Currently viewing the tag: "Woodsboro"

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