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James Rada Jr.

The Frederick County Board of Education gave an impactful reprieve at the end of March when it revoked its former end-of-November (2020) vote to close the Sabillasville Elementary School (SES). This was in response to an appeal submitted by the Sabillasville Parent Teacher Organization.

“They needed to do that because of the lack of notice of a public meeting when they voted,” said Alisha Yocum, president of the Sabillasville Elementary Parent Teacher Organization. “They didn’t follow COMAR or their own procedures.”

After listening to comment from approximately ten concerned citizens at an April 14, 2021, hearing, the board put the decision to vote again on April 21, and this time, decreed a trifecta win in favor of the students, community, and Frederick County Public Schools System. The first win is the most obvious, SES will remain open through the 2021-2022 school year.

The second win allows that the school will serve as an open-enrollment school. Therefore, any student from another school, or another over-capacity school in the county, may attend Sabillasville Elementary for the 2021-2022 school year.

The final win gives the board and the Sabillasville Elementary community a year to get a new plan for the school in place. A three-member committee from the board will work with the citizens of Sabillasville to investigate alternatives to closing the school. This includes turning it into a charter school, which is what the residents of the town have been working toward. The board is also looking at what maintenance and improvements the school needs.

Yocum is a member of a group of Sabillasville residents who submitted a charter application to the board to change Sabillasville Elementary into a charter school, called the Sabillasville Environmental School. It would be a K-8 school, with roughly 23 students per grade. It would begin as a K-6 school and add grades 7 and 8 in years two and three.

“We want to offer a classical curriculum, similar to what the Frederick Classical Charter School offers, with a focus on the environment,” Yocum told the Banner earlier this year. “Given where we are located, we want to reconnect students with nature and agriculture.”

The board of education staff provided feedback on the application. It is now being revised and will be resubmitted again.

“Sabillasville is unique, given its geographic location and importance in the community,” said Board member Liz Barrett, who proposed the motion for vote. “I also think that our board, because of COVID and other reasons, had failures with communication, with application of policy, and with our procedures in dealing with Sabillasville, and I don’t think that this is an issue where we should have any room for error or perception of error in our community.”

With the vote to keep the school open, the board will have to figure out how to best staff the school.

Yocum and her group understand the reprieve is temporary, and they know the school can’t stay open as is. They have been working toward the charter school but ran into a time problem. Even if the charter had been approved, the new school wouldn’t be ready to operate until August 2022. This means the board would have had to close Sabillasville Elementary, send students to Thurmont and Emmitsburg schools for a year, and then return them to Sabillasville the following year.

The additional year gives the Sabillasville group time as the charter works its way through the approval process.

Strong community support delayed the decision to close the school in the past, and it will be a factor in pushing the charter application through the process until it is approved.

“We will keep fighting as long as we have to,” said Yocum.

Cover Photo by Kelsey Norris

Cover Photo: Abbey Sparkman, McKinley Norris, and Emma Sparkman are shown outside the Frederick County Public Schools building in Frederick while waiting at a public hearing about their school.

Photo by Deb Abraham Spalding

Sabillasville Elementary School supporters stand outside the FCPS public hearing while waiting to speak in support of the school remaining open on April 14.

Deb Abraham Spalding

Pictured from left are Selena Cisar, Joyce Johnson, John Krumpotich, George Coyle Jr., and Brad Coyle.

Photo by Deb Abraham Spalding

Since the 1998 closing of the Fort Ritchie military base in Cascade, the property has endured years of unsuccessful progress, as various developers and business entities failed. After a 16-month wait through multiple delays, the property, located in the corner of Washington County, bordering Frederick County, and near Franklin County, Pennsylvania, was officially purchased by the local Krumpotich family on April 8, 2021.

For the last year, the Krumpotich family, backed by interested local citizens, has taken care of the property by doing lawn work, picking up trash, and monitoring the property. A “Ritchie Revival” Facebook page was created and has helped keep locals informed and involved.

Now, after the purchase, the Krumpotiches want to keep local residents involved.

“Many people have reached out. They want to help. We are completely overwhelmed with the community’s support. It’s been remarkable. We are just so thankful to everybody up here,” John Krumpotich said.

The next several years will reveal the development and implementation of a master plan that begins immediately with the renovation of housing.

Next, the row of barracks on Barrick Avenue will see a renovation into a mix of artisan shops, local businesses, and guest houses. One of the larger stone buildings, also on Barrick Avenue, will be the “Fort Ritchie History Museum,” recognizing the significance of the Fort.

For years, community members and those that served on the base have waited and hoped for the revitalization of Fort Ritchie. Many are proud of its history and heredity. Those who wish to contribute to the historical database may contact Landon Grove via email at He is curating information and artifacts for the museum.

Former and future events are already in the planning stages.

A Community Clean-up Day is planned for May 16, 2021, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The focus will be weeding, mulching, and planting flowers around the community center and the main loop, where people enjoy walking and running. Interested volunteers can meet at the community center—any and all help is appreciated!

Lakeside Hall, the former Officer’s Club, is hosting an Open House on May 23, 2021, and resuming event rentals. More information can be found at

Also in the works coming up is a Food Truck Day on Saturday, May 29, fireworks on the Mountain in late June, and a Fall Festival and Christmas Village. Coordinator Joyce Johnson said, “We’re so excited to get started! We’ve been waiting for so long.”

For more information, please visit Ritchie Revival’s FaceBook page or email

Blair Garrett

People can be pushed to their limits doing many things.

Whether it’s submitting a treacherous mountaintop or shooting for world records, humans have a competitive tendency to push themselves past what they previously thought possible.

Competition is exciting to watch, and new challenges are always on the horizon for those who seek greatness.

Competitive eating has gained tremendous popularity over the past decade, with events like the world-famous Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest, along with Food Network show challenges putting competitive eating on the map.

There are a few great local options that present customers with a food challenge only the toughest people can conquer.

Chubby’s Barbeque

Chubby’s Barbeque in Emmitsburg has a mountainous challenge of burgers piled high.

Owner Thomas Caulfield has seen many customers attempt his notoriously difficult “Chubby’s Challenge.”

“Years and years ago, I was watching Food Network challenges on ‘Man v. Food,’ and I sat around trying to come up with something nobody could eat,’’ Caulfield said. Caulfield designed a double-stack of burgers, so tall that it would take someone of true willpower and discipline to beat it.  

“We started it with eight half-pound burgers, with a Louisiana hot link sausage on each one,” he said. “The sausage weighs right around three ounces. With two slices of cheese on it, lettuce, tomato, and mayonnaise.”

It’s a meal that dwarves a normal adult’s daily caloric intake, but with a one-hour time limit, the heat is on to put down as much food as you possibly can.

“We didn’t have anybody take the challenge and win for probably over a year,” Caulfield said. “One Sunday, we had a guy walk in and say he was here for the challenge. He had a little lady with him, and he said she was going to do it.”

When we think of the stereotypical person who can put down tremendous amounts of food, it’s always a huge, corn-fed husky guy who throws bales of hay like a football for a living. Not this time.

She was maybe five feet tall, and maybe 90 pounds,” he said. “While she’s waiting for her burger challenge, she had two beers, which is just not what you want before a food challenge.” 

“She proceeds to eat it all within 45 minutes, with a smile on her face the whole time. She just went through it like she was walking through a garden,” Caulfield said.

The first person to complete the challenge was Bethesda, Maryland’s Juliet Lee, who was a world-renowned competitive eater. “She won her $100, left, and came back about an hour later and got a pulled pork sandwich, a side of Chubby potatoes, and $119 worth of food to go,” Caulfield said.

There have been just a few anomalies among the many who have taken on the Chubby’s Challenge.       

“Over the years, we’ve probably had 150 to 200 people try it, and just 6 people do it,”  

Chubby’s has had one more visit from a patron cut from a different cloth than the rest of us.

Molly Schuyler, world-record holder and competitive eating champion, made a stop at Chubby’s in 2019 to get her photo plastered behind the bartop at the restaurant.

“She did the challenge in about five minutes and 40 seconds,” Caulfield said. “After, I got her name and phone number, and I called and said, ‘I bet you can’t do two of them, and if you can, I’ll give you 500 dollars.’”

Schuyler was able to do a double Chubby’s Challenge in 29 minutes, 1 second, something most people previously thought to be impossible.

“Her boyfriend, who was also a competitive eater, ordered one of everything on the menu,” Caulfield said. “He couldn’t finish everything, so she finished what he didn’t eat [after her challenge].”

Nobody is forced to do two Chubby’s Challenges, but the option to solidify your name as Chubby’s royalty is there for the taking if you can reach it.

Bollinger’s Restaurant

Good barbecue strikes our tastebuds like nothing else out there.

There are so many choices for the cut of meat, though. You’ve got brisket, ribs, beef tips, pork, and various other options. Once you’ve had good barbecue, you crave that sweet and smoky flavor.

Bollinger’s Restaurant in Thurmont has a barbecue challenge to light up your taste buds.

“We started it about four years ago,” Bollinger’s Restaurant owner Josh Bollinger said. “It’s a sandwich and fries challenge.”

It doesn’t get much more American than a stack of meats on a bun, layered in barbecue sauce. “There’s 14 ounces of brisket, 14 ounces of ham, 14 ounces of pulled pork, and 4 ounces of coleslaw, and it has one big order of fresh-cut French fries with it,” Bollinger said.

That’s a sandwich big enough to intimidate just about any challenger. Patrons have just 20 minutes to clear their plates, and a few have risen to the occasion when faced with this monster sandwich.

“It’s roughly three-and-a-half to four pounds,” Bollinger said. “We’ve probably only had five or six people complete it. When they do complete it, it’s always under 10 minutes; they crush it.”

Winners get their meal free, a T-shirt, their picture posted up on Bollinger’s Restaurant social media, and likely tremendous indigestion for the rest of the night. Those who are strong enough to put all that food away can claim that they’ve gone where few have before them.

Bollinger has tried his own challenge to see how he measures up to the behemoth sandwich. “I was one bite away from finishing it,” he said. “My jaw hurt so bad, I couldn’t chew anymore.”

He may still take another crack at the challenge, this time with an empty stomach and the mental preparedness to overcome that much barbecue. “I might have to try it again one day, you never know.”

You don’t have to travel far to find some great food options and test your willpower at the dinner table. There are local spots to satiate the appetites of the world’s greatest food champions right here in Northern Frederick County. You just have to know where to look.

Juliet Lee of Bethesda, Maryland, a world-renowned competitive eater and the first person to complete the “Chubby’s Challenge” at Chubby’s Barbeque in Emmitsbug.

A contestant takes on two towering stacks of Chubby’s Avalanche burgers.

The Bollinger’s Restaurant challenge puts on the pressure, giving challengers just 20 minutes to finish this huge sandwich and fries.

by James Rada, Jr.

T h u rmont

A “Y Without Walls”

The Town of Thurmont is still working toward bringing YMCA programs to town in a “Y without walls.” It was announced during a recent town meeting that the Y will run some art programs locally on Saturday mornings. These are expected to be one-and-a-half and two-hour workshops. The YMCA is also planning to start a North County Leaders Club in the fall to teach youth the value of service. The long-term goal is to have a YMCA facility in town, and the first step in that direction is showing support for Y programs being offered in the “Y without walls.”

Thurmont Police Officer of the Year

The Thurmont Lions Club awarded Officer First Class Nicole Fair the 2021 Thurmont Police Officer of the Year Award. In noting the work she has done in the department since joining in July 2016, it was also noted that she has an eagerness to learn new skills and jobs within the department. Fair also received a restaurant gift certificate and her name on a plaque. Also, the Lions Club will make a $400 donation in Fair’s name to the charity of her choice.

Thurmont Pursuing a Skate Park

Following a presentation by citizens, the Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners switched their priority for Program Open Space funds this year from doing phase 2 of the Woodland Park playground replacement to the start of building a skateboarding park in town. The commissioners asked the parks and recreation commission to meet with the citizens supporting the park to decide on what the ultimate design of the park should be and how to start building it, understanding that the park probably can’t be built in a year.

E m m i t s b u r g

Commissioners Accept North Seton Conceptual Plan

Commissioners Accept North Seton Conceptual Plan

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners accepted a Green Street Conceptual Plan for North Seton Avenue, from Main Street to Provincial Parkway. Fox and Associates presented the plan. The goal is to create an attractive streetscape that incorporates green stormwater infrastructure to reduce the amount of stormwater runoff and pollution flowing into Flat Run. The plan also suggests ways to stabilize the banks of Flat Run and provide flood hazard mitigation. A Chesapeake Bay Trust Green Streets, Green Jobs, & Green Towns grant funded the study.

Commissioners Approve Hunting and Recreational Use at Rainbow Lake

The Emmitsburg Commissioners approved the hunting and recreational use of Rainbow Lake. The changes/additions will be updated on town hunting and fishing permits. Some of the changes include: (1) All-terrain vehicles, except class one pedal-assist bicycles, are prohibited in the watershed; (2) Hunting access is limited to deer and turkey. Hunting of any other wildlife species is prohibited; (3) Hunting is only permitted from the first day of deer season until the end of deer season. Hunting will then only be permitted from the first day of spring wild turkey season until the end of spring wild turkey season; (4) Use of hunting dogs to chase/hunt deer or turkey is prohibited; (5) Portable tree stands and climbing devices that do not use nails, wires, spikes, bolts, or screws for attachments are permitted; (6) Fishing permits must be renewed annually and expire on the date of your Maryland fishing license expires; (7) Please refrain from walking, standing, or throwing the rip rap rocks located around the lake basin; (8) Hiking and mountain biking are allowed on designated trails only. Trails must not be used if they are wet or muddy to protect the watershed from erosion.

Commissioners Approve Engineering Contract for Water Clarifier

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners approved the engineering contract for the new water clarifier for the town’s water system to be conducted by Rummel, Klepper & Kahl. The entire cost will be $243,114, including study, preliminary design, final design, bidding, negotiation, construction, and post-construction.

Commissioners Change Zoning for New Wastewater Treatment Plant

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners held a public hearing in April about the zoning classification changes for the parcels of property the new wastewater treatment plant will be built on. The parcels were zoned agricultural before the town annexed the parcels and sought to change them to institutional zoning. Following the hearing, the commissioners voted to make the zoning change.

Does the Town Need to Raise Water Rates?

Emmitsburg Commissioner T. J. Burns brought up the possibility of the town raising its water rates during a recent town meeting. He said the town’s water rates are among the lowest in the county, and with the need to pay for the upcoming water infrastructure projects, such as the new water clarifier, the town may have to consider raising its rates to generate income for the projects that won’t be covered by grants.

2021 Emmitsburg Pool Information

The Emmitsburg pool will open this year on May 29. It will only be open from noon to 7:00 p.m. on weekends until June 13. From June 18 through Labor Day, it will be open daily. The day passes for residents will be $4.00 for adults, $3.00 for children and seniors, and free for children under three years old. Non-residents will pay $6.00 for adults and $4.00 for children and seniors. Depending on the governor’s COVID orders, there may be limited capacity. If this happens, no season passes will be sold.

Precipitated by a Fatal Prank in 1901

Earl Eyler

On a pleasant summer morning, August 18, 1901, Mary Finnefrock, with her companion, Mrs. Lewis Wecker, boarded an excursion train at York, Pennsylvania, bound for a day of fun and relaxation at the celebrated Pen Mar Park, not aware it would be the last day of her young life.

Mary was the 18-year-old unmarried daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John Finnefrock of York, Pennsylvania, and worked there as a box trimmer in a paper box factory, helping to support her family financially. She looked forward to this trip as a day of rest and relaxation. It was reported her parents did not want her to go on this trip, but she had a will of her own and persisted.

Pen Mar Park was opened by the Western Maryland Railroad in 1877 as a tourist attraction in order to increase train ridership and proved to be immensely successful. Thousands would flock to the popular resort to enjoy the mountain breezes and the beautiful view of the Cumberland Valley, which stretched miles before them to the west. It offered amusement rides, picnicking and dancing, and was the site of countless reunions and social gatherings. Sunday excursions to Pen Mar and Lake Royer were advertised in The York Dispatch as leaving at 8:30 a.m. and returning at 6:30 p.m. for a one-dollar fare.

Miss Finnefrock and Mrs.Wecker were joined by York businessman, John Burkheimer, at the park. They were also joined by a young man named Frank Rinehart, of Smithsburg, whom they met at one of the nearby hotels. At some point, the group hired a hack to take them to Lake Royer, which lay a mile to the east at the foot of Mt. Quirauk, where they ate dinner at the Hotel Mellview, then decided to boat across the lake to the bathhouses on the other side. Rowboats were available to rent on Lake Royer, as well as bathing suits (for 25 cents). After securing these items, they ventured onto the lake.

 The Buena Vista Ice Company built Lake Royer, intending to use it to harvest ice in the winter and for recreational purposes in the summer. Construction had only been completed the previous month, and it had only just recently opened.

According to testimony later given to the grand jury, when just offshore, in waist-deep water, Frank Rinehart, who sat in the bow, began rocking the boat to the degree it finally capsized. Rinehart was admonished by people ashore not to repeat his behavior, and the group was allowed to take the boat on the lake once again; although, Miss Finnefrock, who could not swim, was very reluctant to go. She was, however, coaxed and finally agreed.

About a third of the way across the 21-acre lake, and in water 15-feet deep, Rinehart resumed rocking the boat as he perched on the bow with his feet dangling over both sides. With a hand on each side, he threw his weight from side to side, again overturning the boat, throwing all aboard into the water. Rinehart saved himself by clinging to the overturned boat. Other boaters nearby saved Mrs. Wecker and Burkheimer. While the other members of the party survived, Mary Finnefrock did not surface.

 A concerted search ensued. Lake Royer was dragged for days without success. At 5:45 a.m., two days later, as a last resort, dynamite was used to raise the body to the surface. It appeared about 50 feet from the site of the accident.

An inquest was held lakeside, and numerous witnesses testified, including Rinehart, who denied rocking the boat. However, the coroner’s jury concluded by charging Frank Rinehart with willfully and feloniously killing and murdering Mary Finnifrock. A grand jury later indicted him for manslaughter.

Rinehart disappeared immediately after the inquest but was arrested the following Saturday in Smithsburg. He was taken to Hagerstown on the noon train and committed to jail. He was shortly released, however, on $1,000 bail and returned to his home in Smithsburg to await trial in November. His mother was said to be prostrated with grief.

The story was carried in newspapers nationwide and resulted in calls for holding all “boat-rockers” legally responsible. However, in Smithsburg, Rinehart’s hometown, there were opposing views on his responsibility. Rinehart was a member of a prominent family, and a significant defense was organized in his support. According to The York Gazette of August 27, 1901, “the people of Smithsburg, the home of Rinehart, … held an indignation meeting and passed resolutions denouncing” the coroner and district attorney of Washington County for being too harsh.

The trial opened on November 29. Three of the ablest lawyers in the state defended him in court, and there was considerable difficulty in securing a jury. During the trial, Rinehart said he was never warned after the first capsize and denied tipping the boat either time; in short, he took no responsibility for his actions.

On December 2, 1901, the jury was unable to reach an agreement after 41 hours of deliberation and was discharged by Judge Stake. Rumor had it that in the last ballot, the vote was eleven for acquittal and one for conviction. Later, the state agreed to drop the case, reportedly due to several important witnesses refusing to return from Pennsylvania to testify. Rinehart was released.

The New Oxford Item newspaper reported that Mary’s parents had not wanted her to go on this trip, “but she had a will of her own and paid the penalty of death by her disobedience.”

Rinehart, on the other hand, was a free man and paid no legal price for his “fun” that beautiful summer day on Lake Royer.

According to The San Francisco Examiner, the white cross marks the spot near the shore where the boat was first upset; the black cross shows where the second upset took place and where Miss Finnefrock was drowned.

blair garrett

“On The Wild Side” provided a fun and exciting glimpse into what nature had to offer. Getting back to our roots in nature was a major focus for Christine Maccabee, Catoctin Banner columnist, as she waves farewell to writing for the Banner and moves on to other exciting ventures.

Maccabee’s final “On The Wild Side” column detailed the importance of seed-saving, a centuries-old tradition for re-planting crops, flowers, and just about anything else that grows out of the ground. She has routinely developed stories on her experiences with gardening and environmental health during her time with the Banner.

Maccabee is a creative soul who has written for the Banner for years, often exploring and explaining the value of nature and environmental crises surrounding our earth.

She got her start in writing many years ago and, to date, has covered anything from gardening tips, to humans’ impact on water, to climate change and its effects on our world.

“I was journaling throughout college,” Maccabee said. “I was always sort of a poetic person, but in my 20s was when I really got fired up and started writing a lot of nature songs.”

Maccabee is an avid songwriter and poet, which has contributed greatly to her writing over the years. Her articles were often thoughtful and informative and written with a down-to-earth tone, making them easily relatable to anyone with even the slightest interest in the outdoors.

She got her start in published long-form writing with a former local newspaper, and her ideas have flourished from there. 

“I started off with the Emmitsburg Dispatch, writing about my goats,” Maccabee said. She talked about her experiences milking them, their attitudes, and all of the joys goats brought her.

“I’ve been very thankful that the Banner took me on after Bo Cadle at the Dispatch. I segued from goats to gardens.”

Though she no longer has goats, her garden has taken off since her days of writing for the Dispatch. Annually, Maccabee grows peas, garlic, potatoes, various berries, and much, much more. Her repertoire of knowledge for the plant life on her 11.5-acre property has grown tremendously over the years.

“I can identify every single wild plant here, and I’ve been working on that skill since my 20s,” she said.

From gardening to music, Maccabee has always filtered her life through her various creative outlets. She’s made CDs of her songs, countless poems, flora press artwork, and she wants to continue expanding her works to a greater audience.

With so many different focuses throughout her life, Maccabee’s gardening has been a steady source of happiness, personal growth, and inspiration for her.

“Your life is like a book,” she said. “You have chapters, and I’ve done a lot of things in 15-year chapters in my life. But gardening has been a constant throughout that.”

If her music career takes off, or her poems strike a chord with the new generation, you’ll likely still find Maccabee plugging away in her garden or awaiting the blooming plants of the coming seasons. Her deep love of nature will always keep her “on the wild side.”

You can find archives of Maccabee’s “On The Wild Side” articles online at

Christine MacCabee sits in her meditation section among her various species of plants.

Jayden Myers

Every month, people bring awareness to health conditions to inform and educate those who may not know much about them.

Each month seems to highlight a particular condition, and they are all important. May happens to be Stroke Awareness Month, which helps people each year to understand the causes, symptoms, and treatments for strokes.

According to Khan Academy Medicine, a stroke happens when some or all of the blood supply to the brain is cut off. “If you lose some or all of that blood supply to your brain, then you lose some or all brain function. So, the loss of some blood supply, causing the loss of brain function, that’s a stroke,” says Khan Academy.

The loss of blood supply to the brain can be caused by two different problems: a rupture or a blockage. A rupture of a vessel in the brain is known as a Hemorrhagic Stroke. According to Medical West Hospital, “Bleeding from the vessel, also known as a hemorrhage, happens suddenly, and the force of blood that escapes from the blood vessel can also damage surrounding brain tissue. Hemorrhagic stroke is the most serious kind of stroke. About 13 percent of all strokes are hemorrhagic.”

When there is a blockage of the blood flow, this is known as an Ischemic Stroke. Medical West Hospital states, “A blood clot that forms in a blood vessel in the brain is called a ‘thrombus.’ A blood clot that forms in another part of the body, such as the neck or lining of the heart and travels to the brain is called an ‘embolus.’ About 87 percent of all strokes are ischemic. Treatment for ischemic strokes depends on how quickly the victim arrives at the hospital after symptoms start.”

Strokes can be major and they can also be mild. Either way, medical help is needed right away, as they can have extremely detrimental results. Within four minutes of restricted blood flow, the cells will start to die. The longer a person has restricted or busted vessels, the more damage it will cause. Symptoms of a stroke include: difficulty seeing, confusion, difficulty speaking, problems with walking, dizziness, severe headaches, difficulty swallowing, numbness to half of the body, drooping face, and problems understanding.

A common misconception is that adults are the only ones that can have strokes.

Back in 2019, Nikita Burris, who was 12 at the time, had a major stroke. “On July 1st,  I woke up with a really bad headache, and I just thought I hadn’t drank enough water,” Burris said. “So I just carried on as a normal day, and we were going to the campgrounds. When we got to the campgrounds, I asked if we could go swimming. While we were over in the water, I started feeling sick with a major headache. I was starting to drown, but I was coming back up, and when my brother noticed, he came to help.”

“I was super scared,” Burris said. She hadn’t known what had happened until her birthday on August 4. “That’s when I finally realized I had had a stroke.”

The stroke perpetuated major changes in her school life, and her personal life. “Before the stroke, I was getting straight A’s and in Honors classes,” she said. “I was playing lacrosse and dancing. I was doing pretty well. Then, after the stroke, I was put into special education classes; I couldn’t dance or play lacrosse until recently. I still take therapy and physical therapy in order to strengthen my muscles, so I can get this guy off [referring to her leg brace].”

For many stroke victims, adversity breeds change and growth. Burris pushes through each day to continue getting stronger. “Right now, I’m still working to get better, but I have had some major accomplishments like going to Mackinac Island and completing 207 steps, [which is a hike to a viewpoint.]” Burris said. “One other major accomplishment I had was proving my doctors wrong about never being able to use the right side of my body again. In June, I’m doing a solo for dance, and I’m super excited about that.” Burris added. Burris is now 14. She still continues to make progress and pushes forward despite facing some difficult struggles.

Although people can suffer from strokes, there are steps we can take to lower the risks and make it less likely. Eating healthy, exercising regularly, and avoiding smoking and drinking are just a few of the ways to lower the risk.

Jessica Bentley

“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” Psalms 23:4. This Bible verse sums up the average day of a first responder. These men and women put their lives on the line, day in and day out, to protect us from evil, to save and comfort us when we need it. These men and women most times do not know us, but they help us anyway. It takes a special person to do these tasks. So many take our first responders for granted. It is important that we appreciate them.

Thurmont United Methodist Church (TUMC) held a special service on April 18, 2021, for our first responders. During the church’s 10:30 a.m. Contemporary Service, there was a ceremony to honor the first responders with coins made by the TUMC Youth Group. The coins were made as a service project. The youth wanted the first responders to know that somewhere there are kids and people who care for them and want them safe. The coins were prayed over, asking God to protect the brave men and women who are our first responders. The church was filled with first responders on April 18, and it was an amazing sight to see.

There are many more coins to be given out to our first responders. The youth will be delivering the coins to people as they see them in their everyday travels. The goal is to let every single first responder in Frederick County know that there is a kid in Thurmont who cares for them, that there are people out there praying for their safety, and, above all, that God is protecting them.

First Responders and TUMC Youth Group

When the world shut down last year because of the pandemic, the National Shrine of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton decided it was time to reach outward.

The question was how, when for a time, people couldn’t even visit the Shrine in Emmitsburg. The answer was simple, profound, and one that Mother Seton, America’s first native-born saint, would have appreciated: Pray.

So, buoyed by dedicated staff members and seminarians from nearby Mount St. Mary’s, the Shrine created a prayer hotline last April that has proven so successful that it plans to continue well after COVID-19 has receded. More than 2,000 calls have been logged, and many of them have turned into relationships that have changed the lives of people on both ends of the line.

“We are sometimes the only ones they talk to; the only ones who say their name,” says Rebecca Corbell, evangelization programs manager at the Shrine. “Having that connection, having a person who knows your name, builds a relationship that is so powerful.”

And this effort isn’t limited to just calls. One of the staff members on this project writes to 12 death row inmates a week. The hotline team also proactively calls people in the Shrine’s vast database to see if they need prayers.

“It’s a way to do pastoral work and to be with people amid the pandemic,” says Christopher Feist, a seminarian from Leonardtown.

The prayer hotline is part of the extensive evangelization efforts of the Shrine, as it marks the 200th anniversary of the death of Mother Seton. In January, the Shrine released Seeker to Saint, a film on her life. Other short films on various aspects of her life and spirituality will be released later this year.

“The Shrine is a basilica, a museum and the real home of a saint, and we have a mission as a place of prayer and pilgrimage to draw people closer to our Lord,” says Rob Judge, executive director of the Shine. “Through programs like the prayer hotline, we connect people to Mother Seton and a life and legacy that is relatable and inspiring. She is a true saint for our times, and we increasingly find that her message resonates with people today.”

The seminarians who attend Mount St. Mary’s Seminary and hail from the Archdiocese of Washington D.C. said they jumped at the chance to participate in the program. “We wanted the experience of being with people and to bring their concerns to God and to show we care and to bring God’s love to them,” Feist said.

The idea of cold-calling people—not to sell them anything but to offer to pray with them—can be intimidating. But in the end, “you’re going to connect with people who Jesus wants you to and nobody else,” said Benedict Radich, from Rockville.

Sometimes the reaction is “are you sure you’re not asking me for money?” said Caleb Gaeng, another seminarian from Bowie. “But it’s beautiful to be with someone who God has put me with; someone who needs prayers at just that moment.”

Prayer requests deal with everything from loneliness and illnesses to issues with jobs, families and addiction, said Karen McGrath of Taneytown and the first person hired on the prayer team. “People need to tell their stories,” she said. “Part of this is just standing with them before God, asking for the things they need.”

She recalls how one man called in January and was distraught. She tried to express how he needed to see how God is with us and in each other.

Recently he called back to say that her advice helped and “that he was able to look at Jesus and say ‘thank you.’”

A prayer ministry comes easy to her, she says. She’s the mother of five sons and a daughter – “so I pray a lot.”

As for the future, the Shrine now sees the hotline – borne in the depths of the pandemic — as an essential part of its mission, Corbell says.

“These are our people,” she says. “We need to be doing this.”

To contact the prayer hotline, call 1-866-202-4934 between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. EDT or visit the prayer request page of the Shrine website.

For more information about the National Shrine of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, please visit

In addition to providing exceptional healthcare to the area’s cat and dog population, the owners of Catoctin Veterinary Clinic are committed to being good neighbors to the surrounding Thurmont community. With the recent energizing of their 35.6-kW roof-mounted solar system, the clinic took a big step in furthering that commitment.

The 89 solar panels (pictured above) will produce enough clean energy to offset 35 tons of CO2 or save 815 trees each year. “We are concerned about the environment and the carbon footprint we make with our business,” stated Dr. Jonathan Bramson, co-owner of the clinic. “It’s about caring for the pets, our pet parents, our community, and the environment. Going solar grows out of that.”

With a high reliance on electricity to keep the clinic functioning, Dr. Bramson is also looking forward to having lower energy costs. “We use a lot of electricity, with four heat pumps and our equipment,” stated Dr. Bramson. “We look forward to having lower energy costs while using renewable energy.”

When asked what he would say to other business owners that are considering investing in solar energy, Dr. Bramson said, “Consider it, look at the economics, and go for it!”

Contributed by Lion Joyce Anthony

On March 9, 2021, the Thurmont Lions Club donated a “Brady Buggy” to the Frederick Health Hospital. The Brady Foundation makes transport animal cars for pediatrics. There are various animals you can get for the buggy, but the club chose a lion. Colorful wagons known as “Brady Buggies” are used for young cancer patients in hospitals. It allows the patient freedom to roam around the halls instead of being trapped in a tiny hospital room. An IV pole is already mounted that carries the pumps and the platelets and blood or other necessary apparatus. All you need to do is push or pull the patient and IV pole.

A thank you note received from the Pediatric staff said as follows: “Thank you so much for your generous donation of the Brady Buggy to the Pediatric Unit here at Frederick Health Hospital. We have never had anything like the Brady Buggy, and it is AMAZING! It will provide much-needed entertainment for kids that need to change the scenery of their hospital room! You are so wonderful to think of us! Thanks, again.”

Pictured from left are IPP Lion Joyce Anthony; Chari Crawford, Nurse Manager, Pediatrics Frederick Health; Staff Pediatric Nurse; Lion Kim Grimm; PDG Paul Cannada; Staff Pediatric Nurse.

A group of 15 Catoctin High School sophomores attended an April Town of Thurmont meeting with Patrick Dugan (sophomore) as their leader and presented their case, convincing the town to build a skate park. The mayor and commissioners gave the teens lots of positive feedback, as well as advice on how to help their project move along as quickly as possible. The teens have been busy doing research, visiting other towns with skate parks, and meeting with other organizers and planners who have designed and built skate parks. They also met with members of the Thurmont Parks and Recreation Committee and Sergeant Armstrong, leading up to the meeting. Armstrong spoke at the meeting in favor of the skate park.

They held their first official committee meeting in April in the pavilion behind the Thurmont Senior Center to discuss fundraising, planning, logo art contest, and skate park location, among other things.

One town resident came to the town meeting and spoke in favor of the skate park and donated $50 to the project. This resident challenged all other residents to do the same. In support of the challenge for donations, the town is sending the information out in a flier included in the utility bills.

Pictured are Chris Sanchez, Maceo Zelenka, Jazmyn Weedon, Colin Byrne, Nik Contreras, Alex Contreras, Courtney Wreschy, Phoebe Chmiel, Alan Chmiel, Norman Montoya, Adrian Febus, Patrick Dugan, Sergeant David Armstrong, and Deondre Febus.

Dianne Walbrecker

FEMA’s Emergency Management Institute marked its 70th anniversary in April. The institute, part of the National Emergency Training Center in Emmitsburg, proudly commemorates its long and distinguished history supporting the Nation’s emergency management community.

The Emergency Management Institute began in April 1951 as the Civil Defense Staff College. The Civil Defense staff taught civil defense courses in heavy rescue, program administration and finance, radiation monitoring and control. The early years are highlighted in training films produced by the college’s “School for Survival.” The films depicted trainees fighting incendiary bombs in enclosed spaces, working through poison gas attacks in a sealed chamber, and tunneling through crumbled brick walls. They help illustrate how much emergency management has evolved over the years.

Today, the institute focuses on providing state, local, territorial, and tribal emergency managers with professional leadership and crisis management training, designed to address a wide range of threats and hazards. On an annual basis, the institute offers several hundred instructor-led, virtual and online independent study offerings, training millions of students annually.

To celebrate its 70 years, the Emergency Management Institute will have a year-long celebration to include webinars, podcasts, panel discussions, videos, and featured speakers, providing compelling insights from those who have benefitted over the years from the institute and its predecessor institutions in Olney, Maryland and Battle Creek, Michigan.

Following a national search, Mount St. Mary’s University (MSM) has named John Nauright, Ph.D. (pictured right), as dean of the Richard J. Bolte, Sr. School of Business, effective June 14, 2021. He brings to the Mount deep experience in developing and leading innovative business programs both in the United States and internationally.

Nauright currently serves as dean of the Stephen Poorman College of Business, Information Systems and Human Services and director of the Clearfield Campus at Lock Haven University in Pennsylvania. He directs programs in business management and marketing; finance, insurance, and risk management; accounting; computer science; recreation and tourism management; cultural heritage management; sport management; sport psychology; clinical mental health counseling; criminal justice; and social work as well as offering an integrative studies program and minors in entrepreneurship and environmental studies.

At Lock Haven, he created multiple external partnerships, including with Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club of the Premier League in England; Preservation Pennsylvania; and Higher Digital, LLC.

“We are excited to have John join our Mount community and to see the business school grow and form more partnerships with area, national, and international business that foster student success,” said Mount St. Mary’s University President Timothy E. Trainor, Ph.D. “John’s wealth of experience in both traditional and adult education and years of leadership on multi-campus universities will be invaluable to the Mount as we continue to expand our offerings both in Emmitsburg and Frederick.”

Nauright looks forward to shaping the Bolte School into a national and international leader in business education and the role of business in social and economic transformation. “I am thrilled to join the team at the Mount as we continue to develop incredible opportunities for both traditional on-campus students and adult and continuing education students,” Nauright said. “The vision, ethical values, and approach to educating the whole person at the Mount is crucial to individual success and to the futures of our society and the world.”

Nauright comes to the Mount as the Knott Academic Center expansion and renovation moves into higher gear. The project, funded by a state grant and generous donations from the Bolte Family Foundation and Raphael Della Ratta, C’92, includes construction of an approximately 15,000 square foot addition and renovation of the 49,074 square foot existing building.  The upgrade includes enhancing the learning environment and building new classrooms, a Bloomberg Classroom Laboratory, and faculty offices. The university also now offers its MBA program both in person and fully online.

The former vice president of the Dallas Griffins, now Dallas Jackals, of Major League Rugby, Nauright has lived and worked in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, Barbados, Denmark, and Scotland. In addition to being a visiting professor at leading universities in Barbados, China, Ghana, India, and Russia, he is the author or editor of 27 books and has written over 150 refereed articles and chapters in the areas of sport, event, and tourism management. He has made numerous media appearances around the world.

After receiving both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in history at the University of South Carolina, Nauright earned his Ph.D. in African history, comparative history, and political economy at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. Led by Executive Vice President Kraig Sheetz, Ph.D., the search committee was assisted by RH Perry & Associates, based in Asheville, North Carolina.

Lucia Lamberson thought she was attending a Zumba fundraising event at the Fort Ritchie Community Center; however, her friends had secretly planned a surprise party in her honor. Lamberson officially became an American on Monday, April 12, 2021, in Philadelphia.

Friends she had made through exercise classes at the community center were so impressed with her, they decided they wanted to publicly acknowledge the achievement.

The original fundraising idea was actually Lamberson’s, as she and others challenged Fort Ritchie Community Center Director Buck Browning to take a Zumba class. Browning eventually agreed to try the Latin-themed dance exercise class after Lamberson and her friends said they would raise $1,000 if he would agree to the challenge. The challenge evolved into community center members bringing in various items that Browning would wear during the class if the goal were met. Items included fairy wings, a tutu, a beard and wig, and Mardi Gras beads.

The community raised close to $1,100 for the event, with funds being used to help provide the eight-week summer camp for local children. On Wednesday, April 14, Lamberson walked into the community center expecting to take the Zumba class with Browning and the other usual participants. Upon entering the gymnasium Lamberson said she saw a banner that read “Congratulations,” but it didn’t register that the banner was for her.

Around 40 people were present, as Browning, wearing the wig, beard, beads, tutu, and other items, thanked the crowd for raising the funds for summer camp. He then surprised Lamberson by asking her to come forward. An American flag and lapel pin, donated by Ed and Anne Orndorff on behalf of the community center, were presented to Lamberson. An American-themed red, white, and blue cake (and cupcakes) were enjoyed following the Zumba class.

Lamberson lives with her husband Jason and two dogs in Carrol Valley, Pennsylvania. She moved to the United States from Venezuela.

Please visit for more information on the Fort Ritchie Community Center and its programs and activities. Community Center Director Buck Browning, wearing a wig, beard, beads, tutu, and other items, plus 40 other people, surprise Lucia Lamberson with a party to celebrate her officially becoming an American citizen on April 12, 2021.

Lions Club President Susan Favorite introducing Nancy Rice and her sister Carol Long. L-R Lion Albie Little, Nancy Rice, Carol Long, Lion Joyce Anthony and Lion Susan Favorite.

The Thurmont Lions Club bestowed a sister-duo its Volunteers of the Year Award for 2021. The award was announced during the April 20, 2021, Town of Thurmont meeting. Carol Long and Nancy Rice, both of Thurmont, were the recipients.

Carol Long was nominated for her tireless volunteer work within the Thurmont Community including service to the Thurmont Senior Center, Weller United Methodist Church, the Thurmont and Emmitsburg Community Show, and the Thurmont Grange. 

With the senior center, Carol serves as secretary on the board of directors. She puts together all the baskets for their raffles; she sells tickets at the center; and helps with bingo and a multitude of unending details.

She makes the grand prize quilt for the senior center’s Christmas raffle. The quilt is nicely wrapped in a clear package with the story of the quilt attached. Carol is chairperson of the senior center’s Christmas Party and runs the event which is held at the Graceham Moravian Church. Since the Christmas Party was not held in December 2020 due to COVID restrictions, she still arranged for one of her committee members to pick up over 52 door prizes which she puts in beautiful baskets or packages. The prizes were delivered to winners directly to their houses. In addition, Carol made thank you cards for all the donors and sent them out.

Carol and her sister Nancy, and Nancy’s granddaughter volunteer their baking talents making treats. They dress up and deliver the treats singing Happy Birthday to the seniors who are registered with the senior center. This has brought much joy to the seniors. Also, she participates in the drive-by parade, greeting people in the community by waving and blowing car horns from June through October.

Every fall, with the exception of fall 2020, Carol sets up the display at the annual Community Show at the Catoctin High School, where the Senior Center has a quilt on display and sells raffle tickets.

During the Senior Center monthly fundraiser at Roy Rogers on the second Thursday evening, Carol sets up and later takes down the signage. Carol’s father-in-law lives next door to her. She provides meals for him. She also helps her husband on their farm.

Since Carol has nothing else to do, she makes homemade cards from photographs with witty poems and sayings for special events or for a Board member or senior that needs a pick-me-up.

Carol retired from the banking industry. She knows so many people from being a former bank employee. She is kind, caring, honest, hard-working, and always has a smile on her face.

Nancy Rice is an individual who does her work in the background, never seeking recognition regardless of how richly she deserves it. Nancy is a director on the Thurmont Senior Center Board. She is known for the apple dumplings she was making for the monthly TSC bake sales—they sold out in minutes—and she was making dozens of them each month. She has been a part of the TSC Troupe that has been doing drive-by birthday greetings to TSC clients reminding them that they are important in a pandemic world where so many of our elderly are alone and isolated.

Nancy has been an amazing supporter of the Thurmont Lions Club although she is not a member. She has contributed countless hours to the TLC projects. She made apple dumplings for the pit sandwich sale in October, donating all her supplies and time. She has helped to paint the Community Tree ornaments, again donating her supplies and time. Most recently, she helped to paint tote bags for the TES and TPS Read-A-Thon winners to carry their winnings home. The tote bags had lions and books and motivational sayings on them, and, once again, she donated her time and supplies to the projects.

Nancy is also a devoted member of her church (Weller United Methodist Church), and in the words of her Pastor Bob Kells, “Nancy has done just about everything a volunteer can do!” She has served as a trustee, helped keep the church facilities up to snuff, sung in the choir, helped lead the singing during worship services, and performed a duet with her sister Carol at Christmas time.

Nancy served for a year as the interim Church Council chair, and Nancy was probably the last Weller member to visit a former member in a nursing home in Westminster before the woman died. Nancy told Pastor Kells how fulfilling that was for the both of them.

Nancy has artistic talents. She has drawn Christmas cards for the church and designed the current logo for the church vision, “The church on the hill with a heart for all.”

Nancy made a coloring book for children for a relative’s church and donated the proceeds from the sale of the books to the church. Nancy hand-painted the signs that sit outside the church at Christmas time. This year, she created a Resurrection scene in wood that sits on our altar.

“Nancy doesn’t reserve her good deeds to just organizations. She has delivered goodies and mowed the yard for a close neighbor who has been ill; she delivers her homemade goodies to lots of people around town. She pitches in wherever she sees a need; she brings light wherever she sees darkness and she spreads joy wherever she can.”

Nancy makes a difference in her quiet way throughout the town of Thurmont. She is one of those people with a servant’s heart.

The Catoctin High School Class of 2021 nears graduation on June 3, 2021, at 10:00 a.m. at Catoctin High School. Please keep them in mind for donations through the Safe and Sane 2021 parent group and by participating in event meetings and events.

Safe and Sane has meetings on May 5 and May 19 at 6:30 p.m. in the pavilion at Thurmont United Methodist Church on Long Road in Thurmont.

A Sportsman’s Bingo will be held on May 1 at the Vigilant Hose Company’s Activities Building. Doors open at 4:00 p.m., dinner is at 5:00 p.m., and bingo begins at 6:30 p.m.

To make a financial donation to the class, please mail to Catoctin High School, Attn: Safe and Sane 2021, 14745 Sabillasville Road, Thurmont, MD 21788.

The Thurmont High School Alumni Association will hold its annual banquet on Saturday, June 12, 2021, at the Thurmont Event Complex, located at 13716 Strafford Drive in Thurmont.

Due to COVID-19, masks will be required inside the complex. Social hour will begin at 5:00 p.m., with the meal served promptly at 6:00 p.m. The anniversary classes this year are those that end in 0 and 5 and 6 and 1, since we did not have a dinner last year. Several basket raffles and a 50/25/25 raffle will take place. Special scholarships will be awarded to graduating seniors, related to Thurmont High School Alumni.

The cost for the evening is $23.00 per person, which should be mailed to Viola Noffsinger, 131 Cody Drive #33, Thurmont, MD 21788 (before May 26). All alumnus of Thurmont High School and Catoctin High School classes (1969-1974), and friends, are encouraged to attend.

Visit the alumni Facebook page: Thurmont High School Alumni Association. Questions, special reports, or other information may be sent to or call 301-418-1760.

After months of planning, Thurmont Little League’s (TLL)opening day arrived on Saturday, April 10. Unfortunately, due to several days of rainy weather, the full slate of games scheduled for the day were forced to be postponed. However, despite the soggy conditions, and lack of games, the league proceeded with the festivities and a wonderful time was had by all.

The day started off with a welcoming address by League President Keith Myers, who kicked off the 70th season of TLL baseball. In an effort to socially distance and help with crowd control, the league held dual ceremonies this year. At 10:00 a.m., players from the T-ball and instructional divisions were introduced, along with their coaches and team moms. The second round of introductions were held at 3:30 p.m. for the minor and major divisions.

On hand to throw out the first pitch for both ceremonies was Sherry Myers, owner of Thurmont Kountry Kitchen. Selected for the amazing work that her family has done for the community, Sherry stated, “I felt so honored as I stood on the field representing our business. It was so awesome to see all the players walk across the field as they were introduced.” After receiving her ball in a commemorative holder for display, Sherry was kind enough to present the league with a donation.

Next, the National Anthem was sung by Allison Balanc, who honored our country with a beautiful rendition. Players Carson Fry, Ethan Tokar, and Connor Smith led all players in reciting the Little League Pledge, while Luke Humerick and Pam Eyler led everyone else in the Parent/Volunteer pledge. To close the ceremony, league Vice President John Code thanked everyone for coming and also recognized the many volunteers who have made the league so successful over the past 70 seasons. A special moment of silence was held for one of those individuals, Ronnie Eyler, who passed away in December. The Thurmont Yankees minor and instructional teams will be playing in his honor this year.

After the ceremonies, families and players stayed around to enjoy delicious BBQ by The Sauced Savage, ice cream from Antietam Dairy, and many other treats from the TLL concession stand. Pivot Physical Therapy and Thurmont Cub Scouts were on hand with tables to provide information about their services. Other highlights of the day included a photo booth, complete with balloon archway and fun photo props courtesy of Carrie’s Craft Room.

Fundraising is always a big part of the opening day ceremony, and this year was no exception due to the loss of revenue from missing out on last season due to COVID-19. The community showed up in a big way to support the league this year, as the basket raffles and spiritwear tables generated over $7,000 for the league. People were excited to get their TLL t-shirts, masks, hats, and hoodies and to take a chance at one of the 17 wonderful prizes. The Grand Prize was a DeWalt Tool Set, valued over $700 dollars, generously donated by Hessong Bridge Contractors. The winner was Shaun Hamlette. The league would like to thank all the local businesses that donated to its baskets, without this support they could not have generated the interest and raised the money that they did. To view a full list, please check out the Thurmont Little League page on Facebook. The next big event will be the annual hit-a-thon on May 1. This is the largest annual fundraiser for the league and helps raise money for uniforms, field maintenance, and everything else the league needs to make a great experience for its players and fans.

Finally, on Tuesday, April 13, the league was able to kick off its actual game schedule. After several days of games being postponed due to rain, the newly refinished fields were finally deemed to be playable. The first two games to be played were the Majors Orioles vs the Brewers, with the Orioles coming out on top. On the other field, the Minors Nationals were victorious over the Cubs.

Everyone was extremely excited to be back out there, and the fields looked great! Come on out and watch a game this year to support the players, coaches, and volunteers as TLL celebrates 70 seasons of baseball!

Sherry Myers has the honor of throwing out the first pitch for Thurmont Little League’s 70th season

A new and exciting free baton-twirling course is being offered by the Catoctin-Ettes, Inc. This four-week course is for the beginning baton-twirling student, ages five and up. Batons are available and loaned free for class time and are also on hand for optional purchases. Participation in the course costs absolutely nothing! 

The classes will be held on Wednesday evenings outdoors at the Emmitsburg Antique Mall parking lot, beginning on May 12, 2021, from 6:00-6:45 p.m. (A dance-pom course will also run for four weeks beginning May 12, from 7:00-7:45 p.m. at the same location, open to ages seven and up.) 

All COVID-19 procedures will be in place, with required social distancing throughout all classes. Pre-registration is required.  

During the course, basic twirling skills and marching techniques will be presented in class. Certificates will be awarded at the end of the four-week session. There is no obligation to continue twirling once the course has concluded.

The classes will be taught by the group’s director, Donna Landsperger, who has directed the marching unit in twirling, color guard arts, and pom poms and its competitive teams since 1976. They have captured titles at the local, state, regional, and national levels. 

written by James Rada, Jr.

4: Feuding

Margaret Rosensteel had been enjoying a magical evening at the town dance in Emmitsburg before everything fell apart. The decorations hung from buildings and strung over the street had been lovely. The weather was warm and pleasant. All the practicing the band had done paid off because they sounded wonderful.

She had danced, which she loved doing, but rarely got to do because her parents thought a future Daughter of Charity should be more serious. And she had met a boy. Not just any boy, either. This one liked her, not because he thought she was cute. He had loved her personality before he ever met her. He had seen her dancing and thought it suited her.

They had danced together, and after that initial uneasiness, they had felt comfortable with each other. She hadn’t restrained her enthusiasm for dancing, which had only made Caleb Sachs smile.

Then, her brothers and Caleb’s friends had gotten into an argument and spoiled the whole evening for her. Caleb had gone to see what was happening with his friends and had gotten swept up in a fight.

Wasn’t that just like boys?

Margaret and her sister Rebecca had left, and Margaret had felt like crying.

Margaret felt no better when she woke up the next morning. She poured water into her basin and washed off, making sure to remove the remains of the makeup she had worn last night. Otherwise, her parents were sure to comment on it. She dressed and went downstairs for breakfast.

Her brothers, Jack and Paul, were sitting at the table talking to her father. What were they doing here? They had their own homes and wives. They all went quiet when she came down. That wasn’t a good sign.

“So did you fight any other children last night?” Margaret said.

“They weren’t children,” Jack said.

“They were my age, and you two are both over twenty. You two looked ridiculous last night.”

“They were spiking the punch,” Paul said.

“Then you should have got their parents and made sure only the adults drank the punch. The last I saw last night was you rolling in cherry pie and yellow cake.”

Jack blushed. Paul colored, too, but he was getting angry.

“I didn’t mean for that to happen, but we didn’t start the fight,” Jack said.

“I was having a wonderful time until you two ruined it.”

“And why were you having such a wonderful time? Was it that boy you were dancing with? It was his friends that caused the problem.”

“From what I saw, Caleb tried to calm things down and you all caught him in the middle. He was acting more like an adult than either of you.”

“Well, your beau is the son of the shopkeeper that is always overcharging us,” Paul said.

Caleb was a shopkeeper’s son. Well, that was a little more she now knew about him.

“If his father overcharges you, then why do you buy from him?” she asked.

“Well, he’s the only one in town who carries some of the things we like.”

“Then how do you know he’s overcharging?”

“Because clothes shouldn’t cost what he charges.”

“I thought you said he sold things other merchants didn’t,” Margaret said. “Everyone sells clothes.”

Paul shook his head. “Sarah likes the fabrics Mrs. Sachs sells. We tried getting them other places, but no one carries them. We’d have to go to Baltimore or Frederick.” Sarah was Paul’s wife.

Samuel Rosensteel stood. “Enough of this arguing. You all are acting like you did when you were in grade school.

“Sorry, Papa,” they all murmured.

“I’ve already spoken to your brothers about their behavior last night, and I’m sure I’ll be hearing plenty more at church tomorrow. What concerns me now is this boy you were dancing with.”

“I danced with three boys, including Caleb,” Margaret said, sounding more defensive than she meant to.

“Apparently only one of them caught your attention enough that both your brothers and Rebecca remarked on it.”

Had her happiness last night been so obvious? What had she been doing that gave away her feelings?

“Let me remind you, Margaret, boys are not for you. Next year, you will become a Daughter of Charity.”

“I know, Papa, but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t have fun now.”

“It’s what that fun can lead to that I’m concerned about. You need to be preparing yourself for your future.”

“Why must I be reminded about my future all the time? It keeps me from enjoying my life now. I just want to be a girl for a little while longer.”

“You will be when you’re a sister.”

Margaret shook her head. “No, I’ll be a sister, and everyone will treat me differently and expect me to behave in a certain way.”

“You should be proud to be a Daughter of Charity. It’s a sacred calling.”

“But I didn’t get the calling. You did.”

She turned and ran out the back door, ignoring her father calling behind her. She ran until she reached the road, and then she walked toward Emmitsburg.

Her father was sure to scold her when she returned home. She needed to make sure she calmed down before she did, or she might get into an argument with him. She looked around and found herself where she had been dancing yesterday morning…where Caleb had first seen her.

He had watched her dance, and she hadn’t even realized it. She didn’t feel like dancing today. Such a difference in just a day. Even half a day because she had started out last night so happy.

As she crested the hill, she saw Caleb sitting on the ground and staring back into town.

“Caleb,” she said.

He turned his head. He saw her and waved. “I was hoping you might come,” he said.

She walked over and sat down next to him.

“Are you all right?”

He chuckled. “Yes. I just got knocked down. No one hit me. They were aiming at each other.”

“Two of them were my brothers.”

“Two of them were my friends.” He paused. “So, are your brothers angry?”


He sighed. “My father caught me coming in last night. He wasn’t too happy I went out.”


“I’m Jewish. Friday night starts the Sabbath for us. It would be like you going to a dance on Sunday.”

“Oh, I’m sorry.”

Caleb smiled at her. “It was worth it. I got to meet you.”

Margaret sighed. “Why can’t things be simple?”

“Because we’d never learn if they were, and we would never appreciate the times things were simple.”

“That makes little sense.”

“Sure it does.” He lay on his back. “Here, lay back.”

Margaret copied him. He pointed to the sky.

“What do you see?


“I see a horse.” He pointed to one cloud. “And over there, I see a funny face.”

“Oh, you are trying to see shapes in the clouds.”

Caleb nodded. “You dance. I stare at clouds. We both have our ways of relaxing.”

“So, if I cloud-watch with you, will you dance on the hill with me without any music?”

“In a minuet.”

Margaret laughed at the pun and felt some of the tension drain out of her. She pointed at the sky.

“I see the sun.”

“That is the sun.”

Now, it was Caleb’s turn to laugh at her joke. When she lowered her hand, she found Caleb’s and held it lightly.

Crossing the Country One Stop At A Time

By james rada, Jr.

In 2019, my family and I took our biggest vacation to date. We traveled more than 5,800 miles through 15 states, with 52 stops in 15 days. Yes, the driving was long and tiring, but the sites we saw were well worth it. This was the trip of a lifetime.

We had planned out the major stops we wanted to see along our trip west to Yellowstone, but the fun part was using travel sites on the internet while we were driving to find some quick stops along the way that would break up the long stretches on the road.

Since it would probably take too much space to hit all the stops we made, I’ll tell you about some of my favorites.

Indiana Dunes National Park

My wife picked this one out. I had never heard of it. It only became a national park earlier in 2019. It runs along the southern shore of Lake Michigan. I wasn’t too impressed at first, then I saw this large sand dune that had covered a large portion of a visitor parking lot. The ranger told us that the sand dunes are actually moving about four feet a year away from the lake.

We crossed over the dune to the lake. It was like being at the ocean. I couldn’t see the opposite shore and there were waves. The only difference was it wasn’t saltwater. It was freshwater.

Badlands National Park

This park wasn’t even on our radar. I’m not sure why, but when we saw signs on the interstate for it as we were driving along, we decided to check it out. I felt like the car must have launched into space and landed on a different planet. That is how different the terrain made me feel with all its canyons and outcroppings of rock. There was even a lightning storm while we were there to add to the extraterrestrial feel. I seem to remember a ranger saying that the park used to be the bottom of a prehistoric ocean.

Devil’s Tower

This was a fun, short stop in Wyoming. The striking thing about Devil’s Tower is that it just suddenly sticks up from the ground. The ground around it is flat, and then there is suddenly this flat-topped monolith of stone. My wife and I walked the trail around the base.

I found it interesting that people were allowed to climb it. Devil’s Tower is so huge, you can’t see those people unless you are close to the tower or looking at it with binoculars. We must have seen at least a dozen people on the sides. By the way, there is no trail to the top. You have to climb 867 feet up if you want to get up there.

Mount Rushmore

Mount Rushmore is an American icon, located in South Dakota. It was smaller than I imagined but still very impressive. We walked the trail that allows you to get relatively close to the monument, at least close enough to see some of the drill holes and chisel marks.

I kept wanting to go on the other side of the monument to see if there was some hidden entrance to an underground city there, like in National Treasure II.

I was much more impressed with Mount Rushmore than I was with the Crazy Horse Monument. The monument still isn’t finished after 73 years. You also can’t get very close to it unless you pay a lot for a special tour. I did like the museum of Native American life there, though.

Yellowstone National Park

This was my favorite stop. I would have loved to have spent more time there. It is an immense park of 2.2 million acres. Buffalo walked next to our car. In one of the visitor center areas, rangers were out keeping people away from the elk that walked into the tourist area and laid down under a shady tree. I got to see Old Faithful erupt and another geyser that wasn’t as regular but was taller than Old Faithful. I hiked to the Grand Prismatic Springs, salt flats, and different waterfalls. It was an absolutely gorgeous park.

However, when I go back, I will stay at one of the resorts in the park. We stayed in a hotel in Cody, Wyoming, which looked close to the park. However, it was an hour drive from our hotel to the park’s border, and then another hour drive from the border to the park’s loop road! That was four hours of driving each day, and that meant less time that we got to spend in the park.

Rocky Mountain National Park

We made a short stop outside Rocky Mountain National Park to visit the hotel that was featured in the movie The Shining. As if that wasn’t spooky enough, the hotel has its own ghost stories that could make its own movie.

The impressive thing about this park was how high it is. We went to a visitor center and hiked up to a spot that was more than 12,500 feet above sea level. I had a bit of a scare here. I could not catch my breath. It wasn’t the hike. I’d been hiking parks all during the trip. The thin air at this elevation affected me. Yet, even after reaching the peak and resting for 15 minutes, I couldn’t catch my breath until we were back down in the parking lot.

The sites were nice, but after Yellowstone, it was a letdown. I was surprised to see lots of snow on the ground in the middle of July.

St. Louis Arch

On the way home, we stopped to see the St. Louis Arch. The underground visitors center was nice to walk through. However, the ride to the top of the arch was a curious mix of technologies since you have to rise in a diagonal direction.

After our visit to the top of the arch, we stumbled on a place called the City Museum. It was located in an old shoe factory. It is four stories tall and contains a mix of exhibits and fun things for kids to do, like a four-story-tall sliding board and various multi-level mazes. The only thing I didn’t like about it was the noise. You had to stand right next to someone to hear them talking.

Short Stops

Some of the short stops we made that I really enjoyed were Matchstick Marvels, Field of Dreams, Sioux Falls, and the Corn Palace. Matchstick Marvels was amazing. The sculptor uses hundreds of thousands matchsticks to create highly detailed models. The Corn Palace uses around 600,000 ears of corns to create murals, both inside and out of the building.

Field of Dreams is the actual baseball field that was built for the movie. It is out in the middle of nowhere and still attracts professional baseball players who come to play games on the field. The movie’s line, “If you build it, they will come” actually came true. I bought a baseball and played catch with my wife on the field.

Sioux Falls was a letdown, but that was because it was raining. We got to the falls and made a mad dash to the observation platform to get pictures. Then, we ran back to the car to try to dry off.

Other Stops

I’ve mentioned a few of the many places we stopped. Some I haven’t mentioned include the Wizard of Oz Museum, Effigy Mounds National Park, New River Gorge, Exhibition Coal Mine, Monticello, Mammoth Caves, and Kentucky Horse Park.

They were all nice, but Yellowstone set the bar high for me. I still enjoyed exploring these places, in particular Exhibition Mine, because I do a lot of writing about coal mining.

I loved this trip. We got to see so much. I would like to do a similar trip through the south and southwest at some point.

by James Rada, Jr.

May 1921, 100 Years Ago

Alleged Holdup Man Caught

Charged with being one of four men who held up the Republican Club in Baltimore City several weeks ago, Ernest Myers of Baltimore, was arrested two weeks ago at the home of his aunt, Mrs. J. L. Whisner, near Mt. St. Mary’s, this county, by Detectives Porter and Quirk of Baltimore, and Deputy Sheriff Roscoe Mackley of the Sheriff’s office, Frederick. The arrest was made on the day the man charged with burglary at Hanover was being chased through the mountains west of Thurmont, and when it became known that an arrest was made in this section, many persons thought it was the supposed burglar that was caught.                                     

                                          – Catoctin Clarion, May 12, 1921

Mosquitoes By The Millions

With the warm wave of Sunday and Monday last came a swarm of millions of mosquitoes in the vicinity. Sitting on porches meant to be in agony. The air was full of them during the evening hours and to walk through the grass or shake a bush mean about the same as disturbing a hornet’s nest. The cool weather Tuesday gave some relief.

                                          – Catoctin Clarion, May 26, 1921

May 1946, 75 Years Ago

Convention of Fireman Is Set

The annual convention of the Frederick County Volunteer Firemen’s Association will be held at Thurmont on August 1 and 2. This was decided at the quarterly session held on Thursday night at Independent Hall, this city, with 11 of 13 companies of the County Association represented.

The convention will coincide with the annual carnival of the Guardian Hose Company, of Thurmont, which is scheduled for July 29, 30, 31, and August 1, 2, and 3. Invitation to hold the County Association’s 1946 convention there this year was officially extended by D. Sayler Weybright, who is also president of the county group and who presided at last night’s meeting. Feature of the convention will be the parade on August 2.

                                          – The Frederick Post, May 3, 1946

Cadets Triumph In Field Meet

Frederick High School, with a total of 33 points including five first, Thursday won the first annual Boys and Girls Week, field and track meet, sponsored by the local Rotary and Jaycees clubs.

Only Thurmont High School was represented from outside the City. Marks set yesterday at Bjorlee Field will hold as records until next year, or until surpassed.

                                          – The Frederick Post, May 10, 1946

May 1971, 50 Years Ago

Bronze Star Medal Awarded Local Sailor

Thomas W. Humerick, Gunners Mate Second Class, United States Navy, son of Mr. and Mrs. John G. Humerick, West Main Street, Emmitsburg, was recently presented with the Bronze Star Medal “for meritorious service while serving in armed conflict against the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong Communist aggressors in the Republic of Vietnam from August 1969 to June 1970.”

“Petty Officer Humerick, while serving as a crew member on a river patrol boat participated in two hundred sixty combat patrols, engaging the enemy in eleven fire fights. Humerick, while acting as boat gunner on October 4, 1969 on a five boat patrol on a small canal off the Ong Doc River, maintained a heavy volume of fire which aided the patrol in clearing the canal when coming upon an intense enemy attack.”

                                          – Emmitsburg Chronicle, May 14, 1971

Wildflower Festival At Catoctin Mt. Park

At Catoctin Mountain Park, a recreation area of the National Park System near Thurmont, Md., final arrangements are being made for the season’s first great influx of visitors. The occasion is the 8th Annual Catoctin Mountain Spring Wildflower Festival, May 14, 15, and 16.

Park Superintendent Frank Mentzer reports, “recent April showers and warm May days are bringing the bloom out in profusion. We are bracing for an all-time high in Wildflower Weekend attendance.”

                                          – Emmitsburg Chronicle, May 14, 1971

May 1996, 25 Years Ago

Commissioners OK Water Plant Upgrade

Emmitsburg Commissioners voted to proceed with improvements to the town’s water supply system at a public workshop held April 29. The plan as proposed by the Smith Engineering Report calls for making use of ground water and existing supply wells, in conjunction with surface water from Rainbow Lake.

The Emmitsburg Regional Dispatch, May 1996

Citizens’ Petition Over Road Use Discussed

At the April town meeting, commissioners heard from a delegation of concerned citizens from Northgate who oppose a connecting road between their subdivision and the adjoining Emmit Ridge II subdivision under construction. Developers have been using Provincial Parkway and cutting through Northgate subdivision since they do not have an entrance yet to Emmit Ridge II.

The Northgate Homeowners Association went on record as opposing the connecting road when they presented a petition to the Planning and Zoning Committee in March. The foremost concern was for the safety of the children who have to cross the road to get to the playground. It was felt that the connecting road will adversely affect the quality of life, decrease property values, and destroy the uniqueness of Northgate with increased noise, traffic, and litter.

The Emmitsburg Regional Dispatch, May 1996

T h e O t h e r S h o e

by Valerie Nusbaum

It was my intention to write this column about our experiences with getting a COVID vaccine, but since that was, collectively, pretty much a non-event, I can sum it up with a few words. Easy peasy and no big deal. Seriously, my mom got her first and second doses in January and February, and her arm didn’t even get sore. Mom had very minimal side effects, and she’s 89 years old, as she keeps reminding us.

I got my first dose a week and a half ago and came away with an arm that was red, swollen, hot, and sore for about two days, but I had absolutely no more symptoms other than my usual litany of sniffles and aches and pains.

Randy, trouper that he is, got his first shot last week and had only a little soreness in his arm. The second doses may bring a different scenario for Randy and me, but so be it. We got our appointments easily, and none of us had any wait time at the vaccination sites. Shoot, I did my vaccine at my doctor’s office, and I was the only person there. I was even able to do my required 15-minute wait in my vehicle in the parking lot. Every single one of the healthcare workers who helped us did so pleasantly and efficiently. I continue to be impressed with the way the medical personnel is handling this viral situation.

So, the vaccinations have gone well. Our Easter was lovely and possibly the best one in quite a few years. Randy had a birthday, and it was a good one. He won $1.00 on a scratch-off ticket, and he caught a trout his first time out fishing with his new license. My business has been going well with a lot of five-star reviews coming in, and sales surpassing even last year. I did a quick and easy new acrylic painting last week and had orders for it just a few hours after the paint was dry. Mom has been having some good days and feeling more like her old self. Did I mention that she’s 89? Just ask her. She’ll tell you all about it. Randy and I have been getting good reports from our doctors, too, and I was finally able to get new glasses. Things have been on a smooth roll for us. Why, then, do I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop?

Admittedly, I’m superstitious. I get suspicious when things are seemingly too nice, and I expect the tides to turn. I’m almost afraid to allow myself to enjoy the good times because I know with certainty that the bad times are just around the corner again. Am I the only person who feels this way? I doubt it.

It freaks me out a little bit to think that we might be getting near the end of this pandemic nightmare and that we might just be able to start living our lives in a more normal fashion again. What will go wrong next, I wonder?

We got up on Easter Sunday morning, and our neighbor texted Randy asking if we had hidden eggs on his front lawn. It wasn’t us, and then we discovered that some bunny had hidden eggs for us, too, and also some other neighbors on our street. What a nice surprise! Ancient though we are, Randy and I got a kick out of gathering up our eggs, and we were tickled to find little surprises tucked inside. Many thanks to whoever was thoughtful and generous enough to do that for a bunch of cranky, old people. Randy and I also were surprised with a lovely Easter/spring centerpiece left on our front porch, but I know which bunny did that. Thank you, Barb!

Even our kitchen remodel project went well, and that was a major undertaking. Oh, I’m not saying that Randy didn’t curse a little, and I made a few messes, but we wound up with a whole lot more storage, new custom cabinetry, and some beautiful bench seating, not to mention one-of-a-kind hand-painted wood tiles and built-in shelves. I’m really starting to sweat over so much that’s gone right. The wrong is going to be phenomenal when it comes.

Last Christmas, Randy gave me a leather-bound journal, and I decided to use it to record daily entries of just three things that made me happy each day. Maybe, just maybe, that’s part of the reason things seem to be going better. Maybe, I’ve forced myself to focus more on the positives rather than the negatives. It’s true that some days, it’s easier than others to come up with three good things that happened.

One day, the best thing that happened was that I went to bed early. Looking back, I do see that I still got frustrated, felt unwell, and had worries. I got hurt and scared and terrible things did happen. Somehow, though, lately I’ve been able to really see how much good there is in our daily life.

I’m not Pollyanna, but I will continue to enjoy and celebrate every good thing that happens because I know bad things are coming. I just won’t spend as much time worrying about them, or maybe I will. I’m human, after all.

T h e Y e a r i s…1 9 2 8

by James Rada, Jr.

She Wa s the F i r s t L ine in Fire Defense

Photo Courtesy of

Alice Willard knew all about struggling to get by. The Foxville resident was a 30-year-old single mother of an 11-year-old son, living in a rural area. Even though she had family who could help watch her son, Atley, Alice still needed to earn a living to support the both of them.

In April 1928, she became the only female “lookout” in Maryland. C. Cyril Klein, the district forester for Western Maryland, appointed her the lookout for the Foxville fire tower. A lifelong resident of Foxville who lived in a house her father built the year she was born, Alice knew the area she was to watch over.

“She went on duty Wednesday [April 4] and for the next eight weeks, until about June 1, she will occupy a small room at the top of a 60-foot steel tower in the heart of the Catoctin mountains, about 12 hours a day, on the lookout for mountain fires,” the Frederick Post reported.

Her pay for this job was $60 a month (about $925 in today’s dollars). It was a low-paying job, even among common laborers at the time, but it helped pay her bills.

From the fire tower, Alice had a 12-mile view in every direction.

“At the first indication of fire or smoke, she will telephone to the nearest warden, who in turn will investigate the fire. If it is of a threatening nature, a force sufficient to combat the flames will be summoned and efforts will not be relaxed until the blaze is extinguished,” the Frederick Post reported.

She had experience with the job. She had substituted when her brother needed time off from the job years earlier.

“While she will be some distance from the nearest house, Mr. Klein said she is courageous and he added that she knows how to shoot,” the newspaper reported.

Not only was Alice the only female lookout in Maryland at the time, she was the first woman put in charge of a fire tower in the state. Women had done the work before, but only as a substitute or an assistant.

She said of her experience years later in a Frederick News Post article, “Indeed there were lots of fires! And no lightning ever set those fires. Men set fires! Tossing a cigarette or some other fool thing, that’s what done it. Many’s the fire that was set on purpose, too. Did you know that? I’ll tell you just why! They’d set fires to burn off a clearing in the woods. Then the huckleberries would grow up thick in the burned out places. Huckleberries were a big cash crop here in those days. Many a berry’s been picked and sold for three cents a quart. Every child on the mountain’s picked huckleberries at one time or other.”

In 1930, she was mentioned in an article talking about a rash of fires on Catoctin and South mountains. She had been the first lookout to identify some of them.

She was named an assistant fire warden in 1931.

In 1933, she had a near-fatal encounter with a copperhead that the Hagerstown Morning Herald said she handled with “remarkable coolness and bravery.” She was burning brush while on the job when the snake bit her above the ankle. “She cut open the wound and applied a tourniquet to stop the circulation of blood, then walked to a neighbor’s house, where she secured medical attention.”

She left her job with the State of Maryland in 1934.

The Frederick News noted in 1971 that Alice was still driving a tractor, chopping wood, farming, feeding livestock, keeping house, quilting, sewing clothes, baking, and canning at age 76.

She was also living alone. She had never married, and her son had died from cancer in 1962 at 45 years of age.

“She values her privacy, resents any encroachment upon her land or her rights, and is the personification of the attitudes and traditions of the mountain folk for over two centuries,” Ann Burnside Love wrote for the Frederick News.

Alice died in 1993, a week before her 98th birthday. She is buried in the Mt. Moriah Lutheran Church cemetery.