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James Rada, Jr.

Twenty-five years ago, John Kinnaird of Thurmont, thought he would give his kids a Christmas surprise. He dressed as Santa Claus and climbed onto the roof of his house, so he could pretend to climb down the chimney when his kids could see him.

Someone else saw him on the roof.

“Some neighbors saw me and asked if I would play Santa for their kids at their house,” Kinnaird said.

And with that, a new Santa’s helper was born.

Nowadays, Kinnaird dons his Santa outfit 25 to 30 times a year to help the jolly old elf in Frederick and its neighboring counties. His events generally start the first week in November and run through Christmas.

Another Santa’s helper, Frank Schmersahl of Emmitsburg, has been playing Santa even longer than Kinnaird, with 31 years of service. “In those [early] days, I had to wear padding,” Schmersahl said with a Santa-like laugh.

Schmersahl plays Santa a handful of times each season, including playing the chief of the North Pole Fire Department at the Frederick County Fire Museum during the Museums by Candlelight event in December.

His favorite event is acting as Santa’s stand-in during Emmitsburg’s Evening of Christmas Spirit. He’s been the event’s Santa since it began. He was a member of the Emmitsburg Business Professionals Association (EBPA) back then and volunteered for the job, which he hasn’t regretted. He is now seeing the children of children for whom he once played Santa.

“When Santa greets you by name, you better straighten up,” Schmersahl said.

Kinnaird’s favorite event of the season is Christmas in Thurmont. “That’s when you get to see all of the local kids and a lot of the adults and talk to them,” Kinnaird said.

That’s important for Kinnaird. He wants to be there for the community. He even asks for contributions to the Thurmont Food Bank in lieu of payment.

Schmersahl said he has to be careful not to promise anything when he’s sitting in for Santa. “You tell them: ‘We’ll see what we can do,’” Schmersahl said. He must also remain cool if he happens to have a “leaker” on his lap.

Despite all of the good cheer and laughing children, both men said the hardest part of playing Santa is speaking with a child who has a sad story. A relative has died. A parent has lost a job or been in an accident.

“Those are the ones that really drive home the problem some families have,” Kinnaird said. “You tell them you can’t make people better or find jobs for them. What you can do is bring some joy into their lives.”

Both men said their ideal Santa from television and the movies is Edmund Gwenn, who played Santa in the original version of Miracle on 34th Street. Many people must agree with them since Gwenn won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his performance.

“To me, he is Santa Claus,” Kinnaird said.

Joan Bittner Fry

The following rendition of the story of the Newey murders that occurred in Sabillasville on New Year’s Eve in 1830 is one that I don’t recall seeing before.  This account is detailed and sometimes gruesome. The location of the action is about a half mile from where I was born. The internet states a Newey cemetery is located in the Harbaugh Valley, just south of the Washington County line on Fort Ritchie Road in Frederick County.

In the late Virginia Kuhn Draper’s book, Dandelions, Mushrooms and Moss-Covered Stones, she tells of being fortunate enough to be taken to the Newey graves in the woods up on the mountain. Paul Wade and Thad Calimer raked the leaves off the fieldstones that marked the graves. They found more stones than the three or four that her mother-in-law, Ona Draper, had seen in 1959.

Later, she and her sister, Jeannette, with Thad Calimer as a guide, found the moss-covered stones marking the foundations of the Newey cabin and barn.

The Newey Family

John Newey, his wife Lydia Tressler Newey, their children, Ruth and Ann Newey, and an unborn child were murdered around midnight, between New Year’s Eve in the year 1830, and January 1st, 1831 in Frederick County, Maryland.  Also present were Lydia’s father, Jacob Tressler, who was visiting in the log home, and John Coombs, an indentured servant.  Lydia’s husband, John Newey, was having problems with a nephew, John Markley, who had been accused of taking property from his home in December 1825. John Markley was arrested and sent to prison for five years. John Markley threatened his uncle, saying that when he got out he would burn their home to the ground.  John Markley broke down their door with an axe around midnight the last day of 1830.  He killed everyone in the home then burned it to the ground.  John Markley was the first person in Frederick County, Maryland to be tried, convicted, and sentenced to death based on circumstantial evidence. He was sentenced to be hanged.

The story as written: In our frantic age, one can scarcely imagine a more sequestered spot than the site of the George Flautt home on the top of South Mountain. Except for the arrivals of the wagons and their boisterous drivers seeking food and rest or an organized hunt for the predatory fox or wildcat, the spot, practically surrounded by forests must then have been as quiet as the grave; however, on Wednesday night, December 31, 1830 a tragic event broke the silence, stirred the mountain community to its very foundations, and is, even now, 137 years later, heatedly discussed when mountain folk get together.

On land adjoining Buck Range, at a point about one quarter of a mile from the Flautt home in the depression between the top of the mountain and the entrance to Harbaugh Valley, John Newey had built a cabin for his family which consisted of himself, his pregnant wife, Lydia, two small children, his father-in-law, and an apprentice boy.  On the night of December 31, 1830 all were murdered and the cabin set on fire.

For very valid reasons, the finger of suspicion was immediately pointed to one John Markley as the perpetrator of this dastardly crime. Five years before, at the time of the marriage of John Newey and Lydia Tressler, Markley and a cousin were accused of stealing a wedding suit, a watch, and $250 from the bridegroom, their uncle. On testimony of the bride, both were found guilty and sentenced to terms in the penitentiary, Markley receiving the longer sentence.  Markley never forgave Mrs. Newey’s damaging testimony and vowed that when free, he intended to kill the whole family. When the cousin was released from custody he warned the Neweys that Markley intended to carry out his numerous threats.

Markley was released from the penitentiary on November 25, 1830 and soon appeared in the vicinity of the Newey home. After the murder, Markley was apprehended in Baltimore and during his examination there, these facts of the case emerged (as reported in the Frederick Herald January 22, 1831, as copied from the Baltimore Patriot).

“That Markley was thought to have an accomplice described as a stout, good looking fellow, fair complexion, sandy hair and whiskers, and about 5 feet, 10 or 11 inches high, and is supposed to have accompanied Markley to Baltimore after the murder. This man was later identified as Christian Frydinger and was tried and found innocent of any part in the Newey murder.  That when arrested, Markley had in his possession a pair of velvet pantaloons, identified by their singular appearance as having belonged to John Newey.

That Markley was seen the day before the murder and arson was committed within two miles of Newey’s dwelling, and made inquiry whether Newey still resided in the same place, threatening that he would destroy the whole family and then give himself up to be hung.  On the night after Markley and his companion stayed in Smithstown (Smithsburg), distant by six miles from Newey’s house.  They sat up all night and departed by daybreak the next morning.

After this testimony, Markley was remanded to jail to await a later trial in Frederick, Maryland.  Newspapers of that time from the Gettysburg Star to the Washington, DC Spectator gave wide coverage to the story of the murder on South Mountain, some claiming that Markley had made a full confession but which was completely untrue. Reporters, then as now, tried to color the news, condemn the prisoner before the trial began, and sway public opinion to their own wills. One reporter described Markley as a man of the most athletic and vigorous frame, and, quoting Shakespeare, painted him as “a fellow by the hand of nature marked, to do a deed of shame.” Another reporter described Markley’s features as indicating mildness and ignorance, rather than the diabolical passions.

The trial began in Frederick, Maryland on May 18, 1831 before Chief Justice Buchanan. Markley was arraigned on two indictments, one for the murder of John Newey and the other for the murder of Lydia Newey. James Dixon was the State’s Attorney and William Ross and Joseph Palmer were appointed to represent the defense which could not produce a single witness for Markey’s behalf.

George Flautt, Newey’s nearest neighbor, was the first witness for the state.  His testimony follows in part as reported in the Fredericktowne Herald May 21, 1831.

Witness:  In the morning I called up my boys early, a few hours before day – when my wife arose from bed she looked out the window and remarked that there was a great smoke over toward Newey’s – one of my boys ran down and returned with one of Mr. Newey’s horses and told us the house was all on fire and he saw no one about. I went down – the house was on fire. We had a good view of all the inside of the house and saw Newey lying on the floor with his feet towards the bed and his head towards the door – the hair was burned off his head and the skull and skin appeared quite white. And on the right side of his head there was a hole – it appeared to have been done with an axe. The skull was broken in – there were small cracks from the main wound like the cracks of an egg shell. I examined it particularly, as I expected I would have to testify on the subject.

Question:  Did you examine the skull clearly?

Witness:  I did not as the house was burning. I sent my son to collect the neighbors. I also blew a horn but it did not bring them together directly. By the time the neighbors came up, the head of Newey was entirely burnt to ashes.

Question:  Did you see Mrs. Newey while the house was burning?

Answer:  I did see her after the neighbors came up – she lay in the bed downstairs – her head was burned off – she was otherwise much burned – old Mr. Tressler was burnt up entirely – the infants were less burnt – the bound boy was nearly consumed. I saw the linens of Mrs. Newey’s which had three holes in it as if made by a knife. (The counsel for the prisoner objected to the validity of this testimony.) After some discussion among counsel the witness was permitted to proceed.

Witness:  I did examine the linen, the linen was bloody – I examined the stab wounds on the body, particularly one about the abdomen – the rent (hole) in the linen was crosswise and seemed to have been cut – we applied the linen to the body and the holes in the lines corresponded with the wound in the body.  Later, Mrs. Newey’s body was exhumed and this testimony was proved to be correct.

Question:  Was there any report in the neighborhood about Markley when you went to the Newey house?

Witness:  There was.  I heard that Mr. Newey was warned to be on his guard for his house to be burnt down.  When the witness testified that though the floor of the cabin was burning he could clearly see the bodies, this question was put to him:

Question:  Could it be possible if the floor was burning all around him that there was no smoke near the body to obscure it?

Witness:  The smoke was in the heavens – there was none about the body – when we burn trash, there is smoke enough in the clouds, but none about the flame.

George Flautt further testified that when he saw Newey’s body, the clothing had been removed.

The second witness was John Flautt, George’s son, who corroborated his father’s testimony.  Having reached the fire first, he said that it appeared to him that the house had been set on fire at both the top and the ground floors.  Jonas and John Manahan and Daniel Benchoff all gave similar testimony concerning the wounds on Mrs. Newey’s body.

The third witness, John King, a son of Mr. Newey’s sister, Sarah King, testified that at Markley’s first conviction he said he would have revenge.  John Williams was at the jail on the day of Markley’s former sentence and testified that the prisoner had said “The states attorney and the judges were no better than Newey and the witnesses or they would not have believed them” and swearing very hard to it: “If ever I get out I will have the satisfaction if I have to kill and burn up the whole of them.”

Another witness, John Black, who lived on the road leading from Emmitsburg to Waynesboro, stated that Markley had come to his place on the evening of December 21 seeking supper and lodging for the night.  He gave his name as John Markley and said he lived in the Middletown Valley and had taken sheep and hogs to Baltimore.  He wore a yellow ‘warmuss’ and left the next morning without paying his bill.  Black identified both Markley and his warmuss at the trial.

Barnard W. Wright of Smithstown (Smithsburg), Washington County, testified as follows:  The first Friday after Newey’s murder about sunset Markley came to my house, 7 miles from Newey’s. Another man was with him. Markley had a knapsack, roughly sewed and well filled with clothing.  He gave it to me to keep. They took supper and both seemed very hungry – told me they came from Huntington County, Pennsylvania. Newey’s murder was known.  After these men went to bed and myself also, I reflected that they might be the murderers. I became alarmed, got up, and set up all night – they arose before day.  Markley pulled out his purse containing perhaps seven or eight dollars in silver.  I noticed Markley’s purse particularly and thought it the very purse that I saw Mr. Newey have at my house about two weeks before.  When they left my house, they said they were going down the New Cut Road towards Frederick – spoke of stopping at Jacob’s Tavern on that road – has no doubt that this is the man at his (Wright’s) house.  Testimony proved that Markley proceeded to Baltimore and stopped at the tavern of one Joshua Kelly, paying in advance for a week’s board and lodging which amounted to $2.50 – gave his name as John Markley and opened in the bar a bundle of clothes from which he selected a blue coat which he took out with him to be scoured.  While at the tavern he read and discussed with other patrons the story of the Newey murder. 

The next day, Sunday, January 10, Markley was arrested and given a hearing before James Blair, magistrate, who held him for a jury trial.  Before this magistrate, he said that he had been born near Hagerstown, Maryland – that he had never been arrested before nor had he been in the penitentiary and that he had been in Chambersburg on the night of the murder.  However, he testified before Judge Shriver that he was in the neighborhood of Chambersburg on Monday previous to the murder, and at Westminster on Friday after the event.  When pressed as to his whereabouts on the night of the murder, he answered – If I must tell the truth, I was on a spree from the Tuesday previous to the murder until the Friday after and can’t tell where I was.

When he was then asked why many articles of clothing in his pack were too small for him, Markley could give no satisfactory answer.  The bundle of clothes which Markley carried with him to Smithsburg and to Baltimore proved to be his undoing.  Mr. King, son of Newey’s sister, Sarah, identified the pantaloons found in Markley’s pack as belonging to his uncle, John Newey, and said that on the day of his uncle’s wedding he had borrowed them to wear to the ceremony and that his mother, finding a tear in the side, had mended it with white thread, The stitches of which King identified.  Mr. Manahan also identified the pantaloons as having been the property of Newey.  Sally Manahan stated that the handkerchief found in the bundle and bearing a yellow patch had belonged in the Newey home where she had washed it during her service there.

A Mr. Nichols testified that two vests taken from the bundle had belonged to Newey and Mrs. Newey’s brother stated that another vest had belonged to the apprentice who was killed with the family.

From a mark on the handle, Mr. Oyster identified a razor in Markley’s possession, also a shaving box and razor strop.  He testified that while Newey was a stout man, he was not as large as Markley.

Other witnesses gave testimony similar to that given above, all detrimental to the prisoner after which the jury retired to return after a deliberation of half an hour with a verdict of guilty of murder in the first degree.

After an impassioned castigation of Markley for his heinous act, Chief Justice Buchanan sentenced him to pay with his life for the murder of the Newey family – to be hanged by the neck until you are dead.

While waiting at the barracks in Frederick for execution, Markley admitted to his court-appointed confessor, the Rev. Mr. Shaeffer, the commission of every conceivable sin except that of murder.  On the scaffold on June 24, 1831 he was twice given the opportunity to admit his guilt but each time he protested that he did not know who killed the Newey family.  And so John Markley went to his death never admitting the murder.

Several members of the Flautt family have had the entire account of this murder and trial sent to them by Dr. Bowman.  A copy will also be filed with the Flautt papers in the Maryland Historical Society.

Out of compassion for the Newey Family and an intent to preserve local history, Dorothy Buhrman, owner of the old Newey property, designed and funded the marker shown above that marks the Newey burial site that is several miles away from the home site.

blair garrett

Each year, our phones add new ways to communicate and entertain, and each year, they become a bigger part of our lives.

Cell phones are almost an extension of yourself, with unlimited knowledge at your fingertips, hours of addicting games, and mass communication outlets just the push of a button away. In the world of mobile applications, there is no limit to what you can learn and do. So, let’s take a look at a few useful, practical, and flat out fun apps.

Mario Kart Tour

Mario Kart has been one of the most beloved competitive arcade racing games, as well as a staple of the Nintendo world, for nearly three decades.

Initially launching in 1992, Mario Kart has transcending game systems like the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES), the N64, Gameboy Advanced, Gamecube, DS, Nintendo Wii, Wii U, Switch, 3DS, and now straight to your mobile phone.

Mario Kart Tour is now the 10th iteration of the series, and the first you can play on Android and IOS systems, competing instantaneously with players from around the world in the same fast-paced, arcade-style game we have come to know and love.

Whether you are waiting to catch a train, killing some time on your break, or just looking for a bit of mindless fun, running a couple of laps on the track with friends or foes is always good fun.

C25K   

Fitness apps have exploded in popularity in 2019. Knowledge and awareness of proper nutrition and exercise, as well as the dangers of obesity, are at an all-time high. This app, in particular, allows beginners to experience the world of consistent running and fitness at a modest pace. Easing into something that would otherwise be difficult to dive straight into is a great way to build manageable, healthy habits.

C25K or “Couch to 5k,” gives users the fundamentals to train themselves mentally and physically to live healthier lives. This app introduces first-time and experienced runners to regimented workouts, where you can track calories, distance, and map your runs. It also offers audio coaching to provide that bit of extra motivation to push through the home stretch.

Finding in-app playlists has never been easier, and the built-in coach gives audio/visual cues to know when to take it up a notch and when to start your cooldown. The app does the motivational legwork, while you do the physical legwork, and that combination is key to forming healthy and continuous good habits.

Venmo

When it comes to convenience and practicality, there is nothing easier to use than Venmo for sending money wirelessly to friends and family.

Need to split a dinner bill with coworkers? Want to send a cousin some birthday money? At the push of a button, you can immediately deposit money into your account, or send to a friend, with no added fees whatsoever.

Venmo has been around for a couple years now, but with over 40 million active users, it has never been more popular than it is today.

It’s particularly useful for paying monthly bills like rent or for just keeping payments in order throughout everyday life.

Each year, new apps come around and revolutionize the way we think, feel, and live. Keeping up with the latest and greatest things can be difficult to manage and stressful, but don’t fret. Soon, there will be an app for that, too. 

Nola Schildt of Emmitsburg, celebrated her 8th birthday in September. Instead of having her guests bring her gifts, she asked them to bring donations for the Cumberland Valley Animal Shelter. Her “gifts” filled the back of the car! On October 12, she delivered dog and cat food, toys, leashes, collars, blankets, towels, and cleaning supplies to the shelter. Great job, Nola!

Nola is the daughter of BJ and Maureen Schildt.

The Season of Christmas

Blair Garrett

There may not be a more beautiful time of year than that first December snow.

With snowflakes lightly trickling down, breaths of warm air greeting the cold, and layers of fresh powder coating the pavement to create the illusion of uncharted territory, there’s nothing quite like the first glimpse of true winter.

With winter comes holiday shopping, quality family time, and the usual hustle and bustle of Christmas-time traffic. The December rush often finds us scrambling to get everything in order—from holiday meals to travel plans—but we can’t forget to take a minute to stop and enjoy the beauty of wintertime amidst the swirling chaos around us.     

Picture this: Driving down the road with close friends or family, safely bundled up and ready to brave the cold, stepping out of your vehicle to see the soft glow of candlelight dancing across the needles of trees, splashing light in the world around you. To your left, Christmas lights illuminate every fine detail in the stained glass of your local church. To your right, groups of people are laughing and taking pictures, soaking in the season with the people they care about most.

Holiday tours to view the splendor of Christmas have been an important pillar of winter in communities across the world for hundreds of years, and Frederick County is no different. Big cities like New York, Washington D.C., and Philadelphia all offer tons to see each day leading up to Christmas. Fortunately for us, we have a few great options to explore right at home.

Rocky Ridge Holiday House Tour

Walk through true home-town Christmas splendor in seven homes, ranging from historical to new, during the Rocky Ridge Volunteer Fire Department’s (RRVFD) Holiday House Tour. A fundraiser for the RRVFD, people are really enthusiastic about being a part of the event. A craft and food fair in the Rocky Ridge VFD activities building will take place at the same time the house tour is taking place.

Candlelight Tours Christmas Past

The Seton Shrine in Emmitsburg puts together 1,000 luminaries, sure to light up the night in a way you may not have seen before. This guided tour allows visitors to see where Elizabeth Ann Seton lived and worked, along with stories of her efforts, kindness, and her life, all through the glow of candlelight under the night sky.

Mother Seton’s work in Emmitsburg and in the Catholic church was instrumental in providing avenues for sisters of the church to practice religion in the United States, and the candlelight tour is sure to shed more light on her legacy.

Emmitsburg Christmas Church Tour

Visit eight churches in Emmitsburg to see them decked out for the holidays. This guided tour will start at St. Anthony’s Church and move to another church every half hour, where a presentation is planned. Visit all or visit one or two, but don’t miss the last church visited, Trinity United Methodist Church, where a supper will be held for everyone. 

Frederick Candlelight House Tour

The city of Frederick has run candlelight tours through private homes over 30 years, and there is a tremendous amount of rich history to gather on just about every block. These self-guided tours give locals a chance to see and appreciate the lights, decorations, and a holiday spirit that makes this time of year so special.

A candlelight tour is a perfect weekend activity, sure to put a smile on the face of every person participating. You can get your holiday fill the first weekend in December, with tours kicking off December 7.

Antietam National Battlefield Memorial Illumination—Sharpsburg

Over 157 years ago, the Battle of Antietam claimed the lives of nearly 23,000 men in one of the deadliest battles in the Civil War, and the bloodiest one-day battle in U.S. history. Since, we have recognized and honored those who gave their lives in various ways, including Sharpsburg’s lighting of 23,000 luminaries across the battlefield to symbolize the casualties.

This driving tour is a five-mile trek through monuments and rolling hills, with each light guiding the way, offering a sobering look at what is a near-inconceivable amount of lives lost. This once-a-year event is set for December 7 and is sure to be not only a gorgeous journey, but also a true dose of historic perspective.

Candlelight Tour of Historic Houses of Worship

Frederick hosts its 33rd annual church tour the day after Christmas, giving guests 11 stops to witness the beautifully historic architecture, and to hear the bells, choirs, and holiday music to close out 2019 with a bang. Several stops serve refreshments, so if you enjoy a cup of cider to go with your Christmas songs, this candlelight tour might just be for you.

Museums by Candlelight

Arts, entertainment, and a whole lot of candlelight highlight the itinerary for Frederick’s Museums by Candlelight. Many of these tours provide refreshments and activities for kids, while still providing the opportunity to focus on the history embedded in Frederick County.

Of course, with any proper holiday gathering, music is a big part of what makes these tours so great. Make plans soon, though, as this event is held just once a year. This December’s Museums by Candlelight is held December 14.   

There are countless ways to liven up your holiday season, and no right or wrong way to go about it. A cup of cider by the fire is a good start, but a trip through time learning about what history your local community has to offer by candlelight is an even better way to kick off the Christmas countdown.

These tours and gatherings bring people together, and in the spirit of the holidays, joining your neighbors and friends for a night out can help to build lifelong relationships. So, if you are struggling to find something fun and unique to do this December, consider spending a night by the candlelight, and take in all that your local area has to offer.

One of the beautiful homes featured in the Rocky Ridge Holiday House Tour.

Blair Garrett

With nothing but an engraved Secretary of the Navy coin and a lot of questions, one man’s sit-down meal turned into a two-year mystery.

The decorative coin, which reads, “Gordon R. England, 72nd & 73rd Secretary of the Navy,” was the only piece of evidence to go off of, and Robert Cage, 88, of Hyattsville, Maryland, was left wondering how it ended up in his possession.

Cage, a Navy Veteran who served on the USS Chevalier DD-805 from 1952-56 during the Korean War, is proud of his service, and sought to find the mystery man behind the coin.

The date was May 7, 2017, at the McDonald’s in Thurmont. Cage had stopped in for lunch, as he frequently does when he passes through, but this visit had a unique and unexpected surprise.  

“I was just eating a hamburger, and the next thing I knew, somebody had come by and gave me a coin,” Cage said. “By the time I realized what it was and turned around, he was gone.”

The opportunity to meet in person with England may have passed, but it would not be the last time Cage heard from him. “I wanted to take a picture with him but he had left,” Cage said.

Cage frequently wears his U.S. Navy hat when he goes out, so it is not uncommon for other Veterans and the general public to recognize him for his service. He caught the eye of one Veteran in particular, though, and reeling for answers, Cage took to the internet to find out who may have left him this keepsake.  

They don’t make decorative Secretary of the Navy coins for just anyone, so Cage knew this person in particular must have been important.

After doing some homework, Cage learned more about England, who served as both the Secretary of the Navy and the Deputy Secretary of Defense over the course of his career.

England, a Baltimore native, graduated from the University of Maryland with a degree in electrical engineering and received his MBA from Texas Christian University shortly after. He also worked as an engineer for the Project Gemini Space Program and as a program manager on the E-2C Hawkeye aircraft for the Navy.

England worked several roles in government preceding his appointment under President George W. Bush as Secretary of the Navy in 2001. From 2001 to 2003, he served in that role and, once again, served as the 73rd Secretary of the Navy after a brief stint as First Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security.

Cage, with the help of his nephew, Rob Dowling, was able to make contact with England via email to confirm that it was England who left him the coin that day.

“I do recall giving coins during some of my stopovers in Thurmont,” England said in an email with Dowling. “Your uncle was apparently one of the recipients.”

Outside of his career endeavors, England is an avid fisherman, who often takes fishing trips in Pennsylvania. On his way, he would sometimes make a pit stop in Thurmont for lunch.

“I would sometimes fly fish in Pennsylvania and stop by the Thurmont McDonald’s on the way,” England said. “After a few visits, I became acquainted with four or five Veterans who regularly congregated at the restaurant.”

Meeting with Veterans and acknowledging their dedication and sacrifices made for their country was not out of the ordinary for England. “As per my usual practice, whenever I had Secretary of Navy coins, I would introduce myself to a Navy Veteran and thank them for their service to the nation.”

England sent a personal letter to Cage in October, officially thanking him for his service. To this day, Cage still has the Secretary of the Navy coin kept safe at his home in Hyattsville. And, to this day, Cage is still proud of his military service, and proud to have connected with England once again.

Laura Bush

On a small rise above the east side of Old Frederick Road in the community of Utica sits St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church.

In 1769, a log cabin was built on this site that was used as a schoolhouse and also as a church by four worshipping congregations:  Lutheran, Reformed, Methodist, and Dunkards.

In 1838, a new church building was started and completed in 1840. Deterioration led to the construction of a new building in 1889.

St. Paul’s is proud to be celebrating its 250th Anniversary in 2019.

Each month, we have held a different celebration that has been planned by various groups in the congregation. In July, the church’s plan was to open the time capsules from the 1839 and 1889 buildings. 

As the saying goes, the best-laid plans do not always go well. 

We first thought the time capsules would be behind the cornerstones. After a few hours of work and going back nearly eight inches into the church wall, it became apparent that there was no time capsule to be found.

Not wanting to give up, we regrouped and did a bit of research. We found that it was common at that time to carve out an opening on top of the cornerstone. Sure enough, after removing a few courses of brick above the cornerstone, we located the 1889 time capsule! 

Among the items we found were copies of the newspapers, Reformed Church Messenger (dated April 10, 1889), The Christian World (dated August 29, 1889), The Lutheran Observer (dated August 16, 1889), copies of the Newly Arranged Heidelberg Catechism, Smaller Catechism, hymn books from both the Lutheran and Reformed churches, a list of church members and officers, and a few silver coins. 

The metal box we found the items in was not sealed, so 130 years did take a bit of a toll and some of the items are pretty fragile.  However, it has been very exciting to see these pieces of history and to think of the people that realized it was important to preserve these items for future generations to discover. These items, along with memorabilia from our celebration year, will be placed into a new time capsule that will be buried on the church grounds at the end of December. I hope that the next person that wants to open our time capsule will be grateful that they won’t have to break into a wall to find it!

An opening was carved out in the top of the 1889 cornerstone at St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, where the time capsule was eventually located.

by James Rada, Jr.

Emmitsburg

Free Parking for the Holidays

The Emmitsburg Commissioners approved not charging for metered parking in town from December 13, 2019, to January 2, 2020. Because some people still put money in the meters during this time, any money collected will be donated to the Emmitsburg Food Bank (50 percent), Lions Club Community Day fireworks (25 percent), and the Friends of the Emmitsburg Library youth programs (25 percent).

Dunkin’ Donuts Moving Forward

A plan for a Dunkin’ Donuts on the site of the Silo Hill Car Wash has been conditionally approved by the Emmitsburg Planning Commission. The commission put 26 conditions on their plan approval.

According to Town Planner Zach Gulden, most of the conditions aren’t major and are generally small items that are in the town code but were missed when the plan was put together.

More Sewer Relining Approved

The Emmitsburg Commissioners approved having Mr. Rehab, Inc., of Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, to reline sections of the town’s sewer system to decrease incidents of inflow and infiltration. Mr. Rehab was the lowest price among three bidders, and the company relined the sewer lines on East Main Street earlier this year. Mr. Rehab is charging $35.35 per linear foot for 8-inch pipe and $37.80 per linear foot for 10-inch pipe, and the approval locks in this price for three years.

For 2020, the relining projects are West North Ave. through Creekside Dr. to the creek, and from behind the post office to behind the school at manhole 33. This portion of the project is expected to cost around $107,419, which will be paid from the town’s sewer fund.

Town Approves Social Media Management Policy

The Emmitsburg Commissioners approved a policy guiding how the town’s social media accounts are managed. The town website remains Emmitsburg’s primary means of digital communication, but the town also has Facebook and Twitter accounts.

A policy was needed because public officials and government bodies have been running into problems recently over what can be posted on their sites, who can be blocked, and what is considered a public document. The policy also includes an attachment that outlines what visitors to the town’s social media accounts can say in a posted comment.

Long Appointed to Sustainable Communities Board

The Emmitsburg Commissioners unanimously appointed Mark Long to the Sustainable Communities Board. He is also a current member of the Emmitsburg Planning Commission.

Thurmont

Don Ely is Volunteer of the Year

The Thurmont Lions Club announced its Thurmont Volunteer of the Year during a recent meeting of the Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners. The club received five nominees who were selflessly serving the Thurmont community. They are: Renae Coolidge, Paul Echard, Don Ely, Kyra Fry, and Rachel Mosiychuk.

“It is people like our five nominees who keep our community strong,” said Julie El-Tahir with the Lions Club.

Ely was selected as the 2019 Volunteer of the Year for his work helping the Thurmont Food Bank. He received a Shamrock Restaurant gift certificate, his name on a plaque listing volunteers of the year, and designating where a $400 donation from the Lions Club will go. Eli chose to have the Thurmont Food Bank get the donation.

The Lions Club has been recognizing Thurmont’s Volunteer of the Year since 2006.

Commissioners Sworn In

Mayor John Kinnaird swore in Commissioners Wes Hamrick and Bill Buehrer to serve new terms on the Thurmont Board of Commissioners. Hamrick and Buehrer were re-elected on October 29. Thurmont’s voter turnout for its municipal election was 11 percent, with 531 people casting 1,022 ballots. These numbers include 14 absentee votes.

Hamrick thanked the other candidates who ran for election and added, “It’s a very humbling privilege to be up here.”

Buehrer echoed those comments and said, “I am disappointed that only 11 percent of the people that are registered to vote in this community thought it as worthwhile to come out that day.”

Town to Acquire Moser Road Property

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners voted to purchase a 10-acre parcel next to the town’s wastewater treatment plant. The town will use Program Open Space fund for the $150,000 purchase. This property will allow the Thurmont Trolley Trail to be extended outside of the town to the south. The commissioners’ hope is that the trail can become a much larger trail, extending to Frederick.

Electric Department Purchasing a Wire Trailer

The Thurmont Electric Department will purchase a specialized trailer that allows town staff to make temporary aboveground connections during an electrical service outage. Chief Administrative Officer Jim Humerick told the commissioners that using the trailer allows the town to get customers’ service back quicker, while also allowing town staff to work on the problem in safer conditions.

The town received two bids for the trailer. It awarded the bid for the trailer to Comstar Supply in Collegeville, Pennsylvania, for $13,147. The cost of the wire for the trailer is $2,000. The town has allocated $23,000 for the trailer and wire, so the equipment is costing $7,853 under budget.

Town Sponsors Model Train Display

Thurmont is sponsoring a free model train display at 12 East Main Street in Thurmont every weekend through December 22. The display is open 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Saturdays, and 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Sundays. The Frederick County Society of Model Engineers and the Town of Thurmont are sponsoring the display.

James Rada, Jr.

The Emmitsburg Town Commissioners will hold a workshop to try and decide how best to handle a request from Pradeep Saini, owner of Village Liquors, to change the town’s water and sewer tap costs.

Saini owns three acres by the Emmitsburg McDonalds, with an option to purchase four more acres. He has been developing a small strip mall on the site where he intends to move his business, but he told the board of commissioners he would like to build a 90-room Choice Hotel on the site as well. The proposed project will cost between $7 and $8 million, of which 10 percent will pay for the town’s water and sewer impact fees.

“When 10 percent of that is just water and sewer tap fees, it’s humungous, and investors are going to shy away from that,” Saini told the commissioners.

He said the town’s costs are out of line with other municipalities. For instance, he said, a similar project in Brunswick would only cost $172,000 in water and sewer tap fees, and he could get a 30 percent discount off that figure.

He also told the commissioners that they needed to pay attention to the ripple effect the hotel would have on town businesses since people staying at the hotel would most likely eat and spend money in town.

“A successful hotel is going to open doors for other development,” Saini said.

He asked the commissioners to look at the current costs, compare them to other municipalities, and bring them in line with other towns. He also asked the commissioners to consider a one-time waiver for a project of this size.

Board President Cliff Sweeney showed a great reluctance to reducing the fees. “The water tap fees that we get from you to pay for the water to pay for the treatment center that’s what the tap fees are for,” Sweeney said.

He said that the town was being asked to give away $800,000 – or a portion of it – when the hotel project would bring the town much closer to needing a new treatment plant that would cost around $2 million.

Commissioner Tim O’Donnell said, “The opportunity here is wonderful. We do want to support you. We do want to see you guys get this done, but there’s also an economy we do have to deal with as well.”

It was pointed out that comparing Emmitsburg’s rates to Brunswick’s was not quite appropriate. The developer in Brunswick gave Brunswick $20 million for improvements. Also, the town’s water capacity was far more than Emmitsburg’s.

Town Manager Cathy Willetts told the commissioners that based on town staff’s research, Emmitsburg’s rates were about midway between comparable municipalities.

The commissioners decided to hold a workshop to discuss all of the issues surrounding the tap fees, in general, and whether something could be done to incentivize the hotel project.

Construction Has Begun for Revitalized 25,000-gallon Koi Pond

Landscaping contractors from the tri-state area are converging on Catoctin Wildlife Preserve in Thurmont to complete a new, naturally balanced koi pond. The work is being done as part of a Certified Aquascape Contractors (CAC) Build, which brings water feature contractors and distributors together for real-world training intensives with an experienced instructor.

Aquascape’s Ed “The Pond Professor” Beaulieu will lead the construction of a 25,000-gallon water habitat for Japanese Koi and ornamental fish, creating a revitalized centerpiece for the expanding Asian Trail at the Preserve. When complete, the exhibit will replace a 16,000-gallon pond installed in 2007. 

Guests will see a naturally-balanced habitat with mechanical and biological filtration, fish, and aquatic plants. Tiered waterfalls provide aeration, gravel and stone support beneficial bacteria, and aquatic plants purify the water. The result will be a crystal clear wetland environment.

When the trail opens to Preserve visitors in 2020, new pathways will wind past Snow Leopard, Asian Small-Clawed Otters, a wading bird rookery with Sacred Ibis and Abdim’s Stork, and Japanese Red-Crowned Cranes, an endangered species bred at the Preserve.

Beaulieu’s work has been featured on the cover of Architectural Digest, has appeared on several HGTV and DIY channel shows, and served as the project manager for the installation of water features at the Flower and Garden Festival “Water Garden Wonders” highlight at Epcot Center.

The build is the result of coordinated community efforts by the Preserve’s in-house staff, host CAC Kingdom Landscaping, host Aquascape Distributor Turf Equipment and Supply, and an estimated 50 participating contractors. Heavy equipment dealers Bobcat of Frederick and Rentals Unlimited of Frederick have donated excavation equipment and tool rentals for the build. Barrick & Sons will deliver over 85 tons of river gravel.

Want to help them complete the pond and Asian Trail? You can donate to the project and see photos at catoctinwildlifepreserve.com/koi/.

Pictured is early work showing the various river rocks in place for the new upcoming 25,000-gallon koi pond at Catoctin Wildlife Preserve in Thurmont.

A secret group of soldiers, who are credited with shortening World War II by two years, is being honored locally. The group, known as Ritchie Boys, was part of the D-Day invasion and subsequent march across Europe to defeat the Nazis.

An exhibit highlighting the impact of the Ritchie Boys during World War II is on display at the Fort Ritchie Community Center. The exhibit was recently donated to the Community Center from the Holocaust Memorial Center in Farmington Hills, Michigan. The Ritchie Boys were a military intelligence unit trained in psychological warfare, counterintelligence, sabotage, and other skills at Camp Ritchie in Cascade (later renamed Fort Ritchie). 

The Ritchie Boys consisted primarily of German-born soldiers, many of whom were also Jewish, that had fled Europe to the United States before the war. Because of their knowledge of the German culture and language, the U.S. Army used the Ritchie Boys for a variety of intelligence tasks, including interrogating prisoners of war, deciphering German communications, and various forms of psychological warfare. The name Ritchie Boys was bestowed upon the group due to their time being trained at Camp Ritchie.  

Guy Stern, a Ritchie Boy and former college professor, designed the exhibit using his firsthand knowledge, as well as access to other Ritchie Boys. Following its display at the Holocaust Memorial Center, the exhibit was placed into storage. At Stern’s suggestion, the museum agreed to donate the exhibit to the Fort Ritchie Community Center, where it will be open to the public. The exhibit will be available for viewing during the Community Center’s regular business hours for several weeks. 

The size of the exhibit is so large, the Community Center will not be able to keep it on display in its entirety indefinitely. The plan, however, is to feature parts of the exhibit in the museum, located in the Community Center. Photos of the complete exhibit will be available for viewing so that guests may still experience the impact the Ritchie Boys had during and after the war. 

Please visit www.thefrcc.org for more information on the Ritchie Boy exhibit and the Fort Ritchie Community Center. 

One of the Ritchie Boys in Germany.

Tips to Reduce Holiday Stress

As much as we look forward to the fun and festivities of the holidays, the holiday season can also bring with it stress, anxiety, and exhaustion.

Most of us are pulled in multiple directions during the holidays, with shopping, cooking, sending cards, baking cookies, hosting family, attending events, and, well, trying to please everyone. This can wear us down and, sometimes, even cause us to get sick. However, there are several techniques we can try to minimize our stress and anxiety so that we can thoroughly enjoy the holiday season. Here are a few:

(1) Set a spending budget—don’t try to “keep up with the Joneses.” That’s a battle you can’t win. Remind yourself of what the holidays are really about; (2) Get plenty of exercise—being active can elevate your mood and help you deal with stress better; (3) Try to keep it simple—know your limitations and learn how to say “No”; (4) Take some time for yourself—set aside at least 15 minutes of alone time a day; (5) Forget “perfect”—Stop setting unrealistic expectations. Don’t let stress over the house being perfect, dinner being perfect, etc. rob you of enjoying the moment. Those things don’t matter in the scheme of things; focus your energy on enjoying special time with your loved ones…that is what really counts; and (6) Pick your battles—don’t let the actions of others rob you of your joy.

Thanks to Gateway To The Cure business participants’ donations, along with events held throughout the year, the Town of Thurmont was able to present Patty Hurwitz with a check for $21,000 at the November 19, 2019, town meeting.

A few businesses came out to talk about their promotion/donation at the check presentation: Catoctin Veterinary Clinic, Gateway Orthodontics, Emmitsburg News Journal, Roy Rogers, and the CYA Soccer Club. It was a night to shine for the Town of Thurmont, to show how great the businesses, residents, volunteers, and CYA Soccer Club really are, and how a community comes together each year for this incredible campaign. All proceeds from Gateway To The Cure are donated to the FMH Hurwitz Breast Cancer Fund.

Fundraiser participants proudly presented a check for $21,000 to the Patty Hurwitz Breast Cancer Fund at a Thurmont Town meeting in November.

Emmitsburg’s accessible playground ribbon-cutting ceremony was held Saturday, November 2, 2019. The ribbon was cut by Mayor Don Briggs with Commissioner Tim O’Donnell, Catoctin Area Civitan’s Ginger Malone, Commissioner T.J. Burns, Commissioner Cliff Sweeney, Frederick County Executive Jan Gardner, and Frederick County Councilman Michael Blue. This new playground will allow children of all abilities to play side-by-side for years to come.

Donors for this project include the Department of Housing and Community Development, Department of Natural Resource (Program Open Space), and the Catoctin Area Civitan Club.

During the annual Catoctin Colorfest, Inc. banquet at Simply Asia in Thurmont on November 18, 2019, Carol Robertson, president of Catoctin Colorfest, Inc., reported that the weather during the annual Colorfest event, held in October, was the “best ever!” The sunny, calm, temperate weekend resulted in record numbers in attendance, sales, smooth operations, and favorable public opinion.

Statistics to note include that The Thurmont Ambulance Company sold almost 11,000 apple dumplings, and Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church sold 490 crab cake sandwiches. Catoctin Colorfest, Inc. had 237 food and craft vendors that produced $14,290 in permit revenue for the town.

It was with happiness that Carol presented $20,308.17 to various community organizations who support the event. The Guardian Hose Company: $1,500; Thurmont Ambulance Company: $1,500 and two vendor spaces; Thurmont Police Department: $1,500; Catoctin High FFA Scholarship Hog: $1,650; Catoctin High School Student Scholarships: $4,500; Town of Thurmont garden supplies: $168.17; Commissioners of Thurmont: $5,000; Gift Cards $100; Thurmont Food Bank: 220 meal baskets worth $3,500; a bereavement basket: $150; Christmas decorations for Mechanic’s Town Park: $100; and family Christmas meals: $150.

Recognition was observed in the memory of John Brown, a founder of Catoctin Colorfest and past president, who passed this past July. Carol recalled that he would tumble gems for sale during the early events before opening his jewelry business in Thurmont.

The 57th Catoctin Colorfest, Inc. event will be held October 10-11, 2020.Members of the Colorfest, Inc. Board of Directors and representatives of recipient agencies (from left): Jeff Wood (Catoctin Colorfest), Jim Humerick (Town of Thurmont and Thurmont Ambulance Co.), Mary Edwards, Frank Taylor, Mike Ancarrow, Carol Robertson, Nancy Mooney, Ted Zimmerman, and Cathy Maverick (Catoctin Colorfest), Harold Bollinger and Sally Joyner-Giffin (Thurmont Food Bank), Wayne Stackhouse (Guardian Hose Company), and John Kinnaird (Town of Thurmont).

The Emmitsburg Food Bank and the Catoctin Pregnancy Center held an Open House on November 9, 2019, for the public to see their newly relocated facilities. They are grateful for all the people in town who came forward to make this happen. Phyllis Kelly recognized these people that afternoon.

David Swomley and Ronnie Wivell came to her when they retired from their dry wall business, Entrepreneur Ventures, in July and offered their location for rent. It was perfect for both the food bank and pregnancy center’s needs. Next, the Masons came forward and said that they could help build the room they need for the clients to get their food. Ron Cool and Mike Lovejoy offered to take on that project; within two weeks, the room was finished. Eric Glass offered to remove the many shelves his company had made for the food bank many years ago and reinstall them at the new location. He sent Dale Hilbert and Chris Gephart to reinstall the shelves. Finally, Knights of Columbus came to move the large items, such as the freezers and refrigerator, and all the food that had been packed in boxes by many volunteers the week before. It all went smoothly, and Phyllis Kelly “is grateful to all those that helped.”

Boy Scouts Troop 727 from Emmitsburg collected 1,001 items for the newly relocated Emmitsburg Food Bank. Doug Lowe is the troop leader. The food bank would like to thank the scouts and the community for all their contributions.

Frederick County Fire & Rescue Museum

The Frederick County Fire & Rescue Museum will have a special holiday open house in conjunction with the “Museums by Candlelight,” being held throughout Frederick County, on December 14, 2019, from 12:00-7:00 p.m. The museum will have many artifacts from every fire company in Frederick County. The museum features the “Old Lady” hand pumper of the United Fire Company and United Volunteer Fire Company of Libertytown, as well as the ornate 1893 hose carriage “Romeo,” owned by the Independent Hose Co. No. 1 of Frederick. The newest addition to the museum is the magnificent William Cochran glass etching “Volunteers” on display in front of the museum. The museum will stay open until 7:00 p.m. to afford visitors an opportunity to see this beautiful art, brightly lighted during evening hours.

The open house will also feature a visit from the North Pole Fire Chief. Fire prevention and life-safety materials will be available for adults, as well as fire helmets and fire safety coloring books for the kids. Again this year, the museum will also serve as a drop-off point for Toys for Tots during the special museum hours on December 14.

The Frederick County Fire & Rescue Museum is located at 300B South Seton Avenue in Emmitsburg and will be open from on December 14, from 12:00-7:00 p.m., for this special holiday treat. 

Pictured is the lighted William Cochran etching “Volunteers,” located in front of the Frederick County Fire & Rescue Museum, 300B South Seton Avenue in Emmitsburg.

On October 22, 2019, the Thurmont Lions Club celebrated its 90th Anniversary on its Charter Night, held at Shamrock Restaurant. SVDG Charlie Croft presented to the club a certificate from District Governor Evan Gillett in recognition of its 90 years of service. Past International Directors Ted Reiver and Richard Liebon greeted the audience. 

SVDG Croft presented an International President’s Certificate of Appreciation to Thurmont Mayor John Kinnaird for all he does for the Thurmont Lions Club and the Thurmont community. 

Mayor Kinnaird presented two proclamations to the club: one from the Town of Thurmont and the other from the State of Maryland. A great honor!

Lion Dianne McLean received  a Melvin Jones Fellow, and Lion Doug Favorite received a Life Membership.

In addition, four chevron members were recognized: Lions Joyce Anthony and George Bolling (20 years) and Lions Joann Miller and Kim Grimm (10 years). The committee recognized the past presidents and those members with 30-plus years of service.

The necrology service remembered Lions Cindy Wantz, John Hart, and John Brown.

Lion Dianne McLean receives a Melvin Jones Fellow: (from left) Lion Joyce Anthony, Lion Dianne McLean, PDG Paul Cannada.

Lion Doug Favorite receives a Life Membership: (from left) President Joyce Anthony, Lion Doug Favorite, 2nd VDG Charlie Croft.

International President’s Certificate of Appreciation is presented to Mayor John Kinnaird of Thurmont: (from left) Lion Joyce Anthony, Thurmont Mayor John Kinnaird, PID Richard Liebno.

Camille Kime (pictured above), with Karaoke Buddies, was a recent guest speaker for the Thurmont Lions Club.

Karaoke Buddies is an all-volunteer organization that provides individuals with disabilities a safe social setting to gather with their friends to dine, sing, dance, and not be judged by anyone. Camille’s disabled granddaughter, Taylor, likes to do all of those activities, so Camille started Karaoke Buddies in 2010. She developed the idea after she saw Taylor come out of her shell while singing karaoke.

Karaoke Buddies is a monthly get-together that fills the First Baptist Church of Frederick gymnasium with nearly 500 people. The last Friday of every month, the event includes a free hot meal, a disc jockey’s entertainment, and karaoke to people of all ages with a variety of disabilities.

The cost for food and supplies comes to about $1,000 a month. Camille is always out in the public fundraising. She has many volunteers who show up each month to help with the logistics. Everything is free to the individuals with disabilities. The hours and money it takes could make one question how she keeps going—she gives so much financially, as well as in labor, support, and love.

Camille said, “My parents taught me to love these children who are God’s special chosen ones. I have loved them all my life, especially my granddaughter, Taylor. My heart bursts with love for her.” 

For additional information, please visit the Thurmont Lions Club website at www.thurmontlionsclub.com or call 240-288-8748.

Thurmont Lions Club’s first September meeting fell on the 9/11 anniversary. Its guest speaker was Cindy McGrew, who talked about Operation Second Chance (OSC). 

OSC began in 2004 and is a 501(c)(3) organization, composed of patriotic citizens committed to serving its wounded, injured, and ill combat Veterans.  OSC supports Veterans and their families while they recover in military hospitals, building relationships and identifying and supporting immediate needs and interests. OSC is dedicated to promoting public awareness of the many sacrifices made by our Armed Forces. Their goal is to provide support for the soldiers and marines while they are at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, and then to further assist them when they transition either back to duty or back to civilian life.

Cindy McGrew decided to leverage her business knowledge to provide some much needed financial relief to the families of American service members injured in combat. For the past 14 years, the non-profit organization she started has provided financial assistance and cold hard cash for everything from rent to groceries, to childcare, to mortgage payments, and even fishing trips. OSC is a national organization with chapters in Montana, Colorado, Texas, New York, Florida, and many other states. By the end of the summer, OSC has provided six million dollars in cold hard cash.

The Thurmont Lions Club announced Don Ely as Thurmont Volunteer of the Year during a November meeting of the Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners. Ely is a member of Thurmont Lion’s Club and received the award because of all his work with the Thurmont Food Bank.

Thurmont Lions Club names Don Ely (second from left) Thurmont Volunteer of the Year.

The National Grange, founded in 1867, is a nonprofit, nonpartisan fraternal organization that advocates for rural America and agriculture. The Grange is part of more than 2,100 hometowns across the United States. The Thurmont Grange serves our Catoctin region. One of the programs administered annually by the Grange is Words for Thirds, where every third-grade student in the local area is given a dictionary to keep.

Thurmont Elementary School

Pictured from left are: (back row) Russell Moser, Sidney Moser, Rodman Myers, Third Grade Teacher Connie Reynolds, Jody Eyler, Sue Keilholtz, and Carol Long; (front row) Aaron Mosiychuk, Chloe Glass, Chloe Shultz, Braelynn Keilholtz, and Ayden Merritt.

Emmitsburg Elementary School

Pictured from left are: (back row) Thurmont Grange volunteers, Paulette Mathias, Carolyn Wiles, Cliff Stewart, Sue Keilgoltz, and Bob Wiles; (front row) Leah French, Addison Tingler, Colt Atwell, and Cole Merriman.

Sabillasville Elementary School

Pictured from left are: (back row) Becky and Jim Royer, Third Grade Teacher Marnie Tootill-Mortenson, Principal Kate Krietz, SES and Thurmont Grange Secretary Jane Savage; (front row) Grayson Lawler, Josie Harbaugh, Avery Harbaugh, Brynn Eyler, Hope Rice, and Noah Bradbury.

Lewistown Elementary School

Lewistown Elementary School students in classes of Ms. Jozwiak and Ms. Graybill (third grade teachers) and Ms. Acevedo (EL Teacher) are presented dictionaries by Cheryl Lenhart on November 19 during American Education Week.

National FFA convention is held every year and attracts FFA members from every state, including Alaska and Hawaii. The 92nd National FFA Convention was held in Indianapolis, Indiana, from October 28-November 2, 2019. At the convention, 22 Catoctin FFA members joined over 69,000 other FFA members and guests from across our nation. Throughout the week, members were able to participate in sessions, workshops, and a career expo.

Members competed in career development events and leadership development events, more often referred to as CDEs and LDEs. To complete a CDE/LDE, each team (or individual contestant) had to extensively learn their subject and rehearse their task in preparation for the state convention. Every state gets to send one winning team per CDE/LDE to advance to nationals. This year, Catoctin FFA’s Agricultural Mechanics, Agricultural Issues, Farm and Agribusiness Management, and Milk Qualities and Products teams advanced to nationals.

Agriculture Mechanics: The Agricultural Technology and Mechanical Systems Career Development Event (CDE) helps students develop technical knowledge and an ability to work with others to solve complex agricultural problems. The event is built around students learning and executing a “systems approach.”Catoctin’s team placed silver. Danny Janc and Alex Sumner earned a bronze individual placing; Robert Hahn placed silver, individually; and Devin Wine placed gold, individually. The team won a welder for the Catoctin FFA Chapter. The team was coached by Phil Kolb and Tyler Wolf.

Agriculture Issues: The Agriculture Issues team presented a 15-minute skit on alternative milk options. Each member of the team played a part that was an expert on milk and alternative milk options. The team had to present the facts in an unbiased and creative way. The team earned a bronze placing. Members include: Kendall Abruzzese, Daniel Dutrow, Carley McGhee, Josie Kaas, and Kolton Whetzel. The team was coached by Cathy Little and Michael Poffenberger.

Farm and Agribusiness Management: Farm and Agribusiness Management helps the students to learn business skills and economic principles to agricultural businesses. Students were given a real-life business that they analyzed and answered questions. Catoctin’s team placed bronze at the national convention. Individual standing included: Abigail Christian and Taylor Wivell earned bronze placings. Riley Flick and Ty Lenhart earned silver placings. The team was coached by Micahel Poffenberger.

Milk Qualities and Products: Members in this CDE demonstrate their knowledge about the quality production, processing, distribution, promotion, and marketing of milk and dairy foods. Alexis Morgan and Kiah Morgan placed silver, individually. Sierra Weatherly and Cheyenne Van Echo placed gold, individually. The team was a silver placing team. The team was coached by Shelby Green and Carrie Wivell.

Members Paige Baker, Sierra Flanary, Abby Kinnaird, Konnor Sowell, and Cadin Valentine attended convention as Chapter Delegates.

Catoctin FFA sends out a special thanks to its chaperones, Cathy Little, Patti Hubbard, Matt Dellinger, Chris and Dani Jackson, Carrie Wivell, Shebly Green, Phil Kolb, Tyler Wolf, and Michael Poffenberger.

Four chapters in Maryland were recognized at this year’s convention. This is based on an application the chapter completes to showcase some of its activities throughout the year. Catoctin FFA was one of four eligible chapters from Maryland and was recognized nationally as a 1-star chapter.

As part of the Thurmont Lions Club Literacy Project for September (Literacy month), 648 books were delivered to the Thurmont Primary School and the Thurmont Elementary School. Literacy is one of the core missions of the club.

The books Paddington Sets Sail, Sleep Bear, and Amazing Dolphins were delivered to the Thurmont Primary School, and Flat Stanley and the Very Big Cookie, The Titanic, and The Truths and Myths about Weird Animals were delivered to the Thurmont Elementary School. 

Each book included a bookmark from Texas Roadhouse. If each child reads three books and has the bookmark signed by their parents, he/she will receive a free kid’s meal!

The principals were delighted and appreciative of the help they receive from the Thurmont Lions Club in supporting literacy in their schools.

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

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

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

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

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