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Emmitsburg

by James Rada, Jr.

Public Hearing On Parks Requirement in Subdivisions This Month

The Emmitsburg Town Commissioners will hold a public hearing during their January 4 meeting regarding changes to the town’s parks, recreation, and open-space requirement. The goal of the amendment is to make sure all residents have equal access to parks near where they live. Town Planner Zach Gulden said the rule of thumb from the county and state is that residents should be within half a mile from a park, so it is easy to walk to. All areas of town except for Pembrook, portions of Brookfield, and the section of town northeast of the U.S. 15/MD 140 intersection meet this goal. The amendment also seeks to balance when parks should be private versus public. The goal is not to place a burden to maintain a private park on a homeowner’s association when the park gets heavy usage from areas outside of the development.

Commissioners Approve CDBG Application

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners approved a Community Development Block Grant application for $697,953.50 to replace 117 curb ramps at various locations throughout the Town of Emmitsburg for ADA compliance. Many of the older curb ramps are cracking and not ADA compliant, which raises liability issues to the town. The goal is to have the new ramps installed by April 2022.

New Salary Chart Approved

The Emmitsburg Commissioners approved a new salary chart for the town based on an employee compensation analysis done earlier in 2020. The new chart moves from pay grades with step increases to pay grades with salary ranges. Employees will also now be assessed on a scale with a maximum score of 45. Employees receiving a score of 27 and above will receive a step increase annually if the funds are available.

Town to Review Water Restrictions

Emmitsburg Town Manager Cathy Willets told the town commissioners that they would review the current phase 2 waters restriction after the holidays to see if adjustments needed to be made. She said during the December town meeting that Rainbow Lake was 2.8 feet below the spillway.

Regional Park Coming to Northern Frederick County

Mount St. Mary’s University sold more than 100 acres along Motters Station Road to Frederick County to be developed into a regional park. The park will have ball fields, night lighting, walking trails, tennis courts, and more. The goal is to eventually tie the park into the Mount’s sidewalk system, which would increase park usage.

Committee Appointments

The Emmitsburg Town Commissioners appointed Stephen Starliper as an alternate member of the Board of Appeals from December 7, 2020, to December 7, 2023. They also reappointed Conrad Weaver, Tricia Sheppard, and Will Sheppard to the Citizens Advisory Committee from July 15, 2019, to July 15, 2021. Jennifer Joy and Mark Walker were reappointed to the Citizens Advisory Committee to serve from November 7, 2020, to November 7, 2022.

Thurmont

Town Wins Municipal Impact Award

During a recent Thurmont town meeting, Jodie Bollinger with the Frederick County Office of Economic Development, presented the town with a Frederick County Municipal Impact Award for Business Retention and Expansion. It is one of four Municipal Impact Awards the county presented this year. She said it was given for the town’s efforts to do everything it possibly can to support business in Thurmont. Mayor John Kinnaird said, “Main Street has been a real godsend to the Town of Thurmont, with grants we get, the opportunities, and the doors that have been opened with our Main Street designation.”

He also thanked Main Street Manager Vickie Grinder for her tenacity, spirit, hard work, and dedication for the town.

“It’s been a wonderful ride and a wonderful journey,” Grinder said.

Town Seeks to Create System for Determining Road Improvements

The Town of Thurmont conducted an initial survey to apply criteria and a scoring system to some of the roads in town to determine which ones are most in need of repair. While a step in the right direction, the new system does not take into account traffic on the roads. It strictly looks at the condition of the roads. So, while Mountain Road is the most in need of repair, it doesn’t have as much traffic as other roads that don’t need as much repair. One road that will definitely be repaved is Apples Church Road, from Main Street to the railroad crossing. This will cost about $70,000. Some roads can be patched to delay repaving until more funds are available.

The commissioners allocated $250,000, which includes Highway User Funds from the state, to be used to start making needed repairs on roads.

Town Considers Naming Bridges for Veterans

At the request of the American Legion, the Town of Thurmont is considering naming two of the town’s bridges for Thurmont Marines killed in action in Vietnam. Sgt. Woodrow Carbaugh was killed in Vietnam in 1968, and PFC Charles Pittinger was killed in 1969. Both of them were Thurmont High School graduates. The two bridges being considered are the Frederick Road bridge near Community Park and the Moser Road bridge near the library. The commissioners plan to discuss this further, but first they asked that the American Legion develop a set of criteria for how it determines which Veterans to consider naming bridges or stretches of road for and which Veterans should be considered for roads and bridges in the town.

Town Receives a Clean Audit

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners recently received the results of the annual review done of its finances by an independent auditor.

Town Issues Arbor Day Proclamation

The Town of Thurmont issued a proclamation recognizing Arbor Day. Thurmont has been a Tree City USA for four years. A group of town volunteers recently planted 20 new trees in Eyler Road Park, which brings the total of new trees planted in town over the past few years close to 500, according to Mayor John Kinnaird. “That is unbelievable, and this was, of course, sparked by our fear of losing so many trees at Community Park due to the Emerald Ash Borer,” he said.

Playgrounds to be Improved

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners approved a $40,000 to have Playground Specialists install new playground equipment in the Woodland Park Playground. Program Open Space fund will pay $30,000 of the bid, and the town will pay $10,000.

Playground Specialists was also awarded a bid for $13,726 to upgrade the equipment at the Ice Plant Park Playground. Program Open Space will also pay for 75 percent of the bid.

Emmitsburg

Mayor Don Briggs

Town Christmas decorations are up, and the town’s main streets stand dually adorned. To the broad sweep of the engineered virus a faint tribute, a mere tip of the hat, to all the traditional events we have forgone this past year. The pandemic, with certainty, jarred our routines. We have rubbed two sticks together to make another wonderful year here in Northern Frederick County. We have had to adjust to less, but less has come to be better in many respects. In part because of who we are and the way we live. To the overwhelming generosity of everyone living in our valley. Thank you. It has been the glue.

Somewhere amidst the strands of news coverage over the last weeks was the mention of a C.S. Lewis essay he wrote in 1948, regarding going on with life with the threat of the atomic bomb. Googling to find the essay, I saw where someone had the presence of mind, and connection to the breadth of Lewis’ writings, to suggest replacing “COVID-19 pandemic” in place of “atomic bomb.” Below is the Lewis essay. A year to remember, our stint in history.

“In one way we think a great deal too much of the atomic bomb. ‘How are we to live in an atomic age?’ I am tempted to reply: ‘Why, as you would have lived in the sixteenth century when the plague visited London almost every year, or as you would have lived in a Viking age when raiders from Scandinavia might land and cut your throat any night; or indeed, as you are already living in an age of cancer, an age of syphilis, an age of paralysis, an age of air raids, an age of railway accidents, an age of motor accidents.’

“In other words, do not let us begin by exaggerating the novelty of our situation. Believe me, dear sir or madam, you and all whom you love were already sentenced to death before the atomic bomb was invented: and quite a high percentage of us were going to die in unpleasant ways. We had, indeed, one very great advantage over our ancestors—anesthetics; but we have that still. It is perfectly ridiculous to go about whimpering and drawing long faces because the scientists have added one more chance of painful and premature death to a world which already bristled with such chances and in which death itself was not a chance at all, but a certainty.

“This is the first point to be made: and the first action to be taken is to pull ourselves together. If we are all going to be destroyed by an atomic bomb, let that bomb when it comes find us doing sensible and human things—praying, working, teaching, reading, listening to music, bathing the children, playing tennis, chatting to our friends over a pint and a game of darts—not huddled together like frightened sheep and thinking about bombs. They may break our bodies (a microbe can do that) but they need not dominate our minds.”

“On Living in an Atomic

    Age” (1948) in Present

   Concerns: Journalistic Essays.

Safe outdoor exercising is a strong ally of social distancing. Wear your face mask. Enjoy our parks and connected town.

From Libby and I: We hope you had a Merry Christmas, and we wish you a Happy New Year. 2020 is behind us; now, by the grace of God, we are armed with several vaccines. Let us go on with our lives, our stockings full.

Thurmont

 Mayor John Kinnaird

The year 2020 is now behind us, and I look forward to a much improved 2021. I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas. I wish you a very Happy New Year and a healthy and happy year ahead.

The COVID-19 vaccine is being distributed and should be broadly available to all of us in the coming months. With that in mind, I ask that all of us keep doing what we can to help stem the spread of this virus. Wash your hands regularly, wear a mask when out in public and when in contact with others, keep at least six feet away from others whenever possible, and try not to gather in large groups. COVID-19 will continue to be a high health concern until the majority of our residents have been vaccinated.

As I first noted, I am looking forward to the year 2021 being a better year than 2020. It is my hope that all our friends and family stay safe, and that we move forward into the new year with an open mind and with an optimistic spirit.

Please call me at 301-606-9458 or email me atjkinnaird@thurmont.com with any questions or concerns you may have.

Emmitsburg

Mayor Don Briggs

In the face of a larger second wave of COVID-19 cases, and with new restrictions, there was an individual “community” 5K walk-run Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving Day morning. It was not done in person. Thank you, Commissioners Burns and O’Donnell.

As of this writing, the 32nd Annual Christmas Tree Lighting and Evening of Christmas Spirit will occur as planned. The Christmas Tree Lighting will be held on Monday, December 7, at 6:00 p.m. in front of the Community Center. The tree lighting will be followed by hayrides, seasonal inspiring music and song, and free hot chocolate and hot dogs at the Carriage House Inn. Please check our town website and our Facebook page for further details and updates on both events. Masks required.

We are asking you to do your best to conserve water. The town is in Phase 2 of its water conservation mandate that includes not washing cars or boats, etc. We have been blessed with some rainfall but are still below our optimum water supply levels at Rainbow Lake and town wells as established in 2011.

November 11 at 11:00 a.m., Commissioner Davis and I joined the American Legion VFW Honor Guard at several local sites in town for the annual observance to celebrate the end of WWII, Veterans of all wars, and those who gave their lives for our country. It is always a very moving and special experience. 

Rutter’s Convenience Store is now working on its last hurdle: a Maryland State Highway approval of entrance onto Route 140. The reality is close that construction will start at the first of the year. 

Ryan Homes’ model is complete, with final landscaping underway. Ryan Homes marketing is extraordinary. Homes for Emmitsburg will be marketed in all their projects in the area, as well as on-site.   

The town office is still closed to the public. The county-owned community center building continues to be closed to the public except for the Head Start program, which has a separate entrance to the building. 

Please get out and enjoy our wonderful parks and connected sidewalk system. Safe outdoor exercise is a strong ally of social distancing and wearing a face mask.

Libby and I wish each of you and your families the very best for the holidays.

Thurmont

Mayor John Kinnaird

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! Karen and I spent the day at home, and we enjoyed a nice, quiet day together. I want to give a big shoutout to our streets, electric, and park crews for doing a fantastic job with our Christmas lighting and Christmas tree. If you haven’t had the opportunity to drive by or stop at Mechanicstown Square Park to admire the decorations, I invite you to do so. I also invite you to take a drive through the Community Park to see the decorations along the roadway. The Thurmont Lions Club has their Remembrance Tree set up at the corner of South Center Street and East Main Street. Be sure to stop and have a look at that tree as well. Seeing the decorations on the tree always brings back memories of those I knew. Christmas in Thurmont is a little different this year. We are not having the program downtown as we normally would. Santa will be available for virtual visits on Saturday, December 5; call 301-271-7313 to make a reservation. There will be prize drawings for kids, and the adults can once again participate in the map contest. Check the Thurmont Main Street Facebook page for all the details at Facebook.com/ThurmontFirst/. 

The extremely popular Frederick County Society of Model Engineers (FCSME) Christmas Train Display will be set up in unit C2 at the Thurmont Plaza Shopping Center on North Church Street. The train display is always a lot of fun for kids of all ages! The display will be open Wednesday evenings, from 5:00-9:00 p.m.; Saturdays, from 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m., during the month of December. The display is free of charge, but donations to the FCSME are welcome. Everyone must wear a mask while in the train display; if you are not wearing a mask, you will be asked to leave.

Sadly, COVID-19 infections are once again on the rise. The Governor’s Orders require the wearing of face masks in all public locations, and we are encouraged to maintain a distance of at least six feet from others whenever possible. Wearing a mask may be a small inconvenience, but it helps protect you, your family members, your friends, and everyone else.

Christmas is almost here, and we will be visiting family and friends. A thoughtful and easy Christmas gift for all your family and friends is to wear your face mask! If you need a face mask, please call me. I have plenty of handmade face masks, made and donated by local residents. At this time, we should also think about our less fortunate neighbors and friends. A donation to the Thurmont Food Bank can help bring a more cheerful Christmas to many needy families.

One of my favorite things to do on Christmas Day is to watch A Christmas Carol; I especially like the 1938 version with Reginald Owen as Ebenezer Scrooge. Each of us knows an Ebenezer Scrooge, and we may have acted like him at some time. After all, we are only human and can sometimes let our thoughts make us blind to the needs of others or ourselves. I think the closing lines of A Christmas Carol are the best part of Charles Dickens wonderful story, “He had no further intercourse with Spirits, but lived upon the Total Abstinence Principle, ever afterwards; and it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us! And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God bless Us, Every One!”

I can be reached at 303-606-9458 or by email at jkinnaird@thurmont.com with any questions or concerns.

Karen and I wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Emmitsburg November 2020

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

Tree Lighting Ceremony on Dec. 7

The Town of Emmitsburg will hold its annual Christmas tree-lighting ceremony on December 7 at 6:00 p.m. at the Community Center. Come enjoy music and carolers as Emmitsburg kicks off the Christmas season.

Addressing Traffic at the Square

The Maryland State Highway Administration made a presentation to the Emmitsburg Commissioners about possible ways to alleviate the traffic at the town square. The first solution looked at was alternating traffic on Main Street like it alternates at the light with Seton Avenue traffic. However, traffic on this road is much lighter than it is on Main Street. Trying to alternate Main Street traffic through the light would actually increase congestion at the square.

Sam DeLaurence with SHA said traffic “would look more like ski season.”

The state’s suggestion was to create turning lanes on Main Street. They would not hold up traffic and would actually improve safety at the intersection. The changes would not require construction, only some restriping of the road. The drawback is that seven existing parking spaces near the square would be lost, where the driving lanes would be increased.

DeLaurence said that as traffic increases with Emmitsburg’s growth, “At some point, we’re going to need to do something like this.”

The commissioners are now considering whether they will go forward with the recommendation or not.

Concern About Disk Golf

The new Emmitsburg disk golf course in Community Park has only been open a short time, but potential problems with the placement of some of the disk cages has been raised. At a recent town meeting, the commissioners discussed whether the flight path of the disks could potentially hit walkers on the paved path around the park. The town is going to take another look at the course. If changes need to be made, the town can make them quickly.

Water System Study

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners took steps toward building a new water plant in town and improving the town’s water capacity during its November meeting. The commissioners unanimously approved a bid of $25,000 from McCrone Engineering in Annapolis to conduct the preliminary engineering report and environmental report on the town’s water system. Although McCrone was not the cheapest bid, their bid included items that the cheapest bid did not, and the company has experience working with the town, Maryland Department of the Environment, and United States Department of Agriculture.

New Pump Station Financing

Although the United States Department of Agriculture is financing the Town of Emmitsburg’s new $2 million pumping station on Creamery Road, it won’t pay for the project until it is further along in the process. The town commissioners approved using CoBank to provide bridge funding for the project until the USDA begins paying for the project.

The commissioners also approved annexing two parcels on Creamery Road, making up 85.39 acres, for the wastewater treatment plant.

Salary Compensation

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners decided to start adjusting the pay scale for town employees based on the recent salary compensation analysis conducted in town. Since some of the adjustments are large, they will be made incrementally: 50 percent of the adjustment will be made on January 1, 2021, and 50 percent will be made on July 1, 2021. Town staff will also be looking for ways to fund the adjustment through unfilled positions and unused money in the budget.

Thurmont November 2020

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

Toys for Tots Dropoff at Thurmont Town Office

Thurmont Scout Troop 270 is collecting Toys for Tots for Christmas 2020. The dropbox is located in the lobby of the Thurmont Town Office. Toys can be dropped off Mondays through Fridays, 8:00 a.m.-4 p.m., until December 7. 

Town Hiring Lobbyist to Get Solar Credit Help

The Town of Thurmont is teaming with other Maryland towns that have their own power companies to hire a lobbyist to push the town’s hopes of getting the same caps on their solar renewable energy credit costs as cooperatives in the state. Thurmont will share in the lobbyist costs up to $20,000 with Easton, Berlin, Williamsport, and Hagerstown. As the state’s requirements that more of its power come from renewable energy sources, the costs have skyrocketed, which could wind up costing Thurmont $250,000 to $320,000 more a year if something isn’t done.

Thurmont Police Department Teams Up with 7-Eleven for Operation Chill

The Thurmont Police Department is partnering with 7-Eleven and Slurpee for Operation Chill. The Operation Chill Program allows local law enforcement officers to reward children with free Slurpee coupons for observing safety rules, participating in positive activities, or performing good deeds or acts of kindness.

Town Amends Purchasing Ordinance

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners adjusted its purchasing ordinance so that it reflects the procedures that town staff have found work well. The major change is that the town is no longer required to advertise in newspapers for vehicle and mobile equipment purchases. The ordinance change needed to be made to comply with an exception found in last year’s town audit.

Emmitsburg

Mayor Don Briggs

Now, alas, the election is behind us. Humbly, I say thank you. Reelected Commissioner Joe Ritz, III and I look forward to serving you, our business community, and our visitors for the next three years. As we cope with COVID-19 limiting lifestyles, let us continue to be patient, accepting, and thankful. As always, what makes Emmitsburg so special is that Emmitsburg is a small town. An intimate feel. Let us conduct and direct our activities so as not to lose that feel. 

There will be a Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving Day morning. The Emmitsburg Business and Professional Association (EBPA) is again organizing the event. Big time, fun event. Soothe your conscience by getting out for some fresh air, a run, or a walk before the unabashed enjoyment of a Thanksgiving feast with your family. Please check our town website or our Facebook page for more information.

At the October 5th regularly scheduled town meeting, following several months under voluntary water conservation restraints, the council concurred with the staff and my recommendation to elevate water use restrictions to Phase 2 of Town Code 13.04.160. Phase 2 includes mandatory conservation restraints by all users of town water. From the town code, “Mandatory restriction of any or all of the following uses: (a.) Filling or replenishing of swimming pools; (b.) Outside consumption of water, including, but not limited to, washing of motor vehicles, houses, sidewalks, or any public ways, or watering lawns, gardens, or shrubs; (c.) The providing of drinking water by operators of restaurants and taverns, unless requested by patrons.” For large-volume users, there are additional restrictions. Abusive water use will be tested first by warnings, then by fines. We are getting some assistance from the seasonal change in weather and some steady Hurricane Delta-related rain that can be absorbed by dry-packed lawns. Assuredly, water demand to refill swimming pools is down. This mandate will be reassessed at the November regularly scheduled town meeting.

The town office is still closed to the public. The county-owned community center building continues to be closed to the public, except for the Head Start program, which has a separate entrance to the building. You miss the contact, and we miss the contact. 

Thanks to the American Legion, AMVETS, and Lions Club for pulling things together during these COVID-19 tested times to sponsor/host our traditional Halloween Parade. The parade route started out where it always has at DePaul Street and Federal Avenue; but this year, due to COVID-19-related reasons, ended in Community Park.

The Seton Center is hosting an Outside Halloween Festival the morning of October 31. There will be food trucks, a plant nursery, some craft tables, and more.

The much-anticipated Dunkin’ (Donuts) opening is now history. Amen. The ribbon-cutting was held at 8:00 a.m. on Sunday, October 18.  

Now, on to the status of the Rutter’s convenience store and gas-and-go. No change from the last month’s update. All county approvals have been met. Now they are waiting on state highway approval of the entrance onto Route 140 and the Maryland Department of the Environment sign-off on their stormwater pond plan.

Ryan Homes is moving along with the construction of its model in Brookfield. With the build-out of the remaining lots will come two-way traffic at Brookfield Drive onto and off of Irishtown Road.   

Please take care, get out for a walk, take in the changing colors of the leaves during this beautiful fall season. On the evening of October 14, Lib and I were out on a walk with our yellow lab, Finn. This time around Memorial Park, sharing the beautiful weather, lots of people were out walking, some with dog companions, but strikingly, there were large numbers of young baseball players and a wonderful cadre of coaches. These were very young entry-level baseball players, all who looked like they were totally enjoying themselves. Thank you to the coaches and the parents for getting the players there to use the town fields. Libby and I wish each of you the very best for the fast-approaching Thanksgiving holiday. Let us treasure the time with our families.

Thurmont 

Mayor John Kinnaird

COVID-19 continues to be an issue in all our communities. I encourage everyone to wear a face mask while around others and practice social distancing whenever possible. With the holidays coming up, please be sure to take extra precautions when gathering with friends or family. Remember that face masks not only protect you, they also protect your family and friends.

Although we will not be holding Halloween in the Park, trick-or-treating will be held as usual on Halloween from 6:00-7:30 p.m. We encourage everyone to wear face masks and observe social distancing. It is a good idea to place treats in individual bags to hand out to the ghouls and goblins. This will serve to limit the number of little hands pulling candy out of a single bowl or bag. I ask everyone to please drive with extra care on Halloween as our children are out and about. The children may not always be aware of their surroundings and may not look both ways when crossing our streets. 

The Frederick County Health Department continues to offer free COVID-19 testing every other Friday evening, from 5:00-7:00 p.m., at the Town Office parking lot. You do not need a doctor’s note to get a test, nor do you need to be exhibiting any symptoms. The Thurmont Town Offices are located at 615 East Main Street. Testing will be available on November 13 and 27.

Keep an eye out for the Annual Christmas tree lighting on Saturday, November 28. We will be lighting the tree and singing a few Christmas songs. Christmas in Thurmont will be held on Saturday, December 5, this year. There will be several changes to Christmas in Thurmont due to COVID-19 restrictions. We will be posting more information on the Town of Thurmont Facebook page as it becomes available.

I am happy to see that our local businesses are doing well and ask that you consider shopping locally whenever you can. When you shop locally, you are supporting not only our local businesses, but also our community. Our businesses hire local residents and support our community in many ways.

Get ready to get some delicious food and deals during Thurmont’s To-Go BOGO week from Thurmont’s Locally Owned Restaurants! November 6-14: Eat, Eat, Repeat! Participating restaurants are Bollinger’s Restaurant, Celebrations Catering, Fratelli’s NY Pizza, Rocky’s NY Pizza & Italian Restaurant, Roy Rogers, Thurmont Bar & Grill, and Thurmont Kountry Kitchen. Look for To-Go BOGO specials posted on the Thurmont Main Street Facebook page. Restaurant Week in April had to be canceled. The To-Go BOGO is in honor of our Traditional Restaurant Week.

As always, if you have any questions or comments, I can be reached by email at jkinnaird@thurmont.com or by telephone at 301-606-9458.

Thurmont

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

Thurmont is a Tree City USA Town for the Fourth Year

Thurmont has been recognized as a Tree City USA town for the fourth year in a row. The Tree City USA designation is part of an Arbor Day Foundation program. Mayor John Kinnaird credited Thurmont’s success in receiving the designation to Chief Administrative Officer Jim Humerick’s and Becky Wilson’s, with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources Forestry Division, efforts to plant trees in Thurmont parks and other locations in the town. Humerick said nearly 500 trees have been planted in Thurmont since 2014.

“It is nice to know 437 other trees have been planted for our kids and grandkids to enjoy as they grow up,” Kinnaird said. “I know we won’t be around to see most of them mature, but it’s nice to know that they will be there.”

Thurmont Lions Honoring Veterans

Veterans Day is this month, and the Thurmont Lions Club will be honoring Veterans with their pictures, names, rank, branch of service, date of service, and war era on banners hung from light posts throughout Thurmont.

Property Maintenance Changes Added to Code

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners voted to approve changes to the town code, giving the town the authority to remove dead or diseased trees from private or public property within the town if the tree constitutes a hazard to people, property, or other trees. If the property owner does not remove such a tree after being notified, the town can do so and place a lien on the property for the cost of removal.

Speed Camera Numbers In

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners reviewed the results of the speed cameras placed near school zones over the previous year. Sgt. Armstrong told them that the numbers were probably lower than they would typically have been because of the reduction of traffic on the road due to COVID-19 shutdowns.

During the year the cameras were in place, 393 citations were issued, and 317 of them paid. Each citation is $40 and no points, with $12 going to OptiTraffic, the manufacturer and operator of the cameras.

The average speed drivers were going in the 25 mph school zones was 44 mph, with one driver apparently driving down East Main Street at 80 mph on a Sunday morning. Others were photographed doing 70+ miles per hour.

Although not put in place to generate revenue, the town makes $28 from each paid citation. This means the town has received $8,876 from the 317 paid citations.

Emmitsburg

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

Town to Offer More Business Grants

After the distribution of micro-grants to town businesses that lost at least half of their income due to pandemic-related problems, the Town of Emmitsburg had $17,000 remaining in its grant fund. The town had considered donating the money to the Emmitsburg Business and Professional Association for business-related uses. However, during the October town meeting, the commissioners decided to open a second round of grants. This round of grants will be open to businesses that have suffered at least a 25 percent loss of business due to COVID-19.

New Ordinances Passed

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners held a public hearing and adopted new zoning and subdivision amendments. However, one portion of the subdivision amendment was removed for later discussion. This section concerns who will provide and fund playgrounds and recreation areas in the subdivision.

Phase 2 Water Restrictions in Effect

Phase 2 water restrictions remain in effect in Emmitsburg. This restriction prohibits the filling or replenishing of swimming pools, outside consumption of water (washing cars, houses, sidewalks, and watering lawns and gardens), and providing drinking water at restaurants unless requested by the customer.

Violations carry fines of up to $75.

The action was taken because the water levels continue to drop in town wells and Rainbow Lake with no significant rain in sight.

“If we don’t try to do something now, and it continues to drop, you can’t get that water back,” Town Manager Cathy Willetts told the commissioners.

She said the town needs a long, soaking rain to get things back to normal.

The Frederick County Health Department is offering free COVID-19 testing in both Thurmont and Emmitsburg. These tests are free and do not require a doctor’s order or that you exhibit any symptoms.

The next Thurmont clinics will be held on Friday, November 13 and 27, at the Thurmont Town Offices, 615 East Main Street, from 5:00-7:00 p.m.

The next clinic in Emmitsburg will be on Tuesday, November 3, at the Seton Center, 226 Lincoln Avenue, from 12:00-2:00 p.m.

Testing will be offered at these locations every other week until further notice. Be sure to check thurmont.com or emmitsburgmd.gov for changes to the COVID-19 Testing schedule.

Questions should be directed to the Frederick County Health Department at 301-600-1029.

Emmitsburg

Mayor Don Briggs

The new American flag mural on the southern face of the Jubilee store is a welcoming sight. It is a beautiful complement to the farm setting painting on the east face of the store. Thank you to Jubilee for sponsoring these works. Now we have three public artworks when we include the William Cochran glass etching in front of the Fire Museum on South Seton Avenue.

September has been a wonderful month hosting in-person guests for the weekly COVID-19 update podcasts: Sister Martha, Secretary of Commerce Kelly Schulz, Mount President Tim Trainor, and our deputy Ben Whitehouse.

At the September regularly scheduled meeting, the town council concurred on extending the town voluntary water conservation restraint by all users of town water. This perspective will be reassessed at the October town meeting. Always to note, because the town office is housed in the county-owned Community Center building, which continues to be closed to the public, the meeting will be virtual.

The community pool closed on Labor Day.  Thanks to our town, we successfully got through all the COVID-19 related issues to run the pool. Thank you for your patience. A new building interior and new mural exterior additions to our one-year old renovated pool awaits the 2021 season. 

The Dunkin’ Donuts opening has been pushed back to mid-October. Reasoning for the delay is sound: pandemic supply-chain-related delays.

As mentioned in last month’s article from the site engineers working on the Rutter’s convenience store and gas and go, all county approvals have been met and now they are waiting on state highway approval of entrance onto Rt. 140 and the Maryland Department of the Environment sign-off on their stormwater pond plan.

Now that Ryan Homes is back in Brookfield (as of September 17, the model home foundation on Wheatley Court foundation is poured and framing materials are on site), the prospects of opening Brookfield Drive to two-way traffic at the intersection with Irishtown Road is moving closer to becoming a reality. The Brookfield subdivision includes approved and platted lots on the west side of Irishtown Road. To build homes on those lots, the developer is committed to eliminating the crest in Irishtown Road east of where Brookfield Drive opens onto Irishtown Road. The crest currently impedes safe sight-distance viewing for an expected heavier volume of traffic converging at the intersection if two-way traffic were permitted (in and out) of Brookfield Drive; hence, we have the present condition, exiting-only traffic onto Irishtown Road.  

From practical experience and from what I am being told repeatedly, a Ryan Homes project in your town brings with it immense marketing attention to the town. Good to have Ryan back. This should be a big plus for our businesses, especially after what the businesses, as well as consumers, have been through in the last six months.

Several community events are planned for October, including a unity gathering in Community Park on Sunday, October 4; a daytime Halloween event at the Seton Center; and the Lions and Vets annual Halloween Parade. We can pull these events off safely if we adhere to the mandated request that we wear masks and social distance. I mention this because September has seen an uptick in positive COVID-19 cases in our zip code. We cannot let down our guard. This is a very serious disease. We need to wear our face masks, properly social distance, and wash our hands a lot going into the flu season months.

Take care and get out and enjoy this wonderful weather.

Thurmont

 Mayor John Kinnaird

I find it hard to believe that fall is here already. Being someone who keeps track of the seasons by the events I attend, this year has been upended by the COVID-19 virus. Many of the events have been canceled for this year due to concerns about spreading the virus. It is important that we limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus whenever possible. The State of Maryland currently has restrictions in place that require the wearing of face masks and the observance of social distancing. We all must wear face masks and keep the 6-foot distance when possible while shopping or gathering in groups at social events. Please observe the current requirements; this protects you and the people with whom you come in contact.

As everyone is aware, Colorfest has been canceled this year due to vendors’ concerns related to COVID-19. One of the biggest features of Colorfest week is yard sales. Yard sales can be held this year, regardless of the cancellation. Residents are not required to obtain a permit this year for yard sales on Colorfest week. We only ask that you observe current COVID-19 restrictions and make sure cars do not block the streets. Several organizations and neighborhoods will be holding yard sale events that week. The Guardian Hose Company will have yard sale spaces available at the Carnival Grounds on Friday, October 9, from 8:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m., and Saturday, October 10, from 8:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. Vendor spaces are available by calling Lori at 240-575-5469. There will be ample parking, and food will be available from the GHC membership.

The Thurmont Parks and Recreation Commission is planning a family picnic day and movie night. This event will be held at the Thurmont Community Park, beginning at noon on Saturday, October 17. You are invited to join us at Community Park starting at noon to enjoy a picnic lunch. There will be local food vendors and ample picnic tables! Food will be served from noon until they run out. Get there early and enjoy a tasty lunch. You can also bring your own lunch or an early dinner and use one of the picnic tables or enjoy one of the many individual picnic areas at the back of the park. In the early evening, there will be a drive-in movie! The movie will be shown in the large parking lot with a section for lawn chairs and blankets and room for cars to enjoy the drive-in-movie. The movie night is free and complementary popcorn will be available. Drive-in-movie parking is limited, so get there early. Those viewing the movie from chairs and blankets can park in the designated areas. Face masks and social distancing are required.

Thurmont’s annual Halloween in the Park has also been canceled for this year. We are looking for volunteers to help with future Halloween events. If you are interested in volunteering, please keep an eye open for planning announcements this coming year.

Trick-or-treating will be held in Thurmont on Halloween from 6:00-7:30 p.m. Please observe current COVID requirements for masks and social distancing. I recommend putting candy and other treats in individual bags to hand out to the little ghouls and goblins. This will serve to limit contact from grabbing treats out of a single bowl or bag. As always, keep your porch light on if you are providing treats and be careful while driving on our streets; our kids may not be paying close attention to traffic while going house to house.

Elections are coming up soon! Here are some dates to keep in mind ahead of the November 3 general election: Tuesday, October13—deadline to register to vote; Tuesday, October 20—deadline to request mailing, faxing, or emailing a mail-in ballot; Monday, October 26 through Monday, November 2—early voting will be available from 7:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. at Catoctin High School for Thurmont, Emmitsburg, and Northern Frederick County residents;  Tuesday, November 3—General Election voting will be held at Catoctin High School for Thurmont, Emmitsburg, and Northern Frederick County residents, 7:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m.; a drop box for mail-in ballots will be at Catoctin High School during early voting and on Election Day.

I hope everyone has an enjoyable fall and that you enjoy some of the many local opportunities for events in our area. Remember to continue to support our local restaurants and businesses!

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

by James Rada, Jr.

Emmitsburg

Emmitsburg Seeks to Become a Main Street Affiliate

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners approved the application for Emmitsburg to become a Maryland Main Street Affiliate. This is not a Maryland Main Street Community, but it does bring some advantages to the town while not having the associated costs. Although the town is expected to show economic development improvements in town, it will not have to hire a full-time Main Street manager. A member of the town staff can oversee the town’s program efforts. The expectation of the affiliate program is that the community will eventually become a Maryland Main Street Community.

The advantages of being a Main Street Affiliate are that it opens up grant opportunities to help continue improving Emmitsburg and the town can get help running programs.

Emmitsburg Begins Annexation for Wastewater Treatment Plant Property

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners has introduced plans to annex two parcels of property (16707 and 16715 Creamery Road) totaling 85.39 acres. The town owns the property, on which there are no dwellings or residents. The property is currently zoned agricultural in Frederick County. If annexed, it will be zoned institutional in Emmitsburg. A public hearing will be held on November 2 for any public comment.

Commissions Issue Proclamations

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners issued three different proclamations during its September meeting.

Community Park was renamed the “E. Eugene Myers Community Park” in recognition of Myers’ “extraordination contributions” to the town. In addition to his service to the community, Myers was one of the founding members of Community Park.

September 26 was declared Arbor Day in Emmitsburg. Besides the proclamation, the town also recognized the day by planting 15 new trees in town.

Finally, September was proclaimed as Recovery Month in Emmitsburg.

Town Receives Compensation Study

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners heard a presentation of the staff compensation study during its September meeting. William Benner with WW Consulting, Inc. used data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and Economic Research Institute to estimate what the salaries of town staff should be. Benner averaged salary data from Gettysburg and Hagerstown with adjustments for the scope of the job, size of the town, and years on the job. The commissioners will hold a meeting on October 19 to review the information and decide on how to move forward with it.

Thurmont

Parades and Assemblies Changes Approved

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners approved changes to the town ordinance affecting parades and assemblies in town. The changes will allow the Thurmont Police to better plan for any police needs during the events. The changes require events to fill out an application and be approved. Also, multiple events at the same time won’t be allowed.

Commissioners Approve Bid for Orchard Hills Street Lights

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners approved a bid from Catoctin Lighting for 103 street lights in Orchard Hills. The bid of $45,681 will be paid for with a grant from the Maryland Energy Administration. The grant is for $48,925, and the difference will be used to cover any unforeseen circumstances that occur during the installation.

Commissioners Approve Use of Extra POS Funds

After the paving of the Thurmont Trolley Trail, Thurmont had $59,414 remaining in grant funding that can be used for other parks and recreation projects. The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners voted to use the funds to complete the 950-foot southern extension of the trolley trail ($27,000) and replace the Ice Plant Park playground equipment ($13,000). The remaining funds will be used to start an exercise trail around Eyler Road Park similar to the one in Community Park.

Ethics Commission Appointments Made

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners reappointed Carol Robertson, Theresa Bean, and Beth Cranberg to four-year terms on the town ethics commission. There is still one vacancy for an alternate position on the commission.

New Recycling Station Locations

The recycling dumpster and the oil recycling station are now open at a new location next to the Thurmont Regional Library, adjacent to the Town of Thurmont Electric Substation at 70 East Moser Road.  To access the recycling center, follow the roadway to the right of the library and then turn right into the gravel lot. This is the same general location where yard waste dropoff is located each month, so all recycling opportunities will now be in the same location. Signs will be in place to provide direction to drivers. 

Please remember to treat the site respectfully. Misuse of the site may cause the site to be closed and discontinued. Security cameras are in place to help monitor the site and identify anyone who misuses the recycling stations.

Emmitsburg

Mayor Don Briggs

Comparing last year and years before with this August is like comparing life in a parallel universe. Some of us are wrapping up vacations—although, most likely much different vacations than years past—and others are enjoying the last days at the community pool. With the exception of Mother Seton School students, most children are not returning to school. We are amidst a slow rollout of the governor’s “Stage II of the Maryland Strong: Roadmap to Recovery” plan to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. It is so different, but let’s accept and protect those most vulnerable. We will get through it.

At the August regularly scheduled meeting, the town council concurred on extending the town voluntary conservation restraint by all users of town water. This perspective will be reassessed at the September 8 town meeting. Because our offices are housed in the county-owned community building that is closed, the meeting will be virtual.

As scheduled, the last day the pool will be open is Labor Day, September 7. We are working with pool management on opening the pool for at least one more weekend after Labor Day.

Business growth and the resale of homes in town is strong. Dunkin’ (Donuts) is still planning to open in early September.

From the engineers working on the Rutter’s convenient store and gas, all county approvals have been met. Now they are waiting on state highway entrance approval, and the Maryland Department of the Environment signing off on the stormwater pond.

We have before us a proposal for a 50,000-square-foot owner-user warehouse.

We have met with a developer for an extended-stay hotel that could well complement the needs of the Mount for student housing. There is strong interest from several developers of tracts of land off Irishtown Road that would afford the installation of a second street out of Northgate.

A daycare center provider has purchased the former food bank building on East Main Street and is proceeding with readapting the building for childcare use.

The Silo Hill stormwater basin retrofit virtual public outreach was successful. The retrofit is part of work necessary for the state for stormwater permit restoration. We have applied for a $34,000 grant from the Chesapeake Bay Trust plan. Completion is scheduled for 2021.

The North Seton Avenue Green Street conceptual plan that will abate storm runoff to the Northgate entrance at Northgate was presented to town council and approved to move to next step. We are applying for a grant from Chesapeake Bay Trust.

As a part of care for our 900 acres of forest land, we have entered our second logging contract on what we reference as Stand 6 for $37,500. The logging will be done in 2021. Last year, we logged Stand 5 and received $46,000. Just recently we followed up cutting with spraying for invasive species. Our forest care and logging are all done under a Maryland State Forestry plan and constant communication.

After being dismissed at a town meeting in 2009 and vowing to never comeback, Ryan Homes is coming back to Emmitsburg. It took several humble invitations, coupled with other influences to bring the builder back. Their intention is to build-out the remaining lots in the Brookfield subdivision. Within their noted mastery, they will find the workable market price-point for the new homes that eluded the builder.

As I mentioned last month, I am running for re-election for mayor in September. I want to keep working with you to make Emmitsburg even better. We have had great success over the last nine years. We have revitalized the downtown, “the foyer to all our homes,” connected our community with sidewalks for the first time and embarked on so many cost-saving renewable energy initiatives. How did we do this while reducing taxes 14 percent? We did it with $531,000 in grant awards and partnering with the state. Costs are still going up, and revenue dollars are starting to wane, so we must look to newer technological opportunities and grants. We are ready.

These are challenging times, but we can meet any challenge if we work together as we have during my term as mayor.

As always, thank you.

Thurmont

 Mayor John Kinnaird

Thurmont households have until September 30 to respond to the U.S. Census. So far, 81.8 percent of Thurmont households have responded to the 2020 Census, while the statewide response rate is 68 percent. Let’s make it a 100 percent response from Thurmont residents! Census data is used to determine how your federal tax dollars are distributed in our communities for programs that touch every one of our residents, from our infants to our senior citizens. Every Thurmont resident not counted can mean an annual shortfall of $1,800 in federal investment in our community. Please remember that the Census is private and confidential. All households have until September 30 to respond online, via mail, at My2020Census.gov, or by phone at 1-844-330-2020 (English)/ 1-844-468-2020 (Spanish), or #MDBeCounted. 2020census.gov.

On Saturday, August 22, we gathered to dedicate the completed murals on the old H&F Trolley Substation building on East Main Street in Thurmont. Yemi has done a masterful job of capturing the history of Thurmont and the many highlights most of us take for granted that make our town a great place to live. This project was started several years ago by the Thurmont Lions Club as part of the Trolley Trail improvements. My thanks to Yemi for bringing his amazing vision and talent to this community arts project, and to all those who supported this wonderful endeavor. The recent additions were made possible by: Delaplaine Foundation, Dan Ryan Builders, Gateway Orthodontics, Thurmont Lions Club, Market Research & Resources, Ausherman Family Foundation, Main Street Maryland, Maryland State Arts Council, Imagination Center, Church of the Brethren, Frederick Arts Council, Frederick Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics, Rowland Glass Studio, Marlene B. Young & Mike Young, Catoctin Colorfest Inc, George Delaplaine, an anonymous donor, and The Town of Thurmont. I encourage everyone to visit the substation building to have a look at Yemi’s artwork.

The Town of Thurmont has hosted a used oil dropoff site and a recycling dropoff for many years at the Public Works facility on Frederick Road. We are in the process of moving both of these facilities to a new location. The oil dropoff is temporarily closed during the move. Those with used oil looking for a dropoff should contact one of our local auto parts stores; they do accept used oil. The new facility will be open on September 1; watch for more information in your electric bill. I want to remind everyone that you should not leave oil filters, oil bottles, or other items at the oil dropoff. Be sure to put used oil only in the oil container, and antifreeze only in the antifreeze container. Recycling should be placed in the recycling roll-off. All boxes should be flattened before placing in the roll-off. There is a sign at the new location, indicating what can be recycled at this location. The roll-off is emptied regularly, but please do not leave your recycling on the ground if you find it full. Please bring it back later, or put it out on the regular recycling pick-up day.

Contact me with questions, comments, or concerns at jkinnaird@thurmont.com or by phone at 301-606-9458.

Emmitsburg

Voluntary Water Restrictions Continue

Despite recent rains, Rainbow Lake and town wells are still not back to optimum levels. However, it has allowed the restrictions not to be tightened by the Emmitsburg mayor and commissioners. The current phase 1 water restrictions will continue.

Sanitary Changes for Election

Working with the Frederick County Board of Elections, the Town of Emmitsburg has enacted changes to this year’s election to comply with the coronavirus restrictions. Rather than three elections judges, this year, there will be four. One judge will serve as a greeter to control the flow of voters into the town municipal building on East Main Street. The judges will wipe down the voting booths after each voter, disinfect pens, and periodically wipe down the ballot box and sign-in table.

Other changes include that masks will be required for entry into the voting room and suggested use of hand sanitizer upon entry. Only two voters will be allowed in the room at once, tape markings will be placed on the floor and ground to ensure social distancing, and the judges will wear gloves and face masks.

Election Judges Appointed

The Emmitsburg commissioners appointed Lynn Orondorff as the chief election judge this year. Charlotte Mazaleski and Tammy May were appointed as judges. Tracey Lewis was appointed as the greeter, and Deborah Arnold will be the alternate judge/greeter.

Contract for Sheriff’s Deputies Approved

The Emmitsburg commissioners approved the contract with the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office for two community deputies. The contract is unchanged and will cost the town $272,614 for fiscal year 2021, which is $12,010 less than the current contract. The difference is due to a change in personnel.

Amendments Updated

The Emmitsburg commissioners voted to forward a subdivision amendment and a zoning amendment to the planning commission for review and comment. Town Planner Zach Gulden went through these amendments to clean them up, update them, and correct errors. The commissioners expect to hold a public hearing on the amendments and changes next month.

Green Street Project Moves Forward

The Emmitsburg commissioners approved a contract with Fox & Associates for the green street conceptual plan along North Seton Avenue. The contract is for $19,825. Most of this cost is covered by Chesapeake Bay Trust grant. The town will actually pay $2,287 for the study.

Hand Sanitizing Stations in Parks

Hand sanitizing stations have been placed in Emmitsburg town parks and along town trails to help ensure community safety. If you find a sanitizing station that is empty or has other problems, e-mail the town office with the issue at info@emmitsburgmd.gov.

Thurmont

Town Considering a Parking Deck

The mayor and commissioners are weighing the pros and cons of building a parking deck over the Thurmont Municipal Parking Lot. Chief Administrative Officer Jim Humerick got a quote from a concrete manufacturer, so the council would have some actual numbers to work with as they consider the idea.

To build a deck over the current parking lot would increase the number of parking spaces from 42 to 98 and cost $1,481,000. This covers only the cost of a pre-fab concrete construction. Additional costs would be incurred for electrical, plumbing, and an elevator.

Mayor John Kinnaird said the information was “a great starting point.”

Although Commissioner Marty Burns wasn’t thrilled with the price, he said it was less than he thought it would be. He also sees having additional parking in town as an economic development initiative.

“This is the only thing that’s going to make business want to come to downtown Thurmont,” he said.

The commissioners now want to hear from residents whether the project is worth it and whether a single deck is what they want. Other variations include using the ground level for residential or retail space and adding an additional level to the parking deck.

New Officer Sworn In

Thurmont Mayor John Kinnaird swore in Nathan McLeroy as a Thurmont Police Officer. McLeroy comes from a law enforcement family. His father, Steve, was a Baltimore County Police Officer. Steve McLeroy gave Nathan the handcuffs he used when he began work as a police officer and told his son, “You’ve got a powerful duty, so don’t misuse it.”

Mayor James F. Black Scholarship Awarded

Elizabeth Anders received the 2020 Mayor James F. Black Scholarship. She plans to pursue dual degrees at Hagerstown Community College and Frostburg University in nursing, with the ultimate goal of earning her master’s degree and becoming a midwife.

Former Mayor Black’s family established the scholarship for Thurmont employees and their dependents.

Oil and Antifreeze Recycling Station Closed

The oil and antifreeze recycling station at 10 Frederick Road in Thurmont is closed for improvement. Please don’t set containers of oil or antifreeze at the center until it has reopened. You can also visit  https://frederickcountymd.gov/1753/Motor-Oil-and-Antifreeze-Recycling for other drop-off locations during this time.

James Rada, Jr.

When Tracie Stull-Miller was a young girl, her father operated a barbershop from the basement of his home in Yellow Springs. So, it is safe to say that barbering is in her blood.

Although her father is deceased, his picture still looks out over Tracie’s House of Hair in Thurmont, as if giving his nod of approval. Tracie opened her business in July at 7 Water Street in Thurmont. She offers a variety of services, including haircuts, beard maintenance, perms, coloring, keratins, and waxing.

“I always wanted a shop of my own,” she said. “Now, I’m living my dream.”

With 31 years of haircutting experience, Tracie last worked at a barbershop in Emmitsburg. However, the opportunity to go out on her own arose, and things “fell into place.” She signed a lease for the Thurmont location, and her husband built her workstations.

Since she would be spending many hours in the shop, Tracie decorated it with items of interest to her. In particular, it’s hard to miss the music theme. Instruments, some signed, are mounted on the wall, as are album covers and pictures of bands.

She chose the name Tracie’s House of Hair because it was neutral sounding. She believes barbershops skew more towards male customers, and hair salons skew more towards females. House of Hair doesn’t have any gender resonance. Also, the name is a tribute to the radio show The House of Hair, hosted by Dee Snider, who was a member of the rock band Twisted Sister.

It wasn’t the best time to open a barbershop because coronavirus had all the barbershops shut down at the time. Once they were allowed to open, though, Tracie found herself with plenty of business since many of her regular customers from Emmitsburg followed her to Thurmont.

“If they like you, they will follow you,” she said.

Some customers even brought Tracie flowers to congratulate her on her new business. She displays them in her store windows.

“You need to be a people person in this job,” she said. “If you care about people, it makes a difference.”

It certainly has for Tracie, as she is staying busy with both regular and new clients. She does take walk-ins, but she recommends that you call for an appointment at 301-556-6119.

Tracie’s House of Hair is open Tuesday through Thursday, 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.; Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; and Saturday, 8:00 a.m. to noon.

by James Rada, Jr.

Emmitsburg

Voluntary Water Restrictions Enacted

Due to a lack of rain, the Town of Emmitsburg has enacted its phase 1 water restrictions. At this phase, everyone is asked to voluntarily restrict their water usage. In mid-July, Rainbow Lake was three to four inches below where it should have been, and town wells were down one foot. Should the drop in water levels continue, additional restrictions might be required.

Town Election Approaching

The Emmitsburg town election will be held on Tuesday, September 29. The positions of mayor and town commissioner are up for a vote. So far, incumbents Mayor Don Briggs and Commissioner Joseph Ritz, III, have filed for re-election, and former Mayor James Hoover has also filed for election. Any candidate interested in running must file by August 28.

To vote in the town election, you must be registered to vote with the Frederick County Board of Elections by August 28.

Community Park Renamed

The Emmitsburg Commissioners had previously voted to rename Community Park in honor of Gene Myers. Commissioner Frank Davis met with members of the Myers Family to see what name they would prefer to be used. The new name of the park will be the E. Eugene Myers Community Park. The tentative date for the ceremony celebrating the new name will be September 12.

New Policy Approved

The Emmitsburg Commissioners approved a small cell wireless facility ordinance and policy in July. Although the commissioners still had questions and may revisit the ordinance and policy within the next few months, they wanted to have something on the books in case a company approached the town with a request for such a facility.

The ordinance and policy were approved 4-1, with Commissioner Joseph Ritz III voting against.

Fees Increased

The Emmitsburg Commissioners updated their fees for rezoning, development, annexation, and infrastructure. It had been years since the fees had been updated. The new fees are essentially the average of fees charged by the other Frederick County municipalities.

“We are seeing a large uptick in development, and we are losing money in revenue,” Town Planner Zach Gulden told the commissioners.

The new fees were approved 4-1, with Commissioner Joseph Ritz III voting against.

Forestry Bid Awarded

The Emmitsburg Commissioners approved a $37,500 bid from Tipton’s Inc. of Union Bridge to timber stand six of the town’s land. Tipton’s did a good job with a previous timbering contract on town land, and the bid exceeds the estimated value of the timber. In addition, $4,500 of the amount will be set aside for trail repair.

Thurmont

Health Department Offers Virus Testing Locally

The Frederick County Health Department is providing on-site COVID-19 testing locally. Walk-up testing will be available at the Thurmont Municipal Offices parking lot at 615 East Main Street, every Friday from 5:00-7:00 p.m. Testing is free; no insurance or doctor’s note is needed, and you will receive your results in two to four days. Please remember to practice physical distancing and wear face coverings. Contact the Frederick County Health Department with any questions.

Thurmont Joins National Clean Energy Challenge

The Town of Thurmont is taking on the challenge to see how it stacks up to other cities across the nation when it comes to clean energy successes. Thirty communities in five states are taking the Sustainable States Community Energy Challenge, which offers tools and support to assess clean energy goals and initiatives. Participating cities will be a part of an in-state peer cohort and receive technical assistance to complete a pressing clean energy initiative. Additionally, the challenge will compare clean energy achievements across similarly-sized cities, assess future initiatives, and provide project implementation assistance.

The project is a partnership of the Sustainable States Network, American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), and five state-level sustainability programs, including Sustainable CT, Green Cities California, Sustainable Maryland, Minnesota GreenStep Cities, and Sustainable Jersey.

Det. Bowen is Thurmont’s Police Officer of the Year

The Thurmont Lions Club announced recently that Detective Gerald Bowen is the 2020 Thurmont Police Officer of the Year. Bowen joined the Thurmont Police in 2013, after 19 years with the Frederick Police Department. His name will be added to the plaque of former winners. He also received a gift certificate, and a donation was made in his name to the charity of his choice. The charity Bowen chose was St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.

Property Annexed into Thurmont

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners annexed 96 East Moser Road into the town. It is 10.02 acres that will primarily be used to expand the Thurmont Trolley Trail. The property was purchased using Program Open Space funds.

Town Makes Annual Donations

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners made their annual contributions to organizations that provide services to the town: The Guardian Hose Company received $30,000; the Thurmont Community Ambulance Company received $30,000; the Thurmont Food Bank received $6,000.

Emmitsburg

Mayor Don Briggs

Hello, neighbors. Summer in Emmitsburg 2020 is surely one we will look back on in the future. So many adjustments to even our most basic daily routines. Thank you to all for the cooperation and graciousness during this pandemic. Cautiously, in compliance with the governor’s plan, our parks have opened. The new dog park is being used, some are playing tennis, children are using our new all-accessible play equipment, and there is even some baseball being played. Users seem to be adhering to appropriate COVID-19 precautions, as given to the town from the county and state. To add to that array of recreational uses, the town opened the pool on July 3. The pool is a valued community recreational use, opened under strict state/county COVID-19 advisories compliance. Only 111 people can be admitted in the pool area at a time, a number tied to a ratio of square footage of pool surface area. A mask is required at the check-in registration point, in bathroom shower areas, and when talking with the manager or lifeguard. You will have to bear with us while we implement the more-restrictive health department guidelines.

Because of the lack of rain, the board of commissioners at the July 13 regularly scheduled monthly meeting joined me in enacting Phase 1 of Emmitsburg Town Code 13.04.160 (municipal water use). Phase 1 calls for voluntary conservation restraint by all users of town water. The water use situation will be reassessed at the August 3 regularly scheduled monthly town meeting.

By the distribution of this issue of the Banner, the new Flat Run Bridge will be dedicated in the name of Firefighter Terry Lee Myers. Mr. Myers died in the line of duty in a fire-suppression incident on February 15, 1999, after a wonderful life and career that included his distinguished service to the community and as a volunteer firefighter with Vigilant Hose Company.

The groundbreaking for Dunkin Donuts was spectacular. Re-adaptive use construction has begun, and the opening is planned for on or about September 1. The Dunkin store will have indoor and outdoor seating and a drive-thru window. This type of retail foodservice with a national brand name is generally referred to as “destination retail,” in that we will go out of our way to go there. As such, like a grocery store to a larger extent, Dunkin could bring additional retail services. At a minimum, it strengthens our commercial base and could act as a traffic generator for additional retail and possible office space.

We had another wonderful Community Heritage Day with evening events and fireworks. Thank you to the Lions Club and the management of Jennifer Joy and Cliff Sweeney.

Businesses, barbers, and restaurants are all open, and from feedback, they are adhering to state COVID-19 protocols. We are still waiting to hear about school and school-related activities for the fall.

The governor’s slow rollout “Stage II of the Maryland Strong: Roadmap to Recovery” is the proper cadence and wise thing to do. This is a very serious disease, and keeping an eye on how other states that have opened are doing is the right thing for us.

It gives me great pleasure to humbly announce that I am running again for Mayor of Emmitsburg this fall. I have been so honored to serve the community over the last nine years. A time where we worked together in unity to “Take back the Square” and made it attractive and welcoming again. But that is not all. We have increased walkability in town by connecting and adding new sidewalks, developed a dog park, walking paths, installed new all access playground equipment and refurbished the pool. We put in energy saving streetlights, state-of-the-art solar energy systems, initiated grant programs for downtown properties where now close to a million dollars in improvements have been made. We have a new wastewater treatment plant and so much more. All in all, we have realized over $30,000,000 in improvements in such a brief period. We must keep our focus on infrastructure. With urgency, we are including in our infrastructure plans the work not tended to in previous years. Please bear with us. In the ensuing weeks, I will lay out my ideas for the future and seek your input.

These are challenging times, but we can meet any challenge if we work together, as we have during my term as mayor.

As always, thank you.

Thurmont

 Mayor John Kinnaird

I hope everyone is doing the best they can this summer! As a result of COVID-19, a lot of local events and many vacation plans have been canceled. I ask each of us to observe social distancing and wear a mask when you are with others; this is a small inconvenience that can save lives. Please be sure to follow the guidance of Governor Hogan and his staff as we continue to fight this widespread virus.

As you know, all the local carnivals have been canceled, as has the Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show and Colorfest. Most of the canceled events serve as fundraisers for our local fire and ambulance departments, churches, Lions Clubs, Scouts, Little League teams, and other organizations. All these organizations are going to see drastic drops in their donations this year and possibly into the near future. If you can please support them with donations, and if they decide to run small projects, be sure to attend and support their efforts. All these organizations play a big part in our daily lives. They need our continued support, especially during these difficult times.

In the last three weeks, many restaurants have opened to indoor seating with limited capacity and social distancing requirements. The majority of our local restaurants are still offering carryout, and our community has been, and continues to be, very supportive of this change.  All our restaurants appreciate the continued support of our residents and look forward to returning to normal service in the future. The majority of stores now require visitors to wear a face mask while shopping. Please wear one if you can; however, there are those among us with medical issues that may prevent them from wearing a mask. I ask that you be understanding of our fellow residents, and if you feel uncomfortable in a store or restaurant, please move to someplace you feel more secure. It is also important to keep in mind that if a store employee asks you to wear a mask, they are only responding to store policy; it is not a personal slight against you. In the last few months, we have all become a little more nervous and can be easily aggravated. Try the old count to ten rule if you find yourself in a situation where you are getting upset.

The Frederick County Health Department is offering free COVID-19 testing in both Thurmont and Emmitsburg. These tests are free and do not require a doctor’s order or that you have any symptoms. The next Thurmont Clinic will be held on Friday, August 7, at the Thurmont Town Offices, 615 East Main Street, from 5:00-7:00 p.m. The next clinic in Emmitsburg will be on Tuesday, August 11, at the Seton Center, 226 Lincoln Avenue, from 12:00-2:00 p.m. Testing will be offered at these locations every other week until further notice. Be sure to check www.thurmont.com or emmitsburgmd.gov for changes to the COVID-19 testing schedule.

Finally, I want to once again congratulate the Catoctin High School (CHS) Class of 2020 graduates! This has been a very difficult year for all students, especially those that graduated this year. The class held their picnic at Mt. Tabor Park in July. This is the last time the students had a chance to get together to celebrate their graduation, and I know they had a great time, thanks to the hard work of the parents and volunteers.

As the CHS Class of 2020 heads out on a new adventure, whether it be furthering education, starting a career, establishing a family, or enlisting in the Armed Services, we want you to know that your community wishes you the best in whatever you choose to do!

As always, feel free to contact me by email at jkinnaird@thurmont.com or by cell phone at 301-606-9458. I hope that everyone has a wonderful summer and that you get to spend quality time with family, friends, and soon-to-be-new friends!

The Frederick County Health Department is offering free COVID-19 testing in both Thurmont and Emmitsburg. These tests are free and do not require a doctors order or that you have any symptoms.

The next Thurmont clinic will be held on Friday, August 7, at the Thurmont Town Offices, 615 East Main Street, from 5:00-7:00 p.m.

The next clinic in Emmitsburg will be on Tuesday, August 11, at the Seton Center, 226 Lincoln Avenue, from 12:00-2:00 p.m.

Testing will be offered at these locations every other week until further notice. Be sure to check thurmont.com or emmitsburgmd.gov for changes to the COVID-19 Testing schedule.

Questions should be directed to the Frederick County Health Department at 301-600-1029.

by James Rada, Jr.

Emmitsburg

Questions Remained about Pool Operation

With the COVID-19 restrictions limiting pools to no more than 50 percent capacity, the Emmitsburg Commissioners need to make decisions on how the pool will operate.

“We still want people to enjoy the pool and take full use of it if and when it opens,” Commissioner T.J. Burns said during the June meeting.

The contract with the pool management company needs to be reworked because the season continues to shrink, and the restrictions mean more cleaning supplies and staff will be needed. There is also the question of what to charge when it seems the pool will operate at a deficit this year.

The commissioners are considering two optioins: half-price days during the week for town residents, and a shift system that will have two different pool sessions each day.

Community Park to be Renamed

The Emmitsburg Commissioners voted in June to rename Community Park after Gene Myers. Just what the name will be, will be decided after consulting the Myers family.

Micro-grant Deadline Extended

The deadline to for Emmitsburg businesses with fewer than 15 employees to file for a micro-grant to support existing town businesses has been extended to July 9. The grant is funded with $30,000. The town staff will award a one-time grant with no repayment due to those who have been impacted by the COVID-19 restrictions placed on businesses and meet the criteria. Based upon the number of applications received, the $30,000 will be distributed evenly to all eligible businesses that meet the criteria, not to exceed $1,000. Nonprofits, churches, banks/ financial institutions, investment, real estate entities, chains/franchisees, and government agencies are not eligible to apply. You can find more information and the grant application at www.emmitsburgmd.gov.

Temporary Outdoor Seating Permits Available

Emmitsburg and Frederick County offer a temporary outdoor seating permit. This allows restaurants and other businesses to expand their seating areas outside of the building, including sidewalks, common areas, and parking for up to 12 months or until the State of Emergency is lifted. Please contact Town Planner Zach Gulden at zgulden@emmitsburgmd.gov for more information.

Thurmont

Community Show Canceled

Due to the COVID-19 restrictions, the 2020 Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show has been canceled. However, a beef, sheep, and swine sale at Eyler Stables will be held on September 12.

Lions Club Donates to Town Projects

The Thurmont Lions Club recently donated $7,200 to the Town of Thurmont for the upkeep of the Thurmont Trolley Trail, and $9,200 for continued work on the building mural at the East Main Street end of the trolley trail.

Commissioners Approve Food Bank Renovations

With the help of a $20,000 Community Legacy Grant, the Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners approved $24,371 in renovations to the Thurmont Food Bank building. Blue Line Home Improvement of Emmitsburg will replace the sidewalk with one that is ADA compliant, reframe the front doorways, upgrade the bathrooms, add a new exterior light, add a pair of new interior doors, and replace the flooring. The amount of the project exceeding the grant will be paid for from the town’s capital reserve fund.

Community Shred Event Planned for September

The Town of Thurmont and Woodsboro Bank will offer a community shred event on Saturday, September 26. It will take place at the Thurmont Police Department, located at 800 East Main Street, from 8:00 a.m. to noon. Office paper, paper clips, staples, rubber bands, folders, hanging folders, and labels will be accepted. Non-acceptable items include: newspapers, magazines, binders, heavy plastics, cardboard, heavy metal, heavy carbon, trash, x-rays, floppy disks, CDs, and batteries.

This event will benefit the Thurmont Food Bank, so you are asked to bring a non-perishable food item for each box of material to shred you bring.

Remember to Pick Up Your Dog’s Waste

You must pick up your dog’s waste when walking your pet to prevent it from becoming a health hazard. Otherwise, you can be fined up to $100 for a repeated offense.

The Town of Thurmont held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for Black’s Funeral Home in the Thurmont Plaza at 224 North Church Street in Thurmont on Wednesday, February 26, 2020.

Pictured from left: (front row) Marg Black; Libby, Atlas, and Colt Black; Mayor John Kinnaird; Phil Pearce; and Denver Black; (back row) Grant Johnson, Andrea Cahill, Jerry and Micheala Black, Thurmont Commissioners Wayne Hooper and Bill Buehrer.

Emmitsburg

Mayor Don Briggs

In mid-February, going into whatever this thing was and is, only the words of Charles Dickens from his mid-19th-century novel seem aptly to describe: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” So much going for us, the economy, a mild winter, gearing up for March Madness, going to work, church, children’s school events, everything going on at full pace. Everything in overdrive. Then everything stopped. The governor invoked a state of emergency, under which we were directed to shelter in place. Sitting out on the back porch, except for nature’s noises, especially the birds, this must be what it sounded like living here 200 years ago.

We are now working under Governor Hogan’s April 24, three-stage recovery plan, “Maryland Strong: Roadmap to Recovery.” No more “Stay at Home”; now “Safer at Home” advisory. If it seems confusing about reopening businesses, well, it is. But everyone is doing more than their best.

We knew this COVID-19 virus was serious, but we are only finding out now how serious. As of this writing, 2,045 persons in the state have died from the virus in two months, while there were 63 deaths in the state from the flu during the seven-month flu season. Johns Hopkins researchers have been saying the COVID-19 is at least 10 times more contagious. The battle is not over.

I’d like to write more, but everything is changing quickly, and I’m going from one meeting to another or listening.

Here are a few things I do know.

Mayors have a weekly telephone conference with the county executive. Very informative.

I have a weekly live interview that is recorded. Typically, the interview is at 1:00 p.m. on a Wednesday. Guests to date have been Dr. Trainor, president of the Mount; County Executive Jan Gardner; and Helen Propheter, executive director, Economic and Workforce Development, Frederick County Office of Economic Development. So kind of these people to come on for us with all that is going on.

The budget for next year is coming along. It is a smaller budget than last year. We held a budget presentation at the special meeting, and we will have further discussions at the June 1 town meeting. Parks are open. Wear masks and bring sanitizer if you or your children are using any play equipment.

The farmer’s market is still a possibility.

The pool, with new changing rooms, will hopefully open in mid-June.

There will be no Little League this summer. A lot of hard work led by Commissioner Davis went in to bringing baseball back to Emmitsburg.

Take care and be safe. We are coming through this together.

Thurmont

Mayor John Kinnaird

Things have changed drastically since my last column. We have spent two months in near lockdown conditions. Many businesses are just now reopening, and many of our family, friends, and neighbors have been laid off or have lost their jobs. The COVID-19 crisis continues to impact all of our lives, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. I encourage everyone to continue to wear face masks when you are out in public, to practice social distancing whenever possible, and to wash your hands regularly and thoroughly. Please keep in mind that these last couple of months have been exceptionally difficult on your neighbors, and nerves are getting frayed. Keep an eye on your elderly neighbors and offer assistance if they need it. Many are more dependent on the Food Bank than ever before. The Food Bank continues to help many local families and is there to help anyone in need. So, be patient and follow the recommendations from Governor Hogan and the CDC. Let’s do our part to limit the rate of infection from COVID-19; you may save the life of a loved one or neighbor.

Many local events such as carnivals, banquets, raffles, and other events have been canceled. Keep an eye out for these events to be rescheduled in the future. Especiallly hard-hit are all our fire companies, churches, non-profits, and private schools. If you can make a donation to help any of these organizations during this time, it will be greatly appreciated by the organization and your community.

Here in Thurmont, we canceled bulk trash pickup, yard waste drop-off, and the Community Shred Event. The next bulk trash pickup is set for July 11, 2020; contact the Town Office if you have any questions at 301-271-7313. We will be restarting yard waste drop-off soon, and we will announce it on our web page and on Facebook. The Community Shred Event will be rescheduled to a later date.

Our parks are open, as are our Trolley Trail and walking trails. You are invited to use our parks for recreation and as a place to enjoy the great out of doors.

Please contact me at jkinnaird@thurmont.com or by telephone at 301-606-9458 if you have any questions or concerns. Be sure to follow the Thurmont Facebook page and my personal Facebook page for news about local events, updates, or cancellations.

I hope everyone stays safe and healthy!

by James Rada, Jr.

Emmitsburg

$1.87 Million Budget Presented

The Emmitsburg Commissioners will consider approving a $1,870,067 general fund budget for Fiscal Year 2021 during their June meeting. This is 3.1 percent or about $60,000 less than the FY 2019 budget, which is the last one that the town has audited figures for. The audited budget was used because town staff has no idea what impact COVID-19 will have on revenues.

“There’s not a lot of frills,” Town Manager Cathy Willets told the commissioners. “There’s not a lot of extra spending in the budget due to decreasing revenues we expect.”

Town staff also consulted with the Maryland Municipal League and Frederick County Executive’s office to get an idea of how much revenue will be affected.

Highway User Funds and income taxes may be the hardest hit revenues. They are projected to decrease 12 percent. Grant funding and county equity revenues are also expected to drop.

Willets called the expected decrease in real estate taxes the “big unknown.” This could be because the layoffs from COVID-19 are expected to cause larger-than-normal numbers of delinquent payments and foreclosures on property.

The budget uses the FY 2019 figure as a basis for estimated real estate taxes, and the town’s property tax rate will remain unchanged at 36 cents per $100 of assessed value.

Mayor Don Briggs said the budget funded the basics and the essential services the town needs to provide. It also funds step increases and a 2 percent cost-of-living raise for town employees.

Town Parks Are Open

Town parks in Emmitsburg reopened on May 7, based on a new executive order from Gov. Larry Hogan. Please remember to continue social distancing and washing your hands.

Town Offices Remain Closed to the Public

Although the town of Emmitsburg is expecting to resume normal operating hours sometime early in June, the town offices currently remain closed to the public. Staff is available by phone at 301-600-6300 or by email, Monday through Thursday 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. The office is closed on Fridays. You can check http://bit.ly/eburgcovid19 for updates to the town’s response to COVID-19.

Water/Sewer/Trash Bill Due Date Pushed Back

The first quarter water/sewer/trash bills were mailed to Emmitsburg residents last month. They have a new due date of June 24. Although the mailing of the bills was delayed, the billing period still remains January through March. If you have a problem paying the bill because of the health crisis, contact the town office for payment options.

To get back on schedule, the second quarter water/sewer/trash bills will be mailed June 30 with an August 5 due date.

Community Pool Delayed Opening

Because of COVID-19, the opening of the Emmitsburg Community Pool for the season has been delayed. It was supposed to open Memorial Day Weekend. While this didn’t happen, a new opening date has not been scheduled. It is expected to open in mid-June. This is because the company managing the pool for the town will need that amount of time to get workers hired once Gov. Larry Hogan relaxes restrictions and pools can reopen.

Committee Appointments Made

The Emmitsburg Commissioners reappointed Ronald Lind to the Board of Appeals for a three-year term that ends February 17, 2023. They also reappointed Wayne Slaughter as an alternate member of the Board of Appeals for a term that ends April 15, 2023.

The commissioners unanimously appointed Tim Clarke to the Ethics Commission beginning May 4, 2020.

Community Pool Free on Heritage Day

Although the Emmitsburg Community Pool will open late this year because of COVID-19, Emmitsburg Heritage Day is still planned for June 27. The pool will be open by then, and the admission fee will be waived.

Brown Water Problem Fixed

It appears the problem with brown water at certain Emmitsburg homes has been fixed. Emmitsburg Town Manager Cathy Willets told the commissioners that since the town undertook its mitigation efforts earlier this year, the town office has received only one complaint of brown water. In that instance, the water cleared up after running for a short time.

Small Businesses Can Apply for a Micro-Grant from Emmitsburg

The Emmitsburg Commissioners approved the creation of a micro-grant to support existing businesses within Emmitsburg town limits and with fewer than 15 employees. The grant is funded with $30,000. The town staff will award a one-time grant with no repayment due to those who have been impacted by the COVID-19 restrictions placed on businesses and who meet the criteria. Based upon the number of applications received, the $30,000 will be distributed evenly to all eligible businesses that meet the criteria, not to exceed $1,000. Nonprofits, churches, banks/financial institutions, investment, real-estate entities, chains/franchisees, and government agencies are not eligible to apply. You can find more information and the grant application at www.emmitsburgmd.gov.

Thurmont

Thurmont 5th Safest City in Maryland

Thurmont has once again made Safewise’s list of the safest Maryland cities. Safewise looks at the most-recent FBI Crime Report statistics and population of cities with more than 3,000 residents. They look at violent crime and property crime that occurs per 1,000 residents.

Although Thurmont’s statistics have improved over last year, it fell from number 3 to number 5 on the list. According to Safewise, Thurmont’s violent crime rate is the same as 2019, although higher than 2018. The property crime rate is 5.8, which is nearly half of what it was in 2018.

The top 10 safest cities in Maryland are: (1) Taneytown, (2) Ocean Pines, (3) Hampstead, (4) Mount Airy, (5) Thurmont, (6) Centreville, (7) Glenarden, (8) District Heights, (9) Bowie, and (10) Brunswick.

Yard Waste Drop-Off Has Been Canceled Until Further Notice

Due to the current COVID-19 restrictions, the monthly yard waste drop-off has been canceled until further notice. Once restrictions have been lifted, the town will re-evaluate when the program can begin again. Updates will be posted on the town website.

Thurmont’s MS4 Requirements

The MS4 Program is a government-mandated program to effectively prohibit pollutants in stormwater discharges. If residents observe situations such as discolored water flowing from an outfall pipe or anything being dumped into a storm drain illegally, they should report this to the town immediately.

To view Thurmont’s MS4 permit or report any stormwater issues, go to www.Thurmont.com and click on “Town of Thurmont MS4 Information.” 

Small Businesses Can Apply for a Micro-Grant from Thurmont

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners approved the creation of a micro-grant to support existing businesses within Thurmont town limits and with fewer than 15 employees. The grant is funded with $30,000. The town staff will award a one-time grant with no repayment due to those who have been impacted by the COVID-19 restrictions placed on businesses and meet the criteria. Based upon the number of applications received, the $30,000 will be distributed evenly to all eligible businesses that meet the criteria, not to exceed $1,000. The town will mail applications to eligible businesses, but if you feel your business is eligible, contact the town office.

Parks and Recreation Commission Restarted

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners restarted the Thurmont Parks and Recreation Commission and appointed the members of the commission. The new members are: Horace “Jim” Robbins, Chris Banks, Ross Lillard, Amie McDaniels, and Carl Weber. All the members were unanimously approved.

$4.3 Million Budget Approved

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners approved a $4,297,999 general fund budget for Fiscal Year 2021. The budget accounts for expected revenue losses, but it acknowledges that the commissioners may have to revisit the budget later in the year. Mayor John Kinnaird recommended that should this happen, the town should limit capital fund expenditures.

“When we see reductions in income streams and revenue sources that we address it at that time because unfortunately, we don’t have a crystal ball,” Kinnaird said.

The budget does allow for an excess of $267,135 of revenues over expenditures. This excess could help offset some revenue shortfalls due to COVID-19.

The commissioners also voted to maintain the property tax rate at 29.92 cents per $100 of assessed value, which is slightly above the constant yield rate for Fiscal Year 2021.

Town staff also consulted with the Maryland Municipal League and Frederick County Executive’s office to get an idea of how much revenue will be affected.

Emmitsburg

Mayor Don Briggs

Happy Birthday, Emmitsburg! Established (platted) in 1885, we are now 235 years old. Speaking to age… infrastructure, infrastructure, infrastructure…there are all kinds. Water, sewer, sidewalks, ADA compliance, parks and recreation, schools, youth activities, and seniors, to name a few. Every municipality needs and wants to provide and maintain its infrastructure.

Within the $3 million town square and sidewalk revitalization, unbeknownst to some, was the inclusion of $124,000 of decades of deferred water infrastructure work. Two years ago, we completed the construction of a $19 million+ wastewater (sewer) treatment plant.

Last year, lines under East Main Street were relined, and we’re about to start relining behind the post office to Creamery Road. In addition, a leaking water line under MD 140 at Tract Road will be addressed.

To accomplish all of this work, we have applied for state aid to upgrade water lines at part of North Seton Avenue and DePaul Street.

We have a new dog park, a new all-inclusive playground, a virtually new pool (after years of neglect), 10 sidewalk connections, and a road connection from Brookfield-Pembrook to Irishtown Road, not to mention $4 million solar arrays and first-time renewable energy savings. All of these improvements have been achieved with significant grants sourced by our great staff.

We have a budget, and we have worked within our means to catch up on years of deferred work. We’re on it!

It was good to have the Honorable John Kinnaird, our neighboring Thurmont’s mayor, at the State of the Union address to add dignity that speaks of Northern Frederick County values to the State of the Union.

At our February town meeting, Roger Wilson, the first Frederick County Director of Government Affairs, was honored. Roger, also a Frederick City Alderman, is leaving his county position. He was powerful, and an accessible friend to Northern Frederick County interests. He will be missed. A wonderful, competent person named Joy Schaefer is taking his place.

Like many, I was saddened by the death of Kobe Bryant, the iconic basketball player who died tragically in a helicopter crash with his daughter, Gianna, and seven others. The challenges of such a gifted athlete were many. To those challenges of training and playing at the highest level of competition also came those of human frailty to fame and fortune. He wasn’t perfect. Nor am I, but he was a father and a family man. What was most heartfelt for me was, yes, a consummate basketball player had died, but more so, a father with his daughter had died. Like all of us, we will know not the hour. But he and his daughter, with the rest of the family, had the blessing of attending a 7:00 a.m. Sunday Mass at Our Lady Queen of Angels Catholic Church together in Newport Beach, California, just hours before the crash.

The funeral service was private. A public memorial service was held on February 24, significant as his daughter’s jersey number was 2 and his 24. He left us with his own personal challenge and now tribute, “I want to outwork my potential.” I like that.

Here we are again; the county school board wants to close Sabillasville Elementary School, the only five-star-rated elementary school in the county. Furtively, it seems, only one-week notice was given before the first public hearing. I attended and spoke before the Board of Education to oppose the closing of the county’s only infrastructure improvement in Sabillasville-Harbaugh Valley. The meeting was in the Frederick County Board of Education Headquarters, which is an almost new multi-million-dollar facility, located one block from the $100-million-dollar Carroll Creek Linear Park. Inside was a packed room of supporters for keeping the school open. In my opinion, this is an insane and predatory action. Never has there ever been a peep out of anyone from the valley for anything even in light of what could be readily seen in luxurious-like investment in schools in other parts of the county. The school is the facility hub, serving not only students but also as a place for community groups to meet and hold activities.

Fifty years ago, Emmitsburg lost its high school, a void still felt today by many. In my remarks to the board, I asked if the Emmitsburg Elementary School could be next.

So much more to write about, but I will leave you with, “Enjoy your Lent, and bring it on, spring!”

Thurmont

 Mayor John Kinnaird

The United States Census 2020 is less than one month away! U.S. households will receive 2020 Census Invitations between March 12 and March 20. During this time, invitations to participate in the 2020 Census will start arriving at houses. It is critical that all residents are counted. Billions of Federal Tax dollars are distributed based on Census information. Any shortage in our count can lead to less Federal spending in local programs. Funding for highway planning, public transportation, Head Start, teacher support grants, special education programs, housing assistance for the elderly, wildlife restoration, school lunches, Pell Grants Children’s Health Insurance, Medicare Part B, Department of Aging, hospitals, and many others depend on accurate Census counts. Each person not counted could cost our community $18,000 in Federal support over the next 10 years.

The invitations will remind respondents to include everyone living in the household, whether they are related or not. This includes young children. It is also essential that household members serving in the military are counted, and marriage relationships are very important to report. Your response will impact communities for the next decade.
“The Census Bureau is ready for the nation to respond next month,” said Census Bureau Director Dr. Steven Dillingham. “Millions of Americans are applying for 2020 Census jobs, more than 270,000 local and national organizations are engaged, and in less than 30 days, the majority of U.S. households will receive an invitation to respond to help ensure that every person in the U.S. is counted.” “The Census Bureau has successfully tested its data collection systems, has built backup systems to support resilient operations, and is ready to receive responses from all around the country,” added Dillingham.

This invitation will include instructions on how to respond to the 2020 Census online or by phone. By April 1, most households will have received an invitation, delivered either by mail or by a census taker. In areas of the country that are less likely to respond online, a paper questionnaire will be included in the initial mailing to households. Reminder mailings will be sent to households that do not respond; in the fourth mailing, every household that has not yet responded will receive a paper questionnaire.

The best way to fill out the Census will be online. If you do not have a computer at home, you can use the computers at our local libraries. The Senior Centers will also be set up to assist with the Census. Thurmont residents that do not have the ability to go to the library or Senior Center can call the town office at 301-271-7313 or call me at 301-606-9458 for assistance.

Mark Your Calendar with these Important 2020 Census Dates: March 12-20: Initial invitations to respond online and by phone will be delivered by the U.S. Postal Service. Areas that are less likely to respond online will receive a paper questionnaire along with the invitation to respond online or over the phone. March 16-24: Reminder letters will be delivered.
March 26-April 3: Reminder postcards will be delivered to households that have not responded. April 8-16: Reminder letters and paper questionnaires will be delivered to remaining households that have not responded. April 20-27: Final reminder postcards will be delivered to households that have not yet responded before census takers follow up in person. May 13-July 31: If a household does not respond to any of the invitations, a census taker will follow up in person.

Mayor Don Briggs of Emmitsburg and I will be doing our best to see that all of our residents are counted! We will have a contest to see which community can get the highest percentage of Census participants. It is my hope that we both get over 90 percent participation, and it would be fabulous if we both tied at 100 percent.

Let’s make sure we are all counted!

As always, you can email me at jkinnaird@thurmont.com or call me at 301-606-9458 with any comments or suggestions.

Emmitsburg

FEBRUARY 2020 Meeting

by James Rada, Jr.

Baseball will be Played in Town this Summer

The Thurmont Little League will play games in Emmitsburg on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays. Emmitsburg Commissioner Frank Davis has been working to ensure Emmitsburg baseball players will have opportunities to play locally. He said CYA has been trying to do more in Emmitsburg. “We’re starting to come together as one, which I always hoped we could,” Davis said during a town meeting.

Town May Annex Daughters of Charity Property

The Town of Emmitsburg may consider annexing the Daughters of Charity property to help the town comply with mandated MS4 regulations to aid Chesapeake Bay restoration. MS4 requires an area equal to 20 percent of the town’s impervious land to be used for runoff control measures by 2023.

Town Planner Zach Gulden told the commissioners during a town meeting that one way the town can meet the regulations is to increase tree plantings, but they need more open space to have the room to do this. A combination of annexation and conservation easements of the Daughters of Charity can accomplish most of the need.

Another action that will help meet the MS4 mandate is Silo Hill Stormwater Management Basin retrofit. This could cost as much as $250,000, but it will fix the failing basin while also making it attractive for residents and useful in meeting MS4.

The town is also considering annexing the town-owned land where the wastewater treatment plant is located.

Town Receives a Clean Audit

The Emmitsburg Mayor and Commissioners recently received the results of the annual review done of its finances by an independent auditor. The town received a clean and unmodified audit, which means the town presented its financial information statements fairly.

Waysides Get Approved

The Emmitsburg Commissioners approved changes to one of four new historical waysides that will become part of the town’s historical walking tour. The commissioners had delayed their approval because of a couple factual changes that needed to be made to the wayside about the Chronicle Press building. The cost of the waysides is paid for with an FY2020 Maryland Heritage Areas Authority grant of $12,032. The other waysides will explain the history of the Great Fire of 1863, Vigilant Hose Company, and Carriage House Inn building.

Defensive Driving Course Added to Employee Handbook

The Emmitsburg Commissioners approved the addition of policies offering a defensive driving course, preventative maintenance for vehicles, and hand-held cell phones to the employee handbook. Much of what was added was already being done, but the formalization of the policies should allow the town to receive credits on its insurance costs, which could save the town a few thousand dollars.

The defensive driving course policy requires all employees who operate town-owned vehicles to take a four-hour-long online course when they are hired and every four years. The cell phone policy follows Maryland law regarding the use of cell phones while driving.

Thurmont

FEBRUARY 2020 Meeting

Town Considers Options for New Press Box

Members of Thurmont’s CYA organization presented revised plans for a new press box at Eyler Field. The new 30-foot by 80-foot building would serve as a storage facility and press box. The field and building are used for CYA soccer, cheerleading, lacrosse, and football teams that serve hundreds of local children. Estimates of the proposed building will cost around $200,000, and CYA only has $10,000 set aside for building. The CYA organization is hoping to get help from the town, and the Thurmont Town Commissioners are considering how they might be able to help.

Special Activities Committee Donates to the Thurmont Food Bank

The Thurmont Special Events Committee presented Rev. Sally Joyner Giffin with a check for $2,585.04. This is the amount collected during the town’s Halloween in the Park event for the food bank.

Help Needed

The Town of Thurmont is forming a new Internet Commission. If you are interested in volunteering to serve on this commission, please contact Elliot Jones at 240-831-7749.

The town is also seeking volunteers to serve on the Special Events Committee, Board of Appeals, and Police Commission. If interested, please contact the town office.

Yard Waste Drop-Off Permit Needed

Anyone using the Moser Road yard waste drop-off site must have a Yard Waste Permit issued by the town. Permits were mailed out with the last town electric/water/sewer bill. If you do not have the permit when you go to the site, you will be asked to show your driver’s license to verify town residency.

New Sewer Lateral Inspection Policy Being Enacted

The Town of Thurmont is implementing a new sewer lateral inspection policy. The policy allows town staff or its contractors to inspect lateral sewer lines on private property. It also requires property owners to make required repairs within a set amount of time. The policy protects the integrity of the town sewage system, as well as helping the property owner avoid paying for sewage leakage.

by James Rada, Jr.

Emmitsburg

JANUARY 2020 Meeting

Pedestrian Bridge Over Flat Run Closed

The pedestrian bridge along MD 140 over Flat Run is now closed. The contractor will remove it soon. This means that pedestrian traffic on eastbound MD 140 will be closed until the spring. All pedestrian traffic has been moved to the sidewalk along westbound MD 140.

Town Seeking Small Business Tax Credit

The Town of Emmitsburg is seeking state authorization to implement a small business tax credit. The proposed credit lasts six years and is based on the increase in real property tax assessments due to a business’ expansion. To be eligible, the business would need to add at least 2,500 square feet of space and employ at least five full-time employees for two years after the expansion.

Ballfield Fees Approved

The commissioners approved a set of ballfield usage fees for 2020. For next year, there is no charge for ballfield usage. The mayor and commissioners can extend this fee schedule at the end of that time. If they choose not to, the new fees will be as follows.

For single-day use, non-profits will pay $10 an hour, which is fully refundable if the area is left in good condition. Residents will pay $10 an hour, which is 50 percent refundable if the area is left in good condition. Non-residents will pay $20 an hour.

Resident leagues will pay $50 per team, per field, per season. Non-resident leagues will pay $100 per team, per field, per season.

Youth tournaments will pay $50 per day, and adult tournaments will pay $75 per day.

Historic Wayside Approval Delayed

The Emmitsburg Commissioners postponed approval of the new set of historic waysides in town to make edits to one of them.

Emmitsburg received a FY2020 Maryland Heritage Areas Authority grant of $12,032 to create four new waysides that will be erected at historic spots in town. The waysides are about the Great Emmitsburg Fire, Vigilant Hose Company, Chronicle Press building, and the Carriage House Inn building.

At the January meeting, Commissioner Joseph Ritz, III, raised a factual issue with the Chronicle Press building wayside and also with what information was presented on the waysides.

Commissioners Give Approval

The Emmitsburg Commissioners approved amendments recommended by the Planning and Zoning Commission to the town forest conservation ordinance and other areas of the code affected by it.

Logging stand 6 also received approval from the commissioners. This 45-acre group of white oak, red oak, and tulip poplar trees are expected to earn the town $45,000 to $50,000 when harvested. The request for bids will go out in May, and harvesting should begin in July.

The commissioners also approved the creation of a sewer and water connection fee payment plan.

Finally, they approved a $1,000 fine against anyone who connects to a town fire hydrant for a non-emergency purpose.

Thurmont

JANUARY 2020 Meeting

Town Plans to Purchase Radio Lane Property

The Town of Thurmont will purchase an 11.87-acre property at 99 Radio Lane for $285,000. The property, which contains a house that the town will rent, was listed as $300,000 initially. The main reason for the purchase is that when the electric substation is decommissioned, a location for a new larger station will be needed. The property could also be used for a stormwater management facility to alleviate some of the flooding in the area. If the Thurmont Trolley Trail is extended to the north, it could come through this property without needing to negotiate a right of way.

Commissioner Liaison Appointments Made

Thurmont Mayor John Kinnaird recommended new commissioner liaison appointments for 2020, which the commissioners approved. They will be as follow:

•    Commissioner Wayne Hooper—Thurmont Senior Center, Planning and Zoning Commission back-up.

•    Commissioner Bill Buehrer—Police Commission, Parks and Recreation Committee

•    Commissioner Marty Burns—Planning and Zoning Commission

•    Commissioner Wes Hamrick—Thurmont Addictions Committee, Economic Development Commission

•    Mayor John Kinnaird—Board of Appeals

New Police Officer on the Job

Thurmont Police Chief Greg Eyler introduced Officer Nathan McLeroy to the Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners during a recent town meeting. McLeroy is the newest Thurmont Police Officer. He worked formerly with the Frederick County Highway Department. He is a native of Rocky Ridge, but he currently lives in Pennsylvania. He is currently in the Sykesville Police Academy, as he prepares to work in Thurmont.

“I like to do a lot of community policing,” McLeroy said. “I served three years in the army as a police officer, and police work seems to be my niche.”

Thurmont May Get State Solar-Energy Exemption

The Frederick County legislative delegation plans to introduce a bill to exempt Thurmont from Maryland’s solar energy mandate. The mandate requires the state to provide 14.5 percent of its energy from solar energy by 2030. The mandate is part of the Clean Energy Jobs Act. It capped the percentage from electrical cooperatives at 2.5 percent. This did not apply to municipalities like Thurmont, which operate their own power companies. Without the cap, costs could increase $250,000 for Thurmont residents. This is because Thurmont would have to purchase solar energy credits to reach 14.5 percent.

Emmitsburg

Mayor Don Briggs

Infrastructure comes in many stripes. Sewer lines, water lines, sidewalks, streets, power lines, the list goes on. The number one infrastructure priority of town staff and elected officials right now is the discolored water service experienced by some of our residents. Our attention to this concern has remained unaltered. To our efforts and our lab testing, we have invited the assistance of the county and state.

Other infrastructure needs include mitigating the effect of flash flooding occurrences at the North Seton Avenue, Federal Avenue, and Provincial Parkway intersection. Flooding has occurred at this point forever. I have seen an old photo of the intersection flooded long before Provincial Parkway was opened and the development of the Northgate subdivision (late 1980s-early 1990s). Town staff is working on a grant to fund a street conceptual plan to reduce the stormwater runoff discharged along the stretch of North Seton Avenue that slopes toward the intersection with Federal Avenue and Provincial Parkway.

Whoa! What a couple of days of 60-degree weather in January can do for you. It was a good break for those among us who are restless from TV football fatigue and possibly girth expansion. To wit, I took our youthful yellow lab, Finn, out on an expedition through Community Park. Perhaps sparked by an equal genesis, the park was busy with plenty of old and new friends for both Finn and me. A good “pack” seemed to be enjoying the new dog park: several families and tots at the new all-inclusive playground, both pick-up baseball and basketball games, joggers, and walkers—what an excellent resource for the community.

At the January board of commissioners meeting, we were honored to host the State Champion Catoctin High School Cougars football team and coaching staff. First, for hotdogs (as many as they could eat and some did), cold drinks, and other treats. Thank you to Mrs. Umbel for the use of the senior center. Then, introductions and presentation of a proclamation from the town was received by Head Coach Doug Williams. Thank you to Commissioner Frank Davis’ family for providing the food and service for the team.

After Christmas, I was honored to attend the Boy Scout Troop 727 awards dinner. Wonderful event. Congratulations to Matthias Buchheister, Thomas Lowe, and Joseph Legare on earning the prestigious Eagle Scout rank, the highest achievement or rank attainable in the Boy Scouts of America. We will honor the lads at an upcoming town meeting. Troop 727 has done many service projects for the town; there is a scout project planned for Community Park this spring.

With spring comes a whole host of youth sports, including baseball again in Emmitsburg. Bring ’em on.  Also, don’t forget, Lent and Easter are on the way.

Thurmont

 Mayor John Kinnaird

The Town of Thurmont has started our 2020 Master Plan Update. The current plan has been in effect for about eight years and needs to be reviewed. The Master Plan guides the Town’s growth, development, and conservation, and has been updated about every ten years since the 1970s. This update will take six to nine months to complete, and residents are encouraged to get involved in the process. The first public workshop took place on Thursday, January 16, with 50 or so residents attendance.

During this first workshop, there was an introduction to the Master Plan, followed by an exercise where the participants broke into smaller groups to discuss several questions. The questions were: 1.—What would Thurmont look like if you had the power to make it any way you wanted?; 2.—What would you preserve about the Town, and what would you change about it?; 3.—Imagine you are in a future generation of Town residents and tell us what would impress you most about the vision of today’s citizen planners?

After discussing the questions, everyone got back together to read each group’s answers. Not surprisingly, the answers were very similar. Most want to keep our small-town feel; to plan future development so that it benefits our residents; to provide more public amenities such as parks, trails, and community centers; and to improve roads and other infrastructure. The results from these discussions will be complied, presented at a future meeting, and incorporated in the update.

Future meetings and workshops will discuss land use, planning, zoning changes, the growth boundary, and other related topics. There will also be public meetings, where maps and other parts of the plan will be displayed for residents’ review and comment. As part of the update, there will also be a Comprehensive Zoning Review. This review allows residents and property owners to apply for a change in zoning for their property.

The requests will be reviewed by the Planning and Zoning Commission; applications for zoning changes must be received by March 15, 2020.

I encourage you to get involved in this process by attending the meetings and workshops or by watching the meeting on Cable 99 or via stream video from the Streaming Video page on www.thurmont.com. This can be a long and involved process, but is worth every minute spent on it. As an active participant, you will be able to take pride in being a part of the 2020 Thurmont Master Plan Update.

The 2020 United States Census will be underway in the month of March. Everyone needs to participate in the census! Among other things, the census will determine the distribution of Federal Funds. Any shortage in census figures for our area can hurt the Federal Programs and services on which many of our residents depend. The census can be taken online, or you can provide the information to Census workers that will be canvassing the community. Be on the lookout for more information as the date for the census approaches.

Please contact me at 302-606-9458 or by email at jkinnaird@thurmont.com with any questions, comments, or concerns.

Emmitsburg

Mayor Don Briggs

Here we are again at the end of another year, which always seems to bring reflection on the pluses and minuses for the year. In the plus column is the Catoctin Cougars bringing home the State Division 1A Football Championship, with a convincing 31-8 win over Dunbar High of Baltimore. The win is a valuable time capsule for the community’s strong bond with the school, meshed with the hard work and sacrifices of the kids, the families, the administration, the teachers, and the coaches, win or lose. We are so fortunate to have a school that provides a safe and competitive environment for a wide range of sports to offer students, to balance out with their educational curriculum demands.

As a minus, still on the heels of absorbing the Zurgables Hardware closing, comes the announcement that at the end of this year, the Shamrock Restaurant will close. After 57 years of lore and Celtic traditions comes the loss of another sliver of the Northern Frederick County personality. Places where you could step back in time to another generation’s template, the family-owned businesses, and they are disappearing. These are not just businesses, they are people. We are now all in a hurry, a pace that pushes us to chains and franchises as substitutes. I know this is not a new paradigm. We have a few of these special places left up our way. Use them; they are exceptional. To remember, “For everything has a season; and a time for every matter under heaven.” (Eccl 3:1).

With the Fiscal Year 2020 Community Legacy Grants Award to Emmitsburg comes the milestone that we will have reached $1,000,000 in grant funds and matching owner investment into downtown properties. We have only been in this program six years. Remember, our downtown is the foyer of each of our homes and businesses.

As we enter the winter months, please be careful on the roads.

On behalf of the town commissioners, the town staff, and my family is a wish to all for a Happy New Year.

Thurmont

 Mayor John Kinnaird

I hope everyone had a great Christmas and has a safe and happy New Year. Here we are in 2020; where does the time go? The Town of Thurmont had an excellent year in 2019, and I am looking forward to 2020!

A big part of our duties as mayor and commissioners is to plan ahead for our future; you can play a role in planning our future by participating in the upcoming Thurmont Master Plan Update.

This year, the Thurmont Planning Commission will be updating the Thurmont Master Plan. The first chance to get involved in the process will be at a public workshop on Thursday, January 16, 2020, from 7:00-8:30 p.m. at the Thurmont Municipal Office, located at 615 East Main Street.

Your participation in the process is important! Please join us on January 16 and help us better understand the needs of the Town of Thurmont and plan for its future. The Thurmont Master Plan guides the Town’s growth, development, and conservation, and has been updated almost every ten years since the 1970s. The Planning Commission is seeking your input.

1. What would Thurmont look like if you had the power to make it any way you wanted?

2. What would you preserve about the Town, and what would you change about it?

3. Imagine you are in a future generation of Town residents. Tell us what would impress you most about the vision of today’s citizen planners?

Beginning in the spring of 2020, as part of the plan update process, the Planning Commission will publicly study and consider petitions from property owners who seek to change the zoning classification of their property. If you are interested in seeking a new zoning classification for your property, as part of this comprehensive Master Plan and rezoning process, please contact the Town Office for an application. Applications for rezoning consideration will be accepted through March 15, 2020. Rezoning applications will not be accepted or discussed at the January 16 workshop. Please keep watch for additional information regarding the Thurmont Master Plan Update.

The towns of Emmitsburg and Thurmont are in the process of discussing the possibility of bringing limited, circulating bus service to our communities. We are working with Frederick County to iron out details for this proposal, and we will be discussing the plan during an upcoming Thurmont Town Meeting. If you are interested in seeing a form of public bus service come to Thurmont, please watch for information about the date of the public discussion and join in the discussion. The success of this proposal depends on community support!

As always, if you have any comments, questions, or concerns, please contact me via email at jkinnaird@thurmont.com or by phone at 301-606-9458.

by James Rada, Jr.

Emmitsburg

DECEMBER 2019 Meeting

Town Wants to Connect Rutter’s to Emmitsburg

The Town of Emmitsburg wants to ensure that the new Rutter’s store, being built on the east side of Rt. 15, is connected to the town via sidewalks. The sidewalks would allow truck drivers, parking overnight at the site, to be able to walk into town to shop and eat without having to walk on the roads. The town is pursuing a variety of ways to get this accomplished by negotiating with the property owners, talking to state representatives, and withholding planning commission approval.

New Wayside Exhibits Announced

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners recently viewed draft versions of the proposed 2020 wayside exhibits that will become part of the historical walking tour the town is developing. Ion Design and Grove Public Relations are developing the waysides using a FY2020 Maryland Heritage Areas Authority grant awarded to the town. The four waysides, portraying the Great Fire of 1863 (North East Quadrant of Town Square), Vigilant Hose Company, Chronicle Press building, and Carriage House Inn building, will cost $12,032.

Town Committee Appointments

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners made the following appointments to town committees: Glenn Blanchard to Parks and Recreation Committee (term ending December 3, 2021); Sandy Umbel to Parks and Recreation Committee (term ending December 3, 2021);     Steve Starliper to Parks and Recreation Committee (term ending December 3, 2021); Amanda Ryder to Parks and Recreation Committee (term ending December 3, 2021); Shannon Cool to Parks and Recreation Committee (term ending September 21, 2021); Dianne Walbrecker to Board of Appeals (term ending December 15, 2022).

Forest Conservation Plan Updated

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners voted to forward changes to their forest conservation plan to the planning commission for review and recommendations. The plan needs to be reviewed whenever the State of Maryland updates its forestry laws to make sure the town plan remains in compliance.

In a related move, the commissioners also forwarded recommended changes to the town’s buffer zone to the planning commission for review and recommendations.

Town Sells House

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners approved a contract to sell the house at 140 South Seton Avenue for $165,000. The house is on a larger piece of property, and the town is only selling 9,906 square feet that include the house. Besides putting the house back on the tax rolls and relieving the town of landlord duties, the income from the sale will go towards paying off the amount the town owes for the entire property.

Thurmont

DECEMBER 2019 Meeting

State Plans to Demolish Frank Bentz Pond Dam

The Maryland Department of the Environment Dam Safety Division has deemed the Frank Bentz Pond dam unsafe. Perry Otwell, director of engineering and construction at the Department of Natural Resources, told the Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners that the state is planning to demolish the dam, probably in 2022. The dam is over 100 years old and was initially used to provide hydroelectric power to the town. Although it hasn’t been used that way for many decades, the pond created by the dam is a popular fishing spot.

The state also plans to build a small park on the land if the Town of Thurmont agrees to maintain the park.

Town Receives a Clean Audit

Independent auditor Zelenkofske Axelrod, LLC, conducted the annual audit of Thurmont financial statements for Fiscal Year 2019 and 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 have any disagreements with the management.

New Board of Appeals Members Sworn In

Ken Oland was sworn in as a member of the Thurmont Board of Appeals, and Elliot Jones was sworn in as an alternate member of the Board of Appeals.

Town Planning Colorfest Workshop

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners are planning a workshop to figure out how to deal with the decreasing revenues from Colorfest. Although this year’s Colorfest was successful, the town provided its services at a small loss of $530. The commissioners were not so much concerned about the $530 as they were about the decreasing number of vendors, particularly the commercial food vendors that pay the highest permit fees. The commissioners also acknowledged that the $530 loss did not take into account donations to the town from Colorfest, Inc. or the town’s donation of some parking space to the Patty Hurwitz Breast Cancer Fund. These more than makeup for the deficit.