From the Mayor


by Mayor Briggs

The holiday season is aquí! Many events are planned for the holiday season; jump in. Continuing Emmitsburg’s holiday traditions, Mother Seton School third graders will trim the tree on the square on December 1, and the Emmitsburg Elementary School will trim the tree in front of the Community Center on December 18.

On December 4, Emmitsburg will host the Maryland Municipal League Frederick County chapter delegation dinner. Attendance is estimated to be 80-100 people.

On Monday, December 7, the Christmas tree lighting on the Square begins with Christmas music at 5:00 p.m., caroling by two choruses at 5:45 p.m., then Santa Claus and the tree lighting shortly thereafter. From there, it’s down to the Carriage House Inn for the 26th Annual “Evening of Christmas Spirit” for one-on-one with Santa, caroling, hay rides, free hotdogs, cookies, hot chocolate, and more, happening 7:00-9:00 p.m.

A Christmas present for all: It looks like an old favorite style of pizza may be coming back to the square.

On Veterans Day, promptly at 11:00 a.m.—the eleventh day of the eleventh month—it was again a pleasure to join the American Legion Post Honor Guard as they visited each cemetery, the Doughboy, and the American Legion Post with a 21-gun salute and “Taps.” Later in the day, they visited nine war Veterans at St. Catherine’s Nursing Home.

On October 27, Emmitsburg received the “Sustainable Maryland Certified” designation. Emmitsburg is one of only three municipalities in Frederick County to earn this award. The award was made at the Maryland Municipal League Fall Conference held at the Hyatt Hotel in Cambridge.  This is the third award the town has received in the last three years. In 2013, the town was recognized by the state as a “Sustainable Community” that made the town and residents eligible for grants, among other things. Over $300,000 has gone into improving private property through this program. In 2014, Emmitsburg was recognized by the Maryland Energy Administration as a “Smart Energy Community.” The efforts leading up to these awards were geared primarily toward the goals of assisting residents, lowering the cost of government, and lessening our impact on the environment. Congratulations to the Emmitsburg town staff!

An often forgotten issue is our trash. As we move into the season of uplifting and gift exchange, why talk about trash? From 2013 estimates, the county generates 427,000 tons of waste a year, of which approximately 49.5 percent is recycled. Of the remaining 50.5 percent; 9 percent went to the county landfill, and 91 percent was diverted out of the county. Although great strides have been made in recycling, at the current rate of 9 percent, the life expectancy of the landfill is eighteen years or until 2033.

To a lot of us, eighteen years is like a blink of an eye. How risky is dependency on out-of-state sites accepting our trash? What will be the cost in the future? To these queries (and more), last spring, County Executive Jan Gardner appointed residents from throughout the community to an ad hoc Solid Waste Steering Committee to address specifically solid waste management. This is a community-driven committee whose role is with the “assistance of the consultant, help manage the process in the development of a sustainable and robust long-term solid waste program for Frederick County.”After regular meetings held throughout the summer and early fall, the committee recommendations were made and Geosyntec Consultants were selected and hired by the county. In November, the first of five public forums were held in the Frederick City area. Two more will be held in December, and a public forum for northern Frederick County is scheduled for Saturday, January 23, 2016, at 10:00 a.m. at the Thurmont Library. Mark your calendar.

To all, have a safe and wonderful holiday season.


November 2015

by James Rada, Jr.

Emmitsburg Hosting MML Meeting

For the first time, Emmitsburg will play host for a meeting of the Maryland Municipal League (MML). The meeting will be held at the Carriage House on December 4, 2015, and will bring municipal officials from all over the state to Emmitsburg.

Scenic Byway Incorporated into Comprehensive Plan

The Catoctin Mountain National Scenic Byway Corridor Management Plan has been incorporated into the Emmitsburg Comprehensive Plan, which is currently being reviewed. The new additions to the plan can be reviewed online at

The Emmitsburg Comprehensive plan addresses the town’s goals for future development and infrastructure improvements.

For more information on the Town of Emmitsburg, visit or call 301-600-6300.


November 2015

by James Rada, Jr.

Planning Commission Appointment

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners appointed Jim Wilkins to the Thurmont Planning and Zoning Commission as an alternate member. The commissioners voted unanimously for the appointment on October 20.

Main Street Beautification Moves Forward

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners unanimously approved the second phase of the Main Street Beautification, which involves installing five benches, two bike racks, and two trash receptacles downtown. Thurmont Main Street will apply for a $7,683 grant from the Department of Community and Housing Development.

The mayor and commissioners also voted three to one to allow Main Street to apply for a second $3,225 grant to pay for the design and printing of 500 professional brochures, certificates, and envelopes for the Thurmont Business Bucks Program.

The program is in its third year. It allows customers to purchase $25.00 or $50.00 certificates that can be used in twenty-nine different Thurmont businesses. Vickie Grinder estimates that thirty-five to forty certificates will be sold this Christmas season.

Main Street Manager Vickie Grinder said that the purpose of the program is to “try and keep some of these local dollars in the community.”

Commissioners May Allow Alcohol on Some Town-owned Properties

The Town of Thurmont has a policy of not allowing consumption of alcoholic beverages on town properties. When the Thurmont Senior Center has requested exemptions for special events in the past, it has been turned down.

However, during a recent event at the Painting with Laura Main Street Center, wine was also served. Wine tasting was also done at one of the Thurmont Farmers’ Markets during the summer.

Commissioner Bill Buehrer said that having arts in the community makes the community healthy, and serving wine at events is a great marketing tool.

“This makes it healthy, and it just happens to be alcohol and alcohol has a negative connotation. I don’t think this is negative in any way,” Buehrer said.

Mayor John Kinnaird told the commissioners that they needed to decide whether the policy needed to be revised. He also noted that if there is a charge for the event, a liquor license would also be required.

He said that if the commissioners wanted to allow alcohol at arts events, they should only allow it on properties leased from the town, such as the Senior Center and Main Street Center. The leasing organization must also maintain liability insurance and follow the Frederick County Liquor Board regulations. They would also not be able to charge a fee for events.

The commissioners decided to have a draft revision of the policy created that they will then consider for passing.

New Stop Sign in Thurmont

Drivers looking to avoid the traffic light in the center of Thurmont by using South Center Street and Park Lane should be watchful for a new stop sign that will be placed on South Center, halting drivers who are used to cruising non-stop around the curve onto Park Lane. Thurmont Police Chief made the request of the Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners on November 10. The sign is needed as a safety measure, because a lot more traffic is expected to be making left-hand turns from South Center onto Park Lane once a new town home development is completed.

Chief Administrative Officer Jim Humerick said that the stop sign will condition drivers to stop now, before traffic at the intersection increases and accidents happen.


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

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