Currently viewing the tag: "Mayor John Kinnaird"

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.

Sabillasville Elementary School hosted its 5th Annual Sabillasville Scenic 5K/1-Mile Fun Run on November 10, 2019, organized by the Sabillasville Elementary School’s Parent Group (SES-PG). The SES-PG would like to thank all of the runners, walkers, and volunteers who came out to help support the SES-PG by participating in this event, “We couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful day, and we hope all enjoyed the event!”

The proceeds from the event help provide cultural arts programs, educational activities, and field trips for the students of SES. In honor of Veterans Day, SES student Charles McGinnis kicked-off the event by singing a lovely rendition of the National Anthem. Mayor John Kinnaird was also present to say a few words and start the race.

Many new and familiar faces were seen at the run this year. The participants ran along the scenic route and were cheered on by students, teachers, staff, and families of SES. The SES-PG looks forward to hosting this fun event again next year, and they hope to see even more new and familiar faces!

Special thanks is extended to the event’s Gold Sponsors: Catoctin Consultancy, Diamond-H Construction, Gnarly Artly, Monocacy Chimney Care Inc, KLM Specialty Projects, Mick’s Plumbing & Heating, Scenic View Orchard, Rocky’s in Cascade, Vinny Healy Memorial Christian Outreach Fund, and Black’s Funeral Home; Silver Sponsors: Anytime Fitness and Harbaugh’s Harvest.

Runners enjoy the breathtaking scenic view during the 5th Annual Sabillasville 5K/1-Mile Fun Run.

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.

Thurmont

Mayor John Kinnaird

Here we are at the end of summer; where has the year gone?  School is about to start. I encourage everyone to be especially careful as our children head off to school. Kids will be walking on the sidewalks and getting on and off buses and may not always be aware of their surroundings. Be sure to obey all a speed limits, school crossing guards, and school bus warning devices. I hope all of our children have a great time at school.

The Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show is coming up on September 6-8. This Community Show is one of the largest community agricultural shows in Maryland and provides a wonderful opportunity for the display of crafts, livestock, baked goods, photography, floral displays, fruits, vegetables, and other items. There’s also plenty of delicious food available at the show, including the always popular turkey dinner, BBQ chicken lunch, and the tasty items at the Thurmont Lions Club food stand. I hope to see you all  at the Community Show!

With fall comes the Annual Colorfest weekend. If you are interested in setting up a booth, please be sure to contact the town office about permits and other important information. Colorfest represents one of the best fundraising opportunities for many of our local churches, service organizations, and youth groups. Be sure to visit our local organizations and support them during Colorfest.

Thurmont will be holding elections for two commissioner’s seats this fall. Here are some important dates to remember. The Nominating Convention will be held in the Town Meeting Room at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, September 24, 2019. The last day to register to vote in the town elections is close of business on Tuesday, October 1, 2019. The election will be held on Tuesday, October 29, 2019, from 8:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. at the Guardian Hose Company Activity Building on 123 East Main Street in Thurmont.

Please contact me at 301-606-9458 or by email at jkinnaird@thurmont.com if you have any questions, concerns, or comments.

 Mayor John Kinnaird

The Class of 2019 at Catoctin High School (CHS) just graduated, and I want to wish all of them the best of luck as they move on to the next phase of their lives. I feel that CHS, and all our feeder schools, provide a rich educational experience for our children. Our communities are very fortunate to have wonderful and dedicated teachers, administration, and support staff, and I want to thank them for their hard work. I also want to say thank you to all the parents; your loving care and support play a big part in your child’s success at school and graduation. I believe that one of the most important lessons we learn at school is how to learn. At some time, someone has probably told you to never stop learning or that you should learn something new every day. Regardless of whether you are going on to higher education or not, it is important to keep learning. Follow this simple rule and you will find a world full of challenges that you can face head on with confidence and the knowledge that you will be successful. Each day will present you with new opportunities to better yourself, increase your knowledge, and to apply what you already know and understand. Again, congratulations to the CHS Class of 2019!

The arrival of June also means that schools will be out for summer break. Please keep an eye out for our youngsters as they enjoy their summer break. They may not always be fully aware of their surroundings outside, as they ride their bikes and skateboards or when they are playing.

The Town of Thurmont is once again hosting the “A Day In The Park” Summer Program. Last year was the first year of this program, and it proved to be a big hit with the kids and parents. The days are filled with lots of outdoor activities, games, learning experiences, and plain old fun! Be sure to check out the details at Thurmont.com, and register your children for this fun summer park program.

This is also carnival season! Mother Seton School in Emmitsburg holds the first carnival of the year and always sets a high bar for the others to match. Carnivals are fun events and allow us to meet friends, have a good time, and get some delicious homemade food. As much fun as carnivals are, they also provide much needed revenue for our fire departments, ambulance services, and schools. I invite you to join me at each of our local carnivals to support these local organizations; they are here for us every day of the year!

The Town of Thurmont just adopted our 2019-2020 budget, and I want to thank our financial staff and department heads for helping craft the budget, and our Commissioners for reviewing, tweaking, and adopting the budget. Our General Fund is dependent on property tax revenue to maintain our police, parks, streets, and administrative staff. I am pleased that we were able to base this year’s General Fund on the Constant Yield Tax Rate. Due to increased property values, this year’s constant yield tax rate actually drops our property tax rate ever so slightly. In the coming year, we will be making several improvement to streets and parks and funding several new police cars and equipment.

If you have any questions, complaints, or suggestions, I can be contacted by phone at 301-606-9458 or by email at jkinnaird@thurmont.com. I am also happy to speak to you in person, so if you see me out around town feel free to strike up a conversation.

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

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 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.

Mayor John Kinnaird, Commissioner Wayne Hooper, and Commissioner Marty Burns all retained their seats in the uncontested October 31, 2017, Thurmont Town Election.

Thurmont Mayor John Kinnaird is sworn in for his second term as mayor.

Mayor John Kinnaird swears in Commissioner Wayne Hooper for another term as commissioner.

Thurmont

Mayor John Kinnaird

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Emmitsburg

 Mayor Don Briggs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mayor John Kinnaird

Summer is here and, with it, the hot and humid weather. Please be careful while outdoors and be sure to keep hydrated and pace yourself while working. Also, keep an eye out for your elderly neighbors and offer assistance when needed.

The Thurmont Fun Fest is coming on August 5, 2017, to the Eyler Road Park, hosted by the Town of Thurmont and CYA Football and Cheer Teams. The day starts at 11:00 a.m. and features a full day of fun and games, including Punt Pass and Kick Competition, games, food, giveaways, volleyball, NFL cheerleaders, vendors, fire/EMS demonstrations, Police K-9 demonstration, car seat inspections, bike rodeo, pet-friendly activities, music, and more. Bring the kids and your dog for a fun day at Eyler Road Park!

This past weekend, I attended the Fun Fair at the Thurmont Regional Library. The day was full of educational fun and games for everyone. Outside, there were town trucks and a Guardian Hose Company Brush Truck to look at. There also was an amazing soap bubble demonstration. Inside activities included games, Cuddles Cat Rescue with kittens, the National Park Service with wild animal pets, service dogs, a very friendly Alpaca, and many other fun displays and activities. If you didn’t manage to get there this year, be sure to attend next year’s event. My thanks to the Thurmont Regional Library and staff for supporting our community by offering a wide range of interesting and educational activities for children and adults.

The month of July typically serves as a break in the schedule for the Thurmont Board of Commissioner (BOC) meetings. We will resume our regular Tuesday evening meeting on August 1 at 7:00 p.m. Regular BOC meetings are open to the public; you are welcome to attend and to participate in public comment during discussions or at the close of the meetings.

Finally, a comment about Thurmont Little League (TLL). Unless you have been living in a cave, you must know about the TLL teams playing in the Little League playoffs. The 9-11 TLL All Stars team took the District 2 Championships and are currently playing for the State 9-11 Championships. The Thurmont Little League 11-12 All Stars won the District 2 Championship and went on to clench the State 11-12 Championship. The 11-12 Champs are now going to play in the Regional Playoffs in Bristol, Connecticut, with the series beginning on August 5. The Regional Playoffs will be broadcast on ESPN3, and if they move onto the World Series games, you will be able to watch on ESPN. That two of the Thurmont Little League teams have moved through the District 2 playoffs, and on to the State playoffs, speaks volumes of the quality of the Little League program, the determination and sportsmanship of the players, the dedication of the coaching staff, and encouragement and support of the team families! Please be sure to congratulate both All-Star teams and support their journey through States and Regional play. Both teams will be holding fundraisers to help cover the costs of attending the playoff games, and they will appreciate any help we can provide.

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

Thurmont

Mayor John Kinnaird

With summer just around the corner, you should be thinking about visiting the Thurmont Main Street Farmers Market on Saturday mornings, beginning June 3. There is always a great selection of seasonal fresh fruit and vegetables, meats, eggs, baked goods, hand-crafted items, and other treats! Live entertainment will be returning this year, with local talent providing background music for the market. The market is located in the Municipal Parking lot on South Center Street and is open each Saturday morning, 9:00 a.m.-noon. If you want to grow your own vegetables and fruit, why not sign up for a spot at the Community Garden! The Thurmont Green Team sponsors the Community Garden, and spaces are still available. Just stop at the Town office and pick up an application. The sites are already tilled and are awaiting your green thumb.

School will be out soon, and our kids will out and about walking, bicycling, skate boarding, and playing. As you drive on our streets, be aware of children and watch out for them. Kids do not always look both ways before crossing the street, and they can run out in front of vehicles while playing. Be sure to drive with extra caution and help insure our children’s safety.

I have had some residents contact me about scam phone calls from people claiming to be with the Town of Thurmont. If you get one of these calls after regular business hours (8:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.) or on a Saturday or Sunday, please be aware that it is most likely a scam. If you are not sure, just ask the person for their name and tell them you will call them back at the Town office at 301-271-7313. We are also seeing an increase in the number of door-to-door sales people with the nice weather. Anyone going door-to-door, selling or soliciting, are required to register with the Thurmont Police Department and should have an identification badge showing they are registered. If you are approached by someone and they cannot provide proof of registration, ask them to move on.

Residents may have noticed recent street work, with the paving of Lombard Street, East Street, and Shipley Avenue. These projects are part of our ongoing efforts to improve our streets. There are many more projects in the works that will be moving forward this year and in the future. As part of our improvement plans, we are currently bidding paving for the Eyler Road Park and the Trolley Trail, both of these projects will improve access to these well-used areas. Frederick County has committed to help us in a joint sidewalk project for Moser Road. This will add improved pedestrian access to both the Frederick County Regional Library and the Trolley Trail.

The Board of Commissioners has just finished work on the 2017-2018 Budget, and I am happy to report that we have based the coming budget on the Constant Yield Tax Rate. As in the past several years, the Constant Yield Tax Rate will ensure that our residents will not see an increase in the property tax rate. I want to thank the residents that provided input in the budget process, our financial staff, department heads, and the Board of Commissioners, for working together in the budget writing process.

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

Emmitsburg

 Mayor Don Briggs

It has been written that “Hope springs eternal.” For our family, this spring is full of realization of hope. We have a grandson graduating from Mount St. Mary’s University; a granddaughter from Quinnipiac University in Connecticut; a granddaughter moving on to Catoctin High School from Mother Seton; and a grandson in Colorado graduating from Bishop Mullen High School in Denver, on his way to Colorado State University to study and play football. The two college graduating “grand-students” are graduates of Catoctin High School. It’s more than a nudge, this passing of the baton, and we love it.

On June 1, I will be attending the Catoctin High School Commencement exercise at Mount St. Mary’s. Congratulations to the graduating students, their families, and the faculty.

Recently, I attended the “Every day is Earth Day” chorus and band performances directed by Cheryl Carney and Allison Smetana, respectively. One of the songs was a direct hit to the heart: “Don’t Forget the Little Children.” Let’s not. Everything the town does is focused on our children and grandchildren: revitalization, water preservation, recycling, solar, LED lights, and grants for redoing downtown properties. “Use what we need, but save something for future generations” is more than a request, it is a plea from our children.

Before the close of schools for the summer, fourth graders from Mother Seton School and Emmitsburg Elementary School will be visiting the town office. Very exciting!

In May, the town, in conjunction with the Emmitsburg Business and Professional Association (EBPA), hosted a breakfast for town businesses and other community partners as a simple thank you for what they do in service to the community. A rollout of a family drug-awareness program was also part of the breakfast. The program is tied in with the “Pool Party in the Park” in the Community Park, on Friday, June 16, from 6:00-8:00 p.m.—lots of fun, with a DJ, dancing, free hot dogs, tea, and more (for at least the first 150 people).

Make Saturday, June 24, a day to visit Emmitsburg, with the Community Heritage Day Festival 2017, starting with the traditional breakfast at Vigilant Hose fire hall at 6:30 a.m. and followed later that morning with the Lions Club BBQ chicken dinners (served in the hub of the festivities in Community Park). IMPORTANT: This year, the parade along West Main Street and down South Seton Avenue will start at 5:00 p.m. and the Memorial Program at 6:00 p.m. New this year is the evening horse-drawn carriage tour of Emmitsburg, from 6:00-8:00 p.m. Entertainment will be provided by Michael Pryor Productions and Stewart Chapman, who will provide a musical review of music through the decades, beginning with the 40s; entertainment begins at 7:00 p.m. and runs until 9:30 p.m. There will be crafters and vendors, plenty of children’s activities, bicycling activities (off-road and on-road), exercise path fun, and fireworks. The Lions Club, EBPA, American Legion, Knights of Columbus, Christ’s Community Church, and other civic organizations, all work together to provide a day full of fun and activities. The day will end with Independence Day fireworks. Please go to Emmitsburgevents.com for details on this great day of fun.

June 14 is Flag Day, always a wonderful tribute by our Veterans. This year, the northern County Flag Day observance will be held in Thurmont Memorial Park. The location of the observance is held on an annually rotating basis with Emmitsburg.

In September, Mount St. Mary’s University will hold a Constitution Day celebration, at which I have been invited to read the Preamble of the Constitution at the observance. With the 4th of July coming up, I submit the Preamble for those who may have forgotten, including me: “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” Amen. From that, we must pull together in common defense against the insidious attack of drugs.

Hoping you enjoy a wonderful June in Northern Frederick County.

Mayor John Kinnaird

March is upon us and brings with it the hope of nice weather! With this in mind, the Thurmont Green Team is currently taking applications for the Community Garden on Carroll Street. This project was started last year by the Green Team as a way for residents to have small garden plots for growing vegetables, flowers, or fruit. The Community Garden was a big hit, and I am sure this year will be as well. Be sure to stop at the town office to reserve a spot before they are all gone. I thank the Green Team for starting this project, as well as many others, including the planting of wildflowers along the Maryland Midland tracks.

Speaking of the Maryland Midland railway, Commissioner Burns has once again brought forth the idea of getting the Church Street railroad bridge painted and having Thurmont added to the steel bridge to welcome visitors to our town. Once we get permission from the parent company, Genessee Wyoming, to move forward with the project, we will be asking for volunteers to help establish a committee to help guide the process. Several years ago, Karen and I approached the railroad but could not get a commitment from them to allow any work to be done. We had made a proposal based on a plan to paint the steel bridge, repair the abutments, and then add a mural to each of the abutments. I had proposed painting a mural of the Western Maryland Railway Station, with a steam locomotive on the West abutment. On the East abutment would be a mural of the Hagerstown and Frederick station, the adjoining substation and a trolley car. It is my hope that we can at least get the steel painted and have Thurmont, our town seal, and the Genessee and Wyoming logos placed, and have the abutments repaired and coated. The murals can be added as we get funding or donations of time. The murals may be a good way to get art students at Catoctin and local colleges involved in community service. Once we get going, please think about helping us with either a donation or hands on assistance with the work.

The repairs on the Roddy Road Covered Bridge are nearly complete, and Frederick County plans on it being open to traffic sometime in mid-March. One of the final improvements to be completed prior to the opening is the installation of height warning devices at both ends of the bridge. These will consist of two structures made of wooden posts, with a cross beam and a metal plate hung to the 8’ – 6” maximum height allowed over the bridge. The warning devices will be set far enough from the bridge that they will have little visual impact on the bridge itself. There is also going to be a truck turnaround area on Roddy Road, to the South side of the bridge. The town will be working with the County to improve the truck route signage within Thurmont to help guide trucks safely to Rt. 15. The bridge is looking great and looks almost exactly as it did before the truck damaged it last year. The County has also made vast improvements to the Roddy Road Covered Bridge Park. Roddy Creek Road has been moved away from the bridge and a small park with parking, picnic facilities, and nice walkways will now greet visitors interested in stopping at the bridge.

As a resident, and now Mayor of our community, I have always been very proud of our Police Department, and I am pleased to welcome our Force Officer Richard Gast. Officer Gast comes to us with many years of experience in the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office and as a member of the Pennsylvania Army National Guard. His duties will include investigations, traffic enforcement, and patrol. Please be sure to welcome Officer Gast to our community!

As always, I look forward to speaking to our residents and remind you that I can be reached via email at jkinnaird@thurmont.com or by cell at 301-606-9458.

Thurmont

Mayor John Kinnaird

This past week, I have had the pleasure of participating in the Thurmont Middle School (TMS) Kindness Week Challenge. As students arrive for their day, I have been greeting them and wishing them a good day. I am happy to report that every one of the young people I have spoken to are excited to be at school and are, themselves, very polite and considerate of others. The goal of Kindness Week is to encourage an atmosphere of kindness and consideration among all students. It is obvious to me that these goals are being meet by all students and staff at TMS! My thanks to all of the students and staff for allowing me to play a small part in their day.

On January 21, Karen and I had the pleasure of attending the Thurmont Community Ambulance Company Awards Banquet, held in the newly completed Thurmont Ambulance Event Complex. The new building located off Lawyer’s Lane on Strafford Drive is a real gem of a facility. The main room is massive and can seat well over six hundred comfortably, with room for a dance floor. There is a large stage for presentations and concerts, as well as several drop-down video screens. The kitchen is a spacious room, with ample capacity for large banquets, weddings, or meetings. We would encourage anyone looking to rent a large venue to give the Event Complex a look! The banquet was prepared and served by members of the Rocky Ridge 4-H, and it was delicious. The Ambulance Company thanked the Scouts of Troop 270 and the Venturing Crew for installing the stone work on the exterior of the building and for planting over a hundred trees on the property. The Thurmont Ambulance ran a total of 1,258 calls in 2016; although I hope no one requires an ambulance, I can tell you from personal experience that you could not find better qualified, courteous, or professional ambulance personnel anywhere. I want to thank all the members of the Thurmont Community Ambulance Service for their hard work in getting this building built, and for their continued service to the residents of Thurmont and our neighbors in Frederick County.

Although we are still not through the worst part of winter, I want to mention a local project that will be worth visiting time and again once the weather warms up. Frederick County is currently making big improvements to the Roddy Road Park. These changes include moving the road away from Owens Creek in order to make pedestrian access to the stream much easier. There are new benches, picnic tables, walkways, dedicated parking, an infant playground, and even a new composting toilet. There are plans to develop a walking trail on the south side of Owens Creek that will wind along the embankment and up across the palisade. Of course, I can’t mention the park without saying something about the Roddy Road Covered Bridge. As everyone knows, the bridge was damaged twice in the last year and suffered major damages during the last incident. I am happy to say that Frederick County has stepped up and is repairing the bridge to a like-new condition. Many of the main frame timbers were damaged and have been replaced with identical woodwork. There are dozens of original supports being incorporated in the sides in the rebuilt bridge, and new steel beams will carry the weight of traffic under the wooden deck. The final touch will be a new metal roof and board siding. As I said, the County has stepped up on this project and it is obvious that they are intent on keeping the beloved Roddy Road Bridge in service. This landmark is a destination for many tourists and local residents, and the improvements will be a welcome addition. I want to also thank Fitzgerald Heavy Timber Construction for the fine craftsmanship they are investing in the rebuilding of the bridge.

As we get into February, I want to remind everyone that we will probably be seeing snow sometime this month and next. The Thurmont Police Department recently started a project called the Snow Team. Code Enforcement Officer Christy Wood has developed this project as a way to assist elderly and disabled residents with the removal of snow and ice from their sidewalks. The Snow Team is looking for teenage and adult volunteers to sign up to help clear snow for residents that are unable to do so themselves. Student volunteers can use the volunteer time as part of their community service requirements. Please stop by the Town Office or the Police Department to find out how you can help in this effort.

As always, I hope everyone has a safe and healthy month!

 

Emmitsburg

 Mayor Don Briggs

With the new year came the 133rd Vigilant Hose Company Banquet, an annual event Lib and I are always honored to attend. Over the course of the evening, I could not help but notice the parallel state of readiness and preparedness of the volunteer fire company and the teams that would compete in the upcoming College National Football Championship game. Both Clemson and Alabama and our fireman go through hours upon hours of rigorous training in preparation for yet unknown events and outcomes. Framing the comparison is not difficult. To no surprise, before a big football game, there is an elevated pitch in the locker room. Monday night players will go through a predictable series of steps in preparing for the game. Go to the stadium, tape up, suit up, loosen up, get a pre-game talk, and then go out on the field and play in the game. Looking across the Mother Seton auditorium, I knew that in a blink of an eye, the room could be emptied if a call came in and fire personnel were needed. Every firefighter and company support member would be gone. Gone to the fire house to suit up, but, unlike football, there would be no tape ups, loosening up or pre-game talk before going on to their “field”—on a call with no level field or fixed boundaries. A “field” of unknowns. If asked what it is like to be a volunteer fireman, knowing every day and every night that a call could come in, is only met with a shrug of the shoulders and a smile. Amazing people.

So what is the circle of care in Emmitsburg? One example is the first level of care: The volunteer Vigilant Hose Company responded to a call at a residence on East Main Street, where a fire would soon be extinguished, with limited damage and no personal injuries; but as a result, the family is now displaced. Hearing this, Sharon Hane and another concerned resident contacted Pastor John Greenstone, who manages the Emmitsburg Council of Churches fire fund, and told him of the family’s situation. The good Pastor concurred with the need and wrote a check. To accommodate the father’s schedule, one evening before Christmas, I gave him the check at the Community Center, where he was waiting to pick up his child from the town-sponsored after-school program. Volunteer Fire Company to concerned citizens to charitable resources and to town-sponsored childcare program is one way of how the circle of care works.

More “Green.” During the current drought conditions, predictably, the water levels at Rainbow Lake dropped. Unpredictably, though, was a natural consequence of algae levels that rose quickly, in part with more exposure to sunlight. Currently, the increased algae level necessitates more backwashing, which is expensive and exacerbates the water shortage by using and wasting water in the process. The town administration has proposed to the town council installing a solar powered “Advanced Ultrasonic Algae Control System.”

Soon there could be charging infrastructure for electric vehicles coming to Emmitsburg. From Shannon Moore, director of the Office of Sustainability: “As part of a settlement with the federal government, Volkswagen (VW) committed $2 billion over ten years to help advance the Electric Vehicle/Plug-In Electric Vehicle infrastructure in the United States. As a part of this settlement, VW is soliciting applications, due by January 16, 2017, from those interested in helping advance said infrastructure.  The COG (Washington Council of Governments) team is seeking project partners to receive the financial assistance to install chargers at host sites, either public or private. The team also is seeking partners to assist with education and outreach as well as vocational training.” To keep things moving, the town has expressed an interest in becoming a partner and possibly installing two charger stations. More to come on this.

 

Mayor John Kinnaird

It is hard to believe that another year has come and gone! This past year, we had a lot of things going on in Thurmont, and I am happy to say that many improvements were made for the good of our residents. We completed another year’s worth of I & I infrastructure upgrades, including several new manholes and replacing and relining several damaged main waste water lines.  This long-term project is helping ease the burden on our waste water plant, and has made a significant dent in the inflow issues we have been working to resolve. The sidewalks on Main Street, Water Street, and North Church Street are now in great shape, and the new street light project is completed. You will notice that we have added to the Christmas decorations on the new street lights as well. There is a new gazebo in the Mechanicstown Square Park ready to welcome visitors as they take a break from the day’s business. The town has also purchased new work trucks this year, including a new pole/auger truck for the Electric Department, with the capacity to handle the longer poles required with the increasing electric loads. The Waste Water Department purchased a new high-pressure truck, with a vacuum system for cleaning our manholes and lines. Streets received a new dump truck with snowplow and salt spreader, as well as a new pickup and plow. We are very proud of the quick response all of our employees give when it snows, and these new vehicles will help insure that our streets are open as soon as possible for our residents when bad weather hits. The Water Department also got a new service truck, and they installed a generator at one of our wells, so in an emergency, the well can keep producing water. I want to note that all of our employees are doing a great job and all of our departments work together in emergencies to make sure repairs are made in a timely manner.

Thurmont is seeing some growth in residential capacity, with the town house project on Park Lane and several infill residential projects. I also want to welcome a new business to Thurmont, with the arrival of Playground Specialist to their new facility on Apples Church Road. Criswell Chevrolet continues to make amazing improvements to their recently acquired property on Frederick Road. I want to thank all of the businesses in Thurmont for investing in our town! A strong business base helps to insure the success of our community. As part of Thurmont’s commitment to insure a healthy business climate, we are establishing a new Economic Development position within our staff. This person will work to help promote our town to new businesses and will work with all of our existing businesses to help strengthen our community.

As always, I can be reached by phone at 301-606-9458, email at jkinnaird@thurmont.com, or by mail at Mayor John Kinnaird, P.O. Box 17, Thurmont, MD.

As the new year starts, I look forward to working on many projects and opportunities to help our town be the best it can be, and I hope everyone enjoys the new year!

Thurmont was recognized as a Banner City/Town by the Maryland Municipal League (MML) during the convention on June 28, 2016. MML Director of Member Relations Paula Chase Hyman notified Thurmont Chief Administrative Officer Jim Humerick of the news on May 31, 2016.
The Banner City/Town accreditation is awarded to towns and cities that meet stringent goals and objectives, including staff training, participation in Municipal Government Works Month activities, community outreach, and elected officials’ support and participation in MML activities. In the notification, Chase Hyman stated, “Each of you represents an ambassadorship which spreads the word on League resources specially designed to help you be the most effective local leader that you can be. We salute you!”
Thurmont hosted several events and activities during the past year, including a Municipal Open House with equipment on display from the Public Works Department and the Thurmont Police Department. Mayor John Kinnaird also visited the Thurmont Elementary School and spoke about local government with the students.

Mayor John Kinnaird (far right), Chief Administrative Officer Jim Humerick (center), and Main Street Manager Vickie Grinder (left) pose in front of the new Thurmont kiosk at the Mason Dixon Welcome Center. The kiosk was provided by Frederick County Tourism Special Projects Coordinator Mr. Chris Haugh.