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Thurmont

 Mayor John Kinnaird

Here we are in June already! We got a real feel for summertime the weekend of May 21-22, when the temperature soared to the low 90s. This summer, we may be looking forward to higher average temperatures, and we must be prepared to handle the heat and sunshine. Remember to keep hydrated when the temps rise; we need to drink more water when we sweat. Also, be sure to wear a hat and long sleeves, and use plenty of sunscreen if you plan on working, picnicking, or playing outdoors. I know everyone loves a nice tan, but please do not overdo it; sunburn can lead to skin cancer later in life. Keep sunscreen close at hand for the little ones when they are outdoors.

The board of commissioners has been hard at work reviewing the Master Plan Update, 2022-2023 town budget, and an annexation proposal for the Simmers property. These topics are being discussed during our town meetings, BOC workshops, and public hearings. The public is welcome to attend any of these meetings, watch them live streamed on Cable 99, or on the video archives on the town website (thurmont.com). Typically, during town meetings, we will ask for public comment; at workshop sessions, we do not take public comment; and public hearings are designed to include public comment. I encourage everyone to watch our meetings and attend if you have any comments to include in the discussion. Many times, I am approached by residents that have heard mistaken or confused facts from others. Watch our meetings, attend them in person or ask me or one of the commissioners if you have any questions regarding current topics being addressed by our Board of Commissioners.

I want to congratulate the members of Catoctin High School Class of 2022 for finishing twelve of the most important years of your life! We are all extremely proud of each and every one of you, and we hope that you can follow your dreams as you move on to your next adventure. Some of you will be going on to higher education, some may be entering the military, many of you will be entering the workforce, and some may be starting families. Whatever your career path is, be sure to enter it with pride, knowing you are a graduate of CHS! Wherever life takes you, please remember you will always be welcome in the Thurmont and Emmitsburg communities.

With summer close at hand, we will see our children out and about on our streets and sidewalks. Always be on the lookout for children crossing our streets or riding their bikes, skateboards, or scooters. Kids are often unaware of their surroundings, and we need to be extra diligent when they are close to our streets.

Thurmont is once again offering our “A Day in the Park” Summer Recreation Program (for kids in 1st through 8th grades). This year, there will be three week-long sessions with a maximum of 30 kids per week. Each week-long program will be filled with lots of fun, educational experiences, and adventure. Each one-week session costs $45.00 per child and includes an official “A Day in the Park” T-shirt, knapsack, and more. You can stop by the town office at 615 East Main Street (Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.) to pick up a registration packet. If you can’t get there in person, call 301-271-7313, and we will send you a registration packet.

The Thurmont Farmers Market is being held each Saturday morning, from 9:00 a.m. until noon, at the Community Park on Frederick Road. Each market offers a wonderful selection of fresh vegetables, fruit, baked goods, eggs, beef, cheeses, handmade soaps, crafts, and other goodies.

On Friday, May 20, we had our first Art & Wine Stroll in over two years. It was an outstanding success, with several hundred guests enjoying the entertainment, vendors, food, artwork, and the wine and moonshine tasting. If you missed this one, be on the lookout for our next Art & Wine Stroll.

Thurmont residents can put out grass clippings and leaves for pickup on Monday mornings. The grass and leaves must be placed in paper bags, no more than 40 lbs. in weight. Have the bags at your curb no later than 6:00 a.m. on Monday mornings. Grass clipping and leaves only—no sticks, rocks, root balls, etc. will be collected.

I hope everyone has a nice June! I can be reached at 301-606-9458, by email at jkinnaird@thurmont.com, or on Facebook if you have any comments or concerns.

Emmitsburg

Mayor Don Briggs

Mayor Briggs was unavailable to write his Mayor’s message for this edition. He will return next month with double the news!

by James Rada, Jr.

Thurmont

Mayor and Commissioners Get First Look at Budget

The Thurmont Mayor and Board of Commissioners got their first look at the Fiscal Year 2023 town budget.

•   General Fund: Revenues-$4,768,518; Expenditures-$4,278,662; Capital Expenditures-$489,000.

•   Water Fund: Revenues-$1,062,150; Expenditures-$838,257; Capital Expenditures-$222,000.

•   Wastewater Fund Revenues-$1,764,009; Expenditures-$1,471,239; Capital Expenditures-$292,770.

•   Electric Fund Revenues-$5,760,224; Expenditures-$5,633,798; Capital Expenditures-$125,000.

The budget needs to be approved before June 30 because it takes effect on July 1.

Micro-Breweries Approved as a Thurmont Business Use

The Thurmont Mayor and Board of Commissioner approved a text amendment to allow small-scale micro-breweries to operate in general business and town business zoning districts in Thurmont. Josh Bollinger, with Bollinger’s Restaurant, made the request to the Thurmont Planning and Zoning Commission in February. They approved it and sent it to the commissioners. Bollinger intends to expand his current business with a small micro-brewery. Under Maryland law, a micro-brewery can produce no more than 15,000 barrels of beer a year.

Easements and Rights Of Way Approved for Hammaker Hills

The Thurmont Mayor and Board of Commissioners approved the phase 1 easement and rights of way for the proposed Hammaker Hills Subdivision. The easements are for utilities and three parks. The rights of way are for two roads. The commissioners gave the subdivision conditional approval last year if the easements and rights of way could be secured. With this approval, the subdivision can now move forward.

Emmitsburg

Commissioners Get First Look at Budget

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners got their first look at the Fiscal Year 2023 town budget. The general fund revenues have increased 8 percent to $2,053,217, and it includes a 5 percent cost-of-living-adjustment (COLA) for town employees to try and keep up with inflation. Tax equity revenues from Frederick County are up over this year, but still lagging behind what the town received in 2021 and 2020. Currently, $1,880,067 has been budgeted with the difference marked to be used for capital projects. The budget needs to be approved before June 30 because it takes effect on July 1.

Changes to Parking Begin

The Town of Emmitsburg is looking to update how it handles parking in town. A 5-year plan was introduced to the board of commissioners in May and tabled for future consideration. Among the things the town is looking to do is purchase parking boots and digital meters. The new meters would also be able to accept digital payments. The town is also looking to install meters at the community pool parking lot, although parking would still remain free for pool patrons.

The town has already made one change to parking. Tickets are now white instead of orange because of a new system the town is using. Also, the town now accepts payment of parking tickets and permits online at the town’s website.

New Wayside Approved

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners approved the 12th wayside exhibit for the historic walking tour of Emmitsburg the down is developing. This wayside will feature St. Euphemia School and include the fact that the school integrated 10 years before the Brown vs. Board of Education Supreme Court ruling in 1954. The exhibit will be in front of the apartment building at 50 DePaul Street where the school was. The total cost is $7,095, including town funding and an in-kind match of $3,548. The installation of the wayside is expected to be complete by June 15.

Town Adding to Bike Trail

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners approved a proposal to construct a new quarter-mile section of trail. It will line the green and yellow multi-user trails at Rainbow Lake.

Parks and Recreation Committee Members Re-appointed

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners re-appointed Shannon Cool, Glenn Blanchard, Sandy Umbel, Steve Starliper, and Amanda Ryder to the Parks and Recreation Committee. Their terms run from December 3, 2021 through December 3, 2023.

Thurmont

 Mayor John Kinnaird

Hopefully, we are now enjoying a beautiful spring! As you are aware, we had frost well into April and snow on the 18th. Mother Nature seemed to be having trouble deciding when to move on from winter.

The improved weather will get everyone outdoors for yard work. The Town of Thurmont will be picking up grass clippings on Monday mornings. This pickup is for grass clippings and leaves only, with no sticks, root balls, dirt, or stones! Please have the yard waste in paper bags by 6:00 a.m. for pick up and keep the bags under 40 lbs. The yard waste drop-off site on Moser Road will be open from 8:00 a.m. until noon on May 8, June 12, July 10, August 14, September 11, October 16, November 13, and December 11. The yard waste site accepts grass clippings, leaves, shrubs, sticks, and tree limbs up to six inches in diameter. We ask that you use paper bags or that you empty your plastic bags, then remove the bags. We do not accept tree trunks, large root balls, or fencing.

Our parks will also be getting busier with the nice weather. Picnic pavilions can be reserved by calling the Thurmont Town Office at 301-271-7313. Please be watchful when driving near or through our parks; children are not always aware of their surroundings.

The Thurmont Little League and the CYA are getting up to speed and offer great opportunities for our children to participate in group sporting activities. Be sure to stop and watch them play this season; the kids will be happy to see you in the stands. The Thurmont Little League is making much-needed improvements to the restroom facilities at Leisner Field.

CYA football recently completed the construction of a new field house, including a meeting room, storage area, and a press box. The town had the newest football field resurfaced and seeded in anticipation of this year’s schedule. All of our youth sports organizations would be very appreciative of any financial support you can provide.

The update to the Thurmont Master Plan is nearly complete and should be approved by the board of commissioners. This update is two years in the making and has involved many steps, including more than a dozen dedicated planning and zoning meetings, several public hearings, and reviews by the state and county. I want to thank the members of the Planning & Zoning Commission; our planner Chris Jakubiak; and town staff members, Kelly Duty and Jim Humerick, for all the time and thought they have invested in this document.

The Thurmont Board of Commissioners is wrapping up the budget considerations for the fiscal year 2022-2023. The budget gives us a fiscal plan for the year ahead, based on expected revenue and expenses for our general fund, electric department, water department, and wastewater department. The budget is crafted with input from the department heads and our Chief Financial Officer Linda Joyce. As mayor, it is my responsibility to introduce the proposed budget to the board of commissioners, and after their review and recommendations, we will adopt the budget. The new budget will take effect on July 1, 2022.  

Spring will bring a great time to Thurmont and all of our residents. I hope everyone has an enjoyable month ahead.

Have any questions, suggestions, compliments, or concerns? I can be reached at 301-606-9458 or by email at jkinnaird@thurmont.com.

Emmitsburg

 Mayor Don Briggs

I recently had the opportunity, along with other county municipal leaders, to meet USDA Rural Development/Department of U.S. Agriculture, Under Secretary Xochitl Torres Small. The event was held at a midday gathering at the South Mountain Creamery in downtown Frederick. The event was hosted by our to-be 6th District Congressional Representative David J. Trone, who was in attendance with members of his staff. Most questions fielded by both centered around scrambling to staff and pay for the ever-increasing load of regulatory demands being placed on municipalities.

The town project to replace 122 curb ramps throughout the town with the American Disabilities Act (ADA)-compliant ramps is now complete. It was about a year-long project. Thank you to all for your perseverance.  Added to the project, with efficient management savings, are funds for the stormwater piping along Cedar Avenue (southside of community center) to South Seton Avenue. Installing a sidewalk over new piping is planned for the town’s 2023-2024 fiscal year. The estimated project cost of $623,000 will be funded by a state-administered, federal community block grant. Congratulations to the town staff for applying, assisting the contractor, and overseeing the project.

The final phase of planting 250 trees of the town’s 3,300+/- native-tree program was completed by approximately 50 volunteers on the beautiful, sunny Saturday morning of April 16. This was the day the town designated to celebrate Arbor Day this year. All 3,300 trees are planted on 11 acres of town-owned land by our wastewater treatment plant on Creamery Road (east side of U.S. 15). Thank you to Town Clerk Julie Scott and Town Planner Zach Gulden for working with Streamlink Education, which managed the plantings funded by a Chesapeake – Atlantic Coastal Bays Trust Fund grant. The plantings are one of the town program accomplishments to meet the state-mandated time phase MS-4 requirement.

Also in planning is the North Seton Avenue Green Street project. The streetscape project is part beautification to replace bare, open concrete/asphalt culvert with improvements to include sustainable plantings designed to impede the flash-flood storm sheet flow that, on more than one occasion over the years, has contributed to flooding at the base of Federal Avenue-North Seton Avenue and limiting access through the area and entry into the Northgate subdivision. Adding to the practical aspects of the design will be 23 designated on-street parking spaces. The estimated project cost of $291,000 should be 100 percent funded by a Chesapeake Trust Community Legacy Federal Flood grant. The Green Street Project is planned for 2023-2024 fiscal year.

NEW: Pickleball is now part of the array of town outdoor activity offerings. The tennis court in Meyers Community Park has an overlay imprinted of the smaller 20-feet wide by 44-feet long pickleball court over the tennis court. The lines are only visible from close-up and should not affect tennis play. It is a game that has caught on with seniors that uses the same net height as tennis, played with a wiffleball.  

New sidewalk connections, new bleachers at ball fields, new family picnic gazebos, and now pickleball. Soon, there will be a new paved parking lot at Memorial Park, while all the time continuing to work on the existing infrastructure.

Memorial Day cookouts and graduations are almost here. Things are good. Keep in your thoughts and prayers the people of Ukraine.

by James Rada, Jr.

Thurmont

Town Increases Tax Rate

The Thurmont Board of Commissioners voted to increase the town’s property tax rate from $0.2992 to $0.3206 per $100 of assessment. Because of growing assessment of real property in town, this will generate an additional $129,291 in tax revenue that will help offset the rising inflation costs and their effect on costs to run the town. Even with the increase, the town will continue to have one of the lowest tax rates in Frederick County.

Town Maintains Its Tree City USA Status

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources has named Thurmont a Tree City USA for the sixth year in a row. Towns can earn this designation by having a board or department that cares for trees, a tree care ordinance, a community forestry budget of at least $2 per capita, and a proclamation and observation of Arbor Day.

Mayor John Kinnaird said in a news release, “I am very pleased that we have achieved this level of tree care here in Thurmont. Our staff and volunteers have done a great job planting trees, maintaining them, and working hard to ensure that our trees remain healthy for future generations.”

Thurmont also received the Growth Award for the second year in a row. It recognizes the work Thurmont has done to build a sustainable community forestry program.

Town Has Board of Appeals Vacancy

The Town of Thurmont has a vacancy on the board of appeals. If you are a town resident and would like to serve, submit your interest in writing to Becky Long at blong@thurmontstaff.com. You can also drop off the letter at the town office.

Town Approves New Trash Contract

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners voted to continue using Ecology Services Refuse and Recycling as the town’s trash hauler. The contract is a lump-sum bid of $339,199 for a two-year agreement.

Emmitsburg

Town Maintains Tax Rate

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners voted to maintain the town’s property tax rate at $0.3464 per $100 of assessment. Because of growing assessments of real property in town, this will generate an additional $26,414 that will help offset the rising inflation costs and their effect on costs to run the town.

License Plate Readers Coming to Emmitsburg

License plate readers are coming to Emmitsburg to assist police with investigations.

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners voted Monday 4-1 to approve a contract with Applied Technology Services of Middle River for advanced license plate readers. The contract is for $42,140.

The recommendation is supported by the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office, who believes the readers will help with investigations, according to Town Manager Cathy Willets.

Madeline Shaw, town grant administrator, noted these are not speed cameras.

The proposed locations for the plate readers are East Main Street (near East North Avenue), West Main Street (near Warthens Court), and South Seton Avenue (near Pizza Hut). However, the police will be consulted before the readers are placed.

Commissioner Joseph Ritz III voted against the contract, saying he was unsure how beneficial it would be.

Town Participates in Water Assistance Program

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners unanimously approved the town’s participation in the Low Income Household Water Assistance Program during the April town meeting.

Maryland was allocated more than $14 million through the program, which is funded through December of 2023. Eligibility requirements include submitting a current water and/or wastewater bill, showing accrued past-due bills of at least $100. Total household income cannot exceed 60 percent of the state median income. One bill account per service address per utility is eligible. Applicants must provide proof of residency and live in Maryland.

Eligible residents will receive a one-time grant ranging from $100 to $2,000. The money can be put toward residential water and/or wastewater accounts with past-due bills. It is paid directly to the utility supplier.

Visit dhs.maryland.gov, click “home energy/water,” then “apply for energy assistance” to reach the application.

Brookfield Parcel Rezoned

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners approved a zoning map amendment that will allow for the construction on seven new houses on the west side of town.

They will be added to the Brookfield subdivision. The subdivision has about 117 houses already. The rezoned property is 2.85 acres on Timbermill Run.

Emmitsburg

Mayor Don Briggs

So, we went again into spring and mid-March with snow. Sometimes, for those of another generation, the snow event is characterized as a “Robin’s snow.” At this turn of the seasons, looking back, the winter season, for the most part, was a dry one. Even though it’s hard to visualize a drought during the winter months, we may have experienced one. The concern is replenishing the groundwater supply, of which snow plays an important role.

To the 20 young women and men students from Virginia Tech who recently graced our town to work on projects for those in need in the Emmitsburg area, that was so kind of you. Thank you for spending your spring break with us. Also, thank you to the Seton Center and Daughters of Charity for pulling the pieces together to host and provide housing for the students. To our elderly and those in a squeeze, if you need help with projects around the house, contact Sister Martha at the Seton Center (301-447-6102) because our local Mt. St. Mary’s University; Gonzaga High in Washington D.C.; and St. Mary’s High in Niagara, New York, are coming to town this spring eagerly looking for things to do.

The rising cost of fuel affecting us at the gas pump is compounded by the rising embedded cost to produce and deliver items to the grocery store shelves. Producers, wholesalers, and retailers all must pass the cost on to us. So far, rising gas prices seem to have not affected the market demand for homes in the northern part of the county. The secret is out. It’s a great place to live.

At the March 2022 regularly scheduled meeting, the Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners approved the recommendation of the mayor and staff to design and construct a town sign in front of the town office/community building with the capability of providing updated information for time of day, weather, and special events. The masonry stone base of the sign spans eight feet and the height is nine feet by three inches. The sign will feature the town name, logo, and a two-faced message board. We hope to commence with install as soon as county gives permission to replace current sign.

It was two years ago, in a March 2019 meeting, that the town meetings were first affected by COVID-19. At the current calendar March meeting, the last remnants of the COVID-19 protection—Plexiglass dividers between commissioners—were removed. Also, the commissioners approved the mayor and staff recommendation to pave the parking lot and circular drive at Memorial Park this year. The hope is to have the work completed this spring.

Most of Irishtown Road improvements are completed, but the weather delayed “detailing” shoulder work remains to be done. Additionally, home construction work on the Brookfield remaining 19 lots along Irishtown Road is in full gear. Lots of trucks and workman activity.

Please rejoice in the benefit of now two-way traffic but do so at a moderate speed.

Congratulations to our Catoctin High School Cougar girls’ basketball team after securing a berth in the state championships game after a decisive 56–27 win over rival Brunswick; they lost a tough one to Pikesville in the championship game. Great season for coach Amy Entwistle, the team, and especially seniors Emma Wivell, Emily Williams, Paige Smith, and Lily Gadra.

The work to replace 120-plus sidewalk curb ramps throughout town to meet current Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) guidelines is about done. The project cost was $683,000, which was funded totally through a federal block grant. Way to go, staff!

Thank you, Dee Connolly, for once again bringing the Gettysburg Walking Club for a tour of the town wayside exhibits and lunch at one of the fine restaurants in town.

Hope all are having a blessed Lent, and let’s all pray for the Ukrainians. Lib and I hope you have a wonderful Eastertide.

Thurmont

 Mayor John Kinnaird

History plays a big part in our lives and in our community. Memories, keepsakes, family histories, bits of our past, and the structures we all recognize help make up the fabric of our lives and our community. Each of us collects memories of our family and community; in some cases, it can be as simple as the family Bible handed down through several generations, in others, it can be a basement full of valued local artifacts and documents. Here in Thurmont, we are fortunate to have a group of individuals determined to help keep our personal and community memories and treasures intact and on display for us to enjoy and cherish.

The Thurmont Historical Society (THS) was established in 1988 by a group of local residents intent on honoring and preserving our history. One of the driving forces behind the creation of the THS was a wonderful gift from the Creeger family. Ethel Creeger donated her family home at 11 North Church Street to be used as the home of the Historical Society. The society invested untold hours in bringing the house back to life after it had stood vacant for many years. The work included a complete replacement of the double porch at the rear of the house; installation of a modern HVAC system; finishing the basement with a concrete floor; repairing wiring and plumbing; and major repairs to the windows, shutters, and cornices. As with any home, regular maintenance is an ongoing issue. In recent memory, the society repointed much of the brickwork, replaced the concrete walkways at the rear of the house, and replaced the aging HVAC system. Current projects include the scraping and repainting of all the trim on the exterior of the building. This is a $30,000-plus project, being funded in part by generous grants from the Maryland Historic Areas Trust and the Delaplaine Foundation. The society is also working toward digitizing five decades worth of the Catoctin Enterprise newspaper.

The Thurmont Historical Society is open on Sundays from 11:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m., and at other times by appointment. There are many informative displays and local artifacts to see, and there is an amazing library of local family and community history. Please consider helping the Thurmont Historical Society by becoming a member or by making a donation to help ensure the success of the many projects the society undertakes. The Thurmont Historical Society and its members are committed to preserving our history so that we, and generations to come, can look back and understand our past. Be sure to visit the new Society webpage at www.thurmonthistoricalsociety.org.

The Frederick County Health Department continues to offer free COVID-19 vaccinations, booster shots, and testing to Thurmont residents.  Vaccinations and boosters are available at the Thurmont Regional Library on Monday evenings, 5:00-7:00 p.m. COVID-19 testing is available at the Thurmont Town Office on Friday evenings, 5:00-7:00 p.m. I want to thank the Frederick County Health Department and their amazing staff for making these services available to our residents and our north-county neighbors.

The Thurmont Farmers Market has started for the season! The indoor market is located at 21 East Main Street and will be there Saturday mornings, from 9:00 a.m.-noon through May 7. The outdoor market will then be open Saturday mornings, 9:00 a.m.-noon, at the Thurmont Community Park for the rest of the market season.

The Thurmont Business Showcase is on Saturday, April 23, from 11:00 a.m.-2: 00 p.m., at the Thurmont Event Complex. The Thurmont Green Team will be hosting the 2022 Greenfest at the Thurmont Regional Library, Saturday, April 9, from 10:00 a.m.- 2:00 p.m. The Woodsboro Bank and Thurmont Police Commission are hosting a Community Shred Event on Saturday, April 30, from 8:00 a.m.-noon, at the Thurmont Police Department Headquarters.

I am available for your comments, questions, or suggestions at 301-606-9458 or by email at jkinnaird@thurmont.com.

by James Rada, Jr.

Thurmont

Town Gets Tips to Improve Safety In Electric Department

Tim Lawrence, electric utilities director for the Town of Berlin, gave the Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners some advice from his 41 years of work in municipal electric departments on how to improve safety at the Thurmont Electric Department. What most of his advice came down to was making sure that the employees were fully and competently trained.

“You have jobs you can mess up on,” Commissioner Wes Hamrick said. “This is one job you can’t.” That is because the employees are working with high-voltage lines, and a mistake can kill someone.

Berlin has all its linemen complete a state-certified course. The course takes four years to complete, including two weeks of classroom time each year. The linemen have to be certified to do various jobs in the electric department. Berlin’s electric department also issue each employee their own copy of the American Public Power Safety Manual and federal safety guidelines.

Town to Purchase Downtown Property

The Town of Thurmont will use $80,000 in grant funds to purchase the business property at 6 E. Main Street. The town’s goal is to preserve this property and find a business to occupy it. Failing that, they will try to find a public use for it. The belief is that anything that can be done to attract more people downtown will ultimately benefit other downtown businesses.

Colorfest Parking Fees to Increase

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners voted to increase the amount they receive per vehicle parked during Colorfest from $2.00 to $4.00. They will also encourage parking vendors to increase the cost of parking from $10.00 per car to $15.00. However, the amount is ultimately left up to the vendor. The mayor and commissioners also plan to look at increasing the cost of permits for craft vendors.

Town Votes to Fund Little League Field Improvements

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners voted to fund repairs and improvements “critical to the safety and sanitation needs of the Little League fields,” according to Mayor John Kinnaird. The improvements and repairs will be made to the bathrooms. The estimated cost is around $22,112, pending bids for some items. The town will pay for the project using American Rescue Plan funds that it received from the Federal Government.

New Board of Appeals Member

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners appointed Mickey Blank to serve in the open alternate member position on the Thurmont Board of Appeals. He will become a permanent member automatically when the next position opens.

Emmitsburg

Town Moves Toward Implementing a Stormwater Fee

The Emmitsburg commissioners voted to move forward with possibly implementing a stormwater fee that would cost most residents $20.00 a year. The revenue from the fee would be used to pay for water-related projects required as part of an unfunded Federal Government mandate. With the unanimous vote, the town and state will look at how the fee can implemented.

The town has completed all of the affordable projects that can be done. However, more needs to be done to meet the federal goal. It is estimated $1.4 million will be needed between fiscal years 2023 (which begins July 1) and 2028. Even with grant funding, it is expected the town will still need to pay around $700,000 for the needed work. The restoration projects that need to be done are: Northgate stormwater management basin; North Seton Avenue Green Street; increased street sweeping; 12 acres of tree plantings with StreamLink.

These actions are needed to reduce and eliminate pollution from run-off that ends up in the Chesapeake Bay. If the municipalities don’t meet the federal goals, they can be heavily fined.

A stormwater fee is not required under the mandate, but many municipalities are using it as a way to pay for the projects that do need to be done under the mandate. Maryland has 17 municipalities doing this, including Frederick City.

According to the Environmental Finance Center at the University of Maryland, the average single-family residential stormwater fee nationwide is $5.94 per month or $71.28 annually, compared to the proposed $20.00 fee for Emmitsburg.

The proposal calls for a three-tier fee. Parcels less than 1,466 square feet would pay $10.00 annually. Parcels greater than 4,398 square feet would have a calculated fee. Parcels between 1,466 and 4,398 square feet would pay the $20.00 fee. The proposal is projected to generate about $34,850, annually.

Town Can’t Do Anything About Eyesore Property

Because of complaints about the condition of the property at 507 E. Main Street, the Emmitsburg Commissioners and town staff have been exploring options for what can be done about it. The town was not able to work with the owner to rectify the situation, so an administrative search warrant was obtained to inspect the property. Although it does not look pretty, the property was found to be structurally sound. This means the town cannot deem it a “dangerous and hazardous building.” It also means that the town cannot do anything about the building.

New Town Office Sign Approved

The Emmitsburg Commissioners approved the design of a new sign for the town office that will be placed on South Seton Avenue. Now, bids will be solicited for the construction and installation of the sign.

New Board of Appeals Member

During their March town meeting, the Emmitsburg Commissioners accepted the resignation of Levi Essess from the Emmitsburg Board of Appeals and appointed Scott Frager to the open position for a term that will run through February 17, 2023.

The “REAL” in Real Estate

By Sandi Reed Burns,

Realtor, Climb Properties Real Estate

Happy spring, everyone! Let’s spring right into what’s going on in your area as of March 22, 2022, according to Bright MLS data.

Thurmont: 29 total listings—made up of land, leases, commercial, and residential. If we only look at residential sales, there are a total of nine and four of them are “coming soon.” (This excludes the new builds under construction, as they are not on the MLS).

Emmitsburg: 16 total listings—made up of land, leases, commercial, and residential. Again, if we only look at residential sales, there are four active listings and zero “coming soon.”

Rocky Ridge: 7 total multiple listings types.

It certainly doesn’t look like much of a “Spring Market,” does it? This low inventory remains to keep the prices higher and limits buyers’ options of available homes.

Here’s a snapshot from National Association of Realtors: “February 2022 brought 6.02 million in sales, a median sales price of $357,300, and 1.7 months of inventory. The median sales price is up 15% year-over-year, and inventory was down 0.3 months from February 2021.”

I’m going to spring right to the point. We need more inventory in order to balance out the market. So, if you’re thinking about selling, please contact your local Realtor® for advice, and thank you for being part of the solution.

Thurmont

 Mayor John Kinnaird

In light of the recent decline in COVID-19 cases in Frederick County, County Executive Gardner has rescinded the mask order for public places. Many businesses and restaurants may still require you to wear a mask in their establishment.

COVID-19 vaccinations and booster shots are available on Monday evenings, from 5:00-7:00 p.m. at the Thurmont Regional Library on Moser Road. COVID-19 tests are available on Friday evenings, from 5:00-7:00 p.m., at the Thurmont Town Office at 615 East Main Street in Thurmont. The tests are free and do not require a doctor’s note or an appointment.

Spring is headed our way, but there’s still plenty of opportunity for winter weather. I just want to remind everyone that if you can get your cars off the street, it makes for a better job of clearing snow from our streets. Please do not clear the end of your driveway until our trucks have plowed to the curb. Chances are the plowed snow may block the end of your driveway, and I don’t want you to have to clear your driveaway more than once, if possible.  Also, be aware of snowplows as they work to clear the streets. Give all snow plows ample space as they are working or as you drive past them. These trucks are wide!

Speaking of spring, the Thurmont Farmers Market will be open on Saturday, March 26, at 21 East Main Street in Thurmont. The early indoor market was a big success last year and this year will be no different. The indoor market will be open Saturdays, 9:00 a.m. until noon, through May 7. The indoor market will feature mushrooms, locally made sauces and rubs, baked goods, organic greens, and much more! Bantam Coffee Roasters will be at every Farmer Market with their trailer, serving up freshly roasted coffee, lattes, espresso, and more. The Farmers Market will then move to its new outdoor location in the Thurmont Community Park on Frederick Road. The outdoor market will be open Saturdays, 9:00 am until noon, beginning Saturday, May 14.

Cunningham Falls State Park is a great recreational resource right on our doorstep. There are plenty of trails to hike; streams for fishing; campsites; a beautiful lake for swimming, fishing, and canoeing; the beautiful Cunningham Falls, and tons of history! Be sure to visit the Maple Syrup Festival at Cuningham Falls State Park, from 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m., on March 12-13 and March 19-20. There will be two boil sites, the fresh syrup will be for sale, and there will be hot beverages and light fare available.

The Thurmont Planning and Zoning Commission has wrapped up the Master Plan Update and Comprehensive Rezoning. Both are now in the hands of the board of commissioners and will be the topic of a public hearing in the near future. If you are interested in the Master Plan and Comprehensive Rezoning, please watch for the board of commissioners’ public hearing dates.

Please contact me with any questions, comments, or concerns at 301-606-9458 or by email at jkinnaird@thurmont.com. I hope everyone has a very nice March!

Emmitsburg

Mayor Don Briggs

With spring almost here and months of talking about the new businesses and major town improvements, here are some things about people.

Over the last year, unimpeded by COVID variations, the Frederick County Health Department, partnering with Dr. Portier, has conducted a sample group program of 40 patients to enhance self-care blood pressure care and awareness. Forty (40) “cuffs,” medical parlance for the wide band you put around your bicep and squeeze a rubber ball kits, were distributed to the patients. The intent is to develop patient motivation in using cuffs, provide literature, and a more than “one and done” follow-up support system to keep blood pressure in a healthier range. It is my understanding that the program is still being tweaked before being opened to the public. Preventive medicine at work.

Providentially, with spring comes another restaurant option on the Square. The vacated Stavros space is occupied again. Tuscany’s Pizzeria held its grand opening on February 23. Please welcome them with a visit. 

So who is Father Gene? He is the gentle octogenarian, who walks several miles every day and has run 15 marathons. Besides being a very spiritual parish priest at St. Joseph’s Church, he is an ardent Auburn Tigers fan. In his earlier days, he was pastor at Auburn University. His number of marathons run is impressive and noteworthy, posing possibly a challenge to Bridget McCarthy in marathons, but I do not think so. Included in his marathons run is the Marine Corps. Marathon in Washington D.C. I ran it in 1980, followed a year later by the one notable initiates of the club Libby ran (an hour faster than me). 

 So, where are we with the Change for Food program, the donations placed in those little jars throughout town retail checkouts? The initiative to raise money for Emmitsburg Food Bank was started ten years ago by Bob and Jean Rosensteel and has been maintained by them and the Emmitsburg Business and Professional Association (EBPA). The latest tabulation is $54,056 raised. To add to that, the EBPA college scholarship assistance fund, administered by the Frederick County Community Foundation, now exceeds $27,000. Well done business community.

 There is a Catoctin High student program known as “Family, Community, and Career Leaders of America” (FCCLA). A school-sponsored club whose mission is “Leading Others to a Better Tomorrow,” and whose motto is “Caring and Sharing.” The goal is, by performing services for the community, students learn and develop leadership skills. Notable initiates of the club include “adopting” area elderly and Thurmont Primary School students for engagement in activities throughout the school year. Well done.

 If you want to be nudged in an intellectual way, consider the Mount’s Alumni Symposium, sponsored by the Mount St. Mary’s University College of Liberal Arts. Now in the third year of fall and spring sessions, this may be the one for you. The overseer of the program is Dr. Peter Dorsey. You do not have to be a Mount grad to join in person or by zoom. For the 2022 spring session, in January, Drs. Elizabeth and Charles Strauss led a discussion on Catholics and Jews after the Holocaust. Followed in February by Fr. Jim Donohue, “The Hospitality of God: A Reading of Luke’s Gospel.” March will be Dr. Carol Hind, “Sanctification of the Ordinary in Mark Salzman’s Lying Awake.” In April, Dr. John Hershey: “Star Wars and the Force of Philosophy.” In May, Dr. Jack Dudley: “The Everyday Life of the Priesthood, The Short Stories of J.F. Powers.” The symposium sessions are held at the Mount Frederick campus one evening a month. There is a fee that includes reading materials and dinner. Contact the College of Liberal Arts for information on the 2022 fall semester.

We mourn the loss of Francis G. Smith, 96 years young. He was a wonderful person and renowned area artist and poet. In 2019, he was recognized as the town of Emmitsburg Poet Laureate for 2019-2021. From his poem, “The Poet’s Fantasy”:

Pent-up within the bounds of my humanity,

My restless spirit, ever straining upward,

Thrills to harmony.

Not so much giving up something but rather do something special for others during Lent.  

by James Rada, Jr.

Thurmont

Town Reinstates Commissioner Liaisons to Public Works

Although Thurmont used to have commissioner liaisons to the town’s public works departments, the assignments have stopped being made at some point in the past. At Mayor John Kinnaird’s suggestion and with the approval of the commissioners, this has been reinstated. The following liaison assignments were made to the commissioners: Water—Wayne Hooper, Wastewater—Bill Blakeslee, Electric—Bill Buehrer, Streets and Parks—Wes Hamrick.

Part of Trolley Trail to be Dedicated In Memory of Former Employee

At the suggestion of a town employee, the Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners agreed to dedicate the section of the Thurmont Trolley Trail from East Moser Road to the wastewater treatment plant pond entrance to Jeff Kilby. Kilby was a town employee in the wastewater department who died unexpectedly in October 2020. A bench with a plaque on it will be placed on the trail to note the dedication.

Armstrong Named Thurmont Police Officer Of The Year

The Thurmont Lions Club named Sgt. Dave Armstrong as the Thurmont Police Officer of the Year. He joined the Thurmont Police Department in 2012 after he retired from the Frederick Police Department. He was promoted to sergeant in 2018. Besides his work as a police officer, he helped the town youth organize themselves to get the new Thurmont Skatepark built.

Jonathan Hamrick with the Thurmont Lions Club presented Armstrong with a certificate and gift certificate for a local restaurant. His name will be added to a plaque of other Thurmont Police Officers of the Year, and the Lions Club will make a $400 donation in his name to the Thurmont Boy Scouts.

Wood Named Thurmont Police Civilian Employee Of The Year

Code Enforcement Officer Kristi Wood was named the Thurmont Police Civilian Employee of the Year. She began work with the department as a part-time employee in 2014. However, her hard work and initiative to take on other duties allowed her to become a full-time employee in 2017. Citizens have often complimented her good work to the department.

“Her caring and concern for everyone is noticeable every day,” Eyler said. “Ms. Wood has proven to be an outstanding employee for the Thurmont Police Department and the Town of Thurmont.”

Purchases Approved to Extend Gateway Trail

The Town of Thurmont and Catoctin Mountain National Park have been working to develop the Gateway Trail. It begins in Community Park, through town on Altamont Avenue, and out of town on West Main Street. It will then connect to trails in Catoctin Mountain National Park. To complete the trail, the town needs to purchase three pieces of property on West Main Street in order to make a direct connection to the west end of Community Park. Using $75,000 in funds from the county, the Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners voted to purchase properties and easements at 128 W. Main Street, 202 W. Main, and a parcel along Hunting Creek for $23,500 to build a six-foot-wide asphalt trail.

Thurmont United Methodist Church Petitioning for Annexation

The Thurmont United Methodist Church has asked to be annexed into the Town of Thurmont. The church leadership would like to create a daycare center, but to do so, it needs to add a sprinkler system, among other improvements. It is uncertain that the church’s well could support the sprinkler system, so it would like to connect to the town’s water system. The church is included in the town’s master plan for future growth.

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners voted to forward the request to the planning and zoning commission for review and recommendation.

Emmitsburg

New Business News

Christ’s Community Church has submitted their concept plan to build a new 12,500-square-foot church on Creamery Road near Quality Tire.

Federal Stone is preparing engineering plans to submit to the Emmitsburg Planning Commission. The company purchased all of the Emmitsburg East Industrial Park II for its business. The company also planned to submit the final subdivision plat and forest conservation plan to the planning commission in February.

Ripleigh’s Creamery is working to obtain a county building permit for its building work.

Rutter’s is under construction and expected to open late this summer.

The MDOT/SHA Park and Ride design is 15 percent complete, but the project is now on hold due to state budget cuts.

Tuscany’s Pizzeria is now open on the square.

Village Liquors and Plaza Inn is working on completing the final subdivision plat and improvement plat conditions the planning commission asked for. They also need to secure the necessary permits from the town and county.

Residential Work

Emmitsburg continues to see growth, with 32 new residential permits being issued in the town last year.

Park Work Approved

The Emmitsburg Commissioners approved a bid of $14,325 to Frederick County Paving in Thurmont to pour eight concrete slabs for bleachers in town parks. Frederick County Paving was one of 25 bidders for the project.

Green Sites, Inc. of Elkridge will be installing seven new 15-foot-long bleachers (three in Eugene Myers Community Park and four in Memorial Park) for $42,600. Green Sites was one of 11 bidders for this project.

HMF Contractors in Frederick will be paving the gravel area in Memorial Park for $28,980. HMF Contractors was one of 21 bidders for this contract.

All the projects will be paid for with FY2022 Local Parks & Playgrounds Infrastructure (LPPI) from the state.

New Hires

The Emmitsburg Commissioners approved hiring Julie Scott as the new town clerk. She lives in Cascade and was one of 115 people who applied for the position. Her salary will be $63,000 a year. Current Town Clerk Maddie Shaw stepped back to take a part-time position as the town’s grants administrator. This job pays $35.00 an hour but offers no benefits. It is expected that she will be working 16-20 hours a week.

Sabrina King has also been hired as the town office coordinator. She lives in Taneytown and is one of 85 people who applied. She will earn $41,900 a year.

Pool Management Contract Approved

The Emmitsburg Commissioners approved a three-year contract (2022-2024) to have RSV Pools in Gaithersburg manage the town pool during the season. The company will be paid $65,952 for 2022, $67,848 for 2023, and $70,980 for 2024 for the work.

Thurmont  Mayor John Kinnaird

Winter has arrived! Please keep an eye on your elderly or disabled neighbors during this time of the year. With the recent cold weather, they may not be able to get out for groceries or to clear their walkways. I also ask that everyone helps the Thurmont Food Bank with donations of nonperishable food, toiletries, diapers, or cash. The Thurmont Clothes Closet is in need of warm clothing for all ages. Also, keep your pets indoors if possible during the brutally cold days and nights; if you can’t bring them indoors, be sure to provide them with shelter, clean bedding, plenty of water, and fresh food.

With the recent snow, our plow crews have been hard at work clearing the streets. When snow is in the forecast, please move your vehicle off the road if possible. This will allow our plows to clear the streets from curb to curb. This is especially important in our residential cul-de-sacs. I also recommend not cleaning the end of your driveway until our trucks have cleared the roadway; this way, the trucks will not plow your driveway shut every time they pass. When driving around Thurmont and on other roads, please give the snow plows ample room as they do their job.

You may have noticed the work being done on the Rt. 15 bridge over Rt. 77 at the west end of Thurmont. This State Highway project will replace the deck on the northbound Rt. 15 bridge. There will be lane closures on Rt. 15, and you may experience lane closures on Rt. 77 during construction. There will be flagmen directing traffic on West Main Street (Rt. 77) when there are closures. Be sure to follow their directions.

The Thurmont Planning and Zoning Commission is continuing the Master Plan and Comprehensive Zoning update. If you are interested in this process, be sure to attend the meetings in person or tune in live on Cable 99 or online at Thurmont.com. The P&Z meets the third Thursday of each month in the Town Office Meeting Room at 7:00 p.m.

New playground equipment has been installed in Woodland Park. There is a large piece with rope ladders, bridges, and three slides. There are also several smaller exercise pieces, new benches, and covers for shade. Be sure to stop at Woodland Park and check out the new playground equipment.

The Board of Commissioners recently approved the purchase of right of ways that will allow a connection from the Thurmont Community Park from West Main Street. This will eventually incorporate a pedestrian/bike bridge over Hunting Creek, allowing a connection between Community Park, residents on West Main Street, and the Gateway Trail. The Gateway Trail is a cooperative effort between the Federal and State Parks and the Town of Thurmont. This will allow hikers and bikers to access the trails in both parks and our Trolley Trail. We are working to get the Trolley Trail extended to Catoctin Furnace as part of a loop trail from Thurmont to Catoctin Furnace, across Rt. 15 and up Catoctin Hollow Road to the State and Federal Parks and then back to Thurmont.

The Maryland Board of Public Works recently approved Project Open Space funding for several park projects in the Town of Thurmont. These projects include a new baseball/softball field at East End Park. This will include the design and construction of a new regulation-sized baseball/softball field to include fencing, backstops, dugouts, a gravel driveway, and a parking lot. The project will also include a stormwater management system and an ADA-compliant walkway. A second project will install new athletic field lights for the new baseball/softball field. The proposed outdoor recreational lighting system is designed to perform its intended function, be energy efficient, and minimize light pollution. The third project will see the construction of an ADA-compliant asphalt walking trail at East End Park.

Please contact me at 301-606-9458 or by email at jkinnaird@thurmont.com with any questions or comments about these projects or anything else to do with the Town of Thurmont.

Emmitsburg Mayor Don Briggs

Here we are, a new year, 2022, duly anointed there to enfold, there onto judgment, hopefully, a blissful repletion be ours. To that goal, we seem to be tracking well. A “big snow” event is now behind us. It has been a dry fall into winter period. Snow is good for replenishment of the water table, as its tendency when melting is to slow seepage into the ground and less is lost to runoff. Irishtown Road is complete enough to accommodate two-way traffic on and off Brookfield Drive, a decade after opening to one-way out. From permit applications and conversations, with the 19 proposed houses along Irishtown Road, 10 homes have been placed under contract.  

To the questions of no masks, masks, shots, boosters, variants, what is medicine, the role of science, and discovery. Why the back and forth? From Stephen Hawking’s, The Brief History of Time, “…redefining the goal of science: our aim is to formulate a set of laws that enables us to predict events only up to the limit set by the uncertainty principle… On many occasions we have increased the sensitivity of our measurements or made a new class of observations, only to discover new phenomena that were not predicted by existing theory and to account for these we have had to develop a more advanced theory.” Knowledge is frustrating, as it is a never-ending progression. With every question comes more questions. This adds credence to the old axiom, “When you think you know, you don’t know.”

At the town’s regularly scheduled monthly meeting, Deputy Ben Whitehouse was honored for his six years of service to the town as a resident deputy. He is moving on to other responsibilities within the sheriff’s department. Ben once went into a building fire and led people out to safety. Thank you, Ben, for your service. Also announced at the meeting were several changes on the planning commission. Joyce Rosensteel stepped away from her 20 years of public service as an elected member of the town council and later as an appointed member of the planning commission. Thank you, Joyce. Well done. It has been a pleasure to work with you over the years. Lured by a fellowship grant at Harvard, Dr. Bernard Franklin is relocating to Cambridge, Massachusetts, and has resigned from his appointment to the planning commission.

To the two vacancies on the commission, Kevin Hagan moved from being the alternate to a regular member, and Amy Boehman-Pollitt is a new member. Terri Ray, a former employee of the town, has accepted the invitation to be an alternate on the commission. Terri Ray is an exceptional person. Her warm voice greeted us all as the former receptionist and office manager. After over six years with the town, Terri has accepted a position in the accounting field with one of our local organizations. Thank you, Terri, for your service to the community and best to you for the bright future that lies ahead for you.   

Now on to Lent and budget preparation for the upcoming 2022-2023 town fiscal year.

by James Rada, Jr.

Thurmont

Commissioner Liaison Appointments Made

For 2022, Mayor John Kinnaird appointed the following town commissioners to serve on the various Thurmont commissions and committees:

•    Wayne Hooper — Mayor Pro Tem, Addictions Committee, and Special Activities Committee.

•    Bill Buehrer — Board of Appeals and Economic Development Committee.

•    Wes Hamrick — Parks Commission and Thurmont Ministerium.

•    Bill Blakeslee — Police Commission and Thurmont Senior Center.

•    John Kinnaird — Planning and Zoning Commission.

Town’s County Capital Budget Requests

In recent years, Frederick County Government has asked municipalities for local projects they would like the county to fund. For Fiscal Year 2023, the Town of Thurmont is asking Frederick County to fund the following things for Thurmont:

•    $25,000 for Thurmont Senior Center operation.

•    $180,000 for the sidewalk on Moser Road, from the wastewater treatment plant to Jermae Estates.

•              $50,000 for asphalt on Old Pryor Road.

Emmitsburg

Emmitsburg Fields Stay Free To Use

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners voted to continue a no-fee policy for town ball fields use that has been in effect for two years. However, town staff is exploring maintenance options and how the town and sports leagues can share maintenance costs if no fee is charged.

Some towns ask sports leagues to provide basic field maintenance for the free use of the fields. Brunswick is one local municipality that does this, according to Town Manager Cathy Willets. Currently, the town pays all maintenance for the fields, which amounted to more than $10,000 last year.

Commissioner T.J. Burns was also concerned that when the new regional park opens along Motter Station Road, it could attract teams away from the town fields, so the town needed to make it attractive to use its fields.

Community Deputy Recognized

The Town of Emmitsburg recognized the six years of service Frederick County Sheriff’s Deputy Whitehouse gave the town. Board President Tim O’Donnell said Whitehouse had “consistently gone above and beyond” in his service to Emmitsburg as a community deputy. Whitehouse was promoted within the sheriff’s office and will no longer be working as a community deputy.

Former Commissioner Rosensteel Recognized

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners issued a proclamation recognizing Joyce Rosensteel’s 20 years of service to the town as town commissioner and a member of different committees in town.

Appointments Made

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

•     Kevin Hagan as a regular member of the planning commission, with a term of January 18, 2022–January 18, 2027.

•     Amy Boehman-Pollitt as a regular member of the planning commission, with a term of December 10, 2021–July 2, 2022.

The commissioners also accepted the resignation of Dr. Bernard Franklin from the planning commission, effective December 10, 2021.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Emmitsburg

Mayor Don Briggs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thurmont

 Mayor John Kinnaird

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

by James Rada, Jr.

Thurmont

Commissioners May Adjust Colorfest Fees

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

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

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

Stormwater Ordinance Introduced

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

Town Receives a Clean Audit & Gateway to the Cure Donation

Mike Samson with Zlenkofske Axelrod, LLC, presented the results of the annual independent audit of Thurmont’s financial statements for Fiscal Year 2021. He gave the town an unmodified or clean opinion, which is the highest rating that can be given. The auditors had no difficulties performing the audit nor had any disagreements with the management.

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

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

Emmitsburg

Town Will Conduct a Connection Fee and Rate Study

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

Town Receives a Clean Audit

Michelle Mills, CPA with Deleon and Stang presented the results of the annual independent audit of Emmitsburg’s financial statements for Fiscal Year 2021. She gave the town an unmodified or clean opinion, which is the highest rating that can be given. The auditors had no difficulties performing the audit or had any disagreements with the management.

Board of Appeals Appointments

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

Town Sets Price for 303 West Lincoln Avenue

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

Emmitsburg

Mayor Don Briggs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thurmont

 Mayor John Kinnaird

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Emmitsburg

Mayor Don Briggs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thurmont

 Mayor John Kinnaird

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

by James Rada, Jr.

Thurmont

Public Hearing on Master Plan Update

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

New Commission Members Sworn In

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

CDBG Project for Medical Center

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

Emmitsburg

Regular Office Hours Resumed

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

Board Designates American Rescue Plan Funds

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

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

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

Wipes Clogging Pumping Station

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

Ground Broken for New Health Center

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

Commissioners Sworn In and Board Reorganized

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

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

Deputies Trying to Address Mount Student Problems

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

by James Rada, Jr.

Emmitsburg

Rutter’s Breaks Ground

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

Stormwater Study Contract Awarded

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

Town Charter Repealed and Replaced

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

Slaughter Appointed to Committee

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

Arbor Day Event at Myers Community Park

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

Town Receives $400,000 to Plant Trees

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

Thurmont

Town Election This Month

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

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

Town Makes Donation to Senior Center

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

Town Replacing More Utility Poles

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

Check for Tree and Shrub Compliance

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

Emmitsburg

Mayor Don Briggs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thurmont

 Mayor John Kinnaird

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

by James Rada, Jr.

Emmitsburg

Water Alert Issued

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

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

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

Emmitsburg Town Election Update

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

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

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

New Animal Code Adopted

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

Commissioners Consider Exploring Speed Cameras

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

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

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

Thurmont

Town Gets First Installment of Federal Funds

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

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

Skate Park Funding Approved

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

Thurmont Studying Emmitsburg Road Flooding

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

Thurmont Gets 5th Tree City USA Designation

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

Town Annexes Apples United Church of Christ

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

Next Phase of Woodland Park Playground Moves Forward

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

Commission Appointments Made

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

by James Rada, Jr.

Thurmont

End-of-Year Budget Amendments Made

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

Stormwater Management Projects Approved

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

Thurmont Boulevard Study Progresses

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

Additional Park Projects Possible

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

Emmitsburg

Town Office Open for Walk-ins

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

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

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

ADA Curb Contract Awarded

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

Logging Contract Awarded

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

Concern for Bypass

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

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

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

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

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

Thurmont

 Mayor John Kinnaird

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

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

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

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

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

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

Emmitsburg

Mayor Don Briggs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Deb Abraham Spalding

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

by James Rada, Jr.

Emmitsburg

Face Mask Restrictions Loosen at Town Pool

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

Town Approves Agreements to Move Irishtown Road Work Forward

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

New Committee Members Named

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

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

Pavilion Bid Approved

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

Town Applying for Federal Assistance With USDA Rural Development

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

Thurmont

Trail Paving Bids Approved

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

Water and Sewer Main Work Approved   

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

Thurmont Gets Program Open Space Funding

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

A Day in the Park Returns

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

Emmitsburg

Mayor Don Briggs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thurmont

 Mayor John Kinnaird

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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