Day (June).

•  The town purchased an electric powered vehicle (June), saving money.

•  The town hosted a shred event for paper, electronic recyclables, and old paint (June).

•  With Sheriff Chuck Jenkins, the town hosted National Night Out, featuring a SWAT vehicle, K-9 demonstration, and petting zoo (August). Over 500 attended.

•  Boys and Girls Club has come to Emmitsburg Elementary School (September).

•  County Executive Gardner and Frederick County Fire Rescue Museum officers attended a ribbon-cutting for William Cochran glass etching (October).

•  Construction of the disc golf course in Community Park began (October). Completion is scheduled for the spring 2020.

•  With County Executive Gardner, town staff, and commissioners, a ribbon-cutting was held for new all-accessible playground in Community Park (November). 

•  Hope you didn’t miss the EBPA-sponsored Turkey Trot run/walk Thanksgiving morning (November). So timely. A good way to bank some calorie-burn for the cascade of calories awaiting you later that day.

Not to mention:

• The town was awarded Tree City USA certification.

• The town was honored to receive the People Loving and Nurturing Trees (PLANT) award.

• The pool house interior renovation is planned to commence (waiting on contract from contractor).

• Proclamation—recognizing Francis Smith as the town of Emmitsburg Poet Laureate (August).

• Proclamation—Frederick County Goes Purple (September 2019); we decorated the town purple and had staff wear shirts.

• Proclamation—Breast Cancer Awareness Month (October).

At The Catoctin Banner deadline, Catoctin Cougars just blasted Brunswick to move on into the football playoffs. Keep it up Cougars!

Hoping everyone has a wonderful holiday season. Don’t forget our food bank.

Thurmont

 Mayor John Kinnaird

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving; time passes so quickly, it will soon be Christmas.

I want to invite you to join us on Saturday, December 7, 2019, for Christmas in Thurmont. The day’s event will be held at the Guardian Hose Company Fire Station at 21 North Church Street. Santa and Mrs. Claus will arrive by fire truck at 9:00 a.m. to start the day. Kids can stop by throughout the day and enter their names for the prize drawing. Adults can pick up a stamp map to visit businesses for a chance to win prizes. There will be free photos with Santa from 9:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m., and Santa will be reading a story at the Thurmont Regional Library at 1:00 p.m. The Gateway Brass Ensemble will be performing from 8:45-9:15 a.m. The CHS Jazz Band will be playing sounds of the season at 4:00 p.m., and the ESP Dance Studio will perform at 4:45 p.m. There will be horse and carriage rides on December 7; call the town office at 301-271-7313 for reservations.

The Frederick County Society of Model Engineers will be hosting the Second Annual Model Train Display at 12 East Main Street, starting at 10:00 a.m. on December 7. The Thurmont Lions Club Christmas Tree will be dedicated at 4:45 p.m., and prize drawings will begin at 5:00 p.m. Refreshments will be provided by the Guardian Hose Company throughout the day. This will be a fun day for everyone!

The Frederick County Society of Model Engineers train display will be open to the public on Wednesday evening, December 11 (up to Christmas), from 5:00-8:00 p.m.; Saturdays from 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.; and Sundays from 12:00-4:00 p.m. Our thanks to the FCSME and Acacia Lodge No.155 AF & AM for sponsoring this wonderful event. This is an amazing train display, and kids of all ages will enjoy visiting.

November 30 is Small Business Saturday. Small businesses are the backbone of our communities and provide a great local source for the services and products we all need and use daily, as well as provide local employment opportunities for our residents. I encourage you to shop local every time you can; our local restaurants and stores are owned by our neighbors and they return a lot of value to our community. Join the national Shop Local celebration by shopping locally on Saturday, November 30, and let our local businesses know that we support them!

As you may know, the Town of Thurmont recently made a $21,000 donation to the Patty Hurwitz Breast Cancer Awareness Fund at Frederick Memorial Hospital. This is the fifth year our residents and businesses have joined forces to support this vital effort. This year’s donation brings our five-year total to over $80,000! This year, we held several public events, including a Zumbathon, Golf Classic, our Annual 5K, a Pumpkin Decorating Contest, and the pink light bulb sales. Over forty local businesses participated in this year’s event, and countless residents helped by making direct donations or by visiting supporting businesses. I would like to express my personal gratitude to the members of the Team United U-13 Soccer Team for raising $4,000 by winning all their soccer matches in October. The kids from Team United, all our residents and businesses helped us realize this amazing milestone and are true Thurmont Heroes!

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

Emmitsburg’s accessible playground ribbon-cutting ceremony was held Saturday, November 2, 2019. The ribbon was cut by Mayor Don Briggs with Commissioner Tim O’Donnell, Catoctin Area Civitan’s Ginger Malone, Commissioner T.J. Burns, Commissioner Cliff Sweeney, Frederick County Executive Jan Gardner, and Frederick County Councilman Michael Blue. This new playground will allow children of all abilities to play side-by-side for years to come.

Donors for this project include the Department of Housing and Community Development, Department of Natural Resource (Program Open Space), and the Catoctin Area Civitan Club.

Emmitsburg

Mayor Don Briggs

Congratulations to those residents who came forth to run for the two open commissioner seats in the town election: two incumbents, Elizabeth Buckman and Glenn Blanchard and challengers Frank Davis and T.J. Burns. How can you lose when you step forward, especially when it is to present your perspective on care for the community? There are no losers.

Thank you to Glenn for the quiet, thoughtful presence he brought to the board of commissioners and the community. Whether in service as a St. Joseph’s board member, as a member of the American Legion and proud veteran, or the years in the classroom, his role is always as that needed steadying hand. Also being a world traveler, he contributed from those experiences and brought a wider perspective and balance to our town meetings.

Thank you to Elizabeth Buckman, a teacher, who often brought an energy centered on representing those in our community who are in need and possibly seldom heard. She also brought to the town meetings a broader perspective from her education and experiences. Congratulations to Commissioner Buckman on acceptance into a University of Pittsburgh graduate program. Her new studies will certainly ready her for the adventures that will be launched from that education. 

The new commissioners will assuredly bring a new energy and verve. 

On occasion, I have received inquiries as to infrastructure improvements during my time as mayor. The following is a recap of most, if not all, of those improvements that have been completed since July 1, 2014, or are anticipated to be completed in the near future.

•Capital Project spending (rounded): $149,000 – town square project town portion; $317,000 – paving and sidewalks; $700,000 – parks and recreation.

•Water: $29,000 – three phases of rip rap at Rainbow Lake; $134,000 – new waterline (North Seton Ave. and Main St.); $39,000 – LG Sonic (solar) – algae control Rainbow Lake; $219,000 – general repairs and maintenance; $13,000 – leak detection since 2017.

•Sewer: $17,000 – Power Star – water treatment; $18,000 – wastewater treatment plant (WWTP); $80,000 – sewer relining (East Main St.); $100,000 – pending sewer relining FY20; $2.5 – $3 million – pending new pumping station; $152,000 – general repairs and maintenance.

Annually, the town is committed to putting aside $65,000 for roads. We are working on another $1,000,000 investment in our water treatment plant that should create significant savings to the town.

The 38th Annual Fallen Firefighters Memorial Weekend was again a successful solemn tribute to the 119 firefighters honored this year. Adding to the tribute this year was the completion of the installation of the William Cochran Glass etching, “Volunteers” in front of the Frederick County Fire Rescue Museum. Congratulations to the officers of the museum. It was our pleasure in helping to raise funds for the project and assisting when requested. 

As of this writing, the redevelopment of the playground in Community Park to an all-inclusive playground is finishing up. This was a wonderful effort, which could not have been accomplished without support from the state, county, the Civitan Club, and lots of town staff “elbow grease.” It was a pleasure working with the contractor, Playground Specialists, and their field manager, Emmitsburg’s own Tim Boyle. We are very proud of this and a ribbon cutting is tentatively been set for 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, November 2. Please check the town website, channel 99, and/or Facebook for confirmation of date and time.

Congratulations to Emmitsburg resident Emmy Award-winner Conrad Weaver for his award-winning documentary, Heroin’s Grip. It was screened on Capitol Hill on October 16 in the Cannon House Office Building. Conrad and his team, together with Congressman Jamie Raskin (D-MD) and others in the Maryland delegation, hosted the event.

Hope you enjoyed the Halloween parade and festivities and are readying for a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Thurmont

 Mayor John Kinnaird

We have survived another Colorfest, and my impression is that this was a profitable one for many of our nonprofits. I also spoke to many vendors, all of whom said they were very happy with the turnout. The weather was ideal and that brought out nice crowds of visitors. I want to thank all our residents, vendors, and nonprofits for helping make this a successful Colorfest weekend.

The Thurmont Lions Club is celebrating its 90th Anniversary this year, and the Lions have been an active participant in our community for each one of those 90 years. With one of the most active memberships of any organization, the Lions have supported a wide range of activities, from their annual Easter Egg Hunt to the amazing improvements they brought to the Trolley Trail. The Lions sandwich sales, Community Show booth, and Colorfest stand allow them to raise funds that stay within our community. The Thurmont Lions Club is one of the pieces that make the Thurmont the community we all love. Here’s to another 90 successful years for the Thurmont Lions Club!

One of the most popular events in Thurmont is Halloween in the Park. This year’s event has been rescheduled to November 2 due to the weather forecast. Halloween in the Park is attended by thousands each year, and we all have an amazing time while raising funds and donations for the Thurmont Food Bank. The two driving forces behind this fun evening, since the first year, have been Jill and Wayne Hooper. Each year, Jill and Wayne are out collecting donations, encouraging volunteers to help, and making sure that everyone knows about the event. Then, during the week leading up to Halloween in the Park, they are working every day to get things set up just right. They always seem to be everywhere at once during the event and make sure we all enjoy ourselves. Sadly, Jill passed away June 10 of this year, and Wayne has taken on the responsibility of organizing this once again. This year’s event is titled “Jill’s Chills and Thrills,” in honor of her love of Halloween. I hope everyone has a great time, thinks fondly of Jill and her love for this event, and that everyone takes a minute to thank Wayne for bringing so much fun to our community.

Christmas in Thurmont will be here on December 7. Be sure to be on the lookout for information about the day coming soon. There will be games, crafts, and prizes for all ages, as well as a visit with Santa! We will have the extremely popular Christmas Train Garden set up again this year. The Frederick County Society of Model Engineers will be hosting the display on each Saturday and Sunday leading up to Christmas. Our thanks to the FCSME and Thurmont’s Acacia Lodge No. 155 for working with the Town of Thurmont to make this possible.

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

Emmitsburg

Mayor Don Briggs

I was at the President’s ‘State of the Mount’ opening day presentation to the university team. President Tim Trainor delivered an inspiring ramp-up to prepare for the year. First impressions are important, and everyone was readying to help the next day with the first-year student move-ins. The program included the status of major projects. First, a much-needed student multi-purpose building is ready for use. Next, plans for the Frederick Memorial Hospital (FMH) Urgent Care Center, a partnership with the Mount, is at the final conceptual plan phase. Opening may be as early as December 2020. Then, potential development of a county regional park on 130+ acres of Mount property. If that wasn’t enough, the potential development of a Mount School of Health Professionals graduate school program in town.

Alas, the final town pool party of the summer happened with a DJ music, ice cream truck, hot dogs, lemonade, hamburgers, and cheeseburgers. Thanks to Jubilee, Carriage House Inn, and  McDonalds. Over 200 people swam, ate, and danced. Libby, Maddy, Amy, Frank, Don, and Glenn worked the food stand.

After two years of working toward it, there will be a Boys and Girls Club in Emmitsburg this fall. The club will be held at the elementary school when the school is open and at Christ’s Community Church on the other days.

National Night Out 2.0 was special. Over 500 people attended the event in Community Park to enjoy the pleasant evening as guests of the town and Sheriff Jenkins. There was a K-9 team exhibition, the SWAT team members and vehicle, Vigilant Hose fire truck, and for the town’s part, 30 vendors ranging from ice cream, hot dogs, EBPA, Boys and Girls Club, YMCA, and many county service departments were on-hand. There were pony rides and a petting zoo to boot.

On the calendar: The 63rd Emmitsburg & Thurmont Community Show weekend is coming up September 6 through 8. Always special, the Fallen Firefighters Memorial Weekend is coming up in October. Ninety-two firefighters who died in the line of duty in 2018 and 27 firefighters from other years who met the inclusion criteria will be honored.

Construction of the William Cochran glass etching commemorating firefighters in action has begun. The etching will be located in front of the Frederick County Fire Museum. Mr. Cochran is nationally known for his public art projects. Locally, he is well-known for the “Community Bridge” a trompe l’oeil mural that spans over Carroll Creek in Frederick, Maryland. The glass etching will be a wonderful addition to what Emmitsburg offers.

Congratulations to Francis E. Smith, who by unanimous board approval and proclamation, became the Town of Emmitsburg Poet Laurate. Francis, who turned 94 years young in August, has lived in Emmitsburg since he built a home for his family in 1971. Professionally, Francis taught high school English and Latin for over 40 years at then Taneytown High School and then Francis Scott Key High School, and has published several books of poems. He is a special person. He contributes monthly to The Catoctin Banner Newzine, and from time to time, his poems will be included on the town Facebook page and website.

Finally, school is back in session; stay alert and be careful.

James Rada, Jr.

A small group of town and county representatives helped dedicate the three new waysides that are the hoped-for beginning of a historic Emmitsburg walking trail. The dedication took place Saturday morning, June 29, 2019.

The Emmitsburg Town Commissioners approved the development and installation of three markers in town to describe some historic sites in Emmitsburg.

The first is on the southeast corner of the town square and talks about the historical significance of the square.

“Just think for a moment,” Mayor Don Briggs said during his remarks, “We are standing where so many before have stood, moved around in Independence times, the Civil War, both World Wars, the Depression, and waved to President Eisenhower and Mamie on the way to their farm in Gettysburg.”

The other two markers are across the street from the Emmit House and the Doughboy statue. The Emmit House is a historical building with roots back to 1850, when it was known as Black’s Tavern.

The Doughboy is a historical statue erected to honor the town’s World War I Veterans.

Mayor Briggs; Frederick County Executive Jan Gardner; County Councilman Michael Blue; Emmitsburg Town Commissioners Tim O’Donnell, Cliff Sweeney, and Joe Ritz; and other county representatives were on hand to cut the ribbon, officially dedicating the waysides. Blue also read a proclamation from the county, declaring June 29, 2019, as Emmitsburg Community Heritage Day.

Briggs said that the square wayside dedication marked the end was nearing for the square revitalization and sidewalks projects. The town square revitalization efforts started in 2011. Since then, trees were planted, attractive brick work replaced cement, a town clock was erected, an informational kiosk installed, ADA-compliant curbing installed, and more. Briggs called it an “eight-year overnight success.”

“Once again, the square is pedestrian attractive, safer, and friendly,” Briggs remarked.

The waysides are designed and written by Ruth Bielobocky of Ion Design Firm and Scott Grove of Grove Public Relations.

The waysides are funded with a $9,000 grant from the Maryland Heritage Area Authority. The long-term goal is to create a historic walking tour through the town.

On June 29, 2019, Emmitsburg Town, Frederick County dignitaries, and community members gathered to dedicate the new wayside signs on a historic Emmitsburg walking trail through town.

Mayor Don Briggs

There are still more of the Emmitsburg ensemble of summer activities!

National Night Out will be held on Tuesday, August 6, from 6:00-8:30 p.m., in Community Park. PLEASE check or recheck your calendar; the town is hosting this event. The event will feature the Sheriff, the Sheriff’s Department Swat Team, Swat Team vehicle, and K 9 team, plus 30-some venders, free hotdogs, Rita’s Ice, and maybe more.

Over 170 people attended the town-sponsored second summer pool party on Friday, July 12. This was a record attendance for a pool party. There will be more DJ music, free while-they-last hot dogs, Rita’s Ice, and lemonade at the third and final pool party on August 16, from 6:00-8:00 p.m. The cost is $1.00 for those who do not have a pool membership. 

The disc golf course designers were in town to familiarize themselves with the lay of the land in Community Park. Part of the course layout may go through wooded areas in an ecologically balanced way.

Look for more Parks and Rec Committee concerts in Community Park: Friday, August 2, 6:00-9:00 p.m., with Party Rock from the 70s, 80s, and 90s; Friday, August 30, 7:00-8:00 p.m., with American & Comedy “Christine and the Road King.”

Please heed or assist those in need, “Food 4 Kids” pickups are at Elias Lutheran Church on Wednesdays, 3:00-6:00 p.m., August 7, 14, and 28, and Wednesday, September 18. Also at Elias Lutheran Church, food giveaways from the Maryland Food Bank are Wednesdays, 3:00-6:00 p.m., August 14 and September 18.

The Square, Doughboy, and Emmit House wayside exhibits are now in place after the special Community Day ribbon-cutting with County Executive Jan Garner, our Northern Frederick District County Council representative Michael Blue, and Dr. Denis Onieal, Deputy U.S. Fire Administrator, joining us. Our 2020 Maryland Historical Trust (MHT) grant request was approved for four additional wayside exhibits, to include the Vigilant Hose Company, the Chronicle Press building, Carriage House Inn, and the Great Emmitsburg Fire. Our hope is to add wayside exhibits to the town streetscape every year under this grant program. 

The re-adaption of the Community Park playground to an all-inclusive playground, with the cooperation of weather, will be completed and operable by mid-to-late October. To our grant sources and the wonderful assistance from the Catoctin Area Civitan Club contribution, “thank you.”

The Community Pool will be open through Labor Day, Monday, September 2.

The town’s regularly scheduled meeting will be held Tuesday, September 3, at 7:30 p.m.

From the Town to all: thank you for being a part of and contributing to the Emmitsburg Community. Please, please be careful of the heat. If in need, stop by the Seton Center for water and a break.

Emmitsburg

 Mayor Don Briggs

Summer in Emmitsburg is blooming.

The pool, dog park, exercise trail, multi-use trail, and ball fields are all in use and all busy.

The first pool party was held on June 21. Mark your calendar for the remaining ones: Friday, July 12, 6:00-8:00 p.m., and Friday, August 16, 6:00-8:00 p.m. The cost is $1.00 for all who are not pool members. There will be free hot dogs and cold drinks.

We will be hosting National Night Out on Friday, August 16, from 6:00-8:30 p.m. The Sheriff’s Department SWAT Team, Swat Team vehicle, and K9 team will all be there, along with many vendors, free hot dogs, Rita’s Ice, and maybe more.

Disc golf is coming to the Community Park. We will begin designing the course layout during the next weeks.

Great concert opener in Community Park from Commissioner Ritz and the Parks and Rec Committee. Nothing like Irish traditional music, which was provided by Morningstar to entrance and entertain. Coming up on Friday, August 2, 6:00-9:00 p.m. is Party Rock from the 70s, 80s, and 90s. Friday, August 30, 7:00-8:00 p.m. is American & Comedy “Christine and the Road King.” Also, on Saturday, July 27, 10:00 a.m.-noon, will be “Creatures Big and Small,” a traveling petting zoo is coming to town.

Need a little extra food for your kids this summer? Come to Elias Lutheran Church, “Food 4 Kids” Wednesdays, on July 10 and 24, August 7, 14, and 28, and September 18, from 3:00-6:00 p.m. Also, at Elias Lutheran Church, there will be food giveaways from the Maryland Food Bank, Wednesdays, July 24, August 14, and September 18, from 3:00-6:00 p.m.

From Commissioner O’Donnell: 60-100 young bikers and parents are coming to Emmitsburg on Community Heritage Day weekend for a National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA) sponsored mountain biking event. Recreational Equipment Inc. (REI) representatives will be here to monitor Teen Trail Corp mandatory work project on the town multi-use trail on Sunday, June 30. The group will be camping out on the Indian Lookout Conservation Club property.

I attended the Emmitsburg–Thurmont Flag Day commemoration, held this year in Thurmont. The annual event hosting rotates every other year between the towns. Very solemn tribute. Thank you to the sponsors, the Thurmont American Legion, Thurmont AMVETS, Emmitsburg AMVETS Post No. 7, the Emmitsburg American Legion, and Emmitsburg VFW Post No. 6658.

The first three wayside exhibits are in place in the downtown historic district, for the Square, the Doughboy statue, and the Emmit House. This is the first set of what is hoped to be annual additions under a grant for a historic tour. Next year, Vigilant Hose Company, Chronicle Press, and The Carriage House Inn should be added.

A wonderful addition to the downtown square, provided by the town grant program, is the deep red “brick” color of the middle Ott House building.

I also attended the last two-day segment of the state-sponsored climate leadership classes.

The 36th Annual Community Heritage Day is Saturday, June 29. Another wonderful day is planned in the park, on the Square, along the parade route, and the grand finale fireworks display. Wayside signs ribbon-cuttings to dedicate the signs start at the Square at 9:30 a.m., then onto the Doughboy and Emmit House. Thank you to the Heritage Community Day committee, Jenn Joy, and Commissioner Sweeney.

Happy Fourth of July to all. Please, please, relax, kick back, and invite friends over. Enjoy Emmitsburg, the best place to live, work, play, and visit.

Mayor Don Briggs and members of the Emmitsburg Business and Professionals Association hosted the quarterly Emmitsburg Business Professionals Breakfast Meeting at the Carriage House Inn in Emmitsburg on May 23, 2019.

County Executive Jan Gardner was the featured speaker. She spoke about the importance of small businesses and the Frederick County Office of Economic Development indicating that over 100 small businesses operate in Emmitsburg. She was proud to announce that the FY 2020 Frederick County Budget passed with a 7-0 vote. She also gave an update on county-wide topics that impact our small towns including recycling, agriculture, green initiatives, economic development, professional development, etc.

Mayor Briggs and Zach Gulden, Emmitsburg’s Town Planner gave an update on several projects around town including the sidewalks, bridge, and sign ordinance. Sister Martha with the Seton Center indicated that many good things are under way at the center with a dental program, career education, and other programs in the planning stages.

Various members gave updates about business and invitations for activities and events. Wayne Slaughter, Michael Cantori, and Allen Knott, officers of the EBPA, updated members about plans and social events like happy hour at the Ott House on Tuesday evenings. For more information, please visit EBPA’s new website www.EmmitsburgBusiness.com.

Emmitsburg has so much activity to distill. May was a very active month. Lots of congratulations to go around. I was a Hood “Green Team Festival” forum panelist with the mayor of Frederick, County Executive Jan Gardner, and the mayor of Myersville. It was a well-attended, solid program.

May marks the 50th anniversary of the Seton Center providing service to our community. I spoke at the open house celebration. Again, congratulations to the Seton Center.

Recently, I attended with the 99th commissioning ceremony of the Reserve Officer Training Corp (ROTC) at Mount St. Mary’s University. Nine graduating students were commissioned as second lieutenants in the U.S. Army.

The Vigilant Hose Company held the dedication ceremony of Engine 61 and the retiring of Engine 63 thirty years to the day, May 7, of Engine 63’s installation. The new Engine 61 has a 1,000-gallon water tank and much more. Engine 63 will join another VHC engine, donated by VHC 30 years ago, to the Pine Mountain, Arkansas, firehouse.

By the way, happy 120th anniversary to Woodsboro Bank.

The Emmitsburg Business and Professional Association (EBPA) hosted a spring breakfast with the town, during which County Executive Gardner was the guest speaker. Following the breakfast, the dedication of Electric Vehicle (EV) stations behind the Emmitsburg Community Building was held and County Executive Gardner participated. More ribbon cuttings will follow on future dates for the dedication of the new Wayside signs in town—at the square, Doughboy, and Emmit House.

The Seton Center had another graduating class from the Seton Center’s “Getting Ahead” program. Congratulations to the graduates who are now poised and more prepared with new tools for the management of their lives.

A big congratulations goes out to the 2019 graduating classes at Mount St. Mary’s University and Catoctin High School. Commissioner O’Donnell stood in for me at the Catoctin High School graduation, as I was in Colorado for our granddaughter’s high school graduation.

Another super Vigilant Hose Company “Spring Fling” event was held at the Vigilant Hose Company’s Activities Facility that is now accessible by a sidewalk extension, thanks to County Executive Gardner.

June is filling up quickly for me with meetings in preparation of the new Boys and Girls Club in Emmitsburg that opens this fall, as well as attending the Maryland Municipal League summer conference. This year, Commissioner Sweeney and Commissioner Ritz will join me and Commissioners Blanchard and O’Donnell for more climate leadership classes.

I am most excited about the 36th Annual Community Heritage Day celebration to be held Saturday, June 29. This year, another wonderful day is planned in the park, on the Town Square, in town, along the parade route, and all over town. Of course, the grand finale fireworks display will be spectacular, I’m sure.

 Emmitsburg, a great place to live, work and visit.

Emmitsburg

 Mayor Don Briggs

Like everyone, the town started the New Year at full pace. Here are a few things the town is working on.

This spring, through grant assistance, the town will be adding wayside exhibits to our historic district streetscape, describing the role of the Square, the Doughboy, and the Emmit House history of the town. The exhibits are intended to complement the ones situated in front of the post office, which describe the encampment of the Union forces in the town before embarking to Gettysburg in those first days of July in 1863. But, complement in an enhanced manner. The new 24 x 36-inch exhibits will not only contain narrative accounts but also supporting photography and other depictions.

Moving forward, the town is applying for grants for exhibits featuring the Vigilant Hose Company on West Main Street, the Great Emmitsburg Fire on East Main Street, the Chronicle Press – Schoolhouse, and the Carriage House Inn on South Seton Avenue. As an administrative goal, and much dreamed and talked about by many, Emmitsburg will have points of interest identified for a visitor’s walking tour in the near future.

Finally, the four electric vehicle (EV), level two, recharge stations have been installed. At times, it has been a cumbersome journey for the town staff to coordinate work under grant guidelines with the contractor, the power company, and the county. The stations are wired for future level three service and should be operational by the end of February.

Emmitsburg encompasses more than the quaint community, set between and along Toms Creek and Flat Run Creek. It includes over 900 acres of forest land situated, generally, on the north and west faces of College Mountain that are outside of town limits. To be more exact, according to Michael Kay of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, the town has 947 acres of forest, 23 acres of fields, and 17 acres of reservoir “up there.” Some of its mountain holdings, 400-450 acres and another 130-140 acres along Scott Road, were given to the town around the year 2000 through the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and the Conservation Fund, of which I served as a facilitator. Some twelve years later, after I was elected in 2013, I directed the staff to order a forestry report. The report, once in hand, not only described the holdings but also set out recommendations to protect its health. Deer feeding, invasive plants, gypsy moth defoliation, “oak decline,” and emerald ash borers over time have damaged the healthy regeneration of our forest. The report calls for timbering as a necessary step. Mr. Kay’s recommended action was presented to and approved by the town council during the January meeting. There are various intensities of cutting timber. As recommended, only select-cutting, as opposed to clear cutting, will be permitted. Of the 18 tracts identified in the report, a 60-acre tract near Rainbow Lake will be select-cut later this year. The plan is to timber one or two tracts annually, thereafter.

While bracing for our share of snow, ice, and/or rain, my thoughts are towards an early spring.

Thurmont

 Mayor John Kinnaird

On January 31, 2019, the residents of Thurmont lost to retirement one of the hardest working and dedicated employees they have ever known. On that day, Butch West retired from his job with the Town of Thurmont after forty-one years. In those years, Butch held many positions and worked his way up through the ranks to serve as superintendent of Public Works.

I have known Butch for many years, but it wasn’t until I was first elected that I realized how much he was intertwined in the day-to-day operations of our town. Butch has taught me a lot about the inner workings of Thurmont, our streets, parks, and electric system. On any given day, Butch literally seems to be everywhere at the same time. He spends most days going from one project or problem to another, supervising, providing advice, or getting his hands dirty working alongside our crews. He has never shied away from digging right in and helping get things done. I learned early on that if I asked Butch to do something next week, he was already thinking about how to get it done before I was finished telling him what I wanted, and he usually had it finished that day or the next. He made sure things were completed well in advance of when you expected them to be done. Butch began each day by driving around Thurmont and checking on everything from street lights to trash pickup. He has an encyclopedic knowledge of the vast majority of our town’s infrastructure and could pinpoint issues and devise solutions on the fly.

For many years, Butch seemed to forgo vacation time or scheduled days off; only recently, has he started taking the days off he was entitled to. This was a problem for me because I was used to calling him any day of week and he would be right there. I was quite surprised the first time I called him and he said he had the day off. Needless to say, after January 31, I will not have to worry about whether he is at work or off enjoying his free time.

The town employees have a picnic every year, and the commissioners and I have the opportunity to say a few words to the staff. I usually tell them that one of their main jobs is to make the commissioners and I look good, and Butch always laughs about this. As an elected official, I am basically a part-timer, whereas Butch and all of our staff are on the job full-time. It is through the hard work of employees like Butch that our town is the great place that we all love and enjoy.

It is hard to believe, but Butch has been here through ten mayoral elections, and during those terms, he has served our residents and elected officials with courtesy and a level of dedication that is above what anyone could expect. The first time I saw Butch after being elected, he was standing in a ditch manning a shovel to help fix a water-line leak. Last week, I called Butch about meeting me to see about some concrete that had been dropped on one of our streets; by the time I got there, he already had most of it cleaned up on his own. Some things never change! I will miss seeing and speaking to Butch on a daily basis, but it is time for him to start enjoying his days with his lovely and understanding wife, his children, and his grandchildren. On behalf of our residents, I want to thank him for all he has done for us during his forty-one-year career with the Town of Thurmont. I also want to th

Emmitsburg

 Mayor Don Briggs

In our Community Christmas Stocking

Thank you to those who added the trees on the square, and then, decorated them. A spontaneous occurrence and a very nice added touch.

Thank you town staff for the decorations at the square and at the Community Center. Many compliments.

Thank you E&E Trees, Walkersville Tree Farm, Ken and Barbara Willets, for donating the beautiful town Christmas tree.

Thank you third grade class at Mother Seton School, and all the grades from elementary school, for decorating the town Christmas tree in front of the Community Center, adding to the trimming efforts of the town staff.

Thank you to all the volunteers of our churches, organizations, and businesses who participated in the various Emmitsburg events, starting with the traditional town Christmas tree lighting, on the first Monday in December, in front of the town office, Christ Community Church children’s chorus (My error on invitation to Mother Seton School. They will be singing next year.), Santa Claus arriving in a Vigilant Hose truck, the lighting of the tree, then following Santa on foot to the Carriage House Inn for the 30th Annual “An Evening of Christmas Spirit.” The weather was kind again to the many who attended.  

The state finished the square and sidewalks project, except for some loose brick work. Just can’t seem to get the state’s contractors out of here.

Things are moving along on the Flat Run Bridge project, with the concrete being poured for the new bridge lanes. If the weather cooperates, the complementary road work could be completed and we could have a lane switch by the New Year.

For the New Year

Lots of New Year’s resolutions to add to pushing away from the table with a little bit more fervor and with more, much more, resolve. Oh well…

Mount St. Mary’s University is moving ahead with plans to enter a venture with Frederick Memorial Hospital affiliate to build a medical facility on its campus. At the facility, primary and urgent care will be available for students, faculty, and community residents. The university will make a presentation on the proposed medical facility at the January 7, 2019, town meeting, at 7:30 p.m.

At the January 30 Green Team meeting, Hilari Varnadore, Director, LEED for Cities and Communities, U. S. Green Building Council (USGBC) will be the guest speaker. LEED is an acronym for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. The topic will be: Helping cities and communities use data to drive more sustainable, equitable investments. Hilari was formerly with Star Communities, which recently merged with the USGBC. Before that, she headed up the Frederick County Sustainability Office that assisted the Frederick County Sustainability Commission when I was chairman of the commission.   

With the New Year comes the sad reality that after seventy-four years of service to the community, Zurgables Hardware will be closed. All those convenient planned and emergency stops no more. According to Mark Zurgable, it was time. Mark has owned and operated the store for thirty-nine years. Thank you, Mark, for all the years of service to the community at your store.

To all, hoping you all had a wonderful Christmas and have a wonderful New Year. Emmitsburg, a great place to live.

Thurmont

  Mayor John Kinnaird

Mayor John Kinnaird was as busy as Santa Claus at the time of our deadline for this issue, and we think his column may have been eaten by a reindeer! He wishes everyone a Happy New Year!

Emmitsburg

 Mayor Don Briggs

This year, Northern Frederick County residents will get a great Christmas present. The Hayward Road-U.S. 15 intersection is closed. Amen. For years—no, generations—this intersection was one of the worst traffic spots in the county. Stop and think of all the trips that you, your friends, or family members whistled by there at 60 mph or merged first south from Hayward Road across traffic to make a “J” to go north in all types of weather, at all times of day. Travel through there was always a chilling reality.

For me, the newly completed and opened overpass of U.S. 15, connecting Monocacy Boulevard and Christopher Crossing, conjured up thoughts of approaching the ANZAC bridge in Sydney Harbor, Australia. That bridge, that trip, was spectacular. So was the opening of the overpass for us from the north who now have safe and easy access to the many shopping and service opportunities on Route 26, as well as to the primary location for county medical services along Thomas Johnson Drive.

Going back some 30 years, when I was a member of the Frederick City Planning and Zoning Commission, there was a deadly automobile accident at the Hayward Road-U.S. 15 intersection. It was not the first accident nor was it to be the last. At that time, frustration was high on the commission and in the community, “Please, State do something.” The Maryland State Highway Administration was requested to send a representative to the commission’s next meeting, and did. At that meeting, the representative made a presentation, and in the end, joined in with our frustration, “Sorry, there is nothing we can do. There are over 1,000 similarly dangerous intersections in the state like the Hayward Road-U.S. 15 intersection.” That is my recollection almost verbatim. And that was that.

Update: The trees are in place along Main Street. We have been assured that they are different varieties from those planted thirty years ago. Not fruit bearing, and the shape and growth will be more controlled.

Thank you to the EBPA for the series of volunteer clean-ups around town. It was a wonderful gift to the town.

There are many wonderful community events planned throughout the Christmas season, so please check our town website and Facebook page.

I hope all had a wonderful Thanksgiving, and from my family to yours, we hope you have a wonderful Christmastide and Happy New Year.

Thurmont

 Mayor John Kinnaird

Thurmont held its annual Gateway to the Cure fundraiser in October. At the Town Meeting on November 20, we presented the Patty Hurwitz Fund at Frederick Memorial Hospital with a donation of $18,000. These funds were raised by Thurmont businesses, organizations, individuals, the 5K Run, as well as through the sale of pink lightbulbs and other items. The funds will be used by the Patty Hurwitz Fund to help support research and cancer patient services at FMH. I want to thank everyone that participated in this year’s event. With your help, cancer patients now get treatments in Frederick that just a few years ago were not locally available. This year’s donations brings our five year total to $62,000! All of our residents and businesses should be very proud of this accomplishment.

Be sure to visit the model train display at 5B East Main Street, open weekends during December. The display is open Saturdays, from 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m., and Sundays, from noon-4:00 p.m. The train setup is courtesy of the Frederick County Society of Model Engineers. The Society is partnering with the Town of Thurmont to make this display possible as a part of Christmas in Thurmont. As a special treat, Santa will be at the display on December 15, 16, 22, and 23. Stop in to see this amazing train display!

The New Year is almost here, I find it hard to believe that 2019 is upon us. It will take me at least a month to write the correct date! With the new year comes the annual park pavilion registration. Be sure to watch for the opening date for reserving park pavilions. I am happy to announce that we were just informed that we will be awarded Project Open Space funding for a new pavilion at the Community Park. I hope we can begin construction on this new pavilion in the spring and have it available by summer.

The coming year will bring new projects and infrastructure repairs, and we will be sure to let everyone know when work will be done. New schedules for grass clipping pickup, bulk trash removal, trash pickup holiday changes, and other important dates for 2019 will be sent with your electric bill and posted on the Thurmont Facebook page and website.

On behalf of the town staff and the Thurmont Board of Commissioners, it has been our pleasure to serve the residents of Thurmont, and we wish everyone a Very Merry Christmas and the Happiest of New Years!

Questions, comments, or suggestions are always welcome. Call me at 301-606-9458 or email me at jkinnaird@thurmont.com.

Emmitsburg

Mayor Don Briggs

For our active town, the first two weeks of October, predictably, are always busy, but this year was off the charts. It started off with the town meeting on the first Monday, Thursday, a teleconference with Maryland Mayor’s Board executive committee; and Friday night, Catoctin High homecoming float judging with Thurmont Mayor John Kinnaird. We quickly deferred our votes to my granddaughters, Kiernan and Peyton, who chose the 4-H float as the winner. Saturday morning, town offices opened to host the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF) Memorial weekend activities. At noon, I attended and spoke at a ribbon-cutting grand re-opening of McDonald’s. That night, I attended Motorola – NFFF Board of Directors dinner at the Carriage House Inn. Sunday morning, I attended the 37th NFFF Memorial Service, where 103 fallen firefighters were honored, and I gave the welcoming address, which is always an honor. Monday welcomed the National Fire Heritage Board at its annual meeting. Tuesday, I attended and received an award for the town from the International Society of Arboriculture at its annual meeting, held this year in Frederick. Then, off to Annapolis I went to the League of Conservation Voters awards dinner, where the town was recognized. Wednesday and Thursday, I attended Maryland Municipal League Fall conference, where the town’s application for Sustainable Maryland re-designation certification was awarded.

More on the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) award: The International award is given out annually. ISA is an international non-profit organization that serves the tree care industry. The organization has 22,000 members and 31,000 certified tree care professionals. It has 59 chapters in North America, Europe, Asia, South America, Australia, and New Zealand.

The town was honored to receive the 2018 ISA “Harry J. Banker Gold Leaf Award” for Outstanding Arbor Day Activities. This is a great honor, and kudos go to our staff for forging ahead on our green stewardship goals to take care of the wonderful blend and backdrop to our town. What we did was plant trees in the park along Willow Run. It was a fantastic town effort, with every civic organization, including the Mount, FEMA, the Basilica, and the whole Mount rugby team.

Thank you to the Seton Center for hosting another round of job fairs. A convenient, friendly way for residents of Northern Frederick County to meet area employers. They’re coming to us.

While winter sports are ramping up, Catoctin High School and Catoctin Youth Association fall sports teams are on a roll. What a year. A few losses here and there, but as any coach will tell you, a loss can sometimes prove to be your best win.

Thank you to all the service groups, led by the Lions Club, involved in the planning and organizing of the Emmitsburg annual Halloween event.

The town office will be closed on Thursday, November 22, and Friday, November 23, for Thanksgiving.

Monday, December 3, is the Christmas tree lighting in front of the Community Center. Music and caroling begin at 5:45 p.m. Santa visits from 6:00-6:30 p.m., then it’s down two blocks to the Carriage House Inn for the annual “An Evening of Christmas Spirit,” featuring free hot dogs, cider, hay rides, and entertainment.

The Town council meeting is Tuesday, December 4.

Happy Thanksgiving wishes to everyone.

Emmitsburg, a great place to live and work.

Thurmont

Mayor John Kinnaird

Now that the elections have come and gone, I want to congratulate those returning to office and those who have been newly elected to serve our residents. I also want to thank those whose campaigns were unsuccessful for trying to make a difference. As we all witnessed during the campaign, things can get very nasty. In today’s world, it is getting more difficult for people to decide to run for public office; those that do must be able to withstand the onslaught of negativity that seems to surround our election process. It is my belief that the thought of negative campaigning has kept some from stepping up to serve. I hope we can work together to overcome this unfortunate aspect of elections.

Christmas will soon be here and with it comes Christmas in Thurmont! This year’s event will be held on Saturday, December 1, 2018, beginning at 9:00 a.m. with the arrival of Santa at Mechanicstown Square Park. Kids can register for free prizes all day at the Park; prizes will be drawn at 5:30 p.m. (must be present to win). Adults can register for prizes by picking up a prize map and visiting local businesses; the drawing is also at 5:30 p.m. (must be present to win). There will be horse and wagon rides available at the Thurmont Municipal Parking Lot. Please watch for more information about the wagon rides on the Thurmont or Main Street Facebook pages. After the ribbon-cutting, there will be free photos with Santa in the Gazebo until 12:30 p.m.; kids, parents, grandparents, and pets are welcome. Santa will then be at the Thurmont Regional Library at 1:00 p.m. to read to the children and sit for photos. Santa will return to the Mechanicstown Square Park at 2:15 p.m. for more photos with his friends. Pictures with Santa will end at 4:30 p.m. The Catoctin High School Marching Band will be performing, as will the Gateway Brass Ensemble.

We are happy to announce a great new feature at this year’s Christmas in Thurmont: a model train setup at 5B East Main Street. The Frederick County Society of Model Engineers (FCSME) will have an indoor train set up, not only for Christmas in Thurmont, but for each Saturday and Sunday in December. The display will be open Saturdays, 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.; and Sundays, noon-4:00 p.m. As a special treat, Santa will be visiting the display several times to speak to the children and for photos. The Society will be asking for a donation to help with the renovations to its historic rail car in Frederick. We are very pleased to partner with the FCSME for this amazing opportunity!

This time of the year brings added difficulty for many of our neighbors, and I encourage everyone to support the Thurmont Food Bank and Clothes Closet. Your donations of non-perishable foods, clothing, or cash can help make a positive difference in someone’s life during the holiday season and into the cold winter months.

If you have any questions, comments, or recommendations, please call me at 301-606-9458 or e-mail me at jkinnaird@thurmont.com.

 

The Emmitsburg Council of Churches (ECC) enjoyed excellent participation and inspiring speakers at its first Community Unity Day, September 23, 2018. Addressing a large number of citizens, speakers at the event emphasized the importance of love and tolerance in direct opposition to the hatred and fear scattered by the carriers of racism and bigotry.

The Home Comfort Band provided bluegrass renditions of much-beloved hymns and songs. Their Psalms celebrating a loving and merciful God were appreciated.

Mark Long, Emmitsburg citizen and organizer, began the speaking portion of the celebration by welcoming everyone. Mark stepped forward to help organize the Community Unity Day in direct response to hateful literature left on the doorsteps of many Emmitsburg citizens. He recognized the speakers and government officials attending, including Emmitsburg Mayor Don Briggs; Thurmont Mayor John Kinnaird; town commissioners; county commissioners; and candidates for local office.

Pastor Richard Baker of Trinity United Methodist Church (UMC) welcomed everyone. He spoke about how his own denomination struggles with welcoming gay couples. He then offered the opening prayer for the unity celebration.

Mayor Don Briggs spoke about how important connection is within Emmitsburg. He shared about efforts to upgrade infrastructure and the community swimming pool, both of which build up and encourage community connections, to make the town a welcoming place for all persons.

The Rev. Jon Greenstone, President, Emmitsburg Council of Churches, and Pastor of Elias Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) spoke about the importance of countering the literature left by white supremacists on Emmitsburg residents’ doorsteps. He recounted the stirring history of Emmitsburg citizens standing up against slavery and bigotry.

The Rev. Bill Goal, Bishop, Delaware Maryland Synod of the ELCA, told how he has encountered racism in his own life as a parent of adopted biracial and African-American children. He provided ways to address “funny” racial remarks that are bigoted and hateful.

Roger Wilson, Director, Frederick County Government Affairs and Policy, spoke about how Frederick County had become a place persons want to live, work, and raise their families. He spoke about how this county, through its openness and diversity, welcomes all persons.

The Rev. Stacey Coles Wilson, Baltimore-Washington Conference of the UMC, spoke passionately of the history of racism and bigotry in the United States and the currents of change toward a diversity of humankind, united by love and tolerance.

Fr. Marty McGeough, St Joseph’s Parish, Roman Catholic Church, closed with prayer and loud Amens. The ECC will continue its efforts to demonstrate love and tolerance in Emmitsburg and beyond.

Rev. Stacey Coles Wilson, Baltimore-Washington Conference of the UMC, speaks of positive currents of change towards love and tolerance at the Community Unity Day on September 23, 2018.

Photo Courtesy of Debbie Wivell and Friends

Emmitsburg

Mayor Don Briggs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy fall and stay dry.

Thurmont

 Mayor John Kinnaird

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

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

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

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