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BSA Troops 270B and 270G, along with Webelos and AOL’s from Cub Scout Pack 270, recently attended a Wizard Safari in York, Pennsylvania, on September 29 through October 1.

The camporee is held once every four years and is based on Deadwood, South Dakota, 1846. Old-time games, costumes, falconry, black smithing, bee keeping, trains, branding, trapping, archery, shooting sports, horses, Leave No Trace, the Tenderfoot Saloon, the mercantile, spar pole climbing, and more had the Scouts busy and having fun while learning history.

Brayden, Mason, Jonathan, and Griffin learn how to make a triangle dinner bell with the blacksmith.

Courtesy Photo

Fully Skilled in Narcotics Detection, Apprehension, Search, and Tracking

The Frederick County Sheriff’s Office (FCSO) recently invested in three new dogs, specifically trained for law enforcement work, that have hit the streets with their handlers as highly trained and effective teams to serve the county.

The new K-9’s and their deputy handlers are: Deputy 1st Class (DFC) Jeremy Slodki and his partner K-9 Fetty, a 1.5-year-old Belgian Malinois/German Shepherd cross; DFC Douglas Story and his partner K-9 Jax, a 1.5-year-old Belgian Malinois/German Shepherd cross; and DFC Miller Yackovich and his partner K-9 Triglav, a 1.5-year-old Belgian Malinois.

K-9’s Triglav and Jax recently completed a 16-week patrol school in Montgomery County, where the dogs received training in obedience, article searches, tracking, agility, and apprehension work. Upon completion of the school, the K-9’s received certifications in all aspects of their training.

K-9’s Triglav, Jax, and Fetty then completed an 8-week narcotics detection school that the agency hosted. The dogs received training and certifications to detect cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamines.

K-9 Edy, with Corporal Steve Kocevar as his handler, already assigned to the agency as a narcotics detection dog, also completed training at the patrol school in Montgomery County, with certification in article search, tracking, and apprehension.

“Edy, Jax, and Triglav are dual-purpose K-9’s assigned to the agency, and Fetty is a single-purpose K-9 certified in narcotics detection,” said Kocevar. “Along with K-9 Odin, assigned to DFC Tara Shriver, all five K-9’s are vital assets to the agency.”

The K-9’s do not have specific patrol team assignments, instead the dogs have assignments to each rotation and have developed a schedule that makes them available during the times of highest K-9 call volumes.

Along with the FCSO calls for service, and since the beginning of 2022, FCSO K-9’s assisted on 208 calls for service for other police agencies, and so far in 2023, assisted on 72 calls for service for other agencies.

“History demonstrates that K-9’s are very effective in drug scans on traffic stops, allowing deputies to locate and seize illegal drugs from vehicles, which on many occasions has also led to the location and seizure of illegally possessed firearms. Our five K-9 teams are an important tool in combating the trafficking of illegal narcotics in and through Frederick County,” said FCSO Sheriff Chuck Jenkins. “The police K-9 has attributes in searching for items and/or persons that can quickly facilitate their location. Thus, we can better manage resources in a more efficient and effective manner. They, along with their trained handlers, help keep the more than 280,000 citizens of Frederick County safe.”

The three new K-9’s replaced DFC Yackovich’s last partner, Eikel, DFC Story’s last partner, Azor, and DFC Phelps’ partner, Taz. Those three dogs are now retired and live at home with their handlers as household members.

The Frederick County Sheriff’s Office (FCSO) is a full-service law enforcement agency, an arm of the court, and a keeper of offenders. In this regard, it exists to serve the more than 280,000 citizens of Frederick County with respect, fairness, and compassion. FCSO is committed to the prevention of crime; the protection of life and property; the preservation of peace and order; the enforcement of laws and ordinances; the safeguarding of constitutional guarantees; and the safekeeping of prisoners. The men, women, and officers of this office nurture public trust by holding themselves to the highest standards of performance and ethics.

The FCSO is located at 110 Airport Drive East in Frederick. Visit for more information.  

Richard D. L. Fulton

Photo Courtesy of MSMU

Mount St. Mary’s University was recently cited as one of the most beautiful campuses.

Mount St. Mary’s University (MSMU) was ranked as No. 1 among Maryland colleges and universities based on the percentage of full-time freshmen receiving Pell Grants.

Pell Grants are federal grants awarded to students from low and/or moderate-income families.

Additionally, MSMU was ranked as No. 28 in the top 10 percent of the 286 private and public colleges and universities accessed nationwide in the New York Times College-Access Index, according to Donna Klinger, executive director of Communications, Office of University Marketing & Communications.

The New York Times Magazine noted in their September 7 issue that the New York Times College-Access Index had ranked 286 “selective” colleges and universities in producing the scoring system, which included both private and public institutions. Those selected to be ranked collectively educate about 2.7 million undergraduates, according to the magazine.

Klinger stated that the index revealed that MSMU had enrolled 34 percent of first-year Pell Grant students in 2020-21, compared to the national average of 21 percent. Between 2011 and 2021, the Mount’s share of Pell students had increased by 6 percentage points, while the overall average decreased by 2 percentage points.

The increase resulted in the Mount ranking 23rd in the country for having the largest increase in Pell students.

MSMU President Timothy Trainor stated, “The New York Times study shows the economic diversity of the Mount student body among an elite group of colleges and universities. Our doors are open to students of all backgrounds, and our diversity is a valued part of the Mount experience,” adding, “The Mount has a long history of graduating ethical leaders who roll up their sleeves and excel academically before ultimately leading lives of significance in service to God and others.”

The College-Access Index measured economic diversity by analyzing the share of students receiving Pell Grants, using data reported by universities to the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics. The list compared 286 of the most selective colleges in the country, defined by Barron’s Profiles of American Colleges and other metrics.

The New York Times Magazine stated, “Studying these numbers is particularly important in the wake of two important developments this year in higher education: the Supreme Court’s decision to do away with race-based affirmative action, and the decision by some schools to abandon or reduce legacy admissions.”

Klinger said that the College-Access Index “is one of several recent rankings received by Mount St. Mary’s, including several that measure value and social mobility, further noting that the university placed in the U.S. News & World Report rankings “as among the top regional universities in the North, as well as a best value school, a top performer on social mobility, and a best college for Veterans.”

Additionally, MSMU has been recognized as the sixth most beautiful college campus in the United States by College RoverTM, an online college information guide. The study looked at Yelp and TripAdvisor pages for the top ten colleges in each state, and then analyzed the number of reviews using the word “beautiful” and compared it to the total number of campus reviews. Sixty-six percent of the Mount’s reviewers mentioned the university’s “beauty,” according to Klinger.

In other MSMU news, the Mount executive director of Communications reported that Caroline Purcell has returned as Mount Saint Mary’s University Seminary’s ES coordinator from a year-long English Language Fellowship. Purcell spent her year-long U.S. Department of State fellowship “teaching undergraduate students and designing and selecting curricula and materials in the English department at An-Najah National University (ANNU) in Nablus, Palestinian Territories,” Klinger stated

Second Annual Thurmont Great Pumpkin Pick Up

The Thurmont Green Team will be sponsoring the Second Annual Great Pumpkin Pick Up for the residents of Thurmont on Saturday, November 25, beginning at 9:00 a.m. Residents should place their Halloween and Thanksgiving pumpkins on the curb by 8:30 a.m. that morning for pick up by volunteers. Please, no rotten pumpkins.

Last year, volunteers from the Green Team and community organizations and businesses traveled the streets of Thurmont, collecting between 600-700 pumpkins, saving them from the landfill and providing food and fun for the animals at the Catoctin Wildlife Preserve and area farms.

Households are no longer displaying just one or two pumpkins on their porch—many now decorate with up to 10 pumpkins of varying colors and sizes. Each year, more than one billion pounds of pumpkins are thrown away in the United States, making their way to landfills, where they take a long time to decompose, emitting methane which is 80 percent more potent or powerful than carbon dioxide and is ultimately linked to climate change. The EPA reports that food waste contributes to 22 percent of landfill waste. Organic waste, including pumpkins, which are 90 percent water, does not properly break down in oxygen-deprived landfills. Pumpkin waste is great for our soil, but not for our landfills.

If you do not live within the Thurmont town limits, please think about starting a pumpkin pick up for your town or at the very least find a way to compost your pumpkin and other food waste or drop your pumpkin off at the bin in front of the Catoctin Wildlife Preserve. The animals and the earth will thank you.

This year’s event hopes to top 1,000 pumpkins, so make sure to save your pumpkins from the trash and place them on the curb on November 25. Remember, No Pumpkin Left Behind! We’ll publish the results of this year’s pick up in the December issue.

If you would like to volunteer or receive more information about organizing a Pumpkin Pick Up for your town, please contact the Town of Thurmont at 301-271-7313.

Pick-up truck load of pumpkins from 2022.

The Federated Garden Club of Maryland (FGCMD) hosted the annual Alice Rush McKeon Fund Tree Planting event on Saturday, September 30, 2023, at Gilmore C. Trout Memorial Park in Walkersville. This year, in her memory, District V of FGCMD was awarded funds to plant trees and chose several sites in Frederick County. Gilmore C. Trout Memorial Park in Walkersville, FCPS Earth Space and Science Lab Arboretum in downtown Frederick, and a park in Thurmont were the chosen locations.

Following a demonstration of the correct way to plant a tree, 24 fifteen-gallon bucket trees were planted by garden club members, Boy Scout Troop 1011, and Walkersville and Frederick County community volunteers. Also participating were representatives from Frederick County Forest Conservancy Board and the Maryland Forestry Service.

The Maryland Forestry Service included this project as part of their Five Million Tree Initiative to plant 5 million trees in Maryland by 2031. To celebrate the morning’s accomplishment, a reception was held at nearby Heritage Farm Park in Walkersville.

Alice Rush McKeon was a native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, who died in February 1979, at the age of 95. McKeon had led a remarkable life. She served twice as president of the Federated Garden Club of Maryland (FGCMD). She was a pioneer in the conservation and environment movement. She instrumented several programs that generated national attention. McKeon published The Litterbug Family in 1931, containing poems and illustrations about the problem of roadside litter. She is credited with coining the term “litterbug.”

On WBAL during WWII, McKeon started a radio program, “Garden Clubs of the Air,” with the idea of growing a Victory Garden in your backyard. In 1935, she wrote poetry titled “Sonnets for the Scenic Ease.” From the proceeds of her poetry, her son established the Alice Rush McKeon Tree Planting Fund. The FGCMD manages these funds to plant trees throughout Maryland. This is an event that passes sequentially to each of the five districts of FGCMD. Mason Carter, Frederick County Council; Diana Bonner, Past FGCMD President; Patty Kettlestrings, District V Civic Improvement Chair; Anna O’Kelly, Past FGCMD President; Susie Middleton, FGCMD President; Shelley Johnson, Director District V FGCMD, Mary Ann Brodie-Ennis, Walkersville Commissioner, Chad Weddle, Walkersville Burgess; Mary Ann Simmons, Taskers Chance Garden Club; Sonia Demiray, Chair, Frederick County Forestry Conservancy Board; and Anna Twigg, Tree Planting Specialist, MD Forest Service, MD Department of Natural Resources

The Frederick County Division of Energy & Environment (DEE) has introduced a network of air quality monitors to be stationed around the County. The new system will provide real-time assessments of fine particulate matter concentrations in our air; for example, microscopic solids or liquid droplets that are small enough to be inhaled and go deep into the lungs and bloodstream, causing serious health problems. The DEE has initiated this project to track local air pollution, especially in high-risk regions and where people may not be able to respond to air quality problems.

Maryland Secretary of the Environment Serena McIlwain and her staff recently visited one of Frederick County’s new air quality monitoring sites. “It was great to host Secretary McIlwain and highlight how Frederick County is working to tackle environmental justice issues. I am proud of the work the DEE is doing to collect and share data to address health and environmental disparities in our community,” said County Executive Jessica Fitzwater.

Air quality concerns can vary significantly within a region. To protect those most exposed to poor air quality, the county intends to place at least five of the twelve new air monitors in areas with low-income or disadvantaged populations. These residents are more likely to be affected by air quality issues and may have fewer resources to address them.

According to Frederick County Sustainability Program Administrator Tiara Lester, “Last summer, smoke from Canadian wildfires blanketed our region and briefly drew many people’s attention to the issue of air quality. But many people experience similar air quality issues most or all the time.” Neighborhoods bordering industrial operations can be continually exposed to particulates in the air. And those who live or work near busy roads may breathe in many different pollutants regularly.

A key goal of this project is to better understand the air quality of specific areas in Frederick County and make that information accessible to the public. The manufacturer of the air sensors provides an interactive online map that allows the public to easily access air quality data, allowing users to zoom out and view the big picture of air quality in our region or zoom in for readings from a single air quality monitor.

Two monitoring stations have been installed in Frederick County, one at the County Division of Housing’s facility on Sagner Avenue and one at the City of Brunswick’s Milton E. Frech, Jr. Operations Center.

“We are honored to lead the way in Frederick County by being the first municipality to join the air quality monitoring network,” said Brunswick Assistant City Administrator Jeremy Mose. “This program will help us track and reduce the sources of air pollution that threaten our health and environment.”

The project provides the opportunity for collaboration among Frederick County government agencies and external community-based organizations. Project partners include the City of Brunswick, the City of Frederick, the Frederick County Sustainability Commission, Mobilize Frederick, the Frederick County Health Department, and the Frederick County Family Services Division. The Frederick County Division of Energy and Environment is committed to creating a healthier, sustainable, and more equitable community for all. For more information on their other projects and programs, please visit their website at or follow @SustainableFCMD on Facebook and Instagram

Frederick County Public Schools (FCPS) filed a lawsuit in October against Meta, Google, ByteDance, and Snap Inc. FCPS is joining forces with other school districts across the nation and in Maryland, such as Anne Arundel County, Harford County, and Howard County, in contending that excessive social media usage and addiction are exacerbating the mental health struggles of students. Students have faced a myriad of challenges, including heightened feelings of depression, anxiety, and body image issues, among others.

As a result of this ongoing addiction crisis, FCPS is facing the challenge of providing adequate mental health resources and proactive social media education for their students. Through this lawsuit, FCPS aims to curtail the exploitation of young social media users and secure funds from those responsible to address the crisis.

“Students in our district and throughout the nation are grappling with a mounting mental health crisis,” said FCPS Superintendent Dr. Cheryl L. Dyson. “Our primary objective with this lawsuit is to safeguard the well-being of our students and provide them with the best learning environment possible.”

Frederick County Public Schools has retained legal representation from the firms Baird Mandalas Brockstedt & Federico of Maryland and Delaware, as well as Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, Co-Lead Counsel in the nationwide Multi-District Litigation against these companies. These firms are working on a contingency basis, ensuring there will be no financial burden on taxpayers.

For questions or to receive a copy of the complaint, please reach out to Matthew Legg at [email protected].

Forty-five Lions from 7 Lions Clubs and 17 Leos from Century High School participated in the Diabetes Awareness Walk on Sunday, October 22, at Krimgold Park in Woodbine.

The event raised $1,850 for the American Diabetes Association. November is National Diabetes Month, a time when communities across the country seek to bring attention to diabetes. This year’s focus is on taking action to prevent health problems associated with diabetes. Because diabetes can cause vision loss and blindness, the Lions of the world have adopted diabetes as a global cause.

Pictured are Lions from the South Carroll, Taylorsville-Winfield, Freedom District, Libertytown-Unionville, Roaring Run, Terra Rubra, Westminster, and Emmitsburg Lions Clubs, and Leos from the Century High School Leo Club. Among the Lions present were Lion Tom Harney and Lion Diane Walbrecker, Diabetes Awareness and Action Co-Chairs for District 22W (the five most-western counties of Maryland).

Courtesy Photo

A serial fiction story for your enjoyment

written by James Rada, Jr.

6: Escape

Brian Johnson waited, hidden in the treeline around President Franklin Roosevelt’s secret mountain retreat. The night was quiet, but the area around the one-story home was still well lit. He could also see two guards patrolling the perimeter of the house.

He needed to move soon. Every minute he waited was another minute someone might find the Marine he had attacked on his way here and another minute closer to sunrise.

He had the element of surprise on his side right now, but he would only have one chance to achieve this victory on behalf of the Fuhrer.

Once he accomplished that goal, he would need to make his getaway. It would be too dangerous to return to the OSS training camp bordering this retreat. Once Brian had assassinated the president, the camp would go on alert. They would realize he was missing. He would be a hunted man from that point.

No, he would need to steal a Jeep and drive as far away from here as he could, even though he didn’t know where he was. He had been brought here to train with the OSS in secret. He would just have to find a road and head east. If he could reach the coast, he was sure he could board a ship.

Now that he was in place, Brian wasn’t sure what to do. This had been more a mission of opportunity rather than one he had been assigned. He was closer to the President of the United States than any other German agent had got.

However, close only counted with horseshoes and hand grenades, and he had neither. Not that either would have helped him right now.

He had to get closer to the house, identify the president, and kill him. It sounded easy in his head, but looking at the house and the guards, Brian knew he might have taken on a suicide mission or worse yet, he might fail.

One thing he had learned in the OSS camp was that the best way to not be detected was to act like you belonged there. Acting suspiciously drew attention.

Brian took a deep breath and stood up. He looked at his fatigues. They had no identification on them and wouldn’t hold up to scrutiny if one of the guards got too close.

He had been timing in his head how long it took the guards to make their rounds. He waited until they passed the closest point to the house where he was. Then he walked out of the trees and across the yard to the side of the house.

He glanced in one window and saw the kitchen was empty. Brian moved to the next window and saw a den. He saw a man with thin hair and spectacles sitting at a desk writing something.

It was President Roosevelt!

Brian raised the pistol from the guard he had attacked. He smashed it against the glass in the window and fired at the president. He sat upright suddenly and then fell over to the side.

Brian had hit him!

He didn’t have time to try to fire another shot at him, though. He heard shouting. The guards would be running this way.

Brian started running around the side of the house. “The president’s been shot!” he shouted. He wanted to take the attention off him and get the guards more worried about the president.

Brian saw guards running in his direction and he waved toward the house. “He’s in there. The president’s been shot. He needs help.”

The guards veered off toward the house. Brian saw a car parked beside the house and ran to it. He jumped into the driver’s seat. As he expected, the keys were in the ignition because many people might need to use the vehicles on the property and didn’t need to have to go searching for keys.

He started the engine, turned on the headlights, and followed the driveway. He kept following it when it reached a road that allowed him to speed up.

As he sped down the road, Brian’s mind raced with adrenaline and fear. Brian had just assassinated the President of the United States. He might have changed the course of the war. He wanted to be around to see how his heroic action would play out, but he was fleeing into the unknown. He had no idea where he was going, but he knew he had to keep moving and stay ahead of the authorities.

Brian saw a swing arm blocking the road ahead of him. He sped up and crashed through it. A Marine ran outside from a small shack and fired a rifle at him.

The road ahead of him twisted and turned through the mountains, and Brian’s driving skills were put to the test. He headed downhill, pushing the sedan to its limit, taking curves at high speeds and narrowly avoiding crashes. His heart raced, and his hands were slick with sweat on the steering wheel.

He drove as fast as he could, trying to put as much distance between himself and the Marines who would surely be following.

As he drove, his mind raced with thoughts of where to go next. He needed to get as far away as possible, but he couldn’t just drive aimlessly. He needed a plan, a destination, but first, he needed to discover where he was.

The slope of the road leveled out and suddenly, he was on the outskirts of a town. It wasn’t large, but there were other cars, homes, and people. All of which could help him escape.

Brian parked the car and got out. Because of how late it was, the streets were empty of people. He ran between two homes and headed down an alley. He needed to find a phone and call his contact to see what he should do now, but the town was too small for anyone to be up this late.

Brian could steal another car, but he still did not know where he was.

He heard a car race by on the main road. The Marines must have followed him into town. They would search it, trying to find him.

He saw a small office for a doctor. Surely, a doctor would have a phone.

Brian looked around and saw the street was empty. He used his elbow to knock a glass pane out of the front door. Then he reached in and opened the door. He didn’t turn on the lights, but there was enough light from the streetlights to make out objects.

He found a phone on the desk and sat down on the floor, so it wouldn’t be obvious anyone was in the office.

Brian lifted the receiver and jiggled the button to alert the operator.

“Okay, doc,” the operator said. “Is there an emergency?”

Brian thought quickly. “Yes, he my father is sick. He’s getting him ready to go to the hospital, but he wanted me to call Dpont 4397.”

“That’s in Washington, D.C.”

“Yes, we were driving there when my father fell ill. I need to let my family know what happened.”

“One moment, please. I will try to connect you, but it is late. Who should I say is calling?”

“Brian Johnson.”

“One moment, please.”

Brian heard silence.

He waited, silently urging his contact to pick up. He wanted to turn a light on and try to find something that would say where he was, but he couldn’t risk the light attracting attention.

“I am not getting an answer,” the operator said. “Would you like me to keep trying?”

Brian clenched his fist and pounded it on the floor. “Yes, yes.”

Suddenly, the front door crashed open, followed a moment later by a door in the back. Marines rushed into the office, shining their flashlights all around until they focused on him.

How had they found him?

“Hands above your head and slowly stand up.”

Someone turned the lights in the office on.

Brian blinked in the light. When he could see clearly, he saw Lt. Harcourt standing in front of him.

Brian slowly stood up, smiling.

Lt. Harcourt raised an eyebrow. “I don’t see why you’re so happy.”

“You may have caught me, but I killed the president.”

Now Harcourt smiled. “No, you didn’t.”

“Don’t lie. I saw him fall.”

“You saw an actor fall, and your pistol only had blanks.”


“We started suspecting you were up to something days ago, and we took precautions. I would guess the president is just waiting to hear if we were successful.”

“At what?”

“We let you get away. We wanted to wrap up as much of your network as we could. We had someone with the operator. She never placed your call, but we called our people in Washington and sent them out to the address that goes with the phone number you provided us. Whoever is in that home now should be getting a rude awakening right now.”

Harcourt reached out and turned Brian around. Then he put handcuffs on his hand behind his back.

“I don’t know how you thought you’d get away with something like that among the best-trained spies and saboteurs in the world.”

“If you’re so good, why’d you recruit me?” Brian asked.

Harcourt shrugged and then grinned. “Well, nobody’s perfect.”

~ The End ~

with Michael Betteridge

Life Is A Playoff!

Fall is a time of transition from summer to winter. November marks the end of fall. The weather is beginning to change. Our beautiful meadows and woods are beginning to change. We sense a hint of change in the air everywhere. We bring the winter clothing out. We prepare our homes and yards for the winter. We gather with family and friends to thank the Lord for the blessings and the harvest in our lives. We are comfortable with the rhythm of the seasons. We recognize the time is drawing near when we will be inside more than not. We spend more time outdoors now that the hot summer months have ended, enjoying the mild days and the crisp, cool nights.

I love to go camping. For 30 years at this time of year, I have made it a point to head out to my favorite campsite to spend two or three days just relaxing, enjoying the quiet, fishing and hiking, and sitting by the campfire. My family and I have made many memories during these fall campouts. Time with the children and grandchildren, laughing, playing, and discovering. Time with each other. We all need to take time from our busy schedules to stop and listen to that “rhythm.” To reconnect with the Lord’s creation. To get away and remember who we are again. The grind can take its toll. We need to recharge our tired bodies and minds.

Competitive sports are a lot like life. They teach young people when to work hard, when to rest, when to reconnect, and how that rhythm can prepare them to achieve beyond their limits.

In high school competitive sports, November is a time of change. A time when we transition from the high school fall sports regular season to the playoffs. A time when young people learn that life can sometimes require more than you think you can give.

The ebb and flow of the seasons are driven by change. Change is inevitable. Even the playoffs have changed in the past eight years. In 2015, Frederick County departed from the Monocacy Valley Athletic Association and formed the Central Maryland Conference (CMC). This created a whole new alignment in teams and schedules. In that first year, we only played Frederick County teams in the regular season. The playoffs stayed the same. In 2016, we changed from playing the football championships at Ravens Stadium to the Naval Academy. In 2017, we added Washington County to the CMC. In 2019, we changed from a ten-game regular season schedule to nine games. That change includes a new playoff format that allows every football team to play at least one round in the playoffs, regardless of their record. In the past, only the top four teams in each division played in November. Now, everybody plays in the postseason. The new playoff format would allow a regular-season winless team to actually win a state championship! The chances are slim to none, but for the past four years, it is possible. Our Frederick County teams play in the CMC. Just this past August, the CMC added a 16th school to the conference: Clear Spring. The CMC created two new divisions: Small School (1A and 2A) and Large School (3A and 4A/3A) within the conference, with four new subdivisions. There are two for the small schools: Antietam and Gambrill; and two for the large schools: Potomac and Spires. Now, two CMC championships (small school and large school) will be crowned in every sport except football (risk of injury) and girls flag football, which is too new. Field Hockey will have one championship game.

We begin this month with coaches, players, and fans preparing for the fall sports season playoffs. Trick or treat turns into trick play or fumble treat, which turns into Thanksgiving and then the state championships. Many of you know how much fun sports at Catoctin Stadium can be. Can you imagine how much the “electricity” gets turned up in the playoffs?

Let’s talk about football. Catoctin lost to Brunswick in the final game of the football season last year, and then lost to them again a week later at Brunswick in the first round of the playoffs. This year, we could be headed for a similar matchup. These two teams always play each other on the last game of the regular season; and for the past two years, they also met in the first round of the playoffs. The Catoctin Cougars football team has not made it past the first round of the playoffs since Doug Williams coached them all the way to a state championship in 2019. Brunswick may be the stumbling block again this year. Only time will tell.

Catoctin had a rough schedule this year, playing against five out of nine teams on their schedule that have a combined 36-11 win-loss record. Their lone three wins this season came against teams that were below .500: Williamsport, Tuscarora, and Smithsburg, who have a combined five wins total amongst them in 27 games played. Catoctin football has not beaten any good teams this season.  They have only made it past three teams that are struggling. They will enter the playoffs as a sixth or seventh seed in an eight-team division.

Football is not the only fall sport headed into the playoffs. The boys soccer playoffs began on October 25, and the Cougars boys soccer team has a good chance to make it out of the 1A West region 2 playoffs.

Regardless of the high school fall sport you follow, this month will provide the roller coaster thrills and spills that make football, girls flag football, cross-country, soccer, field hockey, and volleyball so much fun. This is a special time of year for our Catoctin seniors and their families.

November’s changes bring permanent memories that last a lifetime.

Life is a playoff!

Across the Miles

by Valerie Nusbaum

With Thanksgiving and the holiday season upon us once again, I’m reminiscing about years past and feeling blessed to have such wonderful memories. I’m sure you are, too. These are just some of the highlights of my Thanksgivings with Randy.

For our first Thanksgiving together, I had the bright idea to host the meal at our house. No small feat since we didn’t yet have a dining room table and there were eight of us. We borrowed folding tables and extended them from our small dining room into the living room. Cousin Linda had given us a lovely non-stick roaster for a wedding gift, and we were anxious to try it out. I used my mom’s tried-and-true method for a juicy turkey and started the bird in the oven at 400 degrees at 11:00 p.m. on Wednesday. At midnight, I turned the oven temperature down to 200 degrees and planned to slow roast the turkey overnight. At 1:00 a.m., the bird was falling-off-the-bone done. You can imagine how the rest of the meal went.

We visited my brother and his family in Rutland, Vermont, in 1997.  Because of our work schedules, we drove to New York on Wednesday night. After getting up before dawn on Thursday and driving for hours, we needed a pit stop but couldn’t find anything open—not even a gas station. Finally, we saw some cars at a Friendly’s, so we rushed inside.  The young woman at the takeout window looked us over and informed us that the restaurant would be closing at noon. My watch showed 11:52 a.m. Randy said, “We’d like two Diet Cokes to go. Where is your restroom?” When she opened her mouth to protest, Randy looked her in the eye calmly said, “This is happening.” It did.

For many years, while our parents were with us, Randy and I hosted Thanksgiving dinner. We made it a point to include anyone we knew who didn’t have plans. Some years, there were five or six of us. Some years, there were twelve. We found Mary’s slippers in the fridge, inside a bag with fresh sausage. Bill made a loaf of homemade bread and left the paddle in the loaf. Pat enjoyed making a turkey picture by tracing her hand on paper.  Dale, Randy, and Bill fought over the oysters. Andrew got sick and gave it to the rest of us. The Johnsons came for dessert. There were pilgrim costumes and feathers, hand towels folded into turkeys, acorns made from kisses, and the list goes on.

In 2001, Randy and I were on vacation in Ocean City, Maryland, and we made Thanksgiving dinner reservations at The Bonfire. My mom had plans to dine with her next-door neighbor, so I knew she’d be taken care of; but when I spoke to Mom on Tuesday of that week, she told me that her plans had been canceled. I couldn’t leave Mom all alone (Randy’s parents were with his brother and the kids, so they were okay), so on Wednesday, we drove four hours back to Brunswick to pick up Mom and her luggage, then drove back to Ocean City that night. We changed our dinner reservation from two to three and had a lovely time sitting by the fireplace, watching football and feasting on five kinds of stuffing and various turkey parts. Afterward, we rode the train through the Festival of Lights and had hot chocolate with Santa. 

In 2008, we again visited my brother who had moved to Bozeman, Montana. Dinner was hosted by friends of theirs at their horse ranch, and we were all seated around a huge dining table. It was so gracious of them to include us. My sister-in-law was responsible for the pumpkin pies, which I found amusing since she rarely uses her kitchen. She gave it a go, though. Randy and I took some hostess gifts and treats for the kids. Our host, Chuck, asked us to go around the table and tell what dish our family always ate that wasn’t featured on their table. Silly me. I didn’t realize the correct answer was: “Why nothing.  Everything is here.” I mentioned that our families ate sauerkraut with a turkey dinner, probably going back to the Dutch/German settlers in our area. There was dead silence at the table.  Kind of reminded me of the time Randy had the gall to show my cousin, Craig, a photo of a trout he’d caught on another trip to Montana. That did not go over well, either.

Twice, we ate out at the Epic Buffet at Charles Town Races. We missed having leftovers.

For Thanksgiving 2021, we thought it would be brilliant to be vendors at the Holiday Fair in Ocean City. We got takeout dinners from Cracker Barrel. Not great and not even real turkey. With setup on Wednesday and working Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, it was an exhausting but enjoyable time. Michele Tester even came to visit!

Last year, we traveled to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, for Thanksgiving and stayed at Hershey Farms. The breakfast buffet was included with our stay, so that made three buffets in two days. I kid you not. What does one do after eating all that food, you ask?  Well, we went to Green Dragon on Black Friday and stocked up on fresh fruits and vegetables. And Long Johns.

We’re doing the Ocean City Holiday Fair again this year and taking dinner with us, so I know the turkey will be real.

Whatever you do, wherever you go, Randy and I hope you have a happy, safe, and delicious Thanksgiving!

Where the White Frogs Frolic

In 1932, Charles Clyde (C.C.) Moler was shopping at Lilypons goldfish nurseries in Frederick County when something in the water caught his eye. The water rippled with activity from the thousands of goldfish in the ponds that been drained to a low level for harvesting. C.C. saw flashes of orange from the goldfish and greenish brown from tadpoles that shared the ponds, but he saw something else, too.

An occasional flash of white caught his eye. He looked closer and saw it was a tadpole. Lilypons raised tadpoles as well as goldfish. Tadpoles acted as scavengers in a goldfish aquarium, eating any food the fish didn’t and helping keep the tank clean.

C.C. pointed out the white tadpoles and had a worker fish them out. He found three. Each one was white with pink eyes. They were albino, a rare congenital defect that causes the loss of any pigmentation.

When asked about an albino frog in the New York Museum of History’s collection at the time, herpetologist Dr. Raymond Ditmars called it, “rarer than human quintuplets.” C.C. had hit a biological lottery jackpot.

“At that time, the museum’s specimen was thought to be the only one in existence and, although widespread publicity brought to light several others, the white frog still holds his rank as one of the rarest forms of albinism,” The Baltimore Sun reported.

Moler surprised Lilypons workers when he told them how rare albino frogs were. They had first noticed albino tadpoles in their ponds the previous year. “No special thought was given to their unusual appearance and, after passing through the regular grading process, a few were shipped out with the normal tadpoles. Several dealers complained that they had received tadpoles which were apparently sick, but no one realized that a rare find had been passed by so casually,” The Baltimore Sun reported.

Moler had Lilypons try to trace the albino tadpoles that had been shipped out. Of the ones they found, “only one had lived to frogdom, and that was dead and resting in alcohol,” according to The Baltimore Sun.

With the news of the rare find, other goldfish farmers in Frederick County started watching the tadpoles they harvested from their ponds. No other ponds yielded the rare albino frogs.

Moler kept the three he found and returned home to Hagerstown. Two of the tadpoles died, but one matured to an albino male bullfrog.

Moler worked as an electrical engineer for Potomac Edison, but caring for the albino frog became his hobby.

He returned to Lilypons the following year during their harvest and found more white tadpoles that he purchased. With a year’s experience, he was better able to care for them. Their tanks were temperature-controlled to be no lower than sixty-five degrees. Moler fed them only live food—primarily earthworms—because frogs won’t eat anything that doesn’t move.

One of these tadpoles matured to a female of the same species as the male.

“Today, they dwell happily together, the world’s first pair of albino frogs, and it is hoped that they will be the Adam and Eve of a new race,” The Baltimore Sun reported.

They were believed to be the only breeding pair of albino bullfrogs in the world.

Experts gave Moler a 50-50 chance of being able to breed them, but he beat the odds, and the Hagerstown Morning Herald reported in 1937 that he had “several hundred Albino tadpoles as a reward.” Of these, he hoped to get as many as 200 to grow to adulthood, but only twenty-three did.

C.C. was so pleased with his success that he presented a pair of albino frogs to the New York Museum of Natural History as a gift. In accepting the gift, Museum Director Dr. G. Kingsley Noble said, “You have already made a very important contribution to science in successfully rearing these delicate creatures.”

The New York Times called Moler, “the world’s only collector and breeder of Albino frogs.”

With his collection of albino frogs growing, Moler purchased a farm near Wagner’s Crossroad on Beaver Creek, along the new Dual Highway. He had three screened outdoor pools built on the property. He then purchased three abandoned Hagerstown and Frederick Railway trolley cars and placed one next to each pool.

C.C. converted one trolley into a massive heated aquarium, where the tadpoles could stay in the winter. Other tadpoles were left in the pools, where they disappeared into the mud at the bottom. Moler wanted to see if the albino frogs could survive the winter as well as regular frogs.

The farm soon became a tourist attraction, advertising itself as having the only white frog colony in the world.

The sign in front of C. C. Moler’s white frog farm.

Photo Courtesy of the Library of Congress

by Maxine Troxell

I love soups and chilis all year long, especially in the fall. This tasty chili twist is perfect for a cold day! If you’re a fan of spaghetti and chili, then you’ll love this recipe.  This recipe came from the Inglenook Granddaughter’s cookbook that was published years ago. It did not list spaghetti as one of the ingredients (I added the spaghetti). If you are not a fan of spaghetti in your chili, then you can omit it.

Chili Con Carne


1 lb. ground beef      

¼ tsp. salt     

1 tsp. minced garlic

½ cup chopped onion

24 oz. tomato sauce (3, 8oz. cans)

1 (14.5 oz.) can stewed tomatoes

2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

1 tbsp. sugar     

1 tbsp. chili powder       

2 cans kidney beans (15.5 oz.)

2 cups water

4 oz. spaghetti noodles 


In a large pan, brown ground beef and onion. Drain excess fat.

Add tomato sauce, stewed tomatoes, 2 cups water, Worcestershire sauce, sugar, salt, minced garlic, chili powder, and kidney beans.

Cook on low heat for about 30 minutes.

At the end of the chili cook time, break the pasta into thirds. Cook the spaghetti as directed. Drain and add it to the chili.

by Buck Reed

Rocking Ramen

It is a well-known fact that every ancient civilization made some form of alcoholic beverage—let’s call it beer, if they were going to advance that culture (I will make the case in a future article!). No one person in these societies is credited with inventing this beverage. Every single one of them considered it a gift from a higher being, or God. So, let’s start with the ingredients that make the flavors of beer, and maybe in this series, we can prove God exists.

Water is the bulk of what makes beer. For the most part, if you can drink the water, you can make beer with it. There are slight differences in the water from place to place, but mostly this is a matter of the minerals you might find in different regions. These minerals, or lack of them, can influence the beer’s flavor, but for the most part, they are slight.

Grains are the next-largest ingredient used for beer. Mostly barley is used to make beer, and this grain is malted. The malting process involves laying the grains out and wetting them down so that they germinate. Once they go through this process, they are cooked in a kiln to create color and flavor for our beer. These malted grains are cooked to color, which is measured in Lovibond (an older, yet still common, method for measuring the color of beer that was developed in 1885 by Joseph Williams Lovibond). The higher the number of this scale, the darker the grain will be. When used to make beer, these grains add color, body, mouthfeel, and flavor to the beer.

Hops are a fast-growing herb that comes in many varieties and adds bitterness to our beers. The bitterness is measured in Alpha Acid units, with the lower numbers representing less bitterness; as the number increases, so does the bittering properties of the hop. Hops are also regional, so the hops used in an English ale would be different from an ale made in Belgium. Hops add flavor, help keep the beer sanitary, and also add head retention to our beers.

Yeast is a single-celled organism that converts the sugars in our beer into alcohol. These yeasts are traditionally regional and contribute distinct flavors to our various beers. Some yeasts like Scottish will add a flowery flavor to our beer, whereas, a German wheat beer will have a banana flavor. A good brewer will manipulate these yeasts to lessen or increase these flavors.

Other ingredients include specialty grains, like rye or flaked oats, to add their own distinct properties to beers. Also, flavorings like herbs and spices, as well as fruits and vegetables, are added to create unique flavors. Ingredients like peanut butter or Captain Crunch can be added to flavors in beers as well. Although, this writer will say that is not my thing, but insists you be you.

Sergeant George Frailey Combs

Navigating Bombers Over Europe

by Richard D. L. Fulton

George F. Combs was born January 11, 1922, to parents Cooley and Clara Rowe Combs. He grew up in Emmitsburg and had two brothers, Samuel and Thomas.

Combs’ military registration card, filled in when he was 20, described him as being 5’7” and as having blue eyes and blonde hair, with a “ruddy” complexion.

Combs was married for 60 years to Doris Peppler Combs, 50 years of which was spent living  in Alexandria, Virginia, according to Combs’ obituary, published at the time of Combs’ death in 2014 by The Frederick News-Post, among others.

He attended Mount Saint Mary’s University and graduated with honors in 1942. Also in 1942, he enlisted in the United States Army Air Corps.  The United States Air Force did not yet exist in 1942 and would not be created until 1947.

Combs’ obituary stated that, following his graduation from navigation school, he was assigned to the 8th Air Force based in England.  The 8th Air Force was initially designated as being the VIII BC (Bomber Command) in 1942, and was subsequently designated as the 8th Air Force during the reorganization of 1944, according to the Official United States Air Force Website (

Combs and the then-designated VIII BC were initially assigned to Daws Hill in England, and subsequently, headquartered in High Wycombe in Wycombe Abbey (a school for girls). 

While stationed in England, Combs “became a lead navigator, guiding formations of B-17 bombers on missions over occupied Europe,” according to his obituary. 

For his service with the 8th Air Force, Combs was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, three Air Medals, and four Battle Stars. 

According to the Air Force website (, from May 1942 to July 1945, “the Eighth planned and precisely executed America’s daylight strategic bombing campaign against Nazi-occupied Europe, and in doing so, the organization compiled an impressive war record.”

However, the website further noted that the successes of the 8th Air Force, which had included engaging in over 440,000 bomber sorties, during which, the planes dropped 697,000 tons of bombs, did not come without a price: 

“The Eighth suffered about half of the U.S. Army Air Force’s casualties (47,483 out of 115,332), including more than 26,000 dead. The Eighth’s brave men earned 17 Medals of Honor, 220 Distinguished Service Crosses, and 442,000 Air Medals. The Eighth’s combat record also shows 566 aces (261 fighter pilots, with 31 having 15 or more victories, and 305 enlisted gunners).”

Combs attended Dickinson Law School, after having been discharged from the service, and graduated in 1948 with a law degree, subsequently becoming a member of the Maryland Bar Association.

He also spent his entire career with the United States Government Federal Trade Commission, according to his obituary, “he worked as a staff attorney and as a confidential advisor to several commissioners.”  It was noted that Combs had also prepared the drafts of over a hundred Commission adjudicative opinions. According to The Washington Post, Combs also received the Federal Trade Commission’s Distinguished Service Award for his career contributions.

His obituary also noted that his most significant achievement “was his work on the opinion which resulted in the licensing of the patent on the antibiotic Tetracycline, saving consumers millions of dollars.”

Sergeant George Frailey Combs (Obituary photograph)

Anyone who might know a Veteran or is a Veteran, who would like to share their experiences in the military for publication in The Catoctin Banner, is invited to contact the columnist at [email protected]. Thank you.

Upon Combs’ death from congestive heart failure (according to The Washington Post) at age 92, his memorial service was held at the Myers-Durboraw Funeral Home in Emmitsburg. He was interred in the Emmitsburg Memorial Cemetery.

What Is Osteoporosis?

by Dr. Thomas K. Lo, Advanced Chiropractic & Nutritional Healing Center

Osteoporosis occurs when too much bone mass is lost, and changes occur in the structure of bone tissue. Certain risk factors may lead to the development of osteoporosis or increase the likelihood that you will develop the disease.

Many people with osteoporosis have several risk factors, but others who develop osteoporosis may not have any specific risk factors. There are some risk factors that you cannot change, and others that you may be able to change.

By understanding the risk factors, you may be able to prevent osteoporosis and fractures.

Factors That May Increase Your Risk

Your chances of developing osteoporosis are greater if you are a woman. Women tend to have lower peak bone mass and smaller bones than men. However, men are still at risk, especially after the age of 70.

As you age, bone loss happens more quickly, and new bone growth is slower. Over time, your bones can weaken and your risk for osteoporosis increases.

Slender, thin-boned women and men are at greater risk to develop osteoporosis because they have less bone to lose compared to larger boned women and men.

White and Asian women are at highest risk. African American and Mexican American women have a lower risk. White men are at higher risk than African American and Mexican American men.

Changes to hormones and low levels of certain hormones can increase your chances of developing osteoporosis. For example, low estrogen levels in women after menopause. Men with conditions that cause low testosterone are at risk for osteoporosis, however, the gradual decrease of testosterone with aging is not a major reason for loss of bone.

Diet may also be a reason. Beginning in childhood and into old age, a diet low in calcium and vitamin D can increase your risk for osteoporosis and fractures. Also, excessive dieting or poor protein intake may increase your risk for bone loss and osteoporosis.

Long-term use of certain medications may make you more likely to develop bone loss and osteoporosis, such as glucocorticoids and adrenocorticotropic hormone, which treat various conditions, such as asthma and rheumatoid arthritis. Antiepileptic medicines, which treat seizures and other neurological disorders. Cancer medications, which use hormones to treat breast and prostate cancer. Proton pump inhibitors, which lower stomach acid. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, which treat depression and anxiety. Thiazolidinediones, which treats type II diabetes.

Lifestyle factors that may contribute to bone loss include low levels of physical activity and prolonged periods of inactivity can contribute to increased rate of bone loss. They also leave you in poor physical condition, which can increase your risk of falling and breaking a bone.

Chronic heavy drinking of alcohol is a significant risk factor for osteoporosis.

Natural Strategies to Help Prevent and Treat Osteoporosis

The following are safe and effective natural strategies to reduce the risk of fracture, support healthy bone mineral density, bone strength and structural integrity.

An Anti-Inflammatory Healing Diet   

Foods to avoid would be foods associated with inflammation in the bones, so it is critical to avoid highly inflammatory foods which include refined sugars and grains, and any foods that are easily metabolized into sugar (high glycemic foods). These foods upregulate inflammation and create extra acidity in the tissues.

It is best to avoid sodas. In addition to sugar, most sodas have a high phosphoric acid content which can remove calcium from the bones. Drinks and foods with high levels of caffeine can also interfere with calcium absorption.

Meat and dairy from conventionally raised animals, farmed fish, processed foods and highly processed vegetable oils, such as canola, peanut, cottonseed, soy and safflower, promote inflammation and should be eliminated.

Foods to Include

The foods you should be eating on an anti-inflammatory, healing diet are whole, unprocessed foods. Choose grass-fed, pasture-raised, wild-caught meats and fish. Eat lower carbohydrate, low glycemic, colorful vegetables and fruits for their abundant antioxidants and phytonutrients. Plentiful amounts of herbs are also helpful to use on a healing diet.

Healthy fats are also an important part of a healing diet. Healthy fats are found in coconut, olives, avocados, and their oils and in grass-fed butter and ghee. Omega-3 fatty acids and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) found in wild caught salmon and grass-fed beef and dairy are fats with many bone health benefits.

Foods to Boost Bone Density

Along with a healing diet, you can include foods that can boost bone density. Raw cultured dairy, such as kefir, yogurt, and raw cheese, contain calcium, magnesium, vitamins D and K, and phosphorus, all of which help build strong bones.

Sea vegetables and green leafy vegetables also contain vitamins and minerals that are critical for bone formation and bone strength. Foods rich in omega-3 fats, such as wild-caught salmon and sardines, walnuts, and certain seeds, help reduce inflammation.

Weight-Bearing Exercise

Exercise is critical for both maintaining bone health and preventing fractures.

Weight-bearing exercise has been shown to have positive effects on bone loss by increasing bone formation and decreasing bone reabsorption. Weight-bearing exercise is any exercise that requires your bones and muscles to support your body weight.

Examples are weight lifting, running, walking, dancing, and tennis. It is important to do weight-bearing exercises at least 3-4 times per week for 30-60 minutes per time.

Incorporating balance exercises, such as Tai Chi, into your exercise regimen is important for reducing the overall risk of falling and being injured.


Calcium is a major building block of bone tissue. In fact, 99 percent of our body’s calcium stores are housed in our bones. Consuming optimal amounts of calcium from food or supplementation is critical to prevent and treat osteoporosis.

Calcium is best obtained from foods in your diet. Dairy products (preferably raw, grass-fed, organic dairy products) are the most readily available sources of calcium. Dairy products also contain protein and other micronutrients important for bone health. Other calcium-rich foods include fish with soft, edible bones (such as sardines), green vegetables (broccoli, curly kale and Bok choy), and nuts (Brazil nuts and almonds).

Zinc and Magnesium

Both zinc and magnesium are important for bone health and for supporting the immune system.

Zinc is a mineral required for bone tissue renewal and mineralization. Foods high in zinc include pasture-raised chicken and eggs, grass-fed beef and dairy, spinach, and wild-caught salmon. Nuts and seeds such as cashews, almonds, pumpkin seeds, and watermelon seeds are also high in zinc.

Magnesium is a crucial nutrient that supports over 300 physiological processes or functions in the body. It is referred to as the “master mineral” and plays an important role in forming bone. Magnesium is critical to all aspects of vitamin D and calcium metabolism.

The top food sources of magnesium are leafy greens such as Swiss chard and spinach, sea vegetables, sprouts, and avocados. Grass-fed dairy and wild-caught fish are rich in magnesium. Pumpkin seeds, nuts, dark chocolate, and coffee are also good sources of magnesium.

Vitamins D and K2

Vitamin D3 and vitamin K2 work synergistically to promote bone health and reduce the incidences of fractures.  These nutrients work together to help guide calcium into the bone tissue and prevent it from accumulating in places such as the arteries.

There are numerous animal-based food sources of vitamin D3. Whole food sources of vitamin D are much healthier options than foods fortified with vitamin D. The best dietary sources of vitamin D are wild-caught salmon and fatty fish, cod liver oil, grass-fed butter and raw cheese, egg yolks, mushrooms, and beef liver.

Vitamin K2 is an important nutrient that plays a role in many bone metabolisms. Getting enough vitamin K in your diet is key to maintaining healthy bones and protecting against fractures.

Vitamin K2 is needed to form a bone-building protein called osteocalcin. Osteocalcin is a necessary protein for maintaining calcium homeostasis in bone tissue. It works with osteoblast cells to build healthy bone tissue. When we are deficient in vitamin K2, osteocalcin production is inhibited which reduces calcium flow into bone tissue. This can lead to osteopenia and osteoporosis.

Foods rich in vitamin K2 are meat, dairy, fermented foods, and natto. Vitamin K2 is also produced by the beneficial bacteria in your gut.

The combination of vitamins D3 and K2 enhances osteocalcin accumulation in bone cells greater than either nutrient alone. Increased osteocalcin formation significantly improves bone mineral density.

Stress Reduction

There is a relationship between stress and osteoporosis. Increased stress hormones wreak havoc on the body, including the bones.

Stress induces physiological changes leading to osteoporosis. Stress also induces behaviors that may lead to osteoporosis such as distorted eating patterns, drinking alcohol, lack of exercise, and poor sleep habits.

It is critical to take steps to reduce stress and lower elevated cortisol levels daily.

Other powerful techniques are grounding, deep breathing exercises, sunlight exposure, and Epsom salt baths. Practice these stress reduction strategies daily to reduce stress and protect your bones from the effects of stress.


Melatonin is a hormone produced by the body that regulates circadian rhythm. As we age, our melatonin levels decrease, which may lead to imbalanced bone remodeling.

Recent studies have shown that melatonin may have a positive effect on the skeleton. Melatonin was shown to increase bone mineral density after one year of treatment in a study of postmenopausal women with osteopenia. Melatonin can be taken as a supplement; however, it is possible to promote your body’s own ability to make it as necessary. The best way to support your own production is to try and control your light exposure to match sunrise and sunset.

If you are struggling with health issues, call the Advanced Chiropractic & Nutritional Healing Center at 240-651-1650 for a free consultation. Dr. Lo uses Nutritional Response Testing® to analyze the body to determine the underlying causes of ill or non-optimum health. The office is located at 7310 Grove Road #107, Frederick, MD. Check out the website at

Source: Natural Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases;

Madison and Jordyn Ohler at the 67th Annual Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show. Jordyn was the 2023 Reserve Champion, Market Beef.

The following were the Champion and Reserve Champion winners at the 67th annual Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show held September 8-10, 2023 at Catoctin High School in Thurmont.  Each Champion and Reserve Champion winner will receive additional premium money which will be mailed by November 15, 2023. Thurmont’s Bollinger’s Restaurant will provide a $10.00 gift certificate to each Department Champion and Emmitsburg’s Carleo Pizza will provide a $5.00 gift certificate to each Reserve Department Champion.

Champion & Reserve Champion Winners

The following were the Champion and Reserve Champion winners at the 67th annual Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show held September 8-10, 2023 at Catoctin High School in Thurmont.  Each Champion and Reserve Champion winner will receive additional premium money which will be mailed by November 15, 2023. Thurmont’s Bollinger’s Restaurant will provide a $10.00 gift certificate to each Department Champion and Emmitsburg’s Carleo Pizza will provide a $5.00 gift certificate to each Reserve Department Champion.

Fresh Fruits: Champion—Kylie Robertson (Concord Grapes); Reserve Champion—Kylie Robertson (Sugar Giant Peaches); Fresh Vegetables: Champion—Kara Wolf (Green Cabbage); Reserve Champion—Edward Hahn (Onions); Home Products Display: Champion—Charlotte Dutton; Reserve Champion—Angie Matthews; Canned Fruit: Champion—Carolyn Hahn (Applesauce); Reserve Champion—Donald Stanley (Other – Golden Nectar); Canned Vegetables: Champion—Carolyn Hahn (Carrots); Reserve Champion—Carrie Bankard (BBQ Sauce); Jellies & Preserves: Champion—Melissa Kinna (Peach Peel Jelly); Reserve Champion—Angie Mathews (Apple Butter); Pickles: Champion—Pam Long (Pepper Relish); Reserve Champion—Bridgette Kinna (Catsup); Meat (Canned): Champion—Pam Kaas (Venison); Reserve Champion—Pam Kaas (Canned Beef); Home Cured Meats: Champion—Catoctin FFA Alumni (Country Ham); Reserve Champion—Catoctin FFA Alumni (Country Ham).

Baked Products – Adult Division: Cake: Champion—Cheryl Lenhart (Other Cake – Yellow Cake with Raspberry Filling/White Icing); Reserve Champion—Cheryl Lenhart (Coconut Cake); Honorable Mention Cake—Burall Brothers Scholarship—Maxine Troxell (Devil’s Food Cake); Bread: Champion—Deborah Howd (Bread – Other); Reserve Champion—Maxine Troxell (Bread, Other – Rye/Pumpernickel Swirl); Pie: Champion—Maxine Troxell (Raspberry Pie); Reserve Champion—Maxine Troxell (Pecan Pie); Sugar Free Baked Products: Champion—Joyce Kline (Sugar Free Cake); Reserve Champion—Shirley Greene (Bread, Other (Cinnamon); Gluten Free Baked Products: Champion—Deborah Howd (Gluten Free Bread – Babka); Reserve Champion—Cheryl Lenhart (Chocolate Chip Cookies); Misc. Baked Product: Champion—Cheryl Lenhart (Chocolate Cupcakes); Reserve Champion—Linda Seiss (Peanut Butter Fudge).

Baked Products – Youth Division (Ages 11-18): Cake: Champion (In Honor and Memory of Mearl McCleaf)—Abby Harrington (Chocolate Cake); Reserve Champion—Masyn Sanders (Pumpkin Cake with Buttercream Icing); Misc. Baked Product: Champion—Caroline Clark (Apple Pie); Reserve Champion—Masyn Sanders (Cinnamon Swirl Quick Bread).

Baked Products – Junior Division (Ages 10 & Under): Cake: Champion—Lexie Cox (Chocolate Cake); Reserve Champion—Ryleigh Ensor (Carrot Pineapple Cake); Misc. Baked Product: Champion—Jeremiah Matthews (Candy Mocha Truffles); Reserve Champion—Jeremiah Matthews (Other, Hard Candy).

Fabric and Fiber Arts Department: Overall Dept. Champion—Heather Wivell (Child Patchwork Quilt – Hungry Catapiller);

Overall Dept. Reserve Champion—Preston Clark (Sewn Item – Men’s Coats – Vest); Crocheting: Champion—Shirley Greene (Child’s Afghan); Reserve Champion—Penni Wiltrout (Misc. Crocheted Animal/Doll); Cross Stitch: Champion—Connie Miller (Cross Stitch); Reserve Champion—Leah Souris (Cross stitch picture); Crewel, Embroidery & Needlepoint: Champion—Shirley Greene (Embroidered Pillows); Reserve Champion—Carolyn Hahn (Christmas Decorations – Plastic); Knitting: Champion—Elizabeth Hoover (Decoration – Patty Pan Squash); Reserve Champion—Phyliss Ecker (Adult Sweater); Quilts & Quilted Items: Champion—Heather Wivell (Child Patchwork Quilt); Reserve Champion—Deb Long (Quilt Sampler); Sewn Items: Champion—Preston Clark (Vest); Reserve Champion—Caroline Clark (Jacket); Misc. Fiber Items: Champion—Charlotte Dutton (Fiber item – Bunny Doll); Reserve Champion—Tracy Lewis (Hand Woven Twill Wool Scarf).

Flowers & Plants: Champion—Linda Seiss (Holiday Silk Arrangement); Reserve Champion—Cathy Ligsay (Cut Herbs).

Fine Arts: Champion—Bryne Lee (Pastel Painting); Reserve Champion—Don Brooks (Acrylic Painting); Arts & Crafts: Champion—Bill Stottlemyer (Wood Craft); Reserve Champion—Charlotte Dutton (Rock Painting).

Color Photography: Champion—Mike Miller (People-Posed); Reserve Champion—Debbie Wiles (Landscape – Sanibel Island); Black & White Photography: Champion—Mike Miller (People-Posed); Reserve Champion—Deborah Howd (Animals/Birds/Reptiles).

Corn: Champion—Mary Ellen Clark (Best Stalk of Corn); Reserve Champion—Jim Kaas (Hybrid Corn); Small Grain & Seeds: Champion—Preston Clark (Shelled Corn); Reserve Champion—Mattee Lambert (Triticale); Eggs: Champion—Ashley Atkins (Brown Eggs); Reserve Champion—Ashley Atkins (Blue Eggs); Nuts: Champion—Edward Hahn (English Walnuts); Reserve Champion—Kevin Long (Black Walnuts);

Rabbits: Champion—Bailey Wolf (Breeding Female); Reserve Champion—Laura Dutton (Breeding Rabbit & offspring, 1 female); Poultry:

Champion—Laura Dutton (Farm Exhibit – 1 rooster and 1 hen); Reserve Champion—Laura Dutton (Poultry Exhibit – 1 rooster); Dairy Cattle: Champion—Gavin Valentine (Ayrshire Winter Calf); Reserve Champion—Kiley Little (Holstein Calf); Dairy Goats: Champion—Laura Dutton (3 year old & under 5); Reserve Champion—Tyrone VanEcho (2 year old); Hay: Champion – Mary Ellen Clark (Alfalfa Hay); Reserve Champion—Rodman Myers (Orchard Grass Hay); Straw: Champion—Rodman Myers (Barley Straw); Reserve Champion—Caroline Clark – (Wheat Straw);

Junior Department (Ages 10 & Under): Champion—Jack Campbell (Eggs, 1 dozen); Reserve Champion—Emma Santos (Misc. Craft – Sock Craft); Youth Department (Ages 11-18): Champion—Makayla Comer (Patriotic Photo – Color); Reserve Champion—Grace Mannix (Misc. Craft. – Reese Peanut Butter Cup); Beef: Champion—Kadence Offutt; Reserve Champion—Jordyn Ohler; Beef Heifers: Champion—Makayla Comer, Reserve Champion—James Hewitt II; Sheep: Champion—Peyton Davis; Reserve Champion—Chloe Keilholtz; Ridenour Lamb—Caroline Clark; Swine: Champion—Joshua Wivell; Reserve Champion—Peighton Rhinehart; Market Goat: Champion—Chloe Glass; Reserve Champion —Alyssa Costa; Decorated Animal: Champion—Brayden Whetzel; Reserve Champion—Kiley Little.

Dave Harman (at podium) hosts the 67th Annual Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show’s opening ceremonies held on Friday night, September 8, at Catoctin High School. Also shown are Community Organizations Flag Ceremony participants John Hoke (left) of Thurmont’s Acacia Lodge #155 and Tim Bentz (center) of Thurmont’s Guardian Hose Fire Company.

Emmitsburg Mayor Donald Briggs (left) announces the 2023-24 Catoctin FFA Ambassador, Caroline Clark.

Maxine Troxell, Champion Pie Baker, holds her Raspberry Pie, standing with Caroline Clark (2023-24 Catoctin FFA Ambassador) and buyer Josh Ruby of Forever After All Farms, who had the winning $350 bid which benefits the Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show. Josh Ruby was also the auctioneer for the annual Baked Goods Auction.

Photo by John Kempisty

Pet Show Winners

The 2023 Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show Pet Show was held on Saturday, September 9 at Catoctin High School. There were 17 exhibitors who exhibited 46 pets at the Community Show. Judges were Mary Ann Harbaugh and Dr. Ray Ediger who both did an excellent job judging all of the pets.  Many thanks to the Pet Show Committee of Dave Harman, Dave Johnston, and Kristen Myers, who all helped with the event. The Grand Champion winner received a $25.00 gift card donated by Tractor Supply Company, and the Reserve Grand Champion received a $15.00 gift card, donated by The Dirty Dawg. Each participant received treats for their animals and free ice cream cone wooden coins that were donated by Roy Rogers. 

Winners were: Cat with Prettiest Eyes: 1st— Heather Rice, 2nd—Matt Rice; Cat with Longest Whiskers: 1st—Matt Rice (1½ inches); Cutest Cat: 1st— Matt Rice, 2nd—Heather Rice; Smallest Pet: 1st—Jada Morgan, 2nd—Deborah Boisvert, 3rd—Kelly Slaughter; Dog with Waggiest Tail: 1st—Morgan Kolb, 2nd—Kelly Slaughter, 3rd—Deborah Boisvert; Prettiest Dog (25 lbs. & under): 1st—Will Valentine, 2nd—Kelly Slaughter, 3rd—Vanessa Wilhide; Prettiest Dog (26 lbs. and over): 1st—Kara Wolf, 2nd—Jan Tyler, 3rd—Janelle James; Best Costumed Pet: 1st—Will Valentine, 2nd—Savannah Cregger,  2nd—Morgan Kolb, 3rd—Brielle Green; Pet with Most Spots: 1st—Nikolai Poffenberger, 2nd—Matt Rice, 3rd—Brielle Green; Largest Pet (by height): 1st—Jan Tyler, 2nd—Brielle Green, 3rd—Kelly Slaughter, Honorable Mention—Nikolai Poffenberger; Most Unusual Pet: 1st—Nikolai Poffenberger, 2nd—Jada Morgan, 3rd—Heather Rice; Best Trained Pet: 1st—Janelle James, 2nd—Denise Mosher, 3rd—Kelly Slaughter; Grand Champion—Will Valentine with his dog; Reserve Grand Champion—Deborah Boisvert with her dog.

Abby Harrington (second from left), Youth Grand Champion Cake Baker holds her Chocolate Cake standing with Caroline Clark (left), 2023-24 Catoctin FFA Ambassador, and buyers Caleb McCleaf and Craig McCleaf of Mountain Gate Family Restaurant who had the winning $1,200 bid. The Youth Division (Ages 11-18) Grand Champion Cake is In Honor & Memory of Mearl McCleaf and benefits three youth-related funds: Thurmont Grange Scholarship, Catoctin FFA’s National FFA Convention Trip, and Catoctin FFA Alumni & Supporters Scholarship.

Caroline Clark (left), 2023-24 Catoctin FFA Ambassador, stands with Lexie Cox (middle), Junior Grand Champion Cake Baker, holding her Chocolate Cake with buyer Former Delegate Daniel Cox. The Junior Division (Ages 10 & Under) Champion Cake, which sold for $350, benefits the Thurmont and Emmitsburg Food Banks.

Cheryl Lenhart (second from left), Grand Champion Cake Baker, holds her Yellow Cake with Raspberry Filling & White Icing, standing with Caroline Clark (left), 2023-24 Catoctin FFA Ambassador, and Mountain Gate Family Restaurant buyers, Craig McCleaf and Caleb McCleaf. The $1,050 winning bid for the Champion Cake benefits the Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show.

Catoctin Mtn. Log Sawing Contest Winners

The 38th Annual Catoctin Mtn. Log Sawing Contest was held on Sunday, September 10, with the winners as follows: Women’s Team: 1st—Caroline Clark and Peyton Davis (5.31.80); 2nd—Analese Abruzzese and Ella Burrier (12.59.72); 3rd—McKayla Comer and Alyssa Costa (17.54.43); Men’s Team: 1st—Cadin Valentine and Gavin Valentine (6.07.03); 2nd—Brayden Whetzel and Gavin Valentine (6.22.17); 3rd—Cadin Valentine and Dylan Ridinger (6.28.93); Men and Women’s Team: 1st—Mark Valentine and Jessica Valentine (1.42.82); 2nd—Elizabeth Schubel and Quamari Willard (3.28.21); 3rd—Quamari Willard and Analese Abruzzese (4.20.96); Children’s Team: 1st—Garrett Troxell and Myles Kuhn (9.06.33); 2nd—Trenon Latham and Preston Clark (10.14.31); 3rd—Elizabeth Schubel and Jason Green (15.10.25).

Cheryl Lenhart (second from left), Reserve Champion Coconut Cake Baker, holds her winning cake, standing with Caroline Clark (left), 2023-24 Catoctin FFA Ambassador, and buyers, John and Maggie Doll, with a $750 bid, along with their granddaughters, Eva and Lyla Doll. The proceeds from this cake benefit the Catoctin FFA Alumni & Supporters.

Brayden Whetzel’s sow & seven five-week-old Crossbred piglets were enjoyed by all ages at the Community Show. Brayden is pictured on the right, showing one of the piglets to one of the many visitors in the Agriculture Center area.

The Grand Champion Swine was a 250-pound Crossbred hog, owned by Joshua Wivell, and purchased for $2,500 by Wolfe Auctions. Joshua’s parents are Justin and Brittney Wivell, and sister, Addie. Joshua’s grandparents are Phil and Shelly Wivell and Andy and Trish Hahn.

Winners of the 42nd Annual Robert Kaas Memorial Horseshoe Pitching Contest on Sunday, September 10 (from left): (back row) 2nd place team of Richard Brown and Donald Kaas, Sr.; (middle row) 1st place team of Johnny Buhrman and Carl Willard; (kneeling) one of the 3rd place winning team members of Gary Hoffmaster and David Miller.

Reserve Champion Bread (from left):  Caroline Clark, 2023-24 Catoctin FFA Ambassador; Maxine Troxell, Reserve Champion Bread Baker (Rye/Pumpernickel Swirl Bread); and buyers, Chris and Susan Windsor of Windsor Customs LLC, who had the winning $75 bid, which benefits the Thurmont Grange.

In Memory of Patricia Ann (Myers) Johnston, Community Show Historian, who passed away in May 2023, one of her sister Cheryl’s 1st place cakes—a Black Walnut Cake—was auctioned to benefit the Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show’s Improvement Fund. A grand total of $7,000 was raised from many community citizens and businesses! Patty’s family members (from left): brother Bobby and his wife, Karen; husband, David Johnston, holding the Black Walnut Cake; dad Rodman Myers, and sisters Cheryl and Andrea.

The Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show is the largest in the State of Maryland. The strength of the show and the strength of agriculture in Northern Frederick County stands on the shoulders of the volunteers who proudly teach and carry that heritage forward from generation to generation. The Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show is sponsored by the Thurmont Grange, Catoctin FFA Chapter, Catoctin FFA Alumni & Supporters, the Maryland State Grange, and the Maryland Agricultural Fair Board. This annual Community Show comes together each year through the efforts of hundreds of dedicated volunteers and has been bringing the Thurmont and Emmitsburg communities together since 1957!

The Untold Story

by Richard D. L. Fulton

There have been countless stories of ghosts on the Gettysburg Battlefield, within and beyond the national park boundaries, and there has been a seemingly endless array of books and documentaries based on the myriad number of ghostly encounters. 

But not all of the stories have been told, and not all of them relate to the Civil War Battle of 1863. 

Below are a few of these “untold stories.”

Did spirits from the past inspire the establishment of a historic wayside in Gettysburg?

In the mid-2000s, Eileen Catherine (Cathe) Curtis, star of America’s Most Haunted Town and America’s Most Haunted Inns—and subsequently guest medium at the Jennie Wade Museum for a number of  years—was strolling down Baltimore Street with a friend when they encountered two young men attired in what appeared to be vintage Marine uniforms.

Cathe and her friend caught up with the two Marines and asked them if they were there for a reenactment or reunion event. She said they both “boasted big smiles and replied that they were ‘simply visiting the town, which was dear to them’.” 

Cathe and her friend walked along with them, briefly. They told them their names (George and George), and gave them their mailing address. 

At some point, Cathe and her friend realized that they were not talking to the living, but had been interacting with two spirits, and the two spirits soon vanished before their eyes.

Cathe decided to do some research online and soon found the two Georges, who had perished in the crash of a Marine dive-bomber near the present intersection of Culp Street and Johns Avenue during the 1922 Marine maneuvers at Gettysburg.  Their names were George Wallis Hamilton and George Russell Martin. She even found their photographs and recognized them.

Conveying what she had found to the author of this article uncovered enough information about Hamilton and Martin and the 1922 Marine maneuvers that the writer approached Jim Rada and the two co-authored The Last to Fall: The 1922 March, Battles, & Deaths of U.S. Marines at Gettysburg, which included a good deal of information about Hamilton and Martin and the crash of the airplane.

The coverage of the Hamilton and Martin deaths in the book inspired local residents and Marines to raise money to erect the Captain George Hamilton and Gunnery Sergeant George Martin Memorial Wayside, which was completed and dedicated in 2018, and stands near the crash site on land set aside by the Heritage Center.

A couple of stories have come out of Colt Park, a housing development constructed beginning in the late 1950s on the battlefield, specifically on what was a Confederate position on the left flank of Pickett’s Charge. 

Not only was there a heated exchange between Confederate and Union troops on the farm fields there that would eventually become the Colt Park development, but there was also a significant Confederate mass grave located along the perimeter of the site. Even isolated burials of deceased soldiers from the conflict had been recovered in the decades following the war.

But two notable paranormal occurrences that occurred among the modern-day residents of the park appeared to not have been Civil War-related.

The names of the residents and the locations of the incidences must be kept out of print, but below are the encounters.

One involved the movement of planks in the attic of one of the homes, which had commenced one night at exactly 11:45 p.m., and continued for five or ten minutes. This inexplicable activity continued for days, each night at exactly 11:45 p.m.

After the first day or two, a contractor was called to determine if something was structurally amiss in the home’s attic, but nothing was found to indicate what was causing the persistent disturbances. 

After another day or two, an exterminator was called to ascertain if the activity was the result of a “home invasion” by one or more of the neighborhood’s squirrels or raccoons. 

After an extensive investigation, the pest control expert declared that he had found nothing out of the ordinary and no signs of where an animal could have entered, nor any evidence of any animal activity.

On the way out of the door, he commented to the homeowners, “I think you know what it is…” Two days later, the disturbance ended and never occurred again. 

A second Colt Park incident was non-Civil War related. A resident was watching television, and admittedly getting a little dozy while waiting for his wife to return from an outing with a friend. Suddenly, there was a knock at the door, and as the husband was jolted out of a semi-sleep, a young girl jumped up off the couch and exuberantly proclaimed, “I’ll get it,” and ran to the backdoor in the kitchen.

Then the husband realized there was no little girl in the house, so he got up and went into the kitchen to let his wife in.

It would be easy to write this off as the husband having dozed off and was suddenly awakened and thought he saw the little girl, whom he described as wearing shorts and a non-descript blouse, with a decidedly late-1950s-style hairdo (the husband grew up with two sisters and believed he had recognized the hair style).

However, a few days later, the husband went into the basement where he had his office and found a complete child’s tea set, comprised of four teacups and saucers and a tea pot, arranged nicely in a circle on the floor of the basement. But the residents did not have any young children, and none belonging to any friends or relatives had visited them recently.

Further, later in that week, the wife was moving some boxes around in the basement, and found lying on one of them was a late 1950s Christmas catalog, of the type that hardware stores used to mail out in that timeframe. Looking through it, she found a photograph of nearly the very same tea set that had been found arranged on the basement floor a few days earlier.

They still have the tea set and catalog, but nothing further of the little girl has been experienced since.

Back to the battlefield “proper,” generally, it is held that park rangers do not share any of their paranormal experiences with the public, but one did so a number of years ago.

It appears he had been dispatched to an area of the park (which was closed at that hour to the public) to investigate reports of Civil War reenactors having been seen on the field.

Responding to the reported location, the ranger parked and exited the car and, grabbing a flashlight, began to look around. He finally did spot a number of figures that appeared to be…in the dark as best as he could determine…walking across the field among some trees and heading in his direction, so he proceeded to approach them.

As he and the ‘soldiers’ approached each other closer, he said the central figure actually passed through the tree in front of him.

On that note, the ranger retreated to his patrol car and immediately departed the scene, and merely reported that he had “not encountered any reenactors in the area” and left it at that.

Bloody hand projects from medium Eileen Catherine (Cathe) Curtis while in the Orphanage, Gettysburg.

Trails for the Kids

Richard D. L. Fulton

Fall is a season of change, as the heat of summer begins to diminish and weather, overall, begins to moderate. 

But fall is also a season during which life begins to prepare for the harshest of Earth’s seasons, the winter, with its plunging, freezing temperatures, along with ice, freezing rain, and snowstorms.

With all that is going on with nature as the fall season gets underway, it also provides a great opportunity for the children to get outside with their families and explore the various nature trails to see for themselves the transition of life that takes place in the wake of the culmination of summer.

A great outdoor trail concept for children is the storybook trails, which feature placards, or waysides, that, in compilation, tell a story. As the children advance along the trail, the storyline advances as well.

Even the storybook trails offer a chance for the children to also get a glimpse into the dynamic changes associated with the advent of fall.

Emmitsburg has recently completed its storybook trail in the 59.14 acres of the E. Eugene Myers Community Park. The park is located along Willow Drive, at 201 W. Lincoln Avenue in Emmitsburg,

In addition to the storybook trail, the park features a pool, a dog park, a walking trail, tennis and basketball courts, ball fields, and pavilions.

The storybook trail is located behind the playground, where one will see a small walking path that has large-sized story books for children to read. Each month features a different book. For more information on the storybook trail, contact the Town of Emmitsburg at 301-600-6302.

Thurmont has a Library Nature Trail (also known as the Library Loop Nature Trail), which was established by the Thurmont Regional Library on library-owned land and made available to the public when the trail system was officially opened in 2018.

The trail, which runs from the library grounds to the Thurmont Trolley Trail, features educational mini-wayside markers, each containing nature-themed information, photographs, and illustrations.

Creation of the trail system was a collaborative effort, including financial assistance donated towards the completion of the trail by the Eagle Scouts and Class of 1961, as well as further assistance provided by Frederick County Public School SUCCESS students.

For more information on the Library Loop Nature Trail, contact the Thurmont Regional Library at 301-600-7200.

If the children just want to take a comfortable, leisurely walk among nature, with a little historical add-on, they might like the Thurmont Trolley Trail, a .8-mile trail installed over the former trolley tracks that serviced Thurmont in the early 1900s.

The existing trail begins at the historical trolley car and promotes a glimpse at Thurmont’s historical transportation services. For more information on the Thurmont Trolley Trail, contact the Town of Thurmont at 301-271-7313.

Cunningham Falls State Park offers a number of different types of trails, one of which is a storybook trail (otherwise known as the Children’s Storybook Hike). The story presented along the trail teaches the hikers about making maple syrup. The park’s website states, “Follow the storybook path along the lake and cross the bridge to the North Beach. Stop at each interpretive sign and read the book to learn another step in the process of making maple syrup.”

If the children are interested in history, the Cunningham Falls State Park also offers a quarter-mile, self-guided tour of the Catoctin Furnace site. 

The trail, which leads to the Catoctin Furnace Historical Village, entails crossing U.S. 15 via an elevated foot path (46 steps up the stairway).

Another hiking trail is the African American Cemetery Trail, which leads to the heart of the Catoctin Furnace Historical Village. The placards not only instruct the hiker on the iron-making process, but the trail also features the names and stories of those enslaved to work in the village. This ADA-style unpaved path has two viewing platforms and three wooden benches.

For more information on the Cunningham Falls State Park trails, contact the Cunningham Falls State Park at 301-271-7574.

Cunningham Falls State Park storybook trail placard.

As Told to Joan Bittner Fry by Doug Laumann, owner of the Thrift Store at Blue Ridge Summit

In 2022, a fishing trip to Assateague, Virginia, ended in a great time, catching lots of fish. However, when my son and I left Assateague for home late in the evening, we stopped at a convenience store to fill up with gas and get something to drink for the trip home.

We were on the road 35-40 minutes when a car came toward us on the wrong side of the road. We swerved to miss the car. Our truck went up on two wheels and the camper jackknifed. The camper became unhooked from the truck and rolled, tearing the undercarriage from the back of the truck.

The camper slammed the Jersey wall and veered across the highway, slamming into the side of the truck. Thank God, we made it okay, but we lost everything in the camper and all our fishing gear. But all can be replaced. Fortunately, my wife and grandchildren had left earlier, so they were not involved. The rescue unit and a lot of medics showed up. There was lots of glass and noise.

Out of nowhere, a gentleman showed up with tears in his eyes and asked if we were okay. We assured him that we were all right, but when we asked why he was crying, he said he had lost his grandmother that day and didn’t want to see another death. We said we were sorry about his grandmother’s death. He thanked us for asking.

The state trooper said we needed to pay the crane driver $600 to clean the highway and get the camper off the road. I told the officer I’d have to pay by credit card or check. He replied that they could only take cash.

Again, the gentleman who showed up with tears in his eyes told us not to worry, that everything would be taken care of. He asked for our address. I told him AAA wouldn’t tow the camper home because they were limited to 100 miles. He said he would pay whatever it cost, taking out his wallet. He paid the crane driver the $600 cash and asked for a receipt. The next day, our camper was at our house, thanks to this kind man who just showed up at the accident. The trooper said we could drive the truck since we had lights and a tag, which we attached to the tailgate.

Believe it, there are angels, and this man and his family will always be our angels. We finally got things straightened out from the accident and, this year (2023), made it back to Assateague to fish. We had a really good time and saw the gentleman again and met his family. We will stay friends forever.

The biggest fish story from this year’s trip was that every morning at the campsite, we saw an eagle, but the morning we left, we didn’t see it. When we were crossing the Assateague Bridge, we saw an eagle there. I believe the gentleman was looking over us through eagle’s wings. Hopefully, everything goes well, and we can make it back next year to continue our wonderful friendship.

Doug Laumann and his son, Ryan Laumann, hold up their catches during this year’s fishing trip to Assateague, Virginia.


Mayor Don Briggs

In early September, I had the honor of announcing the FFA Sweetheart winner at the opening ceremony of the 67th Annual Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show at Catoctin High School. The winner was Caroline Clark. Caroline, who was raised and lives on her family farm in Rocky Ridge, among other things, is quite an accomplished tractor driver. Earlier this year, she won the Maryland State Fair tractor competition. She is the first female to do so. It does not stop there. She also competed in the New England Expo tractor event and placed sixth. The New England Expo is a five-state fair event. Congratulations, Caroline!

Before opening the envelope with the winner’s name, I looked across the stage at the seated contestants for the award. I was in awe after listening to what they love, what they have accomplished, giving us a glimpse of the trajectory of their lives going forward. It was something. These contestants are a sampling of the generations who will take care of our country. So often, younger generations are bundled into convenient characterizations as “Millennials,” “Generation X,” and so on. Every day we wake up, we are blessed by their presence and accomplishments. We often look back and say the greatest generation lived 80 some years ago. No, it is the younger generations and the generations to come that are the greatest generations. We must start there. They will have challenges and need to amass support now to be able to address those challenges. As one writer quipped, “The past is a different country, they do things differently there.”

To this topic, last summer I read an article in the weekend review section of the Wall Street Journal, “The New Rules of Success in the Post-Career World.” The present generations of a younger workforce, and seemingly those to come, are signaling new guardrails for career paths they are going to follow. The beacon for staying with one company has long been dimmed. Now, what the younger are looking for is more, “fulfillment over traditional priorities like income and status.” They will not live to work but work to live in a more balanced way.

As I leave office after four terms, 12 years, I would again like to say thank you to the residents of Emmitsburg for the honor of serving as your mayor of a top-10 small town in Maryland. I leave you, thanks to terrific staff and an understanding wife, with a sidewalk-connected town from Tract Road to Emmit Gardens; lots of new homes; a renovated square (whereas I write, a new exciting business is gobbling up the only vacant commercial space); an award-winning green town with an emphasis on reducing waste; and the Mount moving classes and administration in to the town.

From Lib and me, thank you.


 Mayor John Kinnaird

Fall has finally arrived and hopefully, we will get a month or more of decent temperatures and some regular rain. Central Maryland is currently under a drought watch, and residents are encouraged to conserve water wherever possible. Rains during the last week of September were helpful, but we still need more.

Colorfest is coming up and will be here before you know it. Permits are still available, and there are spaces still available around town. Colorfest will be held on Saturday and Sunday, October 14 and 15. As usual, Thurmont will be a hotbed for yard sales almost the entire week leading up to Colorfest. Be careful while driving around town that week, and be sure to get out and support all of our local non-profits, churches, civic organizations, and first responders. I hope everyone has a very enjoyable Colorfest weekend!

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and we will be raising money in support of the Patty Hurwitz Fund at Frederick Health. Our community has an amazing record of support for this annual event, and we need to keep supporting this wonderful organization. We just had our Annual Gateway to the Cure Golf Classic, with over 100 individual golfers registered for a fun day at Maple Run Golf Course. The Gateway to Cure 5K Covered Bridge Run will be held at Eyler Road Park on Saturday, October 21. There is still time to register for this popular run through our beautiful countryside and across the Roddy Road Covered Bridge. The Gateway to Cure Zumbathon will be held at the American Legion on Sunday, October 22, from 2:00-4:00 p.m. Pink light bulbs, T-shirts, sweatshirts, pinwheels, and other items are available at locations around town or at the municipal offices.

The Town of Thurmont will be holding an election for two commissioner seats on Tuesday, October 31, at the Guardian Hose Company Activity Building on 123 East Main Street. Voting opens at 7:00 a.m. and closes at 8:00 p.m. Those in line at 8:00 p.m. will be able to vote. October 3 is the last day to register to vote. Absentee Ballots will be available on October 18, and the last day to apply for an Absentee Ballot is close of business on October 24.

Be watchful of the water and waste water improvements starting on North Church Street in late October. Traffic will be restricted to one lane during work hours with flaggers on hand to provide direction. Accommodations will be made for bus traffic and for heavy trucks. I encourage everyone to take alternative routes during this six-month project. Residents and businesses on North Church Street have been informed of the plans and will be updated regularly as the project proceeds.

I hope everyone has an enjoyable October! As always, I can be reached at [email protected] or by phone at 301-606-9458.


Burgess Heath Barnes

Happy Fall! Before we know it, the leaves will start changing and the temperature will begin to drop. The smell of pumpkin will be in the air, and the pumpkin patches, corn mazes, haunted houses, and fall festivals will be in full swing. Enjoy time with family and friends at these fall happenings.

Our water meter update in town had a few hiccups, but I can happily say that all but about 5 percent has been completed, and the town will be working with these residents to get theirs completed ASAP. With the delay in getting these all completed, water bills will be going out a few weeks later than normal this quarter but should have the option to pay electronically beginning with this quarter’s bill. This is something that many residents have asked for, and we listened. Please do not be concerned if the bill comes to your home a few weeks later this quarter.

Electricity to the stage has been completed, and we will not have to use a generator for the bands this year at the Woodsboro Days Festival. Please see the advertisement on page 23 for details. Come out for all the fun on October 21-22!

The latest town hall update is that the permits have all been approved by the county. Our architect has listed for the contractors to bid, and we must keep bids open by law for 30 days. Once the 30 days have expired, the council will select a contractor. We have called for a tentative special meeting with the council for October 23, 2023 at 7:00 p.m. to discuss the bids and decide, instead of waiting until the regular November meeting, so that we can get the building started as quickly as possible.

The construction of the new skate park has begun and should be completed by the end of October. The excitement around it is very high. It is being built between the concession stand and tennis courts. I am very excited to see this project happening.

Halloween trick-or-treating will be on October 31 between 6:00 and 8:00 p.m. in town. Please be sure to watch out for children in the streets that night and leave your light on if you wish to participate.

As always, I encourage everyone to support Glade Valley Community Services (GVCS) if you have clothes or food donations, as they are always in need of items for members of the community. For more information, please contact GVCS by email at [email protected] or call 301-845-0213.

If you have any questions, concerns, complaints, or compliments, please feel free to reach out to me at [email protected] or by phone at 301-401-7164.

Woodsboro Town meetings are held on the second Tuesday of each month at 7:00 p.m. In addition, Planning and Zoning meetings are at 6:00 p.m. on the first Monday of the month, as needed. If you have an item for the agenda, it needs to be submitted 14 days before the P&Z meeting. The current location for meetings is the St. John’s United Church of Christ, located at 8 N. 2nd Street, Woodsboro, MD 21798. The public is always invited to attend.

James Rada, Jr.

Frank Davis and Valerie Turnquist were elected during the Emmitsburg municipal elections on September 26. Despite the rainy day, 367 people turned out to vote.

Two incumbent commissioners, Davis and Timothy O’Donnell, ran to replace Mayor Don Briggs. Davis won with 82 percent (301 votes) of votes, while O’Donnell received only 17 percent (62 votes). Four people did not vote mayor.

Davis said last month, “I am excited about the opportunity to lead the town and will commit to listening to the citizens. I want to be sure Emmitsburg remains a viable town that attracts businesses and can provide a great place to live.”

The priorities he saw for the town are planning for the future, becoming fiscally responsible, improving downtown parking, controlling the water rates, and making childcare affordable and available.

Joe Ritz, III’s, commissioner seat was also open. Ritz chose not to run for re-election. Three candidates ran for the seat, including former commissioner Glenn Blanchard.

Valerie Turnquist won the majority of the votes, with 58 percent or 212 votes. Blanchard received 112 votes or 31 percent, and Dale Sharrer received 27 votes or 7 percent. Sixteen people or 4 percent did not vote for a commissioner candidate.

Turnquist spoke about her candidacy during the September town meeting. She mentioned three issues that led to her run. She said the large increase in the town’s water rates to pay for needed infrastructure improvements was not sustainable. She believed the town should become a Main Street Maryland town to encourage businesses to open in Emmitsburg. She also said the town needs affordable housing and that it has none now.

However, her priority will be what residents want. “What’s on their mind is what will be on my agenda,” she said.

The new town officials will be sworn in during the October town meeting on October 2.

Frank Davis elected to replace Mayor Don Briggs in Emmitsburg election on September 26.

James Rada, Jr.

The Thurmont Board of Commissioners will have at least one new face after the town election at the end of this month.

Thurmont held its nominating convention on September 26. Six people were nominated to fill the seats currently held by Bill Buehrer and Wes Hamrick. Buehrer chose to run for re-election, but Hamrick did not.

Among the candidates running for commissioner seats are a former mayor and commissioner. The nominated candidates are Robert Lookingbill, Grant Johnson, Marty Burns, Ed Schildt, Christopher Stouter, and Bill Buehrer.

The town office was full for the convention, as people showed up to nominate and/or support their candidates.

After the nominations were closed, each candidate was given the opportunity to speak. Every candidate but Johnson did so.

Perhaps the most recognizable name in this year’s race is former mayor and commissioner, Marty Burns, who retired from politics two years ago.

“I did not imagine just two years ago that I would ever seek political office again; however, over the last year or so, I have been very disappointed with the decisions the current board has made and believe those decisions have been detrimental to our town,” he said in a statement.

He said the Simmers property annexation and development, which failed in a referendum vote, showed him the current board was out of touch with what residents want.

He also noted that the town is spending its revenues “on things I didn’t think were appropriate” and “spending money like nobody’s business.”

He and Lookingbill are running as a ticket for this election.

Lookingbill said in a statement that he wanted controlled growth in the town, but that is not what he is seeing.

“Our town officials have made decisions in which they are choosing the big bucks from developers over prioritizing the quality of life for Thurmont’s citizens,” Lookingbill noted.

Ed Schildt told the audience that he wanted to maintain the town’s beauty with sustainable growth.

He also said that even as commissioner, he intended to stay active with various community organizations in town because they allowed him to interact with residents and hear what their concerns are. He called the position of commissioner “a position of service, not a position of power.”

Stouter said he was running to help the community. He also feels his work experience will make him particularly helpful with improvements to the town’s electric department that need to be made.

Buehrer took issue with how Lookingbill and Burns portrayed the board. Buehrer praised what the town staff and board of commissioners had done for the town. He said many projects were funded not through tax dollars but grants the town received, saving residents money. He said the town had wonderful parks, no crime, and no dilapidated homes.

“Where’s everybody else,” he said referring to how few people come to town meetings to express their concerns, “if everybody’s so unhappy?”

The town election will be held on October 31 at the Guardian Hose Company Activities Building at 123 East Main Street. Polls will be open 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. For more information, contact the town office at 301-271-7313.

The last day to register to vote is the close of business on October 3. The last day to apply for an absentee ballot is the close of business on October 24.

For more information about the candidates and their positions, the Thurmont Lions Club will host a candidates’ forum on October 19 at 7:00 p.m. at the Thurmont Town Office. All candidates will be invited to attend. The forum will also be broadcast on Channel 99 and available on the town’s website.

Christopher Stouter

Grant Johnson – No Photo Available

The following are the statuses of new businesses and development coming to Emmitsburg from the town planner’s report:

Federal Stone (Creamery Road, east side of U.S. 15) — A preconstruction meeting is pending. Zoning permit was issued on August 23.

Village Liquors & Plaza Inn (Silo Hill Parkway) — A preconstruction meeting is pending.

Seton Shrine Museum Entrance (South Seton Avenue) — The deed of easement is pending. A zoning permit was issued on August 17.

Tenant Fit-out for Daughters of Charity Ministries (South Seton Avenue) — A zoning permit was issued on August 21.

Mount St. Mary’s University School of Health Professions (South Seton Avenue) — A zoning permit was issued on August 21.