Currently viewing the tag: "Mayor Don Briggs"

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.

Emmitsburg

Mayor Don Briggs

Attention! With September comes our children going to and from school, which means the added congestion of school buses stopping to pick up children crossing streets to catch buses. Please be extra careful.

All of the Catoctin High School and Catoctin Youth Association fall sports teams are in full swing with pre-season practices and scrimmages. Cross country, golf, field hockey, soccer, and volleyball are all gearing up. The first varsity football game with Boonsboro H.S. is set for August 31, at 7:00 p.m. A full slate of fall teams, pick one or all and support them.

The 2018 Mid Maryland United baseball program concluded its season in July with the 13U, 14U, and 15U teams winning championships at “The Battle of the Wood Bat” tournament in Emmitsburg, hosted by Mid Maryland United and Stinger Bat Company. The 10U, 12U, and 13U teams made their home in Emmitsburg at the Community Park and the Memorial Park fields. The 12U team ended its season ranked no. 1, and the 13U team ranked no. 4 in the state. Together, the Emmitsburg teams posted a combined record of 86-34-5 and won seven tournaments.

Memorial Park was also home to the First Annual Mid-Maryland United “Schools Out” Baseball Camp in mid-June. The camp was facilitated by 13U coach and Emmitsburg resident Ed Lowry and assisted by Mount Saint Mary’s University players Vaughn Parker, Nick Dellavalle, and Randall Minogue. That’s not all, Emmitsburg also hosted another successful tournament: “The Armed Forces Slugfest.”

Great feedback about the facilities and town by the visiting teams and their fans. More baseball is planned for the fall, maybe even another clinic to build for the spring 2019 season. If we can get the volunteers, we can grow baseball next spring, to start first with T-ball. Baseball is back. Let’s do it.

The 62nd Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show is coming up on September 7-9 at Catoctin High School. Free entry of exhibits on Thursday evening and Friday morning. The opening ceremony is scheduled for Friday at 7:00 p.m., with the 42nd Annual Community Flag Ceremony, accompanied by Bill and Andrew Douwes playing their bagpipes. The program will honor the 50th Anniversary of Catoctin High School and announcement of the 2018-19 Catoctin FFA Ambassador. On Saturday, there is a breakfast at 7:00 until 10:30 a.m., provided by the Thurmont Lions Club; a supper is at 3:00 until 7:00 p.m., provided by Thurmont Grange, fresh roasted turkey and country ham served in the cafeteria. Sunday, September 9, from noon until sold out, Catoctin FFA Alumni’s chicken BBQ will be served in the cafeteria.

Coming up on October 6–7, 2018, is the 37th National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Weekend, when we have the honor of welcoming nearly 6,000 guests. This year, the weekend events will honor firefighters who died in the line of duty during 2017 and previous years.

It appears Emmitsburg will soon have a William Cochran public artwork. Cochran is best known for his interpretive painting on one of the bridges that span the City of Frederick Carroll Creek Linear Park. Nothing will be more fitting for our community than to have a glass etching of firemen boarding a fire truck, setting out on an emergency run. The etching comes from the old Independence Hose Company in Frederick. 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-foot-high by 15-foot-wide work. The hope is to have construction completed for an unveiling on Fallen Firefighters Memorial Sunday.

Four level-two electronic vehicle (EV) charging stations should be installed and operable at the Community Center parking lot by no later than September 1. Though the town will soon have an electronic vehicle, the charging stations are primarily for visitors for a place where they can recharge vehicles while dining and shopping in our community.

The last day for the Farmer’s Market is Friday, September 21. The market is open 3:30-6:30 p.m. Thank you to our vendors and to the community for its support for another successful season.

Welcome, Mount students! Settling in always brings with it a welcome from the business community and some angst from residents. But in the end, let’s all live and work together for the betterment of this great community.

Thurmont

Mayor John Kinnaird

If you have not entered Thurmont by way of North Church Street recently you may not have seen that the Maryland Midland railroad bridge has been repainted and THURMONT painted on both sides. This project was a collaborative effort between several groups of interested parties, including the bridge painting committee, the public and the Board of Commissioners. The bridge committee started by crafting a survey to see how residents thought the bridge should be painted. After tabulating the surveying results, the decision was made to paint the bridge black with white lettering. The contractor, Black Land Industries from Baltimore, was selected from three quotes and was awarded the job. They started by painting the surface of both sides of the bridge. Then, two coats of an epoxy-based primer and two coats of black paint were applied. Finally, the lettering was added to each side and the final result is eye-catching. My thanks to the bridge-painting committee, all those who participated in the survey, town staff for moving this project forward, and, finally, Black Land Industries for helping bring this project to a successful conclusion.

This month, the Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show will be held the weekend  of September 7-9. This year, the Grange will be congratulating Catoctin High School on its 50th Anniversary during the opening ceremony on Friday. Be sure to attend the Community  Show to enjoy all the crafts, vegetables, fruits, cakes, photos, and animals on display. There is also live entertainment, auctions of the cakes, and many 4-H animals. You can enjoy tasty food the entire weekend, served by the Thurmont Lions Club, the Thurmont Grange, and the 4-H. The Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show is one of those events that sets our communities apart from others. This is a great opportunity to see how amazing our residents are! Join us for an amazing weekend.

With fall just around the corner, Colorfest is not far away. Planning for this annual event is addressed year-round, and several changes are being implemented again this year, including the banning of parking on both East Moser Road and North Church Street. Remember to get your permits for Colorfest in plenty of time to avoid the rush during the last week.

Finally, school is starting again and kids will be walking to and from schools and crossing our streets. Be on the lookout at all intersections for kids, and remember that Maryland Law requires you to stop for pedestrians in designated crosswalks. Of course, you should also watch for kids crossing streets where there are no crosswalks. Thurmont’s crossing guards will be on duty to make sure our walkers get to school safely. School buses will be picking up and dropping off kids on our streets. Be sure to obey the red lights on school buses; they are there to protect our children!

Please call me with any questions or comments at 301-606-9458 or e-mail me at jkinnaird@thurmont.com.

Emmitsburg

Mayor Don Briggs

The passing of beloved community family doctor, Dr. Alan Carroll, was a deep loss to our community. His practice of forty years is a part of tradition, part of our history. He was such a humble man, whose smile always beat his hand to greet you. It seemed I would always meet him going somewhere, mostly on his way to church. He was a wonderful husband and father of seven children, who filtered through our local schools and shared his and Rita’s graces. For me, there is something that Bishop Fulton J. Sheen had said, “A smile is laughter’s whisper and has roots in the soul,” and that is what you got every time you met the good doctor.

Because of weather and construction delays, the Square dedication scheduled for June 30 has been postponed until the fall.

Welcome to Emmitsburg, Richmond American Homes; your Model Grand Opening in the Brookfield subdivision drew many from near and far—what a gorgeous home that takes full advantage of the green mountain views and compliments the beautiful Brookfield setting.

Lib and I attended the Memorial Day Mass at St. Joseph’s Church and then joined the American Legion Honor Guard for visits to our six cemeteries, Legion Hall, and the Doughboy. It was wonderful to trail along for the solemn, respectful tribute to those who gave their lives, so we could live ours. At each stop, there was a 21-gun salute, a lowering of the Maryland flag respectively to our country’s flag, and the bugle sound of “Taps.”

The American Legion-VFW Honor Guard and the same from Thurmont held the annual Flag Day commemoration on June 14, at Memorial Park. As a tradition, the ceremony rotates location every year with Thurmont.

In June, I attended the Maryland Municipal League (MML) summer conference held in Ocean City, Maryland, and was a presenter for one of the sessions. As described by MML, my topic was “Sustainability According to Mark Twain.”  Mark Twain once said, “Common sense is not so common”; however, it should be common sense that we only use what we need and save the rest for future generations. In this session, the Town of Emmitsburg, winners of the 2017 Maryland Green Registry Leadership Award, reviewed what sustainability is, why it’s important, and the various sustainability projects Emmitsburg has completed. It was an honor.

At times challenging, the weather did break open to allow for our pool grand opening on June 2, with DJ music, food goodies, and sodas donated by Spike’s Auto and Tire of Emmitsburg.  Thank you to County Executive Gardner and three Veterans of Foreign War (VFW), Commander Marty Williams, Gene Lingg, and Pat Gjerde for joining us. Thank you, again, to our staff for pulling this together.

The grand opening of the new Seton Center is set for Tuesday, July 10, at 3:00 p.m. It’s a very green, green building, with special day lighting along the roofline to take advantage of borrowed light, solar renewable energy, water suppression fixtures, two dishwashers for cups and utensils—instead of using disposable paper cups and plastic utensils—and permeable pavers in the parking lot to reduce site runoff.

Thank you to the eight hundred firefighters from New Jersey who recently visited the National Emergency Training Center Campus for a weekend of Federal training. For about twenty-five weekends a year, we have firemen from different states come in for these trainings.

Welcome, summer!

Thurmont

Mayor John Kinnaird

The past month has been very busy! Thurmont CAO Jim Humerick, CFO Linda Joyce, Main Street Manager Vickie Grinder, Commissioner Wes Hamrick, and I attended the 2018 Maryland Municipal League (MML) Summer Conference in Ocean City, Maryland. The opportunity to participate in seminars and discussion groups with other municipalities makes you realize that—big or small—all of our communities face similar issues. Every time I return from the MML Conference, I am reminded that Thurmont has benefited for many years from the knowledge and understanding we bring back from this worthwhile week. Three weeks ago, I attended the Project Open Space funding meeting for Frederick County Municipalities. Each year, we get together to allocate the State of Maryland POS funds for our communities. This meeting is always a very friendly event, with give and take from each community. I am pleased to say that Thurmont has been awarded $68,106 to help build a third pavilion at the Community Park, and an additional $13,320 to assist with the installation of lights on the Trolley Trail. I expect both of these projects to be completed within the coming year.

This coming month will be filled with lots of events and activities. The Guardian Hose Company Carnival will be held the week of July 9-14. There will be rides, games, great food, live entertainment every night, and bingo. Be sure to get the kids together for the Annual Parade on Thursday, July 12, beginning at 6:30 p.m. Join me for six evenings of fun, friends, and great food! On Friday, July 13, Fox 5 will be in Thurmont for a Zip Trip. Fox 5 will be broadcasting live, four times an hour, from 6:00-10:00 a.m. This will be a great opportunity for people to see our community and learn about what makes Thurmont special. Be sure to tell your friends and family to watch Fox 5 on July 13, and then come out to see the live broadcast. If you have not stopped at the Thurmont Main Street Farmers Market, you are missing out on some great local produce, beef, BBQ ribs, handmade crafts, pork, homemade jams, fresh baked goodies, and lots of other items! The market is held at the Municipal Parking lot on South Center Street every Saturday from 9:00 a.m.-noon. Be sure to stop and pick up some local goodness. The Town of Thurmont is sponsoring a recreation program in the Community Park on July 23-26 and July 30-August 2. The program is open to kids ages five to fifteen and will feature a different focus each day. The program runs from 8:30 a.m.-noon, and costs $10.00 per day or $35.00 per week. Be sure to stop at the Town Office or call 301-271-7313 to register your kids for this fun-filled summer program.

All of our schools are now out on summer vacation, and our children are outside riding bikes, skateboarding, playing ball, and having a great time. The one thing they may not be doing is paying attention to traffic when crossing our streets, chasing balls, or playing with friends. Please be extra careful on our streets and watch for kids playing near the roadway. They may not be aware of you and could run into the street; your additional care while driving could save a life.

The month of July affords the Thurmont Board of Commissioners a summer break from our regular schedule of weekly meetings. The only scheduled meeting of the month will be on July 24, unless an emergency requires an additional meeting.

I hope everyone has a wonderful July! As always, if you have any comments, concerns, or suggestions, I can be reached at 301-606-9458 or by email at jkinnaird@thurmont.com.

Emmitsburg
Mayor Don Briggs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thurmont
Mayor John Kinnaird

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Emmitsburg

Mayor Don Briggs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thurmont

Mayor John Kinnaird

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

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

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

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

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

Emmitsburg

 Mayor Don Briggs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hoping that everyone has a wonderful Easter.

Thurmont

 Mayor John Kinnaird

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Emmitsburg

Mayor Don Briggs

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

— W.B. Yeats

 

I composed habits for those acres

So that my last look would be

Neither gluttonous nor starved.

I was ready to go anywhere.

 

— “Land” Seamus Heaney

From Ireland: Failte and Slainte

Thurmont

Mayor John Kinnaird

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

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

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

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

Emmitsburg

 Mayor Don Briggs

The New Year comes with traction. On January 3, the first day of business, we had a meeting with the executive director of the Frederick County Boys and Girls Club. We have been working with the club for some time. Things seem to be moving in the right direction for a youth program in Emmitsburg, possibly in the fall. On January 4, I attended the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Memorial Mass and reception at the basilica. The main celebrant was Archbishop William E. Lori of the Baltimore Diocese. The service was a solemn tribute and very well attended. On January 6, Lib and I were among the 245 people who attended the 134th Annual Vigilant Hose Company 6 Banquet, which also included Ambulance Company 26. The banquet was held at the facility on Creamery Road.

Inspirational is the best way to describe how the two companies joined together to better serve our community. The merger that began last July was completed officially on January 1.  From what I have heard, if and when other fire and ambulance companies should choose to merge, this is the county’s official template.

Congratulations to Leo “Mike” Boyle on receiving an award for his sixty-five years of service and support of the company. Well done. Also, congratulations to the company. The 2017 statistics are more than compelling. For the year, Vigilant Hose responded to 534 calls, on average (over 10 a week or almost 1.5 a day). EMS calls for both (including Station 26, up until July 1) totaled 1,139 calls for the year (almost 22 per week or over 3 per day). Since July 1, the dispatch arrival average time to “its first due area response area” (Emmitsburg) averaged 6.54 minutes.

On January 11, I attended the monthly County Executive – Mayor/Burgess meeting. The main topic of discussion was updating all those who attended on the status and priorities of the Maryland State Highway Administration for improvement to U.S. 15 and Interstate 270. The time table has been moved up on the construction of additional lanes south of Frederick to 2025 completion; there will be four lanes each direction, of which two, each way, will be toll. To everyone’s dismay, the widening of U.S. 15 through the City of Frederick has been pushed back to 2030. Upgrading of Biggs Ford Road at U.S. 15 interchange timetable is scheduled for 2040.

On January 13, Lib and I attended the Emmitsburg Lions Club Banquet, commemorating its 35th charter year. It was very well attended. Congratulations to Gene Rosensteel on receiving a special award for assisting in the Emmitsburg Lions Club formation.

Late Christmas present for Emmitsburg and a prize indeed for the community: A fire company-themed glass etching done by nationally renowned artist William Cochran is coming to the Frederick County Fire Rescue Museum. The three-panel, 15-foot x 8-foot, 120 square-foot etching is presently displayed at the Firehouse Financial Center on W. Church Street in Frederick, the old Independent Hose Company building. It was done in the mid-1980s to commemorate the Independent Hose Company that had moved to its present location on Baughman’s Lane.

This fall, the Mount will field a men’s soccer team, men’s and women’s golf teams, and women’s bowling team to take the university to twenty NCAA teams.

From last December: I forgot to mention that on December 18, Maryland Commerce Secretary Mike Gill visited the Mount to learn more about the Mount’s newest majors: entrepreneurship and cybersecurity. I participated in the meeting with President Timothy E. Trainor, Ph.D., Chief of Staff Wayne Green, Christine Adamow, Director of the Palmieri Center for Entrepreneurship, Professors Nick Hutchings and Donald E. Butt, Jr., Jane Graves, DC, Board Chair of Seton Center, Inc., and Sr. Martha Beaudoin, DC, Director of Seton Center, Inc.

Like all, I am hoping for some warmer weather so the State can get back to work on the square. It would make a wonderful Valentine’s Day gift. Thank you to everyone for your patience for any inconvenience the square/sidewalk project has brought about, but when finished this spring, we will have something special.

Thurmont

Mayor John Kinnaird

The cold weather not only brings snow, sleet, and rain, but it also causes issues with our infrastructure! I am sure that everyone is aware of the electric and water issues we have had recently, many caused by the weather. The freezing weather can cause residential water lines to freeze and can be a prime factor of breaks in our water mains, both of which we have experienced recently. We have also suffered power outages caused by high winds, freezing precipitation, and circuits under strain, due to increased electric heating demand. When power goes out or water service is interrupted, we encourage residents to call our office at 301-271-7313 and report these issues. After hours, there are instructions for reaching staff during these emergencies. When the office is closed, please listen to the recorded information. The instructions will tell you to dial 1 for emergencies; you will then be instructed to dial option 1 for electric, option 2 for sewer, option 3 for water, and option 4 for streets and parks. When following these instructions, your call will be transferred to one of our staff. Please keep in mind that once an issue has been reported, the person answering the phone is most likely working on the problem and may not be able to respond to all calls. It is a safe bet that once several people have noticed an issue, town staff has been made aware of the situation. You are free to call, but if your call is not answered promptly, it is probably because the staff person is working to repair the problem. You can also check out the Town of Thurmont Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/Town-of-Thurmont-390226201124250/) or my page (https://www.facebook.com/john.kinnaird.3) to see if anyone has reported an issue. It is important that our residents are informed of any infrastructure issues we may be experiencing, and we keep an eye on Facebook for reports of questions about issues and we attempt to provide updates as they are available.

Currently, the Town of Thurmont is making sewer line repairs to Rouzer Court, and will be working in the coming weeks on repairs and improvements at locations on Apples Church Road, Mantle Court, and Moser Road. Please be aware of these ongoing projects and be careful while driving where sewer line work is being completed.

This summer, we are planning to start work on waterlines on North Church Street, between Emmitsburg Road and Rt. 15. This project will see the replacement of water mains and the installation of new service lines. The work is expected to cause disruption to traffic, with narrowed or closed travel lanes. During this project, be sure to allow more time if you are passing through the work area or plan on taking alternate routes. There will be flagmen directing traffic and, as always, be sure to pay close attention to the directions they are giving traffic.

Finally, I want to thank our residents for your patience and understanding during the recent water and electric issues we have been addressing. Our staff is dedicated to restoring service as quickly as possible whenever there is an outage or loss of services.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns at jkinnaird@thurmont.com, by calling me at 301-606-9458, or through my Facebook page.

Emmitsburg

 Mayor Don Briggs

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

In our community Christmas stocking:

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

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

Thurmont

Mayor John Kinnaird

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

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

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

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

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

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