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Katelyn Claxton

mr catoctinFrom stars on the field to stars on the stage, Mr. Catoctin is a perfect way to showcase Catoctin High School’s Senior class.

The third annual Mr. Catoctin Pageant was held on December 3, 2014, at Catoctin High School. Not only was it a night filled with catchy tunes, up-beat dances, and tons of laughter, but it was a successful fundraiser for the Catoctin High School 2015 Safe and Sane Committee.

Safe and Sane is a non-profit graduation committee that provides a place for seniors to go after graduation, where they can celebrate all night in a safe and controlled environment.

Safe and Sane was “established to address the very serious issues of youth drinking, drug use, and driving behavior during one of the highest risk social events of their lives,” said Cheryl Phelan, the Class of 2015 Safe and Sane head coordinator. To find out more about Safe and Sane and their upcoming events, like them on Facebook: Catoctin Safe and Sane 2015 and visit their website at

This year, eight senior boys—hand selected by teachers—were given a week to show their unique school spirit followed by one night on the stage to prove to a panel of judges why they should be crowned this year’s Mr. Catoctin. The boys faced several obstacles throughout the process. The first obstacle being  “Spirit Week.” Each contestent had to dress according to assigned themes. They kicked off the week with Inanimate Object Day, followed by Nerd Day, Decade Day, Superhero Day, and ended the week with School Spirit Day.

“Putting together all of my costumes to show off my personality was worth all the time put in,” said Jordan Hahn, a Mr. Catoctin contestant.

On the night of the pageant, the boys went through many events to show off their well-rounded personalities. The show opened with the boys knocking out the crowd with a well-rehearsed dance number, choreographed by Katelyn Claxton and Meredith Wilson. The dance number was followed by a festive display of seasonal wear, a show-stopping talent portion, a questionnaire, and ended with the boys flaunting their good looks with formal wear (tuxedos were donated by Men’s Warehouse).

The 2014-2015 proud winner of the crown and the title of Mr. Catoctin was Dan Miller. Second and third place awards were given to Andrew Niebecker and Randy Stull.

“Being in Mr. Catoctin was a fun experience. I am incredibly grateful to have participated!” said Stull.

Catoctin High School is very proud of these eight contestants and is honored to see Catoctin’s blue and white school spirit shining among the students.

Thurmont Grange Presents Community Citizen Award

Donna Voellinger, dedicated volunteer at the Thurmont Historical Society, was awarded the Thurmont Grange’s Community Citizen Award during a Grange dinner held on November 24, 2014, at the Grange Hall in Thurmont.  In addition to her commitment to the Thurmont Historical Society, Donna is a compassionate and dedicated individual who would help anyone in need, and does so in a variety of roles within her reach. The adage, “If you want something done, you ask a busy person to do it,” seems to fit Donna perfectly. She most often anticipates the needs of others in their time of illness, shut-in, hospital, doctor visits, or bereavement, offering assistance before being asked.  She is always ready to help at her church, especially with the food committee, by serving meals and making potato salad.

As a long-time member of the Thurmont Historical Society, Donna has most recently been serving as president.  Through her efforts and enthusiasm, the Thurmont Historical Society remains strong, and she continues to seek ways to expand its mission to preserve the rich history of Thurmont.  She is also involved with the Frederick Historic Sites Consortium, the Gale House, the Heartly House, Thurmont’s Halloween in the Park, Thurmont Main Street, the Frederick County Historical Society, and some local and state-wide political campaigns.

In earlier years when her children were in Thurmont schools, Donna was very much involved in Little League sports, SHOP, and Safe and Sane.  It was evident that many students and their parents felt comfortable working with “Mrs. V” in accomplishing whatever task was at hand.

It was noted humorously by several at the dinner that Donna has earned a reliable reputation for using her big snow blower to clean her neighbors’ driveways.  Deb Spalding with The Catoctin Banner said, “Donna and her husband were my CYA girls’ basketball coach in middle school. She had an early influence on several of us who earned state semi-final championships in high school basketball for three years.  Donna always smiles when she remembers the first practice, where stand-out Tammy Joy showed her abilities. Donna has had an impact in many areas and in many people’s lives.”

For more information about the Thurmont Grange, please call Rodman Myers at 301-271-2104.

TM Grange Community Citizen of the Year

Donna Voellinger (center) is presented the Thurmont Grange’s Community Citizen Award on November 24, 2014, by Helen Deluca (left) and Rodman Myers (right).

Photo by Deb Spalding


EBPA Awards Portier its Extraordinary Service Award

James Rada, Jr.

The Emmitsburg Business and Professional Association (EBPA) awarded Dr. Bonita Krempel-Portier its annual Extraordinary Community Service Award on Friday, December 5, 2014, during the EBPA annual dinner.

“I can’t think of anyone else who has served this community more so quietly,” said Mayor Donald Briggs.

The audience of approximately fifty people gathered in Joann’s Ballroom in the Carriage House Inn in Emmitsburg.

Following dinner and entertainment provided by Knight Time Impressions and the Fairfield High School Show Choir, the audience watched a video of local residents talking about Dr. Portier. They spoke of her kindness and quality care and how she was a role model to those around her of how to serve others.

“People through service bind a community,” Briggs noted.

Portier runs the Emmitsburg Osteopathic Primary Care Center (EOPCC) on West Main Street in Emmitsburg. The center has 5,700 patients visit a year, and one out of four of the patients seen at the Care Center have no health insurance. Portier also does all of her work at the Care Center for free.         

The EOPCC website notes that, “In 2008, EOPCC donated $29,000 in services for the uninsured alone. This does not include donated medications. Nor does this include services at severely reduced re-imbursements such as medical assistance programs.”

Portier, who was awarded the 2006-2007 Maryland Osteopathic Physician of the Year by the Maryland Association of Osteopathic Physicians, is a 1991 graduate of the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine. She completed her residency at Franklin Square Hospital Center in Baltimore in 1995.

The EOPCC began in Thurmont in 1999, and expanded to a Gettysburg office two years later. The current and permanent site for the EOPCC opened at the end of 2005, where it continues to provide quality health care to patients, regardless of their ability to pay.

EBPA awards Dr. Bonita Krempel-Portier with its Extraordinary Community Service Award during its annual dinner on December 5, 2014.


Photo by James Rada, Jr.

St. Mark’s Welcomes New Pastor

Spastor miket. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Sabillasville welcomed its new pastor, Rev. Mike Simane, on November 1, 2014. Rev. Simane holds a Master of Divinity degree from the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. In addition to serving at St. Marks, Rev. Simane also works as a chaplain at Hospice of Washington County.

Pastor Mike, as he likes to be called, lives in Smithsburg, Maryland, with his wife of twenty-five years and two daughters. Pastor Mike enjoys reading and spending time working in the yard.

“There is a peace that comes when you’re mowing the lawn or tending the garden,” said Pastor Mike. Although, he jokes, “It’s not too peaceful shoveling snow.”

Please welcome our new pastor at St. Mark’s. Worship service is at 9:15 a.m. on Sunday mornings. For more information, please visit

Officers Elected at Rocky Ridge Progressive 4-H Club Banquet

An election of officers was held at the November 2, 2014, Rocky Ridge Progressive 4-H Club Banquet.

The new officers for 2015 are: President—Ashley McAfee; Vice President—Margo Sweeney; Secretary—Lauren Schur; Treasurer—Ashley Ridenour; Reporters—Caroline Clark, Laura Dutton, Logan Long, and Karianna Strickhouser; Recreation Leaders—Nikita Miller and Jason Baust; County Council Representative—Olivia Dutton.

The Maryland Cooperative Extension Service’s programs are open to all citizens without regard to race, color, sex, handicap, religion, age or national origin.

James Rada, Jr.

museumAs the Confederate Army retreated from Gettysburg on July 4, 1863, they encountered Union troops in the area of Blue Ridge Summit. A two-day battle ensued in the middle of a thunderstorm that eventually spilled over the Mason-Dixon Line into Maryland.

“It is the only battle fought on both sides of the Mason-Dixon Line,” said John Miller, Director of the Monterey Pass Battlefield Museum in Blue Ridge Summit.

While lots of books, movies, and stories have focused on the importance of the three-day Battle of Gettysburg, little light has been shed on how the Confederate Army made its retreat south from the battlefield through enemy troops with weary men. The Battle of Monterey Pass involved about 4,500 men with 1,300 of them winding up as Union prisoners and 43 soldiers being killed, wounded, or missing. Major Charles K. Capehart of the 1st West Virginia also earned his Medal of Honor during the battle.

Through the efforts of Miller and other volunteers and supporters, Blue Ridge Summit has a small museum and a growing area of protected land dedicated to educating the public about the battlefield.

The museum opened last October on 1.25 acres along Route 16 in Blue Ridge Summit. The Monterey Pass Battlefield Museum displays a collection of artifacts related to the Battle of Monterey Pass. It has galleries that look at different aspects of the battle, such as the overall Confederate invasion of Pennsylvania and Washington Township at the time of the battle. Outside the museum is a marker erected by the State of Michigan commemorating the participation of Michigan troops in the battle.

“It is one of only five such markers outside of the state of Michigan,” Miller said.

Most of the uniforms, weapons, pictures, and other artifacts were donated to the museum, and the attractive building was built through the hard work of volunteers.

“The purpose of the museum is to educate people about the battle,” Miller said, “but it also can set a standard for other community organizations along the retreat route that want to see how they can do it.”

Places like Hagerstown and Falling Waters are among the towns looking at doing something similar in their communities.

Although the museum wasn’t open in time to catch a lot of the tourist traffic in 2014, more than 300 did visit.

“It’s been slow at first, but the number of visitors will grow as more people learn about it,” said Miller.

The Friends of Monterey Pass have been working with tourism councils in the surrounding counties to tie the museum into the counties’ Civil War tourism plans.

When it reopens in April, the Friends of Monterey Pass hope to add 116 acres of land over which the battle was fought to the museum. Miller said that before the museum reopens for 2015, he hopes to have some additional displays in the museum as well as some interpretive panels for a driving tour of the new piece of land.

Monterey Pass Battlefield Park is located at 14325 Buchanan Trail East, Waynesboro, PA 17268. For more information, visit their website at

by Chris O’Connor

A Snapshot of my Friends at the Farm

It was kismet that I met David and Marge Harman of Sunnyside Hill Farm in Sabillasville, around fifteen years ago. My daughter attended school in Emmitsburg; but, after two years, we made the fortuitous choice to transfer her to Sabillasville Elementary.  One day, I happily noticed that the Harmans had round hay bales for sale, and so began our friendship.

Driving to the new school was down Route 550 that dissects the Sunnyside Hill Farm’s picturesque farm fields like a lazy river at an amusement park. Over the years, I’ve noticed that the road has become more like a Grand Prix race course, where most don’t heed the speed limit or the signs that indicate a farm entrance just over a blind hill.

After meeting the Harmans, I broke my leg.  Marge Harman would drive me to the doctor in Waynesboro, Pennsylvania, then we’d go eat at the former Waynesboro Mountain Gate Restaurant. Then it was on to rehab in Thurmont after the cast was removed until I finally regained some function of my busted wheel.  Marge would haul me down there, then back to the farm where she’d fix me something to eat, then she’d run me back to the house where I strived to limp another day.

Very early one summer morning, I went to their farm to spend a few hours on the front lawn to view the Perseid meteor showers. David and Marge got up at the crack of dawn and went into town, returning with fresh donuts. I went inside shortly after, and David fixed me bacon and eggs. Bacon and eggs are especially delectable when one is covered in morning dew.

When I go for hay, David ties the bales down with quick-release knots. Knot-tying is one of many lessons David learned during his formative years climbing the ranks of the Boy Scouts of America. He was inspired to a life of service and hard work then, earning innumerable badges while helping build camp sites and the lake for the scouts at Camp Tuckahoe near Biglerville, Pennsylvania. He often aided the camp’s cook by “bugling” in the scouts for chow time.

David became an Eagle Scout, honing many life skills, including swimming and lifesaving. Few know that David saved a boy’s life when the boy panicked and found himself in too deep in a pond.

David and Marge became acquainted in 1955 while he was a produce manager at Acme Grocery store in Gettysburg. Marge happened in one December evening with members of her family.

Marge is the second to the youngest of Pauline and Walter “Buck” Lantz’s five kids. David strived to visit the farm to join in the celebration of Marge’s sixteenth birthday, but was unable to find the farm that her parents acquired in 1942.

David recalls how folks he approached to get directions were confused when he referred to Marge’s father as Walter Lantz. 

The second time David came to Sabillasville looking for directions to Walter Lantz’s place, someone asked if he was referring to “Buck” Lantz. Bingo! David finally found the farm and the girl of his dreams.  They learned they shared a sense of morals, work ethic, humility…and a sense of humor.

The rest is history.

David and Marge married in June 1958. He shipped out to Army boot camp in New Jersey for six months, before transferring to radar school at Ft. Sill in Lawton, Oklahoma.

David, home on leave for their first wedding anniversary, brought Marge a dozen roses. Then they packed a ’55 Plymouth to the gills.   Soon, it was pedal to the metal, westward-bound for the high desert of Ft. Carson, Colorado Springs, Colorado, a marked contrast to the verdant hills of north central Maryland. At Ft. Carson, David was promoted to the rank of sergeant.

Upon discharge from the Army, David secured a position at The Thurmont Bank as consumer loans manager. He spent a few decades there, during which time the bank changed hands in succession by Suburban, Sovran, CNS Sovran, then Nations bank. He played all positions in the bank: manager of consumer loans, teller, and head teller, until being promoted to manager in 1981, where he remained until his retirement in 1993.  

All the while, David helped his father-in-law, Buck, with the farm.  David would milk the dairy cows in the morning, then clean up and go to work at the bank. He urged Buck to acquire a baler to help streamline the hay harvest. At that point, they were harvesting using one of two mules and storing hay in loose stacks in the mow.

These days, Marge and David, their sons, extended family, and good friends throw in together, whether its time to sow or harvest or help is needed with the endless chores. 

They raise crops to feed livestock, which has included dairy cows, mules, hogs, chickens, goats, cattle, and their pet donkeys. Now they market beef, hay, straw, corn, and soybeans.

Generations of accumulated knowledge, work ethic, modern farm equipment, newer outbuildings, and mechanical acumen has been integral to the success of a farm. Common sense, mathematical ability, and team work are important—especially now considering the increasingly demanding regulatory environment that requires ever-mounting paperwork and accountability as to any farmer’s methods and practices.

The Harmans strive to maintain their way of life while balancing the vagaries of nature and considering the complexities of all the external variables.  

That being said, visiting my adopted home place is more fun than a barrel of monkeys.   

And I’ve never left hungry.


Marge and David Harman

Photo by Deb Spalding

Buck Reed, the Supermarket Gourmet

Overhead of a bucket of cranberries and a pot full of whole cranCranberries come from the family of Ericaceae, which is described as an evergreen dwarf. They are cultivated from October until December, which probably explains their popularity during the holiday season.

Cranberries are a great source of vitamin C, vitamin A, B-carotene, lutein, zea-xanthin, folate, potassium, and manganese. Studies have shown that the consumption of berries has potential health benefits against cancer, aging and neurological diseases, inflammation, diabetes, and bacterial infections. Also, cranberries have antioxidant compounds, which may prevent cardiovascular disease, help lower LDL cholesterol levels and increase HDL cholesterol levels in the blood. Furthermore, cranberries are beneficial to your teeth as well as your urinary tract.

They start out as a white berry that ripens to a deep red, and has a unique tart acidic flavor that overwhelms it’s sweet flavor. It goes without saying that they are most popular during Thanksgiving as a sauce served with roast turkey or sold as juice that is enjoyed all year long. This being the case, doesn’t it seem a shame most of us only enjoy the whole berry during the holiday season?

The easy solution is to buy fresh whole berries after the holiday season when the price drops, double bag them and keep them in the freezer, up to a year, until ready to use. You can also go ahead and cook them down a bit and again store them in an airtight container and freeze them for a quick enhancement to your everyday cooking. Freezing berries helps break the skin and makes the juice easier to extract, so when defrosting them, make sure you do so in a bowl to catch all the juice.

Here are a few ideas for using those cranberries:

Cook whole cranberries into your oatmeal for a morning delight.

Add whole cranberries into your pancake, waffle, or coffee cake recipe.

Use whole cranberries (frozen and thawed) in your sangria or mojito recipe, or add into a fruit punch for a sizzling summer pleasure.

Serve cranberry sauce with grilled sausage, pork or chicken at your next barbeque.

Add pureed cranberries into your favorite barbeque sauce for a unique flavor.

Mix cooked cranberries with mustard and serve with hot dogs or as a spread for any sandwich (roast turkey sounds like a natural).

Use whole cranberries in your favorite oatmeal or chocolate chip cookie recipe instead of raisins.

Puree cranberries into your favorite vinaigrette recipe and toss with salad greens (think raspberry vinaigrette).

Use cranberry sauce and walnuts on your baked Brie.

Add whole cranberries to a beef stew recipe.

Add whole cranberries or cooked cranberries into a baked cobbler or crisp recipe, with apples or most any other berry for a delicious dessert.

Just remember, now is the time to purchase your cranberries. If you need a recipe for any of these ideas, please email the editor at

turtleChristine Schoene Maccabee

Hibernation: A state of being during extreme cold, forcing many creatures to become dormant in their hibernacula (their winter quarters or place of retirement…Florida?).  

It’s winter. It’s very cold. Climbing out of my warm nest to put a log on the fire, I feel like a turtle in its shell. I would much rather just stay under my warm covers and hibernate! 

My theory is this: it is natural for warm-blooded humans to slow down in cold weather. I will call it the burrowing impulse. I suppose this goes against many other theories that suggest that humans need to speed up and keep the blood flowing to keep warm, but somehow this does not always work for me. So, I resort to a cup of coffee in the morning—as many of us do—and pasta dishes, which become increasingly important for energy. Then there are energy bars and some strongly caffeinated drinks, which are really not good for people. Sometimes plain old inspiration provides motivation to get going, and then there is always the fear of loosing one’s job if late for work. Perhaps the most popular incentive is the pleasure of foraging for food at a favorite local market place. One way or the other, warm-blooded humans rally to the cause of living in this human world we have created.

After running around, doing all the outdoor chores on this icy, windy day, all I want to do is lay down and curl up with a good book, or a good man if I had one, and relax. My fingers and feet are cold, and I am lethargic. Is lethargy a form of mental hibernation? There are many types of dormant conditions in the natural world. So I contemplate hibernation, and how nice it would be if only….if only I were a bear or a coon or a snake or a turtle. However, in my reading on the subject, I have learned that many critters do not really go into true hibernation. Such is the case for most bears, especially the polar bear, for the female usually births her cubs, cleaning and feeding them, during hibernation. The male is usually out fishing!

Here in the mountains where I live I am thankful that the black snake, by now in deep hibernation, is no longer after my chicken eggs; although, fewer eggs are laid due to the cold, shorter days. Perhaps I should get solar panels on the roof of the coop as a source of electricity. Not a bad idea. The woodchucks have happily withdrawn into seclusion, dormant in their burrows. Their breathing and heart rates are slowed and body temperatures lowered. I am happy—no, thrilled—not to see them! Of course, they are now no threat to the vegetables in my gardens, as there is nothing growing right now, except for the salad bar in my cold frames, which I mostly keep closed from the weather.

One thing I always miss throughout the winter is the wonderful  music of  crickets, katydids, frogs, and toads; I must patiently await their emergence from sleep. Spring cannot come soon enough for most of us, but winter is a necessary time of renewal. Most seeds need stratification, or a period of deep freeze, in order to germinate in the spring. Also, many pests who do not manage to sneak into your house or find a warm place to hide, will die off. I am thinking specifically of the infamous stink bug!

Of course, the butterflies have disappeared, too. Some, like the Monarchs, migrate south. However, one tough cookie, the Mourning Cloak, spends the winter in hollow trees and some live to “talk “ about it.  I wonder what they would say about their time in the tree all winter. Maybe something like “Boring!” Same goes for moths, which are in the pupa stage, all wrapped up in cocoons. I am beginning to wonder if I really want to hibernate. Maybe I should go south, but one needs money for that, plus I really am not retired, and likely never will be.

I would be remiss if I did not mention turtles, one of my very favorite animals. A good friend of mine who lives in Northern Minnesota, where temperatures have already been down as low as -25 degrees, said in an email that he does not know how turtles manage to survive winters there. Most winters, the ground freezes anywhere between three and six feet down. So how does the soft body of the turtle, encased in a thin shell, manage not to turn into an ice cube? This has always been my question, too. Perhaps we should just chalk it up to one of those great mysteries of life. Any theories?

Not all turtles manage to emerge from the ground in the spring, as was the case of Timothy in a semi-true story by Verlyn Klinkenborg. Told from the turtle’s perspective, his last thoughts were, as recorded in the book: “I dig and dig. Settle the dirt on my shell. As deep as I can go into the warmth of earth. Carefully overlaid with autumn’s debris. Anchored. Immured. Landlocked. Becalmed…” and never to rise again from his hibernaculum, dead about the age of sixty.

I believe I shall be content with that cup of coffee in the morning as I watch the snow fall; with finding delight in the variety of birds eating black sunflowers at my feeder; with taking that brisk, life-giving walk to care for my chickens; and with singing “Silver Bells” as I give thanks for being a warm-blooded human being.

Many Blessings to all.

by James Rada, Jr.

— 1938 —

The End of a Generation in Thurmont

When Thomas H. Shelton died on February 19, 1938, Frederick County lost its last Veteran of the Civil War, seventy-three years after the war ended.

Shelton died at the home of his daughter-in-law, Stella Shelton, who lived near Rocky Ridge. The ninety-seven-year-old had been healthy at the start of the month, but then his health had quickly turned, and he had been sick for about a week prior to his death.

As a young man of eighteen, Shelton had served in Company I of the 1st Maryland Regiment. He had missed fighting at the Battle of Antietam in 1862, because he had been taken as a prisoner of war at Harpers Ferry the day before.

Eventually he was paroled, and he returned to his company and was with them when they fought at the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863. His company did not fight in the other nearby battle at Monocacy in 1864.

When the war ended and his regiment was discharged, Shelton re-enlisted with the 13th Regiment.

Shelton was buried with full military honors in the Garfield Mt. Bethel United Methodist Cemetery. He had outlived all of his children, but he was survived by nine grandchildren, twenty-seven great-grandchildren, and three great-great-grandchildren.

Frederick County had lost its last two Civil War Veterans within four months of each other.

Although Shelton hadn’t been a native Frederick Countian, Henry Clay Fleagle of Thurmont had been. He had been the second-to-last Civil War Veteran in the county, and the last one who had lived his life here.

Fleagle died in November 1937 at age ninety-four. He was a first-generation American whose parents had been born in Holland.

He had been born in Unionville and served in the Civil War under Capt. Walter Saunders.

“He served for nearly the entire four-year duration of the war, charging with the line of blue at Gettysburg,” the Catoctin Clarion reported.

The end had been a relief for Fleagle. The Frederick News reported that he had been only partially conscious the week before his death at the home of his son, George Fleagle.

Henry’s wife, Lillie Creager, had died two years earlier. He was survived by one daughter, who was married to Wilbur Freeze, four sons, nineteen grandchildren, and twenty great-grandchildren.

Henry was also the last member of the Jason Damuth Post of the Grand Army of the Republic in Thurmont.

It would still be nearly two decades before the last Civil War Veteran died. The final Veterans of the Confederate States armed forces died in the 1950s. A number of men claimed to be last remaining Confederate Veteran. These men died throughout the 1950s. Many of their claims were debunked as more information about their births was uncovered. The largest problem in verifying their claims was that many Confederate records had been destroyed or lost, because the Confederate government had no official archive system.

Pleasant Crump of Alabama died at the end of 1951 at the age of 104. He was the oldest of the group of Confederate Veterans who had a verified service record.

The last Union Veteran was Albert Woolson, who died in 1956 at the age of 109.

President Dwight D. Eisenhower said, following Woolson’s death, “The American people have lost the last personal link with the Union Army … His passing brings sorrow to the hearts of all of us who cherished the memory of the brave men on both sides of the War Between the States.”


Photo is from 1916 and shows a group of Civil War Veterans posing in front of the grocery store that stood on North Church Street. This building was located in the now-vacant lot next to the Historical Society building.


Veterans Gathering 1916

A view of Veterans standing in front of the old town hall.

Photos Courtesy of

Dennis E. Black

The weather forecast for Sunday, November 9, 2014, called for a splendid day for anyone wanting to venture out on an antiquing trip. My friend, Larry Hauver, asked me to consider going along with him that day to the first York Antique Bottle Show. I was reluctant to go, with so many things that needed to be done, but he talked me into it—as he usually does. I’m thankful that he did.

There were a fair number of dealers at the York show, with the usual assortment of collectibles being offered for sale, in addition to bottles.  About an hour into the show, I happened to be checking out the display of a bottle dealer (Tom Gordon) from Manchester, Maryland, when I noticed a potential buyer beside me, holding a small Bible that the dealer had for sale. During the conversation between the two, I heard the dealer explain that the Bible belonged to a Frederick County, Maryland, Civil War soldier. That piqued my interest.

After the potential buyer returned the Bible to the dealer’s display case and walked away, I picked up the book and noticed the following inscription on the inside cover:  M.L. Brown, Co D, 6th Regt Md. V.I.   Now I am really curious!  Company D, 6th Regiment, of the Maryland Volunteer Infantry consisted of a group of 112 young Frederick County men, including those from the Hauvers and Mechanicstown Districts (Foxville, Wolfsville, Sabillasville, and Thurmont), who fought in the Union Army during the Civil War. (Ref. History and Roster of Maryland Volunteers – War of 1861-1865.)  My great-grandfather Josiah Edward Wilhide (1844-1915) was a member of Company D.  In addition to being wounded in battle at Winchester, Virginia, he was captured and held as a prisoner at Libby Prison in Richmond, Virginia.

While I examined the small 1863 Bible, the dealer further explained that his research confirmed the existence of a soldier in Company D named “M. L. Brown” from the Foxville area. He had acquired the book online, which had ended up in Indiana. Could this well-worn Bible, most likely carried by this soldier during the Civil War, have belonged to a relative of my brother-in-law, Ed Hatter?  Ed’s mother and John Brown (Brown’s Jewelry & Gift Shop in Thurmont) are both descendants of the Brown family from the Foxville area. I had to get home and further research this with Ed.

Some things simply can’t be explained. After further research that evening, Ed confirmed with much excitement that the Bible belonged to his great-grandfather, Martin Luther Brown (1836-1898), who had, in fact, served in Company D and was wounded in battle at Cold Harbor, Virginia. Two days after the York Antique Bottle Show, which coincidentally turned out to be Veterans Day, Ed was able to acquire the Bible. The incredible luck of standing in the right place at the right time at a small antique bottle show resulted in a local Civil War soldier’s Bible being returned to his family for safe-keeping—over one hundred years later. What are the odds?

Deb Spalding

As we enter the Holiday shopping season, it’s important to be prepared and, sometimes, cautious. Here at The Catoctin Banner newspaper, we encourage local shopping—with our valued advertisers, of course!

Statistics suggest that shopping locally helps support our local economy, since the money stays in our community. Another major plus is that it strengthens our community by providing jobs.

In support of shopping locally, we’d like to remind shoppers to “beware” should you decide to meander to a big city or play in cyberspace. It’s a nasty world out there, sometimes. Here are some examples of situations where you should be cautious. Don’t be a sucker!

Sucker Tip #1: Do not respond to unsolicited emails on the computer or unsolicited offers on the street, in the mall, or on your computer. While working on the computer, I opened an email that turned out to have a virus attached. I spent a lot of time and money removing it. Something might look appealing to click on and possibly purchase; however, be weary if you don’t know the site or the sender. In the aftermath, I am fed up but wiser. May my sentiments carry us all safely through shopping season.

Sucker Tip #2: Avoid filling out forms both online and in person. Did I tell you, I just won a wonderful vacation from those nice people “giving away” free vacations at an event I attended this past summer? NOT! If I fulfil my sucker destiny, I will spend a few thousand on a vacation to some place I had no plans to visit. I get something for free, but the end doesn’t justify the price.

Sucker Tip #3: Are the deals really worth the hassle? I waited in line on Black Friday last year and missed the deal. The last one was given to the lucky sucker five up in line from me. If you really want the prize, be sure to calculate your risk and reward ratios. It’s cold outside!

So, save yourself time, gas, and headaches and see what your neighbors are selling (this is only a partial list of local ideas for gifts; sorry to all who are not mentioned. Please check out the ads in this issue for more ideas.)

The Thurmont Lions Club is selling some great holiday gifts of mural designs created by Artist Yemi. Commemorative gift items include all six murals, signed prints, individual mural prints, ornaments of etched glass, and a full color giant book Thurmont – Murals and Memories.

Each year, the Catoctin Furnace Historical Society members decorate wreaths to your design with bows, pinecones, ornaments, icicles, and more, during the Traditional Village Christmas event on December 6, from 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.

Coffee gift baskets are available at Holy Grounds Café in Emmitsburg.

Browns’ Jewelry has beautiful fine jewelry, watches, and gifts in stock in Thurmont.

Schedule your appointment with Nails By Anne for a fresh holiday manicure or pedicure!

Hunters might like their trophy mounted by Quirauk Skull Works.

We have many auto repair professionals throughout The Catoctin Banner reading area. It may be time for a tune up, a shine, or some new tires.

Vigilant Hose Company members are selling Gun Calendars and Spring Fling Tickets. Get yours today!

White House Ornaments, honoring President Warren G. Harding, are being sold by the Catoctin Area Civitan Club.

Gateway Candyland Market will hold a candy making open house with a large selection of Christmas gifts and crafts, including an open door into At Home Primitives, where home décor is abundant.

Get your Shot Shell Christmas lights from the Frederick County 4-H Shooting Sport Club.

There are unlimited sources for gift certificates in our local area.  Patronizing local artists, authors, and photographers is a unique alternative for meaningful gifts.

Members of the Catoctin Area Civitan Club are offering 2014 White House ornaments that honor President Warren G. Harding. If you would like more information, please call 301-676-9752.

The ideas listed here are just a sampling of ideas to get you started. Remember, don’t be a sucker and enjoy the Holidays!

BUSINESS -Renovations -photo 3BUSINESS -Renovations -photo 1Georgine Rabenold

Renovations Salon and Day Spa got a makeover. The transformation began over Labor Day weekend 2014, and when the doors reopened that following Thursday, the salon had a fresh, updated new look. The Salon and Spa has been open for nine years.

“It was time for a new look. We want to keep the spa in style, just like our customers,” said owner Claire Bennett.

Renovations Salon and Day Spa offers a complete package of services, from facials to hair coloring to pedicures. In addition, they also offer special occasion services for weddings, homecoming, prom, or any big day in your life. They have a full staff of ten experienced stylists, nail technicians, and even a makeup artist!

Renovations participated in Thurmont Thinks Pink in October. Claire and her staff challenged customers to “think pink” by offering them the choice of a pink glitter nail for $5.00, to get a pink hair flair, or to make a small donation. All proceeds went to The Hurwitz Breast Cancer Fund at Frederick Memorial Hospital.

If you haven’t already, come see the new look at Renovations Salon and Day Spa, located at 120 Frederick Road in Thurmont. 

Lindsay Brandt

emma jean store nowA new general store has opened in Creagerstown. However, Emma Jean’s General Store isn’t your everyday store. Yes, it has the usual milk, bread, and eggs, but you may be surprised to learn that it is also an antique store.

Emma Jean Goldberg and her son, Chuck Johnson, had the same kind of store open in West Virginia, but when they had an opportunity to purchase the old building in Creagerstown, they felt it would be a perfect spot to open up a new store. “It’s an authentic 1800s store; it’s the nostalgia of old things, and we are trying to make it as authentic as possible,” describes Emma Jean.

The property was on the market several times; it went to auction, had no bidders, and then eventually went into foreclosure. That’s when a friend of Emma Jean and Chuck informed them about the 118-year-old building. So the pair packed up their West Virginia store and headed to Creagerstown.

While strolling through the store, the sense of history and the feeling of nostalgia are noticeable. The store’s shelving, the 24-foot store counter, and the grand staircase leading up to the antiques are all original to the turn-of-the-century building. The additional pieces of furniture that are now housed in the store come from many types of stores and include seed counters, nail bins, cheese cases, shirt display cases, and bread cases. There is also a selection of furniture from old hardware, mercantile, and general stores. They are hoping that the store will become a tourist attraction.

“I’ve always liked general stores. We take old store fixtures and use them in the house. They just have a look that we prefer. It’s solid furniture. We have a bunch of old ice boxes in the store. We just like the look,” Chuck said.

Some of the many antique items that are for sale include advertising antiques, industrial pieces, an old teller station, antique ice boxes, display cases, a revolving nail bin, displays, vintage mannequins, a workbench, old toys, signs, and milk bottles. Whether you are an avid collector or just like to look at old unique pieces, this store will appeal to anyone who appreciates antiques.

Emma Jean’s General Store is already helping to keep local antique historical items in the community. Emma Jean and Chuck purchased several items from the Cozy Restaurant auction that are now being used to enhance the history of the store. Some items acquired are a lamppost, an enormous Christmas wreath, and holiday angels.

“It’s different, almost like a tourist thing,” Chuck said. “We’ve been pleasantly surprised by people showing up. It was packed for Colorfest. We weren’t ready, but we had to let people know that we were here.”

Along with managing the store, both mother and son are working to get involved with local charities in the area. They hope to get the community into the holiday spirit by hosting Santa! Santa will be visiting the store December 13, 2014, starting at 4:30 p.m. The donations received will go to local charities.

In addition to hosting some community activities, they want to service the community. “In winter time, if people can’t get out, we’ll have things to keep people going,” stated Chuck. “If somebody calls at closed hours, and they say they need some milk or something, of course, come on up and we’ll meet you at the door! If we are here, we won’t turn you away. If we can accommodate the people, this is fun for us.”

Emma Jean’s General Store is located at 8636 Blacks Mill Road in Creagerstown (technically) Thurmont. Call 240-288-8778 for more information.

Store hours are Wednesday through Sunday, from 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.

lawyer farmLindsay Brandt

The season of giving kicked off early at Lawyer’s Farm and Moonlight Maze, located on Creagerstown Road in Thurmont. On Sunday, October 26, 2014, all admission proceeds for the farm were collected to benefit the American Brain Tumor Association in honor of Jan Lawyer, who passed away from brain cancer on December 15, 2013.

Jan was the mastermind behind the property, which includes a farm, maze, sculptures, teepee, and pumpkin cannons that he built himself. The corn maze was one of the first and largest in the state of Maryland.

“When my dad passed away, I had a really hard time dealing with it. But being surrounded by everything that my dad created, and being able to hold a fundraiser in memory of him really gives us the encouragement to get by and to keep working hard. There is a reason why we do it. It’s fulfilling.”

“He was always creative. He could do anything. That’s just how his mentality through life was—whatever he set his mind to, he could accomplish, and he did,” said Jan’s daughter, Taylor Huffman. “I wanted to keep my dad’s memory alive. I wanted to do something that would let people know that this place exists because of this man and his ideas, and his motivations to create a unique place to bring families. We lost a really good man to something as awful as brain cancer, and we aren’t going to give up; we are going to keep raising money for research.”

When Taylor and her husband, Brandon Huffman, set out to have a fundraiser, they set a goal of raising $5,000 for a donation. With an estimated 450 people in attendance that day, they ended up raising $11,350 to donate to the American Brain Tumor Association. About half in attendance came specifically for the fundraiser—friends, family, and locals—but the other fifty percent of business at the farm that day was regular farm customers.

“Everyone had a really good time,” Taylor stated. “A lot of people came up to me and said they were touched. Some people had stories to tell of friends and family who have been affected by brain cancer, so it was really good to gather and talk to everyone.” The Huffman’s hope is to continue fundraising every year.

“We set a high bar,” Taylor expressed, adding, “So we hope that we can keep going up and up.”

no im not willieLindsay Brandt

He may look, walk, talk, sing, and play the guitar like Willie Nelson, but Richard Isaac Renner is not Willie Nelson. Richard started singing when he was just five years old. He would run around his parents house, grab his mother’s broom, and create a makeshift guitar while singing along to the tunes of George Jones, Hank Williams Sr., and Lefty Frizzell.

“I didn’t know what they were singing since I was so young, so I made up words that suited me, that fit the music,” laughed Richard. “Mom would say, ‘I don’t know what those words are,’ and I would say, ‘Well, I know what they are!’”

When Richard was five years old, his parents took him to a carnival where a band from Hanover, Pennsylvania, was playing. During their intermission, the Hundred and One Ranch Boys announced that there would be an amateur singing contest. Richard’s parents didn’t say anything to him; his father just grabbed him and hoisted him onto the stage. When he was on the stage, his father said to him, “Sing that Patsy Cline song that you sing!” So Richard sang “7 Lonely Days” by Patsy Cline.

“I won a silver dollar! The audience loved it and I was just thinking, wow, it’s no big deal, I sing every day,” said Richard.

It’s safe to say Richard’s singing career started after that moment. As Richard grew older, he became involved with high school bands and marching bands, as well as playing the drums. At age ten, he was being sneaked into bars to play the drums for professional bands. “I’d been offered four professional jobs, but I was too young to accept them,” he said. So he kept on singing and playing. When he turned thirteen years old, he began to write down his lyrics. His original songs started being added to the band’s shows, and the audience would yell out, wanting to hear the drummer sing.

When Richard was in his late twenties, his band would often perform Waylon Jenning’s “Good Hearted Woman,” featuring Willie Nelson. His band mate would sing Waylon’s part, and Richard would sing Willie Nelson’s bit. As soon as Richard started to sing the first note, the crowd would start to applaud.

“I thought, what’s the problem? What am I doing?” recalls Richard. So during intermission, his band mate told him to go look in the mirror. Richard went to the bathroom, looked in the mirror and said, “I see me.” But then his band mate explained to him that the crowd doesn’t see “him.” To them, his face, his hair, and his voice are Willie Nelson. “But, I’m not Willie!” stated Richard.

Consequently, Richard Renner has been called Willy for thirty-five years, whether he’s on the road or at his home.

While dining at the Kountry Kitchen Restaurant in Thurmont, Richard laughed and said, “I’ve had ladies come in with their husbands and ask their husbands if it was okay for them to sit down with me for dinner. They would want me to sign an autograph. So I told them I could sign Willy Renner, but I can’t sign Willie Nelson, because I’m not.”

Throughout his career, Richard has played at private parties, pig roasts, motorcycle parties, pool parties, anniversaries, birthday parties, and in every club along Rt. 355. While performing at a party in 2006, Richard’s friend, Greg Nixon, pointed out that since everyone knows him as Willy, he should write a song about it. After some thought, Richard started to develop his song, “No, I’m not Willie.”

Richard’s wife took it all in stride, and, since she likes Willie Nelson, she helped him start to look the part. She would do his hair and pick out the shirts similar to what Willie would wear.

Richard has two sons and two daughters, and whenever he would start to ease off of the music scene, one daughter in particular would encourage him to keep going. “She would say to me, ‘Dad, you are depriving people and you don’t want to do that; you’re not that kind of guy. Get back out there, get your ‘you know what’ in gear, and let’s go!’”

“No, I’m Not Willie” has three verses in the song. Each verse has a different scenario of occasions when Richard was mistaken for Willie Nelson. Verse one is about when he and his wife were held up at a Pennsylvania store by a cashier who was not convinced that Willie Nelson was not standing in front of her until Richard pulled out his driver’s license to show her his name. Verse two recalls a situation at a fair where people would point and nudge one another to get a look at “Willie” walking through the crowd. The final verse tells about how, even in his hometown, people call him Willie Nelson.

“I don’t want to imitate him; it’s more of a tribute to him, and so I tell them that. But I give them this song, so they can understand,” said Richard.

“No, I’m Not Willie” will be available on December 6, 2014, during the Christmas in Thurmont event at the Kountry Kitchen on Water Street and the Thurmont Eye Care on East Main Street. After the event, the single will be available until December 20, 2014, at those two businesses.

Richard has decided to donate all proceeds from this project to the Thurmont Food Bank. The song is available for purchase for $5.00.

Richard will has a ten-song country-rock album due to come out in January 2015.

“The only thing that Willie Nelson does, that I would like to do, is get that sound in my guitar that Willie Nelson has. I just can’t get that Willie Nelson sound. The Willie Nelson sound is one in a world. Certain people in the world have sounds that you just can’t copy. If I could play the guitar like Willie and make that sound, I would be happy. I still wouldn’t imitate him; I want people to know that I am not a Willie Nelson impersonator. I just happen to be born his twin.”

You can reach Richard “Willy” Renner at 240-409-1414.

In closing, Richard voiced, “God Bless All!”

James Rada, Jr.

Erik Legg was named the 2014 Thurmont Volunteer of the Year in October 2014. He was chosen from among a group of six volunteers who had been nominated.

“Our community is very fortunate to have such individuals who give of their time freely,” said Colleen Gillen with the Lions Club.

Legg was nominated for his volunteer work throughout the community, particularly with Project Hope, an organization that helps find activities for young people to hopefully give them productive alternatives to drugs and alcohol.

“I lost my friend when I was twenty-one years old,” Legg said. “He died in my arms. That’s when I made the decision to help.”

Legg will have his name added to the Volunteer of the Year plaque that is displayed in the town office. He will receive a gift certificate for two to a local restaurant, and a $400 donation to Project Hope will be made in his name.

Other nominees for this year’s Volunteer of the Year Award were Beth Watson, Nancy Dutterer, Joann Miller, Regina Amery, and Rodman Myers.

“These are individuals with significant contributions to the Thurmont community and are well-rounded volunteers who generously give their time, energy, and skill,” said Joyce Anthony with the Thurmont Lions Club.

Also recognized at the ceremony in Community Park on October 25 was the 2014 Police Officer of the Year. Officer D. Armstrong was awarded this honor. He received a plaque, dinner for two at a local restaurant, and a $400 donation made to the charity of his choice, which was Boy Scout Troop 270.

The award ceremony was held as part of the Lions Club annual “Make A Difference” Day.

“This is a great opportunity for the Town of Thurmont to recognize the Volunteer of the Year and the Police Officer of the Year,” said Mayor John Kinnaird.

The Lions Club has been sponsoring the day since 2006. Each year, organizations and groups are encouraged to perform a service project during the day.

“Today is the day of volunteerism,” said J.R. Wantz with the Thurmont Lions Club. “Basically, it’s people helping people.”

A couple dozen people, including three members of the Thurmont Board of Commissioners and Police Chief Greg Eyler, attended the afternoon ceremony at the park. Even as the Lions were recognizing volunteers in the community, dozens of volunteers were busy in the park preparing it for the Halloween in the Park festivities that evening.

The Thurmont Lions Clubs had planned on dedicating a Lion drinking fountain at the Community Park and a Lion bench at the Trolley Trail Park, but production problems have delayed the project.

“They will be tangible evidence of what the Thurmont Lions Club gives the town,” Wantz said.

volunteer of the year Legg






Erik Legg awarded 2014 Volunteer of the Year.

volunteer of the year

Officer D. Armstrong awarded 2014 Police Officer of the Year.