Currently viewing the tag: "thurmont"

The railroad put Thurmont on the map and gave the town its name. When the golden age of rail travel passed, Thurmont eventually lost its rail service.

“I remember when the trains started slowing down, and then one day, there were no trains,” Mayor John Kinnaird said at the grand opening of Maryland Transload Logistics (MTL).

MTL plans to reinvigorate Thurmont’s relationship with the railroad. The company, which is located on Poplar Avenue in Thurmont will act as a transfer facility. Goods will arrive at MTL via train. They will be transferred to trucks that will then deliver the goods to the high-traffic areas of Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. The process will also work in reverse with trucks delivering goods to be loaded onto trains.

Transloading offers companies cheaper transportation costs for construction materials, bulk products, and household items. By making use of rail transportation, more products can be shipped at a lower cost. It saves on fuel and maintenance for trucks and bypasses toll roads and load fees.

“Things ship cheaper via rail, but not everybody has access to rail,” Scott Austin, owner of MTL said.

He got the idea for business eight years ago and has been working since then to turn 20 acres in the Thurmont Industrial Park into the transloading site. It required a spur line from the railroad as well as other construction. The location offers trucks quick access to Route 15, which then allows them ready access to major interstates.

The grand opening was held on December 2, 2021, with local and state officials in attendance as well as representatives from Genessee Wyoming Railroad, CSX Railroad, and Georgia Pacific Lumber.

Joe Arbona, assistant vice president of government affairs for Genesee & Wyoming Railroad said, “A railroad can move a ton of freight 480 miles on one gallon of fuel. One train of 100 cars can take around 280 trucks off tax-supported roads.”

Austin said the Thurmont community has been welcoming of the project, and Kinnaird agreed. “The more trains I hear coming by here, I think it’s better for all of us and for the economy, especially for the town of Thurmont.”

MTL is the first transloading facility in Frederick County and also the first such facility in Maryland not operated by a railroad.

Tamar Osterman, with the Maryland Department of Commerce for Frederick and Carroll counties, said she and others in her department have a different name for MTL. “We decided this is Maryland’s new inland port. This is really the heart of what economic development is all about.”

Shipments to and from MTL are expected to begin early this year, and with it, a number of new jobs will be created to spur the local economy. Austin is also already working on plans for how to expand the business.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the opening of a new Maryland Transload Logistics facility in Thurmont was held December 2 at the Maryland Transload Logistics, LLC headquarters on Poplar Avenue.

Emmitsburg

Mayor Don Briggs

Lots of things to unwrap in our town Christmas stocking for 2022. To add to the Christmas decorations adorning the square are the new façade improvements on the building on the northwest corner. From the impetus of becoming a state-recognized sustainable community leading to downtown upgrades, now the properties on three corners of the square have benefitted from grants offered through the town.

The construction work along Irishtown Road (I know, I am tired of talking about it, too) is moving closer to completion. On more than one occasion, the contractor has said the delays have been because of the opacity of the rock. The impermeable nature, the igneous rock family, of the rock bed along Irishtown Road has caused the installation challenges of water and sewer lines. This groundwork could not be accomplished through dynamiting but only by more tedious labor-intensive drilling. 

The Boys and Girls Club after-school program has grown its student body. This is a much-needed program for the community. There have been discussions about providing a before-school program if it can find the volunteers.    

The long-awaited Rutter’s store is moving along to a now-scheduled completion and opening in late summer 2022.

Federal Stone, which is relocating to Emmitsburg, is still planning for groundbreaking spring 2022 off Creamery Road east of U.S. 15 for their new home, a 50,000 sq. ft. office-warehouse.

The repairs to Brookfield Drive caused by construction traffic are scheduled to be completed in spring 2022. There is the possibility for the development of the Emmit Ridge II single-family subdivision off Irishtown Road. The development process could begin in spring 2022. With the development will come the long-awaited second entrance into Northgate.

In a town December podcast, Mount President Tim Trainor confirmed that the Mount, in partnership with the Daughters of Charity, will open a Professional Health Graduate School in town. The school will occupy a two-story wing of the Basilica. The initial focus of program offerings will be a graduate Physician Assistant degree. The first class of 40 students is planned for September 2023. Other graduate programs planned for later include one for applied behavior analysis and another for athletic training, and the possibility for several more.

The Frederick Health and Mount St. Mary’s Partnership medical facility is now under construction and planned to open in the summer of 2023. The facility services will be available to the entire community.

Major infrastructure projects continue with a pump station upgrade $1,000,000+/-, water clarifier $800,000+/-, and DePaul Street water line $1,000,000+/- scheduled for 2022.

Wonderful to have a town Christmas tree lighting again. Holding to the tradition of the first Monday evening of December in front of the community center, defiant to and humbled by a winter mix, those in attendance stood their ground to join the caroling offered by the raised voices of the Christ’s Community Church children’s choir and music of the Mount St. Mary’s flute ensemble. From there, a short scamper walk to the Carriage House Inn for Christmas music, free hot dogs, cookies, hot chocolate, hayrides, and meeting Santa. Thank you.

Even with COVID-19 out there, we will move forward to add to our wonderful life here. Happy New Year.

Thurmont

 Mayor John Kinnaird

Happy New Year! I hope that 2022 brings everyone some relief from the last two years of uncertainty and worry. COVID-19 continues to cause widespread sickness, and I recommend that everyone get a vaccination or the booster if they can. The Frederick County Health Department offers free testing, vaccinations, and boosters at several locations throughout the county. A list of locations and times is updated regularly at this web address: https://health.frederickcountymd.gov/629/COVID-19-Vaccine.

The Town of Thurmont fiscal year begins on July 1 each year, and with the arrival of January 1, we find ourselves halfway through the 2021-2022 Fiscal Year. I am happy to report that Thurmont is in sound fiscal health. We are on track with our budget projections, and the next two quarters should be as on-target as the first two.

The town recently received the results of our 2020-2021 audit by Zelenkofske Axelrod LLC, Certified Public Accountants. The audit found no issues with our bookkeeping, accounting practices, and record keeping. I credit our accounting staff and CFO Linda Joyce for this clean audit. Due to the diligence and hard work of the accounting staff, all the financial records are held to the highest standards of Governmental Best Accounting Practices. 

I know we have not seen any snow yet, but we all know it is coming. Please drive carefully on our streets when we are experiencing snow or ice. Our snow crew is made up of workers from all of our departments, and they are always at the ready to tackle any snow event.

When it does snow, please keep the following thoughts in mind. If you can, please park your vehicles in your driveway to keep the streets clear for the plows. Streets with no cars can be plowed to the curb and will be passable as opposed to streets with cars parked on the curb. Be sure to leave the snow at the ends of your driveway until after our plows have completed their work. It can be aggravating for residents when the snowplow comes back around and plows your driveway shut. I experience this issue with my sidewalk every year! Speaking of sidewalks, snow must be removed from all sidewalks within 24 hours of the cessation of any fall of snow, sleet, or freezing rain, or within 36 hours when the accumulation exceeds eight inches. The owner, tenant, occupant, lessee, or person responsible for a lot or part of a lot abutting a paved sidewalk shall remove or cause to be removed any snow and/or ice from the abutting sidewalk for a width of three feet, or the width of the sidewalk, whichever is less. These regulations can be found in Thurmont Code, Chapter 84 Property Maintenance, http://thurmont.com/DocumentCenter/View/1827/Chapter-84—Property-Maintenance-2020.

The year 2022 will see some much-needed water and sewer infrastructure projects, including the replacement of mains and laterals on North Church Street. We expect to start the bidding process for this project in the early spring. There will be work on several stormwater basins on Frederick Road and some upgrades to our high-pressure water system. Improvements are on the way to several parks through Project Open Space Funding, and a new softball field is in the works for the East End Park.

The Planning and Zoning Commission is still working on the Master Plan and Comprehensive Zoning updates. If you are interested in this process, please keep an eye on the P&Z Agenda published available on the town website in advance of their monthly meeting. Due to a large amount of project review, the month of January will have two P&Z meetings.

Please contact me at 301-606-9458 or by email at jkinnaird@thurmont.com with any questions, comments, or suggestions.

by James Rada, Jr.

Thurmont

Commissioners May Adjust Colorfest Fees

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners reviewed the costs and revenues the town incurred during the 2021 Colorfest. The town had $25,707 deficit, which was the greatest loss since 2014. The town works to balance the income it receives from permits and fines against the costs of signs, security, labor, sanitation, and transportation. Since these numbers can’t be projected accurately, these numbers can vary greatly, but the amount of the deficit seems to have surprised the commissioners. A large contributor to the revenues was that there was a significant decrease in vendors. Surprisingly, various speakers told the commissioners that COVID seemed to have little direct impact on the numbers. Other health issues among vendors, vendors going out of business, and making other plans for that weekend were mentioned.

Commissioner Bill Blakeslee suggested increasing the fee that the town receives from each parked car from $2.00 to $4.00 and raising the parking cost from $10.00 to $15.00 a vehicle. This would allow the town to receive, perhaps, another $18,000 while not costing the vendors more of their profit.

They also will adjust some of the costs to see what money can be saved there. They plan to re-examine the issue later this month.

Stormwater Ordinance Introduced

The Thurmont Mayor and Board of Commissioners introduced a stormwater management ordinance required by the Maryland Department of the Environment. Much of the discussion around the proposed ordinance centered around what sorts of discharges were illegal and what enforcement authority the town had, such as entering and examining private property.

Town Receives a Clean Audit & Gateway to the Cure Donation

Mike Samson with Zlenkofske Axelrod, LLC, presented the results of the annual independent audit of Thurmont’s financial statements for Fiscal Year 2021. He 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 nor had any disagreements with the management.

Economic Development Manager Vickie Grinder recently told the Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners about the town’s 8th Annual Gateway to the Cure efforts. This year’s events pushed the amount of Thurmont’s donations to the Patty Hurwitz Breast Cancer Fund to over $100,000. The 2021 donation was $18,000. The money will stay within Frederick County and go toward direct patient care.

“I brag about you everywhere. I tell everyone what a great town you are and how supportive you have been to our efforts, and we just appreciate it very much,” Hurwitz said.

Emmitsburg

Town Will Conduct a Connection Fee and Rate Study

The USDA told the Town of Emmitsburg that its current rates for water and sewer don’t appear to be enough to sustain the projected growth and maintenance on the system. Most municipalities will update their rates every three to five years. Yet, it has been at least 15 years since Emmitsburg conducted a rate study. The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners approved a bid of $35,000 to have NewGen Strategies & Solutions in Annapolis conduct a study of the town’s water rates, sewer rates, and connection fees. Although not the lowest bid, NewGen had excellent references and extensive local experience.

Town Receives a Clean Audit

Michelle Mills, CPA with Deleon and Stang presented the results of the annual independent audit of Emmitsburg’s financial statements for Fiscal Year 2021. She 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.

Board of Appeals Appointments

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners accepted the resignation of Ronald Lind from the Board of Appeals, effective October 12, 2021. They also appointed Levi Esses as a regular member to the Board of Appeals for a term to run from December 7, 2021, to February 17, 2023, and appointed Scott Frager an alternate to the Board of Appeals for a term to run December 7, 2021, to January 11, 2024.

Town Sets Price for 303 West Lincoln Avenue

Having declared that 303 West Lincoln Avenue has no public use, the Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners had the property appraised. The recommended listing price for the property is $625,000. The town is expected to negotiate first with the current building occupants, Christ Community Church, to sell the property. If an agreement can’t be reached or the church is not interested in continuing to use the property, it will be placed on the market.

Emmitsburg

Mayor Don Briggs

As if queued with the changing colors of fall, and a wink from a reluctant fall, all permits in hand, the long-awaited start of construction of the Rutter’s store has finally begun. Many months after getting town approvals, site work has started and moving at a rapid pace to take advantage of the mild weather.

Another solemn and appropriate Veteran’s Day observances were held by the VFW Honor Guard with a 21-gun salute tributes at the American Legion, the Doughboy, and five area cemeteries. The commemoration is celebrated on the anniversary of the end of World War I, Armistice Day, when hostilities with Germany ended at the “11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918.” The honor guard holds the salute ceremony on only two occasions every year: Memorial Day and Veterans Day. It has been an honor to stand with them over the last 11 years on these occasions, and I look forward to doing the same next year.

Irishtown Road upgrades will be delayed now until late December to early January 2022. The contractor hit rock. Again, the completion of upgrades will include leveling out a crest on Irishtown Road and enhancing safer conditions for driver visibility, accommodating the opening of Brookfield Drive onto Irishtown Road to two-way traffic, and bringing Ryan Homes building 19 single-family homes on the last remaining lots in the Brookfield subdivision. Thank you for your patience.

The Seton Center and local churches are seeking our charity to contribute gift cards from local grocery stores to share our blessings with our neighbors for holiday meals. Please contact your church or the Seton Center. They have a sizable list of those in need.

Please join us on Monday, December 5, at 6:00 p.m. for the town Christmas tree lighting in front of the Emmitsburg Community Center. From there, walk to the Carriage House Inn for Christmas music, free hot dogs, cookies, hot chocolate, hayrides, and to meet Santa.

On Saturday, December 11, the Lions Club will host meeting Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus at Vigilant Hose Company Activities Building on Creamery Road. The event is open to all, at no cost, featuring photos with Santa Claus, hot dogs, and hot chocolate from 10:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. Later that day, the American Legion will hold a ham and turkey raffle from 6:00-9:00 p.m.

Heads up, the town has been awarded a grant for (license) tag readers. The readers will be positioned along thoroughfares around town.

Our town has been blessed over the last year with grants, building restorations around town and on the square, four new businesses (and more on the way), getting Ryan Homes back building, upgrades to Irishtown Road, and welcoming new families.

Don’t want to forget, from Lib and me: Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Thurmont

 Mayor John Kinnaird

Thurmont’s Annual Gateway to The Cure was a great success this year, with over $18,500 being raised to help support the Patty Hurwitz Breast Cancer Fund and the good work at the Frederick Health Hospital and its partners. I want to thank each and every resident of the Town of Thurmont for helping us realize another banner year for this great annual event. Those who participated in the many events, including the Golf Tournament, 5K Fun Run, pumpkin decorating, as well as everyone who purchased light bulbs, pinwheels for the garden, t-shirts, hoodies, and the other items, should be very proud for helping with this year’s effort.

The Town of Thurmont recently held elections, and I am pleased to have been reelected as mayor. I want to congratulate Commissioner Wayne Hooper on his reelection and Bill Blakeslee on his election as a new commissioner. I look forward to serving the residents of Thurmont for this four-year term, and I will be working closely with the Board of Commissioners to continue the work we have at hand. Funding from the American Recovery Act and the recent infrastructure funds will be put to good use in Thurmont. Our plan is to invest the majority of the Recovery Act funding in our water, wastewater, and stormwater infrastructure. One of the first projects we will be working on is the upgrade of water and wastewater lines on North Church Street. Important upgrades to many of our stormwater management facilities will also be completed. It is my hope that the recent infrastructure funding will help us with much-needed street repairs. I will also keep pushing for the reinstatement of 100 percent of the important Highway User Revenue, so we can apply those funds to our streets. Thurmont and all other Maryland communities saw drastic cuts in our HUR funding several years ago, and our streets have suffered from these cuts. HUR funds come directly from gas taxes, user fees, and license and registration fees. We continue to pay these fees, and yet the HUR funds are still not back to the level they were 12 years ago.

With Christmas and winter upon us, I encourage everyone to support our local food bank and Clothes Closet. Many of our neighbors are not as fortunate as we are and would benefit greatly from your generosity during this season. The Thurmont Food Bank depends on community donations and would appreciate donations of nonperishable food, toiletries, baby products, or cash. The Clothes Closet would appreciate your donation of warm winter clothing for both adults and children. Winter is especially hard on families and warm clothing is a must. Your donations can help bring much-needed joy and comfort to local families.

Christmas in Thurmont is well underway, and I hope everyone has had a chance to participate in some of the festivities. The Frederick County Society of Model Engineers is hosting an amazing model train display at 21 East Main Street. There are also pop-up shops offering great gift ideas at 21 East Main Street. I want to wish everyone good luck in the Christmas Decoration Contest—they always put a lot of effort into it! I think that Santa, the Grinch, Frosty the Snowman, and, hopefully, Buddy the Elf and Jovie will be making appearances at the Square in Thurmont, so girls and boys can drive past and wave to their friends. A big “thank you” to Thurmont businesses, organizations, and volunteers for helping make Christmas in Thurmont a success.

I want to remind everyone that free COVID-19 vaccinations and testing are available at the Thurmont Town Office every Friday evening, from 5:00-7:00 p.m. All three current vaccinations are available, as are the boosters. Members of the 104th Area Support Medical Company of the Maryland Army National Guard stationed at Camp Frederick, Reisterstown, have been assisting with the vaccinations, and I want to thank them for helping our community. Appointments or doctor’s orders are not required for the vaccinations or testing. This service is made possible through the Frederick County Health Department and the Town of Thurmont.

Karen and I hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas and the happiest of New Year’s. We look forward to what the New Year will bring. See you in 2022!

Please contact me at 301-606-9458 or via email at jkinnaird@thurmont.com with any comments, questions, or concerns.

Emmitsburg

Mayor Don Briggs

Was it protracted summer or second spring? There was no break in the weather to accommodate a resurgent Indian summer. Our plants and foliage (along with Lib and I) enjoyed the opportunity to rebloom and grow. Then, finally the feel of fall swept in for a morning walk in mid-October. It is time. Time to close out gardens and restock compost bins with fallen leaves.

I greeted 25-plus members of Gettysburg Walking Club (GWC) down for a walkabout and lunch at the Carriage House Inn on a beautiful day. Thank you, Dee Conley, a town resident GWC member, for bringing business and exposure to the town.

Maryland Department of Planning reported census data from 2010 to 2020 reflected the population of Frederick County increased 16.4 percent. As a result, our Northern Frederick County Council District 5 will be redistricted to include precincts from a more-populated adjoining district. We live in the largest district, but also the least populated. The goal of the election board was, “to bring the proportion of the county’s population within each council district to as close to 20 percent as possible. The proposal would bump the District 5 proportion from less than 18 percent to more than 19 percent and decrease the District 2 proportion from more than 21 percent to 19.5 percent, changing it from the most populous district to the second least populous.”

I was honored to attend and speak at the groundbreaking for the Frederick Health—Mount care facility. The facility will serve not only Mount students but also residents of Northern Frederick County. The facility will be located on the university land at the corner of Annandale Road and Old Emmitsburg Road, across from the School Security office. It is much-needed and an important part of enhancing the town and Northern Frederick County social infrastructure. In addition to primary care, blood testing and special testing (i.e. mammary exams) will now be available more conveniently in our “neck of the woods.”

So, what is this MS4 that keeps coming up at town meetings? Well, welcome to the governmental proclivity for what sometimes feels like bloated self-defining program acronyms. MS4 is not a British spy intelligence agency. MS4 is “Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System.” Fundamentally, it addresses the concern of protecting the cornucopia the Chesapeake Bay affords us. President Obama, through executive order, elevated the necessity to protect the bay. All of Maryland, except a small sliver of western Garrett County, is included with parts of six states and the District of Columbia in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

“MS4 Permit is a permit administered by the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) to carry out the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) program, implemented by the Federal Clean Water Act (CWA). The NPDES program aims to restore and protect the U.S. waterways. To meet these requirements, MDE issues MS4 permits with the aim to reduce and eliminate pollution because of rainfall runoff. Frederick County is in its fourth generation of the NPDES – MS4 permitting going back to  1997.”

The Seton Family Store plans to hold a Christmas Craft Fair & Open House on Saturday, November 27, 9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. Free Wi-Fi connection and electricity is available to stands. There are limitations, indoor spaces, caps on categories (e.g., number of jewelry artisans). Spaces are offered on a first-confirmed basis. Interested handmade artisans, crafters and/or food vendors wanting to register for spaces, please go to www.SetonCenter.org/Christmas. Cut-off for applications is the close of business on Saturday, November 13.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving with family, and get ready to set the table for Christmas.

Thurmont

 Mayor John Kinnaird

Thurmont is holding elections for Mayor and two Commissioners the day after I wrote this article. I look forward to serving with the newly elected Commissioners, as we work together to make Thurmont the best it can be!

Colorfest has come and gone for another year, and considering we missed last year, it was a great success. I hope all our nonprofits did well this year. All of our churches, civic groups, Scouts, the Guardian Hose Company, the Thurmont Ambulance Company, and others depend on Colorfest for a large portion of their annual income. Next year, things should be back to normal and Colorfest will be back again.

The Skate Board Park is now open and is an extremely popular place! I want to thank the members of the Thurmont Skate Park Commission for their hard work to help this become a reality. A special thanks to Stacie Zelenka and Kiersten Dugan for their amazing guidance in getting the park up and running. Finally, thanks to everyone that helped by making donations, the Thurmont Board of Commissioners for their full support of the project, and Jim Humerick for staying on top of everything while this dream came to life.

I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving! If you are traveling for Thanksgiving, please be careful. I encourage everyone to consider making a donation to the Thurmont or Emmitsburg Food Banks so that our less fortunate family, friends, and neighbors can enjoy a happy Thanksgiving dinner.

Christmas in Thurmont is coming up fast. Keep your eyes open for more information about our Christmas tree lighting, the annual train display, the Christmas decorating contest, and other fun holiday events.

Please remember that every Friday evening, from 5:00-7:00 p.m., the Frederick County Health Department is offering COVID-19 vaccinations and testing at the Town Office. They are set up in the parking lot and typically have the Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson vaccines. If you are eligible, they will also administer boosters.

If you have any questions, comments, complaints, or compliments, I can be contacted by phone at 301-606-9458 or via email at jkinnaird@thurmont.com.

by James Rada, Jr.

Thurmont

Public Hearing on Master Plan Update

The Thurmont Planning and Zoning Commission will hold a public hearing on the draft update of the Thurmont Master Plan on December 2 at the town office. The purpose of the hearing is for the planning and zoning commission to receive comments on the proposed update that the members will consider before approving an update and submitting it to the Mayor and Board of Town Commissioners for adoption.

New Commission Members Sworn In

Thurmont Mayor John Kinnaird swore in Viktor Kraenbring and Frankie Thorton to the Thurmont Police Commission to serve three-year terms. Kinnaird also swore in Kraenbring to serve a five-year term on the Thurmont Planning and Zoning Commission.

CDBG Project for Medical Center

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners approved submitting a project for the Catoctin Medical Center for Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding. If approved by the state, the grant would fund the replacement of the rear entrance ramp and the installation of a new ADA-compliant ramp for the front entrance of the center. These ramps would benefit about 70 percent of the visitors to the center and cost around $151,425. The grant is a pass-through grant and does not cost the town anything.

Emmitsburg

Regular Office Hours Resumed

The Town of Emmitsburg has resumed its regular office hours, Monday through Friday, from 8:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Appointments are required to meet with staff members, and face masks are required for anyone visiting the office. Water and sewer bills and other documents for staff can still be placed in the black drop box.

Board Designates American Rescue Plan Funds

The Town of Emmitsburg is expected to receive $3.1 million from the American Rescue Plan Act. The town received the first installment of these funds in July, and the second payment will be received within the next year. The funds can only be used for certain projects, including water and sewer infrastructure projects.

The Emmitsburg Commissioners unanimously voted to use the first installment funds of $1.57 million to help pay for the town’s new water clarifier and pump station projects. The money will be used to cover shortfalls in both projects.

The cost of the pump station is currently estimated at $3.7 million. The new station will replace the existing pump station on the west side of Creamery Road. The water clarifier to help the water treatment plant is estimated to cost $2.36 million.

Wipes Clogging Pumping Station

Emmitsburg Town Manager Cathy Willets told the commissioners that the town sewer system is having problems because of flushable wipes and sanitizing wipes clogging the wet well at the pumping station. If this problem continues, it could lead to expensive repairs at the pumping station.

Ground Broken for New Health Center

Frederick Health and Mount St. Mary’s University broke ground on October 15 for a new healthcare facility in Emmitsburg. The center will treat Mount students and staff and local residents with prevention and other wellness services. The center is expected to open in June 2022. The project began with a partnership between Frederick Health and Mount St. Mary’s in 2018. The university donated the land for the project, while Frederick Health will operate the building. The center will also serve as the university’s student health center.

Commissioners Sworn In and Board Reorganized

Re-elected Town Commissioners Tim O’Donnell and Clifford Sweeney were sworn in to office during the October town meeting.

Mayor Don Briggs also recommended the following board positions for commissioners: Tim O’Donnell—President, Cliff Sweeney—Vice President and Citizens Advisory Committee Liaison, T.J. Burns—Treasurer, Joe Ritz III—Planning Commissioner Liaison, and Frank Davis—Parks and Recreation Committee Liaison. The commissioners unanimously approved the recommendation.

Deputies Trying to Address Mount Student Problems

Frederick County Deputy Jason Ahalt told the Emmitsburg Town Commissioners that there has been a definite “uptick” in problems with Mount students, primarily student athletes, who are living in town. The problems tend to come from the parties in homes after athletic events. Ahalt said the problems are being addressed, but the commissioners are trying to find more effective means of dealing with the problems.

by James Rada, Jr.

Emmitsburg

Rutter’s Breaks Ground

A groundbreaking ceremony for the new Rutter’s store on MD 140 was held on September 13. Work is expected to begin this month. The 8,400-square-foot store is expected to bring around 50 jobs to the area. Besides the convenience store, the site will also include diesel and gasoline fuel pumps, a truck scale, and truck and car parking spaces. It is expected to open in the second half of 2022.

Stormwater Study Contract Awarded

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners reluctantly awarded a contract of $33,578 to the University of Maryland Environmental Science Center to conduct a stormwater utility feasibility study. This is part of the federal mandates municipalities are being required to do, and the commissioners complained that it is placing an unneeded strain on the town’s budget.

Town Charter Repealed and Replaced

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners repealed the town’s charter in September and replaced it with one that had been updated and corrected for grammar and style issues. Although it did not contain major substantive changes, one that garnered discussion among the commissioners was a change from requiring a one-year residency in town to run for town office to one month. This is based on a recommendation that the longer requirement was likely unconstitutional.

Slaughter Appointed to Committee

During the September town meeting, the Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners appointed Sandy Slaughter to serve on the Citizen’s Advisory Committee. Her three-year term will run until September 7, 2023.

Arbor Day Event at Myers Community Park

The Town of Emmitsburg is hosting an Arbor Day event at Myers Community Park on October 2 at 9:00 a.m. Seven new trees will be planted. The public is invited to attend. Bring a shovel and help. The Maryland Department of Natural Resources will also hold a tree-planting demonstration.

Town Receives $400,000 to Plant Trees

The Town of Emmitsburg received a $400,000 grant to plant 26 acres of trees near the town’s wastewater treatment plant. The trees will be planted on land donated to the town by Daughters of Charity.

Thurmont

Town Election This Month

Thurmont’s town election will be on October 26 at the Guardian Hose Activities Building at 123 East Main Street in Thurmont. Polls will be open from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., as citizens choose who will serve as mayor and in two commissioner positions. Anyone in line when the polls close will be allowed to vote.

To learn more about the candidates, you can attend the candidates’ forum hosted by the Thurmont Lions Club at the town office. It will be held on October 6 at 7:00 p.m. If you have questions you would like asked, contact Mark Long at Mark.Long999@gmail.com no later than October 4.

Town Makes Donation to Senior Center

The Town of Thurmont recently made a $33,000 donation to the Thurmont Senior Center to help them continue providing activities and services for the town’s elderly.

Town Replacing More Utility Poles

The Town of Thurmont had planned on replacing six utility poles in town, but recently discovered that three more were in need of replacement. The additional poles are in Woodland Avenue and Moser Road. The town added the poles to the outstanding RFP for the six poles. The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners awarded a contract of $56,500 to AUI Power in Elkton to replace nine utility poles in town.

Check for Tree and Shrub Compliance

The Thurmont Police are asking residents to check to make sure their trees and shrubs are in compliance with town ordinance. Limbs must be no closer than 9 feet above sidewalks and 15 feet above streets. Otherwise, the limbs must be removed.

Emmitsburg

Mayor Don Briggs

With heavy hearts, the southern Adams County, Northern Frederick County community mourn the loss of Battalion Chief Joshua D. Laird. He gave his life in the line of duty at a residential fire in Ijamsville on August 11. Chief Laird was a 21-year veteran of Frederick County Fire and Rescue. He resided with his family in Carroll Valley, Pennsylvania. As a further bond, the family is a part of the Mount family. The viewing and funeral memorial service were held at the Mount athletic arena. 

Recently, Northern Frederick County lost another dear friend, Tom McFadden, a former superintendent of Catoctin Mountain Park. I first met Tom in the mid-80s at a Rotary Club luncheon. In not too short a measure of time, I was a volunteer. Soon, Lib and I were founding members of the Catoctin Area Mountain Park Resources, Inc. (CAMPER), a nonprofit organization set up by Tom. Initially, we worked on clearing trails for President Reagan to ride. My role expanded to the shared leadership duties of a newly formed park horse patrol. The responsibility of the patrol was to assist in assuring safe passage for visitors. Patrol members were holstered with then state-of-the-art “walkie-talkies.” Horses and tack were kept high on the mountain at the Misty Mount stable near Camp David, the Presidential retreat. Unlike today’s less-inviting identification, back then there was a simple roadside sign: “Camp David.” Once, I took a photograph of a visiting student from Nigeria by the sign. It was a special time and an honor to be a part of the park, absorbed into the mountain’s palette of wildlife, birds, mountain laurel, ferns, and a broad cooling canopy of hardwood trees. 

The Irishtown Road construction started in mid-August. The intention was to not shut down the road and have flag-men there to assist the traffic flow during construction. However, in a more-encompassing perspective for the safety of workers and vehicular traffic, there will be road closures. Soon, there will be two-way traffic off Irishtown Road to Brookfield Drive. This is a vital connection needed to balance expanding town traffic flow. The timetable is fluid, but the intention is to wrap up road construction by mid-fall. With the road project will come 19 homes built on the south side of the road to finish out the Brookfield subdivision. So, another segment of town connectivity will be completed, with sidewalks and lighting in front of the homes. Think about it, in the not-too-distant future, with the completion of the proposed Emmit Ridge II subdivision and finally a second entrance to Northgate, there will be a second east–west sidewalk connection through town.

Under the long list of taking things for granted…40 years ago, we might have laughed at the thought of buying water or at the possibility of a water shortage in the area. But, once again for many reasons—development, weather changes—the town has implemented phase 1 voluntary conservation restrictions.

The town has issued its permit for development of the Rutter’s site. It is our understanding that the permit from the county is being processed.

Envision Frederick held its monthly meeting in Community Park on Saturday, August 28. I welcomed visitors and was a panel speaker.

The town pool will close after Labor Day weekend (September 6). From all reports, a good season was had by all.

Praying that our students can get back to school this fall in an orderly and comfortable way. They are our present; they are our future.

Thurmont

 Mayor John Kinnaird

I am very pleased to announce that the contract for installing the new skate park has been awarded. Construction should start within two months. This has been a very interesting process that began with a group of teens approaching the Board of Commissioners about getting a skate park in Thurmont. Since then, we acquired Project Open Space funding to help finance the project, and the members of the Skate Park Commission have raised about $15,000 in donations to help with the funding. The park commission has also played a part in designing the park and made a recommendation for the selection of the contractor. The skate park will be located at East End Park. Be sure to keep an eye open for the groundbreaking ceremony.

The Frederick County Health Department is offering COVID-19 testing and vaccinations at the Town Office parking lot every Friday, from 5:00-7:00 p.m. You can also get the booster shot if you qualify with medical issues. At this time, you must use the same vaccine as your original shots. I believe Frederick County will be expanding the booster shot to everyone else within the next two months. Check the Frederick County Vaccination page for vaccination clinic locations, times, and the vaccinations available at www.health.frederickcountymd.gov/629/COVID-19-Vaccine.

The Town of Thurmont will be holding elections this fall for mayor and two commissioner positions. Here are dates to keep in mind as the elections approach.

September 28, 2021—Nominating Convention at 7:00 p.m. at the Thurmont Municipal Offices.

September 28, 2021—Last day to register to vote in the election. You must register at the Municipal Offices before the close of business at 4:00 p.m. on September 28.

October 8, 2021—Absentee ballot applications will be available.

October 19, 2021—The last day to make an application for an absentee ballot. You must apply at the Municipal Office before the close of business at 4:00 p.m. on October 19.

October 26, 2021—General Elections to be held at the Guardian Hose Company Activity Building, 123 East Main Street, Thurmont. Polls will be open from 7:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m. Persons in line at the time of closing will be permitted to vote.

For more information contact the Town Office at 301-271-7313. I encourage everyone to get out and vote!

Colorfest for 2021 is in the planning stages, and permits will be available soon. After last year’s cancellation, I hope that this year will be a huge success. Many of our local non-profits, churches, Scouts, organizations, the Guardian Hose Company, and the Thurmont Community Ambulance Service depend on Colorfest for much of their annual income. We will follow Maryland COVID-19 recommendations in place at the time.

I hope everyone has a great September. As always, I can be reached at 301-606-9458 or by email at jkinnaird@thurmont.com with any questions or comments.

by James Rada, Jr.

Emmitsburg

Water Alert Issued

Emmitsburg town staff are concerned about water usage in town. The town issued an alert last month asking residents to be aware of how much water they are using.

“Please be conscious of water usage. Emmitsburg is nearing the point where phase 1 of the water curtailment ordinance will be enacted,” according to the alert. “Watering is prohibited on all days between 9:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. Also, check for leaking hoses and sprinklers and turn them off when not in use. Contact the town office with questions or concerns.”

Phase 1 water restrictions are voluntary and ask residents to reduce water usage on their own. Mandatory restrictions will begin should the town commissioners enact Phase 2 restrictions.

Emmitsburg Town Election Update

As of August 17, four people are running in the Emmitsburg town election to fill two commissioner seats. Clifford Lee Sweeney, Rosario Benvenji, Liz Buckman, and Tim O’Donnell have filed to run for the seats currently held by Sweeney and O’Donnell.

The election will be held on Tuesday, September 28. Votes can be cast at 22 East Main Street, from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners appointed Sharon Hane as chief judge for this year’s election, with Tammy May and Charlotte Mazaleski working with her as judges. Deborah Arnold will serve as the greeter, and Dianne Walbrecker is an alternate judge.

New Animal Code Adopted

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners voted to amend the town’s animal code. The changes deal primarily with keeping chickens on property within town boundaries.

Commissioners Consider Exploring Speed Cameras

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners discussed the possibility of bringing speed cameras to town to reduce speeding in town. It was suggested that the town could follow Thurmont’s example in contracting for portable speed cameras to be set up within half-miles of the town schools. Thurmont also uses a certified third-party to confirm the licenses and infractions.

“I think, strategically placed, it would make the town a lot safer,” Frederick County Sheriff’s Deputy Jason Ahalt said.

Before anything happens, the town would have to hold a public hearing and pass a law allowing them.

Thurmont

Town Gets First Installment of Federal Funds

Thurmont received nearly $3.4 million in funds from the American Rescue Plan Act, and it is expected to receive another $3.5 million by the end of the year. The initial money will be used to pay for the new water and sewer lines on North Church Street, the new water line on West Pryor Road, a pump system to connect the town’s different pressure water systems, repairing manhole covers, and more. The second payment will be used to make stormwater management pond improvements.

Although there are other projects the town commissioners would like to do, the American Rescue Plan money can only be used for water and sewer projects, stormwater management, and high-speed internet connectivity.

Skate Park Funding Approved

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners awarded Arment Concrete in Denver, Pennsylvania, a contract of $83,500 to build the Thurmont Skate Park. The company has built skate parks across the country, including ones in Urbana; York, Pennsylvania; and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The funding for the project will come from a $60,000 Program Open Space grant, $15,000 from donations the Thurmont Skate Park Committee raised, and $8,500 from Thurmont parks impact fees. Construction is expected to begin in October and take two months to complete. It will be 4,000 square feet of concrete and include features and obstacles.

Thurmont Studying Emmitsburg Road Flooding

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners voted to pay ARRO Consulting $12,800 to study the flooding that occurs on Emmitsburg Road and recommend how it can be mitigated. The town will use the recommendations to decide on what will be done to correct the issue. The flooding along Emmitsburg Road has been a long-running problem in town.

Thurmont Gets 5th Tree City USA Designation

Becky Wilson with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources recently presented the Town of Thurmont and the Thurmont Green Team with the National Arbor Day Foundation’s Tree City USA Award. This marks the fifth consecutive year that the town has received the award. The town also received the Growth Award for the first time. It was awarded for activities above and beyond the baseline required in caring for trees and doing plantings. Thurmont is only one of eight jurisdictions in Maryland to receive this award.

Town Annexes Apples United Church of Christ

Apples United Church of Christ petitioned the Town of Thurmont to be annexed in order to get on the town’s water and sewer system. The property is 4.6 acres, with about half of it improved. The commissioners unanimously approved the annexation.

Next Phase of Woodland Park Playground Moves Forward

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners awarded Playground Specialists, Inc. a $159,534 contract to replace playground equipment for the Woodland Park Playground. Old equipment, borders, and surfacing will be removed and replaced with new ones. It will include a large central unit, an outdoor fitness gym, see-saw, percussion play items, benches, shade structure, and wood-fiber surfacing. The sidewalk will be made ADA-compliant.

Commission Appointments Made

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners recently reappointed Viktor Kraenbring, Jim Robbins, and Frankie Thornton to the Thurmont Police Commission. Kraenbring was also reappointed to serve on the Thurmont Planning and Zoning Commission.

by James Rada, Jr.

Thurmont

End-of-Year Budget Amendments Made

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners approved nine adjustments to the Fiscal Year 2021 budget, totaling around $158,000 in additional funding and $48,651 in transfers from other funds. Most of the amendments reflect grant funding that was received during the year and the town match required of the grants. The transfers show that for a town investment of $48,651, it received an additional $158,000 in improvements.

Stormwater Management Projects Approved

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners will pay Arro Consulting $134,385 for retrofit design engineering of five stormwater management facilities the State of Maryland is requiring. The project will be paid for with money from the general fund.

Thurmont Boulevard Study Progresses

The plan for Thurmont Boulevard has been on the books for about 30 years, although little progress has been made on the project. The new road would relieve some of the traffic on Moser Road and Frederick Road and support development in the southern end of Thurmont. The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners approved using $53,300 in street-impact fees to continue the preliminary engineering study. The goal is to be ready to move forward with the project when a developer gets a project approved that needs the road.

Additional Park Projects Possible

The State of Maryland provided Frederick County with $6 million in local parks and playgrounds infrastructure funding. The money will be split 50/50 between the county and municipality for near-shovel-ready projects. The town needed to submit a wish list to the county of possible projects for the funding. These include: sealcoating the Thurmont Trolley Trail, building the Gateway Trail pedestrian bridge to connect Community Park to West Main Street, the new East End Park baseball field, and Eyler Road Park field lighting. The town also plans on submitting some lower-priced projects in case sufficient funding for the larger projects cannot be obtained.

Emmitsburg

Town Office Open for Walk-ins

The Emmitsburg Town Office is now open for walk-in service at the front desk. You can pay water/sewer bills, obtain fishing permits, make park pavilion reservations, all in person. Office hours are 9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m., Monday through Thursday; 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. on Friday.

Per Frederick County Executive Jan Gardner, the following guidelines will be enforced: (1) face masks are required in the building, (2) only the service window will be open to the public, and (3) appointments are required to meet with town staff outside of regular front desk services.

You can also attend town meetings in person. Face masks are required throughout the town meetings.

ADA Curb Contract Awarded

The Emmitsburg Town Council awarded MIM Construction the contract to make the town’s sidewalk curb’s ADA-compliant at street crossings. The contract is for $623,028.50, but with allowances for change orders, it is not to exceed $705,893. The project is funded with a $685,893 Community Development Block Grant, a $10,000 town cash match, and a $10,000 town in-kind match.

Logging Contract Awarded

The Emmitsburg Town Council awarded Tipton’s of Union Bridge the contract to log forestry stand 10. The town will receive $75,100 for the timber. Ninety percent of the funds will go to the water fund, and 10 percent will be used for trail maintenance to repair and damage the logging might cause.

Concern for Bypass

Emmitsburg Commissioner TJ Burns expressed concerns about the southern bypass included in the town’s comprehensive plan. Although the project is not happening in the near future, the town and the owner of one of the properties needed for the bypass have talked about annexation.

Burns’ major concern is that the town would have to maintain the road and supply the electricity for a future traffic light on South Seton Avenue to create a way for non-town residents to get around the town.

“There’s a lot of things the town is on the hook for to create a loop around for non-residents.”

Mayor Don Briggs added his reservations, saying that it would hurt commerce downtown. However, he added that the bypass has been on the books around 14 years, and it is no closer to happening.

Town Planner Zach Gulden added that there are many hurdles to leap before it would become a reality. All the property owners would have to want their properties annexed. The town council would have to agree to the annexation. Town residents could vote against the annexation, and the Maryland State Highway Department would have to approve the connections to two state roads. Any of these could derail the project.

Thurmont

 Mayor John Kinnaird

Here we are in the month of August; time flies when you are having fun! I hope everyone had a great time at the Guardian Hose Company Carnival. Be sure to watch for upcoming events at both Guardian Hose Company and the Thurmont Community Ambulance Company. I know they are planning car shows and other events for the upcoming months. They will also be out in full force at Colorfest. Both of these great organizations need our continued support!

The Thurmont Skate Park is getting closer to reality with the public request for bids on the project. The town has secured $40,000 in funds to help with the construction, and I know the Skate Park Committee has been hard at work collecting donations. Once the design has been approved and the contract awarded, we will be planning a groundbreaking ceremony at the Skate Park grounds at the East End Park. Be sure to watch for upcoming details and join us as we kick off this wonderful project.

Frederick County recently received $6 million in parks improvement funding from Federal Recovery Funding, and the municipalities in Frederick County will be sharing half of that funding. We have submitted several projects that are shovel-ready and expect to be able to move forward on several of them as soon as possible. We will keep you updated.

As many are aware, the Federal American Rescue Plan has allocated funds to the state, county, and municipal levels. These funds are to be used for a very narrow set of circumstances, with most of the funds targeted at infrastructure repair and improvements. The Town of Thurmont has received $3.78 million to be invested in the first phase of this program. It is our intention to focus on several important water and wastewater projects. These will include the replacement of water and sewer lines on North Church Street from the railroad bridge to Rt. 15, much-needed repairs to the water service line on West Pryor Road, improvement to several Storm Water Management facilities to bring them up to current MS4 requirements, and several water service items to help improve water flow and availability. The Thurmont Board of Commissioners will be discussing these projects during upcoming meetings.

Finally, I want to remind everyone that the Frederick County Health Department is offering free COVID-19 vaccinations every Friday afternoon, from 5:00-7:00 p.m., at the Thurmont Municipal Offices at 615 East Main Street. I want to thank the Frederick County Health Department for making the vaccinations available to the residents of Thurmont and Northern Frederick County. I also want to thank everyone that has received a vaccination and to encourage those of you that have not received a vaccination to think about doing so. The vaccine is one of the best ways to slow the spread of COVID-19!

As always, I am available for comments or suggestions at 301-606-9458, by email at jkinnaird@thurmont.com, or via Facebook..

Emmitsburg

Mayor Don Briggs

The State of Maryland COVID-19 State of Emergency has been lifted. Governor Hogan made the announcement at the Maryland Municipal League (MML) late June conference. Maryland is back in business. For the most part, all COVID-19-related mandates have ended. Masks in places of worship, restaurants, and stores are optional.

Looking to the future with the experience of losing over 500,000 citizens to COVID-19 is the not included 93,000 drug-overdose-related deaths, of which approximately 70,000 were related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Let us reach out and talk to people. We are in this community together, not alone.

After the governor’s announcement, the town requested that Frederick County Government, our landlord, allow the town to reopen the office to the public. County buildings are now open. The request was granted with certain restrictions. We must all wear masks in public areas of the building. Ordinary transactions, paying bills, licensing, etc., will be handled at the receptionist service window. If you need specific attention with a staff member, it will be by appointment only. Office hours are 9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m., Monday through Thursday; 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. on Friday.

Gym use will commence Sept. 1. Groups interested in using the gym should contact the town. Like in pre-pandemic times, there will be a meeting in September to work out sharing the gym. Please contact the town for the date and time of the meeting.

June closed out with yet another grassroots Community Heritage Day success. Other communities have their special events but this is Emmitsburg’s. The events, displays, parade, and fireworks combine to make it a unique day. Lots of elbow grease in this one. Lions Club members, businesses, town staff. Congratulations and thank you. Comparatively the 4th of July was quietly celebrated in our hearts with flags out, and visitations to the new businesses in town. The smoothie shop and comic book and more shop in the strip center by Jubilee and the ice cream stand (soon to be Dairy and possibly bakery shop) on E. Main Street. Coming soon is a pizzeria at the Stavros location on the Square (with, I have been told, the Stavros pizza recipe).

Quietly, a major investment in the downtown is taking place. On the building facing the square in the northwest corner. Total rehabilitation of interior, electrical, plumbing, and windows. Renovation is planned to be completed in mid-August.

Four wayside historic exhibits were dedicated on the last day of June. On East Main Street, the John Armstrong long rifle maker home. On South Seton Avenue, the train terminal, the fire museum glass etching, and the Mother Seton’s White House. This brings us to a total of eleven waysides. Another set is in the works that will include tributes to St. Euphemia grade school on DePaul Street and the free school on West Lincoln Avenue. Please enjoy your walkabouts.

I attended the opening of the “Seton Family Treasures” museum on the lower level of the Basilica. Very attractive presentation with informative historical displays. Congratulations.

And congratulations to the Catoctin State Championship baseball team.  What a group of young men! Winning two state championships within 18 months is an incredible achievement. A third championship most likely could have been won in basketball, too, if not for the pandemic.

As I mentioned in the previous article, Emmitsburg is one of the top 10 most beautiful, charming small towns in Maryland, and also known as “Green Town” over the last decade. The goal has always been to reduce expenses, cost, and waste through the use of renewable energy. By implementing, we contribute to the sustainability of the fragile balances in our ecological systems.

Lots of walking, park use, baseball, and disc golf is an overwhelming success.

We have gotten some rain, but “droughts are out there,” so please water the yard and plants at night or early mornings. 

Back to school soon. Please be vigilant in watching out for children walking to school or to catch a bus.

Deb Abraham Spalding

Jeff Crum, Jason Boyer, and their families hosted an open house on July 10, 2021, for their new Woodsboro Craftsmen, LLC Cabinet Division Showroom at 3 West Main Street in Thurmont. The duo is proud to provide, “A place you can actually visit, touch, feel, and experience the quality of products that will become your new kitchen.” In the showroom, clients may explore Choice Cabinet, Fabuwood, and Legacy Crafted cabinet brands.

Updating your home is the easiest way to increase the beauty and value of your home. Woodsboro Craftsmen specializes in custom-made cabinets and kitchen and bathroom makeovers in residential and commercial spaces.

Boyer and Crum were both formerly in business separately. Woodsboro Craftsmen LLC was created when Jason Boyer of JSB Woodworking, Inc. and Jeff Crum of Crum Enterprise, Inc. made the decision to join forces. Together, they are able to offer full-service custom woodworking and home remodeling projects. Each with their own skill set and talents brings a combined 36 years of experience to the table. Since joining forces, Boyer stated, they “have been crazy busy and have grown!”

Woodsboro Craftsmen is a “family-owned, family-run, local operation that we’re proud of,” said Boyer. He added, “We’re so thankful for Thurmont. They do so much for new businesses.”

Thurmont Mayor John Kinnaird thanked the duo for investing in our community.

Call 301-304-0945, visit the showroom in person, or visit www.woodsborocraftsmen.com online for more information.

The showroom is open Mondays through Fridays, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Weekends by appointment.

Pictured from left are Thurmont Commissioners Bill Buehrer and Wayne Hooper, Dana and Jeff Crum, Ashley and Jason Boyer, Mayor John Kinnaird, and Thurmont’s CAO Jim Humerick.

by James Rada, Jr.

Emmitsburg

Face Mask Restrictions Loosen at Town Pool

The Emmitsburg Commissioners voted not to require face masks be worn inside the bathhouse at the town pool this season. However, pool personnel may still be seen wearing masks as they interact with visitors.

Town Approves Agreements to Move Irishtown Road Work Forward

The Emmitsburg Commissioners approved a Road Transfer Memorandum of Understanding with Frederick County for Irishtown Road and approved Brookfield Lots 1-19 Irishtown Road project’s right-of-way, temporary grading easement, and public works agreements. These agreements allow the town to take over Irishtown Road so that housing developers can move forward in bringing the road up to town standards.

New Committee Members Named

The Emmitsburg Commissioners re-appointed Wendy Walsh (term ending February 2, 2022), Wayne Slaughter (term ending October 15, 2022), Tricia Sheppard (term ending July 15, 2023), Will Sheppard (term ending July 15, 2023), and Conrad Weaver (term ending July 15, 2023) to the Citizen’s Advisory Committee for two-year terms.

Kevin Hagan was appointed to a five-year term as an alternate to the Planning Commission ending June 7, 2026.

Pavilion Bid Approved

The Emmitsburg Commissioners approved a bid for a small pavilion in the E. Eugene Myers Community near the bandstand. Green Sites, LLC, of Elkridge will build 8 x 8 foot pavilions for $12,750. Program Open Space funds will pay for this project.

Town Applying for Federal Assistance With USDA Rural Development

Emmitsburg is eligible for federal assistance from the U.S Department of Agriculture Community Facility Disaster Grant Program. Town staff identified $285,500 in public works equipment purchases that could be made under the program. If the funding is approved, USDA will pay 55 percent of the costs, leaving $128,500 for the town to pay.

Thurmont

Trail Paving Bids Approved

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners unanimously approved a bid to pave the Eyler Road Park Trail and Thurmont Trolley Trail Extension. Town staff will do the grading and stone work on the projects, and American Asphalt Paving Company in Baltimore will do the asphalt overlay for $47,835 ($15,000 for the Trolley Trail and $32,835 for Eyler Road Park Trail).

Water and Sewer Main Work Approved   

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners approved a bid of $163,000 to have Arro Consulting of Frederick do the design and engineering work to replace the water and sewer mains along North Church Street. The project will be paid for with budgeted funds in the water budget and surplus funds in the sewer budget. Chief Administrative Officer Jim Humerick said he hopes the town will be able to reimburse those expenses with the federal American Recovery funds Thurmont is expected to receive.

Thurmont Gets Program Open Space Funding

Thurmont Mayor John Kinnaird updated the commissioners on the amount of Program Open Space funding the town would receive for projects this year. Frederick County municipalities had $771,860 in funding to divide among municipal park projects, with half designated for acquisition and half for development. Thurmont received $125,000 in acquisition funding, which is the amount it sought, and $40,000 in development funding, which was $3,750 short of what it sought. The funds will provide a 75 percent match to town funding for multiple projects.

A Day in the Park Returns

Thurmont’s summer park program, A Day in the Park, is returning this summer and will run July 26 through July 30, from 8:30 a.m. to noon, in Community Park. Enrollment will be limited to 30 children. The town will also offer an alternative program if parents don’t want their children participating in in-person activities.

Emmitsburg

Mayor Don Briggs

June has been special with the swiveling three-season weather experience. The next generation of homeowners are now settling in throughout the town. Included are the families purchasing the new homes that will finish out the Brookfield subdivision. Their settlements started in June and are queued throughout the summer and fall. With the completion of the buildout in the subdivision will come the completion of the necessary upgrades to Irishtown Road to permit opening Brookfield Drive onto Irishtown Road to two-way traffic. The road work is expected to be completed before Labor Day.

To our new neighbors, welcome to Emmitsburg, a place settled in pre-Revolutionary War times. Indeed, history has been very kind and generous to us. Our heritage includes Main Street being a primary western migration route for the early settlers. The place where master craftsman John Armstrong made signature Kentucky Long Rifles at the turn of the nineteenth century. Later, to where thousands of Union soldiers encamped and were nourished before moving on to Gettysburg. The town is the seat of mercy from which the Daughters of Charity went the ensuing days to tend to those wounded in the Battle of Gettysburg.

To the prestige embodied, the town, being recognized as a National Register of Historic Places, has picked up the monikers of “Fire Town” and “Green Town.”

It is left to wonder what those who formed our history would say to a town being a regional leader in the use of renewable energy. What we did eight years ago is where most of the country must go. The town has an electric car, four electric vehicle (EV) charging stations, solar-powered algae control at the town lake, and 94 percent of our town government energy needs are provided by renewable solar power. But, they still would recognize a quiet town idyllically set amid a natural balance of mountains, farmland, and streams absorbing what comes their way. Earlier this year, Emmitsburg was recognized as being one of the top ten most beautiful small towns in Maryland.

Today, unlike in the past, residents go about their “day to days” amidst their daily scurries and interactions at our restaurants, three museums and four archives, the world’s most visited fire house: Vigilant Hose Company, the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Shrine and Basilica, the Homeland Security/Fire Academy facility, the Fallen Firefighters Memorial, the Grotto of Lourdes, and Mount St. Mary’s University, hosting over 400,000 visitors a year. All cylinders running 24/7/365. We welcome you, as we do the streams of returning university students, alums, firefighters, and winter-season skiers on their way to and from the nearby Ski Liberty.

Our history is harrowed deep from what those before us did and left. Like them, we are day-in, day-out committed to growing the quality of life in Emmitsburg.

 Emmitsburg is a great place to live, work, and visit. Join us. Your choice, step back in time, follow the wayside exhibits or step into the future forward in a regionally recognized sustainable leading community. Embody it; let its place speak to you.

Maybe this is your first experience of the Emmitsburg annual Community Heritage Day festivities and parade, do not stop now, go to the pool, farmer’s market, library, dog walk, or just step out your front door and take a leisurely walk.

To all: Best wishes for a wonderful 4th of July.

Thurmont

 Mayor John Kinnaird

First, I want to congratulate the Catoctin High School Cougars Baseball Team for their 1A State Championship win. We are all extremely proud of this amazing accomplishment!

We will see the 2021 Guardian Hose Company Carnival in Thurmont on July 6-10. After over a year of COVID-19 cancelations, it will be great to get back to the GHC Carnival. Be sure to get out and enjoy the amazing selection of food, rides, games, and entertainment. Karen and I are looking forward to attending and meeting friends and family for a great evening. I will be providing several all-you-can-ride tickets for kids during the carnival; be sure to check my Facebook page each day of the carnival for details.

As we all know, Governor Hogan has lifted the State of Emergency for Maryland residents and businesses as of July 1. This action removes the remaining restrictions on masks, gatherings, and social restrictions. Please note that individual businesses can still request face masks. With the help of the vaccination, we are past the most critical months and can look forward to decreasing cases of COVID-19. The Town of Thurmont and the Frederick County Health Department are offering free COVID-19 vaccinations every Friday evening, from 5:00-7:00 p.m. at the Town Office parking lot. Please take advantage of the free vaccinations if you have not already received a vaccination.

The Thurmont Skate Park is getting closer to reality! I recently acquired $40,000 in Open Space Funding for developing the skate park. We had requested $43,750, and I was extremely pleased to bring home 40K! I want to thank the teens and adults in the Skate Park Commission for pressing forward with this project. They have secured financial support from many donors. They are also selling T-shirts and raffle chances on two amazing skateboards. There has been a skate park booth at the Main Street Farmers Market where you can buy chances and shirts, make a donation, or chat with the kids. Project Open Space Funding comes from the State of Maryland through Frederick County. The County is awarded funds that the County can split with all the municipalities. Municipal leaders gather and decide how the funds are invested. Each municipality can request funds for the acquisition of park property and funds for development. The funds are generally split equally between acquisition and development; this year, there was almost $400,000 available for each. I was able to get acquisition funding for two properties we are considering.

The Town of Thurmont welcomed two new businesses to Main Street on June 19. KTS Mental Health Group opened its Thurmont practice at 5B East Main Street. They specialize in children and family mental health. Cuddles Cat Rescue opened at their new location at 3 East Main Street. Cuddles Cat Rescue is a non-profit, all-volunteer organization dedicated to humanely reducing the feral and stray cat population in the Thurmont area.

School is out for summer, and our kids will be out and about playing and visiting friends. Be sure to be on the lookout for kids crossing our streets or riding bikes and skateboards. They are not always aware of their surroundings, so we need to be extra careful while driving. The kids are out having fun, so let’s take the extra time necessary to make sure they stay safe.

As has been the practice for many years, the Thurmont Board of Commissioners will have only one meeting in July. The meeting will be on Tuesday, July 27, at 7:00 p.m. The regular schedule of weekly meetings will resume on July 27. Please feel free to contact us during July. The Town Office and staff will be operational on their regular schedule the entire month.

I hope that families going on vacation this month have a great time. We all need some time off and the opportunity to get away for a few days!

Questions, comments, or suggestions? Please call me at 301-606-9458 or contact me by email at jkinnaird@thurmont.com You can also follow me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/john.kinnaird.3.

Emmitsburg

Mayor Don Briggs

With each spring comes not only warmer longer days but also preparation of the next year’s town budget. The town fiscal year does not run concurrent with a calendar year. The next year budget period, 2021-2022, starts on July 1 and ends June 30. The different cycle gives the town, like most towns and cities, time to prepare during the closing months that is generally a time of slower activity barring another pandemic. The town has a General Fund account, and separate Enterprise Funds for water and sewer that must come to a performance balance between revenues and expenses. Coming through a pandemic affected year at times presented challenges to our resources to meet expected services. We bent but did not break. Thank you to the staff with their years of public service experience.

Traditional graduations are beginning to, yes, happen. A gold rush. Masks are being shed. Opportunities to attend graduation are opening for more people to attend. I attended the Mount St. Mary’s University 2021 class graduation. It was held outside at Waldron Stadium. The graduation was broken into four parts, two on Saturday and two on Sunday. Masks were optional, noticeably social distancing was reduced. The stadium was near capacity with family members and friends of graduates.

On the last Saturday of June, as is the tradition, the 39th Annual Community Heritage Day will be held in the Eugene Myers Community Park. Starting time is 9:00 a.m. for a full day of games, crafts, music, food, free swimming, open disc golf tournament, and biking event. The parade down W. Main Street and South Seton Avenue is planned to start at 5:00 p.m. Then, back to the park for more activities. Fireworks start at 9:45 p.m. Thank you to the Lions Club and other volunteers for putting the celebration together. As always, thank you to the town staff for all the behind-the-scenes work, and the town businesses and residents for donations. Every year, the town budget supports funding for the fireworks.

Over the last two years, the town has been bombarded with interest in the development of property within the town corporate boundary and properties identified within the current town comprehensive plan approved growth boundaries. Within our town limits, there are about 24 remaining lots in Brookfield, including lots facing on Irishtown Road. That is all the new homes projected to be completed this year. There is a yet-to-be-approved 48-unit subdivision along Irishtown Road that may start this fall, potentially delivering homes in 2022. There have been some discussions on annexations, but none are in the planning process.

This year, Memorial Day falls on Monday, May 31. A special day, “honoring the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military.” Look for the flags in the cemeteries you may per chance pass by. They stand for a lot.

Flag Day is the quiet observation celebrated annually on June 14. The event is held interchangeably by the towns of Emmitsburg and Thurmont, alternating every other year. American Legion, VFW, and American Veterans (AMVETS) from both towns co-host the event. This year, the commemoration will be held in Thurmont. The observance was officially noted by proclamation by President Woodrow Wilson in 1917. The flag design was adopted by second Continental Congress on June 14, 1777. In 1949, Flag Day was officially recognized but not as a federal holiday by Congress. This is the one event where old flags may be burned. The Boy Scout troops from each town do that for us.

Happy Fourth of July. It’s finally, summer, a well-earned one it will be.

Thurmont

 Mayor John Kinnaird

With the recent and unexpected changes to masking requirements, we may feel like jumping back into life with both feet. Even with these new changes, we still need to think about our family, friends, and neighbors. The new rulings allow those who have been vaccinated more opportunities to get out and mix with others. Those who have not been vaccinated are asked to continue wearing masks at this time. As we move forward, many who have been vaccinated may continue to wear masks; please do not be critical of their decision. Those who have chosen not to get vaccinated should be sure to follow the guidelines when interacting with others. It has been a tough year, and it looks like we can see the light at the end of the tunnel. At this time, it is important that we continue to follow the guidelines and help ensure the safety of our family, friends, and neighbors.

I am happy to announce that the Guardian Hose Company is planning their 2021 Carnival for Tuesday, July 6 through Saturday, July 10. The carnival will be open from 5:00-10:30 p.m. If you are like me, I am looking forward to the great food, fun games, and getting to see family and friends. Sadly, there will be no parade this year. The Guardian Hose Company Carnival will be held at the GHC Carnival Grounds, 123 East Main Street, Thurmont. Parking is available at the Boundary Avenue entrance. Be sure to come out and support the Guardian Hose Company Carnival.

The Thurmont Community Ambulance Service will be holding its carnival from Tuesday, June 1 through Saturday, June 5. There will be entertainment each evening, with plenty of good food, rides, games, and raffles. A nightly buffet will be available for $15.00 and will be served from 5:00-7:00 p.m., daily. Entertainment includes the Taylor Brown Elvis Show on Tuesday, Open Road Band on Wednesday, Full Effect on Thursday, The Rock and Roll Relics on Friday, and Borderline on Saturday. The Thurmont Community Ambulance Service Carnival will be held at the Thurmont Event Complex, 13716 Strafford Drive, Thurmont. I will see you there!

This fall, we will be having Colorfest on October 9-10! Be sure to keep an eye out for more information as we finalize plans for this long-standing community event. Colorfest is the single, biggest fundraising opportunity for our local churches, civic organizations, and non-profits. The past year has been a difficult time for many organizations, and I hope Colorfest will help kick-start their fundraising.

I want to remind everyone to sign up for the Town and Main Street newsletter. We are switching to an electronic version soon, so be sure to sign up now. Email kschildt@thurmontstaff.com and ask to be added to the email list. Your email address will not be used for any other purpose. Print copies of the newsletter will be available at the town office and other locations.

Again, it is important that we continue to follow the COVID-19 guidelines and help ensure the safety of our family, friends, and neighbors.

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

by James Rada, Jr.

Emmitsburg

For more information on the Town of Emmitsburg, visit www.emmitsburgmd.gov or call 301-600-6300.

Budget to be Approved in June

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners is expected to approve the budget for Fiscal Year 2022, which starts July 1, this month. The $1,907,086 budget shows a 2 percent increase. The property tax rate of 36 cents/$100 assessed value is the primary funding source for the budget, and it remains the same.

Town staff had budgeted $275,000 for two community deputies, but contract from the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office arrived shortly before the budget presentation for $298,000 (an 8.5 percent increase). Because this was unforeseen, staff will need to adjust other areas of the budget, particularly capital projects, to make up the difference without increasing the overall budget.

In some of the other highlighted areas of the budget, streets will increase 7 percent, trash collection will increase 5 percent, and parks and recreation will increase 1 percent.

Commissioners Approve New Trash Collection Contract

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners has approved a three-year contract with Republic Services in Frederick for trash removal. The bid amount was for $5.74/unit/month, $145 per dumpster collected, and $.55 unit/occurrence.

Town Election Laws Updated

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners voted 4-1 to approve changes to election laws updating such things as times of election, various deadlines for absentee voting, and filing deadlines. Commissioner Joe Ritz, III, voted against the changes because one change would have candidates listed alphabetically, rather than by who filed first, which has traditionally been the case.

Commissioners Approve Sewer Agreement with Rutter’s

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners approved a public works agreement with M&G Realty and SPT Land, who are developing a site for a new Rutter’s store. The agreement outlines what is expected before the town will accept a new sewage pump station and associated sewer infrastructure. The agreement was accepted on the condition that a minor modification might need to be made if the developers request it.

Thurmont

For more information on the Town of Thurmont, visit www.thurmont.com or call 301-271-7313.

Town Preparing to Approve Budget

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners are expected to approve the budget for Fiscal Year 2022, which starts July 1, this month. The $4,480,309 budget has $4,301,747 in expenditures and $178,562 in the capital budget. This is about $18,000 less than the FY2021 budget. The property tax rate of 29.92 cents/$100 assessed value is the primary funding source for the budget, and it remains the same as it has for the previous two years.

New Ball Field Plans Presented

ARRO Consulting presented the preliminary plans for a new baseball field in East End Park to the Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners recently. The field is needed because as Thurmont Little League grows it is becoming harder to accommodate games and practices in town.

Thurmont Chief Administrative Officer Jim Humerick told the commissioners, “Last year, if they would have had a complete season, Thurmont Little League were prepared to play in Emmitsburg because all the fields were full down here.” He used Program Open Space funds to have the engineering work done.

Besides two ball fields, the plan includes a 24-foot-wide access drive, walkways, and 37-spot parking lot. The projected cost for construction is almost $262,000 with the plan for Program Open Space funds to pay for it. There is also a planned future expansion for a multi-use field.

Colorfest Returns

After being canceled last year due to COVID-19 restrictions, Colorfest will return on October 9-10 this year. The festival attracts over 100,000 to Thurmont during the weekend, so it was impossible to maintain social distancing last year. The festival is a major fundraiser for many local organizations, and the Colorfest organization donates to many groups and funds a local scholarship.

Chief Administrative Officer Jim Humerick said he was happy to be planning for it, even if conditions change that might cause the need for cancellation.

The town pays for security, transportation, trash, and sanitation. They pay for these services with vendors and parking permits. Because things are still unknown, attendance might be down, which could lead to the town not bringing in enough money to cover its costs.

“Colorfest is so critical to a lot of our local organizations, our churches, our scouts, our service organizations like the Lions Club; we need to get back into it and take the chance that we may come up short this year,” Mayor John Kinnaird said.

He worries that if the event was canceled two years in a row, visitors and vendors might not return.

Blair Garrett

People can be pushed to their limits doing many things.

Whether it’s submitting a treacherous mountaintop or shooting for world records, humans have a competitive tendency to push themselves past what they previously thought possible.

Competition is exciting to watch, and new challenges are always on the horizon for those who seek greatness.

Competitive eating has gained tremendous popularity over the past decade, with events like the world-famous Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest, along with Food Network show challenges putting competitive eating on the map.

There are a few great local options that present customers with a food challenge only the toughest people can conquer.

Chubby’s Barbeque

Chubby’s Barbeque in Emmitsburg has a mountainous challenge of burgers piled high.

Owner Thomas Caulfield has seen many customers attempt his notoriously difficult “Chubby’s Challenge.”

“Years and years ago, I was watching Food Network challenges on ‘Man v. Food,’ and I sat around trying to come up with something nobody could eat,’’ Caulfield said. Caulfield designed a double-stack of burgers, so tall that it would take someone of true willpower and discipline to beat it.  

“We started it with eight half-pound burgers, with a Louisiana hot link sausage on each one,” he said. “The sausage weighs right around three ounces. With two slices of cheese on it, lettuce, tomato, and mayonnaise.”

It’s a meal that dwarves a normal adult’s daily caloric intake, but with a one-hour time limit, the heat is on to put down as much food as you possibly can.

“We didn’t have anybody take the challenge and win for probably over a year,” Caulfield said. “One Sunday, we had a guy walk in and say he was here for the challenge. He had a little lady with him, and he said she was going to do it.”

When we think of the stereotypical person who can put down tremendous amounts of food, it’s always a huge, corn-fed husky guy who throws bales of hay like a football for a living. Not this time.

She was maybe five feet tall, and maybe 90 pounds,” he said. “While she’s waiting for her burger challenge, she had two beers, which is just not what you want before a food challenge.” 

“She proceeds to eat it all within 45 minutes, with a smile on her face the whole time. She just went through it like she was walking through a garden,” Caulfield said.

The first person to complete the challenge was Bethesda, Maryland’s Juliet Lee, who was a world-renowned competitive eater. “She won her $100, left, and came back about an hour later and got a pulled pork sandwich, a side of Chubby potatoes, and $119 worth of food to go,” Caulfield said.

There have been just a few anomalies among the many who have taken on the Chubby’s Challenge.       

“Over the years, we’ve probably had 150 to 200 people try it, and just 6 people do it,”  

Chubby’s has had one more visit from a patron cut from a different cloth than the rest of us.

Molly Schuyler, world-record holder and competitive eating champion, made a stop at Chubby’s in 2019 to get her photo plastered behind the bartop at the restaurant.

“She did the challenge in about five minutes and 40 seconds,” Caulfield said. “After, I got her name and phone number, and I called and said, ‘I bet you can’t do two of them, and if you can, I’ll give you 500 dollars.’”

Schuyler was able to do a double Chubby’s Challenge in 29 minutes, 1 second, something most people previously thought to be impossible.

“Her boyfriend, who was also a competitive eater, ordered one of everything on the menu,” Caulfield said. “He couldn’t finish everything, so she finished what he didn’t eat [after her challenge].”

Nobody is forced to do two Chubby’s Challenges, but the option to solidify your name as Chubby’s royalty is there for the taking if you can reach it.

Bollinger’s Restaurant

Good barbecue strikes our tastebuds like nothing else out there.

There are so many choices for the cut of meat, though. You’ve got brisket, ribs, beef tips, pork, and various other options. Once you’ve had good barbecue, you crave that sweet and smoky flavor.

Bollinger’s Restaurant in Thurmont has a barbecue challenge to light up your taste buds.

“We started it about four years ago,” Bollinger’s Restaurant owner Josh Bollinger said. “It’s a sandwich and fries challenge.”

It doesn’t get much more American than a stack of meats on a bun, layered in barbecue sauce. “There’s 14 ounces of brisket, 14 ounces of ham, 14 ounces of pulled pork, and 4 ounces of coleslaw, and it has one big order of fresh-cut French fries with it,” Bollinger said.

That’s a sandwich big enough to intimidate just about any challenger. Patrons have just 20 minutes to clear their plates, and a few have risen to the occasion when faced with this monster sandwich.

“It’s roughly three-and-a-half to four pounds,” Bollinger said. “We’ve probably only had five or six people complete it. When they do complete it, it’s always under 10 minutes; they crush it.”

Winners get their meal free, a T-shirt, their picture posted up on Bollinger’s Restaurant social media, and likely tremendous indigestion for the rest of the night. Those who are strong enough to put all that food away can claim that they’ve gone where few have before them.

Bollinger has tried his own challenge to see how he measures up to the behemoth sandwich. “I was one bite away from finishing it,” he said. “My jaw hurt so bad, I couldn’t chew anymore.”

He may still take another crack at the challenge, this time with an empty stomach and the mental preparedness to overcome that much barbecue. “I might have to try it again one day, you never know.”

You don’t have to travel far to find some great food options and test your willpower at the dinner table. There are local spots to satiate the appetites of the world’s greatest food champions right here in Northern Frederick County. You just have to know where to look.

Juliet Lee of Bethesda, Maryland, a world-renowned competitive eater and the first person to complete the “Chubby’s Challenge” at Chubby’s Barbeque in Emmitsbug.

A contestant takes on two towering stacks of Chubby’s Avalanche burgers.

The Bollinger’s Restaurant challenge puts on the pressure, giving challengers just 20 minutes to finish this huge sandwich and fries.

E m m i t s b u r g

Mayor Don Briggs

Well, the vaccine shots are here. Yes, they’re at a convenient place for us up in these parts: the Vigilant Hose Company activities building on Creamery Road. Thank you, Vigilant Hose, for pulling this together. But, not so fast. The vaccine assigned was Johnson & Johnson. This vaccine type was pulled with urgency from delivery because of possibly being the cause of blood clotting to several inoculated women. To those who had signed up for shots, the Frederick County Health Department was very responsive in offering rescheduling in other parts of the county. Not so much for those who signed up, but to all those behind the scenes—and there are many—a seamless adjustment. Amazing how they do it.

This horrible virus is still with us. I’m hoping it will subside with the coming pleasant weather, much like last summer, where we spend more time outside as the healthier thing to do. Walk, jog, or bike through our connected town to our beautiful parks. Yet, still be wary, as there is again an uptick in demand for hospital beds. As of this writing, county-wide cases are up to 18,903 cases and 297 deaths. In the 21727 zip code, we have 397 cases.

The Masters Golf tournament in Augusta, Georgia…what would we do without it? Our national annual harbinger to spring, blooming, and, yes, warmth. For us morphing along in reluctant climate zones, holding fast to its tradition, it is almost a solemn event. The beautiful setting of immaculate grounds; antebellum reminiscent clubhouse; plush fairways; and landscaping, flush with blooming azaleas. I do not play golf, a youthful incurable proclivity to slice shots cut my play short. This year, the coverage by ESPN and CBS intensified the drama, with expanded coverage, drones, and exhibits, moving from player to player with fluidity, almost like watching a soccer match. As networks interpret, TV appetite screen presentations must change every seven seconds to keep the American viewers engaged. The networks did a good job keeping it moving with only a few commercials. Made it personnel.

Youth baseball in Emmitsburg is going full throttle, with many of the fields now in regular use. Weekends bring tournaments. Some pressure to other uses, but we can accommodate everything.

The Boys and Girls Club will be back this fall with expanded abilities to accommodate before- and after-school childcare. The town contributes funding to this service to the community. I will have more on this.

So fast, first crocuses, trees budding, farmers tilling, gardners planting, and seniors graduating. The buildup. Here we are. Happy Memorial Day.

T h u r m o n t

Mayor John Kinnaird

The Thurmont Main Street Farmers Market has been open for several weeks at the Thurmont Plaza Shopping Center and will be moving to its summer location at the Municipal Parking lot on May 8. The Farmers Market offers an amazing selection, including locally grown produce, homemade baked goods, fresh eggs, Red Angus beef, bacon, sausage, pork chops, fresh flowers, vegetable plants, and handcrafted items. The Farmers Market is open Saturday mornings from 9:00 a.m. until noon.

The town has several parks projects in the works! The parks crew has been working on an extension to the south end of the Thurmont Trolley Trail. The extension will carry the trail across Moser Road and down to a loop trail that will connect the trolley trail with the nature trail at the Thurmont Regional Library. A new walking trail is being added to the Eyler Road Park. This new trail encircles the lower playing fields and will provide residents with another safe walking path. Both trail improvements will be completed this summer.

The Town of Thurmont in partnership with the CYA will be building a new press box, storage area, and concession stand at the Eyler Road Park football field. This new building will replace several temporary structures and will provide additional storage and meeting space.

At the April 13th town meeting, the commissioners heard from a group of teens interested in having a skate park built in town. After a very impressive presentation, the commissioners voted to apply for Program Open Space funding to help kickstart the development of a skateboard park. This new facility may be located at the East End Park. Design recommendations will be drafted by the Parks and Recreation Commission and teen representatives of the skateboard group. During the April 20th town meeting, lifelong resident Louie Powell, Sr. spoke in favor of both the press box and the skateboard park. Mr. Powell donated to both projects and challenged everyone that uses our parks to also donate to these projects. Donations can be sent to the town office; please indicate on your check that it is intended for these projects.

The board of commissioners has been working on the Fiscal Year 2021-2022 Municipal Budget. There will be a public hearing on the budget before it is adopted. I encourage everyone to watch the town meetings as the budget is finalized. Once adopted, the budget will take effect on July 1, 2021.

Work on the Thurmont Master Plan update continues at the Planning and Zoning meetings. This process also includes comprehensive rezoning. You are welcome to attend the P&Z meetings and to provide comments on the process. There will be public hearings and presentations prior to the adoption of the Master Plan update. I hope everyone has a great May! If you have any questions, concerns, or compliments, I can be reached at 301-606-9458 or by email at jkinnaird@thurmont.com

by James Rada, Jr.

T h u rmont

A “Y Without Walls”

The Town of Thurmont is still working toward bringing YMCA programs to town in a “Y without walls.” It was announced during a recent town meeting that the Y will run some art programs locally on Saturday mornings. These are expected to be one-and-a-half and two-hour workshops. The YMCA is also planning to start a North County Leaders Club in the fall to teach youth the value of service. The long-term goal is to have a YMCA facility in town, and the first step in that direction is showing support for Y programs being offered in the “Y without walls.”

Thurmont Police Officer of the Year

The Thurmont Lions Club awarded Officer First Class Nicole Fair the 2021 Thurmont Police Officer of the Year Award. In noting the work she has done in the department since joining in July 2016, it was also noted that she has an eagerness to learn new skills and jobs within the department. Fair also received a restaurant gift certificate and her name on a plaque. Also, the Lions Club will make a $400 donation in Fair’s name to the charity of her choice.

Thurmont Pursuing a Skate Park

Following a presentation by citizens, the Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners switched their priority for Program Open Space funds this year from doing phase 2 of the Woodland Park playground replacement to the start of building a skateboarding park in town. The commissioners asked the parks and recreation commission to meet with the citizens supporting the park to decide on what the ultimate design of the park should be and how to start building it, understanding that the park probably can’t be built in a year.

E m m i t s b u r g

Commissioners Accept North Seton Conceptual Plan

Commissioners Accept North Seton Conceptual Plan

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners accepted a Green Street Conceptual Plan for North Seton Avenue, from Main Street to Provincial Parkway. Fox and Associates presented the plan. The goal is to create an attractive streetscape that incorporates green stormwater infrastructure to reduce the amount of stormwater runoff and pollution flowing into Flat Run. The plan also suggests ways to stabilize the banks of Flat Run and provide flood hazard mitigation. A Chesapeake Bay Trust Green Streets, Green Jobs, & Green Towns grant funded the study.

Commissioners Approve Hunting and Recreational Use at Rainbow Lake

The Emmitsburg Commissioners approved the hunting and recreational use of Rainbow Lake. The changes/additions will be updated on town hunting and fishing permits. Some of the changes include: (1) All-terrain vehicles, except class one pedal-assist bicycles, are prohibited in the watershed; (2) Hunting access is limited to deer and turkey. Hunting of any other wildlife species is prohibited; (3) Hunting is only permitted from the first day of deer season until the end of deer season. Hunting will then only be permitted from the first day of spring wild turkey season until the end of spring wild turkey season; (4) Use of hunting dogs to chase/hunt deer or turkey is prohibited; (5) Portable tree stands and climbing devices that do not use nails, wires, spikes, bolts, or screws for attachments are permitted; (6) Fishing permits must be renewed annually and expire on the date of your Maryland fishing license expires; (7) Please refrain from walking, standing, or throwing the rip rap rocks located around the lake basin; (8) Hiking and mountain biking are allowed on designated trails only. Trails must not be used if they are wet or muddy to protect the watershed from erosion.

Commissioners Approve Engineering Contract for Water Clarifier

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners approved the engineering contract for the new water clarifier for the town’s water system to be conducted by Rummel, Klepper & Kahl. The entire cost will be $243,114, including study, preliminary design, final design, bidding, negotiation, construction, and post-construction.

Commissioners Change Zoning for New Wastewater Treatment Plant

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners held a public hearing in April about the zoning classification changes for the parcels of property the new wastewater treatment plant will be built on. The parcels were zoned agricultural before the town annexed the parcels and sought to change them to institutional zoning. Following the hearing, the commissioners voted to make the zoning change.

Does the Town Need to Raise Water Rates?

Emmitsburg Commissioner T. J. Burns brought up the possibility of the town raising its water rates during a recent town meeting. He said the town’s water rates are among the lowest in the county, and with the need to pay for the upcoming water infrastructure projects, such as the new water clarifier, the town may have to consider raising its rates to generate income for the projects that won’t be covered by grants.

2021 Emmitsburg Pool Information

The Emmitsburg pool will open this year on May 29. It will only be open from noon to 7:00 p.m. on weekends until June 13. From June 18 through Labor Day, it will be open daily. The day passes for residents will be $4.00 for adults, $3.00 for children and seniors, and free for children under three years old. Non-residents will pay $6.00 for adults and $4.00 for children and seniors. Depending on the governor’s COVID orders, there may be limited capacity. If this happens, no season passes will be sold.

James Rada Jr.

Thurmont is one of the leading business creators in Frederick County, according to the database used by the Frederick County Office of Economic Development.

Data Axle (formerly Reference USA) reports on businesses by zip code across the country. In the Thurmont zip code (21788), Data Axle reports there are 468 businesses, and second only to the Frederick zip codes in the county.

Thurmont Economic Development Manager Vickie Grinder said, “That sounds about right. Thurmont is pro-business. We promote our businesses, and more importantly, we retain our businesses.”

She said being pro-business is not always about attracting new businesses. You also need to retain them, which, in times like these, can mean helping them stay open.

“We have not lost any businesses during this pandemic, and we have even opened some,” Grinder said.

During the months of the pandemic last year, Thurmont saw ribbon-cuttings for three new businesses: Tracie’s House of Hair in July, Thurmont Veterinary Clinic in August, and Beautiful You Salon and Spa in October.

It is not surprising that Frederick, the county seat and largest city in the county, by far, dominates with the number of businesses in its zip code. However, Thurmont, Walkersville, and Brunswick are all roughly the same size, and Thurmont has nearly the same number of businesses (468) as Walkersville (302) and Brunswick (200) combined.

Grinder attributes the larger number, in part, to initiatives like the Thurmont Business Network. Any Thurmont business is welcome to the meetings to hear speakers, talk about business opportunities, and share knowledge.

The town also runs advertising, promoting the town’s businesses and recognizing successful businesses with its “You Make Thurmont Proud” awards. The advertising even tied into the small-town and parks aspect with a tagline: “We’ve been socially distancing for decades.”

The town also started helping local businesses with micro-grants before the federal government announced it would reimburse such programs through CARES Act.

“I’m here to tell you… that $1,000 that was given to those businesses… people cried,” Grinder told the Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners during a recent meeting.

Some of the leading employers in Thurmont include NVR, R.R. Donnelly, Criswell Chevrolet, and Playground Specialists. However, the town also has lots of small businesses that employ just a handful of people.

Besides storefront businesses, the numbers also include home-based businesses. Grinder estimated that home businesses probably make up 75 to 100 of the Thurmont-area businesses.

A group of 15 Catoctin High School sophomores attended an April Town of Thurmont meeting with Patrick Dugan (sophomore) as their leader and presented their case, convincing the town to build a skate park. The mayor and commissioners gave the teens lots of positive feedback, as well as advice on how to help their project move along as quickly as possible. The teens have been busy doing research, visiting other towns with skate parks, and meeting with other organizers and planners who have designed and built skate parks. They also met with members of the Thurmont Parks and Recreation Committee and Sergeant Armstrong, leading up to the meeting. Armstrong spoke at the meeting in favor of the skate park.

They held their first official committee meeting in April in the pavilion behind the Thurmont Senior Center to discuss fundraising, planning, logo art contest, and skate park location, among other things.

One town resident came to the town meeting and spoke in favor of the skate park and donated $50 to the project. This resident challenged all other residents to do the same. In support of the challenge for donations, the town is sending the information out in a flier included in the utility bills.

Pictured are Chris Sanchez, Maceo Zelenka, Jazmyn Weedon, Colin Byrne, Nik Contreras, Alex Contreras, Courtney Wreschy, Phoebe Chmiel, Alan Chmiel, Norman Montoya, Adrian Febus, Patrick Dugan, Sergeant David Armstrong, and Deondre Febus.

by James Rada, Jr.

Emmitsburg

Town Gets Partial Grant Funding for Infrastructure Projects

The Town of Emmitsburg received some help with its water and sewer infrastructure projects that will cost more than $5 million.

The water clarifier for the Crystal Fountain Road Water Plant will help treat and improve the raw water quality flowing into the plant. The project costs $1.4 million, but Sen. Hough helped the town get a $1 million grant from the state to pay the majority of costs. The town is responsible for the remaining $400,000. The project is expected to be complete in July 2022.

The Creamery Road Pump Station replacement will cost $3.7 million. The USDA provided the town with an $833,000 grant and $1,987,000 loan, leaving $807,000 for the town to fund. The project is expected to break ground at the end of the year.

The North Seton Avenue and DePaul Street waterline replacement is in the preliminary engineering stage, which will cost the town about $25,000.

Commissioners Make Budget Transfers

Emmitsburg’s Fiscal Year 2020 budget audit confirmed the town had a $180,174 excess in the general fund. In March, the Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners allocated the excess to FY21 general and capital projects. These included projects for stormwater management, town pool, ball fields, the dog park, and COVID-19-related expenses.

Town Recognizes Long-time Employees

The Town of Emmitsburg recently recognized several town employees for their many years of service. The following employees received certificates of appreciation for their service: Dan Fissel, Water/Sewer Superintendent (25 years); Chris Wantz, Public Works (20 years); Amy Naill, Parking/Code Enforcement (15 years); and Steve Fissel, Maintenance (15 years).

The Emmitsburg commissioners also issued a proclamation honoring Keith Suerdieck for his service on various town committees for the past 10 years.

Commission Appointments

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners appointed Glenn Blanchard to the town planning commission for a five-year term and Deborah Hobbs to the ethics commission. The commissioners also reappointed Carolyn and Martin Miller to the parks and recreation committee for two-year terms.

Pavilion Contracts Approved

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners approved the construction of two picnic pavilions in Community Park, one of which will be ADA-compliant. Green Sites in Elkridge won the project with a $40,507 bid that includes steel pavilions and connecting sidewalks. The pavilions are expected to be completed by mid-May. Program Open Space funds will pay for 75 percent of the project, and the town will pay the remaining 25 percent.

M.I. Tech Construction in Frederick won a contract to renovate the Community Park bandstand for $22,270. This project will not only renovate the bandstand, but will add LED lighting to the structure. Program Open Space funds will pay $11,250 of the project, with the town paying the rest.

Thurmont

Town Could Get $5.8 Million from Federal COVID Relief

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners were recently informed that the Town of Thurmont could receive around $5.8 million in federal funds from the $1.9 trillion COVID-relief bill that President Biden signed into law. Mayor John Kinnaird called it “an astounding sum of money” for the town. It can be used to offset the negative economic impact from COVID; pay essential workers premium pay; or cover revenue losses from water, sewer, or broadband infrastructure. The commissioners will be discussing what to do with the funds as the amounts and rules governing their use are made known.

Mowing Contract Approved

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners approved a new two-year contract with Mountain View Lawn Services in Rocky Ridge to mow and maintain 75 acres of town-owned property throughout Thurmont. The contract is for $73,859 each year, with a one-year extension if the commissioners want it. This represents a 2.9 percent increase over the current contract with Mountain View.

Road Paving Project Approved

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners accepted a bid to repave Apples Church Road from East Main Street to the railroad tracks, Mountain Road, and North Altamont Avenue from West Main Street to the railroad tracks. The work includes milling, curb replacements, asphalt resurfacing, striping, and some patching on Gateway Drive West. Pleasant’s Construction of Frederick won the contract with a bid of $190,367.

Stream Cleanup at Community Park

The Thurmont Parks and Recreation Commission is hosting a stream cleanup at Thurmont Community Park on April 10 at 1:00 p.m. Gloves and bags will be provided. Wear a face covering. For more information, contact Amie McDaniels at thurmontparksnrec@gmail.com.

Community Shred Event

The Thurmont Police Department and Woodsboro Bank are sponsoring a community residential shred event at the police station at 800 East Main Street in Thurmont. The event will be held on Apr. 24 from 8 a.m. to noon. You can shred up to five boxes of office paper, paper clips, staples, rubber bands, folders, and labels. Bring a non-perishable food item for each box. The food will go to the Thurmont Food Bank.

Emmitsburg

Mayor Don Briggs

Congratulations to Mount St. Mary’s University and its women’s and men’s basketball teams on winning bids to NCAA tournaments. They came after decisive wins in their respective NEC championship games. The women’s tournament field includes 31 teams and runs from March 21 through April 4. The tournament will be held in San Antonio, Texas. The men’s 67-team field tournaments will be held in Indianapolis, Indiana, from March 18 through April 5. GO MOUNT! Bring it on.

The American Rescue Plan, AKA the Covid Relief Bill, will include funds for the town. Our first priority is creating working opportunities through water and sewer infrastructure projects. In addition to scheduled underground line repair/ replacements, funds will be used for an $800,000 pump station and $400,000 to complement funds from the state for a water clarifier (water treatment filter). 

Vigilant Hose Spring Fling is on. But in a virtual form. If interested, hurry. Contact the fire company for details. Non-Emergency: 301-447-2728. E-mail: info@vhc6.com. The fire company has gone out on several brush fires in March. As a reminder, we need rain.

The Maryland Historical Trust approved another town grant request for downtown façade restoration projects. Going back to 2013, this will be our ninth approval. Approvals are typically for $50,000 in matching funds. For the 2021 cycle, a matching grant of $50,000 is already lined up for disbursement among several private properties. Over the years, the town has received $405,000, resulting in over $1,000,000 in improvements to private properties. If you have an interest in the program for the 2022 grant cycle, please contact Town Planner Zach Gulden at 301-600-6309.

In the Catoctin Cougars football team’s first outing scrimmage with Middletown, the outcome was marred by the serious head injury Cougar lineman Colan Droneburg sustained. From updates, he is up and doing well. The family is overly thankful to the community for the outpouring of support for them and Colan. The Frederick High School game scheduled for March 5 was canceled because Frederick coaches and/or players had failed COVID-protocol testing. As of this writing, games against Thomas Johnson were scheduled for Friday, March 19, at 6:30 p.m., and a close-out game against Brunswick, Friday, March 26, also at 6:30 p.m.  

On the Mayor COVID update video series in February and March, guests included County Executive Jan Gardner, Frederick County Sustainability Department Manager Shannon Moore, and Green Builder Mark Lancaster.

From the County Executive’s Office, over 20 percent of county residents have been vaccinated (mid-March). At that point, total COVID-19 cases for the county were at 12,665 and deaths at 256. In the 21727-zip code, we have had 361 cases. While statewide demand for COVID-related hospital bed demand is declining, Frederick County is still at a second surge level. We are getting there.

With COVID, this Lenten season will be remembered as one where we have given a lot, but do not forget all you do for others, as that also is a part of the season. It has been a special Lent.

From Lib and I, we wish everyone a Happy Eastertide.

Thurmont

 Mayor John Kinnaird

With the arrival of spring, I invite everyone to visit the Thurmont Main Street Farmers Market at their new indoor location! The Farmers Market is open Saturday mornings from 9:00 a.m. until noon at the Thurmont Plaza Shopping Center at 224 North Church Street. Guests are required to wear a face mask and observe social-distancing guidelines. The vendors offer a wide range of produce and baked goods, including cakes, croissants, donuts, cupcakes, cookies, pies, local Red Angus Beef, eggs, handmade cornhole bags, mushrooms, herbs, dried peppers, potted flowers, goat milk soaps, and other goodies. Stop by and check out the selection; you will not be disappointed! After May 1, the Farmers Market will return to the Municipal Parking Lot on South Center Street.

Thurmont residents are encouraged to follow the Planning and Zoning Commission as they work to update the Thurmont Master Plan. This includes reviewing land use, comprehensive rezoning, updates to the Zoning Regulations, improving the Growth Map, and other items. The meetings are open to the public, and there will be public hearings and open houses to get community input. The Thurmont Planning and Zoning Commission meets on the fourth Thursday of each month at 7:00 p.m.

Thurmont Main Street will be sponsoring Main Street Sweeps on Saturday, June 5, from 9:00-11:00 a.m. Then, Thurmont Green Team, Thurmont Lions Club, YMCA Thurmont Teen Program, and other volunteers will be joining forces to help clean the downtown streets. The cleanup will start on East Main Street, from Thurmont Barber & Styling to the corner at PNC and South Center Street, then onto South Center around to Water Street and back up to the Mechanicstown Square Park. The Thurmont Lions Club will be supplying brooms for the Sweep! Contact Karen Schildt at kschildt@thurmontstaff.com or call her at 240-285-8076 if you would like to help.

I am sure many residents are aware of the issues we have been trying to address at the Recycling drop-off site on Moser Road next to the Regional Library. The recycling facility is located on Town of Thurmont property as a courtesy to Frederick County. The County reimburses the Town for the majority of the cost of dumping the recycling by funding one emptying per week. Any additional emptying is paid for by the Town of Thurmont. In recent months, it seems that almost every weekend people are dropping off recycling when the bin is full. Rather than take the recycling back when there is room in the roll-off, they are throwing it on the ground and making a big mess. The cardboard, paper, and other items blow all over the place, and our staff has to spend several hours on Monday mornings cleaning up the area. What’s worse, is they are dropping off many items that are not recyclable, including styrofoam, trash, construction debris, and plastic bags full of bags of cans-bottles-containers. These items are considered to be contaminants and are refused at the recycling facility. Any load with a noticeable amount of contaminants is refused and sent to the landfill, costing the County additional money. Last week the Town decided to start having the recycling roll-off dumped a second time each week in an effort to reduce the amount of recycling being tossed on the ground. We are funding this and have reached out to the County for financial support for the additional cost involved. We are also posting the property with “No Littering” signs; any items dropped off on the ground at the recycling bin will be considered littering, and those doing so will be fined. It is our hope that the second emptying per week and the No Littering signs will help resolve the situation. The Recycling Drop Off is a valuable asset to the Thurmont Community and the surrounding County residents; we want to do what we can to keep it here for everyone to use.

I hope everyone has a joyful Easter and a pleasant April. As always, I can be reached at jkinnaird@thurmont.com or by phone at 301-606-9458.

by dave ammenheuser

Stories of What It’s Like Returning Home After 25 Years

“Welcome back, Dave, but you should know Thurmont’s not the same town you left behind many years ago.”

I have heard that phrase numerous times since my parents died in the final half of 2020, initiating my return to my hometown to settle their estate.

In 1982, when I left Thurmont to venture across the country in my pursuit of the highest levels of sports journalism, I left behind a community where its townspeople cared about one another; one where residents looked out for each other and were always there to lend a helping hand.

In February, Mike Miller, whom I haven’t seen since the 1970s when we were members of the Troop 270 Boy Scouts, didn’t hesitate to use his snowplow to clear the driveway of my parents’ home.

That’s what Thurmontians do.

Rick Wastler, my friend since we were toddlers, quickly volunteered to detail my father’s vintage Thunderbirds as we prepare to sell them this spring.

That’s what childhood friends do.

Russell Yates, my parents’ neighbor, doesn’t balk when I ask for a favor, whether it’s mowing the yard, helping me pull strange things out of the attic, or accompanying me on a trip to the Frederick County landfill.

That’s what neighbors do.

Chet Zentz returned my call immediately when I inquired about the status of my late parents’ car and home insurance policies. We were friends in high school when his father ran the insurance office.

That’s what old friends and good businessmen do.

Thurmont Mayor John A. Kinnaird stopped by the house this winter to pick up my mother’s walker. He later dropped it off at the Thurmont Senior Citizen Center.

That’s what your good mayor does.

Kinnaird and I had never met until he took time from his busy schedule to drop by and pick up the walker. I admire his devotion to the town and enjoy reading his posts and reviewing his photos on the Facebook group “You know you’re from Thurmont, Maryland, when …”

One of the group’s recent posts, about Vernon Myers and his generosity toward the Thurmont Little League, brought back an overflowing load of memories of the Thurmont that I grew up in.

Vernon’s Shell station. Ben’s Esso. Riffle’s garage. The Red Door. The Market Basket. Super Thrift. Hoke’s Furniture. Royer’s Restaurant. Claire Frock. Thurmont Bank. Stull Dougherty  Chevrolet. Brooks Department Store.

The names of many of the businesses in the area have changed. The camaraderie of most folks has not.

I did experience one notable exception. It occurred last summer and involved my father. As many of you may know, my father had a passion for cars, and he could have a stubborn streak. If he wanted something, he would find a way to get it—especially if it involved anything to do with the collection of his vintage cars.

Last summer, he was determined to add a vintage Corvette to his collection. Keep in mind, my father was 81 years old, was in and out of the hospital for weeks at a time because of serious health problems. There was no way he could drive a souped-up sports car that was more accustomed to racing on drag strips.

Despite my strongest advice, he bought it from a used car dealership in Thurmont. Legally, the car dealership did nothing wrong. They sold a car to a person who was willing to purchase it.

A local community bank approved a lien on my parents’ house for my father to buy the car. To this day, I am still unclear how the loan was approved, as it needed my mother’s signature (she was in the hospital, losing her battle against cancer, and during a time when no visitors were allowed during the pandemic).

My father was released from the hospital on August 30. The Corvette was delivered to his home in Creagerstown on September 1. It was the same day my father struggled to get into the car for the first time; the same day my father died, struggling to get out of the car for the first time.

Obviously, as a son, I was furious and heartbroken to learn not only of my father’s death but the circumstances around it. I quickly made angry calls to the community bank and the used car dealership. Nobody at either business was comforting or understanding.

I asked the car dealer how they could sell a car to such a weak and sick senior citizen. I was told that they don’t review medical records, and “No,” they would not take the car back, even though my father owned it for less than 24 hours.

I remain puzzled about how a community bank could approve a loan when my mother was unavailable to sign any legal documents.

Thus, with both parents gone, my family was saddled with a Corvette and a lien on the home.

The Corvette was sold (at a loss). The lien remains. The pain lingers. I gotta believe, in the Thurmont of our past, such a deal would not have occurred. Or, at minimum, the car could’ve been returned.

All neighbors looked after each other.

Emmitsburg

Mayor Don Briggs

The Green New Deal for Emmitsburg is no big deal. The town government energy needs achieved 95-percent reliance on renewable energy in 2014. It came from solar panels and LED lighting. We even added some possible redundancy along the way with vehicle charging stations, an electric vehicle, and a solar-powered algae control system at Rainbow Lake. We are for renewable energy to save money and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Our energy needs for the most part are off the electricity grid. Though the solar panels do create energy on cloudy days, we still need to fall back on using fossil-fuel-generated energy.

Recently, the Eastern Shore Pipeline received unanimous final approval from the Maryland Board of Public Works for an extension of a natural gas pipeline from Delaware, through Wicomico, and 11 miles into Somerset County to the University Eastern Shore and the Eastern Correctional Institute. The pipeline is already in Delaware and Wicomico County. The pipeline is controversial. Natural gas, lest we forget, is a fossil fuel. This is a responsible take by the state to rely on a blend of energy sources. The mix can change over time, but let us do it responsibly.

Ah, the peace a snowfall brings, but not so much for the town crews. Early in the morning hours, late in the night, their skills have been tested. Ever present are the flashing yellow lights on their vehicles. We have approximately a 12-mile network of town roads. So, if they plow both sides of the roads once, they have plowed the same distance as it is to Frederick. And, they do the roads more than once.

In the month of January, the Vigilant Hose Company answered 55 fire calls and 100 ambulance calls. That is over five calls a day! Incredible for a primarily volunteer fire company. That is more than well done. Thank you.

According to Commissioner Davis, Vigilant Hose Company is getting closer to its activities building on Creamery Road being approved by the County Health Department as a vaccination site.

As the town wrestles with the pandemic and weather to get back to a community:

A disc golf tournament was held for the hearty on our course in Community Park on February 21 as a charity event for the Emmitsburg Food Bank.

        In an awkward, but pandemic-adaptive way, the Catoctin Cougars football team will open an abridged spring schedule (four-game season), against Middletown, Friday evening, March 5. The game will be played at Frederick High School on their turf field. Go Cougars! More sports this spring: Please check CHS website and support the teams.

        On Saturday, March 27, the Seton Family Store will host a Spring Fling Craft Fair. Up to 15 crafters and/or vendors, a DJ, and a representative from the Frederick Health Department will be on hand. Emmitsburg area restaurants have been asked to provide a “Taste of Emmitsburg” at the fair. Interested crafts and businesses should call Kenny Droneburg at 301-447-6102.

In January, Keith Suerdieck—after 10 years of dedicated service—stepped down as Chairman of the Emmitsburg Planning Commission. Thank you, Keith; we will miss you. From your architect background knowledge to your experience from being an associate pastor of Trinity Methodist Church, you brought a quiet professional demeanor to the Commission. With Keith stepping down, commission member Mark Long was elected by the board to take his place as chairman. Also, former Town Commissioner Glenn Blanchard came on the Commission as a “new” member. Welcome back, Glenn.

Hope your Lenten season is going well. Stay warm, help a neighbor, be thankful.

Thurmont

 Mayor John Kinnaird

With all the snow we have been getting recently, I will brighten your day by announcing that the Thurmont Main Street Farmers Market will be opening on Saturday, March 20. This is the first indoor version of our popular market, and it will be held in the Thurmont Plaza, 224 North Church Street, from 9:00 a.m. until noon, every Saturday through May 1. Masks are required and social distancing will be observed. After May 1, the market will move to its regular location in the Municipal Parking Lot. The indoor market will feature local honey, sauces, rubs, goat soap, homemade pies, donuts, bread, bagels, gourmet cupcakes, cinnamon rolls, organic greens, a variety of mushrooms, Red Angus beef, Easter flowers, hand-crafted items, and more. This will be a great addition to the already amazing Main Street Farmers Market!

With the return of good weather in April and May, there will be several infrastructure improvements going on in Thurmont. These include repairs to the Frederick Road Bridge over Hunting Creek. This work will be mainly focused under the bridge, repairing some exposed rebar and spalling. There will be water-system repairs on Frederick Road at Emmitsburg Road. This will entail removal of a decommissioned pumping station. We are also planning improvements to Apples Church Road from East Main Street to the railroad tracks. This work will involve milling the surface, repairing curb and gutters, and repaving. We will be sure to notify our residents before any of these projects get underway and keep you updated on their progress.

Residents are encouraged to sign up for a new electronic newsletter, being developed by our Economic Development staff. This newsletter will replace the announcements we send out with the electric billing. The electronic version will allow for more information and updates about local events. There are residents of Thurmont not served by our Electric Company, and this change will ensure that they can receive all our updates and news. If you do not have an email account, there will be printed copies available at the Town Office, Main Street Center, and other locations. Please email your request to receive the Electronic Newsletter to kschildt@thurmontstaff.com.

The Thurmont Planning and Zoning Commission is continuing their updates to the Thurmont Master Plan and Comprehensive Rezoning. I encourage you to watch the P&Z meetings and participate in the public comments and discussion. These meetings are being Zoomed, and log-in information is included with the monthly agenda. The agenda can be viewed online via the Video Streaming page on thurmont.com. This page also contains links to all current and past P&Z and Board of Commissioners meetings.

The Town website also features a new COVID-19 information page, with regularly updated information from Frederick County Health Department and Frederick County Government. Frederick County is receiving COVID-19 vaccines, and they are being made available at several locations in the County. You can get vaccine clinic information at health.frederickcountymd.gov. As vaccines are becoming more available, please do not stop wearing your face masks and observing social distancing.