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James Rada, Jr.

Five young Labrador retrievers bounded into the Frederick Youth Center on a cold Thursday night, pulling their trainers behind them. Still puppies, they wanted to romp, play, and explore. They slid on the wooden floor, as they strained their leashes to visit nearby people or other puppies.

This wasn’t a play-date for them, though. Pretty soon, they were calmed down and one-by-one they were asked to show their mastery of basic commands. They had to go to their rug and lay down on command and come to their trainer on command. They were also walked around the room to experience different smells and tactile sensations.

These puppies are destined for bigger things than chasing squirrels around a yard. They are only puppies now, but in a couple of years they will help blind people lead independent lives. These puppies are part of the Guiding Eyes For The Blind Program.

“Our job is to raise the puppies to be sent to New York, where they can be trained to be guide dogs,” said Beth Propps of Emmitsburg.

She and her family have raised three dogs, from approximately eight weeks old until they are eighteen months old. Propps first got involved with the program in 2009, when she saw a newspaper ad asking for volunteers.

“We do miss the puppies when they leave—they’re all such characters—but we know going in we’re only going to have them for a short time,” Propps said.

Guiding Eyes has been around since 1954, so they have developed a program based on seeing what has worked in the past. Since all of the puppies that the organization trains each year can’t be trained in New York, where the Guiding Eyes headquarters is, local organizations like Guiding Eyes Catoctin have been set up to handle the pre-training of puppies.

“They tell you exactly what needs to be done each day,” Propps said. “Then the puppies are evaluated weekly to see how they are doing.”

The pre-training involves things that are good for every dog to know. House manners. Obey voice commands. Control their youthful exuberance. The local families also make sure to expose the dogs to a variety of stimuli, such as train noises, crowds, and farm animals.

Not all dogs are cut out to be guide dogs, though. When the dogs are eighteen months old, they are evaluated for the New York program, and again upon completion of the program. Those dogs that don’t make the cut are often used as companions for autistic children or police dogs to be trained to sniff out drugs or bombs. A few might be used in a Guiding Eyes breeding program. If none of those options work, then the dog is adopted out to a loving family.

Guiding Eyes depends on volunteer puppy raisers to provide the love, support, and direction the puppies need to prepare them for formal training as future guide dogs. No prior experience is necessary, as Guiding Eyes provides training and support for raisers; raisers attend local classes and puppy evaluations. 

For more information or if you are interested in becoming a volunteer puppy raiser or simply want to learn more, take a look at these websites: Guiding Eyes Catoctin: and Guiding Eyes For the Blind:


Puppy-in-training, Endora, is shown with her raiser, Susan Allen.

Photo by James Rada, Jr.


During the Open House and Dedication Ceremony for the Town of Thurmont’s new Municipal Building, held January 31, 2015, Thurmont Mayor John Kinnaird was obviously very proud. His message was one of great appreciation for all the parties involved in bringing the project to fruition.

Town Commissioner Wayne Hooper had broached the idea of purchasing the former Daily Funeral Home property, located at 615 East Main Street, and renovating it for use as a new town municipal building. At the time, Town Commissioner Marty Burns was mayor and helped to jumpstart the project. Mayor Kinnaird took office as the bidding process for construction was about to begin.  Mayor Kinnaird stayed very involved in the project as it progressed.

Mayor Kinnaird asked former Mayor, now Commissioner, Burns to cut the ribbon. Burns was sure to point out that no one person gets all of the credit for the project. It was truly a combined effort by many, including Bill Blakeslee for applying for the money and grants to purchase the building and completing many of the renovations.

After the ribbon was cut, Mayor Kinnaird welcomed special guests, starting with Frederick County Executive Jan Gardner. Gardner offered congratulations for a beautiful renovation that will serve the community for many years.

Frederick County Councilman Kirby Delauter said, “It’s a good day for Thurmont. Congratulations!”

Kinnaird recognized Thurmont Police Chief Greg Eyler; Thurmont Police Lt. Alan Droneburg; Frederick County Sheriff Chuck Jenkins; Lonestar Builders; Green Brothers Construction; Cornerstone Heating and Air Conditioning; Tier One Technology Partners; Quick Connect Communications; former Mayor Eileen Waesche; Lisa Nolan Humerick; Lowman Keeney with the Thurmont Ambulance Company; former Thurmont Superintendent of Public Works, Joe Fraley; Donna Voellinger, President of the Thurmont Historical Society; Carol Robertson, President of Catoctin Colorfest; Butch West and the Thurmont Public Works Department; Jim Brown, Project Manager; and other Town staff, including Harold Lawson, Randy Eyler, Tim Eyler, Brad Weddle, Dave Stevens, Gary Hodges, Lee Hanvey, and Russell Sanders. Town of Thurmont office staff members were also introduced, including Becky Long, Senior Administrative Assistant; Tracy Schur, Chief Financial Officer; Wanda Stottlemyer; Melody Dix; Lori Kaas; Debbie Ecker; and Chief Administrative Officer Jim Humerick.

Mayor Kinnaird gave praise to all parties involved and also recognized Jim Castle with the Department of Housing and Community Development, stating that, “We wouldn’t have gotten the grant money to purchase the building and complete the project without his help.”

A historian at heart, Mayor Kinnaird noted the history of Thurmont Town Offices. They were first housed in the basement of the Thurmont Bank Building on the square, and then moved in 1956 or 1957 to the Frederick Street location. Moving now to a property that was once owned by one of Thurmont’s former mayors seems fitting.


Pictured from left are Town Commissioners Bill Buehrer, Wayne Hooper, Marty Burns, Wes Hamrick, and Mayor John Kinnaird during the Dedication Ceremony for the Town of Thurmont’s new Municipal Building on January 31, 2015.

Photo by Allison Rostad

They have a way with words. They are the Scribbler’s Club at Mother Seton School in Emmitsburg.This group of third through fifth graders meets on Tuesdays to learn more about writing better and to share their stories.

Whether it is a story about sibling rivalry or a poem about Harry Potter, these young writers are anxious to try new ways to express themselves through the written word.

“This is creative outlet for these kids,” says Club Advisor Lynn Tayler. “A lot of kids love to write, and they get to do that here.”

She said that her goal is to have the young writers contribute at least one story to an end-of-the-year journal that will show off the best that the Scribbler’s Club has to offer.

The club meets on Tuesdays after school in the library. They come in with journals filled with stories, poems, and ideas that they have been working on throughout the week.

“I like writing because it allows you to express your feelings,” said Ella Lowry, a third grader.

The club is currently made up of approximately a dozen students. About two thirds of them are girls, but the different writing interests are evenly spread among the group members.

Fourth-grader Beckett Taylor likes writing action and adventure stories. “I like being able to write whatever stories I want and not just what I have to for school,” he said.

Club Advisor Lynn Tayler and her co-advisor, Dianne Hoffman, introduce the students to new types of writing and have them experiment with them. It might be through writing prompts or worksheets with examples of different types of writing.

For Valentine’s Day, the group experimented writing different types of poetry.

“It exercises my head,” said Gray Grube, a third grader. “I like it.”

The goal of the club is to encourage these young writers to not only engage their imaginations but to be able to express those ideas.

Fifth-grader Mia Furraro says that she has always loved to write. “I love to express how I feel through words and with my imagination, and I want to get better at it,” she said.

Third through fifth grade students in the Scribbler’s Club at Mother Seton School meet every Tuesday to share their stories and to express their ideas and creativity through writing.


Photo by James Rada, Jr.

Mother Seton School Alumni Present Gift for Scholarship Fund

The Jack and Shirley Little Scholarship Fund at Mother Seton School (MSS) will help a few more families this year, thanks to the efforts of the Little Family. On December 15, 2014, Tony Little, Mary-Lou Little, and Jane Moore, presented MSS Principal Sr. Brenda Monahan, D.C. with a check for $10,000 (the proceeds from the annual Angels Above Alumni Golf Tournament). The 2014 event was held on October 3 at the Mountain View Golf Club in Fairfield, Pennsylvania.

The tournament began as a promise made to their dying father that the Little siblings would do something to repay the generosity shown their parents when they sent their six children to MSS in the 1970s and 1980s. Tony, a graduate of MSS in 1978, followed through with that commitment and, with his siblings—Tim, Mary Lou, Pam, Scott, and Ed—launched the golf tournament as a means to raise money for the Jack and Shirley Little Scholarship Fund at Mother Seton School.

To date, the tournament has raised over $60,000 for the fund and helped numerous families afford the cost of tuition to MSS.

“We want to continue to help Mother Seton School grow and thrive, and not have money be an issue (for families who wish to enroll their children),” Tony Little said.

“We are grateful to the Little Family for their generosity and continued commitment to Catholic education,” said Monahan. “Mother Seton School helps students to integrate their faith into every aspect of life. Our students excel academically and have the opportunity to experience a diverse selection of extracurricular activities. Thanks to the support of the Little Family, we can meet the growing demand for financial assistance so that families can choose and remain in a Catholic School.”

Tony Little remains humble about his and his siblings contributions. “None of us do this for recognition, only to keep mom and dad’s dream alive. For that reason, we will continue our efforts to contribute to the scholarship fund.”

The next Angels Above Alumni Golf Tournament will be held on October 2, 2015.

The Little Family donated $10,000 towards the Mother Seton School scholarship, named for their parents, Jack and Shirley Little. The donation came from proceeds from the annual Angels Above Golf Tournament that the family hosts. Pictured from left are Sr. Brenda Monahan, D.C. (Principal), Mary-Lou Little, Tony Little, and Jane Moore.

Car Cruise Fundraiser in Memory of Jacob Loudon

Catoctin High School students, Mikey Clise and Rob Reaver, will hold a Fundraising Car Cruise in memory of senior, Jacob Loudon, who recently passed. Cruisers should meet at Catoctin High School at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, March 28, 2015. The cruise will begin at noon, and travel towards Frederick.

Memorial decals will be sold for $7.00 each, and there will be a donation box. Proceeds go to the Loudon Family. Please call Rob Reaver at 717-398-6276 with any questions or text 240-397-3806.

Who Will Be 2015 Teacher of the Year?

Do you know a teacher who goes beyond what is expected? Is there a teacher who has made an impact on your life or your child’s life? It’s time to recognize these special teachers by nominating them for the Thurmont Lions Club Teacher of the Year Award. Anyone, including parents, students, and fellow teachers may nominate a teacher.

This award is open to full-time teachers, pre-K through grade 12, in the Catoctin feeder school system: Catoctin High, Thurmont Middle, Thurmont Primary and Elementary, Sabillasville Elementary, Lewistown Elementary, Emmitsburg Elementary, and Mother Seton School.

One finalist from each of the eight schools will be announced during a reception in April. The Teacher of the Year will be selected from these finalists by a committee of community leaders, and will be announced at the Thurmont Lions Club’s Education Night on May 13, 2015. Nomination forms are available at and at the Thurmont Regional Library.  Nominations are due by Wednesday, March 25, 2015, at 5:00 p.m.

by Chris O’Connor

A Sketch of An Artist

Artists are visual historians with the ability to record, enhance, or influence the human condition with a variety of media—paints, charcoal, pencil, pen, ink—on a variety of surfaces, from cave walls to homes to houses of worship to the polished corridors of galleries all over the globe. Steve Burdette is one of those artists.

The artist who greeted me from his front porch the day of my visit was an affable guy, making me laugh within moments of meeting, and quite often throughout our meeting, as he recounted many anecdotes. He was introspective, too; at junctures in our conversation, he yielded to a more serious tone while commiserating about current events.

As I was going through his prints, he took time to explain the painting techniques he had used in one piece or another. He even waxed poetic about his granddaughter’s use of color when they spend time together painting in his workspace. 

Originally hailing from the rolling farm country of Damascus, Maryland, Steve Burdette spent his formative years instilled with a sense of wonder and appreciation of nature—the outdoors and architecture reflected in his art.

Steve and his wife Kathy have three adult children, two grandchildren, and a grandchild on the way. He and Kathy reside in Blue Ridge Summit, Pennsylvania. Steve remains a working artist, with an extensive and varied portfolio of oils and watercolors and other media. Many works in progress rest around his home studio.  

A painting I’m looking forward to seeing upon its completion is of Steve’s mom in her garden. He credits her for recognizing his artistic nature when he was just a child, and saving money earned from babysitting to pay Charles Jones, a Damascus, Maryland, art instructor, under whom Steve studied for fourteen years.

The body of Steve’s work has something for everyone. There are landscapes and architecture, including a multitude of barns and rural outbuildings. There are tractors, and my personal favorites: the florals and the paper birch trees and creeks in all seasons.

Some of Steve’s most evocative works are renderings of his vision of the Battle of Monterey Pass in Blue Ridge Summit. It occurred as the Confederate soldiers were in retreat, following the Battle of Gettysburg.

I first saw prints of Steve’s works, including the Battle of Monterey Pass, at the Martin House Bed and Breakfast, although he has had exhibits at venues such as the Weinberg Center for the Arts in Frederick, Maryland. Lynn and Duke Martin, owners of Martin House Bed and Breakfast, proudly display and market prints of Steve’s art at their Bed and Breakfast. After seeing Steve’s art, I was truly looking forward to meeting the artist who exhibited such a wide range of skill, style, and creativity.

For the Battle of Monterey Pass, Steve spent hours on the old Maria Furnace Road that runs into the forest behind the new museum at Monterey Pass Battlefield Park. He imagined the wagon train of defeated Confederates, many already mortally wounded during battle at Gettysburg, sustaining an attack by Union soldiers. He envisioned the darkness, lightening, thunder, and blinding rain. In his mind’s eye, Steve saw that horrible night and painted what he imagined.

Generally, the artistic process for Steve may be the stereotypical one of an artist setting up outdoors and, weather permitting, sketching or painting away. But Steve often asks his wife Kathy, a talented photographer in her own right, to snap scenes or subjects he wants to paint that she later downloads onto the computer.  He then sketches the image from the screen and later paints from his sketch.

Steve has enjoyed the support and encouragement of his wife, Kathy, and their three adult children.                                                                                                                                      

At one time, they also had a gallery at Tracey’s Corner in Blue Ridge Summit that they decided to close during the nation’s economic downturn. It may have been a blessing in disguise, actually benefiting Steve’s creativity and, ultimately, all who love and appreciate his art. He believes an artist may overlook a beautiful subject because it may not “sell,” and considers that the demise of art. As the gallery doors drifted to a close, Steve felt his joy of creativity revived and renewed. He felt free to paint subjects that made him happy, rather than subjects he felt compelled to paint to fulfill market demands.

This artist wears yet another other hat, or two.

Steve grew up a firearms enthusiast with his brother, but he put up his guns to gather cobwebs after his brother passed away. But one day Steve decided to remember the years of gun training he had enjoyed with his brother, and chose to carry on their shared legacy and bond, forged in guns and marksmanship.  Steve and Kathy joined a gun club, where they can utilize the shooting range; Steve often forays into the deep woods to shoot targets, while stealthily trekking through the timber.

He tells of being “unfriended” on social media by some that are averse to his gun totin’ ways. But what an image: a guy in full camo, armed with a  30.06 rifle, juxtaposed to the same man who can paint a soft pink apple blossom in watercolors, or capture the facets of sparkling freshly fallen snow on the forest floor.

Last but not least, the artist and marksman is also a man of deep faith. Steve Burdette is a pastor of a non-denominational church, conducting Sunday service at his and Kathy’s home. He also frequently visits other churches to share his ministry.

He is the proverbial “man for all seasons,” a man of faith who treasures his wife and family, and the great outdoors that has inspired his art.

Steve’s art will be showcased at the Mountaintop Community Spring Fair on Saturday, March 21, 2015, at Blue Ridge Summit Fire Hall in Blue Ridge Summit, from 9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.


Pictured is artist Steve Burdette.

by Valerie Nusbaum

Scenes From A Marriage

I’ve known and observed a lot of couples who have been married for a long time, and it appears to me that the longer a couple is together, the more they begin to think and act alike.  That’s certainly true for Randy and me.  It’s surprising how often we look at each other and utter the same thought.  Sometimes we don’t speak at all.  We can tell by a look or a raised eyebrow what the other is thinking.  I’m not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing.  Maybe it’s just what happens when two people live together for years.

Some couples complement each other like Yin and Yang.  We knew we were perfect for each other the first time we ate broccoli together.  I only eat the florets and Randy only eats the stalks. There’s no waste at our house! Thankfully, I haven’t adopted my hubby’s other odd eating habits. Did I ever mention that he puts gravy on macaroni and cheese?  Or spaghetti sauce on Brussels sprouts?

Marriage changes people both physically and mentally.  We’ve each changed a lot from our single days. Before we got married, Randy had horrible sinus and allergy problems. I, on the other hand, had nary a sniffle. I used to be smart. I’m talking high school valedictorian and 4.0 GPA in college smart.  Now, he’s the one making all A’s in graduate school, and I’m the one with the runny nose.

Married couples do things they wouldn’t ordinarily do in order to find common ground.

I’ve been to three NASCAR races.  I bought the tickets and took Randy to see The Who because they’re his favorite band.  I’ve cooked for hundreds of picnics and dinners, gone to football and baseball games, and clocked a million miles on road trips. Not to mention all the movies and television shows I’ve watched with Randy because he enjoys them. Truthfully, I’ve enjoyed most of it right along with him. I like seeing him have a good time.

Randy has taken me to a lot of concerts, too.  I had great times, but he seemed to enjoy them more. He made a friend named Sarge at the Barry Manilow concert and danced with him.  He disappeared during the Cher concert, and I saw him on the Jumbotron dancing with the lady who ushered us to our seats. I was eating a giant boat of nachos so I didn’t care.  Randy did “The Locomotion” with Little Eva, and sang and danced to “YMCA” with the original Village People.  He was moving and grooving along with The Temptations, too, but one of them stopped singing long enough to tell Randy to sit down because he was throwing off their rhythm.

Also under the heading of “Things We Do for Love,” Randy met Richard Simmons. My friend, Roxann Welch, and I were keeping in shape by working out to Richard’s exercise videos (this was back when dinosaurs roamed the earth, ok?), and when we found out that Mr. Simmons was doing a personal appearance at a local mall, we decided to go.  Randy went along with us.  Richard really seemed to like Randy. I have pictures.

Randy has taken me to see the circus more times than I can count, and he always holds my hand when the clowns come out. I love the aerial acts, but I’m terrified of clowns.

Married people learn to pick their battles. Some things aren’t worth fighting about. I remember a yard sale we held a while back. Randy made some signs advertising it, but he didn’t put our address on them—just arrows pointing in different directions. No one came. I made him go back downtown and put our address on the signs. He did, and a car pulled up right away. He said “Don’t even say it.”  I held my tongue, but I gave him the look and lifted my eyebrow.

Even after a lot of years of marriage, spouses can still surprise each other. I was doing the laundry in the basement.  I complained to myself—as I do often about so many things—that there just wasn’t enough light for me to see what I was doing. Randy was at his workbench fiddling with something, and I assumed he wasn’t paying attention to me. A couple of days later, I went to the laundry room to do another load, and there, hanging above the washing machine, was a big fluorescent light fixture with a red bow attached to it. Now, a lot of wives might have gotten upset over that, but not me. I was tickled that Randy had not only heard me, but he’d actually listened. And after only eighteen years, I finally had enough light to do the laundry, which, by the way, Randy still claims he can’t sort properly.

Husbands and wives support each other through difficult situations. I don’t know what I would do without Randy. He’s been in many a waiting room while I’ve undergone medical tests and waited for results. Years ago, I had to have an MRI of my brain, and the neurologist put me through a battery of tests. I was scared, and we were both relieved to hear that my tests were normal. The doctor, however, did diagnose Randy with a brain disorder, simply from symptoms I was explaining. Someday, I’ll tell Randy that we were just messing with him. Hey, married couples get their kicks where they can.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all of you! 

F_X_Eby Jim Houck, Jr.

Note: This is the story titled “History of the Francis X. Elder Post, No. 121 American Legion From its Beginning,” as written by “Abigail,” a writer for the Emmitsburg Chronicle. The article was published in the Emmitsburg Chronicle in 1940.

Original Post Founded In 1920. Present One Originated in 1936. Lester J. Damuth and Charles J. Rowe Instumental In Its Formation.

By Abigail

An American Legion Post was organized here in 1920 for the first time and was named Francis X. Elder Post No. 75. The original Post was the nucleus of American Legion activities in the community and undoubtedly served as an incentive to augment the membership and the splendid spirit that is a part of the present Post.

It was not until March 12, 1936 that the present Francis X. Elder Post, No. 121, Department of Maryland, was organized by Mr. Lester J. Damuth and his committee. State Commander Charles S. Houck, of Walkersville, addressed the veterans and assisted in the organization of the new Post. Those veterans who were members of the organization at that time follow; John H. Rosensteel Jr., C. C. Combs, Charles J. Rowe, Louis H. Stoner, Clarence Baumgardner, Gerald N. Ryder, Lester J. Damuth, Maurice H. Moser, Clarence G. Fraley,  James M. Alvey, J. Ward Kerrigan, George Wagerman, Raymond Baumgardner, Guy C. Angell and J. Ralph Angell.

It was agreed to name the Post the Francis X. Elder Post in honor of the first Emmitsburg boy to enlist and the first to be killed in action. Francis X. Elder, son of the late Mr.  and Mrs. James B. Elder, was born in Emmitsburg on June 30, 1893. He inlisted in the service of his country on May 9, 1917. He was in France from June 15, 1918 until death. He was killed in action on October 11, 1918. Others killed in action were Captain Henry higbee Worthington and Martin Hahn. Killed by accident was first lieutenant john Reading Schley. Died of disease, Charles Francis Gelwicks, Francis Edward Rowe. Robert Bruce Reifsnider, Arthur Bentzel and Vernon Ross Ohler.

The following Officers were elected for the year of 1936-1937; Post Commander, Lester J. Damuth; Post Adjutant, Charles J. Rowe; Vice Commander, Maurice H. Moser; Finance Officer, Louis H, Stoner; Historian, C.C. Combs; Sergeant -at-Arms, George Wagerman; Chaplain (Temporary), Reverend Father Francis Dodd; Membership Chairman, Clarence G. Frailey; Grave Registration Chairman, Gerald N. Ryder; Service Officer, Charles J. Rowe; and Child Welfare Chairman, Clarence Baumgardner. The Executive Committee was composed of John H. Rosensteel Jr., Clarence Baumgardner and James M. Alvey, and was asked by the Post Commander to draw up the by-laws of the newly formed Post.

During the year, the Post took an active part in flood relief by sending food, clothing and money to the relief committee of the Francis Scott Key Post in Frederick. They were one of the first Post to receive the “Community Service Citation”.

All veteran’s graves were marked and registered this year. In November the by-laws submitted by the above named executive committee were unanimously approved. The Armistice Day Services were held on November 8 in Saint Joseph’s Catholic Church, Rev. Francis Dodd, Post Chaplain was in charge of services.

A military funeral was conducted for John S. Hobbs, a World War veteran, at Saint Joseph’s Catholic Church in December of that year.

In February 1937 the Post donated $47.00 for flood relief in the Kentucky, Mississippi and Ohio River section. The money was sent to the Red Cross. Again the Post received the “Community Service Citation”.

In March 1937 the local Legion Post celebrated its first anniversary in the Fireman’s Hall with a banquet and dance at which 135 Legionnaires and their guests were present. The Colors of the Legion were presented to the local Post by Bryon Hobbs, Department Commander. At the same time C.L. Shrine, Vice Commander of the Western Maryland District and Morris Frock, Post 42 of Hagerstown, presented the charter and citation. Among the notables present were; Major Elmer J. Munshower, Superintendent of Maryland State Police; Rev.John L. Sheridan, President of Mt. Saint Mary’s College; Rev. William J. Groeninger, Pastor of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church; Rev. E.L. Higbee, Pastor of the Reformed Church of the Incarnation; Rev. Phillip Bower, Pastor of the Elias Lutheran Church; Rev. Francis Dodd, Chaplain of the local Post; Miss Louise Sebold, President of St. Joseph’s College Alumnae; and Mr. John D. Elder, brother of Francis X. Elder and Editor of this paper.

In May of 1937 the Post sponsored the Walk-a-Show, on Decoration Day the services were held in the Methodist Episcopal Church at 3 pm; Rev. Raymond E. Cook, Department Chaplain, delivered the sermon. Charles J. Rowe, Post Adjutant introduced the speakers after a brief talk and introductory remarks.

In July the following Officers were elected for the year 1938; Post Commander, Maurice Moser; Vice Commander, C.C. Combs; Adjutant, C.J. Rowe; Finance Officer, Louis H. Stoner; Sergeant-at-Arms, John Walter; Historian, William S. Sterbinsky; Chaplain, Rev. Francis J. Dodd; Raymond Baumgardner was named to the Executive Committee. A committee of two was named to investigate insurance for the colors, Charles J. Rowe and James Alvey.

In September Adjutant Charles J. Rowe announced that the Mayor and Commissioners granted the Post permission to take over the Doughboy War Memorial. The Armistice Day services were held in the Reformed Church of Incarnation and the Pastor, the Rev. E.L. Higbee, delivered a very eloquent address for the occasion. About 30 members were present.

In January 1938 the Posttook action to reduce hazards to motorists on Tollgate Hill. On January 19, the Legion turned out for the funeral of Mrs. James B. Elder, mother of Francis X. Elder, for whom the Post was named. in March of 1938 about 75 Legionnaires, Ladies of the Auxiliary and friends attended the second annual banquet of the Post held in Hotel Slage. Post Adjutant, Charles J. Rowe, presented two rifles to the Post, purchased by his mother, in memory of her son, Francis Edward Rowe, who died at a Naval Training Station during the war.

The memorial services in this year were held at the Presbyterian Church, with the Pastor, Rev. Irwin N. Morris, delivering the impressive sermon. In June the following Officers were elected for 1939; Commander, C.C. Combs; Vice Commander, Raymond Baumgardner; Adjutant, J.E. Prendergast; Chaplain, Rev. Francis Dodd; Historian, William S. Sterbinsky; Treasurer, Dr. O.H. Stinson; Finance Officer, Charles D. Gillelan. Charles J. Rowe and James Alvey were appointed as delegates to the State convention with C.C. Combs and Allen Rosensteel named as alternates.

In August the newly-elected Officers were installed by the State Commander, Bruce Blair. A bugle was accepted as a gift from Mr. Ralph S. Sperry. In September the Post was honored in having one of its members elected as one of the State’s Vice Commanders. This outstanding Legionnaire was Charles J.Rowe. The Armistice Day services were held at Elias Lutheran Church. The Pastor Rev. Phillip Bower, gave a very appropriate and impressive address. In the afternoon the Armistice Day Parade was held with the following

Posts represented; Drum Corps of the Francis Scott Key Post No. 11, Frederick, members of the same Post with the Forty and Eight; Members of the Morris Frock Post, Hagerstown; Carroll Post, No. 31, Westminster; Hesson-Snyder Post, No 131, Taneytown; Drum and Bugle Corps of Albert J. Lentz Post, No. 202, of Gettysburg; and the colored Post of Frederick of Frederick with its band. Immediately following the parade all assembled on the local Community Athletic Field where the Hon. Judge J. Fred Johnson, of Washington gave the principle address. State Commander Herbert L. Rhodes, and past State Commander Bruce Blair, both spoke briefly. There was singing by the entire assembly led by Post Historian, William S. Sterbinsky, accompanied by the Fairfield High Band.

On November 20 the Post attended the funeral of Mrs. Edward H. Rowe, the mother of the Vice Commander, Charles J. Rowe, which was held from her home.

On March 23, 1939, the Post celebrated its third anniversary in the Green Parrot Tea Room with about sixty guest present. Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Frailey was the principal speaker and District Vice Commander, Charles J. Rowe, disclosed some interesting information concerning the local Post.

Memorial services were held this year at the United Brethren Church, in Thurmont. The Rev. Ivan Naugle, a recent member, and the Pastor, was in charge of the services. At a meeting held on September 4 the following Officers were elected for the ensuing year of 1940; Commander, Raymond Baumgardner; Vice Commander, L. Mackley; Adjutant, J.E. Prendergast; Treasurer, Lesley Fox; Historian, Allen Rosensteel; Sergeant-at-Arms, Henry Warthen. The new committees were appointed by the Commander.

The Charter Members of the Post follow; James Alvey, Guy Angell, Ralph Angell, Morris Barrick, Clarence Baumgardner, Raymond Baumgardner, C.C. Combs, Lester Damuth, Francis J. Dodd, Lesley Fox, Clarence G. Frailey, William Frailey, Edgar Freeze, David Gall, Vincent Hartdagen, J. Winfield Houser, Luther Kelly, Harry Knight, Arthur Malloy, William Miller, Maurice Moser, Allen Rosensteel, John H. Rosensteel Jr., Charles J. Rowe, Gerald N. Ryder, Arthur Starner, William Sterbinsky, Dr. O.H. Stinson, Louis Stoner, Harry Valentine, Robert Valentine, George Wagerman, John Walter and Curtis Weddle.

The deceased members of the Post are John H. Rosensteel Jr. and Robert Valentine.

The present total membership is sixty-one.


I would like to share with you the last words written by Francis X. Elder in a letter to his mother from the front line in France.

                                                         Dearest Mama,

As I am about to enter the big fight for Democracy it is my desire now, whilst I have the opportunity to pencil you a few lines briefly, and bid you, Papa and all, a sincere farewell and may our dear and most precious God always protect you in this life, and knowing this, I will die cheerfully for a good cause, if it to be his holy will, otherwise it will be the happiest moment of my life when I can once more kiss those motherly lips. If the worst happens to me, take the news, courageously be brave!, as I am going to try and be. If I come through O.K. I will write at once and let you know.

Hoping for the best and trusting I will see you all on earth, or that we will meet in Heaven, I am your most affectioate and loving son.”

                                                                                                                                  Farewell,                                                                                                           Priv. Francis X. Elder


Happy Birthday, Francis X. Elder American Legion Post 121.

God Bless America, God Bless our American Veterans, and God Bless You.

Buck Reed, The Supermarket Gourmet

Okay, okay…I get it. We like corned beef and cabbage on St. Patrick’s Day. Yet, there is an array of perfectly good Irish food we can eat on this day that might be considered more appropriate. We have coddle, Irish salmon, or my personal favorite, Irish stew. Don’t get me wrong, I like corned beef and cabbage, but I would order Irish-style bangers and mash on St. Patrick’s Day over corned beef and cabbage any time. But, I know every restaurant and bar will be serving corned beef and cabbage, as if this is the only thing they eat on the Emerald Isle. And, of course, you will probably pass up the Guinness and go for whatever beer they happen to be adding green dye to.

However, if you are one of those many who will be foregoing the bar-hopping tradition, you will hopefully be cooking at home and maybe even invite a few friends or neighbors over. Although Irish food is well known for being uncomplicated, most of you will still be making corned beef and cabbage. If you are inviting me over, I like horseradish sauce with mine. One friend of mine once made corned beef and cabbage, but the store was out of green cabbage. She was in a hurry, so she purchased red cabbage instead, and everything she served was purple. The hard part of this operation is trying to convince your guests that purple potatoes were St. Patrick’s favorite way to eat them. 

I say go ahead and have a small party. Except for a few of the more morose poets and a couple of murderous monarchs, the Irish are a mostly friendly people. And we all love that snake-chasing patron saint, so a party in his honor is more than appropriate. So, get your shamrock decorations ready, put on your “Kiss Me, I Should Be Irish” green shirt, and make some corned beef and cabbage. Even better, make extra corned beef and cabbage. It really isn’t that much extra work, and the leftovers can be turned into wonderful dishes. Here are a few ideas: 

• Make hash by chopping up the corned beef and potatoes and fry it up with just a touch of horseradish.

• Even better, add chopped beets to the above to make a red flannel hash. 

• Save the broth and make a coddle-like dish with the vegetables and a bit of corned beef and maybe a nice piece of sausage.

• Fried corned beef might become your second favorite side meat to serve with fried eggs.

• Make a corned beef and cabbage burrito for a quick on-the-go lunch (probably great for a hangover).

• As long as we are on the fusion thing: try corned beef and cabbage stir-fry or, even better, serve it up over your favorite ramen.

• Back to Irish cuisine: how about colcannon?

Need a recipe or have an idea for an article, email me at

by Denise Valentine

Hello, everyone. Is it just me or are you ready for the snow, wind, and freezing temperatures to disappear and make way for spring? As I am writing this message, it is snowing…again. So, I am in the mood for some hot, tummy-warming food. I decided to share a main dish recipe that has it all: meat, potatoes, and several other vegetables.

The following is a Beef Stew recipe from a “Fix-It and Forget-It” Cookbook, filled with slow cooker recipes that I found at a local farm store. This is a great and easy recipe, because you just toss your ingredients in and turn on the crock-pot to desired temperature, depending on when you want it to be ready. 

I hope you enjoy it!

Beef Stew


2 lbs. beef chuck, cubed

1/4 to 1/2 cup flour

1 1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. black pepper

1 tsp. paprika

3 1/2 tbsp. quick-cooking raw tapioca

1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

2 cups beef broth

1/2 a garlic clove, minced

1 bay leaf

4 carrots, sliced, or 1-lb. bag whole baby carrots

2 onions, chopped

1 rib celery, sliced

3 potatoes, diced

2 cups tomatoes, diced


Place meat in slow cooker (approximately 4 1/2 quart size is recommended). 

Combine flour, salt, pepper, paprika, and tapioca in a small bowl. Stir into meat until coated thoroughly.

Gently stir in remaining ingredients. Mix well. Cover.

Cook on low 8-10 hours or on high 3-4 hours. Remove bay leaf and stir before serving.

Christine Schoene Maccabee

Winter Musings: What is Seed Stratification?

Through the many days and nights of the long, cold winter, trillions of seeds lay sleeping. They rest in their icy cradles of soil and stone, awaiting the warmth of spring. Offspring of grasses, flowers, and trees, these seeds—though inactive—are changing nonetheless, being prepared by moisture and essential freezes, which we humans must endure by piling on layers of clothing.

Stratification, though a perfectly natural process, is often used by botanists under controlled conditions in order to germinate the toughest of seeds. Some large nurseries start their fruit and nut trees, and shrubs such as dogwood and holly, from seed by use of this method. It is a bit more trouble than you and I would go to, requiring these hard seeds to be layered in damp sphagnum moss, peat or vermiculite and chilled for one to four months. Most wildflower seeds also need this hard freeze period. I have learned through trial and error that the germination rate of wildflower seed mixes is much higher in the seeds that are sown in the fall or winter. With seed mixtures you might order through the mail, frequently you will see instructions to place your seeds in the freezer for a period of time, prior to sowing them in the spring. As for vegetable seeds, simply keeping them in a cool place, not freezing, is sufficient. All seeds will suffer if too warm and too dry.

As human beings, we experience many cold, even difficult times in our lives, perhaps as a form of “human stratification.” Surely out of struggle and depth of feeling have come some of our greatest symphonies, art masterpieces, writings and other human accomplishments too innumerable to list here. Against all odds, such as Beethoven’s deafness or Van Gough’s madness, even out of the depths of depression, creative potential and genius are released through the cracking of a sort of protective epidermis. One of my favorite songs to sing with the guitar is “Beside Still Waters” by Dottie Rambo, whose pain nearly drove her to suicide. It is a powerful song, expressive of her pain, yet also the faith and hope she had in order to overcome it. Human stratification.

As I sit by my window, gazing out onto frozen gardens, fields, and mountains painted in shades of grays and browns on a backdrop of white, I acknowledge my own need for this “down” time. For many of us, January and February can be too cold, too difficult, even depressing. No one is exempt from those feelings at this time of year. To comfort myself, I reflect on all the wildflower seeds I scattered a few months ago in various places around the property, as well as all the seeds mother nature herself left to winter over on the ground. Those seeds will stratify and manifest into a beautiful, as well as useful, community of mostly native plants, such as black-eyed susan, daisy fleabane, cone flower, lupine, cinquefoil, evening primrose, vervain, moth mullein, milkweed, etc. Each perfect bloom that I will witness throughout the warm months ahead will have come forth as a result of successfully prepared seeds, some of which are even tinier than a grain of mustard seed.

Time passes all too swiftly some say. Even lonely, frozen days in February will pass more pleasantly if we contemplate the flowers to come, the potential within the soil, and the potential within ourselves. All we need, like the seeds, is to weather the elements of our lives with patience and hope.

Christine is starting a Friends of Nature Garden Club, which is seeking members for projects involving wildflower meadows, as well as formation of nature programs in the area. If interested, call Christine at 301-271-2307 or email at

wivell pond hockey

For four generations, the Wivell family has strapped on ice skates and taken to the ice for some pond hockey.

Deb Spalding

 Many of you can probably recall a memory of sitting by a camp fire, enjoying the glow of the flames, the toasty warmth on your legs, and the occasional pop of a spark. Just imagine. Despite the pesky mosquitoes, isn’t that a nice place to be?

To generations of the large-extended Wivell family in Emmitsburg, this scenario is commonplace. In summer, they go camping. In winter, they snuggle close to a camp fire, while warding off a stiff sub-freezing chill on the non-toasty side of their bodies. They’re dressed in layers for warmth, thick gloves, and… ice skates. Every now and then, when a skate starts to smoke, they check the bottom to make sure it didn’t melt much, then return to the family pond for more ice skating and pond hockey.

As many as four generations of Wivells have been represented on the pond at one time in recent years. 

Sarah (Wivell) Bryson said, “My dad was one of thirteen children and his dad was one of twenty.”

Skaters of all ages show up to skate. The family’s ‘elders’ are just as fast on skates—if not faster—than the youngsters. Sam Wivell and Roy Wivell, Jr., both in their 60s, are two of the most advanced skaters on the pond. They zip around the ice with ease, handling the puck with proficiency.

When a large crowd shows up, teams are created and games are timed (usually five to eight minutes), with the winners of each match staying on the ice. There are plenty of falls, sprains, bruises, and challenges; however, the physical discomfort becomes insignificant compared to the foundation of heritage created in these treasured times.

“You’ve got to be prepared to bounce and go to work on Monday with a lot of bruises,” said Chris “Chic” Wivell.

The ice is rarely perfect. The wishy-washy temperatures on the Mason Dixon line guarantee a challenge to keep the ice in a useable state. The winter of 2014 was a consistently cold winter, during which the occasional snow was quickly pushed off the ice with a snow plow. This season, however, the ice has been suitable for skating on only two days so far.

The Wivell pond was built in 1954, through the Maryland Soil Conservation, by Roy Wivell, Sr. 

When conditions allow, pond skating takes place day and night. In earlier days, lanterns were used to light the ice at night; today, the Wivells use stadium-like lights, tied high in a tree to light up the ice. Music blasts from a nice sound system, and everything is powered by a generator, except the camp fire and the skaters. Even with today’s technology evident, you can get to the ice only one way: by walking through the pasture among the goats, cattle, and chickens.

The Wivells are generations of farmers. The descendants of those original 20 siblings number 536 these days.

 “Chic” Wivell said, “Growing up, it was go to church, milk the cows, and pond hockey on weekends. In that order.”

With such a large family today, many family members hold full-time, non-farming jobs, but they return to the farm when they can to help out.

A video called The Magic of Pond Hockey was created by Danny Favret and Jason Pugh. It showcases the Wivell family’s unique heritage of pond skating. The video was part of a documentary that NBC-4 aired in 2014, leading up to the Washington Capitals Winter Classic game that was played outside at Nationals Park on New Year’s Day. View the documentary at


Issiah “Bub” Wivell is shown tying on his skates for an afternoon of skating in January 2015.

Hazel's Thrift StoreGrace Eyler

On January 3, 2015, Anita Marsellars opened Hazel’s Thrift Store on the square in Emmitsburg. This is Marsellars’ first business venture, in honor of her late mother, Hazel.

“She was such a kind-hearted person who loved to give back to her community,” said Marsellars.

With that in mind, Marsellars understands how the costs of living continuously creeps up over time. This leaves many in need of an affordable alternative for clothing, electronics, accessories, home items, toys for children, and other such items. Marsellers brings a wide array of very lightly used merchandise into her store for customers to purchase at a low price.

“I wouldn’t want to sell anything to my customers that I wouldn’t buy myself,” she said.

To make sure she brings the best quality of used goods to Emmitsburg, she travels as far as Ohio, North Carolina, and other bordering states to build her inventory. Many of the clothing items are even brand names—Coach Purses are displayed on the wall.

Marsellers, who makes a commute from Germantown to Emmitsburg every day, is very familiar with this area, attending Emmitsburg Auction’s weekly auctions. When CJ’s recently closed their storefront and relocated to their South Seton Avenue location, she jumped on the opportunity to rent the vacated space to open Hazel’s Thrift Store.

She said that while preparing the store, “We’ve had many people stopping in to take a look around, or do a little shopping. Also, many locals have been stopping in to welcome me to Emmitsburg.”

Stop by and visit “Miss Anita” Marsellers at Hazel’s Thrift Shop on the square of Emmitsburg. Her door is open from 10:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m., Mondays through Saturdays, and closed on Sundays. If you have any questions, just give Anita a call at 301-447-4323.

Deb Spalding

On Tuesday, January 6, 2014, the public was invited to enjoy the Irish tradition of Women’s Little Christmas at Shamrock Restaurant in Thurmont.

Outside the dining room windows that day at Shamrock, diners observed beautiful soft snow falling, as they settled in the fire-warmed dining room listening contently as singers, Nita Corn and her daughter Eileen, sang Irish and holiday tunes. For the folks who ventured out, it was an enjoyable afternoon.

Shamrock’s Donna Demmon welcomed visitors by visiting each table. She explained that after the ladies in Ireland have worked to create a festive holiday for their families, they are rewarded with a girl’s outing to celebrate. 

“Ladies would go to the pub and sit and have a Guinness. The publican (man or woman who owns the pub) would serve them free corned beef sandwiches on Women’s Little Christmas. We’re serving to everyone who comes in today, ladies and gentleman, a complimentary Reuben Sandwich,” said Demmon.

Donna enjoyed visiting the folks at each table and making sure they understood the tradition that was being celebrated. She presented each table with free corned beef pinwheels.

Before the snow, Donna said that the reservations for the event were more than she had hoped, but with the weather conditions, many did not venture out. She plans to host the event annually and continue to share the tradition.


Shamrock Restaurant’s Donna Demmon is shown serving Jackie Campbell, Carol Robertson, and Kathy Cogan corned beef pinwheels during Little Women’s Christmas.

The P.A.K.N. Program (Police and Kids Night) is a free drop-in cooperative between the Thurmont Police Department and the Frederick County Division of Parks and Recreation. This is a fun opportunity for youth ages 11-17 to play pick-up basketball, soccer, kickball, flag football, or just hang out with friends. It’s a place to interact with the Thurmont Police officers in a relaxed atmosphere. Located in the Thurmont Recreation Center (the county-run Recreation Center in the gym of Thurmont Middle School), this activity is held every third Thursday of the month. The next P.A.K.N. drop-in will be held February 19, from 6:00-8:00 p.m.

“We have a great program, we need to spread the word to community members,” said Carrie Sprinkle, Recreation Coordinator with Frederick County Parks and Recreation.

Thurmont’s Police Chief Greg Eyler said, “The program is a way we, the police, can interact and meet many of the kids in town. We believe the program will be beneficial for us and the kids and it promotes our community policing efforts. There are many programs and activities for the kids.  We wanted to provide a more personal one where the kids could see that their police officers have a different side to them, not just the official side. The police department and the Frederick County Division of Parks and Recreation believe in this program, and we are hopeful that attendance will increase.  Interaction and communicating with the citizens, no matter what age, is of utmost importance. It builds a foundation of trust, which is one of our goals.”

Just drop in and have some fun! Call 301-600-2936 with any questions.

James Rada, Jr.

Lewistown Elementary School student, Nik Contreras, hunches over a notebook, writing down figures for a loan he needs to buy a bison for his farm. Coming up with his total, he flips to another page and begins sketching a design for the corrals on his farm. It’s all part of his business plan.

Then the school bell rings and recess is over.

Nik is only nine years old, but he has a vision for his future, and it is centered around the huge shaggy animals from western lore, typically called buffalo.

“The settlers in the West knew about European buffalo, and, since bison looked like buffalo, that’s what they called them,” Contreras said.

A few years ago, Nik saw his first bison at a park in Virginia, and they captured his imagination. He liked their big heads and shaggy bodies.

He began drawing them in a sketchbook and searching for pictures on the internet of bison that he could use for models. He happened to click on one of those pictures, thinking it would enlarge, but instead it took him to the National Bison Association website.

He began exploring the website, learning more about bison and how to raise them for meat like cattle.

“People tell me why not raise cattle, but I say bison is better,” said Nik. “You don’t need to feed them as much. They can take care of themselves better than cows. You just need nice grass and water.”

Nik can tell you all about considerations for planning a ranch on which to raise bison. He continues researching them, because his plan is to eventually buy his own ranch.

His first step toward this goal is to buy his first bison. Many places around the country will sell bison at auction, just like a cattle auction. His research has allowed him to pick out an auction where he believes he can find the best deal. He has also found out that he can get an unsecured Rural Youth Agriculture loan for up to $5,000.

Now, he just has to turn ten, which will happen later this year.

Nik is now a junior member of the National Bison Association, and he also became the very first junior member of the Eastern Bison Association.

“They’re great people,” said Cindy Burnsteel, Nik’s mother. “They answer his e-mails and calls and treat him as they would any other adult.”

Since becoming interested in raising bison, Nik has attended different round-ups, visited a number of bison ranches, and even lobbied members of Congress about the benefits of bison meat.

“It tastes better than beef,” Nik said. “It’s a little sweeter. It’s also low in fat and cholesterol. You can use it to make a lot of things, like soup, tacos, and burgers.”

Nik even knows how he will raise the money to make loan payments and pay for the upkeep of his bison at a ranch. He is going to make bullwhips and sell them. It is a skill that he has been learning for quite some time, and he believes that he can make better ones than you can often purchase in stores.

Once the first bison he buys has had a few calves, he will sell it and raise the young ones. He will continue raising and breeding them, slowly growing his herd and his income until he has enough money to buy his first ranch. He figures that it will be in Michigan or Wisconsin.

Not surprisingly, he has also researched the places in the United States that have the best conditions for raising bison.

Bill Edwards of SB Farms in Hurlock, Maryland, and Nik Contreras are pictured, with bison bull, Captain Hook.


Photo Courtesy of Cindy Burnsteel