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James Rada, Jr.

The signs on the doors of businesses across the area are turning from closed to open as the COVID-19 restrictions in Maryland and Frederick County loosen. Even businesses that were open because they were deemed essential are expanding their operations.

On June 11, the Carriage House Inn in Emmitsburg opened with 32 outdoor seats so that customers could eat at the restaurant for the first time in months. That is, as long as it didn’t rain.

“This is so outside of the way we like to operate,” said Manager Kristy Shriner. “We like to exceed our customers’ expectations of service and this will make it hard to do.”

However, as the restrictions loosened, the restaurant would also offer indoor seating at 50 percent of capacity the following day.

Sherry Myers, owner of Kountry Kitchen in Thurmont was going through the steps of having outdoor seating when the restrictions allowed indoor seating.

“We were really worried the first two weeks after things closed down, but the community has been our biggest supporters,” she said.

With hospitalizations in Maryland under 1,000, and other metrics improving, Governor Larry Hogan lifted some restrictions on June 12 and 19.

On June 12, restaurants could allow indoor seating at 50 percent capacity with social distancing and other health considerations implemented.  Also, outdoor amusements, such as rides and miniature golf could reopen as long as they followed various health rules. Pools could operate at 50 percent capacity while following health rules.

On June 19, gyms, martial arts studio and dance studios could reopen at 50 percent capacity if health guidelines were followed. Casinos, arcades, and malls could reopen. School buildings could reopen for small groups and childcare could have a maximum of 15 people in any one room.

Christina Royer, owner of Here’s Clyde’s in Thurmont, reopened on May 29 with stylists wearing facemasks, curtains between wash stations, hair dryers more spread out, and a sanitizing station. The stylists had also all completed a course on how to properly clean and sanitize their stations.

“It was busy at first,” Royer said. “We were working 10 to 12-hour days, sometimes 14 hours trying to get caught up.”

Although the Fort Ritchie Community Center was shut down during the health crisis, some fitness classes were offered outside when the weather was appropriate.

“Our outdoor classes were all well attended,” said Director Buck Browning. “They were generally all at capacity.”

While the center was closed, Browning made plans for precautions that would be taken when the interior rooms were allowed to open. Grant money paid for Plexiglas shields between pieces of equipment in the fitness center.

However, even when the center was allowed to reopen, the damage done during the closure will require a long recovery. Besides lost dues for three months, many summer camps were canceled, and those that will run will do so with few attendees.

Shriner said the Carriage House staff also made use of their down time and planned new menu offerings, but she is eager to be back at full operations.

“Everyone has been so wonderful,” Shriner said. “It’s nice to hear how important we are to them because they are important to us.”

Myers agreed, saying, “We miss our customers.”

Although things are taking on a sense of normalcy once again, businesses are still facing restrictions that hinder their ability to do business and may force some to close permanently. So, if you have the opportunity, buy from a local business. They have supported their communities in the past, and now they need their communities to support them.

Christina Royer, of Here’s Clyde’s Family Hair Care in Thurmont, is shown washing a client’s hair at with COVID restrictions in place.

Outdoor yoga classes at the Fort Ritchie Community Center allowed the center to offer fitness classes to its clients during the time when indoor fitness classes were closed due to COVID restrictions.

by James Rada, Jr.


Questions Remained about Pool Operation

With the COVID-19 restrictions limiting pools to no more than 50 percent capacity, the Emmitsburg Commissioners need to make decisions on how the pool will operate.

“We still want people to enjoy the pool and take full use of it if and when it opens,” Commissioner T.J. Burns said during the June meeting.

The contract with the pool management company needs to be reworked because the season continues to shrink, and the restrictions mean more cleaning supplies and staff will be needed. There is also the question of what to charge when it seems the pool will operate at a deficit this year.

The commissioners are considering two optioins: half-price days during the week for town residents, and a shift system that will have two different pool sessions each day.

Community Park to be Renamed

The Emmitsburg Commissioners voted in June to rename Community Park after Gene Myers. Just what the name will be, will be decided after consulting the Myers family.

Micro-grant Deadline Extended

The deadline to for Emmitsburg businesses with fewer than 15 employees to file for a micro-grant to support existing town businesses has been extended to July 9. The grant is funded with $30,000. The town staff will award a one-time grant with no repayment due to those who have been impacted by the COVID-19 restrictions placed on businesses and meet the criteria. Based upon the number of applications received, the $30,000 will be distributed evenly to all eligible businesses that meet the criteria, not to exceed $1,000. Nonprofits, churches, banks/ financial institutions, investment, real estate entities, chains/franchisees, and government agencies are not eligible to apply. You can find more information and the grant application at

Temporary Outdoor Seating Permits Available

Emmitsburg and Frederick County offer a temporary outdoor seating permit. This allows restaurants and other businesses to expand their seating areas outside of the building, including sidewalks, common areas, and parking for up to 12 months or until the State of Emergency is lifted. Please contact Town Planner Zach Gulden at for more information.


Community Show Canceled

Due to the COVID-19 restrictions, the 2020 Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show has been canceled. However, a beef, sheep, and swine sale at Eyler Stables will be held on September 12.

Lions Club Donates to Town Projects

The Thurmont Lions Club recently donated $7,200 to the Town of Thurmont for the upkeep of the Thurmont Trolley Trail, and $9,200 for continued work on the building mural at the East Main Street end of the trolley trail.

Commissioners Approve Food Bank Renovations

With the help of a $20,000 Community Legacy Grant, the Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners approved $24,371 in renovations to the Thurmont Food Bank building. Blue Line Home Improvement of Emmitsburg will replace the sidewalk with one that is ADA compliant, reframe the front doorways, upgrade the bathrooms, add a new exterior light, add a pair of new interior doors, and replace the flooring. The amount of the project exceeding the grant will be paid for from the town’s capital reserve fund.

Community Shred Event Planned for September

The Town of Thurmont and Woodsboro Bank will offer a community shred event on Saturday, September 26. It will take place at the Thurmont Police Department, located at 800 East Main Street, from 8:00 a.m. to noon. Office paper, paper clips, staples, rubber bands, folders, hanging folders, and labels will be accepted. Non-acceptable items include: newspapers, magazines, binders, heavy plastics, cardboard, heavy metal, heavy carbon, trash, x-rays, floppy disks, CDs, and batteries.

This event will benefit the Thurmont Food Bank, so you are asked to bring a non-perishable food item for each box of material to shred you bring.

Remember to Pick Up Your Dog’s Waste

You must pick up your dog’s waste when walking your pet to prevent it from becoming a health hazard. Otherwise, you can be fined up to $100 for a repeated offense.

Deb Abraham Spalding

As the popular Ott House Restaurant and Pub celebrates its 50th anniversary starting in July 2020, its matriarch and patriarch, Susie (Ott) Glass and Bobby Ott, siblings, said, “We made it fifty years because of family! It’s all about family.”

Bobby and Susie manage the overall business that usually employs around 15 family members making up their average crew of 36 staff. The pair started working at the business as teenagers as did their siblings when their father, Bernard ‘Bud’ Ott, a painter by trade, opened the Ott House in 1970 as a hobby and “something for their son, Pat, to get into,” said Chris (Ott) Wilson. They had nine children, Buddy (deceased), Pat (deceased), Dave, Susie, Chris, Cathy, Bobby, Rosie, and Ritchie.

Today, four—Bobby, Susie, Chris, and Rosie-—are still heavily involved in the day-to-day operation of the business that continues to run on the foundation that was set in motion from the beginning with their dad, Bud’s, strong work ethic and Pat’s outgoing personality.

Running a family business for 50 years has created a bond with the community that extends the Ott House family circle to include the community and customers.

Susie said, “Not too many places can say they made it 50 years in business. But, customers are still coming back. They have to get their fix. We have our family. Our customers become our family. We have friends all over the nation. There are 50 years of Mount students, Fire Academy staff and students, local patrons, and our own staff members who have become a huge family.”

The Ott House family now spans the nation, and the Otts are humbled by the gracious reception they receive while traveling. They’re grateful for many great friends.

The foundation of family includes the many people who met their husbands or wives at the Ott House. There are many stories of successful relationships of couples who met there, even stories of meeting first and second spouses at the Ott House.

The Ott House is famous for the fire company patches that cover the interior. When the Fire Academy came to town in the early 1980s, the Otts dedicated a wall of the bar for the patches. Bobby called the Fire Academy, “a wonderful addition to our town.” As more and more patches were added, antiques and keepsakes were removed to make space.

Some of the patches were emulsified into the surface of the bar in the early 1990s. Today, there are patches throughout the bar and dining area. It’s become somewhat ceremonial to add a fire patch to the wall. All that are displayed were added by actual visitors to the pub.

In 1980, the Ott House shuttle bus service was added to provide a  transportation option for students at the Mount and the Fire Academy. This option was popular and has continued ever since in order to keep customers safe.

With the occurrence of Coronavirus, it may be a while until the bus service resumes its full use, however, the Ott House family has adapted as well as can be expected.

During Coronavirus, the once-thriving restaurant and pub has become what Susie disappointedly described in one word, a “deli,” she added, “with delivery.” She explained, “We used to be a little bit of everything — restaurant, pub, gathering place…”

As the business emerges from Coronavirus, the Otts are focused on getting back to business. As of this article’s printing, the Ott House added some outdoor seating and is open to 50% patron capacity while following state and county guidelines for sanitation and social distancing.

Susie said, “It’s a difficult job. You have to show up and work hard every day.” Most important she explained, “You have to love what you’re doing. It’s a labor of love.”

To commemorate the 50th anniversary, the Otts are planning a celebration. Details will be announced when they are known. Meanwhile, you can purchase anniversary shirts, glasses, and growlers.

The Ott House’s hours are 11-10 Thursday through Monday. For the time being, the pub is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Please note that hours can change quickly as Coronavirus regulations change.

The Ott House is located at 5 W. Main Street in Emmitsburg. Call 301-447-2625 for more information.

The Dalmation mascot on the bar in the Ott House has been fitted with a mask and provided some sanitizer in keeping with Coronavirus safety guidelines.

Susie (Ott) Glass and Bobby Ott of the Ott House Pub and Restaurant in Emmitsburg stand behind the bar in the pub. On the wall behind them is a photo of their dad, Bud, from WWII; a Civil War photo of William B. Ott, a distant cousin who resembles their late brother Bud; and a photo of their late brother Pat who started the Ott House business with their father.

Some of the Ott House family members and staff are pictured for Fallen Firefighters weekend.

A plexiglass divider was installed in order to meet Coronavirus safety guidelines during the quarantine. The Ott House, like all restaurants who chose to be open during the pandemic, provided carry-out food during limited hours through June 19, 2020.

In June 2020, the Ott House building received a fresh coat of paint in cream and blue colors. The work was completed by Nusbaum & Ott Painting Company.

Outdoor patio seating was added as a dining option in compliance with COVID regulations. Pictured left to right are Hannah, Lauri, Lindsay, Claire, and Rayven.

On June 23, 2020, Dunkin’ hosted an official groundbreaking ceremony to celebrate the coming of its first next generation restaurant in Emmitsburg located at 103 Silo Hill Parkway. Tentatively slated to open in Fall 2020, the next generation restaurant will offer Emmitsburg a first-hand look at Dunkin’s store of the future experience, with a modern atmosphere and new and innovative technologies and design elements.

As part of the ceremony, representatives from Dunkin’ franchisee network GN Southwestern, LLC were joined by Emmitsburg Mayor Donald Briggs, Frederick County Council Vice President Michael Blue and President of Mount St. Mary’s University Timothy Trainor for the official ceremony to break ground at the new site.

“This is an exciting opportunity for us to become part of the Emmitsburg community and bring the local citizens an enhanced Dunkin’ experience through our next generation store design,” said Neil Patel, Dunkin’ Franchisee. “We are thrilled to be part of Dunkin’s next generation store initiative and feel the new, modern features will offer our guests superior levels of convenience and choice to help keep Emmitsburg running on Dunkin’ for years to come.”

The new restaurant will feature a modern look that provides a fresh, friendly, vibrant and engaging environment for guests. Complete with a new, warmer interior color palette, the restaurant will also offer comfortable guest seating, atmospheric lighting and a convenient, contactless drive-thru. Other exciting elements of the store will include:

Premium Pours: Dunkin’s signature cold beverages are now served through an innovative tap system serving eight consistently cold beverages such as coffees, iced teas, cold brew coffee and nitro infused cold brew coffee. Crew members will also use top-quality flavor-maximizing espresso machines to make hand-crafted drinks to order.

Dunkin’ on Demand: With fully-integrated digital kiosks, guests will be able to choose to order with or without the help of a crew member. Dunkin’ has also introduced an area dedicated to mobile pickups, so that members of the DD Perks® Rewards program who order ahead via Dunkin’s Mobile App can get in and out of the restaurant faster than ever before. Guests will be able to track the status of their orders placed for pickup inside the restaurant via a new digital order status board.

Increased Energy Efficiency: The new Dunkin’ will be a DD Green Achievement™ restaurant, which is designed to save 25% more energy compared to a standard Dunkin’ restaurant.

Upon opening, the 1,500 square foot restaurant will employ approximately 15 crew members and will offer free Wi-Fi. To learn more about Dunkin’, visit or follow us on Facebook @DunkinUS, or Twitter @dunkindonuts .

Emmitsburg Town and Frederick County dignitaries gather with Dunkin’ representatives for the official ground-breaking of the Emmitsburg location coming this fall.

James Rada, Jr.

COVID-19 may have halted progress in turning the old Pizza Hut on Frederick Road into Los Amigos Mexican Restaurant, but owner Roberto Joaquin says he expects his new Mexican restaurant to open this month.

“Everything slowed down so much with the pandemic, but we expect to open in July,” Joaquin said.

Los Amigos—Spanish for “friends”—will bring authentic Mexican dishes to Thurmont for lunch and dinner. Joaquin likes to say his restaurants are “where good friends meet and eat.” Besides the typical beef and chicken choices, you will also find seafood, chorizo, and vegetarian options.

Although Joaquin lives in Hagerstown, where the original Los Amigos is located, he has visited Thurmont multiple times with family and friends to see places like the Catoctin Zoo or the state and national parks.

“It’s a really friendly town,” he said. “I really enjoy it.”

So, when he started looking for a second restaurant location, he found another reason to visit Thurmont.

Work crews have been refinishing the interior of the old Pizza Hut to give it a Mexican feel. Besides tacos, quesadillas, and burritos, you will find molcajete (which includes cactus leaves in its ingredients), chimichangas, fajitas, steaks, and more.

“I like to focus my restaurants on the family,” Joaquin said. “I want them to be able to come in, sit down, eat, and have a good time.”

During dinner, adults can enjoy specialty drinks, and afterward, everyone can enjoy Mexican desserts:  flan, fried ice cream, churros, choco chimichangas, or xango.

The original restaurant on Burhans Boulevard in Hagerstown has been very successful, and Joaquin will bring all the lessons he learned with that site to make the Thurmont restaurant just as successful.

The restaurant at 205 Frederick Road will be open from 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. daily. For more information, call 301-271-8888.

Amongst our abundant natural resources in our local Catoctin Mountain, seekers will find tranquil treasure at ThorpeWood. ThorpeWood is a retreat nestled in the woods on Mink Farm Road in Thurmont. It boasts 155 acres of forests, meadows, an arboretum, wetlands, a stream, a timber framed lodge, a cottage, barn, pavilions, pond, and trails.

Additionally, there are six wedding-appropriate gathering sites on the property. ‘Mountain Memories at ThorpeWood’ is a company owned by Julie Castleman that manages facility rentals and provides programs, open houses, special events, and partnerships. While mainly providing non-profit entities an open menu of programs ranging from youth exploration and equine connection to camping and recreation, all users will find something at ThorpeWood through which to connect.

Sam Castleman has been called, “the heart and soul” of ThorpeWood. He serves as its President and Executive Director. In that role, he’s enjoyed a journey with ThorpeWood that started twenty-five years ago and has taken many directions much like the stream that flows through the property. Upon arriving at the property in 1995 with his BS Degree in Forest Management as a resource, he has nurtured it to become a place of safety, comfort, and growth. This path was sparked by his stepfather, the late Merle Thorpe, Jr., a securities attorney who owned ThorpeWood’s original 30 acres. Sam calls his work at ThorpeWood “sweetly rewarding.”

ThorpeWood is proud of its environmental support and preservation. For example, the lodge is constructed in an environmentally sensitive way using Earth-friendly insulation; re-purposed cupola windows that cause conviction currents to occur for ventilation; 300 year-old Chestnut construction; composting toilets that reduce water consumption by 90% and have no flushing action resulting in very little solid and liquid waste that is safely used to fertilize crops.

Designated acreage at ThorpeWood is used by the American Chestnut Organization to sustain the growth of American Chestnut hybrids. The Native American chestnut was prized for its use in furniture because of its beauty and durability. Unfortunately, the trees were subject to blight and substantially died out. The hybrid program crosses the Chinese with the American chestnut seeking only 10% of Chinese mix to combat the blight. This is an ongoing project.

ThorpeWood now has ten horses in its equine program, nine of which are Islandic. The equine program is used by the Frederick County Head Start program. Horses are known to be reliable teachers of communication and they help people connect with nature.

There’s an actual farm at ThorpeWood with horses, goat, beaver, cow, fox, and hounds. Time is spent connecting with nature, building forts, and conducting business while folks from Camp Johnny, Camp Jamie, FCPS leadership, Leadership Frederick County, St. John Catholic DSS, area scouts, church groups, and retreats utilize the property.

Please note that ThorpeWood is not a park. It’s not open all the time, but you can catch up with the happenings at ThorpeWood by visiting, signing up for ThorpeWood’s newsletter, or catching a blog. Call 301-271-2823 for more information.

Program participants are always happily curious at ThorpeWood.

Woodsboro Bank is pleased to announce that Crystal Wiles has joined the team as Vice President and Controller. Ms. Wiles has over 30 years in the financial services industry with experience in finance, accounting and strategic planning. Most recently, Ms. Wiles was the Chief Financial Officer at Frederick County Bank.

“With her banking expertise and love for our great community, Crystal is a perfect fit with us as we continue to move forward in being the local community bank of Frederick,” said Steve Heine, President and CEO of Woodsboro Bank.

Ms. Wiles is a native of the Frederick community. She received her A.A. degree in Accounting from Frederick Community College and her B.S. degree in Finance from Mount Saint Mary’s College. She serves on the board of the Frederick County Humane Society.

Michelle Green has been promoted to Vice President of Risk Management and Financial Officer. Ms. Green joined Woodsboro Bank in June of 2018 as an Accounting Specialist. Ms. Green expanded her role to being named the Bank’s Controller in 2019.  Ms. Green has over 25 years’ experience in the banking industry involving the branch banking, accounting, operations, and risk management.

Ms. Green attended Towson State University receiving a B.S. in Business Administration and Finance. Also, she has her CAMS and CBAP certifications. She has an active membership with the Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists LLC (ACAMS) and volunteers with her children’s school athletic events in Hanover, PA.

The Emmitsburg Community Pool will be opening July 3, 2020 from 12 noon to 7:00 p.m. It will remain open every day, as long as permitted to do so, until Labor Day. From July 3 -17, 2020 the pool will only be open to Emmitsburg residents in the 21727 zip code on a first-come first-served basis due to the max occupancy restrictions set by the State. The max occupancy at any time is 111 persons. The situation will be re-evaluated to see if the pool can be opened to non-21727 zip code the week of July 17th. No season passes will be sold in 2020 due to the COVID-19 restrictions.

Social distancing remains in effect even inside the pool. Face masks are not required, but encouraged. Please be mindful if you have an underlying health condition. The pool will be sanitized before opening and temporarily closed for sanitizing from 3:00 to 3:30 p.m. every day. During that time, no one will be permitted in the pool or in the bathhouse. Please check the Facebook page and website for ongoing updates.

Denny Black reported that he had a wonderful time joining Jack Harbaugh and his family on a tour of Harbaugh Valley on June 11, 2020. Jack is an eighth generation grandson of Jacob Harbaugh (Feb. 5, 1730 – Apr. 28, 1818) who helped settle Harbaugh Valley in the 1760s. 

For our area football fans, you will know that Jack was the head coach of Western Michigan University and Western Kentucky University, and is the father of coaches Jim and John Harbaugh.  During their tour of Harbaugh Valley, Denny took Jack and his family to visit the grave of their ancestor Jacob Harbaugh who is buried in the Jacob Harbaugh Family Cemetery located on the Royer Farm near Sabillasville.

Pictured from left to right are Jack Harbaugh (Jim’s son), Jim Harbaugh (Head Coach of Michigan and prior Head Coach of the San Diego Chargers and San Francisco 49ers), Denny Black, and Jack Harbaugh at the Jacob Harbaugh gravestone at the Jacob Harbaugh Family Cemetery in Sabillasville.

Pictured from left to right are Jim Harbaugh, Jack Harbaugh (Jim’s son), Jay Harbaugh (Jim’s son and Running Backs/Special Teams Coordinator for Michigan), and Denny Black. at the Jacob Harbaugh gravestone at the Jacob Harbaugh Family Cemetery in Sabillasville.

Kathleen J. Kilty, PhD, principal of Mother Seton School (MSS), announced the appointment of Alexis Burns to the position of assistant principal. Burns, a former student of Mother Seton School, has worked at MSS for the past school year in the Seton-LaCroce Learning Center (SLLC) as a special education teacher. She will serve in a dual role as assistant principal and special education teacher beginning July 1, 2020.

Burns is enthused to begin her new position. “My love for Mother Seton has been life-long, and this opportunity allows me to give back even more to the school. It will be my greatest pleasure to work with the teachers and administration and continue to serve our wonderful students.”

Dr. Kilty said she approached Burns with the opportunity after she saw her commitment to the school and, most importantly, to the students. “I recognized the support and respect that Mrs. Burns has gained from faculty and staff, our parent community, and our students. I believe that her dual role of teacher and administrator will help to make Mother Seton School truly a ‘School for All’.”

Among the initiatives Burns has worked with SLLC director, Ann Beirne, to bring about was the institution of the Orton-Gillingham model to assist those students with learning disabilities, such as dyslexia. Burns also created a sensory hallway to assist students with behavioral and cognition abilities.

“I am thankful to Dr. Kilty for this amazing opportunity and for believing in me,” Burns said. “I cannot wait to work closely with everyone to help continue the legacy of Mother Seton School.”

Dr. Kilty is just as grateful that Burns accepted the position. “I’m excited to work with her, and the rest of the faculty and staff, as we strive to provide the best possible academic and spiritual education to our students.”

Mother Seton School Special Education Teacher Alexis Burns works with a student in the Seton-LaCroce Learning Center sensory hallway. Mrs. Burns was recently appointed assistant principal and will assume that role on July 1, 2020.

The Emmitsburg High School Alumni Association (EHSAA) is pleased to announce the winners of their annual EHSAA scholarship program. Seven $1,000 scholarships were awarded this year. The scholarship applicants were judged on involvement in school and community activities, as well as their academic work. Honors and work experience were also considered.

Recipients were as follows:

1.      Alexi Baumgardner, daughter of Dwight and Kim Baumgardner, attending Virginia Wesleyan University working on her goal to become an orthopedic surgeon.

2.      Max Bingman, son of William and Jennifer Bingman, plans to attend West Virginia University with the idea of becoming a Neurosurgeon.

3.      Grace Blanchard, daughter of Glenn and Maggie Blanchard, will attend Frederick Community College to study Biology with the ultimate goal of becoming a Veterinarian someday.

4.      Gage Frantz, son of Robert and Juliann Frantz, has been accepted at Wheeling University to major in Engineering Science. 

5.      Aubrie Gadra, daughter of David and Lisa Gadra, plans to attend Towson University to start her career as a nurse practitioner in dermatology.

6.      Molly Knighton, daughter of Shannon and Heather Knighton, will be going to Loyola University Maryland to become a high school history teacher.

7.      Isaac Turner, son of Michael and Rhonda Turner, is planning to attend Brigham Young University and major in chemistry.

All recipients will be recognized at the Emmitsburg High School Alumni Association’s 96th annual Banquet to be held October 24, 2020. We congratulate all winners and wish them all success.

James Rada, Jr.

The Catoctin Banner presents a continuation of fiction serials for your enjoyment. “Cast from the Gods” is a new, original serial set at Site R when it was under construction. Let us know what you think.

Part 4: The cage

The deformed skeleton was no longer a skeleton. As unusual as that was, it was only the second thing the soldiers noticed when they entered the excavated chamber under Raven Rock Mountain. The first thing they noticed was that Pvt. Jacob Parkinson, who had been stationed in the chamber to guard the skeleton, was missing. They called out his name and searched around the piles of rock and dirt in case falling debris inside the chamber may have injured or even killed him.

The private was nowhere to be found.

“Do we have an AWOL soldier?” Maj. Henry Owens asked.

“I doubt it, sir,” Sgt. Zachary Konrath said. He was Parkinson’s squadron commander at nearby Fort Ritchie. “Private Parkinson seemed fine when he went on duty. He was a friendly soldier who was doing fine in the military. Even if he went AWOL, where did he go?”

Major Owens scowled as he looked around the dark chamber. “If I knew that, I wouldn’t be standing here.”

“No, sir, I mean we had two men stationed on either side of the entrance to this chamber and other guards regularly patrolling the fence around this site. No one saw Parkinson last night.”

“He must have snuck by you because he certainly isn’t in here.” The major waved his hands around to show he was talking about the cavern.

Konrath shook his head. “With all due respect, sir, I don’t see how. Besides the guards, the entrance was well lit. My men would have seen someone leaving.”

“It’s happened before.”

Sergeant Konrath stiffened. “Not with my men, sir.”

Since construction of the underground complex had started, curious people had managed to get onto the property. A few made it as far as the entrance to the tunnel before they were caught. It wasn’t as if those people had made it onto the property without being detected. They had been detected and caught before they breached the sensitive area. They had only gotten that far because the fencing had not been fully erected at the time.

This cavern was supposed to be an atom bomb shelter for the government should the Soviets attack. It was nowhere near complete yet, in part, because the chamber was being hollowed out of greenstone granite. Yet, a long time ago, a group of people using primitive tools apparently buried a mysterious coffin containing a deformed skeleton hundreds of feet below the ground. So far, no one could identify what sort of creature the skeleton had been when it was alive because it certainly wasn’t human. They couldn’t even identify the metal the coffin was made from, but strange things had been happening around it ever since the work crew had opened it.

“There’s something else you need to see concerning the skeleton, sir,” Sergeant Konrath said.

“I’ve seen the skins on the bones, sergeant,” Major Owens told him.

Sergeant Konrath shook his head. “No, sir, this is something we discovered this morning when Private Parkinson’s relief came in.”

They walked over to the 12-foot-long and four-foot-wide and two-foot-tall coffin. Sergeant Konrath turned on his flashlight and shone the beam inside the coffin. The creature was nearly entirely covered with either fur, skin, or feathers of other creatures or the gray, leathery skin the other skins seemed to turn into. The face was gray with a wolf-like snout. However, instead of nostrils, the snout had a set of what appeared to gills running along its sides. The head resembled a sea urchin with spines growing from the top of it instead of hair.

Major Owens leaned over. “It looks different from yesterday. There’s more flesh. It’s barely even a skeleton now. I still couldn’t tell you what it is, though.”

“Sir, it’s breathing.”


The major leaned over the coffin, staring at the creature’s chest. As he watched, it slowly rose as the creature inhaled.

He straightened up. “Holy, Mother of God!”

“Is it alive, sir?” Konrath asked.

“How should I know? I don’t even know what it is. How long has it been doing that?”

“At least since we got here at 0700.”

Owens thought for a moment. “I’ve got to make some calls. I will send down four more men, fully armed. I want the men already here and the additional men guarding this… thing.”

The major walked back to his Jeep. He drove out of the tunnel to the site office. He ordered the additional soldiers into the tunnel and then he placed a call to Dr. Howard Buchanan, the professor who had verified the site as not being claimed as a religious site or graveyard by any Native American or pioneer group. Howard arrived two hours later, and Major Owens drove him into the tunnel.

Dr. Buchanan looked at the creature in the box and said, “Amazing.”

“Is that all you have to say?” Owens asked.

“What do you expect me to say? Somehow a skeleton is regrowing its lost organs and flesh. It’s unheard of.”

Owens sighed. He would have been a lot happier if Buchanan had been military. “I want to know: 1) What is it? 2) Is it alive? And 3) Is it dangerous? And not necessarily in that order.”

Dr. Buchanan straightened up. “I’m afraid I can’t answer any of those questions. However, one of my colleagues thought the characters etched on the coffin looked familiar. He is attempting to decipher them for me.”

“Then I need to take some precautions.” Owens looked around. “Sergeant Konrath, where are you?”

The sergeant hurried over. “Yes, sir.”

“I want you and the other men here to put that lid back on the coffin. I will send a work team down here to erect a cage around it.”

“Don’t you think that’s an overreaction?” Dr. Buchanan asked.

Owens poked the professor in the chest. “You just told me you can’t tell me what this is or even if it’s alive. Yet, I have a skeleton regrowing its body. So, no, I don’t think I’m overreacting.”

The 10 soldiers managed, with effort, to push the lid back into place. When it dropped into place on top of the coffin, the sound of metal on metal echoed back and forth in the chamber.

As the sound died off, another sound replaced it. It sounded like thunder or a deeply muffled growl.

          To be continued…

Is It Just Us?

By Valerie Nusbaum

It was mid-morning on Saturday. We were hard at work. I was alternately doing laundry, changing the sheets on the bed, trotting half-miles on the treadmill, and working on my column for The Banner.

Randy was in the kitchen, beginning the installation of our new range hood. You might remember that last summer, our oven caught fire during The Great Pancake Caper of ‘19. We replaced our white stove with a black stainless, fingerprint-resistant model. We also replaced our dishwasher at that time since we were able to find one matching the stove. The refrigerator and range hood proved to be more of a challenge.

We wanted a range hood attached to a wall-mounted microwave, but there was an issue with size and height, so we settled for just the range hood.  The problem was that none of the local stores had a hood in the slate black color. Randy finally found one at Lowe’s online, and he ordered it seven months after we bought the stove. Weeks later, he received two messages telling him that the range hood was at the store in Frederick, ready to be picked up. We couldn’t get free shipping to our home, but it wasn’t a big deal to go pick it up.

Randy made the trip to the store. It took a while, but he came home with a large box. Upon closer inspection, and with some cursing involved, Randy informed me that we had a beautiful new cooktop instead of a range hood. 

He took the cooktop back to the store a day or so later. The clerks didn’t care and weren’t able to help him reorder the hood that we wanted, so he came home and tried again online. Two more weeks went by; Randy got another message and an email, and we headed back to Lowe’s. I waited in the truck because I feared the worst and didn’t want to be a witness. Randy texted me from inside the store that he was in line, and there were three people in front of him. Eventually, he came out without a package. The associate at the customer service desk said that our package hadn’t been brought up front yet, and there was no one available to look for it. Mind you, we had received two messages telling us to come in and get our package. Randy was told that he was welcome to wait an hour or so, but he said he’d be back later.

We did some errands and went back to Lowe’s. A different customer service associate told Randy that our package was still in the back of the store, but she did send someone to go look for it. Meanwhile, Randy dealt with a woman who had pushed her way in front of him to have a conversation with the clerk. While he was being shoved aside, he noticed his name on a big box behind the counter.  After pointing that out to the associate, he retrieved our package and checked to make sure we had the correct item this time. The box sat in our kitchen for another two weeks because we had other projects in the works.

Finally, it was time. I was upstairs in my office, and I could hear Randy downstairs in the kitchen. I heard him go down to the basement and come back up.  This happened several times, and then the cussing started. He was trying to figure out which breaker the old range hood was wired to.  Each time he went to the basement and switched off a breaker, he had to come back upstairs to see if the hood light was still on in the kitchen. I yelled down and asked if he needed help. It’s always best to stay out of his way when he’s doing a project unless he asks me to help. However, after I heard him go down and up the stairs another 10 times, I stopped what I was doing—which was playing a game of Free Cell on the computer as I mentally drafted a totally different column from this one—and  went down to the kitchen.  Randy started to protest my being there, but I gave him my “don’t even think about it” face. After sending me back upstairs to turn off the computer, and after flipping a whole bunch more switches, we finally had success.

I went back to work. After about 15 minutes, Randy advised me that the old range hood was down. In less than an hour, he had the new hood installed and wired.  The actual installation was less of a problem than anything that came before it.

My question to you is this: Is it just us, or do you also have trouble with things that should be simple?  Does it seem that no one cares or wants to help? Is everything a struggle for you? Some days, I really want to give up. That’s why when something actually does go well or is easy, I’m practically giddy with delight. I’m not sure life is supposed to be so hard, but it certainly does make one appreciate the good things, doesn’t it?

The new range hood sticks out a little farther than the old one, and I’ve hit my head on it a few times, so now I’m downright tickled when I remember to duck.

by James Rada, Jr.

July 1920, 100 Years Ago

No Freight Service Here. Merchants Haul Produce To Baltimore On Trucks.

The trouble on the railroads in this part of the country was felt keenly this week, particularly by hucksters and produce men having shipments to make to Baltimore.

The officials of the roads have placed an embargo on all goods along the Western Maryland railroad, and because of the refusal of railroad men to work, freight trains have not moved for some days.

Our local hucksters, Ross Eyler and William Cover, after collecting country produce, found it necessary to load their trucks and haul their goods to market. Both left Monday midnight with their first load. About three trips will be necessary.

                                          – Catoctin Clarion, July 1, 1920

Principal Resigns. Prof. H.D. Beachley After 25 Years Tenders Resignation.

After acting as principal of the Thurmont High School for 25 of the 27 years of its existence, Prof. H. D. Beachley has sent in his resignation.

The news will be a great surprise to his former pupils and his many friends. Prof. Beachley came to Thurmont fresh from college and took charge of the school in its infancy, and he had identified with its entire history.

                                          – Catoctin Clarion, July 15, 1920

July 1945, 75 Years Ago

Road Work Ends

The surface treatment program of the State Roads Commission on highways in this area has been completed, and there were no road detours over the Fourth of July, Robert E. L. Putman, resident engineer of the commission, said Wednesday. Mr. Putman said there were some reports of trees down along the roads in the Catoctin Furnace-Rocky Ridge-Graceham area as a result of the storm Monday afternoon, but no serious damage occurred.

                                          – Frederick Post, July 5, 1945

Thurmont in Second Place

Thurmont clinched second place in the Penn-Maryland League Sunday afternoon by routing Littlestown, 12 to 5, before a good crowd at Thurmont. The rivals were tied for second place, with Blue Ridge Summit a game on top.

                                          – Frederick Post, July 9, 1945

July 1970, 50 Years Ago

Thurmont Man Files For County Office

Donald L. Lewis, well-known and respected Frederick County businessman, has filed his candidacy for County Commissioner, subject to the Republican primary election.

As former Mayor of Thurmont, Lewis served on the Council of the Maryland Municipal League, where problems of cities and town were constantly studied and appropriate legislation proposed and adopted for consideration at Annapolis.                                      

                          – Emmitsburg Chronicle, July 17, 1970

Children’s Choir Honored At Dinner

The Children’s Choir of Elias Lutheran Church was honored at a dinner on a recent Monday evening in the Parish House as a culmination of their year’s choral work. Pastel colors and arrangements of garden flowers were used on the tables.

Honored during the evening were: Tamara Strickhouser; Kim and Todd Leatherman; Daniel J. Fearer; Bruce and Tina Boyd; Theresa McNair; Deborah Small; Robert, Brenda, and Deborah Leatherman; Denise Manahan; Randy and Tina Smith; Nancy, Cynthia, and Pamela Hahn; Pamela Bushman; Matthew, Mark, and Lucius Deatherage; Carole Eyler; Virginia, Kathleen, and Nancy Crum; and Pastor W. Ronald Fearer.

                          – Emmitsburg Chronicle, July 24, 1970

July 1995, 25 Years Ago

Community Spirit Prevails At Cunningham Falls During Search For Missing Child

A sunny, Sunday afternoon on June 18th brought numbers of people out to the William Houck lake area at Cunningham Falls. The majority of bathers were families, and young children were everywhere enjoying the water and sun.

At mid-afternoon, the tone became much more serious as the park ranger ordered bathers to leave the swimming area because of a report of a missing child. The area soon cleared, and adult volunteers quickly waded out into the water and formed human chains in an attempt to locate the child in case the child had gone under…

As we waded from one side to the other, another chain came from the opposite side to meet us. Snorkelers also patrolled edges of the swimming area. After this had been repeated twice, the park ranger announced that the child had been found safe on the shore.

                          – The Emmitsburg Regional Dispatch, July 1995

Young People To Compete In National Tournament

The Bulldogs, a youth bowling team from the Thurmont Bowling Center, recently placed first in the Bantam Division of the State Tournament for the National Duckpin Youth Association. Team members include Adam Myers, Matt Myers, Trey Benvengi, Paul Eyler, all from Emmitsburg, and Kevin Riffle from Thurmont. Led by their director, Karen Ferguson, they will compete in the National competition.

                          – The Emmitsburg Regional Dispatch, July 1995

by James Rada, Jr.

The Pandemic to End All Pandemics — Part 2

Few people saw Spanish Flu as a threat at first. Although more people than usual got sick in the spring of 1918, they recovered for the most part.

That was the first wave. The second wave hit in the fall of 1918.

The Second Wave

Spanish Flu hit Frederick County on September 26, 1918, when the Frederick News reported 50 flu cases in the county. The following day, 10 more cases were reported. The first death from flu in the county, George Cronise of Buckeystown, occurred on September 29.

By October 2, more than 100 cases were reported in Buckeystown alone.

At this early stage, Thurmont, Emmitsburg, Urbana, New Market, and Buckeystown were the hardest-hit areas, according to Dr. T. Clyde Routson, the county health officer. He was against closing schools at first because the children would play and mingle with friends, and the result would be the same. He also said that it would be unfair to communities not affected to have their children deprived of education.

One Frederick Post headline on October 7 was “Physicians Believe That Epidemic Has Been Checked.” This was far from the truth. The flu had taken hold in all areas of the county. During the month of October, a flu story could be found on the front page of the Frederick Post every day it was published except for two days. Most of those headlines announced how many had died the previous day.


Pennsylvania enacted the strictest quarantine the state had ever seen, closing virtually every public meeting place. The Gettysburg Times announced on October 4 that Acting State Health Commissioner B. F. Royer ordered closed every moving picture house, every theater, every saloon, and every place of public amusement, including pool rooms and dance halls. The sick weren’t allowed to have visitors unless they were so desperately ill that they weren’t expected to live. And any visitors had to wear a gauze mask. All funerals had to be private. The Chambersburg Public Opinion called this “the most drastic quarantine order ever given in Pennsylvania.”

At this point, 60,000 people in the Philadelphia area were already sick with the flu. Camp Colt in Gettysburg had 21 deaths on October 2, bringing the total deaths there to 62. Yet, it wasn’t big news. Suddenly, with the issuance of the quarantine order, headlines were everywhere.

With Pennsylvania setting the example, Frederick County started talking about quarantines on October 7. It was too late. That day, 25 people in the county died from the flu, including Francis Dotterer in Catoctin Furnace, Mary Smith, Fleet Gall, and Lulu Smith in Thurmont.

Frederick County remained open, but then Maryland took actions similar to Pennsylvania, closing public meeting places on October 8. Camp Meade, which had been flu-free a few weeks earlier, had 277 deaths, more than 5 percent of its population. Three Daughters of Charity from Emmitsburg and three from Baltimore had been at Camp Meade since October 3, trying to fight the disease. The sisters reported back two days after arriving that there had been 100 deaths in one day and 30 deaths on their first night at Camp Meade.

Since the Crimean War the previous century, whenever there was a public health crisis, whether in peace or war, the Daughters had been called on to help. Around this time, the Daughters of Charity received telegraph and phone messages from sisters across the country, asking for their help.

Also, the first Daughter of Charity died from the flu around this time after being sick only four days. St. Joseph’s College in Emmitsburg reported that nearly all of the teachers were sick, and 31 of the students had the flu.

Suddenly, the flu began repeatedly appearing on the front page of the newspapers, although not the lead story, generally. WWI was winding down, and so the last battles and then the truce talks were the big stories of the day, supposedly.

On October 8, Maryland issued a statewide ban that closed theaters, movies, schools, dance halls, and other public places. It was very similar to Pennsylvania’s quarantine.

Some people complained about the quarantine because they had developed their own remedy. Since alcohol was used to kill germs on the skin, they had increased their intake to kill the germs inside them. One newspaper pointed out that “while whiskey is a good medicine for a person ill with the disease and in fact may then be needed as a heart stimulant, it really lowers the resistance of the system of a person who is not infected and makes him still more susceptible.”

A Deadly October

By the middle of October, the Daughters of Charity had sent everyone they could spare from the Central House in Emmitsburg out to serve in the missions. However, sisters at the Central House were also suffering from the flu.

The first student at St. Joseph’s College died from the flu on October 18. It was the first pupil death since 1872. The following day, another student died. The following day, a sister serving at Soldier’s Home in Washington died, and another sister in Emmitsburg died the following day. It looks like four sisters eventually died from the flu, although there may have been more. Certainly, more were given the Last Rites.

The county fairs in both Frederick and Washington counties wound up being canceled that year, reluctantly. The directors argued that the fresh air would do people good. However, in the end, they must have realized that attendance would be down because people were sick, and many healthy people would be afraid to be part of a crowd for fear of catching the flu.

It was only the second time that the Great Frederick Fair had been canceled. The only time previously that the fair had been canceled was when a little spat called the Civil War happened.

Churches decided to prevent parishioners from being within close proximity to each other.

Also, volunteer nurses were being sent throughout the county to visit the homes where entire families were down with the flu. They would care for these families in their homes.

The B&O Railroad brought in its emergency hospital to help people in Brunswick, which apparently was one of the harder hit areas of the county. An emergency hospital run by the Red Cross was also set up at Montevue.

Things would still get worse.

Picture shows passengers and employees were required to wear face masks to ride on public transportation in many cities during the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic, which killed 100 million people worldwide.

by Anita DiGregory

The Power of Parenting

“A seed neither fears light nor darkness, but uses both to grow.”  (Matshona Dhliwayo, Zimbabwean-born author of 50 Lessons Every Wise Mother Teaches Her Son)

I have a tree in front of my home.  It is a beautiful tree.  It was planted there just before we moved into our home 18 years ago.  My children have grown up with that tree.  I have yearly photos of them in front of it…in Halloween costumes, playing football together, building snowmen, looking for Easter eggs. Every year at Christmastime, my husband wraps it in twinkling white lights, and in the stillness we breathe deep and take in its beauty. 

Over the years, our little tree has been home to many birds, and little nests adorn its branches.  Today, our once tiny tree stands higher than our home.  Its tremendous branches now provide shade to my granddaughter as she wades in her baby pool. Who would have thought? Certainly not that harried, anxious, crazy-busy mother of three rushing past that little tree for doctor appointments, soccer, little league, basketball, volleyball, and field hockey practices and games, through pregnancies and miscarriage, on days of celebration and days of loss.  That momma barely had the time (and maybe not even the courage) to ponder that little tree and the growth the years would bring. But this mother of seven and grandmother finds herself pondering all of that and the power and potential of a tiny, little seed.

Do you know the word “seed” is used over 70 times in the Bible?  The word means different things.  In the Bible, it could mean the Word of God.  It could refer to that embryonic part of the seed plant which can grow into a new plant.  It could mean offspring.  When used as “spreading the seed,” it can refer to instilling virtues and ideals. 

Matthew 13:32 states, “”[The mustard seed] is the smallest of all the seeds, yet when full-grown it is the largest of plants.  It becomes a large bush, and the ‘birds of the sky come and dwell in its branches.’”

Have you ever seen a giant redwood tree?  They can grow to over 300 feet tall.  One adult redwood tree can yield six to eight million seeds a year, seeds so minuscule that it takes one million of them to weigh eight pounds.

How can something so small be so significant? 

Maybe it is all the time quarantine and social distancing has created…maybe it is the condition of our country and world, but I have found myself doing a lot of pondering these days.  With all the anger, sadness, fear, and anxiety swirling around us, do you find yourself feeling helpless and insignificant?  I do.  I wonder:  what can I possibly do to make a difference. 

The truth is, as parents we have the power to change the world, one soul at a time.  Within our children, we can plant the seeds of strong moral values including Faith, hope, and love and live these virtues authentically.  We can teach them about God.  We can model charity, empathy, mercy, and compassion for them.  We can talk to them and really listen to them.  We can read them stories of great saints, leaders, and heroes.  We can teach them the importance of discipline and hard work.  We can show them how to pray and kneel with them in prayer.  We can teach them about our country, “one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all,” what that means, and how very important it is.  We can celebrate their successes and their failures and when they fall, we can help them to learn, grow, and try again.  We can talk to them about living intentionally and the necessity of doing the next right thing, even when we are scared, exhausted, or feeling lost.  We can teach them to always stand for what is good, and right, and just. 

Harvard Professor Elizabeth Bartholet knows the importance of parenting as demonstrated by her exuberance to severely regulate or ban homeschooling, partially to keep parents from having such an authentic influence on their children.  She states, “Conservative Christians wanted the chance to bring their children up with their values and belief systems and saw homeschooling as a way to escape from the secular education in public schools.”

Dr. Rick Rigsby knows the power of parenting.  In the now viral video of his graduation speech (look it up; you won’t be sorry), Rigsby states, “The wisest person I ever met in my life: a third grade dropout…who taught me to combine knowledge and wisdom to make an impact, is my father: a simple cook, wisest man I ever met.”

Mother Theresa said, “If you want to change the world, go home and love your family.”  It won’t always be easy, but it will always be worth the sacrifices, sleepless nights, countless prayers, and hard work.  You may not see it today.  Today, amid all the shouting and pain in the world, you may feel small and insignificant, like you just can’t make a difference.   Just keep watering those seeds; keep sheltering and pruning; keep working.  Your tending and toiling, your love and devotion will make a difference.

And you know those giant redwood trees…did you ever wonder how they grow so tall, how they withstand all the wind?  Turns out, the redwoods roots do not run very deep.  Instead the roots run wide.  They intertwine with the roots of the other strong redwoods around them which makes the trees able to withstand almost everything nature can throw at them.  Each year they grow strong, some for over 2,000 years.  They offer shelter, take in more carbon dioxide than any other tree (according to studies), and provide homes to countless creatures…all of that from a tiny and seemingly insignificant seed. 

Take heart sweet parent… as a parent you have the power to form a soul, the power to change the world.

There’s No Place Like Home

by Priscilla Rall

Marion William Rice was born to Marian Warfield and Ethel Metheny Rice in 1927 in Mountaindale. One of five children, the family lived in a house next to a small grocery store that Marion’s parents ran. When he was six years old, he walked three miles to the closest school in Lewistown. Later, he moved to live with his grandmother, Mrs. John Kesselring, to be closer to the Thurmont schools. She lived in Thurmont on Frederick Road, just above Camp Cozy.

His parents had a large garden and raised hogs. Marion, or “Bill” as he was called, missed school when they butchered. His job was to keep the fires going under the butchering kettles. Bill’s favorite meal was hog maw, which his mother would make at butchering time. At his grandmother’s, Bill’s job was to feed the chickens. He fondly remembered playing baseball in the summertime. Bill vividly recalled when he was playing ball in Mountaindale; a man came running out of the store, yelling that Pearl Harbor had been bombed. He responded, “Where’s Pearl?” Once a year, the family would go to Frederick to buy new clothes for school. That was a special day!

His family listened to the radio every night. Bill especially remembered Lowell Thomas and President Roosevelt’s (FDR) fireside chats. In fact, he saw FDR several times when he would drive up Frederick Road, sometimes in an open car. Often, he would stop to fish at the old ore pit at Catoctin Furnace, which was stocked with trout just for the president.

Bill worked part-time for the local florist, Allen Creager, collecting ferns growing in the mountains for funeral wreaths. Once, he looked up and saw two men with guns drawn running towards him. Bill had strayed too close to Camp Shangri-La. He was taken in a police car to the post office to be identified before being released. That was an exciting day!

Bill graduated from Thurmont High School in 1944 at 17 years of age, and he decided to join the U.S. Navy. “Mom was ironing and a’crying and a’crying.” She didn’t want her son to sign up, nor did his father, but eventually, they signed his papers. Bill remembered that the older men, the “Home Guard,” would march and do practice drills using broomsticks.

Before he joined the Navy, Bill was an air raid warden. They had a station on Payne’s Hill. Once, Bill had to stop Doc Birely because he was driving with his car lights on during a blackout. But the old Doc protested that he was rushing to see an ill patient.

Bill took the bus to Baltimore and then the train to Bainbridge for training. He spent several months in specialized training in electrical work. With his training done, Bill took the train cross-country, arriving after five days in San Francisco. There, he boarded a ship that sailed to Pearl Harbor, where one could still see remains of the Japanese surprise attack. It was “pretty emotional” for the young sailor. Then, he was quickly shuffled onto an airplane but was not told his destination.

The plane landed on different islands, and Bill finally ended up on Okinawa. Climbing down from the plane, he was given the order, “Go up on that hill and find an empty tent with a cot.” Bill stayed there for a month or so. He could explore where airplanes had crashed and exploded. Then, a tremendous typhoon came through the island, with 180 mph winds. Bill, and a few others, found refuge in a burial cave. When it was over, they crawled out; there were wrecked planes everywhere. He was assigned to the hospitals to set up electrical generators and to keep them going. Once, a gas drum exploded in his face, and he thought he was permanently blinded. Fortunately, he recovered. There were a lot of Japanese POWs who were helping repair the damage that they had done to the island.

Finally, the war ended, and Bill was granted a 10-day furlough to Shanghai, China. He bought a few souvenirs, including two kimonos for his sisters. He returned to Okinawa and continued doing electrical work until 1946 when he returned to the U.S. and was mustered out of the service.

Back in Thurmont, Bill began working for the town for a total of 44 years! Marion “Bill” Rice had a life that spanned almost a century and saw tremendous changes in the world. Bill never hesitated to serve his country when the time came. He was one of our “Greatest Generation,” a home-town boy turned sailor who saw the world but decided that the best place is home.

If you are a veteran or know a veteran who is willing to tell his or her story, contact the Frederick County Veterans History Project at

Bill and Nancy Rice.

by Buck Reed

Eight Food-Related Things We Learned During Lockdown

(1) Starting a garden was probably a good idea. The timing of the lockdown could not have come at a better time to start a traditional Victory Garden to supply food for you and your family. At least plant a Toilet Paper Tree.

(2) The cook rules the household. The paycheck may pay the bills but, putting the food on the table is a valued skill. Plus, if you do the cooking, surely you can get someone to do the dishes.

(3) Takeout is a poor substitute for restaurant service. Getting takeout may be a convenience but, sitting at a table and having waitstaff take care of you is a lovely experience. It is quite possibly the closest most of us will feel to being a king.  

(4) If they are essential workers, then tip them like they are. Good service should be appreciated, and although a thank you or a please might be a good start, the person taking care of you needs to pay the rent.

(5) Cooking for you and your family will save you money. Cooking for yourself is a great money saver, and once you learn to manage your shopping and organize your pantry, you can save money when you need it most.

(6) Making something everyone will enjoy is a daunting task. Creating a meal everyone will enjoy can seem impossible sometimes, but a jar of peanut butter and jelly might solve the problem.

(7) You can make cooking a family affair. Getting your family excited about a meal can be as simple as just mentioning that it’s Taco Night in the dining room or getting everyone in on making pizza. 

(8) Making a special meal for someone can be a great way to mark an occasion. Rewarding a good report card with something as simple as their favorite meatloaf is a great way to create excitement for almost anyone. Even the smallest victory can be marked with a family favorite.

by Christine Maccabee

Slowing Down

As of this writing, it is still spring. I find springtime goes much too fast and comes much too slowly after a long, messy winter. In winter, I am dreaming of spring. I miss the green leaves and the wonderful life that springs from the soil…maybe that’s why it is called spring!

This spring, every time I passed by my purple iris, I took the time to smell its heavenly perfume, knowing its blossoms would come and go so quickly. Slowing down to do so becomes a few seconds of bliss during a busy day, a bit of aromatherapy to put a smile on my face and joy in my heart.

After an amazing rain the other night, I knew the box turtles would be trying to cross the roads to get to better hunting grounds, or so they think. So yesterday, unbeknown to me, a lone male turtle was in the middle of Black Road, leaving the safety of his woods and thinking the 15-acre lawn across the road might be better. Luckily, I was in no hurry to get home, so I stopped my car and rescued him from a life-threatening situation. He was peaceful as I carried him back to his wonderful woods, and I hope he never comes onto the road again.

Years ago, on a quiet Sunday morning, I found a turtle injured on Hamptown Valley Road by a car likely going too fast to be observant. I took the poor guy home. With surgical tape, his frontal shell was fused together again. After a month, fully healed, I released him. It only takes one.

As for gardening, I must admit that somedays I go non-stop,  practically forgetting to breathe as I multitask. Perhaps, innately, I feel I have to keep up with springtimes’ springing! However, since yesterday was going to be my day to go slower, I stood up frequently,  stretching and breathing in deeply the wonderful mountain air in between planting lupine and squash plants. Grown from seed in the greenhouse, these plants, like so many others, took their good old time getting to outdoor planting size. They were as eager to get out of their pots as I was to plant them, yet patience was needed, forcing me to go slow. 

Now summer flowers, berries, and veggies are slowly coming out, and gardeners are busier than ever. I know I am not the only avid gardener. Our backs and arms are aching from all the work. Still, the wisest of us know how important it is to slow down and smell the flowers, to enjoy the fruits of our labor, and spend quiet time listening to and observing nature’s miraculous springing forth during this time of “Greenleaf” (taken from the bestseller Warriors series about cat clans).

I will leave you with a few lines from a poem I wrote years ago:

 The most glorious sunrise                                              a newborn’s first cry,

            the blossom of bluebells

              in the welcome springtime.

  The beauty of summer

     all decked out in green;

         the lupine and poppy,

           a colorful scheme,

  All gone in an instant it seems,

  All gone with the passae of time.

Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety is a normal response to stress. However, when it becomes hard to control and affects your day-to-day life, it can be disabling. Anxiety disorders affect nearly 1 in 5 adults in the United States. Women are more than twice as likely as men to get an anxiety disorder in their lifetime.

What Is Anxiety?

Anxiety is a feeling of worry, nervousness, or fear about an event or situation and is a normal reaction to stress. It helps you stay alert for a challenging situation at work, study harder for an exam, or remain focused on an important speech. In general, it helps you cope.

Unfortunately, anxiety can also be disabling if it interferes with daily life. It can make you dread nonthreatening, day-to-day activities like riding the bus or talking to a coworker. Anxiety can also be a sudden attack of terror when there is no threat.

Physical symptoms may include weakness, shortness of breath, rapid heart rate, nausea, upset stomach, and dizziness.

What Are Anxiety Disorders?

Anxiety disorders happen when excessive anxiety interferes with your everyday activities, such as going to work or school or spending time with friends or family. Anxiety disorders are the most common mental disorders in the United States.

Major Types of Anxiety Disorders

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). Those with GAD worry excessively about ordinary day-to-day issues like health, money, work, and family. With GAD, the mind often jumps to the worst-case scenario, even when there is little or no reason to worry. One may have muscle tension and other stress-related physical symptoms, such as trouble sleeping or upset stomach.

Panic Disorder. A panic disorder is diagnosed when someone has sudden attacks of terror when there is no actual danger. Panic attacks may cause a sense of unreality, a fear of impending doom, or a fear of losing control. A fear of one’s own unexplained physical symptoms is also a sign of a panic disorder. People having panic attacks sometimes believe they are having heart attacks, losing their minds, or dying.

Social Phobia. A social phobia, also called social anxiety disorder, is diagnosed when people become very anxious and self-conscious in everyday social situations. People with social phobia have an intense fear of being watched and judged by others. They may get embarrassed easily and often have panic attack symptoms.

Specific Phobia. A specific phobia is an intense fear of something that poses little or no actual danger. Specific phobias could be fears of closed-in spaces, heights, water, objects, animals, or specific situations. People with specific phobias often find that facing, or even thinking about facing, the feared object or situation brings on a panic attack or severe anxiety.

Each anxiety disorder has different symptoms. They all involve fear and dread about things that may happen now or in the future.

Other Conditions That Are Not Considered Anxiety Disorders But Are Similar

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). People with OCD have unwanted thoughts (obsessions) or behaviors (compulsions) that cause anxiety. They may check the oven or iron again and again or perform the same routine over and over to control the anxiety these thoughts cause. Often, the rituals end up controlling the person.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). PTSD starts after a scary event that involved physical harm or the threat of physical harm. The person who gets PTSD may have been the one who was harmed, or the harm may have happened to a loved one or even a stranger.

How Are Anxiety Disorders Diagnosed?

Your doctor or nurse will ask you questions about your symptoms and your medical history. Your doctor may also do a physical exam or other tests to rule out other health problems that could be causing your symptoms.

Anxiety disorders are diagnosed when fear and dread of non-threatening situations, events, places, or objects become excessive and are uncontrollable. Anxiety disorders are also diagnosed if the anxiety has lasted for at least six months and interferes with social, work, family, or other aspects of daily life.

How Are Anxiety Disorders Treated?

Treatment for anxiety disorders depends on the type of anxiety disorder you have and your personal history of health problems, violence, or abuse.

What If My Anxiety Disorder Comes Back?

Sometimes, symptoms of an anxiety disorder come back after you have finished treatment. This may happen during or after a stressful event. It may also occur without any warning.

You can also talk to your doctor about ways to identify and prevent anxiety from coming back. This may include writing down your feelings, or meeting with your counselor if you think your anxiety is uncontrollable.

Complementary or alternative medicine can also help manage anxiety disorders. Some alternative medicine therapies that may help anxiety are regular physical activity, which raises the level of brain chemicals that control mood and affect anxiety and depression. Studies show meditation may improve anxiety. Regular meditation may help by boosting activity in the area of your brain responsible for feelings of serenity and joy.

How Do Anxiety Disorders Affect Other Health Conditions?

Anxiety disorders may affect other health problems that are common in women, including depression. Anxiety disorders can happen at the same time as depression. When this happens, treatment for both anxiety and depression may not be as effective. IBS symptoms are common in people with anxiety disorders. Worry can make IBS symptoms worse, especially gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms such as upset stomach or gas. GI symptoms can also be stressful and lead to more anxiety. Although treatments for IBS can help treat anxiety, it is important that you treat both conditions.

Anxiety disorders are common in women with certain diseases that cause chronic pain, including rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, and migraine.

Anxiety and depression increase the risk of heart disease, the leading cause of death for American women. Anxiety can also make recovery harder after a heart attack or stroke.

Stress and anxiety can trigger asthma attacks, while the shortness of breath and wheezing during asthma attacks can cause anxiety. Studies show that breathing retraining may help asthma control and ease anxiety.

If you are struggling with health issues, call the Advanced Chiropractic & Nutritional Healing Center at 240-651-1650 for a free consultation. Dr. Lo uses Nutritional Response Testing® to analyze the body to determine the underlying causes of ill or non-optimum health.

The office is located at 7310 Grove Road #107, Frederick, MD. Check out the website at

Deb Abraham Spalding

Incidents of Lyme disease in people are on the rise in our area, while the incidents of Lyme disease in our dogs are on the decline. Our Blacklegged (Deer) Tick is the culprit. Other local tick species like the Brown Dog Tick and the American Dog Tick are not known to transfer Lyme but can transfer other diseases like Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever to pets and people.

Pets: Trish Hahn, a veterinary technician with the Catoctin Veterinary Clinic in Thurmont, explains that there’s a 99 percent effective Lyme vaccine available for your dogs, which substantially decreases the incidents of Lyme. There are also various flea and tick treatments, topical and oral, that are effective as well. These reliable flea and tick products kill the tick before there is a blood exchange, thus preventing disease.

Symptoms of Lyme disease in a dog are lethargy, loss of appetite, and kidney damage if left too long without treatment. From the point of the bite, symptoms may begin within 24 hours. Trish explained that we don’t see Lyme disease in cats.

People: Jenice Palachick, CRNP (Certified Registered Nurse Practitioner) in Dr. Cooper’s office in Thurmont, formerly worked with Dr. Timothy Stonesifer at the Cumberland Valley Parochial Medical Clinic in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania. Dr. Stonesifer runs his clinic as a family practice, with a specialty in Lyme. Having prior experience with diagnosing and treating Lyme disease is a useful resource for Jenice while working in general practice at Dr. Cooper’s office, but she often consults with Dr. Stonesifer if she suspects Lyme.

Typical symptoms of Lyme can be difficult to diagnose because they mimic so many other ailments. They include fever, headache, fatigue, joint pain, swollen lymph nodes, and, about 30 percent of the time, a characteristic skin rash called erythema migrans. Every case of Lyme disease is unique. Thus, treatment for each case is a journey of trial and error. Jenise said, “I’ve been fooled before. It’s not that simple.” The symptoms are so broad, especially in the chronic phase where symptoms have gone on for years.

Jenice suggests that the adage, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” is in place when preventing Lyme. When outside in the tick’s natural habitat, wear long pants tucked into your socks. Buy clothes that are infused with pyrethrum, which is a natural repellent to ticks. Use insect repellent containing an EPA-registered ingredient, such as DEET, picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus. Wear light colored clothing. Do a tick check after being outside. Ticks love the scalp, behind the ears, and the groin area. Ticks can be as small as a pin head. See next page for Maryland Tick Identification table provided by the University of Maryland Extension Service.

There are just two kinds of venomous snakes in our local area: timber rattlesnakes and copperheads. They are rarely aggressive. The easiest way to determine how to treat a snake bite is to look at the eyes, head, and fangs (or lack thereof) of the culprit. Venomous snakes have elliptical pupils while non-venomous have round pupils. Venomous snakes have hollow retractable fangs while nonvenomous snakes lack fangs. Venomous snakes have a triangular shaped head while nonvenomous snakes have a rounded head. Please DON’t assume that all snakes are venomous, but please DO assume that all snakes can bite.

Pets: Though not all snakes have a deadly venom, a snake bite will still cause discomfort and stress for your pet, so please take your pet to a veterinarian as soon as possible. If your pet was bitten by a venomous snake, it will need antivenom.

People: On May 19, 2019, while hiking with her wife Sarah, two dogs and friends, Lindsay Klampe was bitten by a rattlesnake (actual snake shown in photo).  She was wearing shorts and sneakers while hiking from Hog Rock in Catoctin Mountain Park to Cunningham Falls in Cunningham Falls State Park.

Lindsay said, upon feeling the bite, “Adrenaline took over. I jumped and started running.” She ran about a quarter mile from where the bite occurred to the Cunningham Falls parking lot along Route 77. Meanwhile, Sarah called 911.

Ambulance personnel transported Lindsay to Frederick Memorial Hospital where, within 1 hour and 15 minutes from when the bite occurred, she was injected with antivenom.

The anti-venom, rest, and time propelled Lindsay through a full recovery.

Lyndsay said she plans to get back to hiking but will wear hiking boots and pants in the future since she feels that ankle-covering boots could have served as a barrier of protection and prevented the bite from penetrating her skin.

UpToDate clinical first aid for a venomous snake bite suggests keeping the victim warm, at rest, and calm while initially elevating the injured part of the body to the level of the heart. UpToDate also recommends removing any rings, watches, or constrictive clothing from the affected extremity. As always, rush the victim to the nearest medical facility via emergency medical services.

For Pets and People: In case of a non-venomous bite, clean the wound, apply a clean dressing, and go about your day while monitoring for any changes in condition like swelling, dizziness or clamminess, or changes in breathing. If any of these changes occur, seek medical attention.

In the case of a venomous bite, take emergency action to get to an emergency room where an antivenom can be injected.


The National Park Service has posted bear safety tips on its website. The biggest prevention tip is: Make a lot of noise! The bears in our local parks are black bears. They are not normally aggressive or threatening, and mostly just want to be left alone. So, being a loud hiker or camper may deter their interest. But, if you encounter one, keep in mind that they are very curious. That’s not to say they won’t be aggressive or threatening if they are protecting their young or hungry in pursuit of food, and you get in the way.

People: If confronted with a black bear, stand tall with arms stretched above your head so you appear bigger than you are. Talk in a normal tone to the bear, so it determines that you are a human and not a meal. Stay calm. Do not run away or climb a tree; a bear can do those things better than you.

Bear pepper spray is available for purchase and can be a part of your safety regimen while in the wild. Most importantly, if any bear attacks you in your tent, or stalks you and then attacks, do NOT play dead—fight back!

Pets: If you encounter a Black Bear while with your dog, keep your dog on a leash, calmly control your pet, talk in a normal tone, and make yourself big as explained above. Give a Black Bear enough room to retreat since Black Bears usually avoid confrontation.

jEanne Angleberger,

Shaklee Associate for a Healthier Life Make America Healthy Again is a book defining why Americans have become unhealthy. Dr. Nicole Saphier does an excellent job researching and stating the reasons why we lack healthiness.

She continues to tell us we need to take better care of ourselves by adopting preventative measures. If we get healthier, we can improve overall care.

It boils down to personal responsibility. What can I do to prevent illnesses? Become your own self-advocate. Learn what it takes to become healthy.

Take a glance at your diet. Does it contain vegetables and fruits? We hear over and over the importance of eating plenty of colorful veggies and fruits. Eighty percent of Americans don’t eat according to the CDC’s recommended diet. Instead, we eat too many calories and too many processed foods.

Get moving. Make exercise a priority; find something you like to do: walking, jogging, hiking, aerobics, yoga—just get yourself moving. The health benefits you will gain will more than outweigh the sometimes daunting task of motivating yourself to get an exercise routine in place. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, more than 80 percent of adults don’t meet the guidelines for both aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities, and more than 80 percent of adolescents don’t do enough physical activity to meet the guidelines for youth.

Focus on eating fewer calories and fewer processed foods. Be sure to work on keeping your weight down.

Being unhealthy costs our nation billions every year!

We must consider ways to become healthy. And, we must take action now!

James Rada, Jr.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the world around us has changed, and whether it goes back to normal is still anyone’s guess. We witnessed the doors of some local business and restaurants closed, and others adapting the way they do business; local events cancelled or postponed; and this newspaper didn’t print April or May editions. Odd things… that go against our pattern of life.

However, area businesses, organizations, and residents have worked to adapt to a new way of doing things as they are now. This means things like social distancing, face masks, and lots of sanitizing. It also means lots of people sitting around unable to work, and those who can work having too much to do.

When the quarantine order closed down many businesses in the state, Billy Kuhn, owner of His Place Auto Repair in Emmitsburg, knew that meant fewer cars would be on the road, and he’d see less business. His employees went on unemployment.

“Basically, it’s just been me working,” Kuhn said.

He makes sure all the vehicles he works on are disinfected before he starts work, and he disinfects them when the work is complete.

He has run into some snags because it has been hard at times to get parts, either because the manufacturer isn’t operating, shipping problems, or some other issue.

He has applied for financial aid from the various programs available to help businesses suffering income loss from COVID-19. While he has been approved for some of them, he has yet to receive any funds.

Meanwhile, Shriver’s Meats can’t keep up with demand. Stoked by stories of meat shortages, people have sought to stockpile meat. They bought up what they could.

“I was having to tell customers of 30, 40, and 50 years that I didn’t have what they wanted,” said Dave Shriver.

It wasn’t that he didn’t have the meat, but the increased demand was impossible for his team to keep up with. They went from offering retail sales six days a week to one. They work through the week preparing meat for sale, and they offer it on Saturdays. Even that is only a partial fix. They have still had to limit how much people can buy of certain meats.

“We are selling so much meat that we are not taking any orders for anything else,” Shriver said. He hopes to start retaking wholesale orders by July.

While he is getting overworked during this crisis, he is happy he is still able to work when so many other businesses are forced to close.

Melissa Wetzel of Melissa M. Wetzel Accounting Services in Emmitsburg is someone else who is working long hours, despite the tax deadline being pushed back to July 15.

“The July 15 deadline really isn’t helping me,” she said. “This seems to be a never-ending tax season.

Although the business is not open to the public, Wetzel is still working. However, she is having to do it alone since her employees can’t come to work.

Her clients drop their papers off at her door, and Wetzel gets to them as she can. But the forms pile up.

“I don’t even take calls anymore,” she said. “I don’t have the time. There are just too many calls coming in with people needing help.”

Her clients can contact Wetzel via e-mail. She answers their questions or helps them with the paperwork that needs to be filled out to be eligible for the COVID-19 financial impact programs.

When a client needs to pick up paperwork, they arrange a time to come by the office. They pull up to the curb and text Wetzel they have arrived. She dons gloves and a mask and takes the paperwork out to the client’s car.

J&B Real Estate in Thurmont shut down its physical office, although Cindy Grimes continues working.

“We had to keep our physical office closed to the public, but we have been allowed to continue working with precautions, showing property but wearing face coverings, gloves, etc.,” Grimes said. “Meeting with no more than two people at a time, if possible. We have also made use of virtual showings, virtual meetings, and virtual listing appointments as much as possible.”

Despite being able to make accommodations, fewer people are listing their properties right now, so there is less business for real estate brokers. Particularly if a property is still occupied, the owners might be reluctant to have people coming into their homes right now.

“We are asking clients to do only what they are comfortable with,” Grimes said. “I do have a few occupied homes that are coming on the market, and we are asking buyers agents to take every precaution, including wearing the proper PPE and getting to the property before their clients so that they have time to open closets, turn on lights, etc., so that buyers touch as little as possible while they are visiting the property.”

Although buyers tend to want to visit a home in person, the use of virtual showings has been rising, and Grimes thinks that will continue even after the crisis passes.

Celebrations Catering in Thurmont still offers carry-out service for meals during the crisis, but catered events are not happening right now. “We hope to be catering again by July 1,” said Executive Chef Colin Snyder. “We are projecting parties of 50 or less.”

He said that while staff already wore gloves while catering events, he foresees face masks continuing to be used for the time being.

“The masks aren’t going anywhere anytime soon,” he said.

One organization that saw big changes during this crisis was the school system. Students had to switch from learning in a classroom to distance learning.

“Teachers have redesigned their instruction to be delivered on a digital platform, and students have worked to adjust as well,” said Catoctin High Principal Jennifer Clements. “We have had to overcome challenges, including students’ lack of internet access and difficulties in mastering material without the benefit of their teacher right there to instruct and respond to questions immediately. Our teachers have put forth great effort to support their students virtually, and we have worked together with families to problem-solve the barriers to student learning.”

However, educating students was only part of the challenge. Students no longer had personal interactions with their friends. A virtual graduation had to be developed from scratch.

“The students have been disappointed, but they have also displayed a very mature perspective, including a reflection on what they have learned through this situation (such as an appreciation for what they had and/or have),” Clements said.

Mother Seton School also had to move students to remote learning. They closed for a day, so staff could put together a plan to accomplish this, and students were asked to take home all the textbooks and workbooks they might need.

“Once it was made official that we would have to close the campus, we immediately put our remote learning plan to work,” Lynn Tayler, Marketing and Communications Specialist with Mother Seton School, said. “Middle school was already used to using Google Classroom for their homework and some in-class assignments, so it was mainly a matter of organizing lessons and communicating with the families. Teachers for the younger grades adapted their lesson plans and technology use to best fit their grade. Regular communication with families was, and remains, imperative. The first couple of weeks were a transition for everyone, and we used the time to work out any kinks and address any special needs.”

The students had to deal with missing friends. Staff at the school put together a Virtual Spirit Week, book club lunches using Zoom, and a Virtual Walkathon for students to participate in.

Jayden Price, a sixth-grade student, said. “I don’t like that I can’t see my friends all the time. But it’s cool that I can do the schoolwork on my own schedule, as long as I get it done.”

With the virus causing the most damage in nursing homes, maintaining services for senior citizens posed a challenge. Meals on Wheels in Frederick County continued, but county staff took over the deliveries as opposed to volunteers. The staff wore face masks, used hand sanitizer before and after each delivery, and wore fresh disposable gloves for each delivery, according to Kitty Devilbiss, Home and Community Connections Directory for Frederick County Senior Services Division. A weekly meal delivery service was also added, which provided eligible seniors with seven frozen meals, and the Groceries For Seniors monthly distribution was expanded to accommodate twice as many recipients, twice per month. 

Per the governor’s order, county senior centers were closed. However, seniors were able to stay connected.

“Additional resources were added to The Virtual Learning Center on the FCSSD website, and by mid-April, the Virtual 50+Community Center was launched,” Devilbiss said.    

The virtual center allows seniors to participate in live fitness, education, and recreation activities on a daily basis to maintain health and stay connected with others.

With summer upon us, the crisis is expected to let up, but what will happen this fall remains to be seen. However, having been through the problems that came with the virus this spring, businesses and organizations will at least have a basis to work from should things get bad again.

Cover Photos:

Catoctin High School Class of 2020 by Theresa Hutchinson;

Courtesy of John Kinnaird

Catoctin High School Graduation Plans

Frederick County Public Schools (FCPS) has announced that all high schools will have a virtual graduation ceremony this year. Staff members at Catoctin High School (CHS) are working hard to create a memorable virtual ceremony for the Class of 2020 that will air the week of June 8.

Catoctin High School also offered seniors the opportunity to wear their cap and gown and walk across the CHS auditorium stage. A photographer captured a picture of each senior on the stage, which will be included in Catoctin’s virtual graduation ceremony. The event took place on May 26-28. Seniors were limited to bring no more than four members of their immediate family to watch them walk the stage.

CHS Principal Jen Clements issued the following statement, “Seniors (and families of seniors) – I know that this school closure, at what would normally be a time of great celebration and anticipation, makes us all feel as if we are losing out on important milestones—I agree and feel the same way. As a principal, graduation is the day that brings me the greatest joy; and every day with students in the building is what gives me energy…those have both been missing during the past few months. However, I have challenged myself (and encourage all of you to do the same) to find the good and to make the best of what we cannot control. Whether we like it or not, this time in our lives will be memorable and will leave an unforgettable mark on the year 2020. This situation has also afforded us time to reflect and appreciate even the little things (I have heard this in my communication with many students, and think this mature perspective will serve you well as you venture into adulthood). I have also seen many examples of our community coming together (not physically together, but always together in spirit and purpose) to support each other and our students—this just serves to reiterate what is so special about our Catoctin community. So, as you feel the disappointment of what is different about your senior experience, I hope you can also be reflective about what you have gained through the last two months, but also throughout your time at Catoctin High School.

We now know that Graduation will be a virtual program to be aired during the week of June 8. I understand the feelings of disappointment and frustration that our current situation is affecting such an important and momentous event. While I share those same feelings, I also take great pride in the beautiful graduation program that we are producing to honor our seniors; the hundreds of hours that are being poured into creating an amazing and meaningful program is reflective of our goal to honor you in the best way we can right now. I look forward to the opportunities ahead to see you, to congratulate you, and to wish you well (from a distance!).

Thank you for your continued support of our community, our school, and, most especially, the beloved members of our CHS Class of 2020. Through our collaboration, support and communication we will come through this Cougar Strong!”

Honoring Catoctin High School Seniors

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.”

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.”