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Emmitsburg

Mayor Frank Davis

Welcome to the winter of 2024. Mother Nature has given us the opportunity to evaluate the recently enacted Snow Emergency Plan, and we are pleased with the results. We still encountered vehicles that failed to move from the streets, and with this, we ask for your help. If you have someone in your neighborhood who failed to move their vehicles, please offer them a friendly reminder. They can obtain the necessary information regarding the policy on the town webpage or give the office a call at 301-600-6300.

During our recent snow storms, a group of Mount Saint Mary’s University students were out in the community shoveling walks and driveways for our citizens. The students took it upon themselves to reach out to their neighbors and lend a helping hand. I want to thank the students for having a positive impact on our community.

The Emmitsburg Town Council voted to replace all existing parking meters on East and West Main Streets. After much consideration and dialog, a decision was made not to add additional meters in other areas of the town. I want to thank our citizens for their input and the town council for investing time in research and communicating with our constituents.

The council also approved a contract with a company to provide internet, video, and phone service to Emmitsburg. Shentel will begin designing their system to give you an option when it comes to phone and Internet service. This will in no way affect your current Comcast service. It now just gives you options. For more information on Shentel, please visit their website.

The installation of new streetlights in the downtown area should begin on January 28. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the town office.

Please feel free to contact me at mayordavis@emmitsburgmd.gov, and I will do my best to respond within the same business day.

Thurmont

 Mayor John Kinnaird

Mayor Kinnaird is out of the country and unavailable to write his Mayor’s message for this edition. His column will return next month.

Woodsboro

Burgess Heath Barnes

Brrrrrr! It has been a cold new year so far with some actual snow for the first time in three years! I hope everyone has remained safe, and if you enjoy the snow, I hope you have had a good time in it. Personally, I am ready for spring, and it cannot get here quickly enough for me.

This last month was quiet in town. With the winter months, there has not been a lot going on, so it has given us some time to focus on a few projects. I will be attending the annual Maryland Mayors Association Conference from February 29 to March 1 in Annapolis. During this time, I hope to hear about the status of funds availability and different initiatives that may be coming out of this year’s state legislative session and budget.

On January 10, the town clerk and I met with the architect for the town building and the potential construction company representative from Sanbower Construction. We had a very productive meeting and discussed many things that could be removed from the original plans for the town hall. Several things can be modified, and I feel very optimistic that we will get the total cost down to the amount that we are comfortable with and able to afford to pay. The goal is to have a new number before March’s town meeting to present to the council. I was also able to get numbers for the loan from Woodsboro Bank, and the numbers came out in the range of the budget we have, so financing options are looking good if we get the total cost in the range with what we can comfortably afford. I also started the paperwork process for the $400,000 grant promise that we received from the state in 2022. Things are looking very promising, and exciting things are coming to our town.

We were able to get the lights, as well as the safety and trick rails, up around the skatepark. I have also been in conversation with the contractor to get the bathroom started, to be built on the disc golf/stage side of the park. We plan to get that underway this spring and, hopefully, have it completed sometime in late summer.

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

If you have any questions, concerns, complaints, or compliments, please feel free to reach out to me at hbarnes@woodsboro.org or by phone at 301-401-7164.

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

During the annual Thurmont Lions Club Christmas Party, the club’s “Spirit of Generosity” award was presented.

The Awards Committee consists of Lion Evelyn Zimmerman, Lion David Crum, and IPDG (Immediate Past District Governor) Nadja Muchow as chairperson.

The criteria for the award are as follows: Must donate significant funds and time to the Thurmont Lions Club and/or the TLC Foundation projects, must participate in multiple TLC and TLC Foundation events, and must lead a service committee for at least one year.

IPDG Nadja Muchow presented the “Spirit of Generosity” award to Lion Joyce Anthony for her dedication, passion, dependability, and unhesitating support of Lionism, both on the club and District levels. She is always available if asked to do something and never says “no,” and she is always dependable to follow through with all assignments.

Lion Joyce was surprised and indicated “She is a dedicated Lion, does not need to be recognized, and her motto is ‘it is better to give than to receive.’”

Pictured from left are IPDG Nadja Muchow, President Susan Favorite, and Lion Joyce Anthony.

American Legion Post 168, Thurmont

Wow, things sure have slowed down a bit. We hope everyone had a happy and safe New Year! Thank goodness the first snowfall of the year was not as bad as they were calling for, but the wind was something else! Hopefully, you were able to join us for Candy Bingo. It is always a great time, and to watch the excitement in the kiddos’ faces, is always fun. Join us on February 24 for the next Candy Bingo.

The month of February has some interesting days.

February 1st is National Freedom Day; while it is not a national holiday, it is an observance to commemorate the historic signing of the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution by President Abraham Lincoln. This amendment outlawed slavery, representing a major step toward equality for all Americans.

February 4th is USO Day; again, it’s not a national holiday, but a birthday celebration of the American nonprofit charitable corporation. USO provides live entertainment, care packages, and much more. The USO is the bridge connecting overseas soldiers to their friends, families, and homes. They are partnered with the Department of Defense to serve everyone in military life. The troops fighting in WW2 were the first to benefit from this organization’s efforts, and now almost 4.9 million members are impacted by the USO. To learn more about the USO and how you can benefit or help, visit the website at uso.org.

February 14th is Valentine’s Day–Celebrate You! For years, even decades, Valentine’s Day has been a religious celebration, an ancient ritual day, and a commercial holiday. All that change means the meaning of Valentine’s Day is truly whatever you want it to be: You can skip the celebrations completely, buy yourself some chocolate or flowers, or express your love and appreciation for the people in your life, whether they are co-workers, romantic partners, friends, or family members.

Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook to keep up with weekly specials, events, and happenings: Kitchen Specials, Yoga, Queen of Hearts, Corn Hole Tournament, Bingo, Line Dancing, and Meat Pack Raffles. Check out the Community Calendar in this issue for weekly event dates and times.

by James Rada, Jr.

Thurmont

Town Moves to Twice-a-Month Meetings at Least Temporarily

The Thurmont town meetings will switch from weekly to twice a month for the next three months. At that point, the mayor and commissioners will evaluate the impact of the change and decide if it should continue.

For January, the meetings will be on the second and fourth Tuesdays. In February and March, the meetings will be on the first and third Tuesdays.

The goal is to have meetings where a lot of work for the town can be accomplished without creating undue meetings that town staff and others need to attend. However, additional meetings can be held if needed. The town charter only requires that the commissioners meet monthly.

The town may also survey residents to see if they have a preference to how many meetings the town holds.

New Leadership at the Thurmont Police Department

With the retirement of Police Chief Greg Eyler from the Thurmont Police at the beginning of December, new officers were needed to lead the department. At two separate town meetings, Thurmont Mayor John Kinnaird swore in new Chief Dave Armstrong and Dep. Chief Jerry Morales.

Town Receives a Clean Audit

Mike Samson and Alison Burke with Zlenkofske Axelrod, LLC, presented the results of the annual independent audit of Thurmont’s financial statements for Fiscal Year 2023. Samson told the mayor and commissioners that Zlenkofske Axelrod, LLC, gave the town an unmodified or clean opinion, which is the highest rating that can be given. The auditors had no difficulties performing the audit or had any disagreements with the management.

Town Considering Reopening Facebook Page To Comments

The Thurmont Mayor and Board of Commissioners are considering how to best interact with the public via social media. The mayor and commissioners had made the town’s Facebook page information-only and closed to comments when too many inappropriate comments and personal attacks were left in the comments.

Commissioner Marty Burns brought the topic up with the board again, wanting the comments turned back on. “I stood before the mayor and board before. I think constituents have a right to freedom of speech, even speech I find reprehensible,” Burns said.

The board was split on the matter, with both those against and for reopening the page to comments seeing the advantages and disadvantages.

Mayor John Kinnaird suggested leaving the town page information-only and creating Facebook pages for the commissioners that would be open to comments. The difference is the latter does not reflect poorly on the town if inappropriate comments are made, but it would create more work for town staff to monitor the new pages.

Commissioner Bob Lookingbill suggested sending a survey to residents to get their thoughts on the matter before making a decision. 

Town Celebrates 10 Years of Gateway to the Cure

Economic Development Manager Vickie Grinder recently told the Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners about the town’s 10th Annual Gateway to the Cure efforts. The town has been raising funds in October for the Patty Hurwitz Breast Cancer Fund. Events include a 5K race, golf competition, Zumbathon, offering parking at Colorfest, and selling pink light bulbs.

The first Gateway to the Cure in 2014 raised $3,000 for the fund. This year’s donation was $24,500, bringing the town’s 10-year total to $163,500. The money stays within Frederick County and goes toward direct patient care.

Woodland Ave. and Water St. Paving Project Approved

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners approved $88,133 from its Highway User Revenues to have Woodland Avenue and Water Street repaved and widened in areas. This is a joint project with the developer of Hammaker Hills. It is being done with a change order to work that C.J. Miller is already doing in town. Because the company is already working, it will save time and money for the town. The entire project costs $147,547 and is expected to be completed before winter sets in.

Colorfest Made Nearly $20,000 in Donations to the Town in 2023

Catoctin Colorfest President Carol Robertson made a presentation to the Thurmont Mayor and Board of Commissioners, announcing that besides the benefit town organizations get from selling or offering services during Colorfest weekend, Catoctin Colorfest, Inc. made $19,780 in contributions to organizations this year.

The contributions included: $2,500 to the Thurmont Ambulance Company; $5,000 to the Town of Thurmont for a new PA system in Community Park; $6,500 in scholarships; $150 so the Thurmont Food Bank volunteers could enjoy a dinner; $5,000 in $25 local gift cards for the food bank to distribute; $275 to the Thurmont Food Bank; $70 for 3,000 bags to be used at the Thurmont Food Bank; an FFA donation; and a Christmas in Thurmont donation.

“It’s amazing how the municipality as a whole benefits from Catoctin Colorfest, Inc.,” Mayor John Kinnaird said.

Emmitsburg

Town In Danger Of Losing Parking Meter Grant

The Town of Emmitsburg may lose $31,100 in grant funding to replace the parking meters in town if the commissioners cannot reach a consensus about what needs to done and when. The project would replace 125 coin-only parking meters in town and possibly add 20 new metered spots with new smart meters with coin and card payment options. The replacement is needed because the person who currently repairs the meters is retiring and replacement parts for them are no longer available. In addition, it was discovered that the current meters may be up to 15 minutes off in either direction.

The town obtained a USDA Community Facility Grant for up to $31,100. The grant requires a town match to make up the difference of roughly $30,000 when the total cost of the project is calculated.

The commissioners began disagreeing over whether the monthly charge for the new meters was worth it, whether the income will cover the salary of the staff member who handles parking enforcement, whether the income would help the commissioners purchase property for a town parking lot, and if 20 new meters along West Main Street should be installed.

Commissioner Cliff Sweeney tried to break the log jam by making a motion to accept town staff’s recommendation. The motion failed 3-2.

Because no decision was made to move forward, the town is in danger of losing the grant because of a USDA deadline that requires the grant to be spent by a certain date. However, the commissioners tabled the decision, and town staff is seeking to see if the deadline can be extended to relieve some of the pressure.

Expect Stricter Enforcement Along West Main Street

During the Emmitsburg Commissioners’ discussion about approving the new parking meter bid, one bone of contention was whether 20 new meters should be installed along West Main Street where there are currently none.

Arguments for and against were made. It was said the meters would help businesses along Main Street. Others said it would penalize residents of West Main Street or equalize the treatment of residents along West and East Main.

At one point, Commissioner Valerie Turnquist argued that the meters weren’t needed because the town code already prohibited parking at unmetered spots along the street for more than two hours, and she read from the code. This seemed to come as a surprise to some of the commissioners, and town staff admitted that it wasn’t being enforced because it had been misinterpreted.

However, because Turnquist had pointed out the law, town staff said they would need to start enforcing it because it is in the code. This means cars parked in unmetered spots along Main Street can remain in the spots for up to two hours. Otherwise, they can be ticketed at any time 24/7.

Town staff will post the parking limitation with signage on the street and let residents know through other means.

It was also discussed that perhaps the parking ordinance is outdated and needs to be reviewed. If the commissioners go this route, it could still take months to go through the legislative process before changes are made.

New Grant

The Town of Emmitsburg recently received a Department of Housing and Community Development Assistance Grant – Main Street Improvement Grant for $10,000. The money will be used to purchase and install four directional wayfinding signs for downtown. Once state representatives sign the agreement, the project can begin.

Appointments Made

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners made the following appointments during its December town meeting:

Shannon Cool to the Parks Committee, with a term of December 5, 2023, to December 5, 2025.

Sandy Umbel to the Parks Committee, with a term of December 5, 2023, to December 5, 2025.

Steve Starliper to the Parks Committee, with a term of December 5, 2023, to December 5, 2025.

Amanda Ryder to the Parks Committee, with a term of December 5, 2023, to December 5, 2025.

Dale Sharrer to the Planning Commission as an alternate, with a term of December 5, 2023, to December 5, 2028.

Emmitsburg

Mayor Frank Davis

It is hard to believe the holiday season has passed by so quickly, and for the next month, I will still be dating documents 2023. With another year behind us, I hope we can all look back on our accomplishments and find the good in last year.

Things are changing in the town office. The biggest change is the hiring of two new employees. Joshua Snyder is our newest addition to our water and sewer department. Josh comes to us with over 10 years of experience in this field and will be a terrific addition to our talented crew. We would also like to welcome Kimberly Mondshour to our office staff. Kimberly has accepted a position as our accountant and brings a wealth of experience to this vital position. Please help welcome both of our new employees to Emmitsburg.

Construction is well underway for our new Sewer Lift Station on Creamery Road. This project is being tackled by Conewago Construction Company. Please be cautious while traveling around the construction site.

At times, the winter months can keep you searching for things to do with your family, so don’t forget about Mount Basketball. Both the women’s and men’s teams are playing at an extremely high level and are exciting to watch.

The town is exploring options pertaining to parking issues and meter upgrades. Conversations are running high, and there are many opinions, both positive and negative, regarding future needs. I can assure you, that the commissioners are listening, exploring options, and will decide what is best for our town—not only for now but also in the future.

There are two workshops scheduled for the town council in January and February. On January 22, we will review and discuss the financial status of the town. The February 12 workshop will be the start of identifying future projects and setting priorities. Citizens are invited to attend in person or watch on Channel 99.

Please remember that all streets in the town limits are now snow emergency routes. This means that when the snow emergency plan is enacted by the Maryland State Police, parking is prohibited on ALL streets. This will enable road crews to plow and open roads more quickly, efficiently, and most importantly, it will ensure access for emergency vehicles into your neighborhood. All town parking lots are available for off-street parking. Additional parking is also available in the 100 block of South Seton Avenue, next to Chronicle Press. If anyone has transportation issues with getting their vehicle to one of these locations, please contact the town office BEFORE the snow begins. Please be responsible and pre-plan for severe weather.

As always, please feel free to reach out to me with any questions or concerns. We are open to suggestions to make Emmitsburg a great place to live.

Please feel free to contact me at mayordavis@emmitsburgmd.gov, and I will do my best to respond within the same business day.

Thurmont

 Mayor John Kinnaird

Welcome to the New Year! Karen and I hope that everyone has an amazing, healthy and happy year ahead. We are looking forward to another great year!

The new year brings with it the continuation of water and wastewater infrastructure replacement on North Church Street from Boundary Avenue to Catoctin High School. This project will upgrade all water, wastewater, and service lines on the entire stretch of road. Work started at the intersection of Sandy Spring Land and headed toward Catoctin High School. In the coming weeks and months workers will be addressing the other end of the project area. This effort will resolve many issues along the road caused by additions to the system and multiple upgrades.

Residents will also see wastewater line work to Rte. 77 from Old Pryor Road to Park Central Road beginning on Jan. 4th. This project is being completed by the State of Maryland Department of Transportation and the Maryland Environmental Services. I’m The work will improve the wastewater lines first installed between Thurmont and the State Park back in the late 1960s into the early 1970s. There will be well marked detours set up during this project that will use Rte. 550 and Foxville Deerfield Road. Work should be completed by the end of May.

On a personal note, Karen and I will be travelling to Great Britain for a couple of weeks. We plan on visiting friends and family in London, and the city of my birth, Aberdeen, Scotland. The first part of our trip will see us visiting London, Lands End at the Southwest coast before heading north to John O’Groats at the northern most point on the British Isle. In between we will drive through Wales, visit Yorkshire, stop at the historic Auld Alloway Kirk made famous in Robert Burns’ Tam O’Shanter. We will be spending a couple of nights with friends on the Isle of Skye, a night in the wonderful North Seaside village of Pennan and then a few days in Aberdeen with cousins. Hopefully while in the Highlands we will get to see the Northern Lights! We will then return to London via Ripon and spend the last two days in Windsor.  You can follow our adventure on my Facebook page.

We will miss all our family and friends while on vacation, and we will be looking forward to returning to Thurmont.

Woodsboro

Burgess Heath Barnes

Happy New Year! It is hard to believe it’s 2024, but a new year has arrived. I hope it’s a happy and blessed year for all and that you all had a wonderful holiday season.

On December 16, the Town of Woodsboro teamed up with the Woodsboro and New Midway volunteer fire departments to participate in a Santa run that lasted several hours and covered many streets and roads in the town of Woodsboro and areas of New Midway. The response that we received from not only the young ones but people of all ages was wonderful, and we will be doing it again next year. Playing Santa is always rewarding and magical, seeing the joyous looks on the faces of the children.

At the town meeting on December 12, 2023, we reviewed the seven bids from contractors to build the town hall. We all were a little shocked, to be honest, and are back to making some changes. We have a budget of about $900,000, with the $400,000 that we were able to secure from the state for the building, but the bids came in between $1.7 million and $2.3 million. We are in talks about how we can make some changes and get the building into our price range. I also reached out to our county- and state-elected officials to request additional financial assistance. At the time of this article being written, I have not heard back. We are working diligently and going to get the building built; it just may not be the exact style we had planned.

Lights are going up around the new skate park that is being used by the community, and we are very pleased that this project was able to happen. I encourage parents to have their children wear helmets when utilizing the skate park to avoid unnecessary accidents.

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

If you have any questions, concerns, complaints, or compliments, please feel free to reach out to me at hbarnes@woodsboro.org or by phone at 301-401-7164.

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

by James Rada, Jr.

Thurmont

New Commissioners Sworn In

Thurmont Mayor John Kinnaird swore in newly elected commissioners Marty Burns and Bob Lookingbill during the November 4th town meeting to serve four-year terms.

Connection and Impact Fees Raised

The Thurmont Mayor and Board of Commissioners raised impact fees for the town, and they are expected to increase the connection fees. Connection fees are the cost new development pays to connect to the town’s water and sewer systems. The impact fees are fees that new development pays based on the development’s impact on various things in town. The fees must be spent on the items they are paid for.

The new impact fees are:

Water — $3,935, up from $2,885.

Wastewater — $5,575, up from $2,275.

Sewer Pumping Station — $1,000, up from $250.

Roads — $2,760, up from $1,500.

Parks — $1,840, up from $1,000.

The proposed connection fees that the commissioners are expected to pass are:

Water — $4,145, up from $2,500.

Sewer — $5,065, up from $2,500.

Easements Released

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners voted to release easements the town holds on two parcels because they are no longer needed for a public purpose. The easements were on a property on Clark Drive and the Mountain Gate Business Park. The property owners will now have the property with encumbrances.

Emmitsburg

Appointments Made

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners unanimously appointed former mayor and commissioner Jim Hoover to fill the unexpired term for the commissioner seat that was left vacant when Frank Davis was elected as Emmitsburg mayor during the recent town election.

The commissioners also appointed Patricia Galloway as a member of the Emmitsburg Planning Commission, with a term running from November 6, 2023, to March 1, 2026.

Board Reorganized

In a change from years past, rather than putting forth recommendations for which board members should serve in which positions, Mayor Frank Davis allowed the board to decide among themselves which roles the board members would serve.

President: Amy Boehman-Pollitt

Vice President: Jim Hoover

Treasurer: Valerie Turnquist

Parks and Recreation Committee Liaison: Tim O’Donnell

Planning Commission Liaison: Valerie Turnquist

Citizens’ Advisory Committee: Jim Hoover

Town Gets Some Water Fund Relief

Emmitsburg received almost $3.2 million in American Rescue Plan Act money in two payments in 2021 and 2022. It is money designated to help towns and states deal with losses due to the COVID pandemic. Town staff determined that it lost $300,000 from one of its largest water users, FEMA, during the COVID restrictions. Town staff proposed using $300,000 from the ARPA money to fund operating and maintenance costs in the water fund for fiscal year 2024. The hope is that it lessens the impact of the water rate increases the town needed to make recently.

Emmitsburg

Mayor Frank Davis

My first few months as mayor have passed quickly. It has been busy and I’m constantly learning something new. The behind-the-scenes operations that keep our town running are impressive. I have gained a new appreciation for the workload and time required to meet the needs of our citizens. Sometimes, it may seem like your concerns are not being heard, but I can assure you that is not the case. Our team, both employees and elected officials, are here to listen and will do our best to respond to these concerns promptly.

I would like to welcome Jim Hoover to the Emmitsburg Board of Town Commissioners. Mr. Hoover is a former mayor and town commissioner and will bring a wealth of knowledge to the council. Mr. Hoover will fill the remaining 11 months of my vacated commissioner term. I would also like to thank all the citizens who expressed an interest in the position; it is evident how many people truly care about making a difference.

Over the last month, I attended many meetings and met many new people, but two events stand out. I was invited to Emmitsburg Elementary School to take part in “Starts with Hello Week.” I was able to meet and speak with each student as they arrived to begin their school day. Their smiles and handshakes were a fantastic way to start the day. I also had the opportunity to speak with the fourth-grade class of Mother Seton School. I spent time speaking about what it was like to be mayor. As most of you know, kids of that age keep you on your toes, and you never know what the next question might be. My time spent interacting with those students gives me hope that the future is bright and there are good things to come.

Be on the lookout for a groundbreaking around Creamery Court. Federal Stone (currently located in Thurmont) is scheduled to begin construction of their new building in the first part of December. The construction process should take about six months, with hopes of moving into their new home in July of 2024. In addition, the remaining building lots on Creamery Court have been sold and are in various phases of pre-construction.

Please check the town website for holiday hours, as they may change in the month of December. Even with the reduced hours, know that we have staff on call, and I can be reached if there are emergency situations.

Let us cherish family and friends this holiday season. From my family to yours: Best wishes for a wonderful holiday and a very happy New Year!

Please feel free to contact me at mayordavis@emmitsburgmd.gov, and I will do my best to respond within the same business day.

Thurmont

Mayor John Kinnaird

Christmas is upon us, and Karen and I want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and the happiest of New Years!

On December 1, Thurmont Police Chief Greg Eyler retired from the Thurmont Police Department. Chief Eyler served our community for 18 years and in those years, he brought the department from a small town force to a professional police department. Greg began his police career right here in Thurmont, under the guidance of Chief Herman Shook. He moved on to the Frederick County Sheriff’s Department, where he came up through the ranks and retired as a Major before returning to the Thurmont Police Department. During his time here, our department has grown in size and moved into a new headquarters building. His leadership brought new technology, an increase in the number of sworn officers, and a new standard of community policing. One of the chief’s most recent accomplishments was instituting the switch to a dedicated retirement benefit for his officers. His service has created a police department that our community is very proud of, and we all thank him for his service. We wish Greg and Brenda all the best as they head off on a new adventure in life.

Please consider donations to the Thurmont Food Bank and Clothes Closet in the coming weeks and months. The winter months bring additional hardships to our friends, neighbors, and family members who are less fortunate than ourselves. Donations of non-perishable food, decent cold weather clothing, or cash to these organizations can make a real difference in the lives of many.

It is with great sadness that I talk about the death of former Thurmont Commissioner Bill Buehrer. Bill lost his battle with cancer last Wednesday. I have known Bill for about fourteen years, having met him while attending Thurmont Town meetings. We sat in the back row and shared our thoughts on the future of the town. Bill ran for office in 2011 and was elected as commissioner of the Town of Thurmont. Commissioner Buehrer was extremely proud to serve our community and would often state that Thurmont was the best municipality in Frederick County. He truly believed that we live in the best town possible and worked hard to make sure our residents received the best possible municipal service. As a commissioner, he was very supportive of all events in town and volunteered to help at many of them. He was proud of the sense of spirit in our community and was active in Economic Development, Main Street, and was an active supporter of the Gateway to the Cure fundraising. Bill was very supportive of all of our staff and police officers and helped ensure they got the equipment necessary to do their jobs professionally.

It was my pleasure to serve with Bill over the past 12 years. We did not always see eye to eye on every topic, but we worked to do what was best for our community. Bill and I found ourselves at the radiology department at Johns Hopkins, where we both underwent radiation therapy for our cancers. He was keenly aware of how impactful illness could be on families and was very considerate of those impacted by cancer. This is why he was such a dedicated supporter of the Gateway for the Cure campaign. We spoke often about our illnesses, and he had a very encouraging and positive outlook. I am sorry to see Bill pass, but I will be forever grateful to have known him. Karen and I send our deepest condolences to Bill’s wife Colleen and their family.

Here are some thoughts from others who served with Bill.

Former Commissioner Wes Hamrick:

“It was my honor and privilege to first meet Bill several years ago when I was hired as a staff member with Stauffer Funeral Home. He and his wife, Colleen, recently transferred from South Carolina to work the pre-needs and aftercare for the Stauffer Funeral Home. I instantly connected with both of them. Bill, along with prompting by Colleen, convinced me to run for commissioner. It was their encouragement, faith in my ability, and support that I made the decision to run.

For 10 years, I served with Bill. His personality and that of the other board members provided a nice balance on the dais. Although Bill could have a sometimes gruff and tough-minded exterior, underneath was a very kind and gentle spirit. He truly had the heart of servitude for his community and only wanted the best for Thurmont.”

“The next to the last time I saw Bill was at my last meeting as commissioner.  I went to each one and hugged and thanked them for their support and for the privilege of serving with them. Since Bill sat at the furthest end of the dais, he was the last one for me to thank. We hugged and he held on to me and we said I love you to each other. He truly was a gentle bear in the truest sense. He will be missed and my prayers are with Colleen and his family.”

May God keep you in His protective arms, my friend.”

Commissioner Wayne Hooper:

“Bill loved our community and served with the best interest of Thurmont at the heart of his work. He was always quick to say that Thurmont is the best municipality in Frederick County, and he truly believed it was.”

CAO Jim Humerick:

“I think Bill was a man of great integrity who loved Thurmont. I sincerely appreciate his support of the town employees and our endeavors to improve operations over the years.”

CFO Linda Joyce:

“I am sorry to hear about Bill. I would like to mention he was receptive to moving the town forward and embraced positive change.”

Economic Development Manager Vickie Grinder:

“I will always remember and love Bill for his compassion and support for the Gateway to The Cure campaign. He was a driving force for the Gateway To The Cure Golf Classic, and was a huge reason for its success. Even when he wasn’t feeling his best, he was always there to help with the tournament, no matter the task he was given. Bill was also a huge supporter of all of our Thurmont small businesses and their owners and could be found patronizing them all. I will greatly miss him and his ambition to bring home a larger check each year for our Gateway to The Cure for the Hurwitz Breast Cancer Fund. I sure hope he is looking down and smiling because this year was the largest total collected in our 10-year history of the campaign. I will miss you, Bill.”

Comments, concerns, or compliments? I can be reached at 301-606-9458 or at jkinnaird@thurmont.com.

Woodsboro

Burgess Heath Barnes

I hope each of you had a very happy Thanksgiving with family and friends. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and a Blessed New Year. If you can volunteer at a place in the community or help with Christmas for a family that doesn’t have the resources, I encourage it. I promise you; it is very rewarding.

On November 4, 2023, we opened the bidding process for the new town hall. Within three days, we had six contractors reaching out with interest in bidding on the project. All prospective bids are due in the town office by noon on December 4, 2023. All received bids will be presented to the town council on December 12, 2023, and a vote to select the contractor will take place at the January 9, 2024, town meeting. We are all very excited about this next step in getting the construction of the town hall started soon.

As many noticed, water bills for this quarter went out late. This was due to 12 residents not having completed the water meter change upgrade. Billing could not be completed until all were updated. The town had to spend extra money and bring in a new plumber on October 20 to complete these final 12 upgrades, as the contractor’s time in town was only for September. We have finally completed the upgrade. This will make billing much smoother; in January, we will be able to start taking electronic payments, which has been a request for a long time now.

Santa Claus (aka the burgess) will make an appearance at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday, December 17, riding around town with the Woodsboro Volunteer Fire Department. This year, we will be going down all the town streets and possibly up toward the New Midway area as well. After the Santa run, at approximately 3:00 p.m., Santa will be back at the firehouse for pictures until 4:00 p.m. All are welcome to come out and say hello.

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

If you have any questions, concerns, complaints, or compliments, please feel free to reach out to me at hbarnes@woodsboro.org or by phone at 301-401-7164.If you have any questions, concerns, complaints, or compliments, please feel free to reach out to me at hbarnes@woodsboro.org or by phone at 301-401-7164. Woodsboro Town meetings are held on the second Tuesday of each month at 7:00 p.m. In addition, Planning and Zoning meetings are at 6:00 p.m. on the first Monday of the month, as needed. If you have an item for the agenda, it needs to be submitted 14 days before the P&Z meeting. The current location for meetings is the St. John’s United Church of Christ, located at 8 N. 2nd Street, Woodsboro, MD 21798. The public is always invited to attend.

by James Rada, Jr.

Thurmont

Colorfest Services Approved

Shentel Will Offer Fiber Optic Service

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners recently approved a franchise agreement with Shentel. The agreement, similar to the one the town has with Comcast, will provide the town with a 3 percent franchise fee. Shentel will be allowed to build a fiber-optic network in town that will allow residents another option for high-speed internet, television, and telephone service. The service speed is expected to be faster than residents currently get. “We don’t have the speed that they’re talking about right here, right now,” Mayor John Kinnaird said.

The commissioners approved the agreement 3-1, with Bill Blakeslee voting against it and Wes Hamrick abstaining.

Hammaker Hills Phase 2 Documents Approved

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners recently unanimously approved the homeowner’s association documents and easements needed for construction on phase 2 of Hammaker Hills. This will be 22 additional single-family homes added to the existing 38 homes approved in phase 1 of the subdivision.

WWTP Roof to be Replaced

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners approved a bid from P.J. Roofing in Frederick to replace the roofs on the two blower buildings at the wastewater treatment plant for $21,725. It was one of three bids and came in significantly lower than expected.

Police Commissioner Candidates Approved

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners unanimously approved re-appointing three members of the Thurmont Police Commission: Greg Seymoure, Shawn Martyak, and Cathy Maddox. The commission is an advisory body to the Thurmont Board of Commissioners on matters relating to the Thurmont Police Department.

Colorfest Permits

A week before Colorfest, the number of permits issued for the annual festival exceeded those issued in 2022. Thurmont Chief Administrative Officer Jim Humerick told the commissioners that 677 permits had been issued for Colorfest, bringing in $49,510, with more expected to be issued in the last week before the show. In 2022, 568 permits were issued, generating $49,480. Humerick said he would have a recap of how Colorfest went for the town at a future meeting.

Road Paving Approved

The mayor and commissioners approved a bid for $314,067 from C. J. Miller, LLC, of Westminster, to mill and asphalt a set of roads in Thurmont. The roads are Blue Ridge Drive, Locust Drive, Weil Drive, Hammaker Street, East Hammaker Street, and West Hammaker Street. “You could throw a rock and where it landed on a road would probably need to be replaced,” said Chief Administrative Officer Jim Humerick.

The project is part of on-going road repairs the town is doing. This work is expected to be done by November 22.

Impact Fees Increased

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners voted to increase impact fees for new construction in the town. The town adopted the Construction Cost Index proposed fees, except for the sewer impact fee, which was increased to $1,000.

The report on the impact fees conducted by Smart Utility Management found that, “Due to the significant rise in inflation/costs, particularly over the past three years since the pandemic, the Town has expressed a need to update these fees for new Water & Sewer applications to be based [on] today’s costs.”

New construction in town must pay a water connection fee, water impact fee, sewer connection fee, wastewater impact fee, sewer pump station fee, roads impact fee, and parks impact fee. Impact and connection fees for a new home now total $24,320.

Emmitsburg

Davis and Turnquist Take Office

County Clerk swore in Frank Davis as the new mayor of Emmitsburg, and Mayor Davis swore in Valerie Turnquist as a new town commissioner during the October town meeting. Davis and Turnquist replace former Mayor Don Briggs and former Commissioner Joe Ritz, III, both of whom chose not to run for re-election.

Davis said he would take a team approach to leading the town. “We either win or lose as one,” he said.

Town Honors Mayor Briggs

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners approved a proclamation honoring Mayor Don Briggs for his 12 years of service to the town during the October town meeting. Briggs chose not to run for re-election during the September town election.

“Your heart is with this town,” said Commissioner Amy Boehman-Pollitt.

Briggs was first elected in 2011 and served four consecutive terms as mayor. During his time as mayor, he promoted projects such as “ADA-compliant sidewalks, ADA playground, numerous green initiatives (LG Sonic, EV chargers, solar panels), construction of a state-of-the-art wastewater treatment plant, as well as welcoming many new businesses.” This helped the town receive awards that included Sustainable Maryland, Tree City USA, MML Banner City, and Maryland Green Registry Leadership Award.

“I love the town,” Briggs said. “I know you all love the town. It’s in good hands.”

Some Water Fund Relief

Mayor Don Briggs announced during the October Emmitsburg town meeting that the town had gotten approval to use up to $300,000 from federal American Rescue Plan Act money that towns received to help offset revenue losses during the COVID crisis to add to the water fund operating revenues.

Briggs noted that the money just “scratched the surface,” but it will help offset some of the revenue needed for the water. It might also be able to lower the 36 percent increase in the FY24 water rates. The commissioners will discuss it during the November meeting.

McNair Property Applicants Need to Initiate Annexation Request

Peter Koutsos would like to have the 23-acre Rodney McNair property, northeast of town, to initiate the annexation application for the property instead of the applicant. The property is within the town’s growth boundary. Town Attorney Clark Adams said this is unusual. The commissioners voted to initiate the request. Koutsos can request that the property be annexed, but he will have to go through the process of filing the application.

Town Gets Parking Meter Grant

The Town of Emmitsburg received a grant from the USDA for parking meter replacement in town. The grant of $31,100 required a $33,900 town match to replace 125 parking meters with 80 new dual payment (coin and card) meters on Main Street and three new multi-space meters at the community pool.

Emmitsburg

Mayor Frank Davis

Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would be sitting here writing the “Mayor’s Column” for our local newspaper. I’m sure Mrs. Richards, my English teacher, would tell you the same thing. But here it goes.

My first few weeks in office have been very busy. I have spent a lot of time in the town office, learning the daily routines of our staff and working my way around the office. We held our first staff meeting with all town employees, and the meeting was recorded and sent to the town commissioners. Even though they were unable to attend in person, I felt it was important they heard the message I had for the staff. Transparency is my top priority. Over the next few weeks, I will be meeting with each staff member individually to learn more about their responsibilities and to gather ideas from them on how we can improve our operations.

While I will do my best to be available for you every day, Thursdays will be my designated “Office Day.” I will be available to meet with you to discuss concerns, listen to ideas, or just to have a cup of coffee. You are free to stop in anytime, but it would be great if you could call the office and schedule a designated time to meet.

The water rates are a major concern of many of our citizens and businesses. The town staff and commissioners are exploring options to relieve some of this financial burden from the taxpayers. One of Mayor Briggs’ last announcements in office was that funds have been found to assist with relief for the water fund. This will be discussed and, hopefully, passed by the commissioners at our November meeting.

There are several openings on committees and boards, and we need your help filling the open slots. I also plan to establish several new committees to gather more community input and to review many codes and ordinances that need updating. Please visit the town website and Facebook page to get vacancy announcements.

With winter just around the corner, it is important for you to remember that all town streets are now snow emergency routes. This means that when the Snow Emergency Plan is activated by the State of Maryland, all vehicles must be moved from roadways. We are working with area businesses and organizations to provide parking in their lots to assist citizens who don’t have off-street parking during snowstorms. More information will be forthcoming.

While there are several pressing issues that need attention, be assured we are working to resolve them. With that, I ask to please be courteous to our staff. If for some reason they are unable to help you with your concerns or problems, please ask to speak to me. If you need to vent to someone, let it be me. I have worked in a firehouse for years; I have thick skin and can handle it.

In closing, I want to thank the citizens for trusting me to lead our great town, and I will work hard every day not to disappoint you. Please feel free to contact me at mayordavis@emmitsburgmd.gov, and I will do my best to respond within the same business day.From Lib and me, thank you.

Thurmont
Mayor John Kinnaird

Fall is upon us, and with it, comes colder weather and changing daylight hours. I ask that everyone be extra careful when driving in and around Thurmont by watching out for school kids coming and going to school. Many of our kids are out before dawn to catch a bus or to walk to school. They are crossing our streets and may not take the time to look both ways before stepping off the curb. On streets without sidewalks and on rural county roads, many kids are forced to walk along the edges of the roads. Your extra attention will be greatly appreciated.

The water and wastewater infrastructure work on North Church Street is now underway. Traffic will be impacted Monday through Thursday as the crews replace water lines and wastewater lines from the railroad bridge out to near Catoctin High School. There are flaggers in place to direct traffic, with special attention being paid to school traffic in the mornings and afternoon. I would encourage you to take different routes if you need to get through the area. During the construction phase, one lane will be closed throughout the day. At the end of each day, the roadway will be patched and both lanes reopened. Occasionally, both lanes may be closed for short times, as equipment is moved or construction involves both lanes. Once this project is completed, the State Highway Administration will be replacing North Church Street.

Thanksgiving is coming on Thursday, November 23. Karen and I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving with friends and family. On this day, our Pilgrim ancestors first enjoyed a communal meal as thanks for the well-being and success of their community. As part of our modern-day Thanksgiving, I ask everyone to consider others less fortunate than us and help support the Thurmont Food Bank and other organizations. By supporting the Thurmont Food Bank with a cash donation or with a donation of non-perishable foods, you can help guarantee a wholesome Thanksgiving meal for many of our families, friends, and neighbors. The food bank is always looking for volunteers to help—even just a few hours—with sorting donations or helping to distribute goods. It will give you a sense of making a positive difference in the lives of our neighbors.

Cold weather means we will be wearing jackets, hats, boots, gloves, and other cold-weather clothing. This year, when you start pulling out your cold-weather clothing, be sure to consider making a donation of extra jackets, sweaters, hats, gloves, and boots to the Thurmont Clothes Closet. The Clothes Closet will distribute your wearable warm clothing to those that may not be able to afford warm clothing. This is especially important for children; warm clothing helps kids enjoy school, outdoor play, and can let them be more comfortable at home if the thermostat needs to be set lower. Be on the lookout for opportunities to help schools fulfill the wishes of students for new clothing through anonymous Santa and Christmas present support. The kids will appreciate the warmth and love that warm clothes can bring them.

Thurmont just completed another Gateway to the Cure month-long event to help raise funds and awareness for Breast Cancer research and patient care. Our events support the Patty Hurwitz Breast Cancer Fund at Frederick Health. The funds raised are used locally to help provide research and patient support for Frederick Heath patients. Each of us knows a family member or a friend who has been impacted by breast cancer. We can make a difference by spreading the message of breast cancer awareness. Sadly, cancer in many forms touches too many families across our community, state, nation, and countries around the world. Sometimes, it seems like cancer can be overpowering, but today, new treatments and a better understanding of the causes of cancer have greatly improved the outlook for many patients.

November has just begun, and I am now going to remind you about upcoming Christmas events in Thurmont. We will be having our annual Christmas Tree Lighting event on Saturday, November 25, at the Mechanicstown Square Park. Then, on Saturday, December 2, we will be at the Guardian Hose Company for Christmas in Thurmont.

Comments, concerns, or compliments? I can be reached at 301-606-9458 or at jkinnaird@thurmont.com.

Woodsboro

Burgess Heath Barnes

Happy Thanksgiving. It’s hard to believe that we are less than two months away from the end of the year. I hope you enjoy time with family and friends this Thanksgiving. Always remember the ones who do not have extra funds or family during this time. If you can volunteer at a place in the community providing Thanksgiving to the less fortunate, I encourage it. I can promise you it is very rewarding.

Our annual Woodsboro Days festival on October 14-15 was a great success. Saturday saw many yard sales around town, with the largest group of them being at the Woodsboro Lutheran Church, where they also had food sales. It was great seeing so many out in the community. The weather on Sunday was great for the 3rd annual music festival in the park on the band shell that we had built three years ago. It was also the first year we had electricity to the stage—the last two years, we ran on generators. All the bands, food trucks, and vendors were wonderful. Special thanks to Billie Fulmer and the local Boy Scouts, who, once again, helped with parking. We are already looking forward to next year’s event. 

Also on October 14, we held the grand opening of our skate park. This project was made possible by a suggestion from town resident Ben Marshall to the council last year. At the time, it seemed like a pipe dream, with the cost of the project and the lack of funds, but myself and former Commissioner Dana Crum (particularly) fought hard for the grant to complete the project and were successful. Now we have a wonderful skate park for the community. Thank you, Ben and Dana for your hard work, and Matt Arment from Arment Concrete for constructing it.

In addition, on October 14, the Woodsboro Volunteer Fire Department had an open house that several enjoyed going to.

As many noticed, water bills for this quarter went out late. This was due to 12 residents not having completed the water meter change upgrade yet. Billing could not be completed until all were updated. The town had to spend extra money and bring in a new plumber on October 20 to complete these final 12, as the contractor’s time in town was only for the month of September. We have finally completed the upgrade. This will make billing much smoother. In January, we will be able to start taking electronic payments, which has been a request for a long time now.

The latest town hall update is that the permits have all been approved by the county. Our architect has listed for the contractors to bid, and we must keep bids open by law for 30 days. Once the 30 days have expired, the council will select a contractor. We will open the bidding process any day now, and we are looking forward to the next step in finally building Woodsboro’s first town hall.

Halloween trick-or-treating was held on October 31 in town. It was nice seeing so many children and families out enjoying the evening.

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

If you have any questions, concerns, complaints, or compliments, please feel free to reach out to me at hbarnes@woodsboro.org or by phone at 301-401-7164. Woodsboro Town meetings are held on the second Tuesday of each month at 7:00 p.m. In addition, Planning and Zoning meetings are at 6:00 p.m. on the first Monday of the month, as needed. If you have an item for the agenda, it needs to be submitted 14 days before the P&Z meeting. The current location for meetings is the St. John’s United Church of Christ, located at 8 N. 2nd Street, Woodsboro, MD 21798. The public is always invited to attend.

by James Rada, Jr.

Thurmont

Colorfest Services Approved

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners approved bids for services that are needed for Colorfest to run smoothly.

    Mays Security in Frederick will provide security with 26 guards, 2 supervisors, and 2 relief guards for $21,600.

    Rill’s Bus Service in Westminster will provide bus service with 9 buses and 2 wheelchair-accessible buses on Saturday and 7 buses and 2 wheelchair-accessible buses on Sunday for $24,000.

    Key Sanitation in Dickerson will provide toilets and trash removal with 114 portable toilets and 16 handicap-accessible toilets for $23,650.

The total of $69,250 represents an 8.7-percent increase of last year’s services.

Electric Substation Fence Replacement Approved

The high-wind event the region experienced in the summer caused damage to the fence screening around the electric substation in town. The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners voted to approve a bid from Frederick Fence Company to replace the fence and posts and reuse the screening. The cost of the bid is $24,615.

Electric Department Bond Issue Discussed

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners recently discussed the possibility of issuing a $4 million bond for electric department capital improvements that include substation improvements, a new bucket truck, and the final phase of Catoctin Heights. If the approval for the bond can be received by the end of the year, Thurmont Electric Department customers could start seeing an increase on the bill beginning next summer. The projected increase would be about $7.45 per 1,000 kwh.

Eyler Road Park Playground Replacement Approved

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners used a grant from Community Parks and Playgrounds and restricted park impact fee funds to replace the 25-year-old lower playground at Eyler Road Park. Playground Specialists in Thurmont will install the new playground for $323,435. The Community Parks and Playground grant will cover $291,091.50, and the park impact fees will cover the difference.

Emmitsburg

Town Thanks Ritz for His Service

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners issued a proclamation to Commissioner Joseph Ritz III for his service to the town as a commissioner and planning commission liaison. Ritz chose not to run for re-election during September’s town election.

Seton Shrine Museum Deed of Easement Approved

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners approved a storm water deed of easement for Seton Shrine Museum entrance.

No Parking on Streets During Snow Emergencies

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners voted to follow the county’s declaration of the snow emergency plan which requires vehicles to be removed from town streets during snow events. This allows the roads to be plowed without impediments.

Minimum Bid Set for Tax Sale

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners will offer the property at 509 East Main Street at a tax sale. The accumulated charges and fines total $22,817, but the commissioners chose to set the minimum bid price at $11,222 “plus the cost of the sale and all other fees to which the town would be entitled to under state law.” This covers the amount the town has spent on dealing with the problems involved with the property. The reason the commissioners chose to set the price lower than they could have was that they wanted to generate interest in the property and have it sell.

New Streetlights Approved The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners approved a bid price of $266,140 from Catoctin Lighting Services in Thurmont to install 103 streetlights on Main Street and South Seton Avenue. The current streetlights date back to the 1980s and have chipping paint and rusting bases and bolts. Although Catoctin Lighting Services did not have the lowest bid, it was pointed out that the difference will most likely be made up because of savings between

Emmitsburg

Mayor Don Briggs

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

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

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

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

From Lib and me, thank you.

Thurmont

 Mayor John Kinnaird

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

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

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

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

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

I hope everyone has an enjoyable October! As always, I can be reached at jkinnaird@thurmont.com or by phone at 301-606-9458.

Woodsboro

Burgess Heath Barnes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If you have any questions, concerns, complaints, or compliments, please feel free to reach out to me at hbarnes@woodsboro.org or by phone at 301-401-7164.

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

The 5th Annual Gateway to the Cure Golf Classic was held on Friday, September 22, at Maple Run Golf Course in Thurmont, and was another great success.

This year’s Classic attracted over 100 golfers and a wide range of sponsors. Golfers assembled at Maple Run, starting at 7:30 a.m., with a shotgun start at 8:30 a.m. Many thanks to Jeff Barber and his amazing staff at Maple Run for hosting this great event. Appreciation goes out to all the golfers, sponsors, and supporters! Thurmont stands head and shoulders above every other community in Frederick County when it comes to supporting cancer research and patient services through the Patty Hurwitz Breast Cancer Fund at Frederick Health.

Thurmont Commissioner Wayne Hooper, Maple Run owner Jeff Barber, and Vickie Grinder, Thurmont’s Economic Development administrator.

by James Rada, Jr.

Thurmont

Approved Bids

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners recently approved a bid for a new water department truck to replace a 2007 utility bed truck. Three bids were received, and the mayor and commissioners accepted the $72,504 bid from Crouse Ford in Taneytown for a new truck.

The mayor and commissioners also approved a bid for sludge line valve replacements and a water line installation at the wastewater treatment plant for $87,855. Mid-Atlantic Utilities of Boiling Springs, Pennsylvania, will do the work.

Annual Donations Made

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners recently made their annual donations to local organizations in town that provide much-needed services to residents. Guardian Hose Company received $30,000. The Thurmont Community Ambulance Company received $30,000. The Thurmont Food Bank received $6,000, and the Thurmont Ministerium received $3,000.

Ordinance Changes Made

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners approved changes to the town ordinance to restrict the type of animals that are allowed within the town limits. The changes made to the “Animals” chapter will allow the code enforcement officer the ability to issue citations and take other actions to correct a problem in town of people having what many people would consider livestock in their backyards. In recent months, some people with an abundance of animals in their yards have caused problems for their neighbors that include smells, mosquitos, noise, and rats. The changes made to the “Parks” chapter will prohibit horses and ponies from town parks and trails unless they have a permit issued by the town.

Emmitsburg

Upcoming Election

The 2023 Emmitsburg Town Election will be held on Tuesday, September 26, at 22 East Main Street. The polls will be open from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. The office of mayor and one commissioner seat are open for this election. Currently, commissioners Tim O’Donnell and Frank Davis have filed to run for mayor. Former commissioner Glenn Blanchard has filed to run for commissioner.

New Zoning Designation Approved

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners voted to add an Economic Development Flex District (Floating Zone) for sites that are larger than 25 acres in the B-2, ORI, I-P, and C-R districts.

Appointments Made

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners re-appointed Wayne and Sandy Slaughter to the Citizen’s Advisory Committee. Wayne’s term runs from September 8, 2023, to September 8, 2025. Sandy’s term runs from September 7, 2023, to September 7, 2025.

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners appointed election judges for the town election in September. Sharon Hane will serve as chief judge. Tammy May and Lynn Orndorff will serve as judges. Charlotte Mazaleski will serve as the greeter/alternate judge.

Thurmont

 Mayor John Kinnaird

The school year has started, and we all need to be extra careful while driving on our local and county roads and state highways. First and foremost, we must be aware of the kids crossing our streets. There are crosswalks at all intersections in Thurmont, although they may not be marked. State law requires you to stop at any marked street crossing if people are in the crosswalk or stepping into the crosswalk. This rule should also apply to every intersection if children are crossing or entering the crossing area. As often as kids are told to look both ways before crossing, we all know they sometimes do not. Please keep in mind that kids will also cross streets at any point and can walk out from between parked cars. Be aware of speed zones near schools and slow down to the speed limit posted for traffic during school hours. We also need to be aware of kids getting on and off school buses. You are required to stop for all school buses headed in either direction when the red lights are flashing. School buses will flash their yellow lights as a warning that they are preparing to stop. Be sure to stop with plenty of room between you and the bus. The only exception is if you are traveling in the opposite direction on a multi-lane highway with the lanes separated by a barrier, grass, or paved median. Please keep an eye out for our children and make sure they get to and from school safely.

The 67th Annual Thurmont and Emmitsburg Community Show is being held on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, September 8, 9, and 10. Be sure to come up and enjoy a weekend of great entertainment, agricultural displays, delicious food, amazing displays of art, photography, baking, canning, sewing, knitting, flower arranging, and other crafts. The show starts Friday evening, with the opening ceremony at 6:30 p.m. followed by the baked goods auction at 7:30 p.m. All three days will feature agriculture displays of livestock and equipment. Saturday starts with the Beef, Sheep, and Swine Show and the Market Goat Fitting and Show. Come and see how much effort the young ladies and gentlemen of the FFA invest in their Ag displays. 

The Town of Thurmont will be holding an election to fill two Board of Commissioner seats on Tuesday, October 31. There are some important dates to keep in mind leading up to the election. The Nominating Convention will be held on September 26; this is when candidates will be nominated and begin their campaign. The last day you can register to vote is on October 3. If you are already registered for state and national elections, you are registered locally as well. You can register to vote at the Thurmont Town Office during regular business hours. Absentee Ballots will be available starting on October 18. Contact the Thurmont Town Office for Absentee Ballots. The last day to apply for an Absentee Ballot is October 24.

Colorfest is fast approaching and now is the time to get permits and secure a spot if you are setting up to sell items that weekend. This year, Colorfest will be held on Saturday, October 14, and Sunday, October 15.  As usual, there will be lots of activity going on the entire week leading up to Colorfest. Preparations will be getting underway for security, sanitation, and transportation, and vendors will be setting up. Thurmont is widely known for all of the yard sales that pop up Wednesday through Friday. So, be aware of cars stopping to visit yard sales throughout the week. There will be no parking signs posted on select roadways, and we ask that you honor those signs during the times noted.

The town is working to organize the upcoming construction project on North Church Street. This will entail the replacement of water and wastewater mains on North Church from the railway bridge to out past Sheetz. Residents and businesses on North Church Street have received notification about the project and what they should expect as the work progresses. During the majority of the construction, one lane of North Church will be open, with flaggers guiding traffic through the work area. The contractors will be notified regarding the times when school buses and vehicles will be coming from CHS, and they will attempt to accommodate the traffic patterns whenever possible. I encourage you to find alternate routes to your destinations during this construction. All businesses will be open during the construction of the North Church Street improvements. Once the infrastructure work is completed, the entire roadway will be repaved. This project will get underway in late October and should continue for six months.

As always, I can be reached at jkinnaird@thurmont.com or by phone at 301-606-9458 for any comments, questions, or concerns.

Emmitsburg

Mayor Don Briggs

As I write this, one of my last two monthly mayor articles in The Catoctin Banner, I want to thank the residents, businesses, and the town staff for the honor to work with you over my four terms—12 years—it has been my humble honor. The two-fold measure of the office is to serve and govern. Sometimes, we were at odds with the governing piece, but at the foundation of every discussion was always our town charter and town code.

Together, we have done a lot. We did “take back” the square, re-did it, as it is the “foyer” of all our homes. We filled the sidewalk gaps, so now the town is connected from Tract Road to Emmit Gardens, Northgate, FEMA, and Silo Hill. We now have basically a new pool and changing rooms, a dog park, a redone bandstand, all-accessible children’s playground, and paved gaps to the walking path in Community Park. Through begging and cajoling, we got Ryan Homes back to finish the remainder of Brookfield after they swore they’d never come back here after being rudely dismissed some 15 years ago. Being recognized by the state as a Sustainable Community, the initial step to becoming a Main Street town and the thousands of dollars in grants to downtown building owners that equates to over $1 million in improvements. The three corners of the downtown square buildings benefit from that program. Finally, the Mount is coming downtown with programs and classes. Our solar field provides 94 percent of the town’s energy accounts. Adding energy saving LED street lighting, electric charging stations, and a town electric car. The thousands of trees we planted. To wit: we have the town recognized as one of the top 10 most beautiful small towns in Maryland. We did all of this together.

August started out with still trying to assist in any way the sponsors of a new Catholic High School to find a home in Emmitsburg. They have the students, Maryland Educational approved time-tested G.K. Chesterton-shaped curriculum, and the teachers. Miraculously, it has been accomplished. Fall classes will first be held at St. Anthony’s and then come into Emmitsburg around the first of the year. Congratulations to the sponsors, the Crook family.

August for me started out with attending a presentation by members of the Frederick County Economic Development Office to a group of town businesspeople over a light breakfast at the Carriage House Inn. The topic was Emmitsburg progressing on being a Maryland Main Street affiliate to full participation in the program and many additional opportunities. It was an excellent presentation, adding to the groundwork that has been done to improve the setting of our wonderful town.

That same night, Lib and I attended the Emmitsburg’s Annual National Night Out tribute held in the Community Park; we had the honor of serving, along with the town staff, pizza donated by Tuscany’s Pizzeria, along with hamburgers and cheeseburgers donated by McDonald’s, water, popsicles, school bags, and more. The weather cooperated with a cooler, less humid evening to befittingly honor our guests, the Sheriff’s deputies, and members of the Vigilant Hose Company. An ice cream truck, local churches, vendors, and children amusements, all lent to a wonderful evening.

 On August 8, the County Historic Preservation Commission approved the expansion of the Emmitsburg National Register Historic District to include West Lincoln Avenue, Emmitsburg’s historic black neighborhood. Ever since writing 20 years ago a thesis paper on black education opportunities in Northern Frederick County, I have pursued including West Lincoln Avenue in the Emmitsburg National Registry of Historic Places. West Lincoln Avenue is a history-rich African American homestead area that was not included in the original district. Thank you to Joy Shaffer with the County Executive Office and Elizabeth Comer of the Catoctin Furnace Society for pushing and pulling through.

 In honor of our sister City Lutsk in Ukraine, a Ukrainian needlework exhibit was held in the Emmitsburg Library in August, honoring the Ukrainian Day of Independence. On August 19, the second annual jointly-sponsored town and Mount event welcomed the new freshmen class at the Mount with an array of music, swimming, food, and vendors. August 22 featured a ribbon-cutting for the Mount Seminary Blessed Stanley Rother House of Formation in a wing of the Basilica building. All of this in a quiet town. September 22 will be the Blessing and Dedication of the Seton Shrine Visitors Center and Museum. Don’t forget the 67th Annual Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show on September 8-10 at Catoctin High School.

 Best wishes from Lib and me for a Happy Labor Day holiday! Don’t forget to vote in the town mayoral and commissioner election on Tuesday, September 22, at the deputy station on East Main Street. They are all really good people who love Emmitsburg.

Woodsboro

Burgess Heath Barnes

Greetings and welcome back to school to all the students, teachers, and staff. My wish is that this is a safe and productive school year for you all.

As all residents should have seen on their last water bills, we are in the process of changing out the water meters. This will allow us to begin taking electronic payments; however, we cannot move forward until all meters are updated. It does require the tech to enter your home, as stated on the water bills. Please be sure to set up your appointment with them. The sooner we get them all changed out in town, the sooner we can move forward with the system that many of you have asked for regarding electronic payments for your water bills.

I am happy to announce that groundbreaking for the new bathrooms on the east side of the park will begin to take place soon. Electricity to the east side of the park has begun as well and will hopefully be completed and run to the stage before the Woodsboro Days festival that is scheduled for October 22. If you are a vendor and would like to participate, please reach out to me.

The latest town hall update is that I signed several documents for the county permits, and we should have the process to start the bidding to build the town hall out by mid-September. This is very exciting, as a groundbreaking will take place shortly after that. With a mild winter, we should be able to be in the building by mid-spring.

The construction of the new skate park should begin in early September. The excitement around it is very high. It will be built between the concession stand and tennis courts. I am very excited to see these projects happening.

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

If you have any questions, concerns, complaints, or compliments, please feel free to reach out to me at hbarnes@woodsboro.org or by phone at 301-401-7164.

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

Emmitsburg

Mayor Don Briggs

ON VACATION

Thurmont

 Mayor John Kinnaird

It’s hard to believe we are already more than halfway through 2023! Summer has been great so far, but it looks like the temps are going to be hitting the mid-90s for the beginning of August. When the temperatures rise, be sure to stay hydrated, wear sunscreen, limit your time outdoors, wear a hat, and do not overexert yourselves. Heat Exhaustion or Heat Stroke can come on quickly and is life-threatening, with symptoms that can include a throbbing headache; confusion; nausea; dizziness; body temps over 103F; red, hot, dry, or damp skin; rapid pulse; fainting; and loss of consciousness. If you, or someone you know, is experiencing Heat Exhaustion or Heat Stroke symptoms, call 911 and get medical assistance immediately.

The Frederick Road upgrades are completed, and the roadway is much improved. We appreciated everyone’s patience. Frederick Road was one of several paving projects we have in our pipeline. Improvements will be made to other roadways as funds become available. 

The new softball field is under construction at East End Park. The mass grading is complete, and the conduit has been installed for the lighting system. The field should be ready for play by summer 2024. We are also installing a new loudspeaker system in Community Park, and the new tennis courts will be installed next spring. Planning has started on the pedestrian bridge over Hunting Creek that will provide a connection between Community Park and West Main Street. This bridge will provide an access point to Community Park for residents along West Main Street. It is also an integral part of the Gateway Trail and will allow hikers and bikers easier access to the State and Federal Park trails and will bring additional pedestrian and bike users to our downtown and Community Trail system.

We will soon be getting started on our Annual Gateway to the Cure events. The Golf Tournament will be held on Friday, September 22, at the Maple Run Golf Course, and the Covered Bridge 5K Run-Walk will be held on Saturday, October 21, at Eyler Road Park. This will be the Fifth Annual Golf Classic and the Ninth Annual Gateway to the Cure Covered Bridge 5K! Pink light bulbs, pinwheels, T-shirts, and other items will be available at the Town Office and other locations. The residents of Thurmont have been very generous in their support of this worthwhile cause. Thurmont is the only community in Frederick County to whole-heartedly support the ongoing breast cancer research, breast cancer treatment, and patient support provided to local patients through the Patty Hurwitz Breast Cancer Fund at Frederick Health Hospital. These local efforts have resulted in donations of over $137,000 from the Thurmont Community over the past eight years! Cancer is a disease that touches everyone, either personally or through family and friends. Please support us this year as we join the Patty Hurwitz Breast Cancer Fund in the fight against cancer.

The North Church Street project will be getting underway in late September. This project will include the replacement or upgrading of the water lines and wastewater mains that serve all the homes and businesses on North Church Street from the railroad bridge to past Sheetz, and will require one lane of traffic to be closed, with flaggers directing traffic. Consideration will be given to school traffic during the length of the project. You will be encouraged to find alternate routes to bypass the construction, if possible. This month-long project will bring improved dependability to the critical water and wastewater systems to a large part of our community. Once this infrastructure work has been completed, the Maryland Department of Transportation – State Highway Administration will be repaving North Church Street.

The 67th Annual Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show is September 8-10. This show offers everyone an opportunity to see how our agricultural heritage continues to play a large part in the Thurmont, Emmitsburg, and surrounding communities. The Catoctin High School FFA program is featured heavily and includes the livestock displays, livestock show, and auction. The Grange Livestock Auction helps students with the costs of higher education. The show also serves to display local talent in canning, baking, photography, fruit and vegetable growing, handcrafts, sewing & knitting, and other areas. There will be plenty of displays. The Annual Cake Auction is one of the highlights of the show and raises money to help the Grange support our Ag students. Farming is alive and doing well in Frederick County. Join us for the best community show in Maryland!

Colorfest this year is October 14 and 15. Colorfest is the single biggest fundraising opportunity for many of our churches, civic organizations, and non-profits. I look forward to welcoming tens of thousands of visitors each day.

Questions, comments, or concerns? I can be reached by cell phone at 301-606-9458 or by email at jkinnaird@thurmont.com.

Woodsboro

Burgess Heath Barnes

Greetings! I hope you all are having a wonderful summer. I cannot believe that at the end of this month, schools will be back in session for our students and teachers. I know in Woodsboro, we are currently having issues with people speeding down the streets. I highly encourage everyone to watch their speed, even more as our children begin returning to school. I did mention to the counsel that I will be gathering information on what it will take to install some speed cameras in town, as the problem has become much worse lately.

At the July 18th meeting, we had a very short meeting. I informed the council that I had met with the electric company to start the process of running the electricity into the eastern side of the park, where the stage is and where the new restroom is to be built. Based on different options, it’s possible we may have the electricity run before the music festival at Woodsboro Days in October. This will be nice for the bands, as for the last few years we have run the electricity off a generator. I also met with Ben Marshall and the contractor to build the skate park. I let them know that we had received a pending grant of $137,000 to build the park. Once we receive the official grant letter from the state, we will sign the contract and construction will begin shortly. The resurfacing of the tennis court and the pickleball lines has been tentatively scheduled and will begin any day now.

The latest town hall update is that I had a call with the engineer. He is optimistic that we will have it out for build within the next 60 days as the process is moving through the county at a good pace without hiccups right now. I remain optimistic that we will have a building started by late fall.

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

If you have any questions, concerns, complaints, or compliments, please feel free to reach out to me at hbarnes@woodsboro.org or by phone at 301-401-7164.

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

by James Rada, Jr.

Thurmont

Town Joins Mass Tort Action

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners voted to participate in a mass tort complaint against manufacturers of the PFAS chemicals that Thurmont and other municipalities are now working to remove from their water systems. The town’s vote is to retain a law firm to investigate, file case, and litigate on behalf of the town. The goal is to get the manufacturers to cover some of the costs that municipalities must pay to remove dangerous chemicals from the water.

Thurmont To Get An App

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners approved funding for a new app that will allow visitors and residents to conduct business with the town and find out tourism information, among other things. The town will also be getting an updated video that is used to promote the town through social media. The cost of the app will be $29,715, and the cost of the new video will cost $14,425. Most of this will be paid for with two grants from the Department of Housing and Community Development. The difference of $4,140 will be paid for with hotel/motel tax that the town receives.

Program Open Space Money Awarded

The Town of Thurmont received funding for three of the five projects it wanted sought through Program Open. The town put forth $443,000 in project funding requests. The town received $67,500 for the Gateway Trail access and amenities, $67,500 for the expansion of the East End Dog Park, and $45,000 for the Mountain Gate Trail.

A request of $99,000 for Eyler Road Park pickleball courts was not funded.

The town did receive partial funding of $35,000 of the $225,000 for the Eyler Road Park parking lot. However, due to how soon the funding must be used and when the town’s portion needs to be ended, it was decided that it would be better if the town returned the funds to allow them to be used by other Frederick County municipalities.

Commissioners Set Tax Rate

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners voted to maintain its current tax rate of .3206 per $100 of assessed value, although this was higher than the constant-yield rate. The constant-yield rate of .3113 per $100 of assessed value is the rate the town would have had to set to collect the same amount of tax revenue as it did this year. However, increasing property assessments means that if the town kept its existing rate, it would collect $58,125 more in Fiscal Year 2024, which begins on July 1. This is expected to cost taxpayers about $25-$30 more per household.

Town Approves Budget

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners approved its budget for Fiscal Year 2024, which went into effect on July 1. The budgets approved are the general fund of $5,018,075; the water fund of $1,060,300; the wastewater fund of $1,752,800; and the electric fund of $6,111,080.

Emmitsburg

Board Passes FY2024 Budget

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners passed the FY2024 town budget. The general fund is projected to increase 6 percent to $2,181,496.

The water fund is expected to decrease 8 percent this year to $680,801. The sewer fund is expected to increase by 7 percent to $1,018,155. A new stormwater management business fund is expect to be $15,000.

The property tax rate is proposed to remain at 34.64 cents per $100 of assessed value. A 4 percent COLA is also proposed for employee salaries.

The commissioners were reluctant to vote on the budget without learning whether they can change their accounting practices to remove items from the enterprise funds, in particular the water fund, and have them paid for from the general fund. While such a change would make the enterprise fund smaller, it would increase the general fund so that, overall, the taxpayer would see no difference in what they pay.

The commissioners expect to meet later this summer with the town’s lawyer and a representative from the auditing firm to see what can be done.

Sewer Rate Moratorium Enacted

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners voted to approve to delay the increase of the new sewer rates for a year so as to not overburden residents who will be having to deal with a large water rate increase. The town’s sewer fund is not as underfunded as the water fund, so it was decided the sewer rate increase could be delayed.

Bid Approved

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners approved a bid from Fox & Associates of Frederick for $251,056 for the engineering improvement plan and design bid for North Seton Avenue water line and green street project. The entire cost of the project is expected to be $1,145,552, of which 25 percent will be paid for with a grant from the Maryland Water Infrastructure Financing Administration. The remainder will be paid for with a loan from the same organization.

The town will also submit a Community Development Block Grant request for the DePaul Street water line. The entire cost of this project will be $1,120,000, of which they are requesting $552,500 in a CDBG grant. Other grants are expected to pay nearly all of the remaining cost, although the town is expected to provide $10,000 in in-kind funding.

New Grants Awarded

The Town of Emmitsburg recently received a TRIPP Advertising Grant for $7,333.32 to advertise Emmitsburg as a tourism destination on three billboards in the Gettysburg area and Destination Gettysburg and Visit Frederick annual guides.

The town also received a $10,000 grant from the FCTC, Main Street Cooperative Fund for new “Welcome to Emmitsburg” signs at the entrances to the town. This is expected to cost $5,000. The remaining money will go toward purchasing new parking meters. From

Emmitsburg

Mayor Don Briggs

As planned, the community pool opened without a hitch for the Memorial Day weekend, just in time to accommodate lots of us on some of those hot days. However, the town-sponsored pool party for June was interrupted by thunder and lightning delays. Not to despair, dates are set for July and August parties, with more free hot dogs, drinks, and a DJ to keep things moving. Check with the town office or social media sites for dates and times.

Another reminder to visit the Emmitsburg Farmers’ Market on South Seton Avenue next to the Community Center. The market is open every Friday, from 2:00 to 8:00 p.m., through October 6. Lots of healthy living, fresh vegetables, and fruit await you.

There comes a time—convenient or not—to accept that time, in the end, tips the scale. I have served 4 terms, 12 wonderful years, as mayor of Emmitsburg, a true honor, and I will not seek to serve a fifth term. My hope was to do positive things, big and small. In doing so, to also encourage more engagement by both the board and the community. With the help of a hard-working staff, we did, and did so always mindful of the rich history of the town. From adding wayside exhibits; to redoing the square, pool, and parks; adding solar fields; building a $19 million wastewater treatment plant; just to name a few of the things we all accomplished in light of many challenges expected, and unexpected, such as the pandemic. Again, we did all this together over the last 12 short years.

There are some wonderful capable people stepping forward to face the challenges for Emmitsburg that tomorrow brings. Let’s see what is on their pallets and move forward in support.

From Lib and I: We hope you enjoy a safe and joyful 4th of July.

Thurmont

 Mayor John Kinnaird

Welcome to July. This is the month for vacations and traveling! So, if you are traveling, please be careful on the roads. As you drive around our neighborhoods, please drive no more than the posted speed limit and watch out for kids. They may not always be fully aware of their surroundings and can dart out in front of cars without thinking about it.

The State Highway Administration has completed work on the Northbound bridge over Rt. 77. This project has taken a while, but the results are worth the wait. Many residents have been talking about the increased traffic on Frederick Road and Water Street; much of this increase was due to the bridge work and should drop off.

The Town of Thurmont has been making much-needed improvements to Frederick Road. The stormwater basins have been repaired or replaced, and several sections of municipal sidewalk have been updated in front of Community Park. This work at Community Park also includes new fencing along the sidewalk. The new wider sidewalk increased the drop-off at the rear edge of the walkway, and the new fence will ensure walkers and bike riders will be safe while passing Community Park. The next phase of work on Frederick Road will be milling and repaving. The Town of Thurmont has contracted with Pleasant’s Construction to repave Frederick Road from Tippin Drive to the Hunting Creek Bridge. Several sections of the curb and gutter will also be removed and replaced. This project will begin around July 10, and should be completed by August 1. This roadway work is being funded through Maryland Highway User Revenue. This project will bring some impacts on local residents, businesses, and traffic flow. The Town will be working closely with Pleasant’s to ensure that impacts are minimal. Your patience while this project is completed is appreciated. If you have any questions regarding this project, please contact the Town Office at 301-271-7313.

Progress is being made on the new softball field at East End Park. This new field will include lighting for night games. Grading should begin within a week, and construction will continue over the summer. The lights have been donated to this project and will make playing time on the field much more flexible. The funds for the softball field are courtesy of Program Open Space. We have also received additional POS funds to help with Gateway Trail access and amenities. The Town has also received POS funding to help expand the East End Dog Park. We were also awarded funding for the Mountain Gate Trail, connecting pedestrian and bike access from Frederick Road at Thurmont Blvd. with the trail system on Moser Road. This will improve access to the Trolley and Library Trails for those living on Frederick Road and in the Orchards Hills development.

The work on North Church Street will be getting underway this fall. Residents will be notified regarding lateral wastewater connections, as well as the construction schedule. This project will be a major undertaking and will require lane closures and delays. Please be aware of these and make plans to allow more time or an alternate route while work is being completed on North Church Street.

With summer here, you and the kids will be spending more time outdoors. I ask that you please use sunscreen, hats, or long sleeves when outdoors for any extended period of time. Sun exposure is the main cause of skin cancer, and protecting yourself and your family may prevent this painful disease. Remember, the sunburn you get today can develop into skin cancer later in life.

I hope everyone enjoys July! As always, I can be contacted by email at jkinnaird@thurmont.com or by phone at 301-606-9458.

Woodsboro

Burgess Heath Barnes

On June 13, former Burgess Bill Rittelmeyer and Commissioner John Cutshall were both sworn in for their four-year terms on the town commissioners. I would like to congratulate both of them. Thank you, outgoing Commissioner Dana Crum for your years of service to Woodsboro. She was very instrumental in obtaining grants for many projects in the park, while serving as the commissioner who oversaw the parks and recreation. Commissioner Crum was also the president of the council (the person who would step in should something happen to the burgess, etc.). At the meeting, we elected a new president of the council, who will be Commissioner Leroy “Bud” Eckenrode. He will also assume the duties of parks and recreation. Commissioner Rittelmeyer will assume the role of overseeing water and sewage that Commissioner Eckenrode previously held. Commissioner Jesse Case will continue to be the planning and zoning commissioner, and Commissioner John Cutshall will continue to be the streets and roads commissioner.

I informed the council that we have received a grant from CPP 2023 for $214,000 to build a bathroom and to run water and electricity to the eastern side of the park where the stage is located. I met with our water and sewer contractor to get an estimate to run the water, and the same contractor that built the stage will be building the bathroom. There is not a timeframe at this time for the project, as we are awaiting estimates for the project to come in. Former Commissioner Crum and I also attended the grant meeting in the county, where we were able to secure $137,000 dollars to build the skatepark in the park. Finally, we signed a contract to have the tennis courts resurfaced and to have pickleball lines added. This is a project that we cannot set an exact date on, as the weather conditions have to be in certain parameters to complete the project, but rest assured it is coming.

The FY2024 budget was voted on and approved. I am happy to say that we did not have to change the tax rates from the 2021 year, as we kept the fixed rate as the same. Woodsboro continues to have one of the lowest municipalities taxes in the county, and there are no plans to change that. As you will see, there was a small change in water and sewage rates. There has not been an increase in that in several years, but, unfortunately, with rising cost in labor and equipment costs, etc., we had no option but to raise the water flat rate from $15 to $17 and the sewage flat rate from $122 to $125. We kept the increase at the very minimal as possible. 

We will be installing four to six additional speed limit signs throughout the town to discourage the speeding that continues to be an issue, particularly on Main Street. In addition, I am doing research and in contact with the state about the possibility of installing speed cameras. There will be more to come on that. I am very concerned about the speed that I see people driving in our town, and we are addressing it.

The town hall update is that we have been cleared with the first permit with the county, and it is moving through the process. I am optimistic that there will be a groundbreaking by late summer to early fall if things continue to move as there are now.

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

If you have any questions, concerns, complaints, or compliments, please feel free to reach out to me at hbarnes@woodsboro.org or by phone at 301-401-7164.

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

by Valerie Nusbaum

Randy and I moved to Thurmont almost 30 years ago. We were welcomed warmly around town and generally accepted as part of the community. However, when new people move to any small town there’s always some hesitancy by the locals to grant the newcomers local status.  We answered all the questions about where we came from and who our “people” were, but we knew we’d have many more years ahead of us lodged in the “move-in” category.  We took part in town celebrations and activities, joined a few groups, supported local businesses (and started one of our own), and we still got the occasional suspicious look from someone whose lineage traced back more than 200 years with roots grounded in Thurmont soil.

Back in the day, Randy would go out to run errands around town and he’d come home laughing and overjoyed when someone—anyone—had recognized him. Randy came home one day and proudly proclaimed that he surely must be a local because the kid at the pizza place had given him a nickname and had yelled it at him out on the street. I’m not sure that being referred to as “Pepsi Man” makes one a local, but it made my hubby happy. Over the years, Randy has been called a few other names, but I won’t print those here.

We’ve lived in the same house for the last 29-plus years, and we’ve seen neighbors and old-timers come and go. We’re pretty much the old-timers now, and we consider ourselves locals, but we still get asked how long we’ve lived here. Occasionally, it turns into a competition that we usually lose, with the other party doing a head shake and an eye roll at our newness to the area.

So, imagine my surprise when Randy did some research into my family tree. He’d spent several years researching his own family history through Ancestry.com, complete with DNA testing. I’d held off on that for myself because the idea of drooling into a test tube just didn’t appeal to me, but that’s neither here nor there for the purposes of this column.

Randy showed me documentation that my great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfather Matthaeus Ambrose emigrated from Germany sometime between 1696 when he was born and 1736. Old Matthaeus settled in—wait for it—Thurmont, Maryland! Oh, yes he did. Thurmont was actually Mechanicstown in those days, as we all know, but it’s still right here.  Matthaeus married a local woman named Maria Catherine Spohn, and the couple had a son in 1736. Their son, William Henry Ambrose, grew up to become The Reverend Ambrose. So, my roots to this community not only go way back, but I’m also from good stock. Matthaeus and the family owned a flour mill on Owens Creek, and after his and Maria’s deaths in 1784 and 1780, respectively, some of the Ambroses migrated to Berkeley County, West Virginia.

Several generations later, my great-grandfather, George Wilson Ambrose, was born in West Virginia in 1868, and he moved to Brunswick, Maryland, to find work on the railroad. George and his wife, Eliza Catherine Hoaf, had twelve children, one of which was my dear grandfather, Ralphie.

Ralph and Ethel Virginia Whittington married and had four children, including my mother, Wanda, who lived almost all of her 90 years in Brunswick. Wanda married John Clifford Zombro from Bolivar, West Virginia, and I came along six years later.

Randy, who is from Walkersville (and Mount Pleasant), and I looked all over Frederick County for a place to call home. Things were quite different in Thurmont back in those days, but we liked the area and the people seemed nice. Heck, any small town with two big buffets couldn’t be bad, right? We chose a corner lot in what was to be a new, small development, and we built a modest house, adding  more space when we outgrew what we started with. We’ve seen a lot of businesses and people come and go, and we’ve done our best to adapt. We’re still here and, like it or not, we plan to stay a while longer.

Speaking of Randy, I owe him a big “thank you” for doing this research for me. He worked hard on it and all I did was bake some brownies…and go with him to pick strawberries…and buy him dinner at Los Amigos. I also went out and cleaned the upholstery in his truck from when he got hot fudge all over the seats. Marriage is a give-and-take, no matter where we live.

It’s funny. I grew up in Brunswick and I had a wonderful childhood with my parents and brother, grandparents, and loads of cousins and aunts and uncles. I love my hometown and have the greatest respect for the people in it. The folks in Brunswick always did and still do treat me like a local and one of the old guard. But when I moved to Thurmont, I felt at home and now I know why. I can feel you shaking your head and rolling your eyes, and that’s just fine with me, but don’t tell me I’m not a local anymore.

by James Rada, Jr.

Thurmont

Police Join LEOPS Pension Program

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners recently voted to move the Thurmont Police Department to the Law Enforcement Officers Pension System. They have discussed the move for years, and it is considered a more appropriate program for the police officers. The advantage is that it offers an earlier retirement age and enhanced benefits over the State of Maryland Pension System. The cost to move the current officers to the program is $45,000 a year for 20 years.

Parking Allowed on Park Lane

Given the controversy that allowing no parking along Park Lane caused among residents in the neighborhood, the Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners decided to return to the previous signage along the street that allowed for some parking. This was also the recommendation of Thurmont Police Chief Greg Eyler. The parking restriction had been a pro-active action to avoid possible problems with getting emergency vehicles into the area. However, since such a problem never occurred and the solution created anger among some residents, it was decided to revert to what had been working and deal with any problems if they arise.

Sewer Improvements Approved

The Guyer Brothers will perform sewer replacements along North Church Street, from the center of town to the high school. The cost of the project is $4,396,887. Most of this will be paid for using American Rescue Plan funds. The remaining $954,317 will be paid for using unrestricted funds from the town budget.

Construction Trade Services will make sewer repairs and replacement throughout town along Apples Church Road, Eyler Road, Roddy Road, and Vista Drive. The cost of these repairs is $85,000 and will be paid for with unspent FY21 capital project savings.

Town Considering FY24 Budget

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners are considering the proposed budget for fiscal year 2024, which begins on July 1. The proposed $5,016,075 budget is $247,557 greater than the current budget. No increase in the tax rate is currently proposed.

The general fund includes $1,605,200 for public safety; $359,171 for parks and recreation; and $767,400 for streets. The enterprise funds are proposed to be $1,060,300 in the water fund; $1,752,800 in the wastewater fund; and $1,827,260 in the electric fund.

Emmitsburg

Creamery Road Pump Station Bid and Change Orders Approved

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners approved a bid of $4,391,422 from Conewago Enterprises to construct the Creamery Road Pump Station. The project, which was started in 2018, is funded through sewer fees, USDA loans, grants, and a town match.

The board also approved two engineering change orders: one for $267,059 and the second for $13,704.

Board Considering FY2024 Budget

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners has started considering the FY2024 town budget, which will take effect on July 1. The general fund is projected to increase 6 percent to $2,181,496.

The water fund is expected to decrease 8 percent this year to $680,801. The sewer fund is expected to increase by 7 percent to $1,018,155. A new stormwater management business fund is expected to be $15,000.

The property tax rate is proposed to remain at 34.64 cents per $100 of assessed value. A 4 percent COLA is also proposed for employee salaries.

Board Makes Budget Transfers

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners approved transfers to capital projects using $357,977 in excess revenues from the FY22 budget. Of this amount, $122,000 needs to be transferred to the FY2023 general fund. The remainder will go to streets ($75,000), streetlights ($72,000), pool ($5,300), Rainbow Lake ($37,850), grant matches ($24,327), and general projects ($21,500).

Parking Permit Options Added

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners approved changing the types of parking permits offered in town. The new permits will be $20 for one month, $57 for three months, $108 for 6 months, and $204 for 12 months.

Thurmont

 Mayor John Kinnaird

I hope everyone had a great Memorial Day and had the opportunity to spend time with your family. The Thurmont Main Street Farmers Market is now open on Saturday mornings at the Community Park. I encourage everyone to visit the market and any other community events we are having. Watch for upcoming Concerts in the Park and others.

You may have heard that the board of commissioners (BOC) has voted to join in a multi-jurisdictional law suit against manufacturers of PFOAs and related chemical compounds. These chemicals are known as forever compounds because they resist breaking down naturally. They were used in many products, including fire-fighting foam, waterproof clothing and boots, non-stick cookware, and even items like pizza boxes. These chemicals have managed to get into our drinking water sources, and recent changes in allowable levels from the Environmental Protection Agency and Maryland Department of Environment will require that Thurmont and thousands of other communities across the USA take action to remove these chemical compounds from our water systems. We are currently working with our engineering firm to design the filtration systems needed to bring our levels down to a non-detectable level. This will require filtration units at each of our water treatment facilities. Not only will we need the filtration equipment, we will also need to build additions to our treatment facilities to house the filters and plumbing and electrical equipment to operate them. The initial costs will be high, but what is more troublesome is the unknown costs for the safe disposal and replacement of the filter elements or filtration materials. Looking ahead, the BOC has decided to participate in the legal action in an effort to help cover the associated costs. The cost for upgrading the systems will fall on the consumers, so any relief we can get in a settlement will help off-set the costs our residents will be paying. We are moving forward with the design, purchase, and installation of the required equipment. It is our hope that we get support from the MDE or EPA and a settlement from the legal action to help defray the costs. We do not expect to be made whole by a settlement but we hope that funds will be awarded to help defray the costs. While the design and installation process is moving forward, I want to reassure everyone that we are following the guidelines set forth by the EPA and MDE.

Work continues on Frederick Road leading up to milling and resurfacing later this summer. The Thurmont Water Department installed three new 8-inch gate valves at the Frederick Road and Thurmont Boulevard intersection. This will ensure that a planned commercial improvement on Thurmont Blvd. will not require cutting the new blacktop. They have also installed a new 8-inch gate valve on the Moser Road water main at Frederick Road. This new valve will allow the crew to isolate the water main if it needs to be shut down in an emergency. A private contractor has been working to upgrade the storm water collection basin on Frederick Road. These are all over 40 years of age and have been having issues. The new basins will help improve the flow of storm water off of the road surface. They are also upgrading the sidewalk and entrance to Community Park in advance of milling and repaving. These projects have caused some delays and slowed traffic, but in the end, the new road surface will be well worth the inconvenience. The Town has just put out an invitation to bid on the milling and blacktopping. The contract should be awarded within a month, and at that time we will have an approximate start date for the final phase of work.

The Town of Thurmont will also be starting a rebuild of North Church Street this fall. This project will include the complete rebuilding of the water and waste water infrastructure on the roadway. The infrastructure has been in place for many years and sections are failing. We will be removing existing terra-cotta pipe wastewater lines and wastewater laterals. We will also be removing an abandoned water pump installation beneath the Church Street and Emmitsburg Road intersection. This work will provide much-improved services for residents served by the lines we are replacing. During the work, one lane will be closed and flagmen will be onsite to keep traffic moving as smoothly as possible. Once our work is finished the state will blacktop the roadway.

As always, please wear sunscreen, hats, and long sleeves when outdoors. Make sure your kids, family, and friends are also protected for their safety. I can be reached at jkinnaird@thurmont.com or by phone at 301-606-9458.

Emmitsburg

Mayor Don Briggs

Why should we protect our mountains, farms, and historic districts? Because it defines us. Recently, our daughter moved to Lexington, Kentucky. She had sold her horse farm in Virginia, spent a year traveling around the world, and then, surprisingly, extended her horse-related career in the horse capital of the world: the bluegrass state. In a recent visit, we drove by miles and miles of horse farms with new foals abounding; ate lunch at Keenland Racetrack; toured the Kentucky Horse Park, home of the Olympic equestrian team; and watched the world-renowned Rolex three-day competition event. Our daughter’s grandparents’ farm was named Houyhnhnm, a name taken from the Jonathan Swift novel, Gulliver’s Travels. Houyhnhnm (pronounced win-em) was a mythical country of superior intellect horses. Though our daughter will be traveling a lot in her new role in the horse world, it sure seems and feels like she lives in that special place, the Camelot of horse lovers, Houyhnhnm. We’ve got it special, too. Let’s protect our special setting that forms us. Something akin to the Irish bard’s description, Dinnshenchas, the embodiment of place and who we are.

I attended and gave the welcoming address at the 42nd National Firefighters Foundation Memorial Weekend held on the weekend of May 6-7. The commemoration was previously held annually the first weekend in October. As in previous years, thousands of guests visited Emmitsburg to honor those who gave their lives in fire service. The weather cooperated for a fitting tribute for those firefighters who were always there for us. Many people have asked what my message to our guests was, so here it is:

“Good evening. On behalf of the residents of Emmitsburg and Northern Frederick County, welcome.

Thank you for again sharing this solemn tradition with us, the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Service weekend, as today we honor these firefighters. 

Every year as mayor, I am given the honor to welcome you. And every year I have to call upon wisdom far greater than mine.

It is written that success in life is measured by whether we use the gifts/talents that we are given. It is also written, as if to answer that challenge, ‘Be not afraid.’

For your contributions to your communities across the county, responding to that call in the middle of the night, always that challenge is there and begs an answer.

As it was for these firefighters we honor today, the answer they gave was yes, and the answer they expect from you and all of us is: Be not afraid.

They were a success. They used their talents well. Welcome. Our town is yours.”

After many hours of preparation by a faithful group of volunteers led by the Lions Club and most of our civic groups, including the Knights of Columbus and Masons, the Emmitsburg Community Heritage Day will be Saturday, June 24. Great community event in Myers Community Park: vendors, games, multiple food choices, parade, and fireworks. 

Parks are alive with activities. People are enjoying the new bleachers for baseball and softball games in both Memorial and Myers parks. New covered places with grills are being used. More walkers are out and about now that the town is more connected with the sidewalk improvements throughout the town and missing connections in the parks that were made in the last decade. Again, we are becoming a well-connected pedestrian and bike-friendly town that is less car dependent and offers a diversity of both active and passive recreational opportunities.

The community pool opens on Memorial Day Weekend and will be open on weekends, then daily after schools let out. Pool party dates are set, one for each of the summer months. Check with the town office or social media sites for dates and times.

The Farmers Market, located on South Seton Avenue, opens on Friday, June 23, from 2:00-8:00 p.m., and is going to be spectacular. It’s our best one yet: lots of vendors, children’s activities, and an ice cream truck to boot.

Come on summer. Emmitsburg is here and ready for all to enjoy.

Woodsboro

Burgess Heath Barnes

On May 13, town elections were held for two council positions. Congratulations to Commissioner John Cutshall on his re-election and to former Burgess, Bill Rittelmeyer, on his election to serve as a council member. Thank you both for stepping up to serve our town.

At our May 9 town meeting, I informed the council that, unfortunately, our request for funding of $257,892.64 to be added into the county budget for a needed major electrical panel replacement at the water plant was not added. We discussed other ways to get it replaced. We will reconcile our records and see what is remaining from the ARPA funds we received as one option.

I also was informed that our request to have a grant issued under the Community Parks and Playgrounds to build a bathroom in the east side of the park was not approved. It appears, from what I can see, that out of the 70-plus projects that were awarded under this year’s governor’s budget, only one went to Frederick County.

On a bright note, we did receive the denial letter the day before the deadline for next year’s POS grant deadline, so we submitted the project under that, along with the request for funding the skate park. The meeting for that will be on June 6, along with the other municipality leaders in the county to determine the funding allocations; hopefully, we are successful.

Commissioner Dana Crum informed us that she has scheduled the company to paint the much-requested pickleball lines onto the tennis courts. That should happen in the next few weeks. The maintenance men have also removed the old playground equipment in one section of the park and the new equipment will be installed in July or August. I also gave an update on the town hall. A site plan has now officially been filed with the county and is going through the forestation and storm water management permitting process at this time. Once those are approved, the process will begin flowing through the permitting channel, hopefully, at a quick speed.

The FY2024 budget was presented to the council and several items were discussed and some changes made. At the June 13 town meeting, the budget will be voted upon during the first half of the meeting and the two new council members will be sworn in to continue the second half of the meeting.

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

If you have any questions, concerns, complaints, or compliments, please feel free to reach out to me at hbarnes@woodsboro.org or by phone at 301-401-7164.

Woodsboro Town meetings are held on the second Tuesday of each month at 7:00 p.m. In addition, Planning and Zoning meetings are at 6:00 p.m. on the first Monday of the month, as needed.

If you have an item for the agenda, it needs to be submitted 14 days before the P&Z meeting.

The current location for meetings is the St. John’s United Church of Christ, located at 8 N. 2nd Street, Woodsboro, MD 21798. The public is always invited to attend.

by James Rada, Jr.

Thurmont

Program Open Space Projects Decided

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners decided on a selection of projects to request Program Open Space money to fund. The total is estimated to be $479,500. It is unlikely that all of the projects will be funded this year, so they also needed to be prioritized.

The projects are:

Hunting Creek pedestrian bridge completion – $75,000.

New parking area for 89 spaces at Eyler Road Park – $250,000.

Expanding the East End Dog Park – $7,500.

Mountain Gate Trail from Weis to the Thurmont Library – $47,000 for materials only.

Two pickleball courts at East End Park – $100,000.

Town Oil Recycling To End

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners voted to remove the oil recycling center that was located near the Thurmont Library. The site was badly used by people bringing oil or transmission fluid for recycling. In many instances, this resulted in oil being spilled on the ground and contaminating it. Tracy’s Automotive and Advance Auto will continue to take oil for recycling in town.

Property for Flood Mitigation Purchased

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners recently approved up to $80,000 for the purchase of .91 acres. The property is the last parcel that was needed so that work can begin on the Emmitsburg Road flood mitigation project. Once completed, it should alleviate the flooding problems along U.S. 15 to Emmitsburg Road and down to Woodside Avenue.

Social Media Policy Approved

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners recently approved a general social media policy for town social media accounts. The policy has two options. An account can be simply for dissemination of information and does not have to allow for the comments.

However, if the account does allow comments, it needs to be monitored so as not to allow for inappropriate comments, while at the same time not infringing on a person’s first amendment rights.

Thurmont Boulevard Postponed

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners have postponed development of Thurmont Boulevard for the foreseeable future due to the need to use funds to eliminate the trace amounts of “forever chemicals” found in the town’s water supply. They also hope that when they return to the project, they will have some better options for funding it.

Emmitsburg

Sewer and Water Rate Increases Coming

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners voted in April to start increasing sewer and water rates in town to bring the rates up to the point where the systems are sustainable. The discussion has been going on since last October.

“We can’t kick it down the road anymore,” Commissioner Frank Davis said.

During the public hearing, five residents spoke out against the increases, urging the town commissioners to find income from other sources or a different way to phase in the increases. The commissioners pointed out that they have reviewed a variety of plans, but they are all going to be painful. Also, for the town to be eligible for federal and state loans, they have to show they have a plan in place to be self-sustaining. In essence, to show they can repay a loan, they have to show they have enacted changes that would mean the town probably wouldn’t need to loan.

The commissioners voted:

    Increase sewer rates 3 percent a year.

    Increase water rates 36 percent a year for 5 years and then 3 percent a year, thereafter.

“Do I like it?” Commissioner Amy Boehman-Pollitt said. “No, I don’t. Do I want water? Yes, I do.”

Water rates haven’t increased since 2013, and sewer rates haven’t increased since 2006.

Sheriff’s Contract Approved

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners unanimously approved a contract from the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office to maintain community deputies in the town. The contract for FY2024 was 5.1 percent greater than the current contract.

Recently Awarded Grants

The Town of Emmitsburg was recently awarded the following grants:

Rainbow Lake Parking Lot for $44,500 to pave a 10- to 12-space parking lot at Rainbow Lake.

Community Park Pavilion Improvements for $30,500 to install a new pavilion roof, repair rotting wood, pressure wash, sand/stain, replace 10 picnic tables.

Memorial Park Pavilion Improvements for $22,000 to repair pavilion rotting wood, pressure wash, sand/stain, replace 11 picnic tables.

Baseball Field Bat/Helmet Racks for $3,000 to purchase bat/helmet racks for the remaining three ballfield dugouts (fields #5, #4 and #2).

DHCD Operating Assistance Grant – Main Street Improvement Grant for $10,000 to replace 102 streetlights along Main Street.

Thurmont

 Mayor John Kinnaird

May is Skin Cancer Awareness month, and I want to help make you more aware of this common health issue. There are several different types of skin cancer, including melanoma, basal cell skin cancer, and squamous cell skin cancer.

Nonmelanoma skin cancer is a very a common cancer in the United States, with more than 5 million people diagnosed each year. Basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, which are nonmelanoma skin cancers, are the most common types of skin cancer. Nonmelanoma skin cancers rarely spread to other parts of the body. Melanoma is an aggressive form of skin cancer. It is more likely to invade nearby tissues and spread to other parts of the body than the more common forms of skin cancer. Melanoma is more common in men than women and among individuals of fair complexion. Unusual moles, exposure to natural sunlight or artificial sunlight (such as from tanning beds) over long periods of time, and health history can affect the risk of melanoma.

Many skin cancers can be prevented by using sunscreen, wearing large-brimmed hats, long sleeves, long pants, and minimizing your direct exposure to sunlight. Be sure to keep these recommendations in mind for yourself and your family, especially your children. Sunburn can be the beginning of skin cancer that will not appear for many years.

Early detection is important for skin cancer, and the following are the things everyone should be on the lookout for:

A new, expanding, or changing growth, spot, or bump on the skin;

A sore that bleeds and/or doesn’t heal after several weeks.

A rough or scaly red patch, which might crust or bleed.

A wart-like growth.

A mole (or other spot on the skin) that’s new or changing in size, shape, or color.

If you see any of the above signs, please see a dermatologist and have it addressed. My experience with skin cancer began about 35 years ago when I had a half-inch diameter piece removed from my upper back. I went to Dr. Warner who told me it probably started when I got burned as a youngster. He often told me cancer can take years to mature and that I would probably have a continuing relationship with cancer. He was right. After seeing him for about 20 years, he ended up recommending that I visit the cancer center at Johns Hopkins. I have been going there ever since. Over the years, I have had several surgeries on my nose, including two skin grafts, two surgeries that required my nose to be cut wide open, and countless sessions with topical chemo treatments. All the skin from the inside of my left ear was removed a few years ago, and I still have issues with it. I have had at least eight surgeries on my cheeks and forehead, including one in mid-April and another scheduled for mid-May. These have ranged in size from one to two inches in diameter. My scalp has been the worst area for me, having at least a dozen surgeries. Many of those have been one inch in diameter but two of them were three inches across and went all the way to my skull. Those required me to change the dressing regularly and apply salve to the skin and bone. The first one was surgically closed after two months, and my lymph nodes were removed when it was closed. I then had 28 radiation therapy sessions to kill cancer in my nerves the doctor could not remove. Since the radiation, I experience constant pain in the front part of my head. The surgery last June took nine months to close up by granulation, meaning nine months of almost daily bandage changes and wound care. This April, I had another surgery on my left cheek and my lower left back, and I have more scheduled in May. I also have a shelf full of costly cancer drugs and cremes I use every day to try to slow the progress of my cancers.

I used to tell people that I had “pretend” cancer that could be treated and removed easily. After all these years, it has occurred to me that my cancer is far from pretend; it is with me every day and causes a lot of physical and emotional pain. This is the result of not wearing sunscreen or hats for my entire outdoor working career. Please do not make the same mistakes I did. Always use sunscreen and wear protective clothing; it can make a big difference in your health for years to come.

Questions or comments? I can be reached at jkinnaird@thurmont.com or by phone at 301-606-9458.

Emmitsburg

Mayor Don Briggs

Reminder, the 42nd National Firefighters Foundation Memorial Weekend will be held this year on May 6 and 7. The commemoration previously held the first weekend in October, henceforth, will be held on the first weekend in May. This offers better weather probabilities and less roulette challenges than early October presents. Please welcome the thousands of guests who will be visiting Emmitsburg that weekend to honor those who gave their lives in fire service. I will greet families and friends on Saturday evening. It is one of the most special times for me. The Sunday memorial service is open to the public, but it does take on special arrangements in taking buses from the Mount. It is best to contact the Fallen Firefighters Foundation for directions. Check the website at www.firehero.org/events/memorial-weekend. If you can’t make it, stop what you’re doing on Sunday and listen to the bagpipes and siren at our firehouse at the end of the service, as it joins in with all the firehouses across the country that closes out the service as a final tribute to those very special people among us.

Emmitsburg Community Heritage Day is not too far away, on Saturday, June 24. It is led by the Lions Club, with most of the other civic groups, Knights of Columbus, Masons, and the town pitching in. It is a great community event in Myers Community Park, with vendors, games, multiple food choices, parade, and fireworks. Coming soon is an updated website: emmitsburgevents.com. Visit it.

Pickleball, pickleball. Last spring, the town had a pickleball court template printed over the tennis court in Myers Park, so there could be the choice for optional use. As tennis activity on the court ebbs, “pickler” use is strong, very strong. By one estimate, across the globe, 32 million people played the game last year. To take a shot at the surge, one community is developing a 32-court indoor pickleball facility. A developing consensus for the reasons for the success of the game is that it’s a great workout, easy to learn, social, low impact, equipment is affordable, and you can play doubles.

Another recreational activity that is growing almost exponentially is disc golf. One estimate is that over 4,000,000 people are playing the game. Our town course, located in Myers Park, is one of the most attractive courses in the region, drawing users from multiple states for casual and tournament play. The activity comes with an amazing cadre of volunteers who mow, weed, and maintain the course. Give it a try; we have some discs at the town office (security deposit needed).

New bleachers for baseball and softball in both Memorial and Myers Parks, covered places with grills, new tot equipment at Silo Hill Park, and basketball court installation has now started.

We are becoming a well-connected pedestrian and bike friendly town that is less car dependent and offers a diversity of both active and passive recreational opportunities.

To our seniors with fixed incomes, the presence of Frederick Health is up here, increased transit services to Frederick helps. But this is a tsunami, with the increased cost for everything. This week, we spent $7-plus for a box of cereal. The remnant government program for food stamps that paid $193 a month pre-COVID and was increased to $215 per month during COVID now has been reduced to $40 a month. How does that work?

The community Pool will open on Memorial Day weekend and will be open on weekends then daily after schools let out.

With spring upon us, summer soon to be, Emmitsburg is out there for each of us to enjoy.

The status of new businesses and development coming to Thurmont:

Subdivisions

Hobb’s Division (East Main Street): Final plat recorded for two lots in Mixed-Use Village 1.

Hammaker Hills, Phase 1 (Woodland Ave.) Final plat recorded for 37 single-family lots in R-2 district. Ten permits issued.

Hammaker Hills, Phase 2 (Westview Drive): Preliminary plat approved for 22 single-family lots in R-2 district. The improvement plan is conditionally approved.

     Mechanicstown, LLC (Emmitsburg Road): Preliminary plat approved for 31 single-family lots in R-2/ ARP district.

     Mountain Brooke (Emmitsburg Road): Preliminary plat approved for 11 single-family lots in R-2/ ARP district.   

Meunier Minor Subdivision (North Carroll Street): Preliminary/final plat approved for one new lot and adjustment of two lots in R-2 district.

Simmer’s Minor Subdivision (Apples Church Road) Preliminary/final plat approved for one single-family lot.

Oak Forest Townhouse Community (East Moser Road) Concept plan submitted for a 36-unit townhouse community in R-5 district.

     505 E. Main St. Minor Subdivision (E. Main Street): Preliminary/final plat approved for one lot.

     Simmer’s Subdivision (Apples Church Road): Concept plan submitted for a 40-unit townhouse community in R-5 district.

Site Plans

Thurmont Business Park (Thurmont Blvd.): Lot 1 to be developed for the relocation of Goodwill into a 17,850 square foot building – final site plan under review.

New Businesses

Weis Gas N’ Go is now open at Weis Markets.

Studio 24 is coming to 21 East Main Street in June.

10 Tavern will be open in June at 10 East Main Street.

by James Rada, Jr.

Thurmont

Town Approves Bond Issue

After a public hearing, the Thurmont Commissioners voted for the ability to issue infrastructure bonds up to $6 million. The proceeds from the bond sale will be used to complete the Thurmont Boulevard project and the wetlands mitigation. The town does not necessarily need to issue the bonds, but the hearing and vote were necessary in order for the town to pursue other sources of funding for the project. Most of the people who spoke were not in favor of the town issuing bonds. The vote was 4-1 in favor, with Commissioner Bill Blakeslee voting against the motion.

State Funding for Park Projects

The Town of Thurmont was recently approved for state grant funding of four park projects in town:

        $220,083 for the Gateway Trail Pedestrian Bridge over Hunting Creek.

        $256,000 for the replacement of the Community Park Tennis Courts.

        $10,000 for the East End Dog Park watering stations.

        $20,000 for the Trolley Trail Interpretive Sign Project.

These project grants will require no match from the town.

Juneteenth Holiday

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners voted to make Juneteenth a town holiday to be celebrated on June 19 each year. The holiday represents the date of the emancipation of the last slaves in the Confederate States. It became a federal holiday in 2021.

Committee Appointments

Thurmont Mayor John Kinnaird recently swore in Kirby Delauter to serve on the Thurmont Board of Appeals and Ed Hutson to serve on the Thurmont Police Commission.

Emmitsburg

Sewer and Water Rate Increases Coming

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners is still considering how to implement the new water and sewer rates that will allow the system to be sustainable. The discussion has been going on since last October.

The recommended increases that it appears the commissioners will hold a hearing on this month are: (1) Increase sewer rates 3 percent a year; and (2) Increase water rates 36 percent a year for five years and then 3 percent a year, thereafter.

Water rates haven’t increased since 2013, and sewer rates haven’t increased since 2006.

New Park Grant

The Town of Emmitsburg was recently awarded a Program Open Space grant for $70,000. It will require a $37,500 match from the town. The grant is for a stormwater management plan to pave a 10- to 12-space parking lot at Rainbow Lake.

Commission Appointments

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners recently made the following appointments to town commissions:

        Scott Frager was reappointed to the Board of Appeals with a term of February 17, 2023, to February 17, 2026.

        Carolyn Miller was reappointed to the Parks and Committee with a term of March 13, 2023, to March 13, 2025.

        Martin Miller was reappointed to the Parks and Committee with a term of March 13, 2023, to March 13, 2025.

        Mark Walkers’ resignation from the Citizens Advisory Committee was accepted.

        Valerie Turnquist was appointed to the Planning Commission with a term of March 13, 2023, to March 13, 2026.

Emmitsburg

Mayor Don Briggs

With April comes traces of lengthening days, milder weather, and once again, the increasing choruses of activity in our parks. In addition to the hardy Emmitsburg Walking Club members (Look them up; they have a Facebook page), comes baseball and softball pushing the edges of each day for practice times. 

Earth Day will be celebrated this year on Saturday, April 22. Planned events start at 9:00 a.m. with a three-hour cleanup around town, fueled by the efforts of the town Citizens Advisory Committee members, families, and friends. For the second year, Stream Links will be planting trees at the wastewater treatment plant. More children-directed activities of plantings, games, music, and an ice cream truck are planned from noon to 2:00 p.m. behind the community center.

Once a year, it’s good to pay tribute to the original Emmitsburg Business and Professional Association (EBPA)-sponsored scholarship fund, which now brims over $28,000. Thank you to all the businesses that made the educational opportunities possible. Also, the EBPA “Change for Food” program has now raised over $52,000 for the Emmitsburg Food Bank. Thank you to old-guard EBPA members, Allen Knott for accounting and Bob Rosensteel for the idea and collection of donations at different business locations in town. It is my understanding that Bob will be stepping back from collections, and Phyllis Kelley of the food bank will be taking over for him. Thank you to Bob and Allen for many years of service.  

In mid-March, I toured the three construction projects underway at the Daughters of Charity St. Joseph House, of which the Basilica is a part. The former main entrance area off the Porto Concierge is being renovated into three museum exhibit areas and a gift store. Completion is scheduled for this August. In the northeast corner of the building, the “C” wing’s first and second floors, that were previously the nursing home, are being repurposed to house up to 40 pre-seminarians for the Mount seminary. Completed construction and use is also scheduled for August of this year. The third project entails the terrace and the first floor of the “E” wing, adjacent to the new museum, being renovated for use by the new Mount Saint Mary’s School of Health Professions, scheduled to open August 2024.

On Saturday, March 25, Emmitsburg Walking Club member, Melissa McKinney, walked a marathon, 26.2 miles around the Myers Community Park exercise trail loop that was inspired, in part, by a similar event held annually, now in its 34th year in Los Cruses, New Mexico, that commemorates the WWII 1942 Bataan Death March in the Philippines. Melissa walked the 51 laps, toting a 15-pound rucksack for her cherished causes for Veterans, Team Red, White and Blue, and Soldiers Angels.

At an event I attended and spoke at, County Executive Jessica Fitzwater announced Emmitsburg and Thurmont will soon have more access to County Transit services, with a pilot program to launch as of Saturday, April 1. Added to the existing service will be a late-morning optional trip available on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Every Saturday, there will be two round trips between Frederick to the benefit of all, including Mount students. Improved bus stops and updated signage are part of the new services. To learn more about Transit Services, visit FrederickCountyMD.gov/Transit, @TransITServicesFrederick on Facebook, and @TransitServices on Twitter.

Our sister city Lutsk in Ukraine is being hit with Russian missiles. Thank you, Cathy Bodine, Nathalie Raymond, and Dr. Bonnie Portier for the clothing collection for Ukraine. Take care and pray for our Ukrainian friends.

Hoping you have a wonderful Easter and its magnificent Sunday sunrise.

Thurmont

 Mayor John Kinnaird

Spring is here, the flowers are blooming, there are buds on the trees, and many of us are experiencing stuffy noses due to the pollen in the air. While Mother Nature has gotten this done, the town crews have been working hard at getting the baseball and softball fields in good order. They have also been cleaning up the parks and reopening the restroom facilities. The next couple of months will bring several changes to our parks facilities. The East End Park will be getting a new pavilion next to the all-access playground, replacing the aging pavilion. The dog park will be getting dog-watering fountains to help keep your four-legged friends cool in the summer and well-hydrated while they play. The Community Park will be getting a new tennis court, nets, and fencing; this is to replace the existing court. I expect that the tennis court will be unavailable for at least a month while this work is being completed, so your patience will be appreciated as this work moves forward. The Community Park will also get a pedestrian bridge at the rear of the park over Hunting Creek. This bridge will allow easy access to the park for residents on West Main Street, and it will provide a connection to the Gateway Trail from within the Community Park. The Gateway Trail is a trail leading from Thurmont into the Catoctin Mountain National Park.

I am proud to say that the water main project on Old Pryor Road has now been completed. This project is providing much-needed improvements to the water service for residents on Old Pryor; it has also provided a loop through the Hillside subdivision that will improve service there as well. Thanks goes to Guyer Brothers for completing this project on time, with as little disruption as possible.

You may notice some work has started on improvements to Frederick Road. The contractor has begun refurbishing the stormwater basins on both sides of the road. This is the first part of a project that will see sidewalks repaired, the roadway milled and repaved, and traffic lines reapplied. This project will take several months to complete. Traffic will be reduced to a single lane, with flaggers directing the flow while the roadway is being repaired. These improvements will eliminate several sections of damaged sidewalks and result in a much smoother road for traffic. As always, once the road work begins, please drive slowly through the area and obey the traffic control devices and the flaggers. They are there to protect you and the workers.

There has been much talk recently about the forever chemicals in our drinking water. The EPA recently established 4ppt (Parts Per Trillion) as an acceptable level for drinking water. The Town of Thurmont has been working with our engineers and manufacturers to design filtration systems that will bring PFAS to an undetectable level. These filtration units will be installed at each of our water treatment facilities. The installation will require the construction of new buildings to house the units and the necessary plumbing to connect them to our system. I want to assure our residents that we are following the guidance of the MDE as we move forward with this effort and that we are investigating all funding sources available to get this project completed.

Woodsboro

Burgess Heath Barnes

I am happy to report on some great developments at our March 14 meeting.  

Our planning and zoning committee presented to the council an updated drawing of the plans for our new town hall. The council unanimously approved the plans, and now I can happily report that they will be going to the county for the permit approvals. I am going to work as hard as I can to get it through the process quickly, because once those come back, we can break ground. This has been a long time coming, with the previous attempts to build on a smaller lot etc., but there is now light at the end of the tunnel. I have high hopes that we will be breaking ground by summer; once again, those are my hopes, not the set timeline.

We have a couple of things coming up in town and more details will follow. The community Easter Egg hunt, in partnership with the Woodsboro Volunteer Fire Department, will be April 1. The rain date will be April 8.

Reminder: Woodsboro has elections coming up on May 13. There will be two town commissioners up for election. To be eligible to run, you must be 18 years old and a resident residing in the town limits for a minimum of one year before the election. If you have an interest in running, please reach out to Mary in the town office. To be placed on the ballot, you will need to either attend the April 8 meeting and announce your intention to run or reach out to the town office prior to April 8 to appear on the ballot.

Just a reminder that there will be a public hearing at 7:00 p.m. on April 8 directly preceeding the monthly town council meeting. The two items up for discussion will be changing the town code to allow chickens, based on the parameters voted on in February, and to change the town’s grass height code from the current 18 inches to 8 inches.

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

If you have any questions, concerns, complaints, or compliments, please feel free to reach out to me at hbarnes@woodsboro.org or by phone at 301-401-7164.