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Woodsboro

Burgess Heath Barnes

At our November 8th meeting, we reminded everyone about the decision that was previously made at the monthly town meeting to hold a public hearing on January 10, 2023 to discuss the possibility of allowing chickens in town. We could not do this at the November meeting, as town codes require 30 days’ notice, and there was not 30 days between meetings. We chose not to have it at the December meeting to avoid the holidays. We invite anyone with an opinion either way to attend on January 10. After the hearing portion, the council will vote to proceed with allowing chickens or not. If the vote is yes, it will move to the planning and zoning committee in February to determine the stipulations around allowing them.

We had a resident at the meeting who proposed adding nets to baseball field two and distancing the bases to 90 feet. This is to attract a traveling team of 13-14 year-olds to the park beginning next season. This idea was met with a lot of optimism and would allow the second field to be used again. We also discussed the remodeling of the concession stand that will happen, which will make this nice for the games as well.

We have had several issues of vandalism in the park over the last few weeks, and a discussion took place to entertain the idea of security cameras being installed. I have also reached out to request additional patrol by the sheriff’s department. The vandalism included the breaking of several picnic tables, turning the port-o-potties on their sides, ripping the door off the men’s restroom, several cases of graffiti, and the cutting of the cables around the parking lots. Due to the damage to the restroom, we went ahead and closed the restrooms for the remainder of the year, a few weeks earlier than usual.

I have been told Santa (aka the burgess) will make a few appearances in Woodsboro this year. The first stop will be at the Woodsboro Lutheran Church at its Christmas Bazaar on December 3. Santa will be visiting from 11:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. for pictures. Then, on December 11, Santa will ride around town with the Woodsboro Volunteer Fire Department, beginning at 1:00 p.m. Santa will also be at the Children’s Christmas Party at 1:00 p.m. at the Woodsboro American Legion. Come out and see Santa at one of these events.

I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving holiday, spent with family and friends. I would like to wish you all a Very Merry Christmas, A Happy Holiday Season, and a Blessed New Year. Always remember to look out for those around who may not have the resources or family to have a great holiday and lend a helping hand if you can.

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.

Woodsboro

Burgess Heath Barnes

Our October 11th town meeting was a busy one. The council voted to replace the current outdated water-meter-reading system. The project is slated to tentatively begin in early April. One challenge with this is that each home will have to have a piece in their water meter replaced inside their homes; so, this could take a while, as the crew would need to enter each person’s home to replace the reader. This will also allow electronic readings to be tied to electronic-payment processing, which allows residents to pay their water bills via cards. We will be able to use with ARPA funds that the town received to pay for it.

The decision was also made to hold a public hearing on January 10, 2023, at the monthly town meeting to discuss the possibility of allowing chickens in town. We cannot do this at the November meeting as town codes require a 30-day notice, and there were not 30 days between meetings. We chose not to have it at the December meeting. We invite anyone with an opinion either way to attend on January 10. After the hearing portion, the council will vote to proceed with allowing chickens or not. If the vote is yes, it will move to the planning and zoning committee in February to determine the stipulations around allowing them.

A developer attended the meeting with plans to develop 58 townhomes and 12,000 square feet of commercial property on the acreage between the cemetery and the park and ride. This is in the early stage of planning and more to come on this in the next few months.

We also had a proposal brought forth to build a skate park in the park. After hearing it, the council voted to approve it based on grant funding. We will be applying for a grant for it through Program Open Space funding next spring when it becomes available again. If the grant is approved, we will move forward. This grant would pay 75 percent of the project cost, and the other 25 percent would need to be paid by the town or by fundraising. Plans will be put in place to raise the 25 percent once we get to the point of moving forward with the project.

Our annual Woodsboro Days festival that was held on October 15 and 16 was a great success. We were also blessed with perfect weather. The Lutheran Church had a great turnout for food sales and yard sales. In addition, the Woodsboro Historical Society saw a record number of participants in their annual 5K fundraiser run. On the 16th, we had a record crowd attend the music festival in the park, where we saw 28 vendors, multiple food trucks, face painting for the kids, a beer and wine garden, three amazing bands, a display of fire engines for the kids, and hundreds of people ascending on the park for a great day of fun. I am already planning for next year. I can assure you I listened to you all about the parking issues, and we will have a shuttle service next year to get people up to the east side of the park who are not able to walk that far.

The old hut—aka JR’s bar and grill—should be gone by the time this goes to print. We are so happy to have been able to allow multiple fire departments from the county to use the building for drills before it was demolished and hauled away to prepare the lot to build our town offices.

Our monthly town meeting which is typically on the second Tuesday of each month, will be moved to Wednesday, November 9 for this month due to election day. I encourage everyone to get out and vote.

I hope all of you have a great Thanksgiving holiday spent with family and friends. Always remember that not everyone is fortunate enough to have someone for the holidays or the funds to celebrate. Always look out for your neighbor and do something kind for someone, and always be thankful for what you have.

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.

The current location for town 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.

Thurmont

 Mayor John Kinnaird

Where did summer go? We are now looking forward to all the fun of fall. There are plenty of events to enjoy and places to visit during the fall season.

Let’s start with Colorfest on October 8-9. There will be plenty of crafts to see at the Community Park, GHC Carnival Grounds, the American Legion, and lots of other locations all over Thurmont. As always, there will be lots of great food available all over the Colorfest area. I will be enjoying tasty sausage gravy at the Thurmont Lions Club stand on Frederick Road. Be sure to visit Thurmont on the days leading up to Colorfest to take advantage of the many yard sales all over town. Please be careful while driving on Colorfest weekend; there will be street closures on Water Street, South Center Street, Park Lane, and Frederick Road. Be sure to observe the “no parking signs” and pay attention to our traffic control officers. If you are planning to sell crafts or food, get your permit from the Town Office before Colorfest. This year, yard sales can be held without a permit on Saturday and Sunday. Above all, visit local non-profits during Colorfest and help support our many organizations, churches, Scouts, school groups, and others. Many of these groups depend on Colorfest for a large part of their annual fundraising efforts. Remember that other communities will be holding events on Colorfest weekend: Rocky Ridge, Sabillasville, Graceham, Creagerstown, and others may have great events to visit and enjoy.

The state and federal parks always have programs on the weekends, and you should check them out. The cooler weather will also bring beautiful fall colors on Catoctin Mountain and on our rolling countryside. A nice slow drive on Park Central or Catoctin Hollow Road is a great way to enjoy all the amazing colors of fall. Our covered bridges also make for great afternoon drives and offer amazing scenery and beautiful picnic areas.

If you are looking for delicious fresh fruit, fall decorations, delicious jelly and jam, or fresh baked goodies, stop at any of our local orchards. Catoctin Mountain Orchard is on Rt. 15 (north of Thurmont), Pryor’s Orchard is on Pryor Road (off of Rt. 77, west of Thurmont), and Mountain View Orchard (on Rt. 550, north of Thurmont, close to Sabillasville). All three orchards raise their own fruit and are always fresh picked!

For great Halloween fun, join us at the Community Park, 19 Frederick Road, on October 29 at 7:30 p.m., for our Movie in the Park. This year, we are showing It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, followed by the main event, Hotel Transylvania! Bring chairs, blankets, or sit in your car just like at a drive-in. The Thurmont Lions Club will be serving free popcorn and hot chocolate.

Trick-or-treat in Thurmont will be held from 6:00-7:30 p.m. on Monday, October 31. Turn on your porch light if you are handing out treats to the ghouls and goblins. Drive carefully on Halloween and help make it a safe night for our children.

For family fun on the weekends through Halloween, check out the activities, entertainment, and great food at Magnolia Meadow Farms at 13001 Creagerstown Road. The amazing corn maze, Moonlit Maze kids games, gem mining, pedal cars, and other games and adventures are waiting for you to arrive and enjoy.

We are holding several events for the Gateway to the Cure Cancer research fundraiser. The Gateway to the Cure 5K Run will be held on Saturday, October 16, at the Eyler Road Park. Check-in starts at 7:30 a.m., and the walk/run kicks off at 8:30 a.m. You can register by phone through October 13 by calling 301-271-7313 & pressing 0. We also have pink light bulbs, T-shirts, sweatshirts, and other items for sale at the Town Office, Main Street Center, and several businesses in town.

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

Emmitsburg

Mayor Don Briggs

Community, what is it?

Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom for more than 70 years, passed away on September 8, 2022. She became Queen at 25 years of age and shared most of her 96 years with us. Sadness, yes, in her passing, for the continuity of dignity and ease she brought to respect for the law, history, and traditions. On one of her visits to our country, she and Prince Phillip attended the Maryland – North Carolina football game at College Park on October 19, 1957, dubbed the “Queen’s Game.” It was a beautiful day, stands were packed, everybody was dressed up. Women with corsages, men in coats and ties. In attendance were my season ticket-holder father; my mother; my brother; president of the student government, whose responsibility it was to explain the game to the Australian ambassador; and me, sitting across the field with my CYO football coach. Coach and I had come after playing a CYO football game on the Ellipse behind the White House that morning. What a game. An upset 21-7 victory over a team coached by former Maryland coach Jim Tatum. A legendary game, a part of Maryland history.

On Sunday, September 11, I participated in the 9/11 commemoration at the Emmitsburg NETC campus chapel with students, instructors, and staff. The service began promptly at 8:46 a.m., the moment in time when the first plane of the attacks that day hit the North Tower of the World Trade Center. Eriks Gabliks, superintendent of National Fire Academy presided. A prayer was led by Rev. Timothy May. The tolling of the bell, three sets of five, 5-5-5, to commemorate the firefighters and first responders making their last call. After the service, everyone was invited to go up and light a candle. We all did.   

Community, what is it? With the town amidst its annual election cycle, this time for four candidates vying for two municipal commissioner seat openings, it’s as good a time as any to think about its meaning. What are the ideals, what are the expectations, what are the realities? I mention the “Queen’s Game” and the observance at FEMA Chapel for 9/11 because continuity and history are needed in the “Being” of a community.

To the topic of community, I started off my summer reading Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle, an exposé of the exploitation of immigrants who came here following a dream, but only to be sucked under by the meat packing conglomerates in Chicago in the late nineteenth-early twentieth century. Hence, the expression, “you don’t want to know how the sausage is made.” I finished the summer by reading Lorraine Hansberry’s play, A Raisin in the Sun. Again, the setting is Chicago. This time in the 1950’s. The role of nuclear family. Again, people separated from the dream.

Lutsk, Ukraine, our sister city, what is keeping those 200,000 people together? Barbaric times for them. Let’s stay committed to share our community with them.

What is a footprint for our community? As good a reference as any is from the Bible. Take the Book of Deuteronomy, it has more than met the test of time for its wisdom. We seek a community to live and raise our families, “A land flowing with milk and honey.” Choose wise, understanding people to lead and heed (cf 1:13), and “not be partial in judgments; the small and the great alike” (1:17). To possess that land as a community, like here, is a blessing that comes with commandments, statutes, and ordinances adhered to (4:14, 6:1, 7:1, 10:13, 11:1, 11:32, 12:1), and a curse if not adhered. 

To me, Emmitsburg is idyllic, very close to a land flowing with milk and honey. A community formed by centuries of generations developing statutes and ordinances to live under and rely on to live in peace and harmony. Where foundations are formed for seamless assimilations of generations that follow. Today, the town operates under a statute that has codes that have changed from time to time to maintain continuity. They are a work in progress. To keep to those blessings, a unity must be formed by acceptable commandments, statutes, and ordinances. From this book of the Bible, a community will not exist without laws, as over time, some laws develop flaws. Let’s do something about it and really take a close look at them. We need people to step forward.

To Dan Fissel, the town water and sewer facilities superintendent who is retiring after 28 years of service, “Thank you.” Have a wonderful retirement—you earned it.

Woodsboro

Burgess Heath Barnes

It’s now fall, and the smell of pumpkin spice is in the air wherever you go it seems. I hope everyone had a great summer. To me, it seemed to go by way too fast. It was a busy summer for the town of Woodsboro, with projects and things in the works for the town.

At the September 13th town meeting, we discussed the progress of the demolition of the property that the town purchased at 605 S. Main St. The overhead power lines have now been removed, and the demolition will begin soon, as we were waiting for Potomac Edison to remove them. Before the building is demolished, we are allowing the Frederick County Fire Department to use the building for drills. This will be a good training activity for them also, and the town was happy to offer this up to them.

We also had some concerns from townspeople brought up at the meeting. The town code written in 1974 does not allow chickens or livestock in town limits. With the town not having a code enforcer until a few months ago, many things went under the radar. Since the code enforcer has started, chickens have become an issue. A few town residents plan to appeal to change the town code to planning and zoning and then ultimately the town council. If this takes place, it will be shared to the public for a public hearing before any action is taken. As of right now, there has not been any formal petition made to have the code changed, but I will keep the town up to date if things go forward on this.

Town Clerk Mary Rice and I made a proposal to the council about the possibility of replacing the water meter-reading system. We are still working on gathering final numbers for the cost, but this is a project that we must have done soon, as the system we currently are using has become obsolete and outdated. The challenge with this is that each home will have to have a piece in their water meter replaced; this could take a while, as the crew would need to enter each person’s home to replace the reader. One of the great things about this is that it will allow electronic readings to be tied to electronic payment processing that allows residents to pay their water bills via debit or credit cards, which has been asked a lot lately. We plan to present final numbers to the council at the October meeting for a vote. Thankfully, this project would fall under the approval to be used with ARPA funds that the town received.

Do not forget to mark your calendars for October 15 and 16, as Woodsboro Days will once again be a two-day festival instead of just the one day as it has been for the last several decades. We have lined up three bands for the festival on Sunday the 16th at the stage in the park, along with several vendors and food trucks that will be set up there also. On day one, Saturday October 15, there will be yard sales in town with a large sale at the Woodsboro Lutheran Church with food and bake sales. In addition, the Woodsboro Historical Society will have their 5K run at 9:00 a.m. Last year’s music festival in the park was well-attended and successful, and we are looking forward to this year’s event. If you are a vendor or food truck interested in attending, please reach out to me.

Trick-or-treating in town will be October 31, from 6:00-8:00 p.m. If you plan to participate, please turn on your porch light. Please also be careful that night driving around town, as children will be out and about.

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 & 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.

Thurmont

 Mayor John Kinnaird

Summer has come to an end, and our children have returned to school. Please be extra careful driving during school hours, and be watchful of kids crossing our streets and getting on and off school buses. As we all know, kids are not always aware of their surroundings and can dart out from between cars without looking both ways. I hope all our children have a great year at school. The teachers, administrative staff, and support staff at each of our schools are dedicated to providing the best education available in welcoming and secure schools. I am happy to see the renovations recently completed at the Thurmont Elementary School (TES). As many will remember, TES was remodeled many years ago to the open classroom design. The recent remodeling has returned our students to individual classrooms. I believe this will be a positive change for the students and teachers!

With fall on the horizon, we can look forward to cooler days, earlier evenings, and some great events in Thurmont. After a two-year break, the 66th Annual Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show will be held at Catoctin High School on September 9-11. I want to thank Rodman Myers, his family, and all the volunteers for organizing and presenting the Community Show. A “thank you and best of luck” to the entrants in every category for making the show a success. You are guaranteed to have a great time at the Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show!

Please be sure to attend the Art & Wine Stroll in downtown Thurmont on Friday, September 9, from 5:00-8:00 p.m., featuring great entertainment, food, and drink!

The Town of Thurmont will be hosting several Gateway to the Cure events in support of the Patty Hurwitz Cancer Fund at Frederick Health: the Golf Classic on Friday, September 23, and the Gateway to the Cure 5K on Saturday, October 16. Watch for more information about these and other opportunities to help us raise funds to support cancer patients and advancements in cancer treatment. To date, the residents of Thurmont have raised over $114,000 to support this worthwhile cause.

The 58th Annual Colorfest is on the way, and it’s never too early to start planning your weekend of yard sales, great food, and amazing crafts. On October 8-9, from 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m., Thurmont will welcome tens of thousands of guests, each and every one of whom is here to enjoy our hospitality, our spectacular scenery, and all the amazing offerings at Colorfest. Please be sure to visit local stands and support the Guardian Hose Co., Thurmont Community Ambulance Co., Thurmont Lions Club, Thurmont Scouts, and many of our churches and associations. Many of these organizations get a large portion of their operating funds from Colorfest weekend!  

The Thurmont Police Department and Woodsboro Bank will be hosting a Community Shred Event on Saturday, September 24, at the Police Station. To learn of the Shred Event and others, be sure to sign up for the Town of Thurmont Newsletter by emailing kschildt@thurmontstaff.com.  

I am available at 301-606-9458 or by email at jkinnaird@thurmont.com.

Emmitsburg

Mayor Don Briggs

A busy month to close yet another too brief a summer. To attest, here is a partial recap of my schedule for the month.

August 2, 1 p.m.: Meeting with 20 seniors from the community to give updates and address their concerns. Always productive. A recurring concern is transportation. We cannot provide more transportation alternatives to Frederick, but the ribbon-cutting ceremony for Frederick Health Center at the Mount will help. The ceremony was held on Tuesday August, 16. Urgent care, lab work, attending physician, and physical therapy are all now available here in Northern Frederick County. A first!

August 2, 6 p.m.: I attended National Night Out, held in Myers Park, with pony rides, pet-a-pet zoo, lots of vendors, and free food. A special tip of the hat to our deputies and first responders. I served food along with commissioners, O’Donnell, Sweeney, Ritz, and Davis.

August 3, Noon: Lunch with Woodsboro Bank President Steve Heine, Chief Retail Banking Officer Tom Ramsey, and Dynamic Automotive (Formerly His Place) owners Jose Bueso and Dwayne Myers. The owners have already rolled up their sleeves in volunteer work with the Seton Center. Welcome!  

August 9, 11 a.m.: Tour of Fallen Firefighters Memorial and National Fire Academy with Congressman Trone, Deputy U.S. Fire Administrator Tonya Hoover, and Tyler Myles. I had invited the congressman to tour the Homeland Security facility, and he took me up on it.

August 9, 1-2:30 p.m.: Sustainable Maryland Executive Committee Zoom meeting. It’s always interesting talking with people from across the state.

August 10, 10 a.m.: Ribbon cutting was held for St. Euphemia School wayside exhibit, DePaul Street. Lots of people turned out for this exhibit, a very special tribute that is close to my heart.

August 17, 10 a.m.: President Trainor’s Welcome Back State of the Mount address to the faculty and administrators. I was not able to attend due to a scheduling conflict.

August 19, 10 a.m.: Phone call with Ronald Jon Siarnicki, National Fallen Firefighters Foundation’s executive director.

August 19, 1 p.m.: Lunch with Kim Johnson, executive director of development, Mount St. Marys University, and Deputy U.S. Fire Administrator Tonya Hoover, at the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA). 

August 20, 1 p.m.: Bollinger Construction Inc.’s 30th year of business, 1 Creamery Road. Homespun company makes it big. Congratulations.

August 20, 6 p.m.: Welcoming event in Myers Park for incoming Mount freshmen. First-time event.

August 22, 10 a.m.: Meeting with Maddy Shaw, Emmitsburg grant administrator and wayside exhibit developers.

August 23, 10:30 a.m.: Things are moving along on Sister Cityhood with second Zoom meeting with myself, Conrad Weaver, Michael Zhovnir, Lutsk, Ukraine Mayor Igor Polishchuk, and President Anatlly Tsios of Lesya University, to introduce President Trainor of our very own Mount St. Mary’s University.

August 28, 10:30 a.m.: Mass and reception ending Vincentians Community of priests’ 170 years of service at St. Joseph’s Parish. Farewell to good servants to our community. Welcoming Father Alberto Barattero, IVE, and associate pastor Father Andres Ayala, IVE.

August 29, Noon: Lunch with Father Michael Roach, Mount St Mary’s University Seminary.

August 31, 11 a.m.: Meeting with planning consultant, Chris Jakubiak.

August 31, 3:30 p.m.: Dedication of John Donavan Room, Knott Academic Center, Mount St. Mary’s University. Wonderful tribute to a person who has impacted so many students’ lives.

And this is what I do in one month of being mayor in Emmitsburg.

Congratulations to our new Poet Laureate, Sister Anne Higgins. The good Sister Anne, a native of West Chester, Pennsylvania, has been a member of the Daughters of Charity for 44 years and taught at the Mount for 22 years. Nine of her poetry books have been published. More than 100 of her poems have appeared in journals and magazines. Several times her works have been featured in Garrison Keillor’s The Writer’s Almanac.

Back to school “best wishes” to all.

Woodsboro

Burgess Heath Barnes

It has been a challenging month in Woodsboro as COVID hit the town employees and council members. Several things had to be postponed. The town offices were closed August 3-10, as three of our four town employees were out sick. With this, we also had to postpone our August 9 meeting to August 16. With the postponement, two council members were not able to make it. We had the meeting but didn’t have a quorum, so nothing could be voted on. Thankfully, all are recovered, and the town is up and running again. I want to send out a special thank you to Sean Williams from the town of Walkersville. Sean reached out to me and sent over two of their employees (Robbie Norwood and Ian Orndorff), who cleaned up our park for us since I was out of town for a work conference and both of our maintenance men were out with COVID. The town and I personally thank you all for your kindness.

At our August 16 meeting, I announced that we officially closed on and sold the lot at 503 S. Main Street. The town was able to net a profit of a little over $48,000 from the purchase price that was paid in 2018. I also announced that we are still waiting on Potomac Edison to remove the power lines to the building at 605 S. Main Street that the town purchased so that we can demolish it and start on the town hall project. I will be meeting with electricians to start the process of running electricity into the upper part of the park to the stage, large pavilion, and the spot where the new bathroom will be built.

Do not forget to mark your calendars for October 15-16, as Woodsboro Days will, once again, be a two-day festival instead of just the one day as it had been for the last several decades. I have lined up three bands for the festival on Sunday, October 16, at the stage in the park, along with several vendors and food trucks. Last year’s music festival in the park was well attended and successful, and we are looking forward to this year’s event. If you are a vendor or food truck owner/operator interested in attending, please reach out to me.

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 St. John’s United Church of Christ, located at 8 N 2nd Street, Woodsboro, MD 21798. The public is always invited to attend.

Summer is here, and it came in quickly. I hope everyone is enjoying these hot summer days.

At our June 14 meeting, the Woodsboro Town Council voted on the fiscal year 2023 budget, and it was approved unanimously by the three commissioners in attendance. The budget did not change much from the fiscal year 2022 budget, as we have not had much growth as far as new homes in town. I am very happy to say that we kept the tax rate the same, as we are on the constant yield method. This is very good for our town residents, as they are seeing increases with their county taxes because inflation is causing home values to rise. In addition, we were able to keep our sewage and water rates the same without putting any more expenses on the town residents.

Earlier in the month, I interviewed a candidate for our code enforcer position that we have had open for a few weeks. After interviewing, the decision was made to bring in the candidate to meet the council. After the council heard from him, the decision was made unanimously to proceed with my recommendation of hiring him. He will begin on July 11, 2022, as a part-time code enforcer. We are excited to have been able to add this position, as it is much needed. This will now put the town to three full-time employees and one part-time employee.

I was impressed with how nice the Memorial Day parade was on May 29. I hear it was one of the largest ones in the estimated 150-year history of the parade. We have heard so many compliments, but this was not the town that put it on. The credit goes to Michael Strausbough and the American Legion Post 282 who organized it and did a great job. It was also nice to have WWII Battle of the Bulge Veteran James Derry in attendance in the parade.

On June 2, the town closed on the property at 605 S. Main Street. Bidding has begun for estimates to demolish the property. Demolition will be several weeks out, as we cannot move forward until the electric company can come and remove the overhead power lines. The town is excited about the next steps to come in getting a town office built.

The town was able to receive approval for a $240,000 grant that I applied for from the Maryland Community Parks and Playground Program. This grant will be used to build a restroom in the upper part of the park, close to where the stage has been built. In addition, the town was approved for grant funding through Playground Open Space to have new ADA-compliant playground equipment installed, a pavilion built at the disc golf field, and new flag poles at the monument, where we will be adding two more poles for a total of three so that we can fly the American flag, the Maryland State flag, and the Woodsboro flag.

Mark your calendars for October 15 and 16, as Woodsboro Days will once again be a two-day festival, instead of just the one day as had been for the last several decades. I have lined up three bands for the festival on Sunday October 16 at the stage in the park, along with several vendors and food trucks that will also be set up there. Last year’s music festival in the park was well attended and successful, and we are looking forward to this year’s event. If you are a vendor or food truck interested in attending, please reach out to me.

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 St. Johns United Church of Christ, located at 8 N 2nd Street, Woodsboro, MD 21798. The public is always invited to attend

At the Woodsboro town meeting on May 10, we had a few topics on the agenda. The main one, of course, was the upcoming budget that will be voted on at our next meeting on June 14. There was not much discussion around it, as there wasn’t many changes from last years.

Another item that was on the agenda, which I was very excited about, was awarding the ARPA (COVID Relief Grant) to some of our town businesses. We had six businesses apply for the $5,000 grants, and all six were approved to receive the grants by our commission that viewed the applications. The following businesses received $5,000 grants: The Olde Towne Restaurant, Trout’s Market, Forestheart Studio, Affordable Pest Control, Gardner’s Garage, and Dynamic Graphics. The business owners were all in attendance to receive these funds. The town council and I were all happy to be able to assist our small businesses who are the backbone of our community.

After issuing the $30,000 in grants to the small businesses that applied, that left us with $20,000 in allocated funds towards grants remaining. I proposed to the town council, and it was voted on unanimously, to add in another $1,000 to the $20,000 dollar pool and divide it between our six nonprofits in town, which include four churches, the American Legion, and the Woodsboro Volunteer Fire Department. We will be issuing checks for $3,500 to each of them over the next couple of weeks.

Commissioner Crum reported on the items that she submitted for funding for the annual Program Open Space grant through the county. This year, she submitted for funding for some new ADA-compliant playground equipment, a pavilion to be built near the disc golf course, a message board at the disc golf course, lighting, and new flag poles at the memorial in town. We will know in early June what has been approved. Commissioner Crum and I will be attending the POS meeting on May 26, where we will get more information on what has been approved.

On June 2, the town will be going to closing on the purchase of the lot at 605 S. Main Street. This is where we will be building the new town offices. A large portion of that funding will be coming from the grant we were able to secure in Governor Hogan’s budget. Funding to purchase the lot was made possible through Woodsboro Bank.

I am also very happy to announce that the American Legion’s annual Memorial Day Parade will be back this year after a couple of years of hiatus due to the pandemic. The parade will take place on Main Street in Woodsboro on Sunday, May 29. The events of the day will begin at 12:00 p.m., with a memorial service taking place at the War Memorial on Main Street, followed by the parade at 1:30 p.m.

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 fourteen 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 in Woodsboro. The public is always invited to attend.

Woodsboro

Burgess Heath Barnes

I hope all of you had a Happy Easter, and all the children, teachers, and school staff enjoyed their spring break. I am excited to share with you all that the Town of Woodsboro and the Woodsboro Volunteer Fire Department were able to put on a very successful first Town of Woodsboro Easter Egg hunt on April 9. Volunteers stuffed and hid about 1,900 eggs, and we had around 150-200 children show up to hunt them. In addition, the fire department supplied nine grand prizes to be given out. I personally had a great time being one of the Easter bunnies and seeing the joy on so many children’s faces. This event would not have been made possible without donations from the following business: Gardner’s Garage, Rocky Hill Lutheran Church, Woodsboro Evangelical Lutheran Church, and Woodsboro Bank, as well as many donations from town and surrounding area residents. Thank you to all who supported this event.

At the April 12 town meeting, we had a few things on the agenda. The first one is that our ad for a part-time code enforcer/supervisor job will be posted beginning April 28, as we had a delay in getting it ready. Applications will be taken and interviews begin shortly after for qualified candidates until the right candidate is identified.

I announced that the town has received notification that the grant for the town office that I submitted through Senator Hough and Delegate Pippy was approved, and $400,000 dollars has been added in the governor’s budget toward our town hall. I am very excited about this development, as this will save the town a lot of money in its endeavor to build a much-needed town office. We are still having difficulties with the county in receiving permits, but hopefully things will start moving soon.

On April 25, the application process will end for businesses to apply for the COVID-19 grant that the town is giving out to qualified businesses. The grant is for up to $5,000 dollars per business. We plan to meet with the committee to make the determination of the award on April 28 and to distribute the funds at the following town meeting on May 10.

I am very happy to announce that the American Legion’s annual Memorial Day Parade will be back this year after a couple of years of hiatus due to the pandemic. The parade will take place on Main Street in Woodsboro on Sunday, May 29. The events of the day will begin at noon, with a memorial service taking place at the war memorial on Main Street, followed by the parade at 1:30 p.m. We invite you all to make plans to join us.

I also want to congratulate and mention Dalen Hahn, a Woodsboro resident who is a senior at Walkersville High School and was awarded the Winona “Winnie” Crum Rookie of the Year Award on April 18, 2022, during the annual Frederick County Volunteer Fire and Rescue Association banquet. Congratulations and thank you for all your hard work.

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 in Woodsboro. The public is always invited to attend.

Burgess Heath Barnes

Happy spring! I always look forward to this time of the year, as it means that it is getting closer to the warm summer months and I can say goodbye to the bitter cold of winter. Hopefully this spring, we can be back to normal and see more activities and events happening and things coming to life.

At the March 8 town meeting, we only had a few things on the agenda. The first one is that our ad for a part-time code enforcer/supervisor will be posted beginning March 15, and applications will be taken and interviews begin shortly after for qualified candidates until the right candidate is identified.

On April 9 at 2:00 p.m. in the town park, the Woodsboro Volunteer Fire Department and the Town of Woodsboro will be hosting an Easter Egg Hunt. This event is made possible by donations from the Woodsboro Evangelical Lutheran Church, as well as by many other citizens in the town. If you would like to donate to a bag of individually wrapped candy to stuff the eggs with, it can be dropped off at the town office. If the weather does not cooperate on April 9, the event will be moved to Sunday, April 10, at 1:00 p.m. There will be three age-group areas for the hunt with three grand prizes in each age group. In addition, the Easter Bunny will be there for pictures.

We also discussed the status of the stage and new walking bridge that are being built in the park. I spoke with the contractor and was assured that both projects will be completed by the middle of May, in time to meet our deadline of June 1, 2022, for grant funding of the projects. We also discussed several upgrades to the park that are coming, as we are working on replacing and updating some outdated equipment.

We have opened the application process for the COVID-19 business relief fund grants, effective March 25, 2022. The application process will open on March 25 and will end on April 25 at 4:00 p.m. All applications must be received at the town office by 4:00 p.m. on April 25 to be considered for the grant. The application can be obtained off the town website or by visiting the town office. Each business is eligible for up to $5,000 in grant relief. To be eligible, you must be a business registered to do business in the town of Woodsboro, in good standing with the state, and be able to provide examples of how your business was affected by COVID-19. We encourage all business owners in the town limits to apply. Final decisions will be made by April 30, 2022, and funds will be distributed the first week of May 2022 to all businesses that are selected.

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 in Woodsboro. The public is always invited to attend.

Burgess Heath Barnes

As winter is hopefully ending soon, and spring gets closer, I would like to share some updates from our February meetings. We look forward to exciting things to come in the spring and summer for projects and events that we have in the works for the Town of Woodsboro.

The Woodsboro Planning and Zoning Committee held its first meeting of the year on February 7, 2022. The meeting was held to discuss a town resident’s request to make Arnold Alley an official town road so that they can possibly subdivide and build another home. At this time, the discussion is still in place, and the resident was asked to provide more documents and details about the request.

The town, in partnership the Woodsboro Fire Department, is moving forward with the plans to have a town Easter egg hunt. It will tentatively be held in the town park on Saturday, April 9 (the day before Easter). More details to come.

We continue to have an ongoing issue with cars speeding on Main Street and in front of the elementary school. Discussions were had about how we can get this ongoing problem solved and will be talked about more at next month’s meeting. I did speak with Sheriff Jenkins, and he is going to up the amount of patrol units in the area, particularly during the commuting hours to help curb this. I do request that everyone watch their speed in town, as we do have many residents that walk around town, as well as children out playing.

Town Manager Mary Rice announced that our new mower that was ordered in March 2021 has finally arrived. This will be a nice addition to have for the park area this spring and summer.

I would like to remind residents that town code prohibits any kind of livestock, such as chickens, goats, cattle, horses, etc. to be kept within town limits. We have had a couple of issues in the last few months with this, but have since been resolved.

Commissioner Dana Crum, myself, and the town employees will be meeting with a park equipment specialist this month to gather a list of new equipment needs to present to submit to the county’s Program Open Space grant for the upcoming budget year. We will also be requesting grant money to add in two new flag poles to the monument area and additional lighting where we can fly the USA, Maryland, and Woodsboro flags.

The town has begun to use its grant money that was received from the Federal Government on several of the water and sewage projects that were voted upon in the December 2021 meeting. In addition, I will be submitting the application for the small business grants to the council at the March 8 meeting. We will then start the 30-day application process. Please look for more details in next month’s article and the way to apply for the grants if you are interested.

As the weather begins to get better, the work on stage in the park will continue, as well as the building of new ADA-compliant walking bridge in the park. These projects will both need to be completed by June 1, 2022, to receive the grants that the town was approved for. The town hall building plans have been submitted to the county for review by their engineer. Once the plans are either approved or sent back to us for modifications, we can move forward with opening for bids, etc. to start the building.

The Town of Woodsboro will be hiring a part-time code enforcement officer. There will be employment ads being run in the next few weeks. As the town grows and different issues are coming up, the council has decided it is time to add a fourth employee to the town. This person will be responsible for helping to enforce town codes and working with our maintenance staff.

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.

Don’t forget to wear your green on March 17 for St. Patrick’s Day!

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.

Frederick County’s Lost Cavern

by James Rada, Jr.

In February 1880, the Baltimore Sun reported, “A large cave is reported to have been discovered near Woodsboro, Frederick County, rivaling in extent and splendor the famous Luray cave.”

The cave was known as “fox den.” It was on the George L. Smith farm, north of Woodsboro. Who and how it was discovered that the den was actually a cave is not known, but someone found a reason to enter the den at some point and saw it hid more than foxes. Word spread quickly of the underground marvel.

The Sun sent a reporter to explore the cave and write up a report. A group of local men agreed to show him the cave. “Having procured picks, shovels, old clothing, candles, matches &c., the party proceeded on their way to the cave, and, who knows, perhaps to glory,” according to the Emmitsburg Chronicle.

What the group found was not another Luray Caverns, but something that left them disappointed and disgusted, according to the Chronicle.

A writer with the Chronicle calling himself “Nemo” remained curious about the caverns. He traveled to Woodboro and hired one of the men who had led the Sun reporter to the cavern. The entrance was located near an area that had been quarried at the base of a limestone bluff. The guide used a gushing spring at the base of the bluff as a landmark to find the entrance.

Nemo wrote, “…I put on my ‘crawling suit,’ and with a box of matches in one pocket and candles in another, we were ready to creep.”

To enter the cavern, they had to slide into the den feet first. Nemo wrote “had I been at all aldermanic, I could not have got through.” Aldermanic was a slang term at the time for having a pot belly.

The entrance sloped downward, and they slid about eight feet before dropping into the first room of the caverns.

The first room was about 10 feet by 15 feet with a height of 3 feet. It had an “unbroken limestone arch overhead.”

From this room, they squeezed through a short passage at the north end of the room. It led into another room of the same height, but this room was 25 feet by 30 feet. It was also filled with stalactites and stalagmites.

“The end of one stalagmite knocked loose from the floor, measured five inches in diameter, and had twenty-five clearly defined circles of alternate layers of magnesia,” Nemo wrote. He took it as a sample.

This room had two passages other than the one they had come through. The passage on the north end was too small to crawl through, so they went through the western passage. This room had stalactites and stalagmites in it and a cold pool of water that measured 3 feet by 10 feet.

Going through a southern passage from the chamber, they wound up in a room that was seven feet by eight feet, “this was coverly by a lofty arched ceiling thickly studded with stalactites and supported by rocks forming walls of other apartments,” Nemo wrote.

The only passage from this room they could pass through was one that led back to the original chamber. Once there, they squirmed back up the slope and outside.

Besides mineral samples, Nemo caught a bat hanging from the ceiling, although he didn’t note which room this was in. He also saw bones of animals that had slid into the cavern and had been unable to escape because they were too small.

He believed the cavern could be enlarged, but noted, “It is not likely that this cave, even after a thorough exploration, would rival Louray, or that more recently discovered in Pennsy’vania, but ‘tis a ‘big thing’ for Woodsboro.”

A 1950 report titled The Caves of Maryland by William E. Davies lists the cave as the Centerville Cave. It is described as “A cave consisting of four small rooms is reported in an old quarry in the Wakefield marble, one-half mile east of Centerville, along the Coppermine road.”

However, the report notes that by this time, the cave seemed to have been lost and could not be located during the field work. Perhaps, it collapsed or maybe the entrance is so small it has become hidden.

Luray Caverns Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Woodsboro

Burgess Heath Barnes

My hope is that each of you had a Merry Christmas and a Happy Holiday.

December 4 and 5 was an exciting weekend in Woodsboro with the annual Holiday Bazaar at the Woodsboro Lutheran Church on December 4, and a visit from Santa on December 5. Santa made his rounds all over the Town of Woodsboro on one of the town’s fire trucks. Residents old and young enjoyed seeing Santa in town.

At the December 14th town meeting, several items were voted on and passed by the council regarding American Rescue Plan funds that the town received. The funds will be used to repair and/or replace several aging water and sewage infrastructure projects that have been needed for a while now. The council also voted on purchasing a new tractor for the town, in addition to setting back an amount of money for grants to help businesses in town that were affected by COVID-19. There will be more details coming on the grant application process for businesses soon.

The town filled the planning and zoning committee at the meeting. The committee will now consist of the council liaison Jesse Case and current members Earl Powell and Jeff Crum.  J.R. Delauter, Carol Tressler, and alternate Bill Rittelmeyer were voted in by the council and will join the committee to make up the committee of six. Thank you to all who have stepped up to serve the town. The board of appeals committee is still looking for one member to complete it. If you would be interested in volunteering your time and live within the town limits, please attend a meeting or reach out to me or the town office to express your interest in the open committee position.

I would also encourage everyone to support Glade Valley Community Services (GVCS) Holiday Toy Shoppe toy collection to make sure children in our community have a toy under the tree. For more information, please contact GVCS by email at gvcs.inc@verizon.net or call 301-845-0213.

I would like to wish each a Blessed New Year. After the last two years and what everyone has been through, let’s hope and pray that 2022 is a much better year for all.

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. The current location for meetings is the St. Johns United Church of Christ, located at 8 N. 2nd Street in Woodsboro. The public is always invited to attend.

Woodsboro

Burgess Heath Barnes

Wow, this year has flown by! My hope is that each of you had a safe and happy Thanksgiving and took the opportunity to give thanks with your family and friends.

Back on October 17, Woodsboro held its first annual music festival in conjunction with Woodsboro Days, which is traditionally the third weekend in October, annually. The event was a great success, with several hundred in attendance for the family-friendly day in the park that included vendors, food trucks, and bands that played on the newly constructed permanent stage. Be on the lookout for announcements early next year for a spring/summer event to be held on the new stage as well. During the weekend, town residents and churches set up yard sales, and the Woodsboro Historical Society’s museum at the train station was open to visitors. Their annual 5K run/walk fundraiser also had a record number of participants. The weekend was an overall success in so many ways, and I am looking forward to next year’s festivities already. Mark your calendars now to attend next year’s Woodsboro Days on October 15-16, 2022.

At the November 9 town meeting, several items were discussed, including plans for a town hall that will be built on South Main Street on a lot the town purchased in 2018. The engineer and architect said he would deliver the final plans by November 22. The town council made a few changes last month to the original plans that delayed delivery, including the removal of a full basement intended for record storage. An attic with an open room was added instead. I am excited about the process. If all goes well with the approval of the new plans, we can have them submitted to the county soil conservation division for approval by the end of the year. My goal is to have shovels in the ground by early spring once the ground thaws from winter.

The American Rescue Plan funds the town received will help immensely in repairing and replacing several infrastructure items related to the town’s water and sewer systems. The council will vote on several of these items at the December meeting and how funds will be used in accordance with the plan’s spending guidelines.

The town is looking to fill committee seats, including those on the Planning & Zoning Committee and Board of Appeals Committee. We have some potential annexation requests coming up, so it’s very important that we fill these committee seats ASAP. If you would be interested in volunteering your time and live within the Woodsboro town limits, please attend a meeting or reach out to myself or the town office to express your interest.

The town has a few activities scheduled to celebrate the Christmas holiday season, and I invite you to attend. Check the Community Calendar in the back of this issue for these family-fun holiday events.

 I would also encourage everyone to support Glade Valley Community Services (GVCS) Holiday Toy Shoppe toy collection to make sure children in our community have a toy under the tree. For more information, please contact GVCS by email at gvcs.inc@verizon.net or call 301-845-0213.

I would like to wish each of you a Merry Christmas, a happy holiday season, and a blessed New Year. After the last two years and what everyone has been through, let’s hope and pray that 2022 is much better.

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

Woodsboro town meetings are held on the second Tuesday of each month at 7:00 pm. The current location for meetings is the St. Johns United Church of Christ, located at 8 N. Second Street in Woodsboro. The public is always invited to attend.

Meet the “Eternal Litigant”

by James Rada, Jr.

When you consider it, a horse cart rental led to multi-million dollars in lawsuits.

Dr. Harrison Wagner of Woodsboro hired a horse and cart owned by John Flickinger in 1878. When Flickinger paid off his doctor’s bill, he reduced the amount by the amount Wagner owed him for the rental. Wagner denied ever hiring the cart, but he lost his case in court.

Having lost with a weak case, most people would move on. Not Wagner. If something positive could be said about the man, it was that he never gave up.

“He then had Flickinger arrested for perjury, and nine witnesses swore that what Flickinger had testified was true, while many more contradicted this evidence point-blank,” the New York Times reported years later. The case cost Wagner $1,000 with no result reached.

It is believed this loss somehow changed the middle-aged bachelor, who lived alone in his house on Main Street in Woodsboro.

“He would leave town suddenly on horseback, by the back streets, and not return for days. While away, he would visit farmers, and beg them on his knees to hide him in their hay-lofts or garrets, as a crowd of ruffians from Woodsboro were on his track who had sworn not to sleep until they had murdered him,” according to the New York Times.

He had the sheriff in Westminster lock him up for his own safety. He barricaded himself at times in his own house. He told people he had been engaged to a woman, but political shenanigans caused the woman’s family to break the engagement.

In 1876, Wagner went to Baltimore and swore out a warrant before the U.S. Attorney saying his life was in danger in Woodsboro, and he named nine men trying to kill him. “Two deputy marshals, armed to the teeth, were at once sent to Woodsboro to break up the infamous gang. When they get there they found the ‘desperadoes’ all reputable and well-to-do citizens, willing to go with the marshals peaceably if the law required it. Only one of them was taken to Baltimore, and he was dismissed, with the remark that Wagner was undoubtedly crazy,” the New York Times reported.

Undeterred after another court loss, Wagner believed that the nine men were liable for his time spent protecting himself from them. He sued for time lost, day’s labor, injury to business, disturbed peace of mind, and more. He went after not only the men, but their family members and friends.

“When a man goes to bed here at night nowadays, he never knows whether the sheriff will be around first thing in the morning to levy on him or not,” according to the New York Times.

When the local magistrate quickly dismissed the lawsuits, Wagner filed even more in other jurisdictions in the county; over 2,000 in just a few months. The total damages Wagner claimed among all the lawsuits was $6,000, and for this, he sought $100,000. Over half of the lawsuits were against the Adams Express Company “the only cause for any of them being imaginary damage done to a single small package.”

It was thought these suits also came to nothing, but in 1879, it was discovered that 128 judgments of $98 each were still active. Wagner pursued them against the estate of William Shank who had died the previous year.

Although it was conclusively proven Shank had never borrowed money from Wagner, because of the preciseness of the way paperwork had been filed, it still had to go through the Orphan’s Court. This tied up the estate and threatened to leave nothing for Shank’s rightful heirs.

Other Woodsboro merchants had their own problems because of Wagner’s open lawsuits. They found their credit with some Baltimore businesses had been suspended because of the outstanding judgments.

“Wagner was denounced in the severest terms, and if he attempts to prosecute his claims by levying up the property of his victims, there is sure to be trouble,” the New York Times reported. “The imaginary conspiracy from which he had been fleeing for years will become a reality.”

The other plaintiffs in Wagner’s suits had had enough they had Wagner indicted as being a “common barrator.” This was a rare charge with only a handful of cases found on record. A common barrator sounds much like a cross between modern “ambulance chaser” and practicing law without a license. Wagner had one of his rare victories in this case when it was ruled that for the charge of common barrator to be appropriate, Wagner would have had to be encouraging others to file multiple frivolous suits. Wagner was filing his suits on his own behalf.

A few months later, all of his outstanding lawsuits came back to potentially bite Wagner. Although he hadn’t collected on the outstanding judgements as the cases were being appealed, he was potentially the owner of a lot of property on which he had to pay property taxes.

“From his statements it appears that the collector of State and county taxes in making out the schedule of property which is to be the basis of taxation for the year 1880 included the judgements which he (Wagner) had obtained against the estate of William Shank, of Woodsboro for $13,000…,” according to the Baltimore Sun.

Wagner appeared before the county commissioners asking for relief from unfair taxation. They told him that he hadn’t been taxed yet since the cases were still outstanding, but if the courts found in his favor that is the amount he would owe. In essence, the state and county had done the same thing to Wagner that he had done to the citizens of Woodsboro, except that the state and county had a legitimate claim.

During the following year, the cases were dismissed because Wagner was back in court in 1881 trying to get them reinstated.

Wagner soon moved out of the county, but not out of the county newspapers.

In 1883, newspapers reported that he filed more lawsuits against the Adams Express Company in the Washington, D.C. courts. This was another effort to revive some of his earlier Frederick County lawsuits. The total amount Wagner sought from these suits was $101,000. Denied satisfaction in Washington, he met a magistrate in Licksville, Virginia, to convince him to issue a judgment against the express company.

“Justice Alnutt refused to issue, when Wagner became very demonstrative,” the Sun reported. “Several residents of the village standing near told Wagner they would lynch him if he attempted the Woodsboro racket in that neighborhood. One man was especially anxious to at least give him, as he said, his deserts (sic) by throwing him in the canal near by (sic).”

Wagner quickly left.

In 1885, he next showed up in Mecklenburg, North Carolina, filing 11,443 small suits seeking $1,242,850 in unspecified damages. These suits were dismissed.

In 1890, Wagner was finally arrested and charged with a crime. Officials said he forged the name of the late William Dinsmore on a bond of nearly $2 million that he filed against the Adams Express Company.

“He went about it all so quietly, and worked it all in such an underhand way that it was only by the suspicion of the county clerk at Fredericksburg, Va., becoming aroused that the fraud became known,” the Frederick News reported.

Wagner was sentenced to one year in prison for forgery.

By 1897, Wagner was in the U.S. Circuit Court in Baltimore suing Frederick County commissioners for $1.1 million. He lost the case but appealed it to the U.S. Supreme Court of Appeals in Richmond the following year and lost once again.

He continued to file lawsuits against government, companies, and individuals in the years following; never winning but continuing to press forward. He even tried to perpetrate a fraud against the U.S. Congress in 1902. The House Committee on Invalid Pensions had “an alleged copy of a bill purporting to have been passed by the Senate placing him on the retired list of the Army as an assistant surgeon has been circulated, and that an equally fraudulent copy of an alleged favorable report on this bill has been palmed off on the committee,” according to the Frederick News. When his case was researched, it was found he had only been contracted as a nurse for a single year during the war.

Wagner was committed to insane asylum in 1907 after filing another fraudulent lawsuit against the late Joseph Reisinger of Rockville. He was convicted in the case, but a lunacy commission found him of unsound mind and committed him rather than send him to prison.

He spend a short time in the asylum and then went to live with his brother in Ohio. For unknown reasons, he returned to Washington, D.C., to be recommitted.

In 1911, Wagner applied to be released saying “he would rather go to the penitentiary than stay in the government hospital,” according to the Frederick News. Frederick County citizens showed up at his release hearing opposing the action and Frederick County government opposed his release writing, in part, “He fraudulently obtained judgments against nearly every prominent citizen in this county…”

The eternal litigant lost his final case and remained in the asylum.

Deb Spalding

Husband and wife duo, Sharon and Russ Rowland of Woodsboro operate two glass businesses out of the former CVS store space in the Thurmont Plaza on North Church Street in Thurmont. Sharon operates Art In Glass and Russ operates Rowland Glass Studios. The couple moved the businesses into the space from Frederick in February 2017.

Sharon was a registered nurse when she took her first stained glass class in 1978, and she has been doing it ever since. By 1986, she had turned the hobby into a full-time career from her basement. The business was moved several times over the years, and when the economy shrunk in 2009, the business shrunk with it. Since then, the glass business has grown and they’ve adjusted.

Russ left a lawn care business when he met his wife and fell right into the glass business. He went to work for a custom glass company and ran that until 2014 when the opportunity to purchase the business was presented. Rowland Glass Studios was born.

Sharon’s Art in Glass business completes commissioned stained glass projects and various special artistic techniques for commercial and residential decorative glass use or for gallery pieces and jewelry.

Since 1998, Rowland Glass Studios has been creating elegant, custom-etched tempered, laminated and annealed architectural design in glass. The Rowlands do just about anything to decorate glass and mirrors from sand blasted printed film, efficiency film, security film, or reflective film applied for decoration as well as providing other benefits like reducing heat, adding security, and controlling light. Russ said, “Architectural glass has the power to transform a space from ordinary to extraordinary.” It’s also a popular alternative to tiles and laminates.

The artistic effects are applied to different types of glass, but it doesn’t interfere with integrity of the glass. New edge-lit signs introduce light from bottom or sides creating unique effects. The Rowlands recently completed a job where edge-lighting was used in conjunction with dichroic film—looks one color one way and another color the other way—to mimic the Northern Lights. Dichroic film was developed for NASA to reflect light and heat in space shuttles. The film was quickly recognized as a material that could be effectively used in glass.

Russ said, “We start with a sheet of clear glass and then sand blast it and put effects on it. We take it from the beginning to a finished product.”

Fused glass and glass blowing are Sharon’s passions. She just finished a class in a new three-dimensional technique that allows you to have glass without an opening. The technique was invented by a professor in Philadelphia.

Sharon gave a tour of the new shop, offices, and gallery showroom. In the showroom, she is displaying pieces for purchase that are cute and “kitschy” like bottle cheese boards, jewelry, paw prints, dishes, and paper weights.

You can view completed Rowland projects at the Majestic Theater in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, the McGowan Center at Mount St. Mary’s University, in bus shelters in Arlington, Virginia, and in private residences throughout the region.

For more information about Art In Glass or Rowland Glass Studios, please visit their showroom, offices, and workshop in the Thurmont Plaza Shopping Center at 224 A West Church Street in Thurmont, call 240-568-9135, or visit www.rowlandglass.com.

Pictured are Russ and Sharon Rowland, owners of Art In Glass and Rowland Glass Studio in Thurmont.

Thurmont Baseball is actively planning to make 2017 their best year ever. Registration is now open and is in full swing until February 24, 2017. Visit their website at www.TLLbaseball.com to register, and please share the message with your friends. Additionally, they will be offering in-person registration on February 5 at the TLL clubhouse (above the concession stand) from 10:00 a.m.-noon.

Players from Emmitsburg, Thurmont, Rocky Ridge, Woodsboro, Taneytown, and Union Bridge are welcome to register. They also offer a sibling discount that applies to families with more than one player. The 2017 League Divisions: All games played at the Thurmont Complex — Tee-Ball (ages 4-6): typically 7 to 10 teams; Instructional League (ages 5-8): typically 6 to 8 teams; Minor League (ages 7-11): typically 8 to 10 teams; Little League Major (ages 9-12): 6 teams; Babe Ruth (ages 13-18): typically 3 to 5 teams.

At the Tee-ball, Instructional, Minor, and Major divisions, all of their games are played in-house at the Thurmont Baseball Complex. This provides their families the convenience of not having to travel around the county for games during school nights. They also have their beautifully renovated concession stand, serving some of the best concession fare in Frederick County. New in 2017, they will be offering some healthier dinner options for families—but don’t worry, the pizza and nachos aren’t going anywhere!

Thurmont Little League is looking forward to seeing your player on their ball fields. Feel free to call Ed Lowry at 267-664-5059 with questions or email them at thurmontbaseball@hotmail.com. View their advertisement on page 28.

It’s cold out, but it’s warming up at Thurmont Baseball! Let’s be honest, it’s January and it’s cold; who in their right mind is thinking about baseball? That question could be a loaded one depending on who you ask. In the Thurmont-Emmitsburg region, that passion for baseball runs pretty deep. True, the cold weather has arrived, but at Thurmont Baseball, they are gearing up for their sixty-sixth season of baseball. They are actively planning to make 2017 their best year ever. Registration is now open and is in full swing until late February. Visit their website at www.TLLbaseball.com to register, and please share the message with your friends.  Additionally, they will be offering in-person registration on the following dates/times to accommodate our community members who would prefer that method of registration: January 7 and February 5—at the TLL clubhouse (above the concession stand) from 10:00 a.m.-noon.

Players from Emmitsburg, Thurmont, Rocky Ridge, Woodsboro, Taneytown, and Union Bridge are welcome to register. Act now to get your $10.00 off registration through the end of January.  They also offer a sibling discount that applies to families with more than one player. The 2017 League Divisions: All games played at the Thurmont Complex — Tee-Ball (ages 4-6): typically 7 to 10 teams; Instructional League (ages 5-8): typically 6 to 8 teams; Minor League (ages 7-11): typically 8 to 10 teams; Little League Major (ages 9-12): 6 teams; Babe Ruth (ages 13-18): typically 3 to 5 teams.

At the Tee-ball, Instructional, Minor, and Major divisions, all of their games are played in-house at the Thurmont Baseball Complex. This provides their families the convenience of not having to travel around the county for games during school nights. They also have their beautifully renovated concession stand, serving some of the best concession fare in Frederick County.  New in 2017, they will be offering some healthier dinner options for families. Don’t worry, the pizza and nachos aren’t going anywhere!

Thurmont Little League is looking forward to seeing your player on their ball fields. Feel free to call Ed Lowry at 267-664-5059 with questions or email them at thurmontbaseball@hotmail.com.

James Rada, Jr.

Having a groundhog as a pet wasn’t part of Harold Long’s plan when he took up the hobby of trapping groundhogs and selling them over ten years ago while working a dairy farm.

Trapping them has helped curb the damage that the groundhogs—considered rodents—can cause to farmland, crops, and farm equipment. It also serves to meet a demand for the consumption of the meat that is a common practice in some cultures.

“Some people came up from Montgomery County and asked if we had any groundhogs,” Long said. “I didn’t. I didn’t have time to be trapping them.”

The idea stayed with him, though, and when he retired from the dairy farm, he decided to start trapping groundhogs. He now has twenty-five traps in Thurmont, Woodsboro, and Walkersville, that he checks twice a day. Last year, Long caught three hundred sixty-one groundhogs.

He has eight clients to whom he sells the groundhogs. The customers travel to Thurmont from Montgomery County just to buy groundhogs. They will buy ten to twenty groundhogs at a time from Long.

His customers use groundhog meat in recipes. Their meat can be used in any recipe calling for small game, and in many other wild game recipes, too. Groundhogs are vegetarians and their meat is considered tender and tasty. However, groundhogs have a scent gland (as do rabbits and raccoons) that needs to be removed as soon as possible to keep from tainting the meat.

A side benefit of Long’s trapping is that gardens near the areas where Long places his traps are free from at least one invader. Harold Long was trapping groundhogs last year when he caught a nice-sized female that he thought his customers would like.

“I took her out, and three little ones came out of the hole after,” Long said. Long took pity on the cubs. They would have died without their mother. Young groundhog cubs are dependent on their mother for at least six weeks.

Long fed the cubs milk from a syringe and, when they got older, grass and ginger snaps. He kept them in a cage in the house. Two of the cubs eventually died, but the third one had a strong will to live and survived.

Long named him Skeeter, and he is now his “pet.” Skeeter sleeps in a cage when he’s in the house, but he is usually in the barn. Long built the groundhog a fort in the barn, where it could hibernate through the winter.

“He will stand on my leg and wait for me to pet him,” Long said. “I’m the only one he will go to. He’ll snap his teeth if anyone else gets close to him.”

Even when Skeeter is in the barn, he will come to Long because he knows that Long is the one who raised him and still feeds him.

Having a groundhog as a pet is not recommended in general. Though they appear cuddly and cute, they are wild animals and they will take action to protect themselves when they feel threatened.

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Harold Long and Skeeter the groundhog.

Courtesy Photo

The Thurmont Little League (TLL) All-Star season is still underway, but TLL is gearing up for an exciting season of fall baseball. Thurmont Little League is open to players from Thurmont, Emmitsburg, Sabillasville, Woodsboro, Rocky Ridge, Taneytown, and Union Bridge.

“Thurmont Little League and Little League International thrives by building virtues of character, courage, and loyalty to the community, which is why the board of directors here at TLL feel so strongly about the Little League mission and the benefits it provides to our servicing communities. When we extended our league’s boundary to the outlining communities, we broadened the Little League virtues and exposed our players to those qualities with the intent of bettering the overall communities in our region. Our goal is to make these youth athletes successful on the field and, more importantly, successful off the field,” said Ed Lowry, president of Thurmont Little League.

The TLL fall baseball season is a great opportunity for players to continue and enhance their baseball skills. We strongly encourage players to sign up for the division they wish to play in the 2016 spring season, so they can get a better idea of the game rules and procedures of that division.

You may register online at www.TLLbaseball.com (through August 23). In-person registrations are now taking place every Monday evening through August 17 at the Thurmont Little League clubhouse, from 6:00-7:30 p.m. Our fall baseball season will begin late August and run through the end of October and cost $60.00 per player (players can receive a $10.00 discount if they register before July 31). Visit www.TLLbaseball.com for more details. If you have questions, please call league President Ed Lowry at 267-664-5059 or email thurmontbaseball@hotmail.com.

Registration for the 2015 Spring Thurmont Little League (TTL) is now open. Online registration is available at their website until Friday, February 20, at www.TLLbaseball.com.

Players for Thurmont, Sabillasville, Emmitsburg, Rocky Ridge, Woodsboro, Taneytown and Union Bridge are welcome to register. Come be a part of the Little League experience.

At the T-ball, Instructional, Minor, and Major divisions, all of their games are played in-house at the Thurmont Little League Complex. This provides families the convenience of not having to travel around the county during school nights for games. Each division’s coaches follow a strict core of coaching objectives developed by their program to ensure all children are taught the same basic skills to develop their baseball talents.  The TLL Coaching Coordinator oversees the implementation of this program at all levels. Each level provides flexibility with respect to age, so players advance according to their ability. Young players who master the skills are able to advance and are not held back simply because of their birth date.

Additionally, they have undergone major improvements to their facilities to ensure their ball players get to take advantage of the best facilities their program can provide. More improvements are on the way come spring.

All games are played at the Thurmont Complex: T-Ball (ages 4-6):  typically 7-10 teams; Instructional League (ages 5-8): typically 6-8 teams; Minor League (ages 7-11): typically 6-7 teams; Little League Major (ages 9-12): new this year, they will field 6 teams.

If you cannot sign up online, please visit them for the following in-person registration dates: Saturday, February 7, from 12:00-2:00 p.m.; Sunday, February 8, from 12:00-2:00 p.m.

Minor and Major tryouts will be conducted on February 21 and February 28. First-time Minor or Major players must attend one tryout.

Both in-person registration dates will take place at their Clubhouse, located at 275 Westview Drive in Thurmont. The Thurmont Little League looks forward to seeing your player on the Little League ball fields.

Feel free to call 267-664-5059 with questions or email them at thurmontbaseball@hotmail.com. You can find them on Facebook at Thurmont Little League and on Twitter/Instagram at theTLLnetwork