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by James Rada, Jr.

Thurmont

Fiscal Year 2025 Budget Approved

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners adopted the budget for Fiscal Year 2025 by adopting the constant yield real estate tax rate of 29.87 cents per $100 of assessed value of the property. The constant yield rate is the rate needed so that the town collects the same amount in taxes as the previous year, even if the assessments increase.

The new budget amounts to $5,311,658 in the general fund.

Also, although property taxes will remain flat, water and sewer rates will drastically increase in July, and electric rates will begin to fluctuate in January 2025 as the town moves to month-to-month rates that will hopefully net a lower overall rate for customers.

Commissioners’ Priorities for POS Money

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners recently reviewed their priorities for Fiscal Year 2025 Program Open Space funds. Mayor John Kinnaird noted that the fund pool is smaller this year. This could make it more difficult to get needed funding, depending on what the other municipalities in the county are seeking.

The Town of Thurmont is seeking:

$10,000 for a new pavilion, tables, and grills at Carroll Street Park.

$7,500 for a new scoreboard for the new East End Park softball field.

Solar lighting for the Eyler Road Park walkway—$13,000 for the front loop only or $26,000 for the entire loop.

If fully funded, these projects, under the current 90/10 match requirements, would need $4,350 in town funding.

Sewer and Water Rates Could Increase

After a review of the adequacy of water and sewer rates to generate the funds needed to operate, it has been recommended that the rates need to increase by at least 11 percent. The Thurmont Mayor and Board of Commissioners plan on holding a workshop about the rates and investigating the situation further.

Town Makes Annual Contributions

The Town of Thurmont recently presented checks to different organizations in town that provide needed services to town residents. The donations were:

•   Guardian Hose Co. – $30,000

•   Thurmont Community Ambulance – $30,000

•   Thurmont Food Bank – $6,000

•   Thurmont Ministerium – $1,000

Appointments Made

The Thurmont Police Department recently welcomed its newest police officer, Eduardo Alfonso Ballesteros, whom Thurmont Mayor John Kinnaird swore into the department.

New members were also appointed to the Thurmont Parks and Recreation Commission with staggered terms to avoid having to appoint the entire commission at once. The new members of the commission are:

•   Amie McDaniels (term expires May 7, 2028).

•   Jim Robbins (term expires May 7, 2028).

•   Keith Myers (term expires May 7, 2028).

•   Carl Weber (term expires May 7, 2026).

•   Wes Hamrick (term expires May 7, 2026).

Emmitsburg

New Soccer League Proposed

A group of citizens approached the Emmitsburg Mayor and Board of Commissioners with a proposal for a new municipal soccer league. Andy Crum, who spoke to the board of commissioners, said that having a sports program in town is something the town has been missing. They submitted a proposal to the town for how the league could be established. It is still in the early stages with the organizers looking for town input and support for the league.

Town Approves Deputy Contract

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners unanimously approved the Fiscal Year 2025 contract for law enforcement services with the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office. The new contract is for $349,806, which is 18.22 percent higher than the previous contract. This includes a 6 percent increase to the deputy pay scale, along with the associated benefits. There is also an increase to the vehicle maintenance rates and fuel costs.

New Park Bathroom/Concession Stand Approved

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners had to approve a new contract with South-Midland for a new pre-fabricated bathroom/concession stand in the E. Eugene Myers Park that will be located near the disc golf course and the ball field. The building is 23’4” x 19’-4” x 9’ high and is precast. The cost includes the delivery to the site.

The board previously approved a cost of $217,124 at the March 4, 2024, town meeting. However, it turned out that cost was no longer valid. The new estimate was for $239,531, which the board approved.

Budget Transfers Approved

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners approved the transfer of excess general fund money from the Fiscal Year 2023 budget. The town had a surplus of $446,287 that was transferred to capital improvement projects.

Excess revenue of $243,104 in FY 2023 with interest generated $110,000 additional revenue, and real estate taxes/local income taxes generated at $88,000 additional revenue.

The expenses for FY 2023 were also $203,182 less than anticipated.

Commissioners Get a First Look at the Budget

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners got their initial look at the Fiscal Year 2025 budget. The real estate tax will remain the same at 34 cents per $100 assessed value. Highway User Funds are up, but State Aid to Police will be decreasing. The budget also includes a 2 percent cost-of-living increase for employees, which is below average. It also includes two potential new positions: a town operations specialist and a water and sewer operator.

The proposed general fund budget is $2,525,468, a 16 percent increase over the current year. The proposed general fund capital projects budget is $143,347 with $889,944 to remain in balance.

The proposed stormwater management fund is $26,889, a 459 percent increase over the current year.

The proposed water fund is $215,570, a 1,945 percent increase. It should be noted that this fund will lose money this fiscal year.

The proposed sewer fund is $215,146, a 395 percent increase. It should be noted that this fund will lose money this fiscal year.

THURMONT

Mayor John Kinnaird

On Saturday, May 11, Karen and I attended the remembrance ceremony for Commissioner Bill Buehrer. The gathering was held at Stauffer’s Funeral Home on Opposumtown Pike in Frederick and was well attended. I was pleasantly surprised by the number of people there that I knew. Since Bill and I were not social friends, I had the chance to meet many of his and Colleen’s relatives, personal friends, and business associates. Bill and I spent a considerable amount of time together at town meetings and municipal events. He was a true fan and great supporter of Thurmont, and he is missed dearly.

There was no formal service, but Colleen invited anyone to get up and talk about their experiences with Bill and share a humorous story about him. Several got up to speak and told us how Bill had befriended them and how nice a guy he was. After some thought, I got up to the microphone to share my amusing Bill story. But, first, I gave a little background on how Bill and I met. We met sitting in the back row at the town office while attending town meetings. As those who have been here long enough will remember, they were a pretty raucous and discouraging affair. We sat through some pretty bad meetings, and after an especially difficult stretch of meetings, we both told each other that we were going to run for office. There were several things we disagreed with, one being the effort to silence public comment during town meetings, and another was how residents were treated during the meetings. One of the biggest issues we saw was that there was a three-to-two vote on almost everything that came to a vote. Sadly, the majority vote was not always for the good of the community but rather was a vote to railroad something or as a spiteful or vindictive measure. Bill and I ran and were both successful in our campaigns. I proudly served with Bill for 12 years, every one of which was immensely productive for our community.

Now, to my funny story about Bill. We never agreed on everything, but we could each easily have a laugh at the other’s expense. One time, he was upset with me about something, and he couldn’t think of anything to say other than, “At least some of us know how to shine our shoes.” I remember looking at him and asking what the heck that meant! Then, I pointed out that I was dressed in my typical work attire of a workshirt, work pants, and work boots. I also pointed out that he was dressed in his work clothes: a suit, tie, and shiny shoes. I asked him what the difference was, and he couldn’t tell me! We parted good friends that evening, as we did every day we saw each other.

Some people thought Bill was tough or that he could be hard-headed. I know Bill was a real softy on the inside. I remember the evening when he announced that Governor Hogan had been diagnosed with cancer. Bill got all choked up just talking about it. Bill suffered from cancer, and we spoke about it often. One day, I bumped into him at the radiation therapy lab at Johns Hopkins, and we both spoke at length about our battles with cancer. Any doubt regarding the size of his heart should have been squashed if you paid any attention to how much of himself he poured into the Gateway to the Cure Cancer Fundraiser every year. We would not have been as successful without Bill’s unwavering support and hard work.

I, for one, miss Bill immensely.

Emmitsburg

Mayor Frank Davis

The month of May seems like a blur, but it gave me the opportunity to experience a different side of the mayor’s position.

On Saturday, May 4, I was honored to deliver the welcoming address to the families of 226 firefighters who lost their lives in the line of duty. Having the time to talk with the families and hear their stories was an experience that will stay in my heart. It also brought back the memories of 25 years ago when our town honored one of our own. Terry L. Myers, a 33-year member of the Vigilant Hose Company, died while battling a brush fire. His name is permanently etched in stone at the Fallen Firefighters Memorial on the campus of the National Emergency Training Center.

On May 21, I attended the graduation ceremony for the Catoctin High School (CHS) Class of 2024. As I watched each student receive their diploma, I could picture how each one will have the opportunity to make a positive impact on the world in the years to come. I am proud to be a CHS graduate and amazed by the teachers and staff who continue to mentor our students year after year. Success starts with great leadership, and Catoctin High has been blessed with Principal Jennifer Clements. I have personally witnessed her dedication to improving our school and her daily interaction with the students. GO COUGARS!!

A few months ago, I mentioned a new phone app that we would be launching to better communicate with you daily and, more importantly, in the event of an emergency. “My Emmitsburg” is up and running, and we will continue to add new features and information to keep you informed of the happenings of the town. This app can be downloaded from the Apple or Google store, or you can scan one of the many barcodes around town. If you need assistance, please contact the town office.

Some upcoming events for the month of June will include a youth baseball tournament held the first two weekends of the month. This will bring hundreds of players and spectators to town, so please graciously welcome them to our community. Flag Day is June 14, and the Francis X. Elder American Legion Post 121 will be holding a ceremony at 7:00 p.m. in Community Park off Chesapeake Avenue. To finish out the month is our Emmitsburg Community Heritage Day celebration on June 29. Please visit the website at emmitsburgevents.com for a list of events and activities.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns related to town business, please reach out to me and I will get back to you as soon as possible.

Woodsboro

Burgess Heath Barnes

Greetings and welcome to summer. Summer is my favorite season. With summer, also comes children being out of school. I urge you to use caution as more children will be out and about enjoying their summer break and may not always be aware when they are crossing the street, etc.

At our May 2nd meeting—held earlier in the month so that we could meet the minimum of 30-day notice of giving out the budget before voting on it—we had a quiet meeting. I would like to thank the Woodsboro Volunteer Fire Department for accommodating us and allowing us to use the facilities at the last minute, as our regular meeting place was being used.

Our June 11th meeting will be busy; we will be voting on the upcoming budget. Although not a lot of changes were made, a few had to be made to accommodate the ever-changing rise in prices for our water and sewer. I am also happy to announce that we have received an adjusted building cost proposal for the town hall. I will be presenting that to the council, along with financing options from Woodsboro Bank to be voted on. The hope is that we can make this new proposal quote work, and we will finally be starting the much-anticipated town hall.

We had several exciting events in Woodsboro during May. The first was the celebration of Woodsboro Banks’ 125th anniversary. They are the oldest locally owned bank in the county, and the ceremony brought elected officials and members from government offices from across the county and state to Woodsboro for the celebration. In addition, long-time bank employee JR Delauter was able to secure a historic plaque for the building from the Frederick County Landmarks Association. It is very exciting. The building that houses the headquarters was built in 1901, and at one time, was the home of the opera house, the post office, and many other things, as well as the bank. The first artisan farmers market was held at Trout’s grocery store on May 19, from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., moved due to rain. The annual Memorial Day parade, put on by the American Legion, will be held on Sunday, May 26. It is a wonderful event for our town. Thank you in advance to all who participate in the parade or come out to enjoy it.

We did sign a contract, as requested by multiple town residents, with a new street sweeper company. We are going to begin having them sweep four times a year, but we may increase to six times per year based on the need.

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

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

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

by James Rada, Jr.

Thurmont

Town Considering Adjusting Water and Sewer Rates

Chris Simms with Smart Utilities Management talked with the commissioners about the need to raise water and sewer rates in town.

The town’s water rates haven’t been adjusted since 2012, and the water system is starting to run at a deficit as the capital reserves in the enterprise fund have been used. In 2023, the fund just covered costs, and this year, it will have a $200,000 deficit.

Increasing costs due to inflation are the reason that the need to adjust the rate is happening.

Simms suggested increasing the rate by 15 percent for the fiscal year 2025, with possible increases of 15 percent in the next two years, if needed, to bring the budget back into line with where it needs to be.

A 15 percent increase to rates would increase the average home’s water bill by $10 a quarter and a $15 per quarter increase in the average sewer bill. This means that the average homeowner’s bill will increase by a total of $100 a year.

New Police And Commission Members Sworn In

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners recently swore in new Thurmont Police Officer Kevin Eyler. They also swore in new planning and zoning commission members, Grant Johnson, as a regular member, and Vincent Cover as the alternate member. Their term will end on March 5, 2029.

Town Approves New Bonds

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners voted recently to allow the town to issue bonds not to exceed $2.4 million to pay for needed infrastructure improvements.

Emmitsburg

. Water Treatment Plant Clarifier and Dam Engineering Bids Approved

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners approved a bid for the construction of a water clarifier at the water treatment plant on Crystal Fountain Road. Conewago submitted the low bid of $2,329,561. It was 7 percent lower than the town engineer’s estimate and 6.07 percent lower than the second-lowest bid.

In a somewhat related action, the commissioners also approved a bid for engineering services on the Emmitsburg dam, which is required by the Maryland Department of the Environment. After two inspections of the dam, MDE required six things that the town needed to do to bring the dam into compliance. CPJ of Silver Spring won the contract with a bid of $72,426 and will perform all the compliance items MDE requires. Town staff was impressed by the depth of the inspection that CPJ’s performed.

Two-hour Time Limit on Parking Removed and Meter Fees Increased

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners voted to remove the two-hour parking limit on Main Street, which will now allow vehicles to park for 48 hours on the street without needing to be moved.

The commissioners also voiced to increase the parking meter fee to 25 cents for a half hour and 50 cents for an hour.

Citation Box Removed

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners voted to remove the red citation box at the old town office on East Main Street. According to town staff, the box is not being used, and there are alternate ways for citations to be paid, such as using the black citation box at the town office or mailing the payment to the office.

Rainbow Lake Pump House Bridge Replacement Approved

The bridge at the Rainbow Lake pump house has been found to be structurally flawed and hazardous. According to a safety report, it is no longer straight and shakes when walked upon. This will hinder work at the pump house because it can’t be used, especially to carry heavy items across.

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners voted to hire PlasTech in Baltimore to replace the bridge with a new one made of a Fiberglass material and has a life expectancy of more than 50 years. It will also be fitted to the valve house and concrete structure of the dam. The cost of the contract is $160,959.

New Bid Approved for Depaul St. Water Line

Although the Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners approved a bid to replace 2,340 feet of an 8-inch iron water line, that contractor withdrew its bid. This required the commissioners to award the bid a second time. Besides the water line, fire hydrants will be replaced, the pavement and side will be replaced, and traffic will need to be managed.

Huntsberry Brothers was awarded the contract for $1,217,250. It will be paid for with funds from three different grants.

THURMONT

Mayor John Kinnaird

May is here, and nature is treating us to a spectacularly colorful show! I love seeing the mountain as the green leaves appear at the bottom and rise to the top over a few weeks. The amazing weather will also bring out bike riders, hikers, skateboarders, and runners. Be sure to give plenty of right-of-way for our neighbors and guests as they enjoy the great outdoors.

This month, I want to thank our community volunteers. Thurmont has several citizen commissions, including Planning & Zoning, Board of Appeals, Police Commission, Parks and Recreation Commission, Thurmont Addiction Commission, Ethics Commission, and Thurmont Green Team. Positions on these commissions are filled by community volunteers. Each and every one of these volunteers serves our community by sacrificing their free time to attend meetings and events, and they are deserving of our thanks and gratitude. Openings on all the commissions are advertised, and members are selected to serve for a term that averages four years. I encourage everyone to please consider applying for these positions as they are available. Being a volunteer not only helps our town, but the act of serving the community can be personally satisfying.

Recently, the Thurmont Police Commission, Woodsboro Bank, and Thurmont Police Department sponsored the Community Shred Event. The shred event is held twice a year at the Thurmont Police Department. Residents can bring as many as five boxes of personal, medical, business, financial, service, and other paper records to have securely shredded at no cost. Members of the Police Commission, Woodsboro Bank employees, and Police officers help by unloading boxes and placing the documents in the large bin before it is dumped into the shredder. Residents don’t even have to get out of their cars, but they are welcome to park and observe their papers being shredded if they desire to do so. As part of this biannual event, residents are encouraged to bring along a cash or nonperishable food donation for the Thurmont Food Bank. All the individuals helping with this event are also volunteers!

The Thurmont Green Team sponsored its annual Greenfest with the help of the Thurmont Regional Library. Last week’s Greenfest featured 28 tabletop displays, with crafts and educational material for various ecological and conservation topics. The Greenfest had over 600 attendees and was a great success. The Town of Thurmont received our eighth straight Tree City USA award during the Greenfest. A large part of this award comes from the hard work of volunteers who help plant trees and flowers in Thurmont. Several hundred trees have been planted by volunteers, including school children, Scouts, adults, and Green Team members. You may have noticed the beautiful daffodils that sprung up around town this spring, which were also planted by Green Team volunteers! The Green Team also helps with invasive plant control and flower gardens on our Trolley Trail. Thurmont has always enjoyed a beautiful green canopy; the efforts of these volunteers will help ensure our community has trees to enjoy well into the future.

Thurmont is fortunate to have several wonderful organizations that work hard to make our community the best possible place to live in Frederick County. The Thurmont Lions Club sponsored the Annual Easter Egg Hunt in Community Park. The Lions have held this spring event for more than 80 years! The Lions Club holds many events throughout the year to raise funds for its many community projects. I attended the Thurmont Grange #409 Annual Awards ceremony, where they recognized several residents for their continued support of agriculture in the community. The Grange named the Thurmont Kountry Kitchen as business of the year for their support of local children during the pandemic and their fundraising efforts for our neighbors in need. I also attend events sponsored by Thurmont Scouting. We have an amazing Scout organization that educates children in outdoor activities, sporting events, and valuable guidance so that the Scouts grow into productive, considerate, and well-rounded community members. The Scouts also hold a yearly drive to collect toys for Toys For Tots. This joint venture with the United States Marine Corps helps provide Christmas gifts for many less fortunate children in our region.

There are many other groups and associations that work selflessly to improve the lives of our residents and make our community the best it can be.

These volunteers have many reasons for doing what they do. Every one of them helps because of a deep-seated desire to improve the lives of others. They don’t expect much in return, but we, as a community, owe all of them a great deal of gratitude for their sacrifices. Again, I would like to thank the members of the town commissions and all the members of our many community organizations for all they do for our community. You may not always be thanked for your service—and, unfortunately, there are those who are critical—but each of you should be assured that the majority of our community appreciates your hard work and commitment.

I hope everyone enjoys a wonderful month of May. As always, I can be reached by phone at 301-606-9458 or by email at jkinnaird@thurmont.com.

Emmitsburg

Mayor Frank Davis

As we are halfway through the spring season, it is the time of year to work on your list of chores that have built up over the winter. You also need to take time and enjoy other activities, and May is full of things to do.

On May 3-5, we will, once again, host the National Fallen Firefighter Memorial Service. This will bring families from across the country to Emmitsburg as part of the healing process from losing a loved one in the line of duty. Please help me welcome our guests and make them feel at home during their visit.

The Emmitsburg Eagles PTO will be hosting a Spring Festival on May 4 at the E. Eugene Myers Community Park. There will be vendors and activities for the whole family.

The Emmitsburg Lions Club will hold a Chicken BBQ at the VHC Activities Building on Creamery Road on May 4.

The Vigilant Hose Company will hold its much-anticipated Annual Spring Fling at the Activities Building on Creamery Road on May 11.

Mount Saint Mary’s University will hold its 2024 graduation ceremony, which will bring family members of the graduates to celebrate this exciting event, on May 11.

Please check the organization’s social media sites for more details.

I am excited that we are kicking off our new Citizen Alert and Notification Application. Please visit the town website at www.emmitsburgmd.gov for more information.

Finally, I know many of you have experienced water issues during the last 30 days, and we appreciate your understanding. We have had several incidents that contributed to low pressure and brown water. The fire hydrant system was used for a fire incident, along with annual hydrant flushing and flow testing. We experienced two water main breaks and a malfunction with a pressure-reducing valve. We are taking steps to minimize these disruptions and will continue to upgrade our water system to reduce the effects to your homes and businesses.

I will be out and about walking the neighborhoods daily, and I hope to meet and chat with you to talk about your thoughts on our great little town.

Woodsboro

Burgess Heath Barnes

Greetings and happy May. This is one of my favorite months as we transition into the summer. I always personally associate the Memorial Day Holiday with the beginning of the fun summer months.

At our April 9 meeting, we were joined by the builders who are going to build nine townhouses on Second Street. He informed us that construction will begin before the end of the year, and once started, will go up rather quickly. As far as the town hall update, we are awaiting the updated rate proposal from the builder to take a vote on it with the council. We are hoping that we will have these numbers to present at the next meeting.

Our May meeting will be held on Thursday, May 2, at 7:00 p.m., instead of the usual second Tuesday of the month. Due to scheduling conflicts with council members and the importance of the May meeting, we moved it to accommodate. We are hopeful that at the May meeting, we will have a town hall updated bid proposal to bid on. We will present our fiscal 2025 year budget proposal to the council, which will then be voted on for approval at the June 11 meeting. Per code, the budget has to be given to the council at least 30 days before taking a vote on it, so that is why the meeting was moved to earlier in May.

Some upcoming exciting happenings are going on in Woodsboro. The first will be the artisan farmers market to be held at Trout’s Grocery Store on May 18, from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. The second will be the annual Memorial Day parade that is put on by the American Legion and will take place on Sunday, May 26, at 1:00 p.m.

Mary, our town clerk, is in negotiations with another street sweeper company since the one that we were using disappeared without notice. We have heard the concerns from residents regarding the buildup along the streets and gutters.

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

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

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

American Legion Post 168, Thurmont

April showers bring May flowers! I just hope it didn’t drown them all!

Speaking of flowers, May is Poppy month. The last Friday of May is National Poppy Day! Wear a red poppy to honor the fallen and support the living who have worn our nation’s uniform. Don’t have a Poppy to wear? Stop by the Legion or the following Thurmont businesses will have Poppy’s available: Main Street Thurmont, Marie’s Beauty Salon, Kountry Kitchen, Criswell Chevrolet and Criswell Chrysler, Bollinger’s Restaurant, Gateway Candyland, and the last two weeks of May at Scenic View Orchards. We are hoping to add some more businesses, so if you see a Poppy Can and a basket of Poppies, please help yourself. We do not charge for them; we just ask for a donation that goes to our Veterans.

May is also the time to celebrate Mother’s (May 12) and National Military Appreciation Month with the last Monday (May 27) of the month celebrating Memorial Day. Memorial Day is a holiday that commemorates men and women who died while in Military service to the United States. It also is a signal that summer is on the way and barbeque season is opening. What better way is there to celebrate our brave heroes, who have died serving our Country, than dusting off the barbeque, gathering family and friends, and celebrating with a wonderful barbeque platter and all of the trimmings.

Although we celebrate Memorial Day on the last Monday of May, May 30 will be the Memorial Day program at the Thurmont Memorial Park, starting at 6:30 p.m. Please join us for this moving event.

The Easter Egg Hunt on March 30 was a huge success. We know it is a year away,  but hopefully, you will mark your calendar for next year!

Attention Auxiliary Junior Members: Dues for 2025 (starting July 1, 2024) will be increasing to $12.00.

We have a lot of events coming up soon, so stay up to date with our Facebook page: The American Legion Post 168.

The Americanism Essay winners read their essays and were given their certificates and monetary prizes by Americanism Chair Alice Eyler. The topic of the essay was “What Does Freedom Mean to Me?” Pictured are Taylor Zais, Lily Tankersley, Tansy Loughry, Eli Yocum, Julia Marl, Ella Rose, Brynn Eyler, Ryan Werner, Blake Necciai, and Matthew Cox, with Americanism Chairperson Alice Eyler. Not pictured are Kalee Hull and Peighton Rhinehart.

Kids enjoy the Easter Egg Hunt at the Thurmont American Legion on March 30.

by James Rada, Jr.

Thurmont

Parking Option Explored

Parking in downtown Thurmont has become a problem, with the municipal parking lot regularly filled to capacity. Thurmont Economic Development Director Vickie Grinder and Commissioner Bill Blakeslee investigated possible solutions to the problem and came up with a promising solution.

They reached an agreement in principle with the American Legion to turn the empty field beside the Legion hall into a parking lot. The town would develop and maintain the parking lot, which would create an additional 40 to 50 parking spaces. The Legion would still own the land and carry the liability insurance for the parking lot. The lots would then be available for both as a municipal lot and for Legion activities.

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners believe the solution is worth pursuing. They directed Chief Administrative Officer Jim Humerick to get estimates on what it would cost to build the parking lot.

Commissioners Take Action On Sidewalk Obstructions

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners voted to revise the municipal code to stop homeowners from allowing the sidewalks on their property to be obstructed without a special permit from the town. Failure to do so will now result in a civil fine. The issue arose because a home in town kept scaffolding up for an extended period of time, forcing people, including school students, to walk in the street to get around the property.

The changes also make the property responsible for keeping the sidewalk in reasonable repair. Failure to do so will also be a civil infraction and fined.

YMCA Bringing Programs to Thurmont

Interest in bringing the Frederick County YMCA to Thurmont began in 2019, and it looked like it would happen in 2020, but then COVID hit and shut down just about everything. Since then, the YMCA has had to rethink how it delivers programming to underserved areas of the county. They developed a program called “Y on the Fly,” which is a mobile program that can bring equipment into an area and essentially create a pop-up YMCA.

In the coming months, the YMCA has a set of programs coming to Thurmont. A painting and drawing class will be held at the Thurmont Regional Library. A running club for children 7-12 years old will be held in the Community Park. A health class that talks about not only exercise, but also sleep and cardiovascular health, will be held in the library. In addition, the YMCA will also sponsor a one-day basketball skills clinic for children, ages 8-14.

The feedback from these classes will help the YMCA staff evaluate the need for and types of programming in Thurmont.

Sludge Pumps for the Wastewater Treatment Plant

Thurmont’s wastewater treatment plant has aging sludge pumps, one of which failed recently. At the request of Superintendent Randy Eyler, the Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners voted to authorize $30,000 for the purchase of two new pumps for the plant.

Contract Awarded

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners awarded a $147,500 contract to Clean Cuts Lawn Care of Cavetown to cut the grass on town property for 2024 and 2025.

They also awarded Superior Facilities Management Services in Gaithersburg a $141,898.25 contract to replace the Community Park tennis courts.

Emmitsburg.

Town Receives Clean Audit

Michelle Mills and Addie Blickenstaff, CPAs with Deleon and Stang, presented the results of the annual independent audit of Emmitsburg’s financial statements for Fiscal Year 2023. They gave the town an unmodified or clean opinion, which is the highest rating that can be given.

However, the auditors did note some adjustments that needed to be done with the reports.

The material adjustments needed were in the capital projects, sewer, and water funds. This was because money paid with grant funds is not requested for reimbursement until the project is complete. Because of the time delay, it causes a mismatch sometimes between grant revenues and expenditures. The auditors recommended that the town review its policies to see if a more timely billing for grants can be done.

Two other adjustments were needed with the sewer fund that the auditors identified as an oversight during the financial close process.

Depaul Street Waterline Replacement Contract Awarded

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners awarded a contract to replace 2,340 feet of 8-inch waterline, replace the fire hydrants and copper water services, restore the asphalt pavement and concrete sidewalks, and traffic control along DePaul Street to W.F. Delauter & Son. Theirs was the low bid of $849,220.63. The project will be paid for with funds from three different grants.

Trash Contract Awarded

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners awarded a three-year trash service contract to Republic Services of Frederick. Republic will collect trash from approximately 1,142 units in town, weekly, and dispose of it in the landfill. In addition to curbside pick-up, Republic will also provide bulk-item curbside pickup twice a year and a roll-off dumpster for yard waste and discarded Christmas trees. The cost of the contract was $117,252, annually.

Change In Plan for New Park Restroom/Concession Stand

Upon recommendation from town staff, the Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners rejected the bids received for building a pre-fab restroom/concession stand building at E. Eugene Myers Park. It was found that if the town purchased the building directly from Smith Midland, it could save the town around $70,000. Although the town still needs to bid for the site work, the submitted bids included a mark-up from the bidders. This is roughly the amount the town will save by working directly with the manufacturer.

The commissioners voted to spend $217,124 to purchase the building from Smith Midland. They also voted to request bids for the site work, which is expected to cost around $50,000.

It looks like spring is finally here! The flowers are all starting to bloom. The children will start their outdoor sports, and life will get busy. Remember to always check in on our Veterans.

April 5th is Gold Star Spouses Day. This is a day that honors spouses who lost their military significant other due to their Military service.

Poppy Posters are due to the Legion by April 15. If you have any questions, please email thurmontlegionaux168@gmail.com.

The Legion, SAL, and the Auxiliary are always looking for ways to help our Veterans and the community. Over the next several months, we have lots going on, so please follow us on Facebook and check the Community Calendar in this issue for event dates and times. And mark your calendars now for exciting upcoming Legion events, including getting your dancing shoes on for Dinner and Line Dancing for St. Jude on April 5, a Poppy Wreath Fundraiser on April 7, the 2nd Annual Car Show on June 15, and the 3rd Annual Legion Golf Tournament at Maple Run to benefit Platoon 22 and other Veteran programs on June 21.

by James Rada, Jr.

Thurmont

Commissioners to Address Blocked Sidewalks

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners are looking to amend the town code to address obstructions to the sidewalk because of construction and renovation. Currently, there is nothing in the ordinance that addresses this problem. The proposed changes are based on the Walkersville town code and would require workers to get a permit when they expect to block the sidewalk. The permit would allow the sidewalk to be blocked for up to 10 business days, or it would have to be taken down. The problem is seen as a safety issue because pedestrians are having to walk in the street to get around scaffolding.

New Streetlight Approved

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners approved the purchase of 85 LED streetlights to complete the Gateway subdivision. The town received three bids and approved a low bid of $59,415 from Catoctin Lighting.

The town also released a statement about concerns raised from the earlier installation of streetlights in the subdivision. Upon investigation, it was discovered that although the town and contractor believed they had purchased lights that had the same wattage and lumens as the ones they were replacing, the manufacturer had made changes that altered the lights. The town and contractor were not aware of this change.

Most of the funding comes from a Maryland Smart Energy Communities Grant for $53,010. The remaining amount will come from the streetlights line item in the electric budget.

Emmitsburg

Extended Office Hours

Beginning in March, the Emmitsburg Town Office will be open 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. This is a six-month trial to see if residents who are working during normal business hours and can’t get into the office to take care of business will make use of the extended hours.

Budget Gets Minor Restructuring

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners voted to move the home departments for three positions, which will move the benefits and taxes associated with those positions out of the water and sewer funds. This will make those budgets smaller, but it will increase general fund expenses by a similar amount. This means there will be no net difference.

The changes are:

    Move the office coordinator from the water fund to the finance department.

    Move the town clerk from the water fund to the finance department.

    Move the town manager from the sewer fund to the legislative department.

The changes will shift $96,702 from one department to another.

Town Accepts Rutter’s Pump Station

The town voted to take over the new Rutter’s pump station, which Rutter’s built to handle the needs of the new store on East Main Street. The advantage for the town is that the new station was built with enough capacity to also handle any new development across the street from the Rutter’s store.

Mayor Takes Issue with the County

Mayor Frank Davis was critical of Frederick County government during a recent town meeting. As the town prepares to implement its back-flow preventer cross-connection program, “All of a sudden, Frederick County wants to be involved in this project, so they can charge for a permit,” Davis said.

Davis said that conversations with plumbers and town staff have shown him that this is not something that should require a county permit, and the valve can’t be tested, so an inspection would be useless.

“I just see it as a money grab for the county,” Davis said.

Commission and Committee Appointments

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners recently appointed Dale Sharrer as a full member of the planning commission, effective February 20, 2024. They also appointed Leslie Frei to the sustainable communities workgroup, with a term running from February 12, 2024 to February 12, 2029.

Emmitsburg

Mayor Frank Davis

As the winter months are flying by, we are starting to plan for warmer weather. We are in the planning stage for an improved farmers’ market. We are still looking for new vendors and are excited about the return of last year’s participants.

Softball and baseball will again fill our parks with regular league play, as well as several large weekend tournaments. This is not only good for our youths who participate, but it is a bonus for our local businesses. On any given weekend, hundreds of fans can be found walking our streets and patronizing local shops and eateries. Thank you to the Thurmont Little League for bringing baseball back to Emmitsburg.

Plans are shaping up for our community garden, which is located beside the Emmitsburg Community Center on Cedar Avenue. Local resident Jack Deathridge will again take the lead with his crew, willing to expand the footprint of last year’s garden to accommodate new gardeners of all ages.

Spring sports are in full swing at Mount St. Mary’s University, and it is worth the trip to check them out. Both men’s and women’s teams are going to be extremely competitive, so check out the Mount’s website for schedules.

Town staff is working hard on updating our comprehensive plan. Workshops have been held over the winter months, with the final gathering on March 25 at the town office. The workshop will begin at 7:00 p.m.

We have openings on several committees, and we need you to become part of our team. Please visit the town website at emmitsburgmd.gov for more information or contact the office at 301-600-6300.

Beginning March 11, the town office will extend its office hours. The office will be open from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, for your convenience.

Finally, as I approach the end of my first six months in my new position, I want to thank you for your support. While we may have had different opinions and ideas on how to govern our town, everyone has been polite and respectful. Many of you have stepped forward to serve on committees and continue to be an important part of the success of the town. Please give me a call or visit me in the office to share your ideas or just for a chat.                              

Thurmont

 Mayor John Kinnaird

Here we are in March already! Winter will soon be behind us, and things will start getting green. My favorite flowers are daffodils, and this spring, I think we will see daffodils popping up all around Thurmont, thanks to the Thurmont Green Team. I hope everyone enjoys the amazing range of colors that bloom in early spring.

The North Church Street project is coming along on schedule. As with every large public works project, there are traffic delays and some inconveniences for residents. We appreciate everyone’s patience! The work from Woodside Avenue to Rt. 15 is expected to be completed by late April, while the work from Rt. 15 to Catoctin High School (CHS) will be completed during summer vacation at CHS. This project is one of the largest single infrastructure projects we have done in several years and will address several issues. Most residents are unaware of the infrastructure buried beneath our streets and sidewalks. These systems, as with all others, have a working lifespan, and the water and wastewater lines are reaching their useful ends. Over the past several years, we have been addressing I&I (inflow and infiltration) issues in our wastewater system. Much of the pipes on North Church Street are terra-cotta, and over the years, the joints have separated. These pipes can let a lot of wild water into the system, and every gallon of that has to be treated. The new wastewater lines will help eliminate much of that water. The water lines also need to be replaced with new pipes with fewer changes in pipe size and the elimination of a few bottlenecks. This project is being funded with American Rescue Act Funds. Once this work is completed, the SHA will be repaving the entire roadway.

Work has been ongoing on the new softball field at East End Park. This project is funded through Program Open Space grants. The field features lights for night games and should be ready for regular play early this fall.

The tennis court at the Community Park is being removed and replaced with a new court, lights, and fencing. The court will feature tennis and pickleball markings. Work has commenced on the renovation of the playground at the entrance to Eyler Road Park. The new equipment will feature a Cougar theme! Both of these projects will be completed before Memorial Day. I want to thank our Parks Department for the amazing work they do maintaining our parks and getting them ready for spring!

Good weather will bring out lots of kids and adults walking, running, and riding bikes or skateboards on our sidewalks and trails. Please drive responsibly, and be aware of everyone sharing the road and using our trails and walkways.

On a personal note, I recently spent some time at Frederick Health Hospital. I want to thank all the doctors, nurses, and support staff whom I had the privilege of meeting while there. We are very fortunate to have such an outstanding medical facility at our doorstep.

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

I hope everyone has a wonderful March!

Woodsboro

Burgess Heath Barnes

Happy March! The first month of spring has arrived and, hopefully, this brings more sunshine and warmth. As they say, March winds and April showers will bring May flowers, and I am ready for them and warmer weather.

I attended the annual Maryland Mayors Conference last month in Annapolis. I always enjoy this conference, as we often hear details of how pending legislation in Annapolis will affect our municipalities, in either a positive or sometimes not-so-positive way. Last month, we had to change our monthly town meeting to February 20, instead of the typical second Tuesday of the month, due to some unforeseen circumstances.

The February meeting was quiet, as we are still awaiting the new bid proposal from the town hall builder to see if we can get the bid down to the amount the town can easily afford. We are very confident, with some cuts that we have made, that we will get it down to the dollar amount we are looking for. We also discussed the next event in town, which is the annual Easter Egg Hunt that is hosted by the Town of Woodsboro and the Woodsboro Volunteer Fire Department. The Easter Egg Hunt will be held this year on March 30 at 2:00 p.m. in the town park. All children are invited to attend this free community event.

There were some issues with the lights at the basketball and tennis courts, as the line was accidentally cut off when the lights for the skating park were installed. They have been repaired, and all is working well now. Thank you to the Woodsboro Volunteer Fire Department for adding water to the pond while it was frozen to smooth it out. It was so nice seeing the frozen pond and the sledding hill being used so much this winter with all the snowfalls we have had and the cold temperatures that froze the pond.

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

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

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

Emmitsburg

Mayor Frank Davis

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thurmont

 Mayor John Kinnaird

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

Woodsboro

Burgess Heath Barnes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

American Legion Post 168, Thurmont

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

The month of February has some interesting days.

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

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

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

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

by James Rada, Jr.

Thurmont

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

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

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

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

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

New Leadership at the Thurmont Police Department

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

Town Receives a Clean Audit

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

Town Considering Reopening Facebook Page To Comments

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

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

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

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

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

Town Celebrates 10 Years of Gateway to the Cure

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

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

Woodland Ave. and Water St. Paving Project Approved

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

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

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

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

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

Emmitsburg

Town In Danger Of Losing Parking Meter Grant

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

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

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

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

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

Expect Stricter Enforcement Along West Main Street

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

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

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

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

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

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

New Grant

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

Appointments Made

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

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

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

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

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

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

Emmitsburg

Mayor Frank Davis

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thurmont

 Mayor John Kinnaird

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

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

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

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

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

Woodsboro

Burgess Heath Barnes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

by James Rada, Jr.

Thurmont

New Commissioners Sworn In

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

Connection and Impact Fees Raised

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

The new impact fees are:

Water — $3,935, up from $2,885.

Wastewater — $5,575, up from $2,275.

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

Roads — $2,760, up from $1,500.

Parks — $1,840, up from $1,000.

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

Water — $4,145, up from $2,500.

Sewer — $5,065, up from $2,500.

Easements Released

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

Emmitsburg

Appointments Made

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

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

Board Reorganized

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

President: Amy Boehman-Pollitt

Vice President: Jim Hoover

Treasurer: Valerie Turnquist

Parks and Recreation Committee Liaison: Tim O’Donnell

Planning Commission Liaison: Valerie Turnquist

Citizens’ Advisory Committee: Jim Hoover

Town Gets Some Water Fund Relief

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

Emmitsburg

Mayor Frank Davis

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thurmont

Mayor John Kinnaird

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

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

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

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

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

Here are some thoughts from others who served with Bill.

Former Commissioner Wes Hamrick:

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

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

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

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

Commissioner Wayne Hooper:

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

CAO Jim Humerick:

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

CFO Linda Joyce:

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

Economic Development Manager Vickie Grinder:

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

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

Woodsboro

Burgess Heath Barnes

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

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

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

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

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

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

by James Rada, Jr.

Thurmont

Colorfest Services Approved

Shentel Will Offer Fiber Optic Service

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

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

Hammaker Hills Phase 2 Documents Approved

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

WWTP Roof to be Replaced

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

Police Commissioner Candidates Approved

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

Colorfest Permits

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

Road Paving Approved

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

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

Impact Fees Increased

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

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

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

Emmitsburg

Davis and Turnquist Take Office

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

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

Town Honors Mayor Briggs

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

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

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

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

Some Water Fund Relief

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

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

McNair Property Applicants Need to Initiate Annexation Request

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

Town Gets Parking Meter Grant

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

Emmitsburg

Mayor Frank Davis

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thurmont
Mayor John Kinnaird

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Woodsboro

Burgess Heath Barnes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

by James Rada, Jr.

Thurmont

Colorfest Services Approved

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

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

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

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

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

Electric Substation Fence Replacement Approved

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

Electric Department Bond Issue Discussed

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

Eyler Road Park Playground Replacement Approved

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

Emmitsburg

Town Thanks Ritz for His Service

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

Seton Shrine Museum Deed of Easement Approved

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

No Parking on Streets During Snow Emergencies

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

Minimum Bid Set for Tax Sale

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

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

Emmitsburg

Mayor Don Briggs

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

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

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

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

From Lib and me, thank you.

Thurmont

 Mayor John Kinnaird

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

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

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

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

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

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

Woodsboro

Burgess Heath Barnes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

by James Rada, Jr.

Thurmont

Approved Bids

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

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

Annual Donations Made

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

Ordinance Changes Made

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

Emmitsburg

Upcoming Election

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

New Zoning Designation Approved

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

Appointments Made

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

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

Thurmont

 Mayor John Kinnaird

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

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

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

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

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

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

Emmitsburg

Mayor Don Briggs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Woodsboro

Burgess Heath Barnes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Emmitsburg

Mayor Don Briggs

ON VACATION

Thurmont

 Mayor John Kinnaird

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Woodsboro

Burgess Heath Barnes

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

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

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

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

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

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

by James Rada, Jr.

Thurmont

Town Joins Mass Tort Action

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

Thurmont To Get An App

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

Program Open Space Money Awarded

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

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

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

Commissioners Set Tax Rate

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

Town Approves Budget

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

Emmitsburg

Board Passes FY2024 Budget

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

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

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

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

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

Sewer Rate Moratorium Enacted

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

Bid Approved

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

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

New Grants Awarded

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

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