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by James Rada, Jr.

Emmitsburg

February 2019 Meeting

Commissioners Begin Sign Ordinance Review

The Emmitsburg Commissioners began a review of the town’s new sign ordinance. The ordinance is undergoing major rework and the review will take place over three meetings.

Free Parking Donations

The Town of Emmitsburg announced that the parking meter revenue collected during the holiday season amounted to a $300 donation to the Community Day fireworks show and the Emmitsburg Food Bank.

Work Contracts Awarded

The Emmitsburg Commissioners voted to award Zest, LLC, of Clarksville a $15,912 contract to perform a hydrologic analysis of the Rainbow Lake dam to determine if work needs to be done on it. The Maryland Department of the Environment is requiring this analysis.

The commissioners also awarded RK&K a $203,380 contract to design the new pumping station. Town Manager Cathy Willets said that the town worked with the company previously on the wastewater treatment plant. They brought that project in under budget and with limited change orders. In addition, RK&K is guaranteeing not to exceed their quoted cost for the pumping station.

Finally, the commissioners chose to award RSV Pools a three-year contract for the pool management. Despite some reservations with RSV Pools, there was only one other bidder and RSV Pools had the lowest bid.

Commissioners Allocate Excess Funds

At the close of the FY2018 budget, the Town of Emmitsburg had a $152,758 surplus. The commissioners voted to allocate these funds to a number of capital projects: 300A South Seton signage, a mandated stormwater management project, a storm drain excavation, park equipment upgrades, sending old documents to Sure Scan, a disc golf course in Community Park, a Rainbow Lake engineering study, parking meter equipment, sled dogs, salt spreaders, and a utility ATV. In some cases, the amount set aside won’t fully fund the project, but either pays the matching part of a grant or starts saving for the project.

Town Trail Work Days

Commissioner Tim O’Donnell selected three days for work on the town trails with volunteers from the town. The days are April 7, May 5, and June 22. The goal is to get the trails in shape for Community Day and for the summer.

Thurmont

February 2019 Meeting

Local Businesses Awarded for Making Thurmont Proud

Economic Development Director Vickie Grinder recognized local businesses who won Frederick’s Best of the Best Contest in the Frederick News Post.

Town Approves Directional Signs

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners awarded Shannon Baum of Eldersburg a $24,600 contract to produce twelve wayfinding signs, which she also designed. The signs, which will be paid for with grants from the Maryland Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area and Frederick County Tourism, are similar to the new “Welcome to Thurmont” signs. Town staff should have the new sign installed by May.

The town will also seek funding for two additional “Welcome to Thurmont” signs.

Nature Trail Planned for Library

A new nature trail will be constructed on the property of the Thurmont Regional Library through the efforts of the Catoctin Forest Alliance, Town of Thurmont, Thurmont Regional Library, Thurmont Green Team, Frederick County Public Schools SUCCESS Program, and volunteers. The ADA-compliant trail will include butterfly habitat, bird houses, and bat boxes. Cameras will also stream video to a screen in the children’s area of the library.

Although the surface is currently planned to be crushed stone, the commissioners are planning to request that the surface be made blacktop and included in Frederick County’s Capital Improvement Plan.

This new trail can also be connected to the Thurmont Trolley Trail and the Thurmont Gateway Trail. If this happens, people will be able to walk from the library to the Catoctin Mountain Park Visitor Center.

Emmitsburg Mayor Don Briggs

Teased, better yet, taunted by a 65-degree day, not once, but twice, had me calling out, “Hey, show me some robins!” Alas, none were to be seen, but there were voices, then sightings of returning redwing blackbirds—no wing coloring yet—to join the seasonal regulars: cardinals, titmice, chickadees, finches, nuthatches, mourning doves, and wrens, especially those who winter their nights under the eaves of our porch. Also, the visiting of jays and cameos (unfortunately, not on demand) from area attracted woodpeckers—the downy, hairy and red-bellied. All attracted by Mrs. Lib’s feeding stations here and wherever we have lived. Missed dearly from our farm days are red-headed woodpeckers, sapsuckers, and common flickers. We are anxiously awaiting our summer visitors, the catbirds and mockingbirds drawn to an old mulberry tree and Mrs. Lib’s sliced grapes.

We really miss Zurgables for the convenient purchase of birdseed for Mrs. Lib’s backyard guests, but it was time for Mark to step back. Thank you for your service to our community, and we tip our hats to you. We are still helping keep Jubilee going with ample shelled peanut purchases for the squirrels and jays.

President’s Day marked our annual mid-late national observance to our Aquarian February. So, a good time to add a tribute to the day to the many. This one is from the author of War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy, who wrote some forty-five years after the assassination of Lincoln, “The greatness of Napoleon, Caesar, or Washington is only moonlight by the sun of Lincoln.”

At our last town meeting, our planner, Zach Gulden, introduced an update to our sign ordinance, the first of three planned consecutive presentations. The update is recommended, “Due to modern technological advances and recent Federal Supreme Court cases. The proposed amendment seeks to meet the needs of businesses and other organizations while protecting and enhancing the visual quality and traditional design concepts of Emmitsburg.” The business audience was engaging.

Mr. Gulden also presented the “MS4” town compliance update. MS4 is the handle for Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems. “The town is identified as an urbanized area and is mandated by the Environment Protection Agency and State of Maryland Department of the Environment to hold a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit. Our current permit is valid from 2018-2023. This is an unfunded mandate, which means we must meet the permit requirements with no funding help from the state or federal governments. The town may be fined up to $100,000 per day if the permit requirements are not met. The most costly requirement of the NPDES permit is treating at least 20 percent of the town’s impervious surface stormwater runoff every five years. The following are acceptable restoration strategies for receiving impervious area restoration credit: new stormwater ponds, existing stormwater pond retrofits (such as converting a dry pond to a wetland or providing additional water storage), restoring failed stormwater ponds, street sweeping, buffer planting, reforestation, stream restoration, inlet cleaning, shoreline stabilization, and others. Town staff is researching stream restoration projects and grant funding opportunities to meet this term’s permit needs. Staff projects the NPDES permit could cost the Town at least $500,000 every five years. That is certainly imposing as yet another mandate.

To our benefit, as I mentioned last month, is our timber asset and the town will be submitting requests for grant assistance.

New business development: (1) preliminary plans have been received for a Rutters gas and convenience store on part of the 200+ acres undeveloped within town limits on the east side of US 15. Yes, a Rutters may return to town, but this time on a much larger scale. This initial development will bring water and sewer to that area that could open the area to more commercial development. Additionally, there are preliminary plans for a retail commercial building on Silo Hill Parkway next to the car wash. Also the town-owned property on South Seton Avenue is being changed from residential to commercial (as allowed) and now being offered for rent.

We are not losing our mind, prices are rising. From an article in the Saturday, February 16, 2019, Wall Street Journal, “The Price of a Clean House” confirms our suspicions. The article tracked prices of several top-selling brands for everyday use household goods for the January 2018-January 2019 period. Manufacturers cited increased costs of production and delivery. By the way, more cost increases are expected to come this year… Kleenex 160-count tissues rectangular box, price bump 8.4 percent. Bounty Size-a-Super Roll 6 pack, price bump 19.4 percent. Huggies 112-count, size 4, disposable diapers up 1.9 percent. Glad Force Flex 13-gallon kitchen bags, 140 count, price bump 4.5 percent.

Ambivalent in its cadence, is the tempered assurance that spring will “stick the landing” once again. Unpredictable as to specifically when and how, there is always the predictability that it will be. The seasons do come with a wonderful rhythm. Let’s take care of it.

Thurmont Mayor John Kinnaird

Recent snowfall has dashed any hopes of an early spring, but it is coming. In the meantime, a few thoughts when it snows: If you can get your car off the road, please do so, it helps our snowplows; Don’t shovel driveway aprons until our snow plows go past; Do be careful when driving close to snow plows; Keep an eye on your elderly neighbors when it gets really cold or we get snow and ice; Be sure your kids are dressed appropriately for the cold or snow; Make sure your pets are indoors during extreme cold or make sure they have ample shelter with fresh water and food. Snow can be fun, but it can also be very hazardous. Please remember to call 911 for all medical, fire, or rescue emergencies. Thurmont residents should call 301-271-7313 to report any water, electric, or sewer emergencies. Use the same number after hours and follow the instructions for reporting an emergency.

The next months will bring some great local events to Thurmont, courtesy of Thurmont Main Street. Get a head start on your own wellbeing at the 2nd Annual Zumbathon, being held on Sunday, April 7, at the Thurmont American Legion, from 2:00-4:00 p.m. Proceeds from this event will help support Thurmont’s Gateway to the Cure 2019. On Saturday, April 27, be sure to attend the Thurmont Business Showcase, from 11:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m., at the Thurmont Event Complex. This well-attended annual event features many local businesses and nonprofits and gives you the chance to discover local businesses, services, and products of which you may not have been aware. Bring your family and friends to the Thurmont Event Complex at 13716 Strafford Drive for this wonderful event. If you are looking for some outdoor fun, head out to the 1st Annual Gateway to the Cure Golf Tournament, being held at Maple Run Golf Course on June 21. Keep an eye open for further details on this local golfing event at Thurmont’s own Maple Run Golf Course.

There are lots of projects planned for the Thurmont area this coming year, from a third pavilion at the community park, new lighting in the trolley trail, to new wayfaring signs around town. Cunningham Falls State Park is in the process of making some great improvements to the facilities at the lake and at the Manor area. New restrooms, picnic facilities, beach improvements, enhanced entrance facilities, a new outdoor center, and several other projects are in the works. These improvements may have an impact on park accessibility during the summer, and officials ask for your understanding—the improvements will be worth the inconvenience!

I hope everyone has a wonderful March, and we are all looking forward to warmer spring weather when we can get back outside to enjoy all Thurmont has to offer!

As always, please call me at 301-606-9458 or email me at jkinnaird@thurmont.com with any questions, comments or suggestions. You can also follow my Facebook page for updates on local issues or upcoming events.

by James Rada, Jr.

Emmitsburg

January 2019 Meeting

Emmitsburg Approves Forestry Management Plan

The Emmitsburg commissioners approved a forestry management plan that calls for harvesting select trees and selling them. The first lot of trees will be removed from a 60-acre town-owned parcel and is expected to bring in around $60,000 when sold. “Basically, they are cutting down dead and dying trees,” Town Planner Zach Gulden told the commissioners.

Future lots of trees will also be harvested with a total income to the town expected to be around $223,000. Town Manager Cathy Willets told the commissioners that the money is not earmarked for anything, but she expects the Rainbow Lake Dam to need work to bring it up to MDE standards. She would like to see the money go towards that expense.

Mount Still Planning on Building a Health Care Clinic in the Area

Mount St. Mary’s University and the Frederick Regional Health Care System have been gathering input from the community about a possible new health and wellness center for the area. The health system has already entered into an agreement with the Mount to coordinate student health care on campus.

However, because of the need for a health care center in Emmitsburg, the Mount and health system are planning to expand their role into the community. A 10,000-square-foot facility is expected to be built on the edge of the campus, where it can service both students and the community. The planned-for clinic would have primary and urgent care services, a laboratory, radiology, and physical therapy. Services will be provided that meet the guidelines of the Catholic Church.

Although a final location hasn’t been chosen yet, it will be a site that is primarily convenient for students and safe for them to reach. The center could open as early as mid-2020.

Electric Vehicle Charging Stations Installed Behind Town Offices

Emmitsburg’s four electric vehicle charging stations on the parking lot behind the Community Center have been installed, although they haven’t been connected with electrical service yet. The stations are funded through a grant from the Electric Vehicle Institute. The town was required to sign a five-year agreement with the Electric Vehicle Institute. The stations will not cost the town anything. Electric consumption used by the charging station will be paid for by the driver charging the vehicle.

The commissioners also had to approve an addendum to their lease with Frederick County, which is the owner of the Community Center. The addendum change allows the charging stations to be installed. The four charging stations will be marked, and the parking spaces in front of them will only be for the use of cars being charged. Vehicles will be allowed to park in the spots for up to six hours, and overnight parking is not allowed.

Commissioners Approve New Town Waysides

The Emmitsburg Commissioners approved three waysides that will be erected in town to highlight the town’s history. The waysides are designed and written by Ruth Bielobocky of Ion Design Firm and Scott Grove of Grove Public Relations.

The waysides are funded with a $9,000 grant from the Maryland Heritage Area Authority. The three waysides will be at the Emmit House, doughboy statue, and town square. The long-term goal is to create a historic walking tour through the town. They are expected to be erected in the spring.

Town Square Lights Using New Signal Sequence

As part of the town square renovation, the traffic signals and crosswalks are using a new sequence. North Seton Avenue will now proceed first after Main Street. South Seton will move second. This allows the crosswalk signal on the west side of the square to come up as soon as the Main Street light turns red.  The crosswalk on the east side of the square will then come up with South Seton Avenue’s turn signal.

Thurmont

January 2019 Meeting

Town May Use Speed Cameras Near Schools

Following a recommendation from Thurmont Police Chief Greg Eyler, the Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners are considering using speed cameras near the town schools. The equipment will be provided and maintained by Insta Traffic and won’t cost the town anything.

Cars speeding in school zones will be photographed, the photos reviewed by police, and a $40.00 citation sent to the registered owner of the vehicle.

“I strongly believe the cameras will make motorists be more cautious and think twice before speeding through a school zone,” Eyler said.

He said that the deterrent was needed because of close calls that both students and crossing guards have had crossing the busy streets.

Commissioner Marty Burns opposed the decision, feeling that it was more of a way to generate revenue than to keep children from being hit by vehicles. The other commissioners seemed to feel that if the cameras cause vehicles to slow down that will increase the safety of both students and crossing guards.

The commissioners will review the proposed contract and vote on it at a future time.

New Community Park Pavilion Approved

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners approved a bid from Playground Specialists of $79,975 to build a 30 x 60-foot steel pavilion on a concrete slab in Community Park. The project will be funded with a $90,810 Program Open Space grant that will pay for 75 percent of the cost.

The pavilion will be constructed west of the basketball courts in an open area that will require no trees to be removed and no grading.

Because the POS grant covers more than needed for construction costs, the difference will be used to purchase picnic tables for the new pavilion. The grant will also pay for 75 percent of the cost of the picnic tables.

Commissioner Bill Buehrer said that the new pavilion will help reduce the backlog of pavilion rental requests that the town receives each year.

Trolley Trail Lighting Bid Approved

Thurmont received a $17,640 Program Open Space grant to purchase nine lights for the Thurmont Trolley Trail, from Park Lane to Water Street. Town staff will install the lights 120 feet apart along the trail. The town received three bids for the seven lights. The low bid was $13,230 from Catoctin Lighting in Thurmont.

Because the grant amount exceeded the amount of the bid, the town will purchase an additional three lights to use for the next phase of lights along the trail from Water Street to Moser Road. This means that the town will only need to purchase seven lights for that stretch of the trail rather than ten.

Board of Appeals Alternate Appointed

The Thurmont Board of Commissioners recently appointed Vince Testa as an alternate member of the Thurmont Board of Appeals.

Emmitsburg

 Mayor Don Briggs

Like everyone, the town started the New Year at full pace. Here are a few things the town is working on.

This spring, through grant assistance, the town will be adding wayside exhibits to our historic district streetscape, describing the role of the Square, the Doughboy, and the Emmit House history of the town. The exhibits are intended to complement the ones situated in front of the post office, which describe the encampment of the Union forces in the town before embarking to Gettysburg in those first days of July in 1863. But, complement in an enhanced manner. The new 24 x 36-inch exhibits will not only contain narrative accounts but also supporting photography and other depictions.

Moving forward, the town is applying for grants for exhibits featuring the Vigilant Hose Company on West Main Street, the Great Emmitsburg Fire on East Main Street, the Chronicle Press – Schoolhouse, and the Carriage House Inn on South Seton Avenue. As an administrative goal, and much dreamed and talked about by many, Emmitsburg will have points of interest identified for a visitor’s walking tour in the near future.

Finally, the four electric vehicle (EV), level two, recharge stations have been installed. At times, it has been a cumbersome journey for the town staff to coordinate work under grant guidelines with the contractor, the power company, and the county. The stations are wired for future level three service and should be operational by the end of February.

Emmitsburg encompasses more than the quaint community, set between and along Toms Creek and Flat Run Creek. It includes over 900 acres of forest land situated, generally, on the north and west faces of College Mountain that are outside of town limits. To be more exact, according to Michael Kay of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, the town has 947 acres of forest, 23 acres of fields, and 17 acres of reservoir “up there.” Some of its mountain holdings, 400-450 acres and another 130-140 acres along Scott Road, were given to the town around the year 2000 through the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and the Conservation Fund, of which I served as a facilitator. Some twelve years later, after I was elected in 2013, I directed the staff to order a forestry report. The report, once in hand, not only described the holdings but also set out recommendations to protect its health. Deer feeding, invasive plants, gypsy moth defoliation, “oak decline,” and emerald ash borers over time have damaged the healthy regeneration of our forest. The report calls for timbering as a necessary step. Mr. Kay’s recommended action was presented to and approved by the town council during the January meeting. There are various intensities of cutting timber. As recommended, only select-cutting, as opposed to clear cutting, will be permitted. Of the 18 tracts identified in the report, a 60-acre tract near Rainbow Lake will be select-cut later this year. The plan is to timber one or two tracts annually, thereafter.

While bracing for our share of snow, ice, and/or rain, my thoughts are towards an early spring.

Thurmont

 Mayor John Kinnaird

On January 31, 2019, the residents of Thurmont lost to retirement one of the hardest working and dedicated employees they have ever known. On that day, Butch West retired from his job with the Town of Thurmont after forty-one years. In those years, Butch held many positions and worked his way up through the ranks to serve as superintendent of Public Works.

I have known Butch for many years, but it wasn’t until I was first elected that I realized how much he was intertwined in the day-to-day operations of our town. Butch has taught me a lot about the inner workings of Thurmont, our streets, parks, and electric system. On any given day, Butch literally seems to be everywhere at the same time. He spends most days going from one project or problem to another, supervising, providing advice, or getting his hands dirty working alongside our crews. He has never shied away from digging right in and helping get things done. I learned early on that if I asked Butch to do something next week, he was already thinking about how to get it done before I was finished telling him what I wanted, and he usually had it finished that day or the next. He made sure things were completed well in advance of when you expected them to be done. Butch began each day by driving around Thurmont and checking on everything from street lights to trash pickup. He has an encyclopedic knowledge of the vast majority of our town’s infrastructure and could pinpoint issues and devise solutions on the fly.

For many years, Butch seemed to forgo vacation time or scheduled days off; only recently, has he started taking the days off he was entitled to. This was a problem for me because I was used to calling him any day of week and he would be right there. I was quite surprised the first time I called him and he said he had the day off. Needless to say, after January 31, I will not have to worry about whether he is at work or off enjoying his free time.

The town employees have a picnic every year, and the commissioners and I have the opportunity to say a few words to the staff. I usually tell them that one of their main jobs is to make the commissioners and I look good, and Butch always laughs about this. As an elected official, I am basically a part-timer, whereas Butch and all of our staff are on the job full-time. It is through the hard work of employees like Butch that our town is the great place that we all love and enjoy.

It is hard to believe, but Butch has been here through ten mayoral elections, and during those terms, he has served our residents and elected officials with courtesy and a level of dedication that is above what anyone could expect. The first time I saw Butch after being elected, he was standing in a ditch manning a shovel to help fix a water-line leak. Last week, I called Butch about meeting me to see about some concrete that had been dropped on one of our streets; by the time I got there, he already had most of it cleaned up on his own. Some things never change! I will miss seeing and speaking to Butch on a daily basis, but it is time for him to start enjoying his days with his lovely and understanding wife, his children, and his grandchildren. On behalf of our residents, I want to thank him for all he has done for us during his forty-one-year career with the Town of Thurmont. I also want to th

by James Rada, Jr.

Thurmont’s Part in the 50th Gettysburg Reunion

Three hundred cavalrymen rode through Thurmont on June 25, 1913. They arrived on Western Maryland Railroad from Fort Myer in Arlington, Virginia. They unloaded their mounts from the train and rode through the town on Wednesday morning.

They were part of the second invasion of Gettysburg.

At the beginning of the 20th Century, Civil War Veterans were aging into their sixties and seventies when the average lifespan of an American was around forty-seven years.

Acting on an idea from Henry Shippen Huidekoper, who had been wounded during the battle of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania Governor Edwin Stuart urged the state legislature to remember the Veterans of the Battle of Gettysburg during the 50th anniversary.

Gettysburg had hosted battlefield reunions before, but they were relatively small events. For this milestone reunion, people envisioned an immense event with an abundance of people in town and the surrounding countryside as hadn’t been seen since the battle itself.

State legislatures responded positively and appointed representatives to participate in the planning. They would serve as liaisons between their states and the Pennsylvania Battle of Gettysburg Commission.

Seeing the nationwide interest in the event, the U.S. Congress appointed a committee of three U.S. senators and three congressmen to assist the Pennsylvania Commission in June 1910.

Much of the federal assistance came in the form of U.S. Army personnel to plan how to run the camp and army equipment. The cavalrymen from Fort Myer were part of the federal support of the Gettysburg reunion. Capt. Dean, adjutant of the troop, and Lt. Surles, quartermaster, were the first to arrive in Thurmont. They made the arrangements with Col. John R. Rouzer to occupy Camp Field along Hunting Creek.

The men were members of the 15th U.S. Cavalry with Troops A, B, C, and D under the command of Maj. Charles D. Rhodes. Then the food and horses arrived.

“Nearly a carload of feed was shipped to Thurmont over the Western Maryland railroad for the use of the horses and about half a ton of meat and provisions for the men while in camp here,” the Catoctin Clarion reported.

The cavalrymen stayed one night before reboarding the train and heading to Gettysburg the next day.

The reunion lasted for a week, with nearly 57,000 Veterans returning to Gettysburg. They stayed in a temporary military camp the army erected. Although the Veterans were grouped by their states, they mixed during the day as they walked miles each day covering the battlefield where they had once fought.

During the reunion, monuments were dedicated, the cyclorama opened for the first time, and a silent film about the battle premiered. Senators, congressmen, governors, and the president attended as special guests.

A group of Civil War Veterans from Thurmont also attended the reunion. The men from the Jason Damuth Post No. 89 of the G. A. R. left town on July 1 to be part of the reunion. They were Rev. W. L. Martin, John Tomes, William Jones, Jacob Freeze, Jeremiah Dutrow, Charles Carrens, W. T. Miller, George Elower, C. I. Creager, Charlton Fogle, William Freeze, Maj. George A. Castle, and George W. Miller.

The Gettysburg reunion was the largest reunion of Civil War Veterans ever held.

Confederate survivors of Pickett’s Charge re-enact the charge at the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg.

Survivors of Pickett’s Charge shake hands across the wall where they fought so desperately fifty years earlier.

A Union and Confederate veteran goof around showing they can still fight at the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg.

The Veteran encampment at Gettysburg housed around 57,000 Veterans at the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg.

December 2018

by James Rada, Jr.

Emmitsburg

Mount Still Planning on Building a Health Care Clinic in the Area

Simon Blackwell, with Mount St. Mary’s University, spoke to the Emmitsburg Mayor and Commissioners during their monthly meeting in December. He said that the university is in negotiations with the Frederick Regional Health System to bring a health and wellness clinic into the area. It is needed to help “improve the quality and access to healthcare” for Mount students, according to Blackwell, but it would also be available to area residents. The planned-for clinic would have primary and urgent care services, a laboratory, radiology, and physical therapy. As part of the process, university staff have been meeting with the members of the community to get their input.

Town Approved Water Contracts

The Emmitsburg Commissioners approved water agreements for two property owners outside of town. Years ago, Emmitsburg bought a small water company that serviced property owners outside of town. Over the years, most of those properties have been easily serviced on the town system. However, an 8-inch water line that serviced only three properties was discovered to be unrepairable. One of the properties was close enough to a 10-inch water line that the town owned that it could be connected to it.

The town then faced a decision: Either spend an estimated $1 million to build a new water line to service the two properties or find a way to terminate service to properties.

The town chose the latter and offered the property owners to either drill a new well on the property or pay the property owners the equivalent amount ($11,655).

One property owner took the buyout, and the other will have the town pay to have a new well dug on his property.

Traffic Should Switch on Bridge This Month

According to information that Emmitsburg town staff received from the Maryland State Highway Administration, the deck of the new East Main Street bridge over Flat Run was to be poured in mid-December. Following the concrete deck, a layer of asphalt was applied. This needed to set for 28 days before traffic could be rerouted onto it, which puts the date into mid-January.

Town to Deal with Business Trailers

The Emmitsburg Commissioners are expected to approve changes to the zoning laws that will allow large storage trailers to be used on industrial properties. The changes will allow a trailer used to collect tires for recycling to continue to be used at Quality Tire, while not creating an eyesore for adjacent residential properties.

Thurmont

Thurmont Third Safest Town in Maryland in 2018

Thurmont recently received recognition from Safewise as the third safest city in Maryland. Safewise looks at the most recent FBI Crime Report statistics and population of cities with more than 3,000 residents. They look at violent crime and property crime that occurs per 1,000 residents.

According to Safewise, Thurmont has .92 violent crimes per 1,000 residents and 10.45 property crimes per 1,000 residents. It is the only city in Frederick County to make the top ten.

This is a big jump from the 2016 report that listed Thurmont as the ninth safest town in Maryland. Between 2016 and 2018, Thurmont violent crime increased from .92 incidents per 1,000 residents, but property crime decreased from 11.76 incidents per 1,000 residents.

The safest cities in Maryland are: 1. Hampstead (Carroll); 2. Manchester (Carroll); 3. Thurmont (Frederick); 4. Bowie (Prince Georges); 5. Glenarden (Prince Georges); 6. Ocean Pines (Worcester); 7. Taneytown (Carroll); 8. Frostburg (Allegany); 9. Bel Air (Harford); and 10. Easton (Talbot).

Thurmont is the only Frederick County town listed among the safest towns in Maryland.

Town Receives a Clean Audit

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners recently received the results of the annual review done of its finances by an independent auditor. Not only did the town receive a clean audit with no findings, but the town also did not have to file for an extension in order to have it done on time.

Town Enacts Planning and Zoning Fees

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners voted to enact planning and zoning fees to recover the cost of using town resources to review development plans. The fees are based on those used in other nearby municipalities. A concept plans submission and review will cost $250, plus the invoiced cost of professional services, such as advertising, legal, and engineering fees. A preliminary site plan, category 1, residential, will cost $350, plus $25 per lot and the invoiced cost of professional services. A preliminary site plan, category 1, non-residential, will cost $500, plus professional services for projects smaller than 25 acres; and $500, plus $25 an acre and professional services for projects over 25 acres. A preliminary site plan, category 2, will cost the zoning certificate fee and professional services. An annexation and review will cost $500, plus $25 an acre and professional services.

Colorfest Review

The Town of Thurmont is starting to dig itself out of a deficit from hosting Colorfest, after making some changes to the permit fees. For Colorfest 2018, the Town of Thurmont received $68,578 and spent $61,289 for sanitation, trash, buses, and security.

While this proved to be a year the town was in the black, it was not the case in 2014 and 2015. Those two years left the town $24,237 in the red. The commissioners made changes to the fees and trimmed some expenses, which has helped the town show positive numbers since 2015. The town is now showing a deficit of $10,147 over the past five years.

The Colorfest revenues have also been helped by the increasing number of permits sold. For Colorfest 2018, 798 permits were sold, up 101 from 2016. This includes a jump from 21 to 32 permits for commercial food vendors, who pay $500 for their permits.

Town Increases Water Reconnection Fee

After reviewing the cost of reconnecting a property to the town’s water system after it has been disconnected for non-payment, the Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners recently voted to increase the fee to $75.

This came about after the town reviewed all of the costs associated with reconnecting a property and found that it cost slightly more than $73. The town was only charging $6. The $75 is also equal to or less than the amount charged by surrounding municipalities.

Chief Administrative Office Jim Humerick told the commissioners that disconnecting a property is a last resort for the town. Before that point is reached, the town will have offered the property owner an option to pay the debt back on a payment plan and give the property owner contact information for agencies that might be able to help the property owner pay the bill.

Emmitsburg

 Mayor Don Briggs

In our Community Christmas Stocking

Thank you to those who added the trees on the square, and then, decorated them. A spontaneous occurrence and a very nice added touch.

Thank you town staff for the decorations at the square and at the Community Center. Many compliments.

Thank you E&E Trees, Walkersville Tree Farm, Ken and Barbara Willets, for donating the beautiful town Christmas tree.

Thank you third grade class at Mother Seton School, and all the grades from elementary school, for decorating the town Christmas tree in front of the Community Center, adding to the trimming efforts of the town staff.

Thank you to all the volunteers of our churches, organizations, and businesses who participated in the various Emmitsburg events, starting with the traditional town Christmas tree lighting, on the first Monday in December, in front of the town office, Christ Community Church children’s chorus (My error on invitation to Mother Seton School. They will be singing next year.), Santa Claus arriving in a Vigilant Hose truck, the lighting of the tree, then following Santa on foot to the Carriage House Inn for the 30th Annual “An Evening of Christmas Spirit.” The weather was kind again to the many who attended.  

The state finished the square and sidewalks project, except for some loose brick work. Just can’t seem to get the state’s contractors out of here.

Things are moving along on the Flat Run Bridge project, with the concrete being poured for the new bridge lanes. If the weather cooperates, the complementary road work could be completed and we could have a lane switch by the New Year.

For the New Year

Lots of New Year’s resolutions to add to pushing away from the table with a little bit more fervor and with more, much more, resolve. Oh well…

Mount St. Mary’s University is moving ahead with plans to enter a venture with Frederick Memorial Hospital affiliate to build a medical facility on its campus. At the facility, primary and urgent care will be available for students, faculty, and community residents. The university will make a presentation on the proposed medical facility at the January 7, 2019, town meeting, at 7:30 p.m.

At the January 30 Green Team meeting, Hilari Varnadore, Director, LEED for Cities and Communities, U. S. Green Building Council (USGBC) will be the guest speaker. LEED is an acronym for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. The topic will be: Helping cities and communities use data to drive more sustainable, equitable investments. Hilari was formerly with Star Communities, which recently merged with the USGBC. Before that, she headed up the Frederick County Sustainability Office that assisted the Frederick County Sustainability Commission when I was chairman of the commission.   

With the New Year comes the sad reality that after seventy-four years of service to the community, Zurgables Hardware will be closed. All those convenient planned and emergency stops no more. According to Mark Zurgable, it was time. Mark has owned and operated the store for thirty-nine years. Thank you, Mark, for all the years of service to the community at your store.

To all, hoping you all had a wonderful Christmas and have a wonderful New Year. Emmitsburg, a great place to live.

Thurmont

  Mayor John Kinnaird

Mayor John Kinnaird was as busy as Santa Claus at the time of our deadline for this issue, and we think his column may have been eaten by a reindeer! He wishes everyone a Happy New Year!

James Rada, Jr.

There was a time in Frederick County when workers needed to follow the work. Every year, a couple thousand workers would journey up the East Coast to work on farms and in factories in the county. They lived in migrant camps in Thurmont, Frederick, and Araby.

Galen Hahn was among them. He didn’t travel with them or work the jobs they did. He ministered to them in the 1960s.

Born and raised in Frederick County, Hahn is the son of John and Helen Hahn. He was confirmed and ordained into Christian ministry at Grace Reformed United Church of Christ in Frederick.

While in high school, Hahn spent a couple summers working with the pastors who served the migrant communities in the county. He initially served as a guide, getting a pastor who wasn’t local to the different places he needed to go, but he continued volunteering and serving the migrants. After he graduated college, Rev. Hahn returned to the county as the migrant pastor.

“It wasn’t just a meeting on Sunday,” Hahn said. “I had to go day to day, week to week. The bulk of the people I worked with were children and a few women.”

This is because the men, and most of the women, were in the county to work, and they worked seven days a week. In the Thurmont area, they worked in a canning factory owned by J. O’Neill Jenkins.

The migrant camp was a set of run-down barracks that were “falling apart,” according to Hahn. For these poor accommodations, the families paid $2.00 per person, per week. The camp, which was near the Weller Church cemetery, no longer exists.

Hahn has written a book about his time as a migrant pastor, called Finding My Field. It includes pictures, which he has since donated to the Maryland Room in the C. Burr Artz Library in Frederick.

The book is the story of the migrant ministry in Frederick County and the people who cared enough for the migrant farm workers to pursue justice for them.

“Toward the end of my life, I am enjoying the opportunity of revisiting some of my early days of involvement in ministry before ordained ministry became my life,” Hahn said. “I was early affected by race, poverty, justice, and ministry to children where these were issues. These issues stayed with me throughout my ordained ministry.”

Although he now is retired and living in North Carolina, Rev. Hahn previously served as pastor of the Mt. Pleasant Reformed United Church of Christ and the Sabillasville United Church of Christ. He has also served as a chaplain at Stauffer Funeral Home, Victor Cullen Center, and Victor Cullen Academy.

You can purchase his book online at Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com. Copies are also available to check out in county libraries.

Thurmont Migrant Camp

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Thurmont-Camp-1963.jpg

Before Migrants Arrived in 1963

Connie  Stapleton at the Thurmont Camp Garbage Area.

Thurmont Camp Barracks Family Room.

Photos Courtesy of the Maryland Room, Frederick County Public Libraries

November 2018

by James Rada, Jr.

Emmitsburg

New Trees on Main Street

The Maryland State Highway Administration has planted new trees along Main Street. The different species include scarlet oak, columnar sergeants cherry, snow goose cherry, and rotundiloba sweetgum.

Town Awarded Community Legacy Grant

Emmitsburg received a $50,000 Community Legacy Grant for façade improvement and restoration. The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development provides half of the grant award, and the property owners match the award amount. The maximum grant amount is $12,500 per property, per fiscal year, as long as the money is available.

You can pick up a grant application in the town office. The completed application is due by January 4, 2019. Contact Town Planner Zach Gulden at 301-600-6309 or at zgulden@emmitsburgmd.gov with any questions or for more information.

ADA Playground Nearly Fully Funded

Emmitsburg received another Community Legacy Grant of $75,000 to help pay for the new ADA-compliant playground in Emmit Gardens. This grant, along with the $125,000 in Program Open Funding previously awarded for the playground, nearly pays the entire cost of the playground.

Commissioners Review New Town Waysides

The Emmitsburg Commissioners reviewed a new set of waysides that will be erected in town to highlight the town’s history. The waysides are designed and written by Ruth Bielobocky of Ion Design Firm and Scott Grove of Grove Public Relations.

The waysides are funded with a $9,000 grant from the Maryland Heritage Area Authority. The three waysides will be at the Emmit House, doughboy statue, and town square. The long-term goal is to create a historic walking tour through the town.

Tree Ordinance Approved

The Emmitsburg Town Commissioners approved an ordinance for tree care that is needed for Emmitsburg to become Tree City certified. To receive the certification from the National Arbor Day Foundation, a municipality must meet four criteria: (1) Celebrate Arbor Day; (2) Have a team dedicated to tree care; (3) Have at least $2.00 per tree dedicated to tree care in the budget; and (4) Have a law to protect trees.

 

Thurmont

John Dowling Named Volunteer of the Year

The Thurmont Lions Clubs announced its Volunteer of the Year for 2018 during a recent town meeting. The award recognizes volunteers who work in the Thurmont zip code. This year’s nominees were: John Dowling for his work at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church and Thurmont Senior Citizens Center; Nicole Orr for her work with Hospice of Frederick County, the Distinguished Young Women’s Program, and the Lewistown Elementary School; and Donna Voellinger for her work with the Thurmont Historical Society.

“They are each passionate about their volunteer work and put their whole heart into what they do,” Lion Susan Favorite told the commissioners.

Dowling was chosen as the Volunteer of the Year. He received a certificate of recognition and a gift certificate to the Shamrock Restaurant. He was also able to designate where a $400 donation from the Thurmont Lions Club would go. Dowling chose to split the money between the Thurmont Senior Center and Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church.

New Police Dog Introduced

The Thurmont Police Department introduced its new police dog, Majo, to the Thurmont Commissioners in October. Majo is now a nineteen-month-old shepherd chow mix that came from the Czech Republic. He was certified in October and is now on the street with his handler, Cpl. Tim Duhan.

The town had budgeted $10,000 to purchase and train Majo, but the bill came out to be $12,600. However, the Humane Society of Frederick County donated $1,600 and Woodsboro Bank donated $1,000 to make up the difference.

Town Will Continue to Receive County Tax Rebate

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners decided to continue receiving money that the county returns for duplicative services as a rebate rather than the more complicated tax differential. The refund amounts to roughly $685,000 returned to the town annually to help pay for police, parks, and town planning.

Thurmont Food Bank Receives Donations from Town Events

Two recent events netted the Thurmont Food Bank substantial donations just in time for the seasonal increase in demand for services.

The Community Shred Event asked residents to also bring non-perishable food items for each box of paper that was being shredded or to make a cash donation. The event collected 768 items and $235.

Halloween in the Park also asked attendees to bring a non-perishable food item or to make a cash donation. The event collected 820 items and $91.

Arbor Day Proclamation Made

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners made an Arbor Day proclamation as part of their efforts to continue being recognized as a Tree City by the Arbor Day Foundation. Over the last few years, the town has also planted 224 new trees throughout the town.

Emmitsburg

 Mayor Don Briggs

This year, Northern Frederick County residents will get a great Christmas present. The Hayward Road-U.S. 15 intersection is closed. Amen. For years—no, generations—this intersection was one of the worst traffic spots in the county. Stop and think of all the trips that you, your friends, or family members whistled by there at 60 mph or merged first south from Hayward Road across traffic to make a “J” to go north in all types of weather, at all times of day. Travel through there was always a chilling reality.

For me, the newly completed and opened overpass of U.S. 15, connecting Monocacy Boulevard and Christopher Crossing, conjured up thoughts of approaching the ANZAC bridge in Sydney Harbor, Australia. That bridge, that trip, was spectacular. So was the opening of the overpass for us from the north who now have safe and easy access to the many shopping and service opportunities on Route 26, as well as to the primary location for county medical services along Thomas Johnson Drive.

Going back some 30 years, when I was a member of the Frederick City Planning and Zoning Commission, there was a deadly automobile accident at the Hayward Road-U.S. 15 intersection. It was not the first accident nor was it to be the last. At that time, frustration was high on the commission and in the community, “Please, State do something.” The Maryland State Highway Administration was requested to send a representative to the commission’s next meeting, and did. At that meeting, the representative made a presentation, and in the end, joined in with our frustration, “Sorry, there is nothing we can do. There are over 1,000 similarly dangerous intersections in the state like the Hayward Road-U.S. 15 intersection.” That is my recollection almost verbatim. And that was that.

Update: The trees are in place along Main Street. We have been assured that they are different varieties from those planted thirty years ago. Not fruit bearing, and the shape and growth will be more controlled.

Thank you to the EBPA for the series of volunteer clean-ups around town. It was a wonderful gift to the town.

There are many wonderful community events planned throughout the Christmas season, so please check our town website and Facebook page.

I hope all had a wonderful Thanksgiving, and from my family to yours, we hope you have a wonderful Christmastide and Happy New Year.

Thurmont

 Mayor John Kinnaird

Thurmont held its annual Gateway to the Cure fundraiser in October. At the Town Meeting on November 20, we presented the Patty Hurwitz Fund at Frederick Memorial Hospital with a donation of $18,000. These funds were raised by Thurmont businesses, organizations, individuals, the 5K Run, as well as through the sale of pink lightbulbs and other items. The funds will be used by the Patty Hurwitz Fund to help support research and cancer patient services at FMH. I want to thank everyone that participated in this year’s event. With your help, cancer patients now get treatments in Frederick that just a few years ago were not locally available. This year’s donations brings our five year total to $62,000! All of our residents and businesses should be very proud of this accomplishment.

Be sure to visit the model train display at 5B East Main Street, open weekends during December. The display is open Saturdays, from 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m., and Sundays, from noon-4:00 p.m. The train setup is courtesy of the Frederick County Society of Model Engineers. The Society is partnering with the Town of Thurmont to make this display possible as a part of Christmas in Thurmont. As a special treat, Santa will be at the display on December 15, 16, 22, and 23. Stop in to see this amazing train display!

The New Year is almost here, I find it hard to believe that 2019 is upon us. It will take me at least a month to write the correct date! With the new year comes the annual park pavilion registration. Be sure to watch for the opening date for reserving park pavilions. I am happy to announce that we were just informed that we will be awarded Project Open Space funding for a new pavilion at the Community Park. I hope we can begin construction on this new pavilion in the spring and have it available by summer.

The coming year will bring new projects and infrastructure repairs, and we will be sure to let everyone know when work will be done. New schedules for grass clipping pickup, bulk trash removal, trash pickup holiday changes, and other important dates for 2019 will be sent with your electric bill and posted on the Thurmont Facebook page and website.

On behalf of the town staff and the Thurmont Board of Commissioners, it has been our pleasure to serve the residents of Thurmont, and we wish everyone a Very Merry Christmas and the Happiest of New Years!

Questions, comments, or suggestions are always welcome. Call me at 301-606-9458 or email me at jkinnaird@thurmont.com.

Blair Garrett

From hometown day job to high-flying national wrestler, Bill Bain of Thurmont has made a name for himself in the wrestling scene.

Bain has performed in various local shows, but he just recently made his biggest splash in the wrestling scene to-date, taking his talents to Monday Night Raw. Bain’s appearance on Raw put him in the spotlight of one of the hottest topics the show has ever seen.

The week before, former Olympian and WWE Hall of Famer Kurt Angle had returned to set himself up to the championship match by defeating the acting WWE General Manager, Baron Corbin. Angle had survived the 10-man battle royale to face against Corbin, overthrowing the GM to be the last man standing in a golden conquistador outfit.

Bain took over the following week, sporting the very same golden conquistador outfit, staring down a two vs. one against some stiff competition.

“Kurt Angle tricked them by putting me under the mask, and I ended up having the match against the Authors of Pain,” Bain said.

After Bain’s identity was revealed, Kurt Angle himself appeared, Angle slamming Corbin once more.

“It was about two minutes long, but still in front of about fifteen thousand people, and it’s gotten eight million views online and five million people watching,” Bain said. “It’s my biggest exposure in wrestling so far.”

Bain’s recent success stems from many hours spent performing in wrestling gigs all around the east coast.

“I got involved in wrestling sixteen years ago because I was a fan growing up,” Bain said. “I did smaller, independent shows all over the east coast, and then in 2009 is when WWE contacted me for some opportunities to work with them.”

October’s performance was not Bain’s first stint with the WWE. The Thurmont-based wrestler faced off against Vladimir Kozlov in 2009, starting just the beginning of his rise to fame in the wrestling community.

Although Bain has performed with the WWE before, each time is special in its own way.

“There’s definitely a big difference walking out in front of ten or twelve thousand people,” Bain said. “My friends and family have showed the video to plenty of people.”

Bain’s Monday Night Raw appearance was short and sweet, but hopefully not the last we’ll see of the new conquistador.

The identity of “El Conquistador” was revealed on Monday Night Raw to be Thurmont’s Bill Bain.

Courtesy Photo

October 2018

by James Rada, Jr.

Emmitsburg

Incumbents Re-elected

The Emmitsburg Town Election was held on September 25, 2018. Incumbents Clifford Sweeney and Timothy O’Donnell ran unopposed for two open commissioner seats. Forty-eight ballots were cast. Sweeney received forty-four and O’Donnell received forty-one. The winners were sworn in for their new four-year terms during the October 1 town meeting.

Following a recommendation from Mayor Don Briggs, the board of commissioners was reorganized. Sweeney became the new president of the board and O’Donnell became the treasurer. Glenn Blanchard became the new vice president of the board. Elizabeth Buckman remained the liaison with the Citizen’s Advisory Committee, and Joseph Ritz, III remained the liaison with the Parks Committee.

 

Rezoning of Emmit Gardens Property Approved

The Emmitsburg Commissioners held a public hearing during their October 1 public meeting to consider rezoning the property at 600-602 East Main Street Ext. Joseph Baldacchino, representing the Sarah E. Baldacchino Trust, asked that the property be rezoned from low-density residential (R1) to neighborhood commercial (B1). This zoning better represented how the property had been used years ago when it served as a home and dentist office.

The commissioners agreed that a mistake had been made in the original zoning, but they had concerns that B1 zoning would allow a future property owner to install a large sign that was out-of-character with the neighborhood. Another concern was the placement of required fencing would impinge on a utility right-of-way.

After much discussion, the commissioners approved the rezoning, while reserving the right to approve signage and fencing when, and if, it happened.

 

Commission Turns Down Group Asking to Hunt on Scott Road Farm

The Indian Lookout Conservation Club asked to enter into an agreement with the town to allow its group to hunt on the town-owned Scott Road Farm if the group took care of the maintenance of the property. Town staff did not recommend this agreement to the commissioners for numerous reasons, such as making it harder to enforce the no-hunting ban and showing favoritism to a small group of citizens. The commissioners decided to stick with their original decision to re-evaluate its no-hunting rule next August.

Thurmont

Town Sees Big Insurance Savings

The Town of Thurmont entered into an agreement with the Local Government Insurance Trust. The trust is a pooled insurance fund among government entities that allows their combined size to get them better insurance rates.

The Thurmont Commissioners had allocated $100,000 in the current budget for insurance. The town’s insurance provider at the time quoted the town $96,143. However, town staff decided to shop around to see if a better rate could be had. LGIT quoted $60,471 for the same insurance. Chief Administrative Jim Humerick told the commissioners that LGIT also offered an extensive line of online training in different areas of municipal government that LGIT customers can use for free.

Commissioner Marty Burns raised the issue as to whether Thurmont Mayor John Kinnaird had exceeded his power by authorizing town staff to change insurance providers without approval from the commissioners.

Kinnaird said, “It’s my duty to see we don’t exceed our stated budget.” It was pointed out that the line item was for insurance and did not state a specific company. Those types of things are typically left to the decision of staff and/or the mayor. Kinnaird also noted that had the insurance quotes exceeded the approved $100,000, he would have brought the issue back to the commissioners to decide what to do.

The other commissioners had no issue with Kinnaird’s decision, particularly since it saved the town more than $35,000. The commissioners unanimously approved the agreement with LGIT.

 

Colorfest Looking Good

A few days before the 55th Annual Catoctin Colorfest, the Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners received an update on the number of permits issued for the festivals.

Last year (which was the record year for permits issued), a total of 764 permits were issued. This year, with three days to go before the festival, 719 permits had been issued with more expected. This is more than either 2016 or 2015. Chief Administrative Officer Jim Humerick told the commissioners that he expected the 2018 total permits to be at least as many as 2017 and possibly more.

The town issues permits for craft vendors, for-profit-food vendors, non-profit food vendors, information-only booths, parking, and yard sales. Craft vendors make up the majority of the permits, but the for-profit-food vendors pay the most for their permits.

All income from the permits is used to pay for the services that the town provides during Colorfest. This includes staff overtime, security, trash removal, porta-potties, and shuttles.

Emmitsburg

Mayor Don Briggs

For our active town, the first two weeks of October, predictably, are always busy, but this year was off the charts. It started off with the town meeting on the first Monday, Thursday, a teleconference with Maryland Mayor’s Board executive committee; and Friday night, Catoctin High homecoming float judging with Thurmont Mayor John Kinnaird. We quickly deferred our votes to my granddaughters, Kiernan and Peyton, who chose the 4-H float as the winner. Saturday morning, town offices opened to host the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF) Memorial weekend activities. At noon, I attended and spoke at a ribbon-cutting grand re-opening of McDonald’s. That night, I attended Motorola – NFFF Board of Directors dinner at the Carriage House Inn. Sunday morning, I attended the 37th NFFF Memorial Service, where 103 fallen firefighters were honored, and I gave the welcoming address, which is always an honor. Monday welcomed the National Fire Heritage Board at its annual meeting. Tuesday, I attended and received an award for the town from the International Society of Arboriculture at its annual meeting, held this year in Frederick. Then, off to Annapolis I went to the League of Conservation Voters awards dinner, where the town was recognized. Wednesday and Thursday, I attended Maryland Municipal League Fall conference, where the town’s application for Sustainable Maryland re-designation certification was awarded.

More on the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) award: The International award is given out annually. ISA is an international non-profit organization that serves the tree care industry. The organization has 22,000 members and 31,000 certified tree care professionals. It has 59 chapters in North America, Europe, Asia, South America, Australia, and New Zealand.

The town was honored to receive the 2018 ISA “Harry J. Banker Gold Leaf Award” for Outstanding Arbor Day Activities. This is a great honor, and kudos go to our staff for forging ahead on our green stewardship goals to take care of the wonderful blend and backdrop to our town. What we did was plant trees in the park along Willow Run. It was a fantastic town effort, with every civic organization, including the Mount, FEMA, the Basilica, and the whole Mount rugby team.

Thank you to the Seton Center for hosting another round of job fairs. A convenient, friendly way for residents of Northern Frederick County to meet area employers. They’re coming to us.

While winter sports are ramping up, Catoctin High School and Catoctin Youth Association fall sports teams are on a roll. What a year. A few losses here and there, but as any coach will tell you, a loss can sometimes prove to be your best win.

Thank you to all the service groups, led by the Lions Club, involved in the planning and organizing of the Emmitsburg annual Halloween event.

The town office will be closed on Thursday, November 22, and Friday, November 23, for Thanksgiving.

Monday, December 3, is the Christmas tree lighting in front of the Community Center. Music and caroling begin at 5:45 p.m. Santa visits from 6:00-6:30 p.m., then it’s down two blocks to the Carriage House Inn for the annual “An Evening of Christmas Spirit,” featuring free hot dogs, cider, hay rides, and entertainment.

The Town council meeting is Tuesday, December 4.

Happy Thanksgiving wishes to everyone.

Emmitsburg, a great place to live and work.

Thurmont

Mayor John Kinnaird

Now that the elections have come and gone, I want to congratulate those returning to office and those who have been newly elected to serve our residents. I also want to thank those whose campaigns were unsuccessful for trying to make a difference. As we all witnessed during the campaign, things can get very nasty. In today’s world, it is getting more difficult for people to decide to run for public office; those that do must be able to withstand the onslaught of negativity that seems to surround our election process. It is my belief that the thought of negative campaigning has kept some from stepping up to serve. I hope we can work together to overcome this unfortunate aspect of elections.

Christmas will soon be here and with it comes Christmas in Thurmont! This year’s event will be held on Saturday, December 1, 2018, beginning at 9:00 a.m. with the arrival of Santa at Mechanicstown Square Park. Kids can register for free prizes all day at the Park; prizes will be drawn at 5:30 p.m. (must be present to win). Adults can register for prizes by picking up a prize map and visiting local businesses; the drawing is also at 5:30 p.m. (must be present to win). There will be horse and wagon rides available at the Thurmont Municipal Parking Lot. Please watch for more information about the wagon rides on the Thurmont or Main Street Facebook pages. After the ribbon-cutting, there will be free photos with Santa in the Gazebo until 12:30 p.m.; kids, parents, grandparents, and pets are welcome. Santa will then be at the Thurmont Regional Library at 1:00 p.m. to read to the children and sit for photos. Santa will return to the Mechanicstown Square Park at 2:15 p.m. for more photos with his friends. Pictures with Santa will end at 4:30 p.m. The Catoctin High School Marching Band will be performing, as will the Gateway Brass Ensemble.

We are happy to announce a great new feature at this year’s Christmas in Thurmont: a model train setup at 5B East Main Street. The Frederick County Society of Model Engineers (FCSME) will have an indoor train set up, not only for Christmas in Thurmont, but for each Saturday and Sunday in December. The display will be open Saturdays, 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.; and Sundays, noon-4:00 p.m. As a special treat, Santa will be visiting the display several times to speak to the children and for photos. The Society will be asking for a donation to help with the renovations to its historic rail car in Frederick. We are very pleased to partner with the FCSME for this amazing opportunity!

This time of the year brings added difficulty for many of our neighbors, and I encourage everyone to support the Thurmont Food Bank and Clothes Closet. Your donations of non-perishable foods, clothing, or cash can help make a positive difference in someone’s life during the holiday season and into the cold winter months.

If you have any questions, comments, or recommendations, please call me at 301-606-9458 or e-mail me at jkinnaird@thurmont.com.

 

Emmitsburg

Town to Start Relining Old Sewer Pipes

The Town of Emmitsburg has been noting a problem with wild water getting into the sewers (called inflow and infiltration [I&I]). Once the water is in the system, it winds up being treated for an estimated cost of $2.00 per 1,000 gallons. This covers the cost of chemicals, staff time, power, and wear and tear on the system. It has become a costly problem for the town, costing around $40,000 a month in May and June of this year to treat I&I.

“This year we’ve had a lot of precipitation, which will cause the I&I to spike and cause your costs to spike,” Town Manager Cathy Willets told the Emmitsburg Commissioners in September.

The commissioners approved an $80,575 bid from Mr. Rehab to begin relining sewer pipe on East Main Street and Creamery Road. The money will come from the town’s sewer fund. The process does not require digging or traffic control. Also, it is estimated to take only a week.

This should be the beginning of what is estimated to be a ten-year process to reline the old sewer pipes in town that cracked and are allowing in wild water.

It will work in conjunction with rehabbing the existing sewer pumping station to make it more efficient and allow it to handle more sewage. The commissioners approved seeking federal funds to begin the planning process to rehabilitate the old pumping station. The project could begin in two years if things move along smoothly. The relined pipe, new pumping station in Emmit Garden, and rehabilitated pumping station would work together to significantly reduce I&I problems, saving the town tens of thousands of dollars every year.

 

Welcome Letter Delayed

A welcome letter that would have been sent to new town residents has been delayed because the Emmitsburg Commissioners feared liability issues with some of the information in the letter. The letter lists certain businesses that new residents might need to know about, but it did not list all of the businesses in town. Some of the commissioners thought this might be suggesting favoritism to some business owners and might lead to problems.

Commission President Tim O’Donnell suggested having the Maryland Association of Counties review the letter for any possible ethics problems in the way the businesses are presented.

 

Community Legacy Grants Are Now Being Accepted

The Community Legacy Program is a partnership between Emmitsburg and the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD). DHCD provides a 50 percent grant for exterior façade and exterior improvements, while the property owner pays the other 50 percent. The maximum grant is $12,500 per property per fiscal year while money is available. If you are interested in applying for the grant, contact town staff at 301-600-6300 for more information.

 

Hunting and Emmitsburg Trail Use Information

Hunting on property owned by the Town of Emmitsburg is allowed Monday through Saturday only. There is no hunting on Sundays. While Maryland Department of Natural Resources allows permit hunting on certain Sundays in certain areas, none of the dates or areas apply to town-owned properties. The last day for hunting is May 23, 2019. Currently, the town trails can be used on Sundays only to ensure there is no hunting going on around them. All-week access will begin on May 24, 2019, after hunting season has ended.

 

Citizens Advisory Committee Appointments

Mark Walker was reappointed to the Citizens Advisory Committee for a two-year term beginning October 20. Brian and Melissa McKenney were appointed to the committee as new members. Their two-year terms began on September 4.

 

Closed Columbus Day

The Emmitsburg Town Office will be closed on Columbus Day, Monday, October 8.

 

Thurmont

Town Gets ADA Curb Update

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners received an update on the ADA-compliant curb project that was undertaken this summer. This summer, forty-one ADA-compliant curbs and ramps were installed in twenty locations. Some of the locations include Frederick Road at Moser Road, Summit Avenue at Thurmont Middle School, Community Park at Frederick Road, the municipal parking lot, and Locust Drive at Apples Church Road.

This project cost $87,804, of which $84,000 was paid for with a Community Development Block Grant. With the project’s completion, all of the town’s major pedestrian crossings have been made ADA compliant in the last three years.

 

Town to Pave Weddle Alley

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners approved the paving of Weddle Alley during a recent town meeting. The alley runs behind seven homes from North Carroll Street to Radio Lane.

“It’s our last gravel-based alley in town,” Chief Administrative Officer Jim Humerick told the commissioners.

The commissioners debated whether such a small alley was a priority. Mayor John Kinnaird pointed out that this was a project that had been talked about in the past and could be done now with Highway User Revenues. Other projects that were higher priorities were also much larger and would take multiple years of savings to pay for. The commissioners voted 4-1 to award the contract to Frederick County Paving for $27,900, with Commissioner Marty Burns dissenting.

 

Senior Center Carpeting to be Replaced

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners unanimously approved a recommendation from the Thurmont Senior Center to award Peterson’s Carpeting in Frederick a contract to replace the carpeting in the Senior Center.

The contract is for $8,823.75 and will be paid for by Frederick County. Although Peterson’s bid was not the lowest, it included two items that the other didn’t. It came with a fifteen-year guarantee and included a microbial treatment. In addition, the town will have its cleaning service strip the wax and clean the tiles in the Thurmont Senior Center for an additional $573.

 

Town May Connect Thurmont Boulevard

The Town of Thurmont is looking at connecting two sections of Thurmont Boulevard and creating a through-road that would help ease some of the traffic problems in town. Mayor John Kinnaird said, “It would make traveling through town a whole lot easier for everyone.” Some studies would need to be conducted before any construction could begin, but the commissioners have directed town staff to get preliminary pricing on what each of the studies would cost.

 

Trolley Trail May be Expanded to Eyler Park and Catoctin Furnace

Thurmont town staff is looking to purchase a piece of property that would allow the Trolley Trail to continue to Catoctin Furnace. Meanwhile, another group is trying to secure a way to extend the other end of the trail to Eyler Road Park. The current trail is well used, and the extensions would make it more attractive to walkers and bike riders.

Halloween in the Park Seeking Volunteers

Thurmont’s annual Halloween in the Park will be held on Saturday, October 27 (rain date: November 3). Volunteers are needed to help with set up, children’s games, and scaring people. Contact Commissioner Wayne Hooper at 301-418-8641 or whooper@thurmont.com.

 

Colorfest Traffic Changes

During Colorfest weekend, the Town of Thurmont is prohibiting vehicles to stop, stand, or park at any time on North Church Street and East Moser Road. The width of the roadways has been narrowed, causing a safety issue when vehicles are parked along the street. Vehicles, to include Emergency apparatuses, will not be able to pass freely and safely. State law prohibits vehicles from blocking any portion of a roadway and prohibits obstructing or hindering the free passage of another. The Thurmont Police Department has been directed to strictly enforce these restrictions.

 

New Police Officer Being Trained

Thurmont’s newest police officer, twenty-five-year-old Hailey Leishear, is currently in her seven-month-long training at the police academy in Carroll County. Once she graduates, she will then undergo ten weeks of field training before hitting the streets on her own as a Thurmont Police officer. She is one of two women and eleven sworn officers currently on the force.