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James Rada, Jr.
National-Park-Service-logoYou don’t have to travel out west to visit a national park; you can find five National Park Service sites in Frederick County, Maryland (described below), plus the Gettysburg National Military Park located to our north just over the Pennsylvania state line. This year would be a great year to visit these parks because the National Park Service is celebrating its centennial!

“America’s national parks are beautiful, emotional places,” Ed. W. Clark, superintendent of Gettysburg National Military Park and Eisenhower National Historic Site, said in a park news release. “Places like Gettysburg National Military Park, Flight 93 National Memorial, and the Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail tell us more about who we are and help us understand history. Many parks are natural wonders that offer scenic getaways, wildlife viewing, and other adventures. The centennial is about celebration, discovery, and making new connections.”

The National Park Service (NPS) began when President Woodrow Wilson signed the “Organic Act” on August 25, 1916. This legislation not only created the NPS, but it give the NPS the job “…to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.”

“It had far-reaching ramifications, which continue to impact 6,815,195 park visitors per year in Maryland alone. Even individuals who have never visited a park, if such people do exist, are impacted by the tourism dollars that are derived from NPS sites in their communities,” said Mary Mannix, Maryland Room Manager with the Frederick County Public Libraries.

In 1916, there were 35 parks and monuments under National Park jurisdiction; today there are over 400. They are located on over 84 million acres of land throughout our 50 states, along with DC, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, Saipan, and the Virgin Islands. Maryland is home to 16 of these national parks. More than 300 million people visit national parks in the United States annually. This is roughly 1,000 times the number of people who visited U.S. national parks in 1916.

With such a large anniversary for the NPS, you can be sure that more than the parks will be holding celebrations in its 407 national parks. Many individuals will host cookouts and celebrations, and in Frederick County, the Frederick County Public Libraries (FCPL) is hosting a series of talks and activities in conjunction with the NPS.

“To celebrate the 100th anniversary of this momentous act, Frederick County Public Libraries is partnering with several of Frederick County’s NPS sites for a year-long celebration of events, unique programs, and informational displays,” said Mannix.

Patrons can join in storytime walks in Catoctin Park; hear a talk about James “Snap” Rouzer, a 19th century bounty hunter; brush up on outdoor skills; or learn about moonshining in the area.

In Emmitsburg, patrons can view the art of Catoctin Artists in Residence and come face-to-face with some of the birds and animals from Catoctin Mountain.

To encourage participation in these events, the library system and NPS are offering a free overnight stay in the Canal Quarters at Point of Rocks (Lockhouse 28).

For every NPS/FCPL Centennial partnership program you and your family attend in 2016 in the parks and libraries, you will have a chance to enter into the drawing for the overnight stay.

Visit www.fcpl.org for more information. The drawing will take place on December 31, 2016, and the winner will be notified.
Find out more about what’s going on to celebrate the National Park Service anniversary in your local library at http://fcpl.org/programs/programs-events/national-park-service-centennial.

                                                                 An Overview of the NPS sites in Frederick County, Maryland
Appalachian National Scenic Trail (www.nps.gov/appa/index.htm)
This 2,180-mile-long trail traverses all types of terrains along the Appalachian Mountains. It runs from Springer Mountain in Georgia to Mount Katahdin in Maine. It passes through our area from Harpers Ferry National Historic Park to Caledonia State Park, east of Gettysburg, PA.

Catoctin Mountain Park
(www.nps.gov/cato/index.htm)
Home to Camp David, this park’s land has served multiple uses over the years: Native Americans quarried rhyolite there; its trees were used to fire the charcoal and iron industry; moonshiners hid their stills there; the Works Progress Administration and the Civil Conservation Corps created the nation’s first Job Corps Center.

Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park (www.nps.gov/choh/index.htm)
This 184.5-mile-long canal runs from Cumberland, MD to Georgetown, along the Maryland side of the Potomac River. The canal is no longer used, but there are still stretches that are flooded and where you can ride a canal boat through a lock.

Monocacy National Battlefield (www.nps.gov/mono/index.htm)
In 1864, General Jubal Early and Confederate forces were approaching Washington, D.C., with the intent of capturing it. General Lew Wallace and his outnumbered Union troops met the Confederate troops at Monocacy Junction. Their battle delayed the Confederates long enough for Washington to reinforce its defenses.

Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail (www.nps.gov/pohe/index.htm)
This is a series of trails that connect the Potomac and Upper Ohio river basins. You can explore routes traveled by George Washington on foot, bicycle, horse, and by boat, contrasting landscapes between the Chesapeake Bay and the Allegheny Highlands.

Deb Spalding

wyatt-fire-housewyatt-birthday-cakeWe all catch a cold or a flu bug now and then, but at the end of February of this year, 15-year-old Wyatt Black of Thurmont caught a very serious infection: bacterial meningitis.

Wyatt is an active, fun, farm-grown teenager. He plays sports, loves baseball, trains, and fire trucks, and is quick with a joke to brighten your day.

His extended family is well-known in the area as the proprietors of Catoctin Mountain Orchard. For generations, members of the Black family have proven themselves to be valuable members of the community and stewards of the land. That tradition continues today, with the youngest generation of Blacks, including Wyatt and his younger brothers, Nathan and Eaves, contributing to the orchard operation.

His parents, Christopher and Kiona Black, often show up to community functions with fresh fruit, a pie, or some other orchard-grown offering of good will. You could say, they’ve “got your back” regarding your sweet tooth. As of late, the entire Catoctin Community now has “got their back,” too!

Wyatt-Fill-the-Bootwyatt-catoctin-softballWhen Wyatt began his fight against meningitis, he was taken to Penn State Children’s Hospital in Hershey, Pennsylvania, where he received exceptional care. From the beginning of his battle, his parents took to social media to give updates about Wyatt’s condition.

What they didn’t foresee was that those updates, via social media, would spread to thousands of people. The updates served to “rally the troops,” so to speak, for community members and friends to join together and flood the cosmos with prayers, community good-will, community spirit, and energy—all directed towards Wyatt’s battle against the infection.

The volume of action people have taken for Wyatt is astounding. People chanted “Wyatt! Wyatt! Wyatt!” at a fundraiser at the Furnace Bar & Grill in Thurmont; local students sent him drawings for his birthday; “Wyatt Strong” t-shirts are being sold; a “Fill the Boot” fundraiser was held; “Wings for Wyatt” is on-going on Wednesdays at Bollinger’s Restaurant in Thurmont; “Wioters Unite!” wristbands are being sold; and Catoctin High School Baseball is “Team Wyatt.” Catoctin FFA sponsored “Miles for Meningitis,” where participants were able to “beat” meningitis by taking a sledge hammer to a vehicle; a TES Talent Show featured Erin Bollinger, Hayley Bollinger, and Austin Ridenour “Whippin For Wyatt”; Kountry Kitchen Restaurant and Cousins ACE Hardware in Thurmont and Harrington & Sons in Emmitsburg posted messages for Wyatt on their marquis or store windows; a parade was held; raffles, auctions, and ribbon drives have been held; signs and banners state support; cookies were sold for Wyatt; lemonade was sold for Wyatt; food and gifts have been donated; and let’s not forget the many families, individuals, churches, and communities who continue praying for Wyatt.

Wyatt-3Wyatt-1We are sure we have missed naming many additional wonderful efforts and people here. Two upcoming events that we’ve learned about include “Wheels for Wyatt Car Show” at the Thurmont Carnival Grounds on April 9, 2016, and an All-You-Can-Eat Benefit Breakfast for Wyatt Black at Trinity United Church of Christ in Thurmont on April 16, 2016.

If a community can unite to heal a person, Catoctin’s community is doing it!

Meningitis is an infection of the membranes that protect the spinal cord and brain. When these protective membranes become inflamed, it has a harmful impact on every part of the body. At times our bodies can combat the bacteria and move on as if it were a common bug; yet, sometimes, it is a serious infection that sometimes leads to impairment or fatality.

In mid-March, after successfully breathing on his own and having his intubation tube removed, Wyatt was transferred to Penn State Hershey Rehabilitation Hospital, also located in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Since arriving there, rehabilitation therapies have shown that he is able to write to communicate, but some skills need further development. Chris gave an update on Monday, March 28, “Today makes one week at rehab, they are anticipating another 3-5 weeks till he comes home. He receives speech, physical and occupational therapy daily. He needs to work on walking. He is getting better every day with swallowing. They are saying that he cannot open his eyes yet because the infection is still present in that part of his brain.”

Lemonade-for-Wyattwings-for-WyattEvery day, our community has stood by Wyatt and his family, and continues to do so. The social loop on the internet has provided a fluent portal to communicate support and prayers.

While the medical doctors have not given a clear answer as to the magnitude or speed of Wyatt’s recovery, the Blacks have been assured by former patients that, “Wyatt will be just fine. It just takes time.” But, the fight is not won yet. It is a long recovery process for meningitis.

One friend on Facebook posted, “Thank you to all that have been praying. He’s been making great improvements and will continue to get back to the old Wyatt with all of your prayers, positive thoughts, and energy. This kid is truly a class act. We need more Wyatts in this world!!”

Owyatt miles for meningitisn March 24, Kiona posted, “Every day I am thinking of new ways to help Wyatt recover. Today he showed signs that he has both retrograde and anterograde amnesia when it comes to certain topics… Please post a favorite funny story that I can share with Wy and his brothers to help him rebuild his memory bank and to create an activity that the Brothers Three can do together. Having the Middle and Little involved in the story telling should help all of them start to move forward…together.”

wyatt whippin for wyattThe Blacks graciously thank everyone for their generous donations. There are not words to express gratitude for all of the support and caring that the Catoctin Community has shown!

About Wyatt, Chris and Kiona expressed, “We know in our hearts that he will make a full recovery. He has shown so much fight since day one.”

See Kiona’s (Wyatt’s mom) “Love Letter to my Sons” on page 31.

Beth Watson is ready for her final bow, and when the curtain drops on the final performance of Footloose in the fall, the Thurmont Thespians twenty-year run will come to an end.

“It’s time,” said Watson, adding, “even if it’s going to be hard to give up something you love so much.”

Watson and her husband, Spence, moved to the Thurmont area in 1993 and formed the Thurmont Thespians a few years later. It originally began as an organization to train and inspire young actors and allow them to perform. It eventually expanded into an organization for adults that performed multiple shows each year at the Thurmont American Legion. During that time, it became a cultural staple for Thurmont.

“We both founded it, but it was his genius that got it going, not mine,” expressed Watson.

Watson retired after directing The Fantasticks in March. The performance of Footloose in the fall will be directed by Rosalyn Smaldone, who actually came up through the Thurmont Thespians program, learning her skills first in the children’s workshops, then as an actor with the group, and now finally as a director.

“I think it speaks well for the program that our last production is directed by someone who came through our program,” Watson said.

When Footloose closes, so will the Thurmont Thespians. It will be the sixty-fifth performance staged by the theater group.

“I’m really proud that we produced three original musicals over the years,” Watson said. This includes a play about autism that actually went on tour to Washington, D.C.

Although Watson still loves the stage, she is eighty-one years old and feels it is time to quit. Also, she points out that managing the group has been a heavier burden to run since Spence died in 2014.

Watson’s love of the stage is not surprising. She and Spence met onstage playing opposite each other in a dinner theater in Wilmington, Delaware, in 1980. They were married thirty years.

Out of the sixty-five shows the Thurmont Thespians have performed, her favorite production is The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, which they produced in the middle of the summer. She knew the author of the book and was able to tie in author events with the performances.

She has acted in, as well as directed, shows. She has even been able to perform with family. She and Spence acted together in Gin Game and Love Letters, and she performed with her daughter in Grace and Glorie.

Her main goal with the Thurmont Thespians, though, has always been to teach children to love the theater.

“I love the theater, and I think it teaches kids a lot,” Watson said. “The Thurmont Thespians was also able to provide something they couldn’t get in school.” She estimates that approximately three hundred children have attended the summer workshops for children held every year. Some children came back summer after summer and fell in love with the theater. Others only attended one summer and decided that it wasn’t for them.

However, keeping the program running requires a lot of time and effort. It also requires a lot of fundraising, which she never liked doing.

Once she retires, Watson said the first thing she is going to do is rest and relax.

Beth-Watson

Nathan Kopit, Emily Cofer, Beth Watson, and Rachel Johnson. Nathan, Emily, and Rachel participated in the Thurmont Thespians summer program and had lead roles in the adult production of The Fantasticks in March 2016. Emily and Rachel were both in productions as preschoolers, as they had older siblings in the program.

Beth-Watson-2

Beth Watson is shown teaching students in the Thurmont Thespians Program, her main goal always being to teach children to love the theater.

James Rada, Jr.

In early March of this year, Mike Fitzgerald’s children performed a sad duty in honor of their father: they made his casket from standing dead trees that Mike had harvested years earlier.

Donald “Mike” Fitzgerald passed away on February 28, 2016, in the log home that he built himself. He was eighty-five years old.

The Shamrock Restaurant, which Mike opened in 1963, closed for a few days when it was learned that Mike had died. It reopened a week later, and now stands as a legacy for Mike’s hard work and love of family.

About Shamrock Restaurant in a 2014 interview, Mike Fitzgerald said, “There were days and nights in a row that I wouldn’t go home. I would be working here doing whatever needed to be done and then I would sleep here.”

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

On the bar side, Mike raised the price of beers to encourage the troublemakers, who used to come to the dance hall for cheap beer, to go drink elsewhere.

The Shamrock was a family business. Mike, his wife Doris Jane, his mother, and his nine children (as they grew old enough), all worked in the restaurant.

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

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

The restaurant also won a national award years ago for having the best St. Patrick’s Day party in the nation.

Mike’s living legacy, however, is his family. He is survived by his wife of sixty-eight years, Doris Jane (Wastler), and nine children: Donna (and TJ) Demmon of Thurmont; Dennis (and Dianne) Fitzgerald of Huntsville, AL; Dawn (and Donald) Knox of Taneytown; Diane (and David) Stottlemyer of Thurmont; Debra Oster of Thurmont; Daniel (and Heather) Fitzgerald of Emmitsburg; David (and Bonny) Fitzgerald of Emmitsburg; Darrell Fitzgerald of Frederick; and Dean (and Cecilia) Fitzgerald of Frederick. He also has seventeen grandchildren and twelve great-grandchildren who will all remember him.

The Town of Thurmont owes him a debt for helping establish the Thurmont Community Park and donating it to the town while he was president of the Thurmont Jaycees. He also helped in the creation of Catoctin Colorfest, which allows many non-profit organizations in town to raise a lot of money each year. He was the charter president of the Thurmont Colt’s Corral Chapter 12. Fitzgerald and his friend, Vernon Myers, also launched the Catoctin Youth Association.

He was interred in St. Anthony’s Catholic Church Cemetery.

Nicholas DiGregory

To the typical wandering traveler, cruising up or down U.S. Route 15, the little town of Emmitsburg does not appear to be a major attraction. While the town’s tourism landmarks—such as the stately National Shrine of Elizabeth Ann Seton and the picturesque Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes—do draw a crowd, Emmitsburg itself can easily be overlooked on maps and guides dominated by more popular destinations in cities like Gettysburg or Frederick. To an unknowing tourist, the little town of Emmitsburg appears to be just that—a little town.

However, looks can be deceiving. Beneath the quaint, small-town look and feel of Emmitsburg is a tightly knit community of friends and neighbors, many of whom have lived in the area for their entire lives. It is the strength of this community that gives the town of Emmitsburg a uniquely vibrant character.

While the quality of the community has always been the primary motivating factor for Emmitsburg’s prosperity, the strength and unity of that community has been challenged over the past few months by an unexpected controversy, which arose from Emmitsburg’s own Mount St. Mary’s University.

In the early autumn of 2015, disagreements between the university’s administration and its faculty reached a breaking point, with the then-president Simon Newman pioneering for changes that many at the university believed to be unethical. When the arguments boiled over into the community, many local faculty members, staff members, students, and alumni picked a side in the increasingly vociferous debate. The debacle at Mount St. Mary’s gained national attention from such sources as The Washington Post and several scholarly societies from across the country.

The resignation of university president Simon Newman, whose policies were at the center of the dispute, indicates that the school desires to move past the controversy; however, the decision has come too late for many members of the Emmitsburg community. Lack of straightforward communication from the university, coupled with sensationalized reports in local and national media, have left the community of Emmitsburg with few facts and many wounds.

We, at The Catoctin Banner, hope that the information that follows helps to resolve many of the questions that may remain regarding the whirlwind of allegations and accusations that have poured out of Mount St. Mary’s University over the past few months. It must be noted that The Catoctin Banner does not support any involved party other than the community as a whole; our efforts to present what transpired at Mount St. Mary’s University are not intended to harm, but to encourage healing among the embittered parties for the good of the community.

What follows is a documented account of the events that transpired at Mount St. Mary’s University over the past few months.

In the fall of 2014, the Mount St. Mary’s University met with three candidates for the university presidency, which was set to be vacated by Thomas Powell after eleven years of service. Upon reviewing the candidates, the university’s Board of Trustees selected Simon Newman as the 25th president. Trustee member and Mount alumnus Francis W. Daily said that Newman was selected primarily for his financial experience, although communication skills and Catholic identity also played a part in the hiring.

At the time, Mount St. Mary’s was dealing with considerable debts; Newman’s financial expertise was a necessity for the struggling university. A fifty-one-year-old from the United Kingdom, Newman held almost thirty years of experience in the financial sector, specifically in private equity, strategy consulting, and financial operations. During that time, he led several businesses from the brink of bankruptcy, coordinating for more than $200 million in profit improvement.

Newman took charge of the university on March 10, 2015, five months earlier than expected. In an editorial piece, the editing staff of the Mountain Echo student newspaper welcomed Newman to his new position. While the authors of the article cited that Newman would have “his work cut out for him” in improving and increasing the campus’ living spaces and other facilities, they also affirmed that there was “utmost faith” in his ability to “guide the university through these times of concern.”

Newman’s program for improving the university, deemed Mount 2.0, outlined several key changes in the university’s programs and functions. Newman, with the support of the Board of Trustees, implemented several changes to the university’s academic development and marketing. Among other major changes were a re-evaluation of the core curriculum and the addition of two new financial programs: Enterprise Resource Planning and Customer Relationship Management.

While Newman’s financial decisions were originally lauded by the majority of those at the university, he came under fire for one particular decision in October 2015. On October 29, 2015, Mount St. Mary’s administration notified its employees of the elimination of the university’s long-held retiree health care benefits. Prior to this announcement, retired employees of the university that had served before 1996 were allowed to remain on the university’s health care plan. After Newman’s adjustments, these employees were removed from the program, as well as spouses of current employees. Retirement fund benefits for current employees were also cut in half.

While many retired and current employees of the university acknowledged that these benefits could not be funded forever, they criticized the way that Newman and the university administration went about implementing the changes. In a letter from three retired professors addressed to members of the university community, it was stated that the retired professors were “shocked” by the “very abrupt termination of the retiree health benefit.” The letter also stated that Newman implemented the changes behind the backs of many of the retirees.

“We were also shocked by the way we were informed—by receiving a letter in the mail or an email, and in some cases, not being informed at all,” the letter read.

While the administration assured that the benefit cuts were necessary for the continued operation of the university, members of the university community began to distrust Newman’s methods. This distrust reached its climax on January 19, 2016, when the Mountain Echo reported that Newman’s newly-created student retention plan was engineered to ensure the dismissal of twenty to twenty-five of the university’s worst-performing students. Additionally, the article referenced a conversation between Newman and Professor Greg Murray, where Newman allegedly referred to poorly-performing students as “bunnies” that needed to be drowned or have a “Glock to their heads.”

The university’s administration responded swiftly to the article, condemning it as “grossly inaccurate.” A subsequent statement from John E. Coyne, the chairman of the Board of Trustees, confirmed that Newman used the “inappropriate metaphor” but denied that Newman’s new retention program targeted unintelligent students for dismissal. Coyne’s statement blamed the misinformation on an “organized, small group of faculty and recent alums working to undermine and ultimately cause the exit of President Newman.”

Opponents of Newman and the administration were further inflamed in February, when Newman ordered the termination of two university faculty members, one of which was tenured. Professors Thane Naberhaus and Edward Egan were escorted off campus by security, and their university equipment was seized. Newman himself did not address the men about their termination, but rather had letters delivered to the professors, stating that their termination was due to unspecified violations of university policy.

The majority of the faculty members believed that the terminations were retaliatory, as both men had objected to Newman’s policy changes. While the university offered later that same week to reinstate both professors, the damage had already been done. Articles about the university’s termination of the professors—one of whom still had tenure—were published in several local newspapers, as well as The Washington Post. Letters to the editor of the Mountain Echo poured in from current and past members of the university community; some stood with the faculty while others sided with Newman.

In light of the national publicity, the university faculty members voted overwhelmingly in favor of asking for Newman’s resignation. Despite the 87-3 vote, Newman insisted that he had no intention to resign.

On February 29, 2016, Newman did step down from the presidency. The Board of Trustees appointed Karl Einoff as the acting president.

 

Deb Spalding

The Catoctin FFA (formerly known as Future Farmers of America) Alumni sponsored an educational butchering fundraiser to raise money that will fund their annual banquet in May. The event took place on Friday, February 12, 2016, in the Catoctin High School agricultural area. It brought together an eagerness to learn the butchering process by as many as thirty-five students, paired with the talents and traditions taught by fifty-six volunteers from local farming families.

The day started at 6:30 a.m., when the hogs arrived already cut into halves from Horst Meats in Hagerstown. Pre-orders determined the number of hogs butchered. The number of hog’s butchered was up to twenty, from eighteen last year. From the point of pulling the halves off the truck, stations were set up where the various parts of the process were completed.

A long table was the center of the operation, where men and women were intent on cutting the large parts of the hog halves into smaller parts. The various parts were then taken to other stations for continued processing, weighing, and bagging.

Catoctin students, Madison Feltner and Lizzie Devilbiss, sorted rib and loin cuts into four-pound bags. Volunteers Steve Smith, Shea Smith, and Daryl Poffenberger bagged loose sausage. Catoctin students, Mackenzie Henderson, Carley Flora, and Josh Hubbard ground lard that would later be boiled in fired kettles to make cracklin’. Volunteer, Bernie Hobbs, and students, Cody Harmon and Megan Millison, separated cuts of lean meat and fats, passing them on to ground into sausage that would be sold loose or stuffed in casings.

Dave Shriver (Catoctin FFA Alumni member) volunteered his skills by cutting pork loins with bone into chops and cutting ribs into manageable pieces.

Outside, Bob Norwood and Rob McAfee, among many others, worked to tend fires under several cast-iron kettles, stirring the contents.

“We work with head meats and bony meats. Once meat leaves the bone, we strip it and grind it into puddin’ and scrapple,” explained Norwood.

Brian Hendrickson, Catoctin’s Ag Education Instructor, said, “Butchering is, for sure, an educational activity that teaches the science of butchering and the various parts of the process.”

This butchering event has been held annually at Catoctin for twenty-six years. The idea was suggested by then-FFA Alumni president, Gene Bollinger, and coordinated for many years by Catoctin’s former Ag teacher, Robert Beavan.

Denise Shriver, Catoctin FFA Alumni volunteer, has coordinated the butchering since 2010. Denise’s husband, Dave Shriver, who was manning the saw, gestured to the organized crowd of volunteers and said, “Many farmers just show up and volunteer. With a piece of mail they know to come on this day.” The butchering is always held on the second Friday in February.

The event was indeed an educational process, during which, generations of farmers passed along the process and traditions. Several families had as many as three generations represented at the event. Ashley McAfee (2012 Catoctin graduate, former FFA Ambassador, and former Maryland State FFA Officer), was there with her brother, Justin McAfee (current Catoctin senior), her father, Jeff McAfee (Catoctin FFA Alumni member), and her grandfather, Rob McAfee. Daniel Myers (2010 Catoctin graduate, former FFA Ambassador, and former Maryland State FFA Officer) was there with his father, Bobby Myers (Catoctin FFA Alumni member), and grandfather, Rodman Myers (Catoctin FFA Alumni member).

Shelby Hahn, a 2011 graduate of Catoctin, is now a junior at Penn State University, majoring in Animal Sciences. She said, “I’m happy to see that the program has grown. It’s something we use to educate the public, but it’s something that brings the community together and makes us special at Catoctin.”

Catoctin is the only school in the state of Maryland to host a full butchering. Maryland Public Television was on hand filming the butchering all day. The footage will be aired December 2016 in their Farm to Harvest series that highlights various unique agricultural events.

Matt Dellinger, FFA Alumni Association Vice President, was outside learning the kettles from “the older generation.”

“It brings community together with tenured farmers, community members, students, and businesses,” expressed Dellinger.

Much appreciation is extended to all of the volunteers who contributed to the success of the event.

Special thanks to the following: Hillside Turkey Farm and Jubilee Foods for donating the use of refrigerated trucks, Norman and Sandy Shriver for donating the bags used for packaging the meat, Mrs. Ruth Lenhart for the use of her family’s equipment, Robert Wiles for use of his equipment, and Paul Dennis for the use of his equipment.

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Mackenzie Henderson, Carley Flora, and Josh Hubbard are shown volunteering during the Catoctin FFA Alumni Educational Butchering Fundraiser.

Nicholas DiGregory

The record-breaking winter storm that struck the eastern United States in late January has gone by many names: , Snowpocalypse, Snowzilla, Snowmageddon. But whatever one is inclined to call it, Winter Storm Jonas, as meteorologists at the Weather Channel have officially deemed the storm, has made history across the East Coast, with record-setting snowfall, wind speeds, and low temperatures.

While Winter Storm Jonas had already begun to affect the East Coast as early as January 20, the bulk of its damaging effects were felt during the weekend of January 22-24. This was due primarily to what CNN meteorologist Chad Myers referred to as to as anything but the H&F.

This was the peak of Maryland’s trolley age. In 1922, the price of Henry Ford’s Model-T had fallen from approximately $950 in 1910, to around $348, the storm’s “supercharging:” when Winter Storm Jonas’ eastern edge reached the jet stream in the Atlantic Ocean, the winds and water temperatures of the ocean significantly increased the storm’s power, turning it into the lumbering behemoth of a snowstorm that buried much of the eastern United States.

As of January 25, Winter Storm Jonas had affected over 85 million people and dropped an average of almost 23 inches in major cities along the East Coast. Here are some statistics that illustrate the winter storm’s tremendous impact:

  • Approximately 22 million people were still snowed in as of January 25.
  • Associated Press reports from January 25 blame as many as 30 deaths on the storm. Causes of death ranged from traffic accidents to heart attacks while shoveling snow.
  • From January 22-25, more than 12,000 flights were canceled, as record-setting snow accumulation blocked runways at the Ronald Reagan Washington National, Baltimore-Washington International, and Washington Dulles International, airports.
  • Conservative estimates from utility companies highlight more than a million people without power.
  • The following ten states had declared a state of emergency as early as January 22: Georgia, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Kentucky, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Virginia, and West Virginia. Washington, D.C. declared a snow emergency.
  • Sustained wind gusts in some areas reached as high as 76 miles per hour, which would classify the storm as comparable to a Category 1 hurricane.
  • Federal buildings were shut down throughout the eastern United States; even the United States Post Office announced disruptions in service in Maryland and Virginia.

As of January 25, several major cities were still reeling, as city officials struggled to direct snow clean-up efforts. On January 24, Washington D.C.’s Mayor Muriel Bowser led more than 2,000 volunteer snow shovelers in an attempt to clear the vital roadways of the Nation’s Capital. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced in a press conference on January 24 that clean-up of the city’s many minor roads and alleyways may take up to two weeks.

Winter Storm Jonas’ heavy snowfall caused several adverse scenarios across the East Coast. On January 23, in Stafford County, Virginia, a man was forced to deliver his child at home when the heavy snowfall prevented emergency responders from reaching his home. Later that same day, a similar scenario occurred in Anne Arundel County, Maryland. Emergency dispatchers guided both new fathers through the delivery process, and reports from local news sources say that both babies are doing well.

The winter storm’s wrath was also felt by thousands of attendees at the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C., on January 22. A national event, the March for Life is an annual protest attended by thousands of anti-abortion activists who march through the Nation’s Capital in objection to the Supreme Court’s Roe vs. Wade decision to legalize abortion in America. Despite the impending storm, the organizers of the march elected to go through with the protest. While the march occurred without incident, hundreds of attendees were stranded in their buses on the way home. One notable large group was composed of several hundred college students from the Franciscan University of Steubenville, who were trapped on the Pennsylvania Turnpike from the evening of January 22 until the morning of January 24.

Despite all of the negative effects of Winter Storm Jonas in other parts, locally, the massive snow was handled with patience and perseverance. Many people found ways to turn the event into fun. One such method, deemed the Snow Challenge, involves wearing nothing more than a bathing suit while jumping into a snow pile. The craze, which has gone viral on social media websites, has contributed to many laughs during the seriousness of the winter storm.

The record-breaking winter storm that struck the eastern United States in late January has gone by many names: Blizzard 2016, Snowpocalypse, Snowzilla, Snowmageddon. But whatever one is inclined to call it, Winter Storm Jonas, as meteorologists at the Weather Channel have officially deemed the storm, has made history across the East Coast, with record-setting snowfall, wind speeds, and low temperatures.

While Winter Storm Jonas had already begun to affect the East Coast as early as January 20, the bulk of its damaging effects were felt during the weekend of January 22-24. This was due primarily to what CNN meteorologist Chad Myers referred to as the storm’s “supercharging:” when Winter Storm Jonas’ eastern edge reached the jet stream in the Atlantic Ocean, the winds and water temperatures of the ocean significantly increased the storm’s power, turning it into the lumbering behemoth of a snowstorm that buried much of the eastern United States.

As of January 25, Winter Storm Jonas had affected over 85 million people and dropped an average of almost 23 inches in major cities along the East Coast. Here are some statistics that illustrate the winter storm’s tremendous impact:

  • Approximately 22 million people were still snowed in as of January 25.
  • Associated Press reports from January 25 blame as many as 30 deaths on the storm. Causes of death ranged from traffic accidents to heart attacks while shoveling snow.
  • From January 22-25, more than 12,000 flights were canceled, as record-setting snow accumulation blocked runways at the Ronald Reagan Washington National, Baltimore-Washington International, and Washington Dulles International, airports.
  • Conservative estimates from utility companies highlight more than a million people without power.
  • The following ten states had declared a state of emergency as early as January 22: Georgia, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Kentucky, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Virginia, and West Virginia. Washington, D.C. declared a snow emergency.
  • Sustained wind gusts in some areas reached as high as 76 miles per hour, which would classify the storm as comparable to a Category 1 hurricane.
  • Federal buildings were shut down throughout the eastern United States; even the United States Post Office announced disruptions in service in Maryland and Virginia.

As of January 25, several major cities were still reeling, as city officials struggled to direct snow clean-up efforts. On January 24, Washington D.C.’s Mayor Muriel Bowser led more than 2,000 volunteer snow shovelers in an attempt to clear the vital roadways of the Nation’s Capital. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced in a press conference on January 24 that clean-up of the city’s many minor roads and alleyways may take up to two weeks.

Winter Storm Jonas’ heavy snowfall caused several adverse scenarios across the East Coast. On January 23, in Stafford County, Virginia, a man was forced to deliver his child at home when the heavy snowfall prevented emergency responders from reaching his home. Later that same day, a similar scenario occurred in Anne Arundel County, Maryland. Emergency dispatchers guided both new fathers through the delivery process, and reports from local news sources say that both babies are doing well.

The winter storm’s wrath was also felt by thousands of attendees at the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C., on January 22. A national event, the March for Life is an annual protest attended by thousands of anti-abortion activists who march through the Nation’s Capital in objection to the Supreme Court’s Roe vs. Wade decision to legalize abortion in America. Despite the impending storm, the organizers of the march elected to go through with the protest. While the march occurred without incident, hundreds of attendees were stranded in their buses on the way home. One notable large group was composed of several hundred college students from the Franciscan University of Steubenville, who were trapped on the Pennsylvania Turnpike from the evening of January 22 until the morning of January 24.

Despite all of the negative effects of Winter Storm Jonas in other parts, locally, the massive snow was handled with patience and perseverance. Many people found ways to turn the event into fun. One such method, deemed the Snow Challenge, involves wearing nothing more than a bathing suit while jumping into a snow pile. The craze, which has gone viral on social media websites, has contributed to many laughs during the seriousness of the winter storm.

The record-breaking winter storm that struck the eastern United States in late January has gone by many names: Blizzard 2016, Snowpocalypse, Snowzilla, Snowmageddon. But whatever one is inclined to call it, Winter Storm Jonas, as meteorologists at the Weather Channel have officially deemed the storm, has made history across the East Coast, with record-setting snowfall, wind speeds, and low temperatures.

While Winter Storm Jonas had already begun to affect the East Coast as early as January 20, the bulk of its damaging effects were felt during the weekend of January 22-24. This was due primarily to what CNN meteorologist Chad Myers referred to as the storm’s “supercharging:” when Winter Storm Jonas’ eastern edge reached the jet stream in the Atlantic Ocean, the winds and water temperatures of the ocean significantly increased the storm’s power, turning it into the lumbering behemoth of a snowstorm that buried much of the eastern United States.

As of January 25, Winter Storm Jonas had affected over 85 million people and dropped an average of almost 23 inches in major cities along the East Coast. Here are some statistics that illustrate the winter storm’s tremendous impact:

  • Approximately 22 million people were still snowed in as of January 25.
  • Associated Press reports from January 25 blame as many as 30 deaths on the storm. Causes of death ranged from traffic accidents to heart attacks while shoveling snow.
  • From January 22-25, more than 12,000 flights were canceled, as record-setting snow accumulation blocked runways at the Ronald Reagan Washington National, Baltimore-Washington International, and Washington Dulles International, airports.
  • Conservative estimates from utility companies highlight more than a million people without power.
  • The following ten states had declared a state of emergency as early as January 22: Georgia, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Kentucky, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Virginia, and West Virginia. Washington, D.C. declared a snow emergency.
  • Sustained wind gusts in some areas reached as high as 76 miles per hour, which would classify the storm as comparable to a Category 1 hurricane.
  • Federal buildings were shut down throughout the eastern United States; even the United States Post Office announced disruptions in service in Maryland and Virginia.

As of January 25, several major cities were still reeling, as city officials struggled to direct snow clean-up efforts. On January 24, Washington D.C.’s Mayor Muriel Bowser led more than 2,000 volunteer snow shovelers in an attempt to clear the vital roadways of the Nation’s Capital. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced in a press conference on January 24 that clean-up of the city’s many minor roads and alleyways may take up to two weeks.

Winter Storm Jonas’ heavy snowfall caused several adverse scenarios across the East Coast. On January 23, in Stafford County, Virginia, a man was forced to deliver his child at home when the heavy snowfall prevented emergency responders from reaching his home. Later that same day, a similar scenario occurred in Anne Arundel County, Maryland. Emergency dispatchers guided both new fathers through the delivery process, and reports from local news sources say that both babies are doing well.

The winter storm’s wrath was also felt by thousands of attendees at the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C., on January 22. A national event, the March for Life is an annual protest attended by thousands of anti-abortion activists who march through the Nation’s Capital in objection to the Supreme Court’s Roe vs. Wade decision to legalize abortion in America. Despite the impending storm, the organizers of the march elected to go through with the protest. While the march occurred without incident, hundreds of attendees were stranded in their buses on the way home. One notable large group was composed of several hundred college students from the Franciscan University of Steubenville, who were trapped on the Pennsylvania Turnpike from the evening of January 22 until the morning of January 24.

Despite all of the negative effects of Winter Storm Jonas in other parts, locally, the massive snow was handled with patience and perseverance. Many people found ways to turn the event into fun. One such method, deemed the Snow Challenge, involves wearing nothing more than a bathing suit while jumping into a snow pile. The craze, which has gone viral on social media websites, has contributed to many laughs during the seriousness of the winter storm.

pic cover maybe

Thanks to those of you who sent blizzard photos to our Facebook page (The Catoctin Banner is hosted under the name Deb Spalding on Facebook for the time being). We picked just one photo from the masses to post here. The kids at Miss. B’s Family Child Care make snow memories during the blizzard of 2016!

James Rada, Jr.

Training Center,Besides helping residents before and after the fires in Emmitsburg, the American Red Cross and Vigilant Hose Company (VHC) set out to stop fires from happening again.

Beginning on December 12, 2015, volunteers began going door to door to offer smoke alarm checks.

“Emmitsburg’s all-volunteer fire department, the Vigilant Hose Company, was challenged, to say the least, in terms of firefighting and rescue efforts, but, in spite of significant challenges, managed to accomplish what many locally, all across Northern Frederick County and surrounding counties, continue to say was amazing,” stated Wayne Powell with Vigilant Hose Company.

Vigilant Hose Company has offered installation of free smoke alarms for years, but with the two fires in town in December, residents’ interest in having their smoke alarms checked increased. The first fire occurred on Wednesday, December 2, 2015, mid-afternoon, at Paul’s Pit Stop on South Seton Avenue and the apartments above it. The second fire occurred on Monday, December 7, 2015, at 112 West Main Street, a few doors west of the Vigilant Hose Company fire station. In the second fire, two residents died from injuries, and one person was seriously injured.

“For years, VHC has installed free smoke alarms, but the men and women of the VHC knew they had to take full advantage of public attention—or ‘window of opportunity’ as it’s known,” said Powell.

Homeowners who had previously turned away volunteers doing smoke alarm checks were suddenly interested in having their alarms checked. First responders, community leaders, Mount Saint Mary’s University staff and students, and employees from the National Emergency Training Center, all pitched in to cover as many homes as possible.

Powell pointed out that the smoke alarms were free only as long as the volunteer teams were allowed to install them.

“We have found that if we give them away without installing them, they wind up in a drawer and people forget about them,” Powell said.

He also said that some people took the batteries out and used them for other things. The smoke alarms that Vigilant Hose Company installed now have a ten-year long-life battery built into them that can’t be removed.

Despite years of Vigilant Hose Company public fire education and year-round smoke alarm promotion, teams found a number of homes with no smoke alarms at all, many non-working units, and others well over ten years old, plus a few with one alarm in homes with more than one sleeping level.

The initial results from the December home fire safety visits and smoke alarm checks was: seventy-eight homes visited and two hundred seventeen smoke alarms installed within three hours. Volunteers were broken into seventeen on-the-street “Safety Teams.” Their goal was to check and see if a smoke alarm was installed on each level and each sleeping area of a residence. A “Go-Team” at the fire station provided smoke alarm expertise from a smoke alarm expert of the U.S. Fire Administration staff, as well as additional literature and alarms as needed, plus handling other normal duties including fire calls.

“Phone call requests for VHC visits have been coming non-stop from across the community ever since,” Powell commented.

As of January 10, 2016, two hundred forty-eight smoke alarms had been installed.

Vigilant Hose Company has carried smoke alarms on its emergency vehicles for years in order to install them whenever possible. They routinely conduct safety presentations to any and all groups who allow it.

Those seeking further information or wish to schedule a visit, contact the Vigilant Hose Company via its website at www.vigilanthose.org or call the fire station at 301-447-2728.

Red Cross 121215 on TV

A Safety Team hit the streets in Emmitsburg on December 12, 2015; they were welcomed by residents, with many others now asking for visits.

Nicholas DiGregory

If you tuned in to Jeopardy! on December 3, 2015, you would have seen Rocky Ridge’s own Kelly Wright crowned a Jeopardy! champion. The twenty-six-year-old, who graduated from McDaniel College in 2011, earned a total of $7,700 in winnings, with a first-place victory on the December 3 show and a third-place victory on the December 4 show.

I had a chance to ask Wright a few questions about her experiences on the show; here is what she had to say:

How were you chosen to take part in the Jeopardy! game show?

I initially took the Jeopardy! online test in April of 2015 and found out I had an audition in early May. The audition was in Boston on June 10, so I flew up for the day and had my audition. It consists of another fifty-question test, and then you do a little mock game so they can find out if you’re going to freak out and pass out or anything like that once you’re holding the buzzer. Then there’s a little impromptu interview, so they can get a feel for the possible contestants. After all that, you find out that you’ll be in their contestant pool for the next eighteen months, and you may or may not hear anything back during that period. So I was pretty shocked when I got a call from them in late August that they wanted me to come out and play. I guess I figured it would be a much longer wait, if ever!

What was the game show experience like?

The whole experience was completely amazing, and it was a great day. They tape a week’s worth of episodes in one day, and the two challengers are drawn randomly. The other contestants sit in the audience and watch the taping, just like everyone else. Everyone who works at the studio and with the show, and the other contestants, were awesome; there wasn’t any real feeling of super competitiveness since I think we were all just stoked to be there. When I initially found out I was going to be on the show, I was kind of terrified, but once the day was actually happening, the contestant coordinators with the show do such a good job at keeping people calm, I was never really as nervous as I thought I would be. There were definitely some jitters once I was actually standing behind the podium, though!

Do you have any favorite memorable moments?

The best thing about going on the show was that my ninety-one-year-old grandfather, Horace Wright, got to come along and watch me play. He’s the one who really pushed me to try out for the game, and getting to make him proud was the best possible outcome. One other cool thing was, after the taping was done, I got to go see the RV from Breaking Bad that they keep on the Sony studio lot. I’m a huge fan of Breaking Bad, so getting to see that in person was a great finish to a fantastic day.

How was interacting with Alex Trebek?

The best stuff with Alex comes at the end of the show, when the contestants and him are standing on the stage, just chatting. That’s when you really get to find out that he has a hilariously dry sense of humor. During my first show, we all chatted a little bit about hockey and the then-upcoming NHL season, and during the second show, he gave me a little bit of ribbing about my bone-headed final Jeopardy answer, and it was hilarious. How many people get to say that Alex Trebek made fun of them?

Rumor has it that you wore a lucky t-shirt on air? Is this true and, if so, what was the significance?

So, when I auditioned for the show in Boston during the summer, I was wearing an Alex Ovechkin shirt under my auditions clothes for good luck. When I found out I was going to be on the show, I figured I had to up the ante and I ordered a shirt from “Russian Machine Never Breaks”—it’s a Capitals blog run by guys from Frederick—that commemorated when Alex Ovechkin famously acted like his stick was on fire after scoring his 50th goal of …the 08-09 season. I knew I wanted to rock the red under whatever I was wearing for the show, and I like to think it brought me enough luck to join the ranks of the Jeopardy! champions.

How has life been since the show?

Since the show, everything has gone back to normal, thankfully. The week leading up to my shows was absolutely crazy; so many people were wishing me good luck and things really blew up. I’m very grateful that I had so many people rooting for me, but I’m even more grateful that everything died down quickly as well.

Jeopardy Photo

Kelly Wright of Rocky Ridge, crowned a Jeopardy! champion, is pictured with Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek.

Deb Spalding

Community Gardens - wDebs article - by Jim HumerickThe Town of Thurmont formed the Thurmont Green Team in May, 2015, and is working towards certification this spring as a Maryland Certified Sustainable Community.  Sustainable Maryland is a voluntary certification program for municipalities in Maryland who want to go green, save money, and take steps to sustain their quality of life.

Residents from Thurmont and the surrounding communities comprise Thurmont’s Green Team, and it is these team members, chaired by Anita Philips, who attended training, implemented action items, measured progress, drafted a town ordinance, and are taking the required steps to achieve certification.

Some action items, such as establishing and promoting a local farmers market, energy audits, establishing and promoting a local business directory, a buy local campaign, and a yard waste program, had already been implemented before the Green Team was formed. The town earned points for conducting a municipal energy audit, measuring residential energy efficiency, converting street lights to LED lights, converting to paper biodegradable yard waste bags, hosting a buy local program and creating a local business directory.

Adding to that firm foundation, The Green Team has also completed additional action items in order to obtain points towards certification. New projects completed included the Pet Waste Program and Pet Waste Ordinance, and partnering with the Department of Housing and Community Development’s Sustainability Program.

One project of note is the Thurmont Community Gardens. Jim Humerick, Thurmont’s Chief Administrative Officer said, “This will be up and running in the spring and we’re really excited about it.” Registration began February 1 to lease 9’x11’ plots within the 30×100’ Community Garden area, located at Carroll Street Park, for $25.00 each. This is a great opportunity for all residents, but especially residents who live in apartments, townhouses and condos to enjoy gardening. For more information or to sign up, email Greg Daniels, Community Garden Coordinator at ThurmontCommunityGardens@gmail.com.  Applications can also be picked up at the Thurmont Municipal Offices.

Hillary Rothrock, a new Green Team member, took part in Frederick County’s Neighborhood Green Program which allowed homeowners to apply for funding for green improvements on their personal property. Rain barrels, minimizing rainwater runoff, compost, and a biomex rain garden are just a few of the improvements supported under this program. She said, “I think educating people about how easy it is to apply to make improvements is important to future sustainability.”

The Green Team is partnering with Frederick County for Residential Energy Efficiency Action. At www.FrederickGreenChallenge.org, residents learn about fifty actions that they can take to save energy. Here residents can earn points to become Certified Power Savers. Thurmont’s goal was to have 20 percent of households certified as Power Savers—a goal that was met in 2013. Residents who participate are automatically placed in an online Thurmont Green Team. To date, forty-one households have participated in the Power Saver Challenge.

The Green Team has several other projects that promote sustainability. With them come some really interesting volunteer opportunities. If you would like to serve on The Green Team, email  ThurmontGreenTeam@gmail.com or visit Thurmont Green Team on Facebook.

Green Team Chair, Anita Philips, urges each of us to, “Be a good ancestor now!”

Nicholas DiGregory

Despite statistical odds of 1 in 292.2 million, three superbly lucky winners picked the correct six-number combination to claim a piece of the record-smashing $1.6 billion Powerball jackpot on January 13, 2016. Each of the three winning ticket holders can claim about $533 million before taxes, or approximately $327 million should they cash in on the lump sum option. The winning tickets were sold in Munford, Tennesee; Melbourne Beach, Florida; and Chino Hills, California.

As of January 22, only the Munford winners have stepped forward publicly; John and Lisa Robinson of Munford, Tennessee, elected to take the cash lump sum of $327 million, paid out over a ten-day period.

In addition to the three jackpot tickets, eight tickets for the $2 million prize and seventy-three tickets for the $1 million prize were also sold. One of the $1 million tickets was sold at the Wawa on Urbana Pike in Frederick, Maryland.

More than 635 million Powerball tickets were sold across the United States, with approximately 26 million winning tickets for prizes ranging from $4 to $533 million.

 

What It Could Mean to Win

Although no one sole winner was able to claim the $1.6 billion jackpot, three winning ticket holders are each entitled to an even cut of the prize money. Each of their shares in the winnings comes to approximately $533 million before tax, or about $327 million in cash.

To put into perspective just how massive these winnings are, the jackpot winners could use their pre-tax cash option earnings to:

  • Buy 177,717,391 gallons of gasoline at the national average price of $1.84 per gallon—or 289,673,913 gallons of gas with the $533 million of the annuity option.
  • Supply 93,428,571 people in third-world countries with clean drinking water for 20 years—choosing the annuity option could increase that number to 152,285,714 people.
  • Stay in Switzerland at the Hotel President Wilson’s Royal Penthouse Suite, which is currently the most expensive hotel room in the world at $80,000 per night, for a total of 4,087 nights—or 6,662 nights, with the money from the annuity option.
  • Buy at least ten private islands in the Caribbean—or double that number with the money from the annuity option.
  • Build an 86,000-ton cruise ship or a pair of Boeing 787 Dreamliners—while choosing the annuity option would allow a person to do both.
  • Give every person living in the United States $1.02—or $1.67 per person with the money from the annuity option.
  • Purchase, at its current value, one of the following nine National Hockey League teams: New York Islanders, Buffalo Sabres, St. Louis Blues, Tampa Bay Lightning, Nashville Predators, Columbus Blue Jackets, Carolina Hurricanes, Arizona Coyotes, Florida Panthers—choosing the annuity option would allow consideration of the following teams as well: New Jersey Devils, Winnipeg Jets, Colorado Avalanche, Ottawa Senators, Minnesota Wild, Anaheim Ducks, Calgary Flames, San Jose Sharks, Dallas Stars, Edmonton Oilers.
  • Buy 81 Lamborghini Venenos, the most expensive car on the market at almost $4 million—choosing the annuity option would allow the purchase of 133 of the luxury vehicle.

 

What It Would Actually Mean to Win

While the aforementioned options would all be feasible with the gross Powerball jackpot winnings, winning such a large sum through the lottery system imposes a very different reality. While it is common knowledge that taxes must be taken out of the lottery winnings, there is also a slew of other hidden costs that can cut down the jackpot’s net value considerably. Some financial experts estimate that these hidden expenses can cost anywhere from $32 million to $117 million.

One such hidden cost is the need to hire a lifetime financial expert. Any FDIC bank is legally required to insure only up to $250,000, making it an insanely risky move to invest in the banks. Professional financial advisors can help with investment decisions and ensure that the money does not disappear, but their services are not cheap. An experienced financial planner can wind up costing millions of dollars over the years.

Another hidden cost that the jackpot winners must invest in is a tax attorney. The lottery is taxable income on the state and federal levels, and the burden of figuring them out and paying them in full is dumped almost entirely on the lottery winner. Thus, a tax attorney is vital for navigating through the befuddling world of tax bureaucracy. Luckily enough for the three jackpot winners, none of their states require a state income tax to be paid on their winnings. But one can be sure that all of the winners will need the help of a tax attorney when dealing with the IRS.

Beyond these two major hidden costs, the Powerball jackpot winners will probably have to put a small fortune toward umbrella insurance, estate lawyers, begrudging relatives, and many other surprises that come with a big lottery win. While the jackpot win may seem to be the best thing to ever happen to the ticket holders, it will inevitably become a huge hassle for them as well.

 

What If You Had Won?

Before the winning tickets were drawn, readers were offered a chance to share on The Catoctin Banner Facebook page how they would use the winnings. Here are some of the things they had to say:

  • Bryant Hoffman: “First, I’d buy a house. Then, I’d take a trip!”
  • Donna Houck: “First, I would take care of my family. Then I would buy a lot of homeless homes, and give them a trust to get them started. Have to really think about the rest. Lol.”
  • Jess Nutley: “I would pay off all my bills, build a house not a crazy size one. Set up a CD for each of my loved ones and their kids. I would pay off all my mother’s, brothers’ and sisters’ bills and my in-laws’ and donate a bunch to so many different places. And go on a huge family vacation for all of them.”
  • Jo Kerns: “I would help my family first and foremost. Set up college funds for my grandchildren. Then I would build a small cabin by a lake and of course buy me a boat and a new truck to pull it! Love the water and that’s where I would retire. I would also donate funds to cancer research and open a home for children who are abused.”
  • Wanda Koontz-Myers: “First I would get me a great CPA and lawyer. Then pay all my medical bills. Look into buying a large piece of land to build a rescue to rescue all the fur-babies I could. Hire people to help me take care of the rescue. Then help my family as much as I can out of debt. Then give to 4 Churches that I used to attend. Then help out as many Veterans and Homeless people that want my help and invest the rest and live off the interest!”
  • Janel Norton: “We decided we would buy the property from Stonewall Acres and Eylers land in Thurmont, build the current allotted amount of small farm houses then donate it all to Wounded Warriors for our Military families who need help healing from protecting our freedoms. The other plus is preserving the charm of Thurmont, we don’t need nearly 200 townhomes here.”
  • Denny Sweeney: “Hand it over to my wife of course! After that, who knows!”
  • Ashley Scott-Andrew: “I would like to start a cancer place, something like St. Jude but for adults and children!!! Where the patients would not have to pay a cent for treatment! I would name it after my grandmother, Doris Cullison, who lost her life to breast cancer. I would also start a scholarship up in her name for Mount St. Mary’s University since she worked there and education was so important to her!”
  • Emily Fry: “With that kind of dough I’d pay off everything I owe and be totally debt free & so would my family & a bunch of my friends! And I’ve always thought I’d take the Catoctin Class of ‘89 and their families on an all-expenses paid for cruise!”

 

Nicholas DiGregory

in come and gone. The last-second scramblers have stopped raiding the store shelves; gridlocked traffic no longer clogs every highway; and all of the in-laws have (hopefully) returned to their homes. The festivities to close out 2015 and to welcome 2016 are almost a month behind us, and that means you finally have time to relax and recuperate, right?

Unfortunately, the end of the holiday season does not mean that you are in the clear when it comes to crime. While the cold winter months of the new year see a considerable decrease in overall burglary and larceny, your new holiday goodies can make you a target for desperate potential thieves who are trying hard to make ends meet. New cars, appliances, and accessories purchased at holiday sale prices are all tempting objects for a thief who is looking for his next victim.

According to the FBI’s most recent crime statistics, property crime is the most common form of crime in the United States; the year of 2014 saw over 8.27 million recorded cases at a rate of 2,596 instances per 100,000 people. Home burglaries, that is, theft from a structure after unlawful entry, accounted for roughly twenty percent of those property crimes. Theft of items from vehicles accounted for another sixteen percent of property crimes.

Burglary and theft from vehicles are commonplace occurrences that can severely impact your life and the lives of those around you, should you fall victim. To help you protect yourself from such crime, I spoke with local law enforcement about how one can safeguard one’s property from thieves.

Security Tip #1: Think How a Thief Thinks When He Is Scouting for Victims

Thieves vary in skill level and proficiency, but they all tend to stick to a few trends when committing crime. First, thieves are far more likely to target a home or vehicle if they think no one is around. Your home and vehicle are most vulnerable when you are away from them. Thus, never leave signs that you are not home. If you are away from home for an extended period of time, try not to broadcast it over social media until you return home. Having a trusted friend check your mail and visit your home regularly while you are gone is often enough to deter thieves.

Second, thieves like having a covert entrance and escape route. Trim or eliminate any dense shrubbery around your home and driveway. If you live near a forested space or in an area that is removed from other homes, consider putting up motion-sensing lights. Installing even a small fence can also help to discourage thieves.

Security Tip #2: Deny Thieves Easy Access to Your Home and Vehicle

This one should be obvious, but the reality is that many people unintentionally provide thieves with the means to steal their belongings. Always lock the doors and windows to your home and to your cars. Thieves look for easy access to a home or vehicle; they are more likely to steal from you if they can quickly enter and exit your home or vehicle. Never leave your vehicle running while unattended, even for a second. And be cautious when leaving your vehicle’s windows cracked on a hot day; an experienced thief can remove a car window fairly quickly if they can get their fingers through the gap.

Security Tip #3: Keep Track of Your Belongings

The average thief is not looking to make a fortune from his heists. Most thieves steal small items that they can see clearly prior to committing the crime. If you own an expensive computer, television, etc., try not to place it in your home where one can easily see it from an open window. The same goes for your vehicle; never leave a phone, GPS, or purse in your car where it can be seen.

Another way to protect your larger and more expensive belongings is by recording their serial numbers. If a thief steals a belonging with a serial number and tries to pawn or sell it, having that number on record can help find your belonging and implicate the thief.

Security Tip #4: Involve Others in the Community

Thieves prefer to strike victims who are isolated from others. By getting your friends, neighbors, and local law enforcement involved, you can protect yourself more easily and effectively. An active neighborhood watch program can intimidate thieves and assist police investigations should a theft occur. Should you see something suspicious, call the police and then alert your neighbors. Thieves will often reconsider visiting a neighborhood if they notice observant residents who communicate frequently with each other and the local police.

Security Tip #5: Be Smart!

While these tips can help to discourage thieves from stealing your belongings, it is important to note that no home or vehicle can be completely impregnable. If you should encounter a thief or have reason to believe that a thief has entered your home or vehicle, retreat to a secure location and contact the police immediately. And remember, nothing you own is worth more than your life.

 

 

 

James Rada, Jr.

While the design of the Thurmont Regional Library was inspired by the Catoctin Furnace, when you walk into the Thurmont Center for Agricultural History, you’ll see a different inspiration. Two windows from old Moravian Church that had been on Water Street in the late nineteenth Century, hang from one wall. On another wall hangs a grange mural painted in the 1960s by Elizabeth Holter Howard.

Tucked away in one corner of the library, the Thurmont Center for Agricultural History’s collections continue to grow.

“We are saving stuff for the future, when people start wondering more about the farms that used to be in the county and how they operated,” said Thurmont Library Manager Erin Dingle.

Mary Mannix, manager of the Maryland Room at the C. Burr Artz Library in Frederick, said that the idea for an agricultural history room first took root about seventeen years ago, when the Maryland Room obtained its first major agriculture-related collection: a set of annual reports from the county extension agent. There wasn’t room at the old library for the collections, so it remained at the Maryland room until the new library was built.

“We’ve been trying to collect primary and secondary information of the agricultural history and culture in Frederick County,” Mannix said. “A lot of it relates the county granges, which as a social organization have been a large part of agriculture in Maryland and the nation from post-Civil War to the mid-twentieth century.

Besides the extension agent reports, the room also has the Pomona Grange archives, extension service publications, Jefferson Grange archives, Maryland State Grange records, and many more. There are also private collections that have been donated to the room.

“You’ll see people using the room to find information regarding the history of family farms,” said Mannix.

The center also has local history, genealogy information, and microfilm copies of newspapers.

“People searching for the genealogy are probably the ones who use the room the most,” stated Dingle.

The center’s basic core genealogy resources can help a person trying to track down family members from Northern Frederick County.

Researchers can also find information about the area by searching through the Emmitsburg Chronicle, Catoctin Enterprise, and Catoctin Clarion on microfilm. There is also a small collection of local history books about the area.

“As agriculture continues to vanish from the area, I think more people will use the center as they want to find out more about agriculture history,” Mannix said.

The Thurmont Center for Agricultural History has the same hours as the library: 10:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m., Monday through Thursday; 10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m., Friday and Saturday; and 1:00-5:00 p.m. on Sunday. To access the center, check in with the librarian at the reference desk. If you will need research help, you may want to call ahead to make sure a librarian will be available to help you.

If you can’t make it to the center, research requests are accepted at no charge, except for photocopies at $.20 per copy. Submit the request, in writing, with as much information as possible to Erin Dingle.