Currently viewing the tag: "Thurmont Green Team"

Thurmont celebrated its first Greenfest on Saturday, April 21, 2018, at the Thurmont Regional Library. It was an event where “people could learn new things, share information, and have fun,” according to Thurmont Green Team Member Cindy Poole.

The event was held at the Thurmont Library, with tables and stations set up in front of the library, in the lobby, in the meeting rooms, and on the patio. The Maryland Department of Natural Resources, local companies, and local organizations manned the tables to educate attendees about protecting the environment and about green living. There were even activities for kids to do and giveaways of foot-tall trees, ready for planting.

Bob Allen of Rocky Ridge came to the event to recycle a printer, but he also checked out all of the tables to collect information about things he was unfamiliar with.

Carol Haag of Thurmont also came to the festival to recycle electronics and stayed to look around. “I wanted to see what the Green Team has been doing, but I have also been interested in solar energy for a couple years,” she said.

Some local farms showed off their organically grown goods. Visitors could find out about geothermal energy, recycling, and the environment around them. Events even included guided walks and bike rides along the Thurmont Trolley Trail.

The festival was a culmination of the efforts of the Thurmont Green Team. “The Green Team said ‘let’s combine the things that we do, and let’s do a festival,” Poole said.

Thurmont Commissioner Bill Buehrer said that the team’s accomplishments were “immeasurable.”

At the beginning of the festival, Becky Wilson with the Maryland Forest Service awarded Thurmont its second Tree City USA Award. To earn this award from the Arbor Day Foundation, Thurmont needed to meet four standards: (1) Have someone responsible for the care of town trees; (2) Enact an ordinance to protect trees; (3) Dedicate at least $2.00 per capita to tree forestation; and (4) Have an Arbor Day proclamation.

Greenfest was sponsored by the Thurmont Green Team, the Town of Thurmont, and the Thurmont Regional Library.

One of the vendors at Green Fest explains electronics recycling to a young girl.

Becky Wilson with the Maryland Forest Service presents Thurmont CAO Jim Humerick and Commissioner Bill Buehrer with a Tree City USA Award for Thurmont.

Thurmont

Mayor John Kinnaird

The Town of Thurmont celebrated Arbor Day on April 22 by planting more trees in the Community Park.  This planting was undertaken by the Thurmont Green Team, as part of their ongoing efforts to ensure a clean environment for our current and future residents. The damages inflicted on our Ash trees by the emerald borer resulted in many of the mature trees having to be removed from the Community Park. The planting of new trees will, over time, replace the cooling canopy we enjoy in the park. The Green Team also sponsored a Hunting Creek Clean Up Day and managed to remove 690 pounds of trash from the steam and its banks. The Green Team also wants to remind everyone that garden spots are still available in the Community Garden. Many thanks to Thurmont’s Green Team for their hard work!

The Board of Commissioner (BOC) recently approved a bid for street improvements within town. The work includes blacktop overlays of East Street, Lombard Street, and Shipley Avenue. This work will be completed during the summer months; please be aware of these projects and, as with all of our street repairs, please be careful when driving through the construction areas.

The BOC is currently working on the 2017-2018 Budget. I am hopeful that we will use the Constant Yield Tax Rate for the upcoming year.  This means that we will be collecting the same amount of taxes as during the 2016-2017 fiscal year. With recent increases in property values, everyone should realize a very small decrease in property taxes. We hope to adopt the final budget in May.

In recent weeks, you may have noticed underground work being completed at the intersection of Rouzer Lane and Rt. 550. This work is part of the ongoing effort to ensure dependable electric service for Catoctin High School and the Catoctin Heights subdivision.  Currently, Catoctin Heights is at the end of a service line that starts on the Emmitsburg Road and crosses Rt. 15. The improvements will include new underground service lines, as well as a new loop connected to Sandy Spring Lane, to provide a backup circuit should there be a problem with the current feed line.

I was recently appointed to serve on the Frederick County Solid Waste Advisory Committee (SWAC). SWAC is charged with reviewing the County Solid Waste Plan, and we have been following closely the What’s Next initiative, established by County Executive Gardner to investigate improved recycling options for our residents. The State of Maryland has mandated a recycling level of 90 percent for organic waste, including food waste and grass clippings, by the year 2040. This goal will require a massive undertaking within Frederick County to start a program of collection and composting to realize these levels of recycling. The current recommended plan calls for as many as 10-14 small composting facilities across the County and new methods of collection. Ultimately, all residences, businesses, schools, and other facilities will be included in this plan. I encourage all of our residents to pay attention as this plan moves forward and to get involved! For more information about What’s Next, visit www.frederickcountymd.gov/whatsnext.

Please take the time to enjoy the newly rebuilt Roddy Road Covered Bridge, as well as the improvements to Roddy Road Park and Loy’s Station Park!

I can be reached at 301-606-9458 or by email at jkinnaird@thurmont.com.

Emmitsburg

 Mayor Don Briggs

In April, I was given the opportunity to speak at three events.

On April 8, at the Doughboy statue, the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and the town commemorated the 100-year anniversary of the United States declaring war on Germany and entering World War I. Commissioner Blanchard and I spoke. Thank you, Commissioner Blanchard, for putting this event together.

In addition to a quote of General Douglas MacArthur, I referenced, in a humble tribute to the soldiers who fought in WWI: “There, for those soldiers, in the prime of their lives, it was a hope for a tomorrow and a prayer for their – now. For us, because of them and what they did and gave, we have a tomorrow of tomorrows and prayers for our now and those nows to come.”

Also on April 8, I joined the  more than two hundred people who attended the dedication of the sprinkler system at the Frederick County Fire/Rescue Museum National Fire Heritage Center on South Seton Avenue, sharing in awe of the live-burn demo, which used a “Side-by-Side Burn Trailer.”

“Welcome. They say every story has a protagonist, a leading character. The good person, the good people. In our town, there are many protagonists for the many stories that form our community story. And what a story it is, with a rich history that includes both an emphasis on education and spiritualty… Today, we gather for one such story to recognize the collaborative efforts of suppliers, installers, fire service personnel, and all levels of government, to bring about the installation of the sprinkler system in the Fire Museum and National Fire Heritage Center…But underlying this effort has been the quiet efforts of a group of amazing people, lifelong fireman, rooted here in Frederick County and from all over the country… To these founders, it is an honor and pleasure to know and work with you,” I said during my remarks.

On April 10, Libby and I dined with Korey Shorb and Conrad Weaver. Korey is doing great things for the county to educate and understand addiction through his “Up & Out” Foundation. Our Emmy-Award-winner Conrad is producing a documentary on drug addiction, with a focus on Frederick County. More to come on the town’s collaboration with these gentlemen.

On April 12, Libby and I, along with Commissioner Buckman, attended the presentation on addiction at Catoctin High School, sponsored principally by the Schildt family: “CHRIS for Family Support in Recovery.” It was a moving program that touched all the sensibilities of those in attendance, in the nearly packed-full auditorium. I am blessed to have coached young men, in either football or rugby, over a span of five decades, during which I attended funerals for five of my players. Recently, I have been blessed to be mayor of Emmitsburg for the past five years, and during this time, I have already attended five funerals for drug-related deaths.

It is written, “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Our treasure is our families. In the face of this insidious onslaught, put away petty distractions, and, yes, everything is petty when it comes to our families, as well as our friends and community.

They say that our grandparents—and for some, great-grandparents—were the greatest generation in what they did during WWI. We need another greatest generation in this fight for our children. We can be the next greatest generation—we have to be the next greatest generation.

I am so blessed to live in Northern Frederick County.

A must-see documentary film by Leonardo DiCaprio, Before The Flood, will be shown at Thurmont Regional Library on Saturday, April 8, 2017, at 2:30 p.m. It is an excellent documentary about the many problems our planet and all its life forms are presently enduring because of pollution. DiCaprio has dedicated his life to speaking out for healthy changes that we can make in order to stop the degeneration of our water, land, and air. The visuals speak for themselves; so if you want to see a powerful film that speaks to your heart, then please come out to the library on April 8. There is no cost, and popcorn and juice will be provided!

That same day, starting at 11:00 a.m., the Thurmont Green Team is holding a stream clean-up and water quality testing in the Community Park in Thurmont. All ages are encouraged to come to this educational and fun event. Afterwards, you can jog on over to the library to see the film!

Thurmont’s Main Street Center, located at 11 Main Street, will host a second showing of this amazing film on May 20, 2017, at 2:00 p.m.

To get more information about Before The Flood, you can Google it. Once again, admission is free. The Earth is a gift and a treasure, which we all need to take care of the best we can.

Mayor John Kinnaird

March is upon us and brings with it the hope of nice weather! With this in mind, the Thurmont Green Team is currently taking applications for the Community Garden on Carroll Street. This project was started last year by the Green Team as a way for residents to have small garden plots for growing vegetables, flowers, or fruit. The Community Garden was a big hit, and I am sure this year will be as well. Be sure to stop at the town office to reserve a spot before they are all gone. I thank the Green Team for starting this project, as well as many others, including the planting of wildflowers along the Maryland Midland tracks.

Speaking of the Maryland Midland railway, Commissioner Burns has once again brought forth the idea of getting the Church Street railroad bridge painted and having Thurmont added to the steel bridge to welcome visitors to our town. Once we get permission from the parent company, Genessee Wyoming, to move forward with the project, we will be asking for volunteers to help establish a committee to help guide the process. Several years ago, Karen and I approached the railroad but could not get a commitment from them to allow any work to be done. We had made a proposal based on a plan to paint the steel bridge, repair the abutments, and then add a mural to each of the abutments. I had proposed painting a mural of the Western Maryland Railway Station, with a steam locomotive on the West abutment. On the East abutment would be a mural of the Hagerstown and Frederick station, the adjoining substation and a trolley car. It is my hope that we can at least get the steel painted and have Thurmont, our town seal, and the Genessee and Wyoming logos placed, and have the abutments repaired and coated. The murals can be added as we get funding or donations of time. The murals may be a good way to get art students at Catoctin and local colleges involved in community service. Once we get going, please think about helping us with either a donation or hands on assistance with the work.

The repairs on the Roddy Road Covered Bridge are nearly complete, and Frederick County plans on it being open to traffic sometime in mid-March. One of the final improvements to be completed prior to the opening is the installation of height warning devices at both ends of the bridge. These will consist of two structures made of wooden posts, with a cross beam and a metal plate hung to the 8’ – 6” maximum height allowed over the bridge. The warning devices will be set far enough from the bridge that they will have little visual impact on the bridge itself. There is also going to be a truck turnaround area on Roddy Road, to the South side of the bridge. The town will be working with the County to improve the truck route signage within Thurmont to help guide trucks safely to Rt. 15. The bridge is looking great and looks almost exactly as it did before the truck damaged it last year. The County has also made vast improvements to the Roddy Road Covered Bridge Park. Roddy Creek Road has been moved away from the bridge and a small park with parking, picnic facilities, and nice walkways will now greet visitors interested in stopping at the bridge.

As a resident, and now Mayor of our community, I have always been very proud of our Police Department, and I am pleased to welcome our Force Officer Richard Gast. Officer Gast comes to us with many years of experience in the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office and as a member of the Pennsylvania Army National Guard. His duties will include investigations, traffic enforcement, and patrol. Please be sure to welcome Officer Gast to our community!

As always, I look forward to speaking to our residents and remind you that I can be reached via email at jkinnaird@thurmont.com or by cell at 301-606-9458.

The Town of Thurmont Streets and Parks Department, the Thurmont Green Team, the Frederick County Forest Conservancy Board, the Maryland Forest Service, and approximately twenty additional volunteers gathered together on November 5, 2016, for a tree planting project in Thurmont Community Park. Thurmont’s Community Park is located on a 24-acre site on Frederick Road. The park is a picturesque oasis of towering trees, providing a shaded place to play, a walk-on-the-level path that winds through the park, a gathering spot in one of the pavilions, or a rest to enjoy nature’s beauty. The park is a hub for the annual Catoctin Colorfest, which attracts up to 100,000 visitors on the second weekend in October each year. Halloween in the Park, the Lions’ Club Easter Egg Hunt, and a holiday lights display are some of the other popular events that are held in the park each year.

The park is well cared for and beloved by the local community, but its trees are being impacted by the invasive emerald ash borer that is devastating ash trees in the United States. The Maryland Forest Service evaluated the park in the winter of 2016, and found a high percentage of the trees in the park are ash and very susceptible to the borer.

Through additional field work, partnerships, and designated funding, the town developed a plan to manage this threat to the very popular park. High-risk trees are currently being removed, healthy ash have been treated to protect from borer attacks, and a variety of other trees are being planted.

Twenty-five trees were planted in locations throughout the park, paying particular attention to areas where trees were lost and where shade trees would create a more pleasant environment for park visitors. Areas near playgrounds and near the heavily used exercise trail were identified as areas where more shade is needed. The trees planted were a native mix of serviceberry, red maple, hackberry, and pin oak, that will mature to provide shade and many environmental services to the community.

It was important to plant a diversity of tree species to reduce the risk of such a devastating event like the emerald ash borer in the future from impacting the park and town resources so extensively. Many hands made easy and satisfying work of the planting. The Thurmont Streets & Parks personnel provided trucks to haul the trees, necessary tools, water, and mulch for the trees to have a strong start in their new locations.

Many young persons enjoyed the effort and did their share of the work while learning how to properly plant the potted trees. Instructions were provided by Maryland Forest Service Forester Becky Wilson, who also supervised the progress of the project. A biodegradable tree shelter was installed around each tree to prevent damage by weed eaters, deer, and rabbits. The trees were provided by the Maryland Forest Service through the TreeMendous Maryland program.

The Thurmont mayor and commissioners read a proclamation at their November 1 meeting, declaring November 5 as Arbor Day in Thurmont. The mayor and commissioners decided some time ago to be proactive in the fight against the emerald ash borer and to begin an extensive program to save as many trees as possible, while planting new trees to replace the ones lost. Plans are already in place to host another tree planting project in the spring. In addition, the mayor and commissioners are implementing a “Donor Tree” program, allowing residents to purchase a tree to be planted in the park to recognize a loved one.

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Maryland Forest Service Forester Becky Wilson demonstrates the proper technique to plant the new trees, while young Emmet Euliano (far left) assists. Steve Parsons (back, left), Elsa Parsons (far right), Thurmont Chief Administrative Officer Jim Humerick (taking pictures), and additional volunteers learn the technique before planting trees throughout the Community Park.

Deb Spalding

Community Gardens - wDebs article - by Jim HumerickThe Town of Thurmont formed the Thurmont Green Team in May, 2015, and is working towards certification this spring as a Maryland Certified Sustainable Community.  Sustainable Maryland is a voluntary certification program for municipalities in Maryland who want to go green, save money, and take steps to sustain their quality of life.

Residents from Thurmont and the surrounding communities comprise Thurmont’s Green Team, and it is these team members, chaired by Anita Philips, who attended training, implemented action items, measured progress, drafted a town ordinance, and are taking the required steps to achieve certification.

Some action items, such as establishing and promoting a local farmers market, energy audits, establishing and promoting a local business directory, a buy local campaign, and a yard waste program, had already been implemented before the Green Team was formed. The town earned points for conducting a municipal energy audit, measuring residential energy efficiency, converting street lights to LED lights, converting to paper biodegradable yard waste bags, hosting a buy local program and creating a local business directory.

Adding to that firm foundation, The Green Team has also completed additional action items in order to obtain points towards certification. New projects completed included the Pet Waste Program and Pet Waste Ordinance, and partnering with the Department of Housing and Community Development’s Sustainability Program.

One project of note is the Thurmont Community Gardens. Jim Humerick, Thurmont’s Chief Administrative Officer said, “This will be up and running in the spring and we’re really excited about it.” Registration began February 1 to lease 9’x11’ plots within the 30×100’ Community Garden area, located at Carroll Street Park, for $25.00 each. This is a great opportunity for all residents, but especially residents who live in apartments, townhouses and condos to enjoy gardening. For more information or to sign up, email Greg Daniels, Community Garden Coordinator at ThurmontCommunityGardens@gmail.com.  Applications can also be picked up at the Thurmont Municipal Offices.

Hillary Rothrock, a new Green Team member, took part in Frederick County’s Neighborhood Green Program which allowed homeowners to apply for funding for green improvements on their personal property. Rain barrels, minimizing rainwater runoff, compost, and a biomex rain garden are just a few of the improvements supported under this program. She said, “I think educating people about how easy it is to apply to make improvements is important to future sustainability.”

The Green Team is partnering with Frederick County for Residential Energy Efficiency Action. At www.FrederickGreenChallenge.org, residents learn about fifty actions that they can take to save energy. Here residents can earn points to become Certified Power Savers. Thurmont’s goal was to have 20 percent of households certified as Power Savers—a goal that was met in 2013. Residents who participate are automatically placed in an online Thurmont Green Team. To date, forty-one households have participated in the Power Saver Challenge.

The Green Team has several other projects that promote sustainability. With them come some really interesting volunteer opportunities. If you would like to serve on The Green Team, email  ThurmontGreenTeam@gmail.com or visit Thurmont Green Team on Facebook.

Green Team Chair, Anita Philips, urges each of us to, “Be a good ancestor now!”