Currently viewing the tag: "Mayor John Kinnaird"

Emmitsburg

Mayor Don Briggs

The Green New Deal for Emmitsburg is no big deal. The town government energy needs achieved 95-percent reliance on renewable energy in 2014. It came from solar panels and LED lighting. We even added some possible redundancy along the way with vehicle charging stations, an electric vehicle, and a solar-powered algae control system at Rainbow Lake. We are for renewable energy to save money and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Our energy needs for the most part are off the electricity grid. Though the solar panels do create energy on cloudy days, we still need to fall back on using fossil-fuel-generated energy.

Recently, the Eastern Shore Pipeline received unanimous final approval from the Maryland Board of Public Works for an extension of a natural gas pipeline from Delaware, through Wicomico, and 11 miles into Somerset County to the University Eastern Shore and the Eastern Correctional Institute. The pipeline is already in Delaware and Wicomico County. The pipeline is controversial. Natural gas, lest we forget, is a fossil fuel. This is a responsible take by the state to rely on a blend of energy sources. The mix can change over time, but let us do it responsibly.

Ah, the peace a snowfall brings, but not so much for the town crews. Early in the morning hours, late in the night, their skills have been tested. Ever present are the flashing yellow lights on their vehicles. We have approximately a 12-mile network of town roads. So, if they plow both sides of the roads once, they have plowed the same distance as it is to Frederick. And, they do the roads more than once.

In the month of January, the Vigilant Hose Company answered 55 fire calls and 100 ambulance calls. That is over five calls a day! Incredible for a primarily volunteer fire company. That is more than well done. Thank you.

According to Commissioner Davis, Vigilant Hose Company is getting closer to its activities building on Creamery Road being approved by the County Health Department as a vaccination site.

As the town wrestles with the pandemic and weather to get back to a community:

A disc golf tournament was held for the hearty on our course in Community Park on February 21 as a charity event for the Emmitsburg Food Bank.

        In an awkward, but pandemic-adaptive way, the Catoctin Cougars football team will open an abridged spring schedule (four-game season), against Middletown, Friday evening, March 5. The game will be played at Frederick High School on their turf field. Go Cougars! More sports this spring: Please check CHS website and support the teams.

        On Saturday, March 27, the Seton Family Store will host a Spring Fling Craft Fair. Up to 15 crafters and/or vendors, a DJ, and a representative from the Frederick Health Department will be on hand. Emmitsburg area restaurants have been asked to provide a “Taste of Emmitsburg” at the fair. Interested crafts and businesses should call Kenny Droneburg at 301-447-6102.

In January, Keith Suerdieck—after 10 years of dedicated service—stepped down as Chairman of the Emmitsburg Planning Commission. Thank you, Keith; we will miss you. From your architect background knowledge to your experience from being an associate pastor of Trinity Methodist Church, you brought a quiet professional demeanor to the Commission. With Keith stepping down, commission member Mark Long was elected by the board to take his place as chairman. Also, former Town Commissioner Glenn Blanchard came on the Commission as a “new” member. Welcome back, Glenn.

Hope your Lenten season is going well. Stay warm, help a neighbor, be thankful.

Thurmont

 Mayor John Kinnaird

With all the snow we have been getting recently, I will brighten your day by announcing that the Thurmont Main Street Farmers Market will be opening on Saturday, March 20. This is the first indoor version of our popular market, and it will be held in the Thurmont Plaza, 224 North Church Street, from 9:00 a.m. until noon, every Saturday through May 1. Masks are required and social distancing will be observed. After May 1, the market will move to its regular location in the Municipal Parking Lot. The indoor market will feature local honey, sauces, rubs, goat soap, homemade pies, donuts, bread, bagels, gourmet cupcakes, cinnamon rolls, organic greens, a variety of mushrooms, Red Angus beef, Easter flowers, hand-crafted items, and more. This will be a great addition to the already amazing Main Street Farmers Market!

With the return of good weather in April and May, there will be several infrastructure improvements going on in Thurmont. These include repairs to the Frederick Road Bridge over Hunting Creek. This work will be mainly focused under the bridge, repairing some exposed rebar and spalling. There will be water-system repairs on Frederick Road at Emmitsburg Road. This will entail removal of a decommissioned pumping station. We are also planning improvements to Apples Church Road from East Main Street to the railroad tracks. This work will involve milling the surface, repairing curb and gutters, and repaving. We will be sure to notify our residents before any of these projects get underway and keep you updated on their progress.

Residents are encouraged to sign up for a new electronic newsletter, being developed by our Economic Development staff. This newsletter will replace the announcements we send out with the electric billing. The electronic version will allow for more information and updates about local events. There are residents of Thurmont not served by our Electric Company, and this change will ensure that they can receive all our updates and news. If you do not have an email account, there will be printed copies available at the Town Office, Main Street Center, and other locations. Please email your request to receive the Electronic Newsletter to kschildt@thurmontstaff.com.

The Thurmont Planning and Zoning Commission is continuing their updates to the Thurmont Master Plan and Comprehensive Rezoning. I encourage you to watch the P&Z meetings and participate in the public comments and discussion. These meetings are being Zoomed, and log-in information is included with the monthly agenda. The agenda can be viewed online via the Video Streaming page on thurmont.com. This page also contains links to all current and past P&Z and Board of Commissioners meetings.

The Town website also features a new COVID-19 information page, with regularly updated information from Frederick County Health Department and Frederick County Government. Frederick County is receiving COVID-19 vaccines, and they are being made available at several locations in the County. You can get vaccine clinic information at health.frederickcountymd.gov. As vaccines are becoming more available, please do not stop wearing your face masks and observing social distancing.

Emmitsburg

Mayor Don Briggs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thurmont

 Mayor John Kinnaird

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Emmitsburg

Mayor Don Briggs

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

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

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

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

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

“On Living in an Atomic

    Age” (1948) in Present

   Concerns: Journalistic Essays.

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

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

Thurmont

 Mayor John Kinnaird

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

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

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

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

The Grinch visited Thurmont in the beginning of December to the surprise and delight of many onlookers. He could be seen at the square in Thurmont waving as people drove by.

Thurmont Mayor John Kinnaird noticed that the Grinch “really  liked our Christmas tree, so I watched to make sure he didn’t try to take it!”

Many drivers looped around several times, so they could get multiple looks at the Grinch!

“I want to thank Mayor May who from Whoville for letting us know the Grinch would be in town. I also want to thank Jenn and Dave Lewis for making sure the Grinch found his way to the square, so everyone could see him, “ said John Kinnaird.

Photo Courtesy of John Kinnaird

Emmitsburg

Mayor Don Briggs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thurmont

Mayor John Kinnaird

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

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

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

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

One of my favorite things to do on Christmas Day is to watch A Christmas Carol; I especially like the 1938 version with Reginald Owen as Ebenezer Scrooge. Each of us knows an Ebenezer Scrooge, and we may have acted like him at some time. After all, we are only human and can sometimes let our thoughts make us blind to the needs of others or ourselves. I think the closing lines of A Christmas Carol are the best part of Charles Dickens wonderful story, “He had no further intercourse with Spirits, but lived upon the Total Abstinence Principle, ever afterwards; and it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us! And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God bless Us, Every One!”

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

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

Emmitsburg

Mayor Don Briggs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thurmont 

Mayor John Kinnaird

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Emmitsburg

Mayor Don Briggs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

As always, thank you.

Thurmont

 Mayor John Kinnaird

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

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

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

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

by James Rada, Jr.

Emmitsburg

Voluntary Water Restrictions Enacted

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

Town Election Approaching

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

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

Community Park Renamed

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

New Policy Approved

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

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

Fees Increased

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

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

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

Forestry Bid Awarded

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

Thurmont

Health Department Offers Virus Testing Locally

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

Thurmont Joins National Clean Energy Challenge

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

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

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

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

Property Annexed into Thurmont

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

Town Makes Annual Donations

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

Emmitsburg

Mayor Don Briggs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

As always, thank you.

Thurmont

 Mayor John Kinnaird

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

James Rada, Jr.

With its draw of 100,000 visitors annually and the generosity of the Catoctin Colorfest organization, Colorfest has greatly benefitted the Thurmont community. Its cancellation for 2020 will undoubtedly impact those organizations moving forward.

“This has been a difficult decision,” Thurmont Mayor John Kinnaird said in the town press release announcing the event’s cancellation. “The commissioners and I fully realize that all of the local non-profit organizations rely on Colorfest as their largest fundraising event each year. However, with this current public health emergency and the unknown impacts that lie ahead, we feel that public health and safety must be our highest priority.”

One way the organizations fundraise is to run a booth during Colorfest. Other organizations earn money through an associated service like offering parking or package check. Then, after the event is over, Catoctin Colorfest not only makes donations to organizations, but it supports community events and scholarships.

Chris Kinnaird with the Guardian Hose Company said, “Yes, we like to make money. We are in a financial crisis like everybody else is, but I think there are a lot of unknowns, and there are too many unknowns for us to decide today or know what is going to happen two, three, four, or five months from now.”

He told the commissioners that the company would have to raise prices on the food they sell at the festival because food prices had risen. The department also didn’t know whether the health department would place additional requirements on food vendors. There was also the question if the event happened, whether attendance would be way down, leaving them with unsold food that would reduce their earnings from the event.

Lowman Keeney with the Thurmont Ambulance Company echoed Kinnaird’s concerns. He expected attendance to drop with social distancing and other restrictions if the event continued.

“We do understand that this is our biggest fundraiser we have, but we too have to look out for the safety and well-being of everyone,” Keeney said.

The Thurmont American Legion earns money during Colorfest by renting 146 vendor spaces on Legion property. Gary Spiegel said the consensus among the post leadership was that if the event was canceled, the vendor fees would either be applied to the 2021 event or refunded.

However, he said that although the town needed to make a decision early enough to receive bids for the buses, sanitation, and police protection it provides for the event, “We are five months out, and I don’t think we need to say yes or no right now.”

Connie Masser with Deerfield United Methodist Church, which earns money from offering parking during Colorfest, told the commissioners during their meeting about Colorfest that there were people on either side of the issue. Some were scared about spreading the disease and others wondered how the lost income would be made up since just about every event has been canceled. She said the church would support whatever decision was made.

Catoctin Colorfest President Carol Robertson said that although some Catoctin High seniors had submitted scholarship applications, none will be awarded this year because of the lack of funds. However, Catoctin Colorfest will still purchase an FFA pig from their annual sale. This is usually done at the annual Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show, but that event was also canceled. The pig is then resold with the proceeds being donated to the Thurmont Food Bank.

Some of the organizations that receive direct donations or support from Catoctin Colorfest will see a reduction this year, if Catoctin Colorfest, Inc. is even able to make a donation. These contributions were approaching $20,000 a year. The organizations include: Guardian Hose Company, Thurmont Ambulance Company, Thurmont Police Department, Catoctin High FFA, Catoctin High scholarships, Town of Thurmont for various events and projects, Thurmont Food Bank, Thurmont Regional Library, and Thurmont Main Street.

Catoctin Colorfest 2021 will be held on October 9-10, 2021.

In honor of the Catoctin High School Class of 2020, signs celebrating each of the graduates were on display at Catoctin High School on Thursday, May 21, and Friday, May 22. The signs were provided through the courtesy of the Town of Thurmont, the Town of Emmitsburg, Catoctin High School, and Karen and John Kinnaird.

Thurmont Mayor John Kinnaird posted the following message on social media, “We are very proud of each end every one of the students from within the Catoctin High School feeder area, and we congratulate [our graduates] for achieving this goal in your journey through life. Your future holds an entire world of opportunity; make the most of it.”

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.