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In March, when Thurmont Kountry Kitchen Restaurant owners, Sherry and Rob Myers, heard that the Frederick County Public School System had initially left out Northern Frederick County as part of its student lunch provisions during the coronavirus shutdowns in March, they immediately took action to fill the gap. Sherry said, “I want to make sure the kids are fed.”

Plans were made to hand out bagged lunches for kids from their restaurant on Water Street in Thurmont and the Vigilant Hose Company’s Fire House on West Main Street in Emmitsburg.

While working the lunch station in Emmitsburg, the Myers’ son Bobby explained, “We just knew we’ve gotta do something. We do it for the kids. We all have to stick together. We won’t turn anyone away.”

Since starting the program, the Myers’ have been stunned by the outpouring of community support. The Town of Emmitsburg, the Vigilant Hose Company, the Facebook community, and the Catoctin community showed up with donations of food, money, and support. Catoctin High School’s new football coach, Mike Rich, asked what he could do to help. He then messaged his parents and players, who also showed up with donations and support. Sherry said, “People showed up. People we don’t even know.”

Sherry has been deeply moved for, and by, the community. Her reward is knowing the lunch program is appreciated. The bonus is having the community come together.

Bobby said, “As long as we have a turnout, we’ll be here for the kids.”

Jack Walker

Emmitsburg Community Heritage Day epitomizes the town’s spirit and aims to bring the community together for a day of fun and celebration. Entering its thirty-seventh year this past June, it continues to encourage community involvement and to energize neighborly pride.

On June 30, 2018, the schedule for Community Day was set, with many activities and choices of friendly competitions, ranging from games and contests to running races to riding bikes. The day started with breakfast at the Vigilant Hose Company, which was followed by a 6K run. Games and contests followed, with the greased pig chase, tug-o-war, sack races, and watermelon and pie eating contests.

Cliff Sweeney, representing the Emmitsburg Lions Club said, “The Community Swimming Pool was free to the public for swimming all day. The concession stand at the pool was open for the first time in twenty years, thanks to the efforts of members of the Emmitsburg Lions Club and the Boy Scouts.”

The biking events, coordinated by Emmitsburg commissioner and avid mountain-biker Tim O’Donnell, served to engage the public with a sport that perfectly fits the topographic mold of the Catoctin Mountain area. The biking events included a thirty-mile, ten-mile, five-mile, one-mile, and a children’s bike rodeo. O’Donnell has deep-rooted ties to the mountain biking innerworkings of the Emmitsburg area, developing the mountain bike trails at Rainbow Lake. He also organized sessions to teach the public about the “expectations of coaching,” with spokespeople from the Maryland League of the National Interscholastic Cycling Association. Coaches train mountain bikers to compete in races, a fundamental step in the success of competitive mountain bikers.

O’ Donnell’s daughter, Tara, took attendance for the incoming bikers and assisted in some bike rides, including the children’s bike rodeo. Tara described the bike programs and Heritage Day as “community-oriented” and “fun,” bringing people together to celebrate what shapes the community. The efforts of the O’ Donnells in promoting mountain biking throughout the Emmitsburg area continue to have positive impact on the community, combining athletics and interaction with the unique landscape and environment our region has to offer.

The day continued with other activities, including Bingo, an art exhibit, wagon rides, musical performances by the likes of Home Comfort Bluegrass Band and Ray Owens, as well as assorted contests. A beer garden was held at the baseball field. An art contest exhibit was held at the Emmitsburg Branch Library for Emmitsburg-area students in first through eighth grades under the theme “Freedom is…”; Civil War wagon tours ran for two hours and showcased the rich history of the town. The Emmitsburg Community Heritage Day Parade featured local firefighters, baton throwers, scouts, and politicians, many of whom threw candy along the street to spectators. To finish off the night, an expansive and beautiful firework show was displayed across the night sky.

Emmitsburg Community Heritage Day continues to unite the community and bring people together for a day of summer fun.

Winners of the contests this year are the following: for the greased pig chase—Caeli Miravelle (ages 1-6), Austin Welch (ages 7-11), CJ Upchurch (ages 12-16), and John Mark Miravelle (ages 17 and up); for the singles sack race—Noah Leibensperger, 1st place, Keane Burns, 2nd place (ages 1-4), Addison Welch, 1st place, Savannah Phebus, 2nd place (ages 5-8), Joshua Hahn, 1st place, Madison Ball, 2nd place (ages 9-12), Michael DiJulio, 1st place, Matthias Buchheister, 2nd place (ages 13-16), TJ Burns, 1st place, and Jack McCarthy, 2nd place (ages 17 and up);

for the doubles sack race—Noah Leibensperger and Keane Burns, 1st place (ages 1-4), Addison Welch and Savannah Phebus, 1st place, Tierney Burns and Bridgett Ball, 2nd place (ages 5-8), Tessa McKenzie and Samantha Orndorff, 1st place, Joshua and Wesley Hahn, 2nd place (ages 9-12), Meara and Caeley McVearry, 1st place, Matthew and Joseph Horil, 2nd place (ages 13-16), Danial and Jack McCarthy, 1st place, and Abby McCarthy and Will Hibbert, 2nd place (ages 17 and up);

For the egg toss—Deandre and Adrianne Phebus, 1st place, and Denise and Bob Maddox, 2nd place.

For the water balloon toss—Kim and Dale Shields, 1st place, and Abby McCarthy and Will Hibbert, 2nd place.

For the pie eating contest—Jameson Ebaugh, 1st place, Emmaus Vera, 2nd place (ages 4 and under), Cecilia Love, 1st place, Grady Abruzzese, 2nd place (ages 5-8), Thomas Love, 1st place, Meara McVearry, 2nd place (ages 9-12), John Lane, 1st place, Jean Pembroke and CJ Upchurch, 2nd place (ages 13-16), Jack McCarthy, 1st place, and Theresa Buccheit, 2nd place (ages 17 and up).

For the watermelon eating contest—Keane Burns, 1st place, Landon Dodson, 2nd place (ages 4 and under), Sophia Legare, 1st place, Cecilia Love, 2nd place (ages 5-8), Meara McVearry, 1st place (ages 9-12), Jacob Ebaugh, 1st place (ages 13-16), Dennis Ebaugh, 1st place, and Jack McCarthy and Will Hibbert, 2nd place (ages 17 and up).

(left) Caeli Miravelle (ages 1-6 group) wins first place in the greased pig chase.

(right) Men ride horseback down the streets of Emmitsburg during the parade.

Austin and Addison Welch proudly show their awards won at Emmitsburg Community Heritage Day.

Deb Abraham Spalding

The Spring Fling event held on May 19, 2018, marked Vigilant Hose Company’s tenth year of hosting it. While this could have become a focus for a special celebration, the Spring Fling took on so many changes this year that the event’s diamond anniversary was almost forgotten in the mix. Most notably, the location changed from muddy fields and stony parking lots at Mount St. Mary’s University to the paved grounds at Vigilant’s own event complex on Creamery Road in Emmitsburg. Also, the size of the grand prize was upgraded to a whopping $10,000.

Over the years, several Spring Flings have featured rain or other weather events which served to make things memorable. This year was no exception. With significant rain days before, and slight rain during, the event, the unfavorable weather created a solid excuse for ‘low’ attendance. It is important to note that there is “no mud” at the new location. The entire event was held on paved ground with the majority of that ground covered with large event tents. Regardless of the weather and conditions, 860 ticket holders checked in at the gate and made this fundraiser a continued success.

Spring Fling is a unique event that has been described as, “going to our local beach where all of our neighbors and friends are partying.” This year’s party included an option to play 25¢ bingo games inside the event building and a new Big 6 Wheel game outside. Both new activities were busy with customers all day.

One of the Spring Fling’s coordinators, Gabe Baker, said, “It’s a good thing it’s where it is now. The community supported us [Vigilant Hose Company] well.”

To view prize winners, please visit www.vhc6.com. Plan now to attend next year’s Spring Fling. Bring sunshine!


A large crowd, undeterred by the rain, enjoyed Spring Fling in Emmitsburg.

Helen Topper sold holders inside the event building during bingo.

Herbie Click worked the slicers to cut meat for sandwiches.

Kathie Stambaugh was thrilled to win at the Spring Fling.

Sue Reaver, Kay Hollinger, and Kim Wivell sold tickets during Spring Fling.

Sandy Umbel and her daughter, Kayla, volunteered during the event.

Kim (left) and Marc Piermatteo (right) worked with Cliffy Shriner at the beverage tent.

Patty Kuykendall, JoAnn Boyd, Tom Ward, and Jenn Stahley kept track of the winners.

This photo shows the set up of Spring Fling at the new location on Creamery Road the day before the event.

Vigilant Hose Company’s (VHC) fire services volunteer, Dave Zentz (pictured above, center), was recognized as the 2017 Frederick County Volunteer Firefighter of the Year on March 13, 2018, along with other Frederick County Public Safety Partners, during the Frederick County Chamber of Commerce Public Safety Awards in Brunswick.

Dave is an individual who has exceeded expectations in his few short years with the VHC. He has expanded his operational knowledge base by completing over 225 hours in courses the last year alone. In addition, Dave serves on the VHC Board of Directors and steers several IT projects around the station. Dave was recognized as the VHC’s Member of the Year for 2017 at the annual banquet in January.

Congratulations, Dave, and thank you for your continued support and contributions to the Vigilant Hose Company and the greater Emmitsburg Community.

On Wednesday evening, May 23, 2018, from 6:30-9:00 p.m., at the Vigilant Hose Company (VHC) Activities Building, located at 17701 Creamery Road (formerly the Emmitsburg Volunteer Ambulance Company facility), a special event, open to all interested, will feature health and safety activities, plus injury prevention information and live demonstrations conducted by the men and women of the community’s emergency services.

None of us wants to see misfortune befall us or others, thus it is critical that all know in advance just what to do should a worst-case event occur. To celebrate “National Emergency Medical Services Week,” an Open House event for the public and area businesses alike will stress family and individual well-being, risk reduction, and emergency and disaster preparedness, intended to help all be ready for the unexpected.

Celebrated annually in May, “National EMS Week’ was established in 1974 to help the public better understand the important roles that First Responders play in helping others in their time of need. National EMS Week also allows the community to honor its EMS providers, too. This year’s event will also allow for the recognition of the successful merger of the personnel, equipment, and facilities of the former Emmitsburg Volunteer Ambulance Company into the Vigilant Hose Company. Much work has been underway for over a year now to bring this to a positive outcome for the benefit of the community.

Emmitsburg’s volunteer and career personnel serve side-by-side together in various emergency services duties like Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs), firefighters, hazardous materials technicians, technical rescue specialists, emergency dispatch professionals—all united in service to the community. They are supported by paramedics, area hospitals, medivac helicopters, and law enforcement personnel to deliver the utmost in life-safety services.

All providers must meet stringent state and county training standards and are constantly honing their skills through training, education, and practical exercises. The basic function of their work involves responding to 911 emergencies, which can range from simple ailments, such as severe headaches, to serious traumatic injuries, like broken bones, as well as heart attacks, strokes, and so forth. They also work closely with all area firefighters at emergency scenes to assess, treat, and prepare patients for transport to area hospitals and regional trauma centers.

National EMS Week is a great opportunity for the public to learn when to call 911 and when not to. Additionally, National EMS Week allows the community to thank EMS providers for the physical, mental, and emotional sacrifices they are asked to make daily while serving others. In our community, every business, institution, agency, and individual is critical to our success. The VHC Auxiliary will be serving refreshments on May 23.

Emmitsburg’s Annual Halloween Parade and Costume Contest was held on October 31, 2017. The parade line-up began at 6:30 p.m., at Federal and DePaul Streets. Following the parade, a party was held at Vigilant Hose Company, featuring a costume contest, refreshments, prizes, and lots of fun.

Costume Contest Winners

Cutest: 1st Place—Jessica Tolbert, 2nd Place—Mia Eyler, 3rd Place—Meadow Ogle; Scariest: 1st Place—Kaitlynn Bentz, 2nd Place—Hailey Shelleman, 3rd Place—Olivia Gamer; Ugliest: 1st Place—Hunter Rivera, 2nd Place—Lillian Tipton, 3rd Place—Rodney Walters Dorff; Most Original: 1st Place—Shannen and Jeffrey Poehler, 2nd Place—Kai Ridenour, 3rd Place—Addison Welsh; Groups: 1st Place—Mike Bryson, 2nd Place—Colton Rhodes, 3rd Place—Christian and Nolan Griffith.

Abby, Mike, Lexi, Chloe, and Sara Bryson.

Gene Fauble (back), Mycayla Lankford, Natalie Bentz, and Alexis Cool.

James Rada, Jr.

Fighting fires is dangerous work, and to do it safely, firefighters need to train for every conceivable situation and hope that their responses become second nature.

On Saturday, July 8, 2017, members of the Vigilant Hose Company, Rocky Ridge Volunteer Fire Department, Mount St. Mary’s University Public Safety personnel, and facilities management staff gathered at the college to review how to fight fires in campus facilities and to train.

Vigilant Hose Company personnel have been working with Mount employees to update fire department “Pre-Plans” to make sure everyone knows who needs to be contacted and how to react to fires on campus. The goal is to assure maximum efficiency and effectiveness for successful resolution, with minimum disruption and adverse effects.

As Mount Vice President Wayne Green said, “If you are prepared for anything like a flood, then you’ll be prepared for everything else.”

Vigilant Hose Chief Chad Umbel has been overseeing this latest round of fire and emergency services preparedness. He said, “The Mount has always been a huge supporter of our efforts in being prepared to handle emergencies. And, this past year, they’ve again been very gracious and helpful to our firefighters, who have been studying campus upgrades, allowing for updating maps, double-checking access points for utility shut-offs, emergency operational considerations like hydrant access, and utilizing and allowing full access to areas of all buildings on campus.

About twenty firefighters began the training with a review of the Mount’s buildings. VHC Lt. Alex McKenna explained to the group how to enter each building, depending on where a fire might be located. They also reviewed which buildings had sprinkler systems and standpipes.

“The most dangerous building for us on campus is the Terrace,” McKenna said. “The biggest hazard in there is really just the confusion of where you are.” This is because the Terrace is made up of different halls, running in different directions.

The biggest point driven home during the review was that firefighters first need to scout out where a fire is located in a building before deploying hoses. He used Sheridan Hall as an example of what could happen if the fire wasn’t located first. “If you do it wrong, you can go up 800 feet for a 200-foot stretch,” McKenna explained.

Green also told the group that modernizing each building’s fire suppression system was a top priority for the college administration.

The two training exercises were scenario-based. The first involved entering the smoke-filled second floor of Sheridan Hall to find a student who was unconscious in a dorm room.

The second exercise was a high-rise hose deployment to the third floor of Pangborn Hall.

Utilizing mitigation evolutions like V.E.I.S. (Vent / Enter / Isolate / Search) with a specific focus on Rapid Intervention Techniques and proper utilization of existing built-in building protection systems, emergency services personnel practiced operational exercises, command and control, occupant location and removal, hose deployment, ventilation, and restoration of normal building functionality.

On Saturday, July 8, 2017, members of the Vigilant Hose Company, Rocky Ridge Volunteer Fire Department, Mount St. Mary’s University Public Safety personnel, and facilities management staff gathered at the college to review how to fight fires in campus facilities and to train.

Photos by James Rada, Jr.

The successful planning and coordination of merging the Emmitsburg Volunteer Ambulance Company (EVAC) into the Vigilant Hose Company (VHC) is ongoing.  As indicated earlier in press reports and public meetings, the effort remains an open process with all stakeholders and interested parties welcome to offer input or request information.

Many meetings specific to planning and coordination have been occurring among and between leadership of both the EVAC and the VHC, as well as with county and town governmental personnel.

The two on-duty career Emergency Medical Technician/Firefighters began working from the Vigilant Hose Company facility (25 West Main Street / Station 6) at 8:00 a.m. on Saturday, July 8, 2017.  Both ambulances were transferred to Station 6 at the same time. Full administrative transition will be effective midnight December 31, 2017, as it is simpler and easier to make final legal changeovers at the start of the new tax year.

All aspects of emergency and non-emergency services and community support will be seamless. Fundraising functions like the always popular bingo events and social functions (wedding receptions, meetings, business luncheons, and so on), will continue and likely will be increased. Right now, the focus is on providing the best possible emergency service delivery for all in the greater Emmitsburg area to include the general public, businesses, institutions and agencies that have so generously helped over the years.

VHC members as well as EVAC members wish the community to know how much they value the wonderful and comprehensive way all are embracing this significant undertaking.

The Guardian Hose Company of Thurmont and the Vigilant Hose Company are working on a joint Thurmont and Emmitsburg Fall Cash Bash fundraiser that will take place on September 23, 2017, from noon-5:00 p.m. Information will be on the company’s websites and Facebooks.

Theresa Dardanell

A large crowd gathered in Emmitsburg on April 8, 2017, to watch as two identical rooms, set up in a special apparatus in the parking lot of the Frederick County Fire & Rescue Museum/National Fire Heritage Center (NFHC), were set on fire. The room with the fire sprinkler protection sustained some damage, but the room without this protection was completely destroyed. First responders from the Vigilant Hose Company and the Emmitsburg Volunteer Ambulance Company participated in support of the demonstration, which was coordinated with the governments of the Town of Emmitsburg and Frederick County.

This event followed the dedication ceremony for the newly installed automatic fire sprinkler system in the Museum/NFHC.  The sprinkler system was paid for by donations from the National Fire Sprinkler Association and the Capital Region Fire Sprinkler Association, and was installed by Livingston Fire Protection of Hyattsville, Maryland, and Reliance Fire Protection of Baltimore. It will not only protect the irreplaceable contents of the Fire Museum and Heritage Center, it will be also used for sprinkler system training for members of fire departments.

In attendance were members of Frederick County fire departments, Frederick County officials, and representatives from the sprinkler system industry. Chief Ronny Coleman, NFHC president, began the program with the Pledge of Allegiance and introduction of guests; Museum President Chief James Deater welcomed everyone involved. Speakers included Emmitsburg Mayor Donald Briggs, Frederick County Council Member Kirby Delauter, and Maryland State Fire Marshall Brian Geraci.

The Frederick County Fire and Rescue Museum contains many interesting items, including pictures, artifacts, and histories from all twenty-six fire companies in Frederick County, as well as an 1821 “Old Lady” Hand Tub Pumper.

The National Fire Heritage Center, located in the same building, is dedicated to preserving America’s Fire History. Among the many documents is the September 11 incident report from Shanksville, Pennsylvania. All of these valuable documents and artifacts are now protected from fire by the newly installed sprinkler system.

Crowds gather to watch the side-by-side burn live demonstration in Emmitsburg (above), witnessing first-hand how a room without the fire sprinkler protection is completely consumed (below).

This community’s all-volunteer fire and rescue department proudly announces their participation in “Maryland Volunteer Day” on Sunday, April 10, 2016, from 12:00-4:00 p.m., at the Fire Station, located at 25 West Main Street in Emmitsburg. The open house event is being held in conjunction with a statewide recruitment initiative of the Maryland State Firemen’s Association (www.mdvolunteer.org).

The men and women of the Vigilant Hose Company (VHC) look forward to showcasing their personnel, facilities, and equipment, plus opportunities for all interested in learning more about the organization. April 10 is the start of “National Volunteer Week,” with its 2016 theme:  Celebrate Service (www.pointsoflight.org/signature-events/national-volunteer-week).

Fire Station Tours and Orientations on apparatus and equipment will be conducted throughout the day.  Information will include materials from the highly successful Frederick County “Gear-Up” Campaign (www.gearupfirerescue.com) that seeks to engage men and women of all ages in helping to support the work of their local Fire, Rescue, and Emergency Medical Services departments.

These opportunities embrace all aspects of community safety to include the variety of roles where all can help, ranging from emergency services operations to auxiliary, administrative, and youth programs activities. Free materials include: fire/injury prevention literature, general information on the VHC, “Gear-Up” literature, VHC membership applications, and more.

For more information, visit www.vigilanthose.org

James Rada, Jr.

Training Center,Besides helping residents before and after the fires in Emmitsburg, the American Red Cross and Vigilant Hose Company (VHC) set out to stop fires from happening again.

Beginning on December 12, 2015, volunteers began going door to door to offer smoke alarm checks.

“Emmitsburg’s all-volunteer fire department, the Vigilant Hose Company, was challenged, to say the least, in terms of firefighting and rescue efforts, but, in spite of significant challenges, managed to accomplish what many locally, all across Northern Frederick County and surrounding counties, continue to say was amazing,” stated Wayne Powell with Vigilant Hose Company.

Vigilant Hose Company has offered installation of free smoke alarms for years, but with the two fires in town in December, residents’ interest in having their smoke alarms checked increased. The first fire occurred on Wednesday, December 2, 2015, mid-afternoon, at Paul’s Pit Stop on South Seton Avenue and the apartments above it. The second fire occurred on Monday, December 7, 2015, at 112 West Main Street, a few doors west of the Vigilant Hose Company fire station. In the second fire, two residents died from injuries, and one person was seriously injured.

“For years, VHC has installed free smoke alarms, but the men and women of the VHC knew they had to take full advantage of public attention—or ‘window of opportunity’ as it’s known,” said Powell.

Homeowners who had previously turned away volunteers doing smoke alarm checks were suddenly interested in having their alarms checked. First responders, community leaders, Mount Saint Mary’s University staff and students, and employees from the National Emergency Training Center, all pitched in to cover as many homes as possible.

Powell pointed out that the smoke alarms were free only as long as the volunteer teams were allowed to install them.

“We have found that if we give them away without installing them, they wind up in a drawer and people forget about them,” Powell said.

He also said that some people took the batteries out and used them for other things. The smoke alarms that Vigilant Hose Company installed now have a ten-year long-life battery built into them that can’t be removed.

Despite years of Vigilant Hose Company public fire education and year-round smoke alarm promotion, teams found a number of homes with no smoke alarms at all, many non-working units, and others well over ten years old, plus a few with one alarm in homes with more than one sleeping level.

The initial results from the December home fire safety visits and smoke alarm checks was: seventy-eight homes visited and two hundred seventeen smoke alarms installed within three hours. Volunteers were broken into seventeen on-the-street “Safety Teams.” Their goal was to check and see if a smoke alarm was installed on each level and each sleeping area of a residence. A “Go-Team” at the fire station provided smoke alarm expertise from a smoke alarm expert of the U.S. Fire Administration staff, as well as additional literature and alarms as needed, plus handling other normal duties including fire calls.

“Phone call requests for VHC visits have been coming non-stop from across the community ever since,” Powell commented.

As of January 10, 2016, two hundred forty-eight smoke alarms had been installed.

Vigilant Hose Company has carried smoke alarms on its emergency vehicles for years in order to install them whenever possible. They routinely conduct safety presentations to any and all groups who allow it.

Those seeking further information or wish to schedule a visit, contact the Vigilant Hose Company via its website at www.vigilanthose.org or call the fire station at 301-447-2728.

Red Cross 121215 on TV

A Safety Team hit the streets in Emmitsburg on December 12, 2015; they were welcomed by residents, with many others now asking for visits.

The Vigilant Hose Company proudly announces their annual Fire and Life Safety Open House on Thursday, October 8, 2015, from 6:30 a.m.-8:30 p.m. at the Fire Station, located at 25 West Main Street in Emmitsburg. This will be the sixtieth year that Vigilant Hose Company personnel have sponsored this popular event.

Fire and injury prevention in Emmitsburg is a year-round effort, but during Fire Prevention Month, their personnel work even harder to underscore the importance of prevention and preparedness. A large crowd is expected. Guests are encouraged to bring their cameras! Fire Prevention Week is October 4-10, 2015; the theme this year is: Hear the Beep Where You Sleep: Every Bedroom Needs a Working Smoke Alarm.

This year’s fire prevention open house will include: (1) A special interactive Fire Prevention “Pit Box” (NASCAR-like) from the Office of the State Fire Marshal and the Maryland State Fire Association; (2) Information and demonstrations available to help families and individuals prevent unwanted fire, as well as preparedness information, should fire or other emergency/disaster strike; (3) Information on residential fire sprinkler systems and how they work (installation of automatic home fire sprinklers in new residential construction is now mandatory); (4) Fire Prevention/Life Safety demonstrations plus free literature on family preparedness; (5) Emergency Medical Services providers will be on hand to showcase their life-saving skills; (6) Courtesy of the Catoctin Mountain National Park, “Smokey the Bear” will be present; (7) Information will be available regarding opportunities for residents and business alike to help their First Responders; (8) Details regarding the countywide “Gear-Up” campaign, a volunteer recruitment campaign that includes opportunities to serve in emergency response roles or in non-operational support roles to assist local emergency services better help their communities; (9) Fire truck rides are back this year (Important Note: children admitted to ride must meet the mandates of state law regarding age and size; no child car seats available in fire apparatus); (10) Frederick County resident deputy sheriffs will be on hand to offer crime prevention materials and insights; (11) Free refreshments provided by the Vigilant Hose Company Auxiliary for all attendees; and (12) Door prizes for persons of all ages (must be present to win).

by James Rada, Jr.

Emmitsburg

April 2015

Town Employees Will Soon See Bigger Paychecks

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners approved a fifteen percent salary adjustment to employee salaries during their March 16 meeting. The increase will come in stages, with the first increase being five percent. The town had contracted with a human resources consultant to see if employee salaries were in line with employees of towns of similar size. The initial recommendation was for a twenty-five percent increase, which Emmitsburg could not afford. The vote to approve the increase was 3-2, with commissioners Glenn Blanchard, Joe Ritz, and Tim O’Donnell voting for the motion.

Emmitsburg Gets a Clean Audit

The Town of Emmitsburg received an unmodified opinion for their annual audit, which means that the Frederick accounting firm, Draper and McGinley, found no financial record-keeping mistakes that needed to be addressed. Michele Mills, with Draper and McGinley, reported the highlights of the audit to the commissioners during the April 6 meeting. The town’s fund balance continues to grow, which indicates that the town is spending less than it takes in. Copies of the audit report are available at the town office for residents who wish to review the details.

New Wastewater Treatment Plant Nearing Completion

Emmitsburg’s new wastewater treatment plant on Creamery Road should be online by the end of May, according to Mike Schultz, senior manager with RK&K.

Vigilant Hose Company and Emmitsburg Ambulance Could Merge

Vigilant Hose Company President Tim Clarke spoke before the Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners and told them that although it is a “contentious issue,” the possibility of a merger between the fire and ambulance company is a definite possibility.

When the Emmitsburg Ambulance Company was placed on suspension due to problems with response times for calls, career staff was brought in to be on hand to answer calls. However, the career staff was eventually moved to Vigilant Hose Company because of an “uncomfortable work environment” at the ambulance company, according to Clarke.

The move turned out to be successful. “We’ve become a stronger company as a result,” Clarke said.

Now with the suspension lifted, the career staff will be removed. Clarke worries that the problems with the ambulance company could return.

“The problem is that no one is being held accountable for their actions,” Clarke said.

The solution may be for the two companies to merge.

For more information about the Town of Emmitsburg, log onto www.emmitsburgmd.gov or call 301-600-6300.

Thurmont

April 2015

Thurmont Considers Adding Ornamental Planters

The Thurmont Board of Commissioners is considering adding ornamental planters on the sidewalks of downtown Thurmont after Maryland State Highways have finished their sidewalk repairs. Some of the trees and ornamental plantings downtown have already been removed because of this process and Mayor John Kinnaird suggested adding planters to replace the lost greenery.

“Downtown is sort of a tree desert right now,” he said during the March 17 meeting.

The suggestion was to purchase 24-inch wide planters made from recycled material or vinyl. Annuals would be planted in them and the nearby businesses would be asked to keep them watered. During the winter, the planters would be removed so as not to interfere with any clearing of snow in the winter.

Sign Up for Emergency Notification

If you would like to receive emergency notifications regarding Thurmont, you can sign up at www.frederickmd.gov/ALERT to receive notices about weather emergencies, power outages, fire/rescue emergencies, and others. If you need help signing up, contact Jim Humerick at 301-271-7313 x204.

Art, Wine, and Cupcake Walk

Friday, May 8th, Main Street will be hosting an Art, Wine, & Cupcake Walk. We have several artists, wineries, and cupcake makers! Entertainment will be provided by Paul Zelenka and Mary Guiles in Mechanicstown Park. Local artists will be displaying their work. Gourmet cupcake samples and wine tasting will also be available.

Thurmont Wants to Become Sustainable

The Town of Thurmont is going to pursue becoming a Sustainable Maryland Certified Community and is seeking volunteers to serve on its “Green Team.” The team will guide the town through the process of documenting its steps in the state certification process. For more information, contact Jim Humerick at 301-271-7313, x204.

Town Begins Looks at Budget Numbers

Although a budget hasn’t been presented yet, the Thurmont Board of Commissioners got a look at some of the potential revenue numbers.

Each year, the state provides a constant yield rate to the town. This is the tax rate that is needed in order for the town to receive the same property tax revenues for this year’s budget as it did last year. That rate is 30.2 cents per $100 of assessed property value. This is down slightly from last year, which means that Thurmont’s property tax assessments have risen.

The town will also be receiving $58,534 in Highway User revenue. This is also up slightly over last year’s amount of $57,624. A one-time grant has also been set aside for Highway User revenues. Thurmont’s portion of this grant should be $157,900.

Highway User revenue must be spent on road projects.

View the Town of Thurmont’s website at www.thurmont.com or call the town office at 301-271-7313 for more information.