by James Rada, Jr.


With students back wandering the halls of Catoctin High and its feeder schools, they are seeing a lot of new faces, and they aren’t all new students. The schools have new teachers, programs, and classes to get used to.





Catoctin  High School

When students returned to Catoctin High School, they returned to the Maryland Character High School of the Year. It was awarded through the Maryland Center for Character Education at Stevenson University, and this is the second year in a row that Catoctin won the award.

“It is a great honor for our kids, and the application process was spearheaded by guidance counselor, Dana Brashear,” said Principal Bernard Quesada.

The school will also be getting a new scoreboard in the stadium. “We are also ordering new banners in the gymnasium that will recognize all the individual state champions since the school’s opening in 1969,” Quesada said.

New staff at the school includes: Rob Phelan as the new math teacher and assistant soccer coach and Alaine Nichols as the new English teacher.


Thurmont Middle School

Want to keep up with what’s going on at Thurmont Middle? You can now follow them on Twitter (@TMSPanthers).

The school is continuing to make improvements to the building. Last year, the school got new windows. This year’s improvements include the chillers on the roof, oil tanks, and sidewalks.

“The biggest change with clubs is that our world famous show choir is now its own entity,” said Principal Jennifer Powell.

The Thurmont Middle School Show Choir now has its own board of directors and booster club. The change was needed as a way to allow them to do more overnight competitions.

Last school year, the school had also experimented with allowing gum chewing in school. However, it didn’t work out well, so it will not be allowed this year.


Mother Seton School

Mother Seton School has new leadership. “Our big exciting news is about our leadership change. Sr. Brenda Monahan, D.C. has taken over from Sr. JoAnne Goecke, D.C. as our new principal,” said Lynn Tayler, Advancement Office assistant.

Other staff changes include: Sr. Joan Corcoran, D.C. is the new assistant principal; Karen MacZura will teach Pre-K and physical education; Christy LaBarbera will be the Pre-K teacher’s assistant; Sharon Beard is the new fifth-grade teacher; Rachel Bevard is a new cafeteria assistant.

The new staff also means that some of the familiar teachers will be teaching new classes.


Thurmont Primary School

“Thurmont Primary was identified as a Title 1 school and that gives us extra federal money,” said Principal Karen Locke.

The funds allowed Locke to bring on new reading and math intervention teachers. This will allow more students to get needed help reaching the reading and math standards.

The school is also starting an integrated special education pre-K program that introduces regular education students into the classroom to work alongside the special education pre-K students.

New staff at the school includes: Dawn Morton teaching reading intervention; Tabitha Costner teaching first grade; Tammy Ferrell teaching first grade; Ashley Lillard teaching first grade; Kathy Firor as a student support specialist; Meg Fetting teaching second grade; Kennetha Orsini teaching second grade; Dawn Kasperek teaching kindergarten; Connie Rankin will be a long-term art teacher substitute; Barb Cicmanec teaching math intervention.


Thurmont Elementary School

Thurmont Elementary School will be focusing on the expanding role of technology in the classroom. The school is working to develop a policy so that students can bring their own devices to school to work on the school’s wireless network. Each grade level will also have its own Promethean board to use for lessons.

Thurmont Elementary and Thurmont Primary will be co-hosting a Back-to-School picnic at Thurmont Community Park on September 4, 2014, from 5:00-6:30 p.m. Students and their families are invited to come spend some informal and fun time with teachers and staff at the schools.

New staff at the school include: Jessica Ridenour teaching fourth grade; Matthew Luketic teaching fourth grade; Tyler Trone as the user support specialist.


Sabillasville Elementary School

Like many of the schools in the Catoctin feeder system, Sabillasville Elementary is introducing Positive Behavior Intervention Systems (PBIS), a proactive approach to dealing with school discipline.

“The students will be able to earn Mountain Money and spend it in the Mountain General Store,” said Principal Kate Krietz. They will be able to earn rewards like extra recess and no homework.

New staff at the school include: Haleh Paciotti as the new literary specialist; Katie Dempsher as the new speech teacher.


Lewistown Elementary School

Lewistown Elementary School will be focusing on growth mindsets this year. It’s a teaching philosophy developed by Carol Dweck and Mary Cay Ricci that encourages pushing your limits to reach your potential and how to deal with the times you come up short in that pursuit. “We think it will help our students develop perseverance and resilience that they may need as they face the new assessments,” said Principal Shirley Olsen.

The school will be hosting a Tiger Trot for Technology on October 4. This is a walk and ride for new school technology. It will have a short run for students and 5-mile and 42-mile bike rides through scenic Frederick County. For more information, visit the school’s website at

New personnel at the school are: Art teacher, Lauren Clore; 3rd grade teacher, Kaitlyn Miller; therapist, Alena Alsruhe; special education assistant, Jessica Kirkwood; special education assistant, Kimberly McTighe; and special education assistant, Lindsay Hewitt.


Emmitsburg Elementary School

Emmitsburg Elementary School was also contacted about their new changes, but they did not get back to the The Catoctin Banner before press time.


by Michele Cuseo




Town Election, September 30

Two positions open for election are the Mayor’s seat, currently held by Don Briggs, and one commissioner’s seat, currently held by Chris Staiger. Mayor Briggs plans to run for re-election, and Commissioner Staiger has stated he will not run again. Joe Ritz, Emmitsburg resident, has stated his intention to run for the commissioner’s seat. All positions are for a three-year term.

The election will be held at 22 East Main Street, from 7:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m. Last day to register to vote is September 9. For any further questions, call the town office.


Pippinfest 34th Annual Event, September 28 & 29

The local Pippinfest in Fairfield, Pennsylvania, is expected to draw large crowds this year. Pippinfest has been a cherished event for the past three decades, offering visitors a fine selection of arts, crafts, food, music, and many other fun activities. Pippinfest literally means “apple festival” and boasts many delectable apple treats at the event.

Live musical groups and organizations will be set up to celebrate the harvest, the local traditions, and the community. Anyone interested in participating in Pippinfest can call the Fairfield town office at 717-647-5640.


For more information about the Town of Emmitsburg, view the town’s website at or call the town office at 301-600-6300.




Limited Edition Prints for Sale

The Thurmont Lions Club is selling a group of 250 fine quality limited-edition prints depicting the Thurmont Trolley Mural paintings by artist Yemi. All proceeds will benefit the Trolley Substation refurbishing project. Also for sale will be etched glass Christmas ornaments imprinted with “Thurmont Established in 1751.” Anyone interested in these special collectibles can call Joann Miller at 301-271-6965.


Colorfest Planning

The Town of Thurmont is preparing for Colorfest, scheduled this year for October 11 and 12. The security contract was awarded to Tim May Investigations. Two other bids will need to be awarded for the port-a-potties and for trash pick-up. The town pays for these services via the Colorfest permits. This is the largest-drawing arts and crafts show in the State of Maryland. It has also grown into one of the largest yard sale events in the state as well. For any questions regarding permits, please call the town office.


Thurmont Planning for Town Lights

In planning ahead for future town lights along the main streets of Thurmont, town officials have decided to install conduits for wiring along sidewalk areas. The light installations will be done by the town’s own electric company, as they have professional electricians, pole trucks, and so forth to do the job.


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

Who Will Be the Thurmont Volunteer of the Year for 2014

Nominate someone who is making a difference in the lives of others—working with children in the schools or helping at the food bank, a member of a service organization or church, a special neighbor who is always there to help whenever needed.  The volunteer service work must be done in the area of zip code 21788. Forms are available at the Thurmont Regional Library, the Town Office, and online Send nomination forms to or TLC, P.O. Box 306, Thurmont, MD 21788  ATTN: Joyce Anthony.  Thurmont Lions Club members are eligible to be nominated for non-related Lions Club volunteer work.  Nominations are due no later than October 1, 2014.

Friends of the Thurmont Regional Library to Hold Annual Book Sale at Community Show

All year long, the Friends of the Thurmont Regional Library collect donated books to sell at the Thurmont and Emmitsburg Community Show as way to support the needs of the library. The show is held at Catoctin High School in Thurmont and, this year, will be held September 5-7.

The Friends, with the help of Thurmont Scout Troop 270, will be setting up the sale on Friday, September 5, for a kickoff time of 6:00 p.m. for purchase of best selections. A nice variety of hardback books, paperbacks, music CDs, and DVDs will be available at great prices. Spend $3.00 or more and get a chance to win a coupon to a local fast food restaurant.

Sale hours are: Friday, September 5—6:00-10:00 p.m.; Saturday, September 6—8:00 a.m.-9:00 p.m.; Sunday, September 7—8:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.

Boxed donations are being accepted at the Thurmont Regional Library at 76 E. Moser Road in Thurmont until September 3, 2014. Call 301-600-7216 if you have a large donation of four or more boxes to make arrangements for drop-off at our storage facility.

All funds raised at this annual sale support the Thurmont Regional Library. Proceeds from the 2014 sale will support building a storage shed for donations.

34th Annual Fairfield Pippinfest

The 34th Annual Pippinfest will be held Saturday and Sunday, September 27 and 28, 2014, from 9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. in Fairfield, Pennsylvania. Pippinfest offers a family-friendly weekend of crafts, entertainment, a car show, apple dessert contest, community yard sale, self-guided walking tour, quilt show, great food, and many other activities.

Saturday will feature a large community yard sale. Some craft and food vendors will be present. Sunday is the main Pippinfest event day, featuring crafts, entertainment, cruise-in car show and swap meet, quilt show (both days), apple dessert contest, self-guided walking tours of Historic Fairfield (both days), many food vendors, children’s rides (small fee-both days), and so much more. Admission and parking are free.

For more information about this great fall tradition, call 717-642-5640 during weekday business hours, visit, or

31st NWFCC Annual Car Show

On Sunday, October 12, 2014, come on out to the 31st Annual Car Show at Sabillasville Elementary School, located at 16210-B Sabillasville Road in Sabillasville. Event is 11:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. Registration begins at 9:00 a.m.; the entry fee is $10.00. Sponsored by the Northwestern Frederick County Civic Association (NWFCC). The event benefits the scholarship fund. Please note that if rain is forecasted for the day, the event will be canceled. Don’t miss celebrating the 40th Anniversary of Mountain Fest, October 11-12, at Sabillasville Elementary School.

Indian Lookout Conservation Target Shoots

The Indian Lookout Conservation Club is holding Shot Gun Shooting matches at 1:00 p.m. on September 28, October 12, October 26, and November 9, 2014.

Sportsman’s Bingo

Mark your calendar for the Sportman’s Bingo at the Lewistown District Volunteer Fire Department, located at 11101 Hessong Bridge Road in Lewistown, Maryland, on September 13, 2014. Doors will open at 5:00 p.m.; buffet will begin at 6:00 p.m.; games will start at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $40.00 per person and include buffet dinner, ice tea, and beer.

Blue Ridge Sportsmen’s Association September 2014 Events

Don’t miss all the September events at Blue Ridge Sportsmen’s Association, located at 3009 Waynesboro Pike in Fairfield, Pennsylvania: September 6—Yard Sale and Chicken BBQ; September 7—Cash Bingo, 1:00 p.m.; September 13—Gun Drawing and Dinner, 4:00-7:00 p.m.; September 14—Horseshoe Tournament, 11:30 a.m.; September 18-20—National Qualifier Shoot.

Bingo Bash Pays Big

The Emmitsburg Volunteer Ambulance Company’s Bingo Bash will be held on September 20, 2014, at 17701 Creamery Road in Emmitsburg. Doors will open at 4:00 p.m.; games will begin at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are $35.00 if purchased in advance; $45.00 if purchased at the door.

Thirty-One, Coach & Vera Bradley Bingo at Mother Seton School

Mother Seton School is hosting a Thirty-One, Coach & Vera Bradley Bingo on Saturday, September 20, 2014, at 100 Creamery Road in Emmitsburg. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. Games will begin at 7:00 p.m. Bingo features raffles, door prizes, and more! Tickets are $20.00 if purchased in advance or $25.00 if purchased at the door.

Spaghetti Dinner

Come enjoy homemade meatballs, homemade bread, salad, drinks, and dessert at the Spaghetti Dinner at St. John UCC Parish Hall in Sabillasville.

Absolute Real Estate Auction

Come to the Absolute Real Estate Auction at the former bank building, located at 4 West Main Street in Thurmont, on Monday, September 29, 2014, at 1:00 p.m.

Gospel & Blue Grass Music Festival

Mt. Tabor Park in Rocky Ridge, Maryland, is holding a Gospel & Blue Grass Music Festival on Saturday, September 27, 2014, from 1:00-6:00 p.m. Admission is free. Event features local talents and blue grass music by the Carroll County Ramblers. Come on out for some great music, food, and homemade desserts.

Guardian Hose Company’s Cash Bingo

On Sunday, September 28, 2014, the Thurmont Guardian Hose Company will hold a Cash Bingo at the Thurmont Activities Building in Thurmont. Doors will open at 11:00 a.m. Bingo will start at 1:00 p.m. Lunch will be served. Tickets are $25.00 if purchased in advance and $30.00 if purchased at the door. Bingo features two $1,000 jackpots!

Guardian Hose Company Fall Festival & Holiday Bazaar

Spaces are available at the Thurmont Carnival Grounds for crafters for the Fall Festival on October 11-12, 2014.

A Holiday Bazaar will be held on Saturday, November 1, 2014, at the Thurmont Carnival Grounds in Thurmont. Crafters and Home Party Demonstrators are wanted. Spaces are $25.00 for a table ($20.00 for each additional table).

Shamrock’s Half Way to St. Patrick’s Day Party

You won’t want to miss Shamrock Restaurant’s Half Way to St. Patrick’s Day Irish Party, being held September 12-21, 2014, featuring live Irish music, event activities, and a fabulous Irish menu.

58th Annual Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show

Bring the whole family out to the 58th annual Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show on September 5-7, 2014, at Catoctin High School in Thurmont. Admission and parking is free. Event features activities for everyone, entertainment, great food, auctions, pet show, 4-H & FFA show, demonstrations, and so much more!

A Taste of Ireland Right Here in Thurmont

by James Rada, Jr.

It took more than the luck of the Irish to keep Fitzgerald’s Shamrock Restaurant in business for more than fifty years.

“There were days and nights in a row that I wouldn’t go home,” said Mike Fitzgerald, who opened the Shamrock in 1963. “I would be working here doing whatever needed to be done and then I would sleep here.”

Though the Shamrock Restaurant opened in 1963, the building actually had been around since the 1950s. It was a dance hall that didn’t have the best reputation. This is why Fitzgerald was able to purchase it at an affordable price.

He also knew that he had to change the way in which people looked at the building in order to turn it into a successful restaurant.

“The walls were all covered with beer signage and paintings by George Crawford,” said Donna Demmon, Fitzgerald’s oldest child, who also works at the restaurant.

The walls were stripped and redone, turning the dance hall side of the building into the dining room. Only two rows of tables had tablecloths originally, and a smaller dance floor was left in place for weekend dances.

On the bar side, Fitzgerald raised the price of beers. This might seem counterintuitive, but apparently a lot of troublemakers came into the dance hall for cheap beer. Raising the prices caused them to look elsewhere for their drinks.

The Shamrock began as, and still is, a family business. Fitzgerald, his wife, his mother, and his nine children (as they grew old enough) all worked in the restaurant. Demmon started when she was thirteen years old.

“Everyone grew up in here working,” Demmon said of her and her siblings.

Fitzgerald had been a machinist with Moore Business Systems, but he had advanced as far as he could without moving out of state. He had grown up in a restaurant family, though. His parents had owned Fitzgerald’s in Emmitsburg until his father died in 1940. Fitzgerald and his wife had decided that they could open a new restaurant and make it successful.

“They had to make it work,” Demmon stated. “They had a family to feed.”

The Shamrock was the first restaurant in Frederick County in 1965 to get a liquor license.

“In order to do that, they had to take all the bar stools out of the bar,” Demmon said. This had to do with the stools indicating that it was a bar and not a restaurant. The stools were replaced with tables next to the bar.

Customers could not carry their drinks in the restaurant, either.

“If you wanted to go from the bar side to the dining room, a server had to carry your drink for you,” said Demmon.

When Demmon graduated from St. Joseph’s College in Emmitsburg, her father sent her on a trip to Ireland. Demmon wasn’t looking forward to it, because her grandmother also went along as a chaperone. Much to Demmon’s surprise, she was the one who wound up being the chaperone.

“My grandmother was an outgoing, social person, who would sit and talk with anyone, whether we were in a store or out on the road,” Demmon remembered.

More than a vacation, Demmon and her grandmother visited many of the Emerald Isle’s pubs, taking notes and lots of pictures. “We used them to redo the bar so that it had the atmosphere of a pub in Ireland,” said Demmon.

Besides Irish fare like shepherd’s pie, Shamrock Irish egg, and corned beef and cabbage, seafood dishes are also popular items. “We serve a soft-shell crab sandwich with crabs from the Eastern Shore that is delicious,” said Demmon.

Demmon remembers that her father used to get up early on Thursday mornings and drive to Baltimore, Maryland, to be there at 4:00 a.m. He would walk through the seafood market, buying crabmeat, fish, shrimp, and more before driving to a produce market on Caroline Street to buy any additional produce beyond what their garden could supply.“Then, he would have to hurry up and be back here in time to open [the restaurant].”

In those days, the restaurant was only closed on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

“My dad used to try and close up early on Christmas Eve at 5 p.m.,” says Demmon. “That was because he had to get home and put together toys for nine kids.”

The restaurant also won a national award years ago for having the best St. Patrick’s Day party in the nation. It was awarded by a corned beef company in Missouri. The Shamrock entered its menus, samples of its advertising, information about how long the St. Patrick’s Day party had been taking place, and the media coverage the party had received.

“We also included notes from people who had come to the party,” Demmon said. “At that time, we had people coming from Florida and Niagara Falls just to come to the party.”

The Shamrock Restaurant is located at 7701 Fitzgerald Road in Thurmont.

Their hours are: 11:00 a.m.-9:00 p.m., Monday through Thursday; 11:00 a.m.-10:00 p.m., Friday and Saturday; noon-9:00 p.m. on Sunday; weekday luncheons 11:00 a.m.-3:30 p.m.

For more information, visit their website at

by James Rada, Jr.

John Kinnaird 1 (2)John Kinnaird creates monuments and memorials from stone, but through his hard work, he has also created a memorial from his business that honors his father. R. S. Kinnaird Memorials is celebrating fifty years in business this year.

In the 1960s, Aberdeen, Scotland, was the place to be for stone carvers. It had the largest granite quarries in the world. Robert Kinnaird studied art and stone carving there and then served an apprenticeship with Anderson Brothers, one of Aberdeen’s largest stone-carving businesses.

In 1959, he saw an ad in a trade magazine for a stone carver with Hammaker Brothers. An American salesman in Aberdeen interviewed Kinnaird for Hammaker Brothers Memorial Company and reported back to the business. Kinnaird was offered the job, and he emigrated to Thurmont in August 1959. His family joined him the following April.

He then worked for Hammaker Brothers as a master stone carver. The business was sold in 1963.

“The people who bought it went bankrupt almost immediately,” said Robert’s son, John. “Dad started his business in a garage in 1964.”

R. S. Kinnaird Memorials specialized in custom memorial work, stone cutting, and also performing custom work for other memorial dealers.

John Kinnaird 1 (1)During his early years in business, Robert Kinnaird spent a lot of time commuting to Washington, D.C., to do custom work for large contractors. His work can be seen in the National Cathedral, the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, and the Roosevelt Memorial, to name a few.

R. S. Kinnaird Memorials then branched into doing letter cutting on memorials. One of the first contracts they started work on was the lettering on memorials in Arlington National Cemetery.

“When we started on it, there was a four to five year backlog,” John said. “Within four months, we got it down to a seven-day turnaround for lettering.”

John started working part-time with his father in 1965, and doing letter cutting in Arlington was the first job he worked on.

In 1974, R. S. Kinnaird Memorials relocated into the old Hammaker Brothers buildings at 6 Boundary Avenue in Thurmont, continuing the site’s service as a memorial business and making it the oldest continually operated memorial business in Maryland, according to the R. S. Kinnaird Memorials website. Hammaker Brothers had started operating on the site in 1874.

“I love this business,” expressed John. “Everything I do I can go back and look at it and other people can go back and look at it, too. My work is visible.”

Robert Kinnaird retired from the business in 1983 and died two years later. John continues running the business that bears his father’s name.

Over the years, the business has become more automated, which makes certain jobs easier; yet it still requires an attention to detail and a master’s touch. Stone cutting is in John’s blood. He is a fourth generation stone cutter.

He has also passed on that love of creation to his children. They all worked in the family business at some point while growing up. John’s daughter, Heather Dewees, continues working there full time.

R. S. Kinnaird Memorials is a full-service memorial business. Design, lettering, sandblasting, and carving can all be done on-site. The business also offers installation. They work on large memorials and small markers.

“Those little jobs are just as important as the big ones,” said John. “They mean something to the family buying them, so they mean something to us.”

You can learn more about the company and see pictures of their work at

Fall is a wonderful time to get out and run! The ESP Performing Company is pleased to announce their 4th Annual Autumn 5K Run Fundraiser. This year’s event will be held on Saturday, October 18, 2014, at Mount Saint Mary’s University in Emmitsburg. The dancers at ESP Performing Company always enjoy giving back to their community, almost as much as they love dancing. Last year, they were able to donate $900 to The Hurwitz Breast Cancer Fund. The Hurwitz Fund directly benefits folks in our community by helping breast cancer patients at Frederick Memorial Hospital. ESP proudly dedicates the 5K fundraiser in memory of Pamela Grey Hobbs, a former dancer at ESP.

The ESP Autumn 5K Run is always a ton of fun. The event is open to all levels of fitness. The course is on the beautiful campus of Mount Saint Mary’s University and includes both paved and soft surface terrain. There are a few inclines mixed in with quite a bit of flat, easy pathways. The ESP 5K is great for experienced runners and a wonderful opportunity for first-timers. First-timers should consider a “Couch to 5K” type plan to prepare for the event. These training programs can be found on a number of sites online.

Sponsorship opportunities are available at several different levels. For sponsorship information or for runner registration, please contact any ESP Performing Company Dancer or contact David Mitchener at 240-315-4379 or email  All runners registered by October 11 will receive a custom Gnarly Artly ESP Fall 5K T-shirt.

In addition to fundraising and community service, the Award Winning ESP Performing Company loves to dance! The company dancers have just returned from Groove National Dance Competition in Atlantic City, where they received numerous awards and special recognition. The dancers are already hard at work preparing for the 2014-15 dance season. Your first opportunity to see them perform will be Saturday, September 13, 2014, at 11:30 a.m. at the In The Street Festival in downtown Frederick. October will bring their annual crowd pleasing Colorfest performances. ESP will dance both Saturday and Sunday Colorfest weekend in the Thurmont Town Park. At the end of October, the dancers will return for a ghoulish performance at Halloween In The Park.  In November, the ESP Performing Company begins their competition season, which will take them up and down the East Coast, culminating with Dance Makers National Finals in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, in June.

ESP Dance is currently enrolling students for the fall session.

ESP offers classes of all levels in ballet, tap, jazz, hip-hop, lyrical, acro, pointe, and Zumba.  Additionally, they are offering an open percussion class on Sundays, 2:00-3:00 p.m. For more information about ESP Dance or to register for classes, please call the studio at 301-271-7458 or stop by 15 Water Street in Thurmont, Monday through Thursday, from 4:00-8:00 p.m. The fall schedule is now available online at Check them out on Facebook.

by James Rada, Jr.

DSC_0280Two of Vigilant Hose Company’s most-active members are going to be getting busier outside of the fire company. Frank Davis and Tim Clarke have been promoted in their day jobs and are taking on more responsibility.

Fire Chief Frank Davis has taken a new position in Clark County, Virginia, as the director of rescue and medical services. It’s a brand-new position in the county, and he will begin work on September 7, 2014. He will commute back and forth between Emmitsburg and Clark County.

“It’s a small county, but it has a large farming community,” Davis said.

After working thirty-five years in the government, Davis retired to take this new position. He will also continue serving the citizens of Emmitsburg in the Vigilant Hose Company.

Vig-Tim-ClarkePresident Tim Clarke is staying with the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office; but instead of being a captain, he was promoted to the rank of major in June. He is now in charge of operations at the sheriff’s office.

“It wasn’t a big change from what I was doing, and I’ve got a lot of good supervisors under me,” Clarke said.

Clarke has been with the sheriff’s office for twenty-six years and served as a captain for eight years. He applied for the job opening. When Col. Fred Anderson retired earlier this year, it caused a shifting of job positions in the sheriff’s office.

The 58th Annual Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show will be held at Catoctin High School on September 5, 6, and 7, 2014. No entry fee, free admission, and free parking.

The program on Friday night will highlight the 200th anniversary of “The Star Spangled Banner,” and approximately thirty participants will participate in the community flag ceremony. A bagpipe processional will be performed by Bill and Andrew Douwes.  Also, the 2014-2015 Catoctin FFA Chapter Ambassador will be announced. The baked goods auction will start at 8:00 p.m.; the grand champion cake, pie, and bread will be sold at 9:00 p.m.

Entry of exhibits will take place on Thursday evening, September 4, from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. and on Friday, September 5, from 8:30 to 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 5, from 3:30-5:30 p.m. The show will open to the public at 6:00 p.m.  Testing for exhibits of poultry will be held on August 21, 2014, from 10:00 a.m.-noon at the agriculture department area at the Catoctin High School.

On Saturday, September 6, the show opens at 9:00 a.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. A black Labrador dog owned by the Thurmont Police Department will perform a demonstration at 10:00 a.m. in the outside area in front of the school (near the Pet Show area).  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.

On Saturday, September 6, 2014, the Thurmont Grange will serve a buffet turkey and country ham dinner in the Catoctin High School cafeteria, from 3:00-7:00 p.m. Prices are: $13.00 for adults; $7.00 for children under 12 years old; and $5.00 for children under age 5.  Carryout dinners are $14.00.

The 40th 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 7 at 9:00 a.m. with the Goat Show, followed by the Dairy Show and Decorated Animal Contest.  The decorated animal contest will begin at noon; any type animal may be decorated for the contest.

On Sunday, September 7, 2014, at 12:00 noon, the Catoctin FFA Alumni will serve a chicken Bar-B-Que dinner at the Catoctin High School cafeteria. Prices are: $10.00 for adults; $7.00 for children under 12 years old. Carryouts are $11.00.

The 35th annual Robert Kaas horseshoe pitching contest will begin at 1:00 p.m. The Log Sawing Contest will begin at 1:00 p.m.  The Catoctin Mountain Boys will perform an Elvis Presley Show from 1:45-2:15 p.m. in the auditorium. Taylor Brown will present an Elvis Tribute from 1:00-1:45 p.m. and from 2:15-3:00 p.m.

Exhibits must be removed on Sunday, September 7, 2014, from 3:00-6:00 p.m. Please note the new deadline to pick up items.

For further information or to learn more about the show, please contact Rodman Myers at 301-271-2104 or via email at  Community show booklets can be found in local Thurmont, Emmitsburg, and surrounding area businesses. 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 & Preserves, Pickles, Meats, Baked Products, Sewing & Needlework, Flowers and Plants, Arts, Paintings & Drawings, Crafts, Photography, Corn, Small Grains and Seeds, Eggs, Nuts, Poultry & Livestock, Dairy, Goats, Hay, Junior Department and Youth Department.

Please visit their website for updated information at www.

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.

On Saturday, August 23, 2014, the “Crowning Jewels” of Thurmont were unveiled amidst a sea of umbrellas appropriate for the rainy day. Five additional murals were unveiled at the entrance to the Thurmont Guardian Hose Carnival Ground on the historic Trolley Substation building. Many members of the Thurmont Community and surrounding areas were present to witness this event along with county and state dignitaries. The event was sponsored by the Thurmont Lions Club to celebrate their 85th anniversary in the Thurmont Community.

Last year for the 2013 Make a Difference Day project, the Thurmont Lions Club decided to do a “Beautify Our Town” project. Several Lions members along with co-chairs Nancy Dutterer, Joann Miller, and Shirley Long commissioned local artist Yemi to do a mural “Thurmont Rail History” depicting the Train and Trolley history of the area.

Earlier this year Lions Nancy and Joann felt that the project was not complete and jumped in and started working on the plans for additional murals to the substation. Once again artist Yemi was asked to do the murals according to the vision expressed to him by the committee. Yemi said, “Shirley, Joanne and Nancy were like sisters. Admonishing, encouraging and giving power so he complete this project.”

With funding provided by grant monies from the Community Legacy Grant through the efforts of Main Street Manager, Vicki Grinder, and Shirley Long along with Jenifer H. Almond, Project Manager of Division of Neighborhood Revitalization, grant monies were awarded to the town of Thurmont for this project. Thurmont’s Main Street Manager, Vicki Grinder said, “We worked together throughout the entire weekend to re-work the grant to include the project. During discussion, Shirley brought up Yemi. I had no prior knowledge of Yemi and asked, ‘What’s a Yemi?’” As it turned out, Yemi is a very talented and colorful artist who brought the project to fruition after 500 hours of work a project he called, “a labor for love, Thurmont’s precious jewel.”

The Acacia Masonic Lodge #155 of Thurmont also made a challenge to the Thurmont Lions Club and the Thurmont Community, that they would match up to $5,000.00 excluding any grant monies that would be donated toward this project. The town of Thurmont along with area businesses responded in an overwhelming way and the funding for the project was well underway. This truly is a Community project reflecting the power of a partnership between two community service groups, private citizens, business and public government to create a legacy for the Town of Thurmont and visitors alike.

The five murals depicted represent attractions, both current and historical, of northern Frederick County, Main Street Thurmont, two area covered bridges, Cunningham Falls, Camp David, Mechanics Park, Memorial Park, Catoctin Furnace, orchards and agricultural areas, as well as historical buildings and houses both past and present.

Ten years ago, the Thurmont Lions Club began the Trolley Trail Project, celebrating their 75th Anniversary and the vision of then Lion President Shirley Long and her husband Gene, combined to ensure the success of the refurbishing of the Thurmont Trolley Trail which was dedicated in September 2007. This one mile trail from East Main Street to Moser Road has become a mainstay in the lives of many, many Thurmont residents. Whether walking, hiking, biking or running, the trail is an important part of the Thurmont Community. This mural project for 2014 is not only a complement to the Trolley Trail but also a celebration of the Thurmont Lions Club’s 85th year of service to the community. Truly all six of the murals on the Trolley substation building are Thurmont’s Crowning Jewels.

As part of the celebration, Commemorative items will be for sale at local businesses in Thurmont. Those businesses include Timeless Trends, Browns’ Jewelry Store, Gateway Farm Market, Catoctin Mountain Orchard, Mountain Gate Family Restaurant, Catoctin Mountain Trains & Hobbies and Springfield Manor Winery & Distillery. These items include a limited edition signed print of all six murals celebrating the 85th Anniversary of the Thurmont Lions Club. Prints of the individual murals and a “Thurmont Established 1751” etched ornament are also for sale.

Lion Joanne Miller gave special thanks to the Lions who participated in the project and the community for their donations to fund the murals. For more information about the Thurmont Lions Club, visit

Catoctin Field Hockey Discount Cards Available Soon

Several businesses in the Catoctin area support the field hockey program at Catoctin High School (CHS) by honoring a discount for goods and services in their business ALL YEAR for people who purchase and carry a CHS Field Hockey discount card! The discount cards are the main fundraiser for the field hockey program and are very popular due to the businesses who honor their discounts throughout the year. Each discount card costs $10.00 and all discounts are valid through December 31, 2015.

A list of the businesses honoring discounts follows (all of these local businesses are long-time supporters of this program): Ace Hardware, Carleo Italian Pizzeria, E Plus Copy Center & Promotions, Gateway Candyland, Hobbs Hardware, Main Street Groomers, Ott House Pub & Restaurant, The Palms Restaurant, Peking Palace, Rocky’s Pizza, Subway, and Zurgable Bros. Hardware.

To purchase a discount card, seek out any of the current field hockey players OR visit E Plus Copy Center & Promotions, Ott House, or The Palms in Emmitsburg; or Gateway Candyland or Hobb’s Hardware in Thurmont.  Call Coach Heather Gray at 301-788-0427 with any questions.

Thurmont Little League Fall Baseball Registration

Registration for the 2014 Thurmont Little League Fall Baseball Season is currently open. Registration is open via the website at Thurmont Little League will offer T-ball (ages 4-7), Instructional Machine Pitch (ages 6-8), Minor (ages 6-10), and Major Division (ages 8-11).

Information on in-person registrations will be announced via their Facebook page at “Thurmont Little League.” Cost to participate in the Fall Baseball Program is $65.00.

For questions about the program, please call 267-664-5059 or email

District 5 and At-Large

by James Rada, Jr.

As the general election in November approaches, The Catoctin Banner asked candidates for some of the offices in Frederick County to talk to our readers. This is the second in the series, as the candidates for the first Frederick County Council District 5 Representative and At-Large Representative weigh in.  While all of the candidates were contacted to participate, Billy Shreve did not respond to repeated e-mails and so his responses are not included.

Frederick County Council District 5

Kirby Deluater (R)


Why are you running for county council?

I am running for County Council because after serving four years as County Commissioner, I feel that I still have some ideas that will benefit the County taxpayers. I have implemented many tax saving ideas that have allowed the reallocation of County resources and funds to areas needed most, such as Sheriff Deputies, Fire Rescue, and Schools.


What are your qualifications to serve on the council for District 5?

I think the qualifications are simply to just have the desire to do the job of Councilman and implement your ideas to better this County. I am a small business owner, which allows me to bring a lot of everyday common sense and financial knowledge into the government arena. I am currently Chairman of the Thurmont Board of Appeals as well.


What are the biggest issues facing the north end of the county as you see it?

I don’t see any standalone issues that face just the north end of Frederick County. Improper use of County resources and funding is an issue for all of Frederick County.  This current Board of Commissioners (The Young Board) has taken our bond rating from AAA negative (left from the Gardner Board) to AAA stable, and we’re hoping for a AAA rating here in 2014. Standard and Poor, Fitch and other rating agencies will not upgrade your bond status if they do not feel you have a grasp of the finances of the County. In other words, if they feel you are reckless with taxpayer dollars, they will downgrade your bond rating (as they did with the Gardner Board), which simply causes you to pay more interest on your borrowing that in turn does not allow you to borrow as much for capital projects, since more money goes toward interest.


Why should someone at the north end of the county want to see you as a county councilman?

I have a proven track record to look out for taxpayers. There have been many calls to my Commissioner office about issues facing constituents from all over the County. I can say that none of these calls went unanswered. I provided assistance to any and all that contacted me, whether it pertains to permits, zoning, schools, or anything related to County business. If they want true representation, they could only agree to keep me in as Councilman for District 5.


How will you go about representing the interests of the north end of the county as opposed to an at-large candidate?

I will approach it the same way as I do for my Commissioner seat. Anyone that contacts me with a County issue will get addressed just as it has for the past four years.


What kind of improvements would you urge for District 5?

That is one thing I did not like about Charter Government. I think it will pit one district against another vying for County dollars. I will not engage in that sort of politics. I feel we are one County, and we need to work together as one County and not get so wrapped up in the turf wars.


Given the contentious nature of politics, how would you build a productive working relationship with others in elected office throughout the county?

The same way I have with this current board. We discuss issues and, although we don’t always agree, we work together for what is best for Frederick County. Even David Gray, who was staunchly against us the majority of the time, commended me for the elimination of the trailer tax, which was solely a tax that I brought to the table to eliminate. I run a business with forty-five employees and, in order to do that, I have to be willing to negotiate on a daily basis. Employees do not like dictators, and dictators do not make it in business very long.

Mark Long (D)


Why are you running for county council?

My family has lived in this area for many generations, so I feel an obligation to help ensure that Frederick County remains a great place to live. The current Board of County Commissioners has made decisions based on what was expedient for today, without taking into account the long-term consequences. Good leaders should plan for the well being of future generations.


What are your qualifications to serve on the council for District 5?

I was born and raised in this district and I know it well. I’ve owned and operated my own home inspection business, as well as worked in my family’s construction business. I understand the importance of hard work, as well as creating and maintaining good relationships that are conducive to business.

I served on the Eastern District Executive Board of the Moravian Church for eight years and, during that time, provided oversight of programs and congregations in the northeast United States. I worked with people from various backgrounds and utilized skills to look at issues from a very broad and long-term perspective.


What are the biggest issues facing the north end of the county as you see it?

1.  We need more good-paying jobs in our area, and I will support initiatives that bring those jobs to the north end of the county. We need to invest in and support our local business community. I want to support and build on the success of our business incubator, the Frederick Innovative Technology Center, Inc., and explore the possibilities of an agricultural incubator. This could help new farmers, or farmers looking to change their type of operation, adapt to and succeed in a changing agricultural environment.

2.  The BoCC has allowed excessive growth at the wrong places and without sufficient developer funds for roads, schools, and other critical services. While most of this development has occurred in south county, this out-of-balance approach affects services and taxes throughout the county.

3.  The heroin epidemic is a concern for all of us as a community. Yet the current county commissioners are minimally funding our valued schools and our children’s education.

4.  With the selling of Montevue and Citizens, many senior citizens feel that their voices and concerns have gone unheard. I have heard that expanded public transit would be helpful for seniors to get to activities and appointments. I plan to explore that.  This could also help workers get to jobs in other parts of the county as well.


Why should someone at the north end of the county want to see you as a county councilman?

I think this is a great place to live, work, and raise a family. I will carefully listen to the concerns of the people of this area and respectfully consider all opinions when making decisions on the issues we face.


How will you go about representing the interests of the north end of the county as opposed to an at-large candidate?

The north end of the county needs a representative on the council who will look out for the interests of our children and seniors, as well as protect our farmland from over development and help preserve our rural and small town way of life that we’ve come to expect.


What kind of improvements would you urge for District 5?

I want to bring together a variety of concerned people to discuss the heroin problem, attempt to discern the root causes of this problem, and develop comprehensive strategies for alleviating this problem.

I would work with municipality and business leaders to discuss ways that we might bring more good paying jobs to our area, so residents won’t have to commute out of the area to find work.

I will also work to ensure that our planning and zoning policies keep the majority of our growth within or near existing towns, so we can protect our farms and rural heritage.


Given the contentious nature of politics, how would you build a productive working relationship with others in elected office throughout the county?

I will be respectful and courteous to all of my colleagues, as well as to all taxpayers and constituents. Making good decisions for our community should not be about political party or partisan politics, but should be about building consensus and finding reasonable solutions to problems we face.

Frederick County At-Large Council Member

Susan Reeder Jessee (D)


Why are you running for county council?

I am running for County Council At-Large because, as a lifelong resident of Frederick County, I am very concerned about certain decisions made recently that could have a long-term negative impact on many of the county issues for years to come. I am also a small business owner and know the issues that small business owners face. I have spent my career listening and working together with internal and external clients for the best possible outcome and will bring this ability with me as a member of the county council.


What are your qualifications to serve on the council?

My knowledge of Frederick County, my educational background, direct experience, and involvement in the community provides me with the solid foundation necessary for county council. These include the following: Graduate of the FCPS and Hood College; experience in business and economic development; experience in strategic planning, budgeting, and finance; experience in developing legislation in a government agency; experience in creating jobs; experience in caring for my elderly parents.


How will you be able to represent the interests of the north end of the county?

I have had the pleasure of living in four of the five districts throughout the county and understand that each district has its own unique strengths and challenges. I would take this understanding with me as a council member when making decisions that could affect each district. I have knowledge of the northern region of the county by growing up here and still have many relatives that live in this area that I am close to, which provides me a great understating of the needs of this region.


Why should someone at the north end of the county want to see you as a county councilman?

The north end of the county is a very important region, based on its rich historical perspective in building America to the pure beauty of its rich environmental landscape. It’s really important to understand the features that the north end of the county has for a basic foundation of success when decisions are made that affect that region.  I have always worked together as a team and would do this in a council position.


What kind of improvements would you urge for District 5?

District 5 is dealing with specific issues and some are unique to this district and others are universal throughout the county.

Land Preservation. District 5 has an abundance of history and natural resources unlike anywhere else in the county. It’s important to preserve the historical significance of this region while protecting and preserving its environment.

Aging Population. The senior population is the largest growing population in Frederick County. This makes it challenging and yet important to provide meals on wheels, subsidized senior housing, and transportation options for seniors in this area. Providing and not cutting funding and developing tax incentives for seniors, that rent is another option to affordable housing.

Transportation. District 5 has the largest land mass in the county, which makes transportation for some a major issue with those that live in the northern end of the county. It is important to properly budget for this and increase transit to this area and partner with the state for funding to address this issue.

Drug Concerns. The rising drug problem in Frederick County and in District 5 needs to be addressed immediately. Education and early intervention is critical, and the county needs to provide the resources necessary to make sure another child or adult does not die. Partnerships between the community, schools, and law enforcement are key.


Given the contentious nature of politics, how would you build a productive working relationship with others in elected office throughout the county?

Respecting one another and the idea of our differences is something that is desperately lacking in this county right now, along with the dialogue with other elected officials and with the citizens of Frederick County. I would work together with others in a team environment towards a positive outcome for the good of the region and county overall. I have done this throughout my career and it truly is that simple.  Great ideas can be generated from thought-provoking discussions.


Linda Marie Norris (D)


Why are you running for county council?

I want to be known as the thoughtful, moderate and energetic at-large member of the new Frederick County Council.

I believe thriving business—especially green businesses, but mainstream businesses that make good community awareness a staple of their success—are the key to  environmental sustainability. I respect education as every individual’s (and the community’s) path to a better future, whether it’s having excellent libraries,  community colleges, or schools. I believe that EVERYONE’S VOICE must be at the table, from all sides of the growth debate; to residents of all races and cultures; to women, seniors and those struggling to make ends meet.

What are your qualifications?

I was trained at the University of Maryland (B.S. 1984) to be a journalist, seeking out both sides of an issue. I may belong to a political party, but I have never looked at issues through ideology, but rather on a case by case basis. I have experience in both the private sector, working for a global construction products company, owning my own small business, and working for family-owned companies, as well as in the government and non-profit sectors. I have a vast knowledge of sustainability issues, especially the intersection of sustainability and business, having headed up LEED for Canam Steel and recycling for Frederick County Government, where our decisions had to be based more on what were good economics than simply heart-driven wishes for the environment. The truly sustainable decisions, when it comes to the environment, are those that make good business sense.

In the past fifteen years, I have become intimately familiar with the regulatory AND on the ground business environment through leadership in the Frederick County Manufacturers Roundtable during my time at Canam Steel; and participation in Business Networking International, Women’s Business Network, Frederick County Chamber of Commerce (including the Public Policy Committee) and Middletown Chamber of Commerce (board member).


How will you go about representing the interests of the north end of the county as opposed to an at-large candidate?

As an at-large candidate, I see my responsibility as twofold: (1) to be aware of specific issues in the areas represented by district candidates; and (2) to have a clear vision of how these issues impact other areas of Frederick County.

I plan to consult regularly with the elected representative of District 5.

I plan to conduct monthly Random Act of Doorknocking sessions in a district one weekend per month. Instead of holding town hall/listening sessions, which require citizens to come to officials, I would prefer to go to the citizens in a randomly selected community in the district to hear what their issues are, much as I am during the campaign. I would probably spend a weekend doing this, being in each district twice per year.


Why should someone at the north end of the county want to see you as a county councilman?

I lived in the North County for twenty-five years and understand the towns, schools, people, and culture of the area.


What kind of improvements would you urge for District 5?

Education: District 5 covers a vast but underpopulated area of Frederick County, and I would like to work closely with the Board of Education on issues in that area regarding school bus transportation, emphasizing resources to the older schools in that area. (My children were in the Catoctin District for many years, and I understand the early mornings and aging classrooms!)

Agriculture/Local Food/Tourism: District 5 provides incredible opportunities in both of these areas, and I would keep an open dialogue with the Farm Bureau, Preservation Board, Frederick County Young Farmers, and Extension Service to ensure that our farming heritage is not lost but instead carried forward in a way that the current “local food” market (especially in the wealthy Balto-Wash market) demands. Restoring our Economic Development position full-time with a trained economic development/Ag specialist is important as well. We should continue listening to the  farm community about economic ventures (wineries, stands, on farm composting, etc.) that need adjustments in the zoning ordinance and are done so timely so our farmers will succeed.

Older Adults: It is time to end the contentious relationship between Frederick County and the north County seniors, especially in Thurmont. Many seniors want to retire in their homes/communities, and we need to work to ensure that just because the district is distant from Frederick, it is not shortchanged in services, such as food support (Senior Center, Meals on Wheels) and assisted living facilities (my mom is currently in rehab in St. Catherine’s; we need more facilities such as that and Montevue, and financial assistance for in-home care for the rapidly aging population!)


Given the contentious nature of politics, how would you build a productive working relationship with others in elected office throughout the county?

I have already begun to attend Town/City board meetings in our municipalities to reach out a hand of cooperation by understanding their local issues, and I intend to continue open dialogue, especially about infrastructure needs that affect their region and taxation issues (if the town/city can/wants to provide a service that the County provides, they should see a corresponding adjustment in their citizens’ tax rate).


Bud Otis (R)


Why are you running for County Council?

When I heard of the new form of government coming to Frederick County and, with it, Executive and Legislative branches of government, it peaked my interest. I spent twelve years as a Chief of Staff for our Congressman on Capitol Hill developing legislation, so I thought maybe I should offer to serve on the Council by serving in the new legislative branch of government. It is my desire to offer my experience in crafting legislation to benefit all the citizens of our great County.


What are your qualifications to serve on the Council?

I am a good listener and like to hear people out before I respond. Having grown up on a farm as a boy, I learned the value of hard work. I do my homework and then tackle problems. I love to solve problems and have been asked to go into businesses and help management figure out why they are losing money. If you know how to ask the right questions it usually doesn’t take long to find the answers. I believe this training will come in handy while looking at the operation of our County and also of its budget. I believe most of all it is because I love people and enjoy helping people where I can.


How will you be able to represent the interest of the north end of the county?

I would like to see the north end of the county keep its pastoral setting of small town America, with its beautiful orchards and farms and University setting. Twenty years from now, I don’t want to wake up and find it looking like Montgomery County. Being a farm boy at heart, you have a natural ally in me, as I really understand and valve what the farms and orchards bring to the economic strength of our county. Why are the citizens fleeing Montgomery County to come here? Because of what we now have and must hold near and dear.


Why should someone at the north end of the county want to see you as a councilman?

I view Frederick County as one Council district, as I am running to serve the whole County as a Councilman At-Large. I have already spent a lot of time in the northern part of the county while working in our Congressional office. I understand your issues and what some of the business problems are, and I have never thought of the northern part other than a great place to live, work, and play. You will never have to ask me twice to attend meetings in your area of the county, as you are so lucky to live in that part of our county.


What kind of improvements would you urge for District five? 

First, I would consult with the District five member of the Council to see what their thoughts were before I would presume to urge suggestions on the District. Let me give you a suggestion that I feel: your current County Commissioner, Kirby Delauter, might like my help if we were both on the council now. Maryland’s taxes are driving businesses out of our state; we must stop this trend now or there will be even fewer people paying even higher and higher taxes. As you know, the businesses along the northern border of the County have to compete with Pennsylvania for business. We must keep our taxes down for this and many other reasons. I have been a businessman myself, and I know how to compete, and I will promise you I will make sure our county becomes completive as we move forward in the future.


Given the contentious nature of politics how would you build a productive working relationship with others in elected office throughout the county?

We need to begin by respecting the other side’s arguments. No two people are going to agree on everything, but we don’t need to be disagreeable in the process. I repeat, “I like people” and, even though you  and I  may not agree, we can still be friends, if we don’t challenge the other’s integrity. I know it works, as I was successful in dealing with the other side of the aisle while working in Congress.

The Legend of Catoctin Furnace, Part 3

by James Rada, Jr.

Editor’s Note: This is the third of three articles on the history and legends of Catoctin Furnace.

Catoctin Furnace Ironworks 009 DBAs America divided and fought its Civil War beginning in 1861, the next legend, and probably the least-defensible one concerning Catoctin Furnace, arose. It was said that the plates for the ironclad U.S.S. Monitor, which fought its way into history against the Merrimac in 1862, were cast at Catoctin Furnace.

“The claim that Catoctin made iron for the Monitor is based on nothing more solid than a reference to ‘Frederick Citizen’ in a popular history of Frederick County, a reference that is worthless. Until reliable evidence is found, this claim will also have to be abandoned,” according to the 1936 federal government report.

That book is the History of Frederick County by Thomas J.C. Williams and Folger McKinsey. It was published in 1910 and does not source the footnote. Other than this, no records exist to refute or verify the claim.

“What we do know is the H. Abbott and Sons of Baltimore supplied the rolled plates for the Monitor’s gun turret. What we do not know—and are constantly on the lookout for—is with whom they, or in fact any of the firms associated with the Monitor, subcontracted.  To date we have found nothing conclusive.

“According to information we have here on Catoctin Furnace, it appears that Catoctin primarily produced pig iron, so it is unlikely that they supplied iron for the turret plates. This is mentioned in William Still’s 1987 work, Monitor Builders.

“It may be that Catoctin Furnace participated in the building of a monitor-class vessel—just not the Monitor. Again, there is no proof either way,” wrote Anna Holloway, Chief Curator of The Mariners’ Museum in Newport News, Virginia.

However, Holloway goes on to say that it can’t be totally discounted. “What we are finding is that the names, invoices and such from a variety of firms are beginning to reveal themselves through newly discovered archival material relating to the Monitor,” she wrote in an e-mail to the author.

During the war, the furnace was owned by Jacob Kunkel. Peregrine Fitzhugh had bought the furnace from John O’Brien in 1843. He built the charcoal furnace that was named Isabella. This is the furnace that still remains on the site of Catoctin Furnace. Isabella required a steam engine and engine house, a hot air oven to provide the blast, plus other support facilities. Though it was considered sophisticated, newer methods of smelting had been developed that used coal instead of charcoal to fire the furnace. However, the Catoctin region had trees not coal, so Catoctin Furnace operated the less-efficient Isabella.

Fitzhugh also built a mule-powered rail system to bring ore from the pits to be washed and then dumped in Catoctin Furnace.

Fitzhugh’s improvements only served to drive him deeper into debt, and, in 1856, he had sold a half interest in the operation to Kunkel for $35,000.

Jacob Kunkel and his brother John ran the furnace until 1866, when Jacob sold his interest to John. John ran it until 1885.

He built “Deborah,” a 50-foot high anthracite coal and coke furnace, about 140 feet south of Isabella. It was a steam and water powered furnace with a daily capacity of 35 tons of pig iron. With Deborah and Isabella both producing coal, Catoctin Furnace’s annual output doubled to 1,200 tons a year.

During the Kunkel years, Catoctin Furnace also became a community of grist mills, 80 houses for workers, and a company store. The furnace employed 100 workers, plus 300 woodchoppers and colliers. It included 11,000 acres. It was a prosperous time for business. The ore banks were extended to accommodate the additional production.

When John Kunkel died in 1885, his children organized the Catoctin Iron Company. This only lasted until 1887, when the operation closed and went into receivership. The receivers operated the furnace for a year when Catoctin Mountain Iron Company was formed. The operation output was 30 tons of pig iron a day and lasted until 1892, at which time the falling price of iron made it unprofitable.

The Blue Mountain Iron and Steel Company bought the operation in 1899 and began making pig iron the next year. The output was 40 tons a day and lasted until 1903.

Joseph Thropp bought the operation in 1906 for $51,135. He dismantled the iron works but continued the mining operations. The ore was shipped to his furnaces in Pennsylvania to be smelted.

Lancelot Jacques and a Mr. Hauver bought the property in 1923. They sold the property off in tracts.

President Herbert Hoover’s secretary Lawrence Richey bought one in 1929, and the president occasionally camped on the grounds until the land became a federal park during the Great Depression in 1937. The National Park Service turned over 4,500 acres to the Maryland Park System in 1954.

Not much remains today of Catoctin Furnace, but what there is can be seen near Cunningham Falls State Park, south of Thurmont.

Of the three furnaces, only Isabella remains. You can walk inside the casting shed and look at where the fires once burned.

The remnants of the ironmaster’s mansion sit nearby, though it no longer overlooks the furnace. Some of the stone walls and fireplaces remain to give visitors an idea of how large the mansion used to be.

You can also walk on a self-guided trail that will take you between slag heaps that are now covered over with dirt and grass.

by Valerie Nusbaum

Made For Each Other

Randy and I will celebrate our twentieth wedding anniversary in October. People ask us the secret for a long and happy marriage. I’ve given this some thought and have come up with the answer—at least in our case. We’ve stayed married to each other for so long because no one else wants us. Seriously, there’s no one out there—male or female—who would put up with either one of us. You’re scratching your heads and asking aloud, “How bad could they be?” and some of you are thinking that we seem like perfectly nice, normal people. Read on…

It was a Saturday morning in June. Randy and I had been talking about picking strawberries, and this seemed like as good a day as any. I was doing something else, so I handed Randy a newspaper ad and asked him to call a produce farm to find out the hours for picking strawberries. He dialed the number, paced around, fussed and fumed, and pronounced that the pre-recorded message didn’t pick up. He said he’d try again later and headed out the door to get a haircut.

Meanwhile, I did some chores around the house. The telephone rang, but I was in the bathroom, and I didn’t make it to the phone before the caller hung up. There was no message, so I checked Caller ID and didn’t recognize the name. I assumed the call was a wrong number and went about my business.

Randy was still out running errands when the phone rang again. I checked the ID and it was the same caller as before. I answered the phone to see what was going on, and a distressed-sounding lady asked why we had called her. I had no idea what she was talking about and I told her so in a nice way. She insisted that we had called and said that our number was on her Caller ID. Dunce that I am, I still didn’t make the connection, but I apologized for any inconvenience and told her that it had to have been my husband; I hadn’t called anyone except my mother. The poor woman on the other end of the phone told me that she’d had surgery recently and wasn’t able to get to the phone quickly enough to answer it, and that it was causing her pain and aggravation to have to try. Once again, I said I was sorry and hoped that was the end of it.

Sometimes, exercising on the treadmill clears my head and I’m able to think coherently.  That Saturday morning while I was trotting on the belt, my foggy brain finally clicked on.  I realized that Randy must have dialed the wrong number when he was trying to call the strawberry farm. That explained why he didn’t get the recorded message telling us the picking times. I worked up a good head of steam thinking about how the lady had chewed me out on the phone, so when Randy finally waltzed in with his new coif, I let him have it.

I accused him of dialing the wrong number. He vehemently denied it, because that’s a man’s natural response. Deny it. Say, “I didn’t do it,” no matter what. I grabbed the ad from the newspaper and the telephone and proved to my hubby that the two phone numbers were one digit off from one another. He grudgingly admitted that he “might” have misdialed. I was still ranting some, but we were somewhat seeing the humor in the situation when both of us noticed that there seemed to be someone outside saying “Hello.”  We looked at each other, and then out the window, and then we both realized that the sound was coming from the telephone. I had accidentally redialed the poor lady with the bum leg in my fervor to prove to Randy that I was right. She had actually managed to answer the phone this time because it had probably been ringing for ten minutes. Unfortunately, she hung up before either of us on this end realized that we had made another connection.

Never fear, though. She called back and was not happy with us. I made Randy answer the phone. He apologized, tried to explain the situation, and promised never to bother her again. At that point, I was finding the whole thing hilarious and could not stop laughing. Don’t get me wrong, I felt bad that we had been torturing the probably-nice lady all morning, but I found the level of our stupidity funny.

Anyway, a little while later, we struck out for the farm and picked strawberries in the rain. We felt that was an ample punishment for the morning’s activities. This is a true story and no names have been changed to protect the innocent.

On a similar note, I have been having a lot of problems with my eyes this year. I’ve been worried about losing my sight, so I asked Randy if he would take care of me if I go blind.  He gave me the look that says he was only half paying attention, but he knew that I’d asked him something that required a serious answer. I could see the wheels turning in his brain as he desperately tried to piece together what I’d said.

He grinned and said, “Of course I’ll take care of you, but I don’t think changing your hair color will make you so dumb that you’ll need my help.”  I rest my case.

 by James Rada, Jr.

shirkhanWhite tigers are impressive to look at. They stand out among other animals because of their coloring, and that coloring is what makes them rare in the wild. A white predator in a jungle is easier to see coming than one that blends into its surroundings.

“About 1 in 10,000 tigers is born white. Although many people believe that the white tiger is a separate species, it is not. The gene that causes the abnormal coloring is actually a genetic defect that more often than not causes many problems. Often cubs that are white (no guarantees, even with two white parents) don’t survive,” said Maureen “Mo” Figueira, with the East Coast Exotic Animal Rescue.

The East Coast Exotic Animal Rescue is a non-profit exotic animal sanctuary, located in Fairfield, Pennsylvania. The rescue recently acquired two white tigers. Shere Khan is the male, named for a character in The Jungle Book. Keisha is the female.

“They love to hang out in their pool,” Figueira said. “These cats really love the water.  One of Shere Khan’s favorite games is to splash as much water as possible onto his caretakers and, believe me, he can splash a LOT of water! Keisha has been known to chew on and destroy the hose if it gets within reach!”

The tiger pair are about nine years old and have been together since they were just a few days old.

“Shere Khan seems to really enjoy play-stalking and interacting with his caregivers. Keisha has a very sweet and even-tempered personality. Having said that, they are tigers first and foremost,” said Figueira. Despite their friendly natures, caution is always taken with them, because they are large predators.

The tigers came to the rescue from an aging owner. “The owner is getting older and facing health issues that make it difficult for him to care for them,” Figueira said.

White tigers are a sub-species of Bengal tigers. They are not albinos or a separate species of tiger, as is often thought. White tigers occur when two Bengal tigers, with a recessive gene that controls color, breed. If both parents pass that recessive gene to the cub, it will be white.

The difficulty in producing a white tiger, and their popularity, has led to them being deliberately bred.

“The popularity of the white tiger has created an entire tiger breeding industry. This creates a large number of unwanted standard orange tigers, in addition to many deformed, sickly, or weak white cubs,” stated Figueira.

Keisha and Shere Khan have a large chain link enclosure at the rescue, with a grassy area and pool to play in.

“Keeping a tiger in an enclosure requires a very well-built, very strong one that includes chain link across the entire top as well,” Figueira said.

The rescue would like to build the tigers a climbing area. It is in their future plans and will have to be designed to be tiger proof.

For more information about the East Coast Exotic Animal Rescue, visit their website at www.