Nicholas DiGregory

The men of the Mount St. Mary’s Rugby Football Club became national champions on May 1, 2016, with a 26-19 victory over the Claremont Colleges at the National Small College Rugby Organization’s (NSCRO) National Championship Final in Glendale, Colorado.

The national championship victory was the culmination of a duo of closely contested matches played by the men’s rugby team. A massive 56-5 win over Duke University placed Mount St. Mary’s University in the semifinals of the national championship, where the men’s rugby team proceeded to beat the University of Southern Indiana and the Claremont Colleges to secure the title of national champions.

Mount St. Mary’s University’s run for the national championship began after defeating the University of North Florida and Duke University in the Region 2 championship. The men of the Mount crushed both teams, outscoring their opponents 139-10. As the Region 2 champions, Mount St. Mary’s University advanced to the semifinals of the national championship.

While the Mount easily pummeled their opposition in the regional championship, the two teams they faced in the final four proved to be considerably more tenacious. In addition to the formidable opposing teams, the men of the Mount were also forced to struggle against inclement weather during their semifinals and finals matches, both of which were held at Infinity Park in Glendale, Colorado—also known as Rugbytown, USA.

Mount St. Mary’s University’s first match was played on April 30 against the University of Southern Indiana. Throughout the match, both teams struggled with the weather conditions on the pitch, which continuously shifted between snow, rain, and wintry mix.

The Mount took an early lead, thanks to senior Travis Bewley, who scored two tries in the first twenty minutes of the match. Mount St. Mary’s University held a 17-point lead for much of the first half, but University of Southern Indiana reentered the competition late in the first half by scoring their own set of 17-unanswered points. The two teams traded points throughout the rest of the match, but Mount St. Mary’s came out on top, thanks to a late penalty goal by graduate student Tito Miranda. The final score was 25-24.

With the victory over University of Southern Indiana, Mount St. Mary’s advanced to the national championship final against the Claremont Colleges, who had beaten Eastern Connecticut State University 14-7 to secure their own spot in the final match.

Claremont took an early lead only three minutes into the final match with a try and conversion to make the score 7-0. The men of the Mount quickly responded with a penalty goal in the eighth minute, followed by a try by freshman Luis Turbyfield to make the score 10-7. The Mount maintained the lead for the remainder of the match, a last-minute try by sophomore Jack Spera closing out the 26-19 victory.

With the victory over the Claremont Colleges, Mount St. Mary’s University secured their first national championship title after their third straight appearance at the final four in Rugbytown. In addition, Mount senior Travis Bewley was selected as the MVP for the tournament.

Over two hundred students, faculty members, and alumni of Mount St. Mary’s University traveled to Glendale for the tournament, and the rest of the university community celebrated the team’s success upon their return to campus. The university’s acting president, Karl Einolf, congratulated the team on their victory.

“Congratulations for a hard-fought and well-deserved victory,” said Einolf. “Winning the national championship title is a testament to your dedication to excellence, and we applaud your accomplishment.”

As the NSCRO national champions, the men of Mount St. Mary’s University’s rugby team were invited to take part in the Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championship in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on June 4-5, 2016. The annual tournament showcases the best collegiate teams in rugby, and will be broadcast nationally on NBC Sports.

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Members of the Mount St. Mary’s Rugby Club are shown celebrating their national championship success. The victory capped off a first-place season and put the Mount at the top of the NSCRO Men’s Top 50 teams.

Rick Slade was born and raised in Kansas and was accustomed to seeing far and wide across the prairie. Nowadays, when he looks out his office window, he has to crane his neck to look up the steep hillside through a heavy forest of trees to see the sky.

Slade became the superintendent of Catoctin Mountain Park at the beginning of May of this year. He replaced Superintendent Mel Poole, who retired last year after a thirty-seven-year career with the National Park Service.

Slade began his career with the National Park Service in 2003. After graduate school, he was working with the federal government, reviewing GAO programs.

“I realized that I was more interested in conservation work, and a friend encouraged me to apply for the National Park Service,” recalled Slade.

He applied, but he didn’t hold out a lot of hope for getting in because the National Park Service has a reputation of being a tough federal department to enter.

He was accepted for a position with the Amistad National Recreation Area.

“I liked it because it was jointly run by the United States and Mexico,” Slade said.

The area is created by the Amistad Reservoir in Mexico, but the result is a beautiful area in two countries.

He enjoyed the work. His wife worked as a midwife and spoke Spanish and English.

He moved back east and took a position with the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area in Georgia in 2003. In 2013, he became the superintendent of Monocacy National Battlefield in Frederick.

Moving to Catoctin Mountain Park is a step up in responsibility for Slade. He is managing double the staff, with double the budget, in a park that has three times the acreage.

“There are layers of history here,” Slade said. “It’s endlessly fascinating.”

While Catoctin Mountain Park and Monocacy National Battlefield have different characters, he finds them both beautiful parks.

“This park [Catoctin Mountain Park] is a gem within the park service, though,” stated Slade. “I don’t think it gets the national recognition it deserves.”

He pointed out that Catoctin Mountain Park has the high level of customer satisfaction of any park in the Capital Region.

“That quality needs to be maintained,” added Slade.

While he is still learning the ins and outs of his new park, he is enjoying the process. One of the changes that he expects visitors will see is new exhibits that are being planned for the visitor’s center. Behind the scenes, Slade said that some of the park’s infrastructure dates back to the 1930s and needs to be updated.

“The park has good bones,” Slade said. “We need to keep doing well what we do well.”

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Rick Slade, new superintendent of Catoctin Mountain Park.

2016-CHS-Vans-Custom-CulturCatoctin High School was chosen as one of the Top 50 schools for Vans Custom Culture Contest, a nationwide art competition where students design Vans shoes in four themes

Catoctin High art teacher Laura Day had a “dream team of artists” this year who strutted their artistic talents and placed the school in the top 50 among 3,000 schools nationwide.

The students submitted four different designs of Vans canvas shoes for the Vans Custom Culture Contest. The competition, which is open to public and private high schools, has teams design blank Vans shoes. Four pairs of shoes are submitted that portray four different themes: music, art, local area, and active sports.

Sid Beavin designed the Maryland-theme pair of shoes that feature a lighthouse seagull and sailboats.

“That was so popular that he is still getting requests from people who want to buy a pair,” said Day.

Casey Hanvey designed the jazz-music-theme shoes. Her sister, Lily Hanvey, designed the art-themed shoes.

“These two sisters are the most talented artists I have ever taught,” stated Day.

Jared Pawlus, Devan Buffington, and Alyssa Baker designed the action-sports-theme shoes that highlight skateboarding and snowboarding.

Brittney Fogle served as the researcher and assistant for all of the groups.

Vans pared down the entries from 3,000 schools to nominate 10 schools in five different regions for the regional competition in April. Catoctin’s entries won one of the spots in the Northeast region. This put the shoes into a round of competition that combined popular voting and internal scoring by Vans. Each regional winner would go on to compete in the finals in California. The grand prize winner takes home $50,000 for their school’s art program.

Catoctin High was not among the regional winners announced on May 12.

“It’s disappointing, especially because we didn’t get beat by the school in New Jersey that we thought would give us the most competition,” Day said.

She is pleased with how far the students did go with their designs, though, especially since they had to turn the project around in little more than a month. They received their blank shoes at the end of February and had to submit the finished shoes in early April. The students spent about two weeks brainstorming designs before beginning the finished pieces.

“They did a phenomenal job,” expressed Day. “We were the only school in Frederick County to get this far, and one of two in Maryland.”

This was the school’s first year in the competition, so the students were a bit overwhelmed by what was required. Since the theme stays the same from year to year, Day said that she can have her students start the planning now or at least much earlier than they did, leaving more time for painting the shoes.

“We’re proud of our work and so happy that we had the community behind us,” said Day.

Mike Franklin, a health and physical education teacher at Catoctin High School (CHS), was formally presented the 2016 Charles E. Tressler Distinguished Teaching Award by Hood College during its graduate school commencement on May 14, 2016.

Sponsored by Hood College, this award is presented each May to a Frederick County Public Schools’ (FCPS) teacher who has had a significant impact on young people.

Franklin learned that he is this year’s honoree when the FCPS “Prize Patrol,” led by Superintendent Dr. Terry Alban and Deputy Superintendent Dr. Michael Markoe, visited him at Catoctin High School. The central office and school administrators and staff, as well as students, were present to congratulate him.

Principal Bernard Quesada nominated Mr. Franklin for the award on behalf of Catoctin High. He cited Mr. Franklin’s twenty years as a “shining example for all children that he works with, either in his classes; as a baseball coach; or in his youth camps, working with elementary school students,” adding that Mr. Franklin’s “leadership and positive impact in our school is immeasurable….His ethical foundation has influenced thousands of children in our community,” wrote Mr. Quesada. “Mike Franklin is a driving positive force for students long after they leave the halls and fields of Catoctin High School.”

Catoctin school counselor Dana Brashear agreed that Mr. Franklin is an extraordinary teacher.  “Mike Franklin is the backbone of Catoctin High School. He has been a teacher and coach for twenty years and has impacted thousands of students….He combines lessons with character-building opportunities.”

Mr. Franklin has spent his entire teaching career, since 1996, at Catoctin High. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Salisbury University, and completed his master’s in exercise science from McDaniel College. He is taking education administration courses from the University of Phoenix.

He has been the head coach of CHS baseball since 2000, and is on the Virtual School leadership team, the Frederick County PE Council, and PBIS Leadership team. He is the CHS baseball summer camp director, and formed the Frederick County Baseball Coaches Association in 2012. He also started the CHS Fired Up Friday program.

The late Samuel Eig of Gaithersburg, Maryland, established the Tressler Award to recognize Dr. Tressler, a Giles professor emeritus of early childhood education, who taught at the college from 1964 to 1990. Dr. Tressler chaired Hood’s Education Department for eighteen years and served on the school’s graduate school council for twelve years.

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Mike Franklin is pictured with FCPS Deputy Superintendent Dr. Michael Markoe (left) and FCPS Superintendent Dr. Terry Alban (right) at Catoctin High School, after learning that he is the 2016 Charles E. Tressler Distinguished Teaching Award honoree.

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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.

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Emmitsburg Community Heritage Day

Come out to Emmitsburg Community Heritage Day on Saturday, June 25, 2016 (rain date: June 26). The festival begins as early as 6:30 a.m. with the Vigilant Hose breakfast. Some new events are planned for this year, such as the addition of bicycle activities for all experience levels and terrains; as well as a vendor/crafter show; car, truck, and motorcycle show; library book sale; the Heritage Day Art Contest; field games; a K9 demonstration; variety of food by the Lions, American Legion, Masons, and vendors; and much more. View the advertisement on page 48 for more details.

Thurmont Main Street Farmers Market is Back

Thurmont’s Farmers Market is every Saturday, from June 4 through September 24, from 9:00 a.m.-noon. Come out for fresh and locally grown veggies, fruits, and homemade products. View the advertisement on page 17 for more details.

Gateway Liquors Sugarlands Shine Tasting

Gateway Liquors is holding a  Sugarlands Shine Tasting, featuring Tickle’s Dynamite Cinnamon, on June 24, 2016, from 7:00-9:00 p.m. Have Tickle sign your bottle! View the advertisement on page 13 for more information.

Monocacy Church of the Brethren’s Vacation Bible School

Join Monocacy Church of the Brethren in Rocky Ridge for their Barnyard Roundup Vacation Bible School, being held July7-9, 2016. View the advertisement on page 17 for more information.

CYA Football/Cheer Open House Registration & Free Community Sport Equipment Swap

Come out to the CYA Football and Cheerleading open house registration at Thurmont Library on Saturday, June 4, from 1:00-4:00 p.m.; and Saturday, June 18, from 10:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. They are also hosting a Community Sport Equipment Swap—all items are free—on June 18 at Thurmont Middle School. View the advertisement on page 41 for more details.

Elias Lutheran Vacation Bible School

Save the date for Elias Lutheran Catch the Grace Vacation Bible School, scheduled for Sunday, July 10 through Friday, July 15, 2016. Light supper for the children at 6:00 p.m., plus crafts, games, music, and more. View the advertisement on page 35 for more details.

Blue Ridge Sportsmen’s Events

The Blue Ridge Sportsmen’s Association is holding many not-to-miss upcoming events: June 4—Yard Sale at 7:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. (rent your space now); June 5—Cash Bingo, with doors opening at 11:30 a.m.; June 11—Club Picnic & Cash Raffle; June 12—Archery 3-D Shoot; June 18—Annual Golf Tournament; and June 21—Membership Meeting. View the advertisement on page 29 for more information.

Trinity United Church of Christ

Enjoy a special music performance by Trinity’s Hand Bell Choir on Sunday, June 5, 2016, at 11:00 a.m. View the advertisement on page 9 for more information.

St. John’s Lutheran Church

St. John’s Lutheran Church’s Benefit Fried Chicken & Country Ham Dinner will be held on Saturday, June 4, 2016, from 12:00-5:00 p.m. Dinner served family style, with a fancy table. Proceeds benefit families of Bob and Shirley Long and Donald Wolfe. View the advertisement on page 33 for more information.

Cornhole Tournament

The Cornhole Tournament, benefiting the Thurmont Guardian Hose Company, will be held on Saturday, August 27, 2016, at the Thurmont Carnival Grounds on E. Main Street. Event features handmade cornhole board raffle, tip jars, 50/50’s, music, and more. View the advertisement on page 29 for more information.

Strawberry Festival

Everyone is welcome to the Strawberry Festival at Mt. Tabor Park on June 11, 2016, from 4:00-9:00 p.m. Event will feature music by JR Country. View the advertisement on page 9 for more information.

Home Run Car Show

The Home Run Car Show presented by Golden Gears Car Club will be held on June 25, 2016, at Harry Grove Stadium in Frederick, Maryland. All cars, trucks, and motorcycles are welcome. Event features raffles, food, prizes, auction, music, exhibits, and more. View the advertisement on page 6 for more information

Gladhill Goodies Officially Opens

James Rada, Jr.

Anna and Austin Gladhill made their dream come true opening their own store. What began as a small operation selling furniture at the end of their driveway has now led to the opening of Gladhill Goodies on West Main Street in Thurmont.

Though the store has been operating with odd hours since February, it has now officially opened for business. The Gladhills sell a little bit of everything—furniture, clothing, books, CDs, housewares—at incredibly low prices.

“I go to storage unit auctions and live auctions to find things,” Austin Gladhill said.

The purchases are then sorted through with saleable items pulled out and sent to the store.

Austin said that his wife, Anna, used to work in Rockville, but she would have to leave for work at 6:00 in the morning and wouldn’t get home until 6:30 in the evening. They were also spending nearly $400 a month to keep gas in a small Honda CRV.

“I figured there was no way we could lose doing this,” stated Austin.

Gladhill Goodies is open Tuesday through Friday, from 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.; Saturday, from 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.; and Sunday, from 10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.

Photo by James Rada, Jr.
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Pictured from left are Thurmont Commissioner Bill Buehrer, Austin Gladhill, James Thomas, Cathy Thomas, Anna Gladhill, and Mayor John Kinnaird at the official ribbon cutting at Gladhill’s Goodies in Thurmont.

Senior Benefit Services Moves to New Location

Senior Benefit Services, Inc. is pleased to announce that they are moving to a new location. Because of your faith and trust in them and their services, they have outgrown their current space.

On July 1, 2016, they relocate just a hop, skip and jump from their previous location—same parking lot, same faces, same great service, just a bigger place. Their new address is 36 Water Street in Thurmont. Their phone number will not change (301-271-4040).

They are confident that their new office will enable them to serve you better. Drop by, take a tour, and check them out—they have a welcome gift for you!

Emmitsburg Area Home Fire Safety Visits Continue

In light of recent residential fires of significance, another round of door-to-door home fire safety visits and smoke alarm checks will take place on Saturday, June 11, 2016, reaching area residents. Red Cross volunteers and local fire/rescue First Responders will be joined by other safety advocates “on-the-street,” promoting the importance of having working smoke alarms in place.

Please mark your calendar now for Saturday, June 11, from 10:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m., when Vigilant Hose Company (VHC) personnel will be out and about in the community, offering information on simple and easy-to-accomplish home fire safety measures, to include installing free smoke alarms where needed. Safety personnel—men and women—will be wearing easily-identified apparel clearly showing their affiliation. No monetary donations are being sought.

Emergency services vehicles will be seen in various neighborhoods during visitation period; plus, anyone interested can call the VHC fire station at 301-447-2728 to request a visit or follow-up visit at a suitable time. A door-hanger info card will be left at each home where no one is home or where residents might prefer a safety team to return at a more convenient time to discuss safe practices and/or install an alarm. Those who live outside town limits can also call for a safety visit.

Open to all who reside in VHC’s emergency response district, this activity is being undertaken by a number of fire safety advocates from across the region working together to help assure fire safety in homes, apartments and similar residential occupancies. Fire Chief Chad Umbel and Fire President Frank Davis encourage anyone with questions either prior to or following the June 11th event to contact VHC’s Fire Prevention / Life Safety Coordinator, Elyssa Cool, by contacting the fire station at the number above or via email at FirePrevention@vhc6.com.

Those involved in cooperation and coordination include the American Red Cross of Western Maryland, the Town of Emmitsburg, the Emmitsburg Council of Churches, the Fire Prevention Committee of the Frederick County Volunteer Fire/Rescue Association, the Frederick County Department of Fire & Rescue Services and County Fire Marshal’s Office, the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office, the Maryland State Fire Marshal’s Office, the U.S. Fire Administration/National Emergency Training Center, Mount St. Mary’s University, the Seton Center, the Emmitsburg Business & Professional Association, area Service Clubs and the VHC.

Thurmont Historical Society Receives Preservation Award

James Rada, Jr.

The Thurmont Historical Society received a Best of Maryland Preservation Award on May 12, 2016, at a ceremony in Annapolis.

The award was for the preservation of one of the original Cozy Cabins from the early days of when the Cozy Inn and Restaurant had been a tourist camp. The wooden cabin is 10 feet by 10 feet and could sleep four.

Jerry Freeze donated the cabin to the historical society last year after the restaurant closed for good. The historical society started to raise funds to pay to have the cabin moved, but when it came time to move the cabin, they were still a long way off from their goal. W.F. Delauter & Son was in the process of demolishing the old restaurant and buildings on Frederick Road. Workers used a large forklift to lift the cabin up and carefully carry it slowly through Thurmont to the its new home at the Thumont Historical Society at the end of May 2015.

Some of the other people who helped with the project are: Allen Haines, who prepared the site; Mel Poole, who found a period bed for the cabin; Alban Little, who found period bunk beds for the cabin; the Town of Thurmont that waived the inspection fee; the Thurmont Lions Club that spent money for supplies; and Doug Claytor, who supervised the restoration.

Since the initial relocation, volunteers like the above-mentioned people have been working to restore the cabin to its 1930s appearance so that it can be opened as an exhibit at the historical society.

“There’s no money or anything with the award, but it shows that we are doing good work,” said Thurmont Historical Society President Donna Voellinger.

The Thurmont Historical Society was one of four community projects in Maryland that received the award. The other two were Historic Takoma’s Takoma Radio, the Historic Parole Walking Tour and Map and Furnace Town’s new website. The awards came from Preservation Maryland, the state’s oldest and largest preservation organization. The awards program recognizes people, places, and projects that exemplify the best in Maryland preservation.

Voellinger said that Frederick County Tourism and Thurmont Main Street Manager Vickie Grinder nominated the historical society.

Jerry Freeze, owner of the former Cozy Inn, and Doug Claytor were in attendance at the May 12th event on behalf of the Thurmont Historical Society.

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Nicholas Redding, Preservation Maryland ED; Jerry Freeze; Doug Claytor; Donna Voellinger, Thurmont Historical Society president; and Carol Newmann.

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Thurmont Green Team’s 1st Annual Plant Swap and Native Tree Giveaway

The Thurmont Green Team will host its first annual plant swap and native tree giveaway during the opening day of the Thurmont Farmer’s Market on June 4, 2016.

This activity will promote the Green Team’s mission of sustainability.

Please bring gardening or landscaping plants to swap. Native trees for give-away were purchased from the Arbor Day Foundation and include Eastern Redbud, Thornless Honeylocust, and Tuliptrees.

Come on out to swap and help increase the numbers of native trees in our area.

For more information, please visit the Thurmont Green Team Facebook page or email ThurmontGreenTeam@gmail.com.

The Thurmont Grange Celebrates 70th Anniversary

Deb Spalding

The organizational meeting of the Thurmont Grange No. 409 was held January 17, 1946. Pomona representatives Howard Quinn and Tobias Zimmerman were organizers and the first meeting convened February 11, 1946, in what is presently Thurmont Middle School. Forty-nine charter members were in attendance. Officers were installed by the Ballenger Grange with M.O. Lawyer as Master. It was through the perseverance and diligence of those faithful members that the Thurmont Grange exists today.

Some of the impact members of this organization have accomplished through the years includes: Input on the (then) new Thurmont Library; The operation of a community health clinic (1949-1954); A cancer fund (1953); Seeding for the Thurmont Elementary School grounds and money towards Thurmont High School Band uniforms (1955); The organization of the Thurmont Community Show (1957— In 1968, The Emmitsburg and Thurmont Community Shows were combined into one); Constructing and supplying picnic tables to rest areas along Rt. 15 N, and money was donated to defray costs of a new Thurmont Little League baseball field (1970); The formation of the Thurmont Junior Grange organized under the leadership of Pat Meunier and Peggy Royer (1972); Earning first place in the State of Maryland’s Community Service Contest and fourth in the national contest—one of the highest honors a Grange can receive (1978); Thurmont Junior Grange named Outstanding National Junior Grange under the leadership of Alan and Ethel Brauer (1979); A building at 17 North Carroll Street in Thurmont was purchased to serve as Thurmont Grange headquarters (1983); A 50th anniversary of the Thurmont Grange was held at the Thurmont Firemen’s Activity Building with 160 members and guests attending (April 1966); Several Grange members help with the annual Frederick County Butchering every year; The organization has honored several citizens in our community with the annual Community Citizen Award; The 60th anniversary of the Thurmont Grange was held at Mountain Gate Restaurant in Thurmont (January 2006); For over ten years, the Grange has donated dictionaries to all Third Grade students at Lewistown, Sabillasville, Emmitsburg, and Thurmont Elementary Schools; Thanks to the dedication of past secretaries (Mary Remsburg, Elsie Weamert, Mae Moser, Patty Johnston, Jane Savage), there is an accurate history of the organization.

The 70th anniversary commenced on April 25, 2016 at Mountain Gate Family Restaurant in Thurmont with greetings by Chaplain, Roger Troxell. He reminisced about how life was seventy years ago. It was just after World War II, a time of food rations and VJ Day. Granges were first being formed with the goal of unifying the community.                         Seventieth Anniversary Committee members included Niki Eyler, Rodman Myers, Cheryl Lenhart, Jane Savage, Carol Long, Roger Troxell, Jim Moser, Bob Wiles, and Sandy Moser. These members hosted the dinner celebration.

Allen Stiles, Maryland State Grange Master, attended as well as several guests and Past Masters. Thurmont Mayor John Kinnaird thanked the Grange for their work. Frederick County Councilman Kirby Delauter also thanked the members, adding that the Grange is a big part of Frederick County with 85 percent of the county in agriculture and preservation.

Overseer Bob Wiles introduced Past Masters; and Lecturer Niki Eyler presented member anniversary pins to Peg Long (65 years); James Meunier (65 years); Russell Moser (65 years); Sandy Moser (55 years); and Helen Troxell (25 years).

The Thurmont Grange members thank every Granger, and all who are friends of this Grange, for making the first 70 years possible.

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Membership awards were presented. Pictured (left to right) are Russell Moser (65 years), Helen Troxell (25 years), Niki Eyler (Lecturer), Sandy Moser (55 years), Rodman Myers (Master), Jane Savage (Secretary), Allen Stiles (State Master), Peg Long (65 years), James Moser (65 years).

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Past Masters of the Thurmont Grange include (left to right) Roger Troxell, John Hart, James Moser, James Royer, Alan Brauer, Rodman Myers. Past Masters are shown with State Master Allen Stiles (far right).

Photos by Deb Spalding

Thurmont Lions Club Presents a Lion and Junior Lion Award

On Wednesday, May 11, 2016, the Thurmont Lions Club honored two students at their Education program. Each year, the club presents a Lion Award to a Catoctin High School (CHS) student and a Junior Lion Award to a Thurmont Middle School (TMS) student, who have volunteered the most hours. Each student is presented with a certificate and a check.

Community service is one of the most-popular extracurricular activities for high school students to do in their free time. There are six reasons why volunteering is so critical: (1) Gaining user experience and insight; (2) Giving back and helping others; (3) Creating connections with people; (4) Gaining a sense of accomplishment; (5) Building career options; and (6) Aiding in college admissions process. These volunteer hours are very impressive when your resume is being reviewed for college.

The Junior Lion Award was presented to Destiny Wastler, an eighth grader at TMS. Destiny has completed 177 hours of volunteer service. She volunteers regularly at St. Catherine’s Nursing Home, engaging in a number of activities with the residents. Destiny also volunteers at the local ambulance company, helping with their fundraising dinners. She also makes bracelets to be donated to local hospitals and volunteers at the Thurmont Food Bank. As a very ambitious student, she received the “Most Improved Student Award” for the year, and was one of four eighth graders who won first place in the Western Region in the Maryland Stock Market Spring Game.

Destiny has indicated, “I enjoy it and it makes me feel good inside, like I am making a difference in volunteering.”

The Lion Award was presented to CHS student, Jacob Dumbroski. Jacob has completed a total of 901 hours of community service. He has volunteered at the Frederick County Parks and Recreation, where he was a leader in training in Camp Monocacy Day Camp, and an assistant coordinator in setting up and supervising after-school and weekend activities.  Jacob volunteers at the Thurmont Ambulance Company, helping with fundraising events. In addition, he volunteers at the Thurmont United Methodist Church, which includes mission trips, helping with the Clothes Closet, Vacation Bible School, and fundraisers. He is also a Boy Scout with Troop 270, and has been accepted into six colleges. In addition to all of the volunteer work Jacob performs, he is a member of the National Honor Society, Science National Honors Society, English National Honors Society, and Math National Honors Society.

The Thurmont Lions Club is a group of community-minded men and women who come together to enjoy each other’s company, hear interesting programs, and raise funds to support important local and/or vision-related activities for the Thurmont Community. They meet at 6:30 p.m. on the second and fourth Wednesday of the month at the Mountain Gate Restaurant in Thurmont.

For additional information, please visit www.thurmontlionsclub.com or call 301-304-0364.

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Pictured from left are Lion Joyce Anthony, Destiny Wastler, and TMS Principal Jennifer Powell.

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Pictured from left are CHS Principal Bernard Quesada, Lion Joyce Anthony, and Jacob Dumbroski.

2016 Plans for 60th Annual Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show

The Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show committee met recently to begin planning the 60th Annual Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show.  The show will be held at Catoctin High School on September 9-11, 2016. Officers elected at the meeting were: President Rodman Myers; Vice President Robert Valentine, and Secretary Brian Hendrickson. Other committee members are Sue Keilholtz, Jessica Valentine, Robert Wiles, David Harman, Niki Eyler, Cheryl Lenhart, Ray Martin, Michael Lewis, Sharon Lewis, Denise Valentine, Amanda and Paul Dennis, Clifford Stewart, Helen Troxell, Cathy Little, Karen Myers, Sue Sanders, Patty Johnston, Laura Keilholtz, Jim Barth, Kay Barth, Thad Bittner, Amy Jo Poffenberger, and Daniel Myers.

On Friday night, the 2016-2017 Catoctin FFA Chapter Ambassador will be announced.  In addition, this year’s program will recognize all former past Maryland State FFA officers who graduated from Thurmont High School, Emmitsburg High School, or Catoctin High School. The baked goods auction will begin immediately following the program, and the grand champion cake, pie, and bread will be sold at 9:00 p.m.

Entry of exhibits will take place on Thursday, September 8, from 6:00-9:00 p.m., and on Friday, September 9, from 8:30-11:30 a.m., in the new gymnasium and in the agriculture department area. Judging will begin at 12:30 p.m.  Commercial exhibits may be entered on Friday, September 9, from 3:30-5:30 p.m. The show will open to the public at 6:00 p.m.

On Saturday, September 10, the show opens at 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.  Activities include a Market Goat, Beef, Sheep and Swine Fitting & Showing contest from 8:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. at the Ag Center at the school. The Pet Show will be held at 10:30 a.m. outside the front of the school. The petting zoo, farm animals, and pony rides will also be held on Saturday and Sunday.

The Thurmont Grange will serve its turkey and country ham dinner on Saturday night in the school cafeteria from 3:00-7:00 p.m. Entertainment for Saturday and Sunday will be announced at a later date. There will be no admission charged for the entertainment.

The 42nd Annual Catoctin FFA Alumni Beef, Sheep & Swine sale will begin at 7:00 p.m. in the Ag Center area on Saturday night.

Activities begin on Sunday, September 11, at 9:00 a.m., with the Goat Show, followed by the Dairy Show and Decorated Animal Contest at noon.

At noon, the Catoctin FFA Alumni Chicken Bar-B-Que will be held in the cafeteria. The 37th Annual Robert Kaas Horseshoe Pitching Contest will begin at 1:00 p.m.

The Log Sawing Contest will begin at 1:00 p.m. under the show tent in the Ag Center area. A Peddle Tractor Contest for kids will be held on Sunday afternoon at 1:00 p.m. in the Ag Center area.

Exhibits must be removed on Sunday, September 11, from 3:00-6:00 p.m.  Please note the new deadline to pick up items.

If you would like to be a new advertiser in our show booklet, please contact Rodman Myers at 301-271-2104 to obtain advertising information or via email at thurmontemmitsburg  communityshow@gmail.com. Past advertisers should have recently received letters for advertisements for this year. The deadline for advertisements is June 15, 2016.

The community show booklets can be found in local Thurmont, Emmitsburg, and surrounding area businesses in late July or early August. New residents of the community are urged to enter and be a part of the Community Show, the largest in the State of Maryland.

Some minor additions and deletions will be made in some of the departments.  Departments include: fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, home products display, canned fruits, canned vegetables, jellies and preserves, pickles, meats, baked products, sewing and needlework, flowers and plants, arts, paintings and drawings, crafts, photography, corn, small grains and seeds, eggs, nuts, poultry and livestock, dairy, goats, hay, junior department and youth department. There is no entry fee.

Please visit their website for updated information at www.thurmontemmitsburg communityshow.webs.com.

The Community Show is sponsored by the Thurmont Grange, Catoctin FFA Chapter, Catoctin FFA Alumni, the Maryland State Grange, and the Maryland State Agricultural Fair Board.

Outstanding Catoctin Feeder Area Teachers Recognized

The Thurmont Lions Club honored thirty-two teachers at their “Teacher of the Year” reception, held on April 21, 2016, at Emmitsburg Elementary School. The reception is an annual event, sponsored by the club, so that teachers who have made an impact on students and the school community can be recognized. For a teacher to be recognized, nomination letters had to be submitted by students, parents, administrators, and colleagues, who shared their thoughts about why that teacher is so appreciated and how he or she has made a difference for them. These letters were shared at the reception by committee members, parents, students, and administrators.

From among these nominees, one teacher was chosen as the “Teacher of the Year” from each school. These teachers attended the Thurmont Lions Club Education Night on May 11, 2016, where one teacher was selected as the Thurmont Lions Club “Teacher of the Year.” Last year’s recipient was Charlene Rippeon of Emmitsburg Elementary School.  The teachers nominated from each school and the “Teacher of the Year” from each school are as follows: Catoctin High School: Tyler Ausherman, Mayellen Taylor, Theresa Hutchinson, Rick Brainerd, Terri Gibbons, and Ben Zamostny as “Teacher of the Year”; Emmitsburg Elementary: Tamara Reed, Theresa Krantz, Bonita Hopkins, Leslie Frei, Brooke Adams, and Sarah Fawley as “Teacher of the Year”; Lewistown Elementary School: Tyler Myers, Erin Murphy, and Lauren Clore as “Teacher of the Year”; Charles Hubbard was recognized as “Custodian of the Year” for receiving a nomination; Mother Seton School: Danielle Kuykendall and Sheila Dorsey as “Teacher of the Year”; Thurmont Elementary School: Ryan Oman, Jennifer Reynolds, and Kim Stevens as “Teacher of the Year”; Thurmont Middle School: Mary Lee Quealy, Berna LaForce, Jennifer Shesman, Carol Britton, Alicia Kuchinsky, and Sean Tucker as “Teacher of the Year”; Thurmont Primary School: Lauren Burdette, Joni Wiles, Stacy Bokinsky, and Ellen Slotwinski as “Teacher of the Year”; Sabillasville Elementary School: Jennifer Rutherford as “Teacher of the Year.” Congratulations to all of the very deserving nominees!

 

The Supermarket Gourmet, by Buck Reed

Last month, I wrote about baking and what it takes to become a baker. In a sense, I was talking about turning a discipline within the culinary world into a hobby. A gastronomic hobby is about taking a basic need— eating—and turning it into a passion. We are talking about taking one specific aspect of the culinary arts and turning it into an obsession. We all consume vinegar in one form or another almost every day, but imagine for a moment the type of person it takes to make their own vinegar. Just learning the procedures and safety measures it takes to produce an everyday ingredient like red wine vinegar would take a fanatical dedication.

Charcuterie is the art of cured, smoked, and preserved meats. Within this group, you will find people who make pates and terrines, which are processed and cooked meat “loafs” that are served cold and taste as good as they look. There is also sausage making, which at one time was a necessary skill for preserving meat before this refrigeration craze took over. There is even a small contingent of home cooks who are dedicated to making bacon.

Another home cooking hobby that is becoming well-known is cheese making. There is an increasing interest in learning the ingredients, techniques, and styles of dairy products. Many people are finding the exploration of ingredients a welcome diversion to visiting farmers markets and family farms in pursuit of quality milk products they can turn into their own cheeses.

Canning and preserving can also be considered a satisfying hobby as well. Each canning season can be filled with seeking out the best produce possible for the time, and turning them into tasty, nutritious foodstuff for later use. Preserving fresh green beans or lima beans, or making strawberry jam or lemon marmalade, can be an economical endeavor filled with long days of hard, but rewarding work.

The knowledge needed to learn the techniques of these and other culinary hobbies may be daunting, but for the most part, the financial cost can be quite reasonable. If you are going to dedicate a part of your life to a culinary hobby, you need to learn about controlling the product at every step of its production to get the best out of it. The reward is that you get to say you made the product from scratch, as you share it with people who will both appreciate your efforts while still looking at you like you are some kind of nut.

I actually got involved with zymurgy, the art of fermenting beverages into alcohol, beer, and wine. My niece helped me with bottling a batch of beer one time and, somewhere in the middle, my future bootlegger informed me that I could buy this stuff already made and bottled in the store. But it isn’t about making beer or wine; at the core, it is about learning to make it better.

If you have any questions or ideas on a future article, please feel free to stop me on the street (seriously I am not that busy) or write to me at RGuyintheKitchen@aol.com.

 

Charles “Chuck” Caldwell has talked with Civil War soldiers, fought against the Japanese in WWII, and chased mushroom clouds after atomic bomb explosions. Now ninety-two years old, he had become part of the history that he loves so much.

His story is now the focus of a fascinating new biography by The Catoctin Banner’s contributing editor James Rada, Jr. Clay Soldiers: One Marine’s Story of War, Art, & Atomic Energy takes the reader on a journey from the Civil War to the age of the atom bomb and back again as it follows Caldwell’s adventures in life.

Chuck first came to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania in 1936 on a family vacation and then again in 1938 to attend the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg as a fourteen-year-old boy. The 75th Anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg was the last great reunion of Civil War Veterans. About 2,000 aged men gathered in the fields between the Peace Light Memorial and Gettysburg College. Caldwell was there to meet with as many as he could and ask them about the Civil War. To mark the occasion, he had an autograph book filled with pictures of him with the Civil War Veterans and their autographs, Civil War units, and hometowns. He even has the autographs of the men who turned out to be the last-surviving Union and Confederate Veterans.

Born in Princeton, Illinois, in 1923, Chuck spent most of his youth growing up in Orrville, Ohio. A Crimson Tide fan (still to this day), he was in his freshman year at the University of Alabama in 1941 when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. He joined the Marines and was sent to Parris Island for training in January 1942.

During WWII, he served in the Pacific Theater and fought at Guadalcanal, Tarawa, and Guam. He received a Purple Heart for wounds he received at Guadalcanal. That is also where he contracted malaria.

At the end of the war, he married Jacqueline Murphy, a WAVE (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service) he met in the hospital while recovering from a malaria attack.

After the war, Chuck went back to the University of Alabama on the G.I. Bill, and by the time he graduated in 1949, he had a job waiting for him in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. The city had only been recently loosening its secret status to allow the public more access to the place where the first atom bomb was developed.

Chuck made displays and drawings for the newly formed Museum of Atomic Energy. He worked there about a year, until he was recalled to service for the Korean War. He didn’t have to fight in this war. When he returned home, he decided to switch jobs. He took a job doing technical drawings for one of the plants in Oak Ridge.

He spent the summers of 1957 and 1958 at the Nevada Test Site, setting up sensors in fake towns in the desert. When an atom bomb was detonated, he was part of the teams that would go back into those towns to try and find any of the fissionable material that they had set up for the test.

“I bet I am one of the few people still around who has actually been under an atomic explosion,” Chuck said.

In the early 1960s, Chuck became a full-time artist, sculpting miniatures for a variety of clients, including Major League baseball teams, the Franklin Mint, and the Ringling Brothers Circus Museum. Some of his miniatures were even displayed in the Knoxville World’s Fair.

Caldwell’s story is a fascinating one about an ordinary man who has been a part of so many extraordinary events in history. Rada’s narrative, based mainly on interviews with Caldwell and a review of his personal papers, captures the story perfectly.

Midwest Book Review called Rada “a writer of considerable and deftly expressed storytelling talent.”

Rada is the author of six historical fiction novels and nine non-fiction history books, including No North, No South…: The Grand Reunion at the 50th Anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg and Battlefield Angels: The Daughters of Charity Work as Civil War Nurses. He also won a first-place award for local column writing from the Maryland-Delaware-DC Press Association in May, 2016. The award was for his “Looking Back” column that runs monthly in the Cumberland Times-News.

Clay Soldiers retails for $19.95 and is available at local bookstores, online retailers, and his website at www.jamesrada.com.

Charles “Chuck” Caldwell has talked with Civil War soldiers, fought against the Japanese in WWII, and chased mushroom clouds after atomic bomb explosions. Now ninety-two years old, he had become part of the history that he loves so much.

His story is now the focus of a fascinating new biography by The Catoctin Banner’s contributing editor James Rada, Jr. Clay Soldiers: One Marine’s Story of War, Art, & Atomic Energy takes the reader on a journey from the Civil War to the age of the atom bomb and back again as it follows Caldwell’s adventures in life.

Chuck first came to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania in 1936 on a family vacation and then again in 1938 to attend the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg as a fourteen-year-old boy. The 75th Anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg was the last great reunion of Civil War Veterans. About 2,000 aged men gathered in the fields between the Peace Light Memorial and Gettysburg College. Caldwell was there to meet with as many as he could and ask them about the Civil War. To mark the occasion, he had an autograph book filled with pictures of him with the Civil War Veterans and their autographs, Civil War units, and hometowns. He even has the autographs of the men who turned out to be the last-surviving Union and Confederate Veterans.

Born in Princeton, Illinois, in 1923, Chuck spent most of his youth growing up in Orrville, Ohio. A Crimson Tide fan (still to this day), he was in his freshman year at the University of Alabama in 1941 when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. He joined the Marines and was sent to Parris Island for training in January 1942.

During WWII, he served in the Pacific Theater and fought at Guadalcanal, Tarawa, and Guam. He received a Purple Heart for wounds he received at Guadalcanal. That is also where he contracted malaria.

At the end of the war, he married Jacqueline Murphy, a WAVE (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service) he met in the hospital while recovering from a malaria attack.

After the war, Chuck went back to the University of Alabama on the G.I. Bill, and by the time he graduated in 1949, he had a job waiting for him in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. The city had only been recently loosening its secret status to allow the public more access to the place where the first atom bomb was developed.

Chuck made displays and drawings for the newly formed Museum of Atomic Energy. He worked there about a year, until he was recalled to service for the Korean War. He didn’t have to fight in this war. When he returned home, he decided to switch jobs. He took a job doing technical drawings for one of the plants in Oak Ridge.

He spent the summers of 1957 and 1958 at the Nevada Test Site, setting up sensors in fake towns in the desert. When an atom bomb was detonated, he was part of the teams that would go back into those towns to try and find any of the fissionable material that they had set up for the test.

“I bet I am one of the few people still around who has actually been under an atomic explosion,” Chuck said.

In the early 1960s, Chuck became a full-time artist, sculpting miniatures for a variety of clients, including Major League baseball teams, the Franklin Mint, and the Ringling Brothers Circus Museum. Some of his miniatures were even displayed in the Knoxville World’s Fair.

Caldwell’s story is a fascinating one about an ordinary man who has been a part of so many extraordinary events in history. Rada’s narrative, based mainly on interviews with Caldwell and a review of his personal papers, captures the story perfectly.

Midwest Book Review called Rada “a writer of considerable and deftly expressed storytelling talent.”

Rada is the author of six historical fiction novels and nine non-fiction history books, including No North, No South…: The Grand Reunion at the 50th Anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg and Battlefield Angels: The Daughters of Charity Work as Civil War Nurses. He also won a first-place award for local column writing from the Maryland-Delaware-DC Press Association in May, 2016. The award was for his “Looking Back” column that runs monthly in the Cumberland Times-News.

Clay Soldiers retails for $19.95 and is available at local bookstores, online retailers, and his website at www.jamesrada.com.

Emmitsburg’s Traditional Parade Route Returns and Why It Is Important to Older Emmitsburgians

I am very happy to announce that for our Emmitsburg Heritage Day Parade on June 25, 2016, we will be using the traditional parade route that our forefathers and Veterans used for years.

When I was asked by the Heritage Day committee to coordinate the parade, I started to investigate why the old route was changed and why the number of participants had been dwindling. I could remember from my younger days that West Main Street would be lined with spectators; the parade lined up out Fraley Road and out Annandale Road, and would start at the Doughboy statue and continue down West Main Street. I inquired as to why the route was changed, and it seemed the most-popular answer I received was that they were told traffic could not be held up on Rt. 140.  The route they were using started at the north end of town, and the first thing you faced was climbing a hill to make the first turn onto DePaul Street. I watched as young people were having a tough time marching up the hill, much less the older crowd who did not want to start out that way, several asking if they could join in on top of the hill to avoid marching up hill. The lead vehicles did not slow down and wait for the participates to catch up, and when they made the left on DePaul Street, they were out of sight, resulting in a lot of space between the lead car and the Color Guard as they turned right on Federal Avenue to East Main Street. When the vehicles arrived at the square to turn right on South Seton Avenue, there was a great deal of space between participates. I observed the eastbound traffic being stopped at the square and realized that the traffic for Rt. 140 was being held up, so what did it matter if traffic was held up at the Doughboy or at the square? I made a decision right then to try my best to have our old parade route back again. I wrote a letter to our state representative and explained our situation. I didn’t hear anything until spring, when Commissioner Cliff Sweeney handed me a permit form and said Samuel Delaurence from the Maryland State Highway Department would like to speak to me about the proposed route for the Emmitsburg Heritage Day Parade.

I called Mr. Delaurence and discovered he was a very nice person; we worked things out and are now basically back to our traditional route for the parade. The parade will start at the Doughboy at 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, June 25, 2016, and will continue down West Main Street to the Square, where it will then turn right on South Seton Avenue to the Fire Museum, turning right to the Community Park. Folks, it is downhill all the way. What more could you ask for?

The judging will take place in front of Emmitsburg Fire Company 6 Fire House. Everyone is invited back to the bandstand at the Community Park, where prizes will be awarded and entertainment will be provided in part by The Harmony Coronet Band.

I love a parade and especially a parade in my home town of Emmitsburg.

If I missed mailing an invitation to you, and you would like to be a participant in the parade, please contact me for a registration form at 72andready@gmail.com

God bless the United States of America, God bless the American Veteran, and God bless you. Serving my country in the best way I know how: as a volunteer.

A special thanks to D.L. George and Sons for rerouting their trucks because of the parade!

Christine Schoene Maccabee

The Swallows Are Back

I often wonder how many other people feel a thrill when the swallows return to our area in early May. In late April, I began to watch for the swallows with high expectation. Every year, the swallows are drawn back to my home like a magnet, much to my amazement and joy. Their nest of mud and grasses, lined with soft feathers, is perched in a corner of the eaves of my A-frame house. Due to the strength of this nest, and how well it is “glued” to the wood, it has lasted through many a fierce storm. It is the second nest the swallows created there in more than twenty years, the first one falling down just a few years ago. That particular spring, upon their return, they built another strong nest in the very same place, and I expect it to last just as long as the other one.

The first sign of the return of my feathered tenants is their excited chirping, and my day is immediately happier upon hearing them. They sound like they are having a lively conversation, which I guess they are, and my loneliness is displaced by their cheerful company. Since arriving here several days ago, the mated pair has been zooming all day through the skies, eating whatever they can find. Every spring and summer, they keep my atmosphere completely free of mosquitoes, so no Zika virus here. However, due to all the rain and cool weather this spring, the flying bug population is not so great yet. Hopefully the birds had plenty of food while traveling north after wintering somewhere in Mexico or some country in South America. Some swallows winter as far away as Argentina!

I wish I knew my swallows’ entire story, but at least I do know part of their story here in northern Frederick County. I have seen mothers, and fathers, sitting on their nest until the babies hatch. Thereafter, the wonderful partnership of the parents continues, taking turns feeding the nestlings, and themselves. It takes a lot of energy zooming around all day. It is a true joy to watch them fly far out over the fields, gathering what they can at lightning speed, and then bringing the food back to their eager nestlings. Usually there are four young ones, and once these fledglings leave the nest, the mother and father occasionally settle down to raising four more.

Birds, as we all know, are amazing creatures. We humans are fascinated with both their flight and their songs, not to forget their amazingly artistic colorations. Many a poet has written eloquently about them and artists such as Audubon have painted detailed representations of them (more than 1,000 to be nearly exact). Songs like “The Little Red Lark,” an Irish ballad, portray their amazing flights and songs, and airplanes were invented as we grounded-humans decided we, too, had to fly. This idea may or may not have been a good one. After all, birds are following their natural inclinations, whereas humans do not, and we are definitely polluting our planet with all of our unnatural contraptions, are we not?

So, perhaps that is why I am so mesmerized by birds, particularly the swallows. They are so small, seemingly so vulnerable, and yet they can fly such long distances with the greatest of ease. In fact, once here, it is estimated they can fly the equivalent of 600 miles a day in quest of food for their young, according to the Audubon Field Guide to North American Birds. So how is that possible, you ask?

In my research, I have learned, as many of you likely already know, that birds are very light (as light as a feather in fact) due to the fact that their bones are hollow and filled with air. Also, according to a book on Natural History by Bertha Parker, connected with a bird’s lungs are tiny air sacs scattered throughout its body. These air sacs act like tiny hot-air balloons. Therefore, a typical swallow weighs far less than a mouse, lizard, or frog of the same size. A bird’s streamlined body is another help in flying. Humans have tried to mimic these qualities, the closest coming to gliders of various types, and hot-air balloons. I will not say anything about all the other larger, costly, heavy planes, especially of war, which have completely digressed from Nature’s perfect plan.

So, back to feathers. Feathers also serve the purpose of protecting birds from rain and cold. They shed rain because they are a little oily and the intricate parts of the feathers are cleverly put together in lovely, serviceable patterns. Feathers also keep the bird’s body warm, trapping the heat; think of your down sleeping bag. This past winter, I remember telling my chickens to huddle close and keep warm, as I closed them up for the night in their unheated coup. I even worried a bit, but they weathered the cold winter beautifully, as they are fully and thickly feathered.

I am in total admiration of birds in general, and sometimes I wish I were as free as they are, unfettered by coats and boots and layers of clothing, and independent of automobile expenses. I envy them for their ability to fly and feed themselves without growing their own food or going into a grocery store.

However, as Popeye so wisely said, “I yam what I yam, and tha’s all what I yam,” and there is no escaping that fact! I do rather like having two strong legs, and arms I can reach to the sky with, giving praise for all the wonders of life. I am also thrilled to have my swallows back here for another season. I will miss them when they gather to go south in August, and I can usually tell when the time is coming by all their excitement as they zoom around my house with their happy, chirping fledgelings, full grown by then, and fully independent. Sigh.

I wish I could fly free as a bird, and be light as a feather!

 

 

 

 

 

by James Rada, Jr.

Emmitsburg

Commissioners Looking for Options for Dog Park

The Emmitsburg Dog Park has some potential complications with the proposed location that may require it to be moved. The 15,000-square-foot dog park is proposed for a very low area of Community Park. Although it can’t be called a wetland, it is a very wet area of the park because water drains to that low point. It is also located fairly close to a residential area, where the noise from barking dogs could become an issue. After discussing the park at a recent town meeting, the commissioners put the question to staff to recommend other potential locations for the dog park.

Citizens Advisory Committee Having Problems Reaching a Quorum

Emmitsburg Commissioner Joe Ritz, III told the commissioners during a recent town meeting that the Citizens Advisory Committee is having trouble getting enough members out to have a quorum. Without a majority of the members present, the committee can’t formally make any recommendations. Ritz has tried to encourage attendance, but is having little luck. One option the commissioners are considering is to reduce the size of the committee, which would reduce the number of people needed to reach a quorum.

Emmitsburg Trail Work Day

Commissioner Tim O’Donnell is coordinating a work day on the Emmitsburg Trails on June 18, 2016, from 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. Those interested in helping should meet at Rainbow Lake on Hampton Valley Road. Free food will be available for volunteers and their families before and after the work detail. Dress for the weather and to work. Tools will be provided. For more information, contact O’Donnell at todonnell@emmitsburgmd.gov.

Tall Grass Reminder

Now that grass is growing tall enough to be cut, Emmitsburg town code requires that grass and weeds be kept to a height no taller than eight inches. In areas along streams, a maximum height of eighteen inches is allowed, and a minimum height of six inches is recommended.

For more information on the town of Emmitsburg, visit www.emmitsburgmd.gov or call 301-600-6300.

Thurmont

Budget Available for Download

The draft FY2017 budget for the Town of Thurmont is currently being discussed by the town commissioners. You can download a copy to review from the town website (www.thurmont.com).

Some of the topics up for discussion include the funding of a part-time economic development staff member for $15,000. It is expected that this position would eventually be combined with the part-time Main Street Manager position that the town funds to create a single full-time position.

Another item that has been discussed is whether the town should have an emergency housing fund to help out residents who find themselves suddenly without a place to stay at night. A consideration with this item is how it can be administered without it becoming political.

Town Approves Green Purchasing Policy

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners approved a green purchasing policy during a recent town meeting. The policy is based on a similar policy in place in Boonsboro and is not expected to be a hindrance to current purchasing processes. Chief Administrative Officer James Humerick told the commissioners that the policy just makes the town keep sustainability in mind when making purchasing decisions. He also said that the policy is not meant to hamstring the town into making fiscally irresponsible decisions but to help improve sustainability.

Community Park Will Lose Forty Percent of Trees to Emerald Ash Borer

Thurmont’s Community Park will lose 276 of its ash trees to the Emerald Ash Borer. The damage to the trees has already been done and the trees are dying. Experts estimated that the trees have about two years left before they are totally dead. If treated, that lifespan might be extended a year. The trees will not even have value to be sold as timber.

“They’re going to have to come out,” said Commissioner Wayne Hooper.

Removing all of the trees will be very expensive, though, but the commissioners need to make sure that there is no danger to park visitors.

The commissioners are planning on having an independent third party examine the trees, and then they will determine how to move forward from that point. The loss of all of the trees represents roughly forty percent of the trees in the park, and they will need to be replaced. This is something else that the commissioners will need to discuss at a future time.

Keep Your Lawns Mowed

Now that lawns are thriving once again, the Thurmont Police Department is reminding residents that the Thurmont Town Code requires that any grass, weeds, and leaves blown into a town street be removed within four hours. It is also unlawful to wash such debris into storm sewers. Violators can be fined $50.00 per violation.

Town Commission Vacancies

The Town of Thurmont has vacancies on the Board of Appeals and Public Ethics Commission. If you are a town resident interested in serving the town, contact the town office at 301-271-7313.

For more information on the town of Thurmont, visit www.thurmont.com or call the town office at 301-271-7313.