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60 Years of Educating, Inspiring, and Entertaining

Deb Spalding
The 60th Annual Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show opened with the 40th Annual Community Flag Ceremony at 7:00 p.m. on Friday, September 9, 2016, at Catoctin High School. Being its sixtieth year, former Maryland State FFA Officers from Thurmont, Emmitsburg, and Catoctin High Schools, were cited for their contributions that helped to strengthen our community’s agricultural awareness and expansion over the years.

The Community Show is sponsored by civic-minded and community-concerned business people. No admission is charged to the public. The show has many different parts, all of which either educate, inspire, or entertain the show-goer, as intended in the Community Show’s mission statement.

The Opening Ceremony on Friday evening kicked off a weekend of civic dinners, entertaining concerts, baked goods and livestock auctions, farm animal shows, good-natured contests, community organization and business exhibits, and exhibit entries of artistic ability, craftsmanship, culinary talents, and gardening or farming aptitude.
It’s a little overwhelming to take in all of the aspects of this show. You must experience the different parts to truly appreciate the grandness of it and to soak in the heritage that is celebrated within it.

For example, for the past seventeen Community Shows, Harold and Peggy Long of Long-View Farms have been donating the hog that is sold at the livestock auction during the Community Show to benefit the FFA Scholarship Fund. Their grandson, David R. Young, a senior at Catoctin High School, shows this hog. Carol Robertson, president of the Catoctin Colorfest, Inc., has been buying it for the last eight years. This year, she purchased the hog for $10.50 per pound. It weighed 249 pounds! That’s $2,614.50 going into the FFA Alumni Scholarship Fund. Carol Robertson chuckled as she said, “I had just been to the grocery store and spent $1.89 per pound for pork. Then I went up there [to the livestock auction] and spent $2,600 on a pig. It’s gotta be a good pig. Best pork ever!”

That same hog was then taken to the Westminster Livestock Auction, per Carol Robertson, to be resold. That sale money is then given to the Thurmont Food Bank. So, both organizations benefit.

Maxine Troxell of Thurmont has been entering baked goods into the Community Show for years. She has won countless champion and reserve champion ribbons. The sales of her cakes and pies have generated thousands of dollars that benefit several organizations, including the Catoctin FFA Alumni, the Catoctin FFA Chapter, and the Thurmont Grange.

In addition to entering baked goods in the Community Show exhibits each year, Maxine often enters one of her dogs in the annual pet show. The pet show is a long-time Community Show favorite. It is free to enter your canine companion or feline friend in this contest, where the “Longest Whiskers” and “Waggiest Tails” are two of the categories judged.

During this year’s opening ceremony, current Maryland FFA State President Ellie Grossnickle and current Maryland FFA State Secretary Amanda Farmer thanked Community Show President Rodman Myers, Community Show Vice President Robert “Bob” Valentine, Community Show Secretary Brian Hendrickson, and Community Show Assistant Treasurer Cathy Little, for sixty years of the Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show.

Daniel Myers shared that his grandfather, Rodman Myers, and William “Bill” Baker started the Community Show sixty years ago. Rodman was Master of the Thurmont Grange and Mr. Baker was the high school Vo-Ag teacher, spending half of his school day at Thurmont High School and the other half at Emmitsburg High School. Bill and Rodman each served as co-chairmen of the Community Show for thirty years. The Emmitsburg Grange and Emmitsburg FFA had a Community Show until 1969, then moved it to Catoctin High School, where the show combined with Thurmont to become the Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show.

Robert Valentine was a ninth-grade student at that time, and has been a participant in, and later, an officer of, the Community Show for the entire sixty years. Bob is vice president and chairman of the Annual Beef, Sheep, Swine, Goat & Dairy Show that is part of the Community Show.

Becky Myers Linton was the first FFA Chapter Sweetheart at Thurmont High School in 1957. At that time, she was escorted by Robert Fraley, the 1957 Thurmont FFA President. As they did sixty years ago, they both walked on the stage at the 60th Anniversary Opening Ceremony, wearing the same FFA jackets they wore then.

Any past Thurmont, Emmitsburg, or Catoctin FFA Chapter Sweetheart or FFA Ambassador in attendance at the ceremony stood to be recognized.

Past officers of the Thurmont, Emmitsburg, and Catoctin FFA Chapters, who also served as officers with the Maryland State FFA, were the honorees, awarded with a certificate of appreciation during the ceremony. Terry Shank, Maryland FFA Executive Director, spoke about the honorees, stating, “The National FFA has a vision of engaging members, building communities, and strengthening the agricultural community. This vision is truly lived out through the individuals we are recognizing tonight.”

Honorees included: Woodrow Wills, 1930-31 (Thurmont); Ray Valentine, 1937-38 (Emmitsburg)—his son, Randy Valentine, attended the opening ceremony and sponsors the annual Dairy Cattle Fitting and Showing category in his father’s honor; Guy Krom, 1939-40 (Emmitsburg); Eugene Long, 1943-44 (Thurmont)—the oldest living past state officer in the area, turning ninety in March; Charles Free, Jr., 1958-59 (Thurmont); Joe Kuhn, 1960-61 (Thurmont); Susan Weimer Trice, 1973-74 (Thurmont and Emmitsburg High Schools combined to represent Catoctin High School at this time); Michael Wiemer, 1975-76; Naomi Weimer Knight, 1976-77; David Harman, 1979-80; Barry Burch, 1980-81; Susan Flanagan Greubel, 1981-82; Todd Levering, 1983-84; Margaret Flanigan Klemme, 1984-85; Brian D. Glass, 1985-86; Dana Gates Cessna, 1987-88; Stacey Troxell Ridge, 1988-89; Sterling “Gene” Bollinger, III, 1989-90; Karen Young Myers, 1989-90; Michael Gates, 1990-91; George Bollinger, 1991-92; Ray Martin, III, 1992-93; Missy Willard Donnelly, 1996-97; Gary Bassler, 1997-98; Mark Valentine, 1997-98; Jessica Troxell Valentine, 1998-99; Shaun Shriner, 1999-2000; Karen Mueller Jacobs, 2001-02; Melissa Sharrer, 2001-02; Julie Roop Tingue, 2004-05; Annie Delauter Bentz, 2006-07; Bridget Hoffman Nicholson, 2007-08; Carrie Wivell, 2008-09; Tyler Yoake, 2009-10; Tyler Donnelly, 2011-12; Daniel Myers, 2013-14; and Ashley McAfee, 2014-15.

Representing Frederick County Agriculture, Catoctin High School graduate, Megan Millison, was recently named the 2016 Miss Maryland Agriculture. She has also served as the Frederick County Farm Bureau Ambassador and former Catoctin High School FFA Ambassador.

Among several candidates, Maybelin Cruz was selected as the 2016-2017 Catoctin FFA Ambassador.

With the Opening Ceremony complete, the Baked Goods Auction immediately followed.

Deb Spalding
Korey Shorb of Emmitsburg has been “down and out.”As a former heroin addict, he was so far down that he lied to his family, stole from others, started dealing drugs, went to jail, and then to prison. He repeated those same shaming behaviors over and over again. It was a cycle during which he used, “Any drug you can think of — I shot it, smoked it, ate it. The first heroin high is the best; the addiction is when you keep trying to capture that high feeling, but after the first time, the high is lower. We are enslaved. You can never recapture that first high again.” He feels that heroin has changed in the past few years. People are bypassing weed and alcohol and going straight for the hard stuff, the stuff that will kill you quickly.

Korey has been drug-free for the past eight years. He got “up and out” of his addiction. “The opiate addiction problem is killing our communities,” he said. Therefore, in an effort to help others recover, and to possibly prevent addictive behavior, he started an organization he dubbed, The Up & Out Foundation.

About the organization, he said, “Originally it was to give money back to the Drug Courts Program out of Frederick. To people recovering, it’s a big deal to graduate from the program. It’s hard work to get through the program, but Drug Courts are designed for people like me. They need a reward. Not everybody has someone. It’s important to help.”
Funds generated from Up & Out’s Run for Recovery, paint nights, quarter auctions, and other events, help recovering addicts pay for resources that will help them. For example, when you’re down and out, the $400 or $500 admission fee to a Recovery House to begin recovery is hard to get; the $100 copay for the monthly Vivitrol shot that will render opiate effects useless is hard to pay. It shouldn’t be hard to find resources when recovery gets tough.

“Up & Out helps to get people off the habits that could kill them. Relapse does not have to be a part of recovery. There’s someone who can help you,” explained Korey.
Up & Out offers that lifeline for help. They’ll help navigate the resources, and help you gain access to different programs.

The Frederick County Health Department is a great resource. They can help with prevention, awareness, substance use, and mental health. They assess people and refer them where they feel is appropriate. They also have a recovery center in Emmitsburg, and one located in Frederick, which are great for people in recovery who may not choose to go to a twelve-step program.

Since its conception in 2014, Up & Out is growing because there’s a need. Melissa Wetzel, a CPA in Emmitsburg, helped to start the organization, and Korey paid out of his pocket to obtain the organization’s 501(c)3 non-profit designation.

Meanwhile, Korey started a much-needed job through the Fredrick County Health Department. He works with the Drug Court program and the Frederick County Parole & Probation Office.

“If you would have told me eight years ago that I’d be working in the probation office that I used to report to, and that my former probation officer would be working right across the hall from me, I would have said you’re crazy!” Korey added, “I suit up and let God do the rest. While I was in jail, my mom would write at the bottom of her letters: ‘Pray Korey, there’s power in prayer.’ I used to think prayer was a sign of weakness. I know today that prayer is where my strength comes from.”

Korey speaks about the mission of Up & Out. He’s spoken to high school students, to college students, to juvenile delinquency classes, clubs, and churches, and to the National Association of Drug Court Professionals. He found his niche in public speaking. “I know what it’s like to be in high school and feel different, and not be able to talk about it.”
The Youthful Offenders program through the Frederick County States Attorneys Office is a place where at-risk youth can get help. They can be referred to the program by a parent, an officer, a friend, or a family member, for help with any at-risk behavior.

“Everyone will have a different road to recovery,” Korey emphasized. He was stubborn. He needed consequences behind his actions. He feels that our society is babying addicts too much. “They have to sit in jail and use that time to think. My dad didn’t let me manipulate, and he made me accountable for my actions. My mom nearly loved me to death. She was borrowing money from friends and getting bank loans to ‘help’ me.”

Korey strongly advises family members to, “Let them sit in jail, don’t bail them out; don’t pick up the phone if you can’t say no. They can get help while they’re in jail.” The Fredrick County Detention Center has a designated block for substance-abuse treatment.

Korey feels that an addict will never stay clean until they change their thinking. “If nothing changes, nothing changes. Drugs are still winning.”

There is a science called Neuroplasticity. This is basically retraining a person’s thinking. You CAN teach an old dog new tricks. The process is very difficult because it’s uncomfortable. But, from Korey’s experience, it is spot-on for people getting clean and staying clean, by using coping skills when the craving comes to use opiates again. He’s not anti-medication, but he feels that medication does not fix addiction or alcoholism. “Medication is a symptom dampener. We still have to address the addiction. An addict thinks they’re going to get on some type of medication-assisted treatment, but not change the way they live. For me, not using drugs and alcohol was a very small piece of the puzzle. I had no clue, until I got sober, but then realized that I had to change the way that I live my life. Until we change our thinking, we will always recycle our experiences.”

In 2014, Sue Hood created a documentary that can be viewed on Vimeo and Youtube called “Running for Recovery.” The video is an educational tool for schools, churches, and recovery centers.

Eventually, Korey wants to open a recovery house, and he’d like to start a running club. For now, Up & Out is a way to give back to the community and help people. “Just because someone struggled with addiction or might have done time in jail, it doesn’t mean their life is over. If they get clean, their life is just beginning.”
Korey Shorb, founder of Up & Out Foundation, is shown in front of the Frederick County Courthouse.

James Rada, Jr.
jim-rada-blue-blazes-stilWhen the sale, production, and transportation of alcohol was banned in the United States in 1919, citizens had to choose between becoming teetotalers or criminals. Many law-abiding citizens chose the latter.

Since a person could get in trouble buying a drink, people who did it, didn’t talk about it. That didn’t mean that it wasn’t happening. Underground bars, or speakeasies, weren’t advertised. People knew about them by word of mouth. You got in by knowing someone or knowing a password. Manufacturing moved to stills hidden in the woods or basements.

Moonshining (the illegal manufacture or distribution of alcohol) has been around since the Whiskey Rebellion in the 1790s. The Western Pennsylvanians, who refused to pay the federal taxes on homemade liquor, were the country’s first moonshiners.

However, it wasn’t until the Prohibition era that moonshining took off since the demand for liquor increased. With the profits increasing—a quart of moonshine could fetch $16 in Hagerstown ($225 in today’s dollars)—more and more people were willing to risk being arrested and became moonshiners, rumrunners, and bootleggers.

How to Make Moonshine
Kenny Bray was a Western Maryland coal miner in the early 20th century. I have a copy of his unpublished memoir. It includes a section on moonshining and how it is made.
First, you need a still, a tub, and a source of running water.

The average still during the early decades of the 20th century was a 14.5-gallon copper wash boiler. A worm, which was a long piece of 3/8 inch or 1/2 inch copper tubing, ran from the top of the boiler to the cooling tub. The boiler lid was sealed with flour paste. The worm was coiled inside the cooling tub, with the end coming out near the bottom. A small stream of water ran into the tub to cool the coils.

Once the still is set up, here is the recipe: a bushel of corn or grain; 50 pounds of sugar; a couple cakes of yeast; and 35-50 gallons of water.

It is all mixed in a barrel and left to ferment into corn mash. The barrel is covered but it is not sealed like the boiler. As it ferments, the mash becomes milky white. It is occasionally mixed. After the mash has fermented, the grain will settle to the bottom, and the mixture is said to be “worked off” and is ready for distilling.

jim-rada-stillIn preparation for the distilling, the copper parts of the still are cleaned with vinegar and salt to remove any rust.

The boiler is filled with mash to within a few inches of the top and set over a low fire. Since alcohol has a lower boiling point than water, the alcohol evaporates while the water does not. The alcohol vapor travels up into the worm and moves through the tubing. As it moves through the water-cooled tub, the vapor condenses back into liquid alcohol. What comes out at the end of the worm is moonshine.

This first run is called a “singling.” It is not pleasant to drink and will leave a burning sensation in your mouth and throat.

After the singling run, the still is emptied and cleaned. Then the singling is poured into the boiler, along with water, and the cooking process is done again. This is called “doubling,” and Bray calls it the best grade of moonshine. After this doubling run, you would probably have about 10 gallons of moonshine.

jim-rada-story-picHowever, if you ever see old pictures of moonshine jugs with X’s on them, that represents the number of times run through; XXX isn’t porn, it’s high-grade moonshine.
The original mash can be used up to three times by adding more sugar, yeast, and water.

This was all done without meters and gauges to tell alcohol was no longer coming out of the worm. The way that moonshiners could tell a run was done was that they would catch a teaspoon of moonshine out of the worm and throw it on the fire. If it flashed, they kept cooking. If it sizzled, they stopped.

Bray’s grandfather used honey instead of sugar and corn to make a good, smooth whiskey called, Honey Brandy.

However, former Catoctin Mountain Park Ranger Debra Mills pointed out during a presentation at the Thurmont Regional Library, “No still ever makes whiskey, because it doesn’t have time to age.”

Moonshining produces distilled alcohol.
Some moonshiners weren’t too concerned with their quality of product and took shortcuts in making moonshine. Some of the things that Prohibition moonshiners did include:
• Doubling the first run in mash instead of water.
• Using a 55 gal. steel drum instead of a copper boiler.
• Letting the still run too long.
• Put rubbing alcohol in the mash when it was ready to run, which would increase the amount of the run 2 to 1 in direct proportion to the amount of alcohol put in, one pint of 70 percent rubbing alcohol would make two pints of 70 proof moonshine.
• Putting other materials in the mash to ferment, such as overripe fruit.
• Coloring moonshine with tobacco juice or iodine instead of vanilla to make it taste strong when it wasn’t.
• Using a 14 oz. bottle and selling it for the same price as a 16 oz. bottle.
Wayne Martin, a Thurmont resident whose grandfathers were moonshiners, said his Grandfather Henry used to speed up the “aging” process by putting the kegs on hot water pipes, which supposedly also made the moonshine taste better.

The Waynesboro Record Herald reported about a moonshiner who took the ultimate shortcut. He sold three Waynesboro men three pints of moonshine for $2 a pint. It was a good deal that the men jumped at. “Naturally, after they had it in their possession, they wanted to sample the liquor, and on doing so found that they had purchased muddy mountain water with no more ‘kick’ than the water which runs into the pipes in homes of Waynesboro from the town reservoir,” the newspaper reported.

Thurmont Moonshining
Mills points out that Catoctin Mountain was much more barren during the Prohibition era, and the people who lived on it were poor.
“Prohibition was probably a good thing economically for people in this area,” Mills said.

Having stills operating also gave farmers a place to sell their crops. Although corn was the most popular grain for moonshine, Elmer Black said in a 2015 interview that he only ever knew of rye being raised to be sold to the local moonshiners in the area.

The finished product was often shipped out of the area on the railroad in barrels labeled cornmeal, according to Mills.

It could leave other ways as well. Black recalled that his grandfather would often run moonshine right under the nose of the county sheriff and his deputies. He would get the family together to take a ride in their Studebaker, and off they would go. There was an ulterior motive for the drive, though. Moonshine was hidden underneath the seats.
“My grandfather would wave ‘hi’ as they went by the sheriff,” Black said.

Two of Black’s uncles were some of the biggest bootleggers around the Thurmont area. Even his father was known to drive moonshine out of the area to sell. One time he took Black and his siblings along for the ride. The kids fell asleep.

“The three of us woke up and asked, ‘who lives here?’” Black said. “Some senator, they told us. They were rolling the barrels up to the house.”

Stills were hidden on Catoctin Mountain near streams that could supply them with the water needed for the moonshine recipes. According to Black, if you follow the streams on Catoctin Mountain upriver, you can still see the remnants of stills that were destroyed.

Martin shared some of his family stories during a presentation at the Thurmont Regional Library about moonshining.

One grandfather kept a quarter keg of moonshine in his attic, and when friends would come by with Mason jars, Martin’s grandfather would tell his son to “go up and get some ‘shine for the friends.”

At some point, Martin’s grandfather moved the keg from the attic to the basement and buried it in the coal pile.

Once, revenue agents came by wanting to search the house while Martin’s father was alone. The boy didn’t know what to do because he couldn’t get on the phone to call his parents, so he let the revenue agents in to search the house.

They started in the attic, which worried Martin’s father, but the men didn’t find anything. Martin’s father thought he was safe and that the moonshine was no longer in the house. The revenue agents continued their search, ending up in the basement.

One of the agents saw the coal pile and wondered if moonshine might be buried in it. Martin’s father, not knowing that was the case, held up the coal shovel and told the agents, “Go ahead and dig, but you’ve got to put it all back or my dad will be mad.”

Luckily, the agents were lazy and chose not to dig. Martin’s grandfather moved the moonshine out of the house after that.

The revenuers did eventually catch up with Martin’s grandfather. According to Martin, they came in the front door of the house, chasing Martin’s grandfather while the man went out the back door. The revenuers chased after him.

Martin’s father, a young boy at the time, chased after the revenuers. “Dad, he caught up with one revenuer and bit him on the leg and my grandfather got away,” Martin said.

The Blue Blazes Still
jim-rada-story-blue-blazeOn July 31, 1929, two cars drove up Catoctin Mountain on Route 77. Six men rode in the cars. Only five would be alive two hours later.

The cars pulled off the side of the road. Frederick County Deputy John Hemp and Lester Hoffman climbed out of one of them.

Although not a deputy, Hoffman was the only one in the group who knew his way through the forest to what an informant had described a week earlier as a “large liquor plant.”
“The officers, in attempting to creep up on the small vale in which the still was situated, ascended a winding mountain path, which led abruptly to the scene of the tragedy,” reported the Frederick Post.

As they neared the still, shots rang out. Deputy Clyde Hauver fell and the deputies scattered for cover, as the moonshiners fired on them, hidden by the underbrush.
Once Hauver was on his way to Frederick, the remaining deputies used picks and axes to destroy the vats and boiler. The newspaper reported that Blue Blazes Still was one of the largest and best equipped in Frederick County, according to reports. It had a boiler from a steam locomotive, twenty 500-gallon-capacity wooden vats, filled with corn mash, two condensing coils, and a cooling box.

A National Park Service (NPS) ranger told me that the still produced alcohol so fast that if a man took away a five-gallon bucket of alcohol and dumped it into a vat, by the time he returned to the still, another bucket would be filled and waiting to be removed.

A manhunt started for the moonshiners and eight men were eventually jailed. Charles Lewis was convicted of first-degree murder in the Washington County Circuit Court on March 7, 1930. Governor Theodore McKeldin commuted the sentence in 1950, when Lewis was sixty-five. He died a short time after his release.

There is still much speculation over whether Lewis was the actual murderer. Mills pointed out that he was probably the informant who told the sheriff’s department about the operation. Names get suggested as do motives, such as a love triangle gone bad or one man coveting another man’s job, but no other person has been conclusively shown to be the killer.

Today, the Blue Blazes Still is gone, but the NPS has a 50-gallon pot still captured in a Tennessee raid on the same location. NPS uses it for presentations about moonshining in the mountains.

The NPS actually operated the still for demonstrations from 1970 to 1989. It was the first still ever to operate legally on government property, according to Thurmont Historian George Wireman.

When the NPS started operating the still, the Hagerstown Morning Herald reported, “National Park officials hasten to assure that the whiskey is not for presidential consumption, although the pungent odor of mash undoubtedly wafts over the mountain retreat to be inhaled occasionally by VIP nostrils.”

However, though the park had received permission from the Treasury Department to manufacture whiskey, park personnel hadn’t talked to state authorities about it. The Hagerstown Morning Herald wrote, “on the first day the still was in operation, an agent of the state’s alcohol tax division appeared at the park with two deputies, all set to make another raid on Blue Blazes.” Since the still was on federal property, they couldn’t do anything about it, though.

“I’m still known as the only park superintendent in the service who’s been raided for being a moonshiner,” former Park Superintendent Frank Mentzer told the newspaper.

Moonshining in Pen Mar
Pen Mar, with its ideal location as a resort on the border between Maryland and Pennsylvania, became a popular spot for bootleggers to hide their stills. Also, being at Pen Mar put them close to people who wanted to relax and enjoy themselves with a drink.

In 1921, an informant told police that there were thirteen stills that he knew of in the vicinity of Pen Mar. The bootleggers were making good money selling their product, though they didn’t stay very long in one place.

The Gettysburg Compiler reported that one informant about the bootlegging at Pen Mar saw “a bootlegger with a suitcase, placed the latter on a rock near the old Blue Mountain House path and did a land office business by handing the liquor out by the pint and half pint to people who appeared from among the bushes.”

After a few minutes, he closed up shop and disappeared into the woods, only to reappear in another location about half an hour or so later.

In 1925, revenuers tried to get Daniel Toms’ 30-gallon still in Cascade. He held them off for a short time with a shot gun, but they eventually surrounded him and caught him and his henchmen.

Smithsburg Moonshining War
Revenuers also spent plenty of time in Smithsburg, combing the hills for moonshiners. They tried to pass themselves off as tourist hikers.

Smithsburg made national headlines as having an “old-time mountain feud” between John Cline and Henry Russman. There were reports of night raiding, indiscriminate shooting, and fights. They were accused of wrecking a church, dynamiting a sawmill, killing one person, and wounding others. A 1923 article estimated that there were 500 stills between Hagerstown and the Pennsylvania line. The interest in this fighting may have been due in part to the recent coal mine riots that had grown so violent across the country.
One newspaper reported about the moonshiners, “They are unmolested. It would be as much as an officer’s life would be worth to try and interfere. The natives are silent. They know a bullet in the dark would follow any giving of information.”

End of an Era
Due to its unpopularity, Prohibition soon ended after the election of Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1932. With that, prices of liquor dropped and moonshining lost its appeal to many people.

Nicholas DiGregory

For independent professional wrestler, Bill Bain, wrestling is not just an occupation or a hobby—it is a way of life.

Born in Montgomery County, Maryland, Bain moved to the city of Frederick, Maryland, when he was thirteen years old. It was around this time that he began to realize his passion for wrestling, having grown up watching the weekend morning matches on TV with his grandfather and uncle.

Bain, a Thurmont resident for the past eight years, began wrestling in 2002, under the direction of fellow Frederick native and professional wrestler, Scott Fowler. During his training, Bain would assist at professional wrestling events, where he would pick up tips from the contenders.

“A lot of my training was ‘on the job’ type training, where I would go to shows and help set up and learn from the guys around me,” said Bain.

After about seven years of learning the ropes through training and smaller-scale wrestling events, Bain was given his big chance on July 28, 2009, when he made his first appearance with World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc., for a professional match against veteran WWE “villain,” Vladimir Kozlov.

Since his debut, Bain has appeared at numerous professional events, ranging from WWE RAW; ESPN SportsCenter, with Shaquille O’Neal; and WWE Pay-Per-View Capitol Punishment 2011. He has shared the ring with some of the most renowned names in wrestling, from The Patriot to “Boogie Woogie Man” Jimmy Valiant. Bain’s personal favorite—and perhaps his most memorable—moment came when he supported legendary wrestler The Undertaker as his “druid” accomplice, during The Undertaker’s feud with rival wrestler CM Punk.

While Bain has faced some impressive adversaries in the ring, he has also faced some rather tough opponents alongside his wrestling career. In 2010, Bain was diagnosed with Ménière’s disease, a relatively uncommon disorder that attacks the inner ear, causing severe vertigo and impaired hearing. While the disease is incurable, the symptoms can be lessened by physical therapy and a low-sodium diet.

“Having Ménière’s disease is a battle that I fight every day. I am unable to eat a lot of foods I enjoy, and have to limit my going out to eat at restaurants, but you have to learn to make do with these things,” explained Bain. “There are many situations that are much more dire than this; I’m thankful that I am able to manage it and continue to live a fairly normal life.”

In addition to Ménière’s disease, Bain was also diagnosed with skin cancer in 2015. While the cancer was not dangerously advanced, Bain had to have atypical cells removed from eight spots on his body.

“Any time you are dealing with these types of issues, you want to remain positive and try to focus on the recovery,” said Bain. “But after having to go through multiple procedures, it has made me realize that it is important to take care of your body, as you only have one.”

Despite these adverse health conditions, Bain has refused to give up on his passion for wrestling. He will be appearing in several wrestling events in West Virginia and Maryland, between September and October 2016.

Regardless of where Bain’s next matches take him, he will be fighting hard, both inside and out of the ring. “No matter what you are going through currently, there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. You just have to keep fighting through.”

More information about Bill Bain, including a full schedule of events and booking instructions, can be found at

                                         Bill Bain has faced numerous opponents throughout his wrestling career, including a rare disorder known as Ménière’s disease and skin cancer.
Curtosy Photo by: Chris Eichelberger Photography

by Deb Spalding

Jenna Seiss of Graceham and Patrick Van Der Cruyssen of Cascade, lifeguards at Cunningham Falls State Park William Houck Lake Area in Thurmont, took part in the lifesaving efforts that revived a five-year-old girl who had stopped breathing after she was under water too long in the lake on July 15, 2016, around 4:00 p.m.

Seiss and Van Der Cruyssen, both 2015 graduates of Catoctin High School, were two of several who were recognized on August 25, 2016, by Frederick County Executive Jan H. Gardner and Maryland Park Service Assistant Superintendent, Lt. Col. Chris Bushman. They were presented with the Maryland Park Service Valor Award.

Mohammd Al-Haris, a former lifeguard and happenstance visitor that day, pulled the unconscious girl from the water, and Heidi Sequeira, a nurse practitioner and another happenstance visitor at the park, performed CPR on the girl, along with Seiss and Van Der Cruyssen, when it was determined that she was not breathing and her heart was not beating.

Due to the diligent efforts of this team, the girl was conscious when emergency responders arrived.

Both of these locals are in their second year of college. After this incident, Seiss transferred from Butler University’s Physician Assistant Program in Indiana to Frederick Community College while she regroups in order to attend medical school to become a trauma doctor. Van Der Cruyssen is studying psychology while attending High Point University. Congratulations, Jenna and Patrick!

Nicholas DiGregory

The thirteenth day of August 2016 was the epitome of a sweltering summer day in North Central Maryland. As early as ten o’clock in the morning, the temperature had reached 90 degrees and was still climbing. By noon, the thermometers came to rest at 95 degrees, although weather services stated that the high humidity, and almost nonexistent breeze, caused the air to feel as if it was a burning 108 degrees. While this intense heat was more than enough to keep most folks inside, the locals of Rocky Ridge and the surrounding areas braved the sweltering weather to celebrate the annual Big Picnic at Mount Tabor Park.

The Big Picnic, an event hosted by the Mount Tabor Park Board to raise funding for the day-to-day upkeep and maintenance of the park, has been an annual occurrence for almost a century. According to Rocky Ridge residents, the first big celebration on the grounds of Mount Tabor Park happened in 1925, when the first paved road between Thurmont and Rocky Ridge was completed. The park, which had been entrusted to the Mount Tabor Church community in 1919, was selected as the ideal place to hold the festivities, celebrating the finished roadway. The following year, in 1926, the Mount Tabor Church community commemorated the road completion with a big picnic, and ever since then, the Mount Tabor Park Big Picnic has been Rocky Ridge’s annual tradition.

This year’s Big Picnic was comprised of a baby show (see list of winners below), a car show, and country rock music provided by the Maryland-based band JR Country Rock. The picnic kicked off at noon, with the first event being the baby show at 1:00 p.m. Travis Sanders of Fairfield, Pennsylvania, the president of the Mount Tabor Park Board, emceed the show. Twenty-eight babies, all under the age of two years, were registered for the show. The contestants were separated into five categories by age, and for each age group, a panel of three judges awarded the cutest boy and girl, as well as the chubbiest baby. Two additional awards were given to the youngest baby and to the baby who traveled the furthest distance.

After the conclusion of the baby show, awards were given to the top ten best cars in the car show, which was sponsored and conducted by the Golden Gears Car Club of Frederick. Sanders emceed the awards ceremony, presenting commemorative plaques to the owners of the top ten most popular cars at the show, as voted by all of the picnic attendees. Over two dozen cars were present at the show, representing over eighty years of automobiles from eight different automakers.

The Big Picnic concluded with a concert by local band JR Country Rock. The band played country, classic rock, and southern rock hits until around 9:00 p.m., when the picnic ended.

All proceeds from the Big Picnic go toward the daily upkeep and gradual development of Mount Tabor Park.

Richard Dinterman, who has attended the Big Picnic since childhood and now volunteers at the Mount Tabor Park, said that the park is kept open primarily because of fundraisers like the Big Picnic.

“There isn’t hardly a day that we don’t open the gate to the park, from January 1 on throughout the year, and there are almost always people waiting when we come to open it,” said Dinterman. “It’s things like the Big Picnic that help us keep doing that.”

Twenty-nine babies were entered in the baby show at this year’s big picnic. Babies in each of the five age groups were judged for cuteness and chubbiness by a panel of three judges.


More than two dozen classic and specialty cars were entered into the Golden Gears Car Club car show at the Big Picnic. This year marked the third time that Golden Gears sponsored and organized the car show for the Big Picnic.

Rocky-Ridge-picnic-Baby-ShoA total of twenty-eight babies, fourteen girls and fourteen boys, participated in the show, judged by Larry Dougherty, Ashley Haines, and Annabelle Moffitt. The youngest baby was two-week-old Carson Lingg, son of Emily and Danny Lingg of Thurmont. Jeffrey Petko (twenty-three-month-old son) and Madeline Petko (five-month-old daughter) of Josh and Jenny Petko, traveled the farthest distance, from Pasadena, Maryland. There were no twins or triplets in this year’s Baby Show. Babies placed in three categories: prettiest girl, cutest boy, and chubbiest baby (in five age categories, from one day old to twenty-four months old).

In the youngest category, the prettiest girl was Leighton McIlrath, three-week-old daughter of Patrick and Taylor McIlrath of Thurmont. The cutest boy was Luke McEuen, two-month-old son of Lauren McEuen and John Horton of Rocky Ridge. The chubbiest baby was Nyla Miller, two-month-old daughter of Jessie Miller of Thurmont.

The prettiest girl in the four- to six-month-old category was Madeline Petko, five-month-old daughter of Josh and Jenny Petko of Pasadena, Maryland. The cutest boy was Zakarri Wagner, five-month-old son of David and Tammy Wagner of Hagerstown, Maryland. The chubbiest baby was Landyn Harris, five-month-old son of Angela and A.J. Harris of Frederick, Maryland.

In the seven- to twelve-month-old category, Molly Smith, ten-month-old daughter of Patti and John Smith of Rocky Ridge, was judged the prettiest girl. The cutest boy was Gage Putman, eleven-month-old son of Andy and Kellie Putman of Emmitsburg. Eliza Smith, twelve-month-old daughter of Chastity and Richard Smith of Frederick, was named the chubbiest baby.

In the thirteen- to eighteen-month-old category, Dixie Eckenrode, eighteen-month-old daughter of Ashley and Scott Eckenrode of Keymar, was judged the prettiest girl. The cutest boy was Connor Naylor of Rocky Ridge, eighteen-month-old son of Jason and Katie Naylor. The chubbiest baby was Claire Myers, fourteen-month-old daughter of Steve and Heidi Myers of Emmitsburg.

In the nineteen- to twenty-four-month-old category, there were no girls. Jeffrey Petko, twenty-three-month-old son of Josh and Jenny Petko of Pasadena, Maryland, was named the cutest boy. The chubbiest baby was Mason Miller, twenty-month-old son of Brandy and Ryan Miller of Spring Grove, Pennsylvania.

Please join them again next year on the second Saturday of August. You may register your baby (or babies), who range in age from one day up to twenty-four months, zero days.

Denny Black
You may not be aware that a new bird-like species was recently discovered. You can only see one during the baseball season each year when it migrates out of winter hiding into every minor and major league ballpark in America. When spotted, it is almost always a male of the species in the approximate age range of nine through adolescence. Its plumage mimics that of a number of baseball birds, including the oriole, cardinal, and blue jay. Its sole purpose is to snag baseballs to carry to its nest. I’m referring to the “Ball Hawk,” and my nephew Edison Hatter is one who recently collected his thousandth baseball on August 12.

Edison’s parents, Ed and Susie Hatter, took him to his first baseball game in 2005 when he was six years old. In 2009, Edison’s Uncle Ron and Aunt Bonnie Albaugh started taking him to the Hagerstown Suns games. In the beginning, Ron and Bonnie had to sit on each side of him because of his fear of getting hit by a foul ball. Who would have known how things would change at a Hagerstown Suns game in 2011, when Edison snagged his first baseball—and a new Ball Hawk was born!

I started to regularly tag along with Edison to ball games during the 2013 season, and soon learned that ball hawking has its own rule book and set of skills. Edison quickly schooled me in the various ball hawking tactics involved in snagging third out balls, home run balls, umpire balls, and dugout balls. I found myself with him at baseball parks, hours before the gates opened for games in order for the Ball Hawk to find baseballs in parking lots during batting practice, and then stand in line to be the first to bolt into a stadium to special locations where practice balls may be hidden. Each tactic requires a Ball Hawk to be strategically located in a stadium at the right place and time during a game. And, it hasn’t hurt my nephew to be able to ask “May I have the baseball, please?” in six languages, as well as sign language (which actually worked to get a baseball on one occasion). It also helps a Ball Hawk to bring along a hat for each team playing the game in order to switch plumage, while hovering over each side of a stadium between innings for baseballs from players.

Not everyone can acquire the skills to become a successful Ball Hawk. You have to be dedicated to arriving hours before each game and staying long after a game ends, in all kinds of weather, to connect with players; and it helps having relatives nuts enough to take you to about fifty games each season. You have to be able to face defeat, like the time when the Ball Hawk and I were sternly directed to leave certain areas of a ball park while chasing baseballs (don’t tell the Ball Hawk’s parents!). For serious reading for Ball Hawks like Edison, a book has been written describing the required skills to succeed, as well as a website where they dutifully document and point score each ball based on the difficulty of the catch. No kidding!

I have witnessed most of Edison’s milestones: Ball 100 (2013 – Arizona Diamondbacks), 200 (2014 – Washington Nationals), 300 and 400 (2014-2015 – Hagerstown Suns), 500 (2015 – Frederick Keys), 600 (2015 – Baltimore Orioles), 700 (2016 – Hagerstown Suns), 800 (2016 – Baltimore Orioles), 900 (2016 – Frederick Keys), and 1,000 (2016 – Toronto Blue Jays).

I was with him in 2015 at Hagerstown when he set his personal record of snagging twenty-six baseballs in one game. I’ve seen him on several occasions run out of Hagerstown’s Municipal Stadium to find a player’s first professional-level home run ball or grand slam ball and then give it to the player after the game. I’ve seen him, over time, give away a quarter of his baseballs to younger kids at games. I stayed with him very late one night after a Frederick Keys game so that he could proudly tell Jonathan Schoop (Orioles 2nd Base), who was there on rehab, that he had acquired an autographed pair of Jonathan’s spikes. Along with all the baseballs, Edison has hawked over twenty-five game-used bats, countless line-up cards, autographed batting gloves (the dirtier the better!), and a stash of baseball cards that most likely includes a future Willie Mays or Mickey Mantle.
I tell Edison that his ball hawking days are numbered now that he is seventeen and can no longer pull off the cute-little-boy routine that works well in getting baseballs from players. He’s working now at passing along his skills to a younger brood of Ball Hawks, like Henry Benchoff and Tyler Caron of Waynesboro. Edison’s parents have dreams of him going into some field of science, but I have different plans for him. I am urging him to become a lawyer and agent for big name sport stars. Then I can continue to tag along with the Ball Hawk to games well into my senior years.

Edison Hatter, Ball Hawk, collected his thousandth baseball on August 12, 2016.

by Christine Schoene Maccabee
John Muir, Nature’s Visionary
The above quote was part of John Muir’s impassioned invitation to President Roosevelt and Vice President Howard Taft to join him in Yosemite and camp out under the stars. Together, they talked about protecting the giant redwoods from timbering, as well as preserving the ecological wonders only Muir, and the natives who had lived there, knew intimately. Upon returning East, the Roosevelt Administration created five national parks and twenty-three national monuments, and they added more than 148-million acres of woodland to the national forest system. Muir was also founder of the Sierra Club, of which most of us are aware and some of us members.

In my twenties, I knew next to nothing about the person of John Muir until I read a book, Baptized into Wilderness, which is filled with many inspiring writings from his years spent as caretaker in Yosemite. How he managed to brilliantly overcome the trauma of living with his tyrannical father, a Scottish Calvinist Minister of the worst sort who beat him daily, is nothing short of a miracle. As Muir wrote in his autobiography, “by the time I was 11 years of age I had about three-fourths of the Old Testament and all of the New by heart and by sore flesh.”

Fortunate to be nurtured by the love of his mother and sisters, and due to his fascination with nature and inventing, he grew into a strong young man, fully determined to make his own way in life once the family moved from Scotland to Wisconsin. Helping to clear land and create their homestead was no easy life, but in his free time, Muir invented all sorts of crazy things made from scraps of iron and wood. At age twenty-two, he decided to show his inventions at the state fair in Madison and was a smash hit with his “early rising machine,” which tipped a person out of bed at an appointed hour. His father accused him of the sin of vanity.

He avoided the Civil War on the grounds of passivism, while attending the University of Wisconsin, which he dropped out of after his sophomore year, little knowing that thirty-four years later he would receive an honorary degree, Doctor of Laws, from that same college. With a beard as bushy and long as any had seen, he headed to Canada on foot, “botanizing” along the way. The things of nature were always his first love.

After losing his eyesight due to a freak accident at a machinery factory, Muir gasped, “My right eye is gone! Closed forever on all God’s beauty.” His left eye also failed, leaving him blind. However, after endless nightmares and despair while convalescing in a darkened room, his vision slowly returned. Muir proclaimed “Now I have risen from the grave,” and he forever shunned the work of factories. Instead, he took to further journeys by foot, with his plant press on his back, heading south to “anywhere in the wilderness,” which took him through the Appalachian Mountains and swamps of Georgia. He sketched and journaled and pressed plants along the way.

That first long walk of one thousand miles took him to Florida, along the Gulf of Mexico. However, his longest journey by foot, which he called “my grand sabbath day three years long” drew him West, climbing Mt. Ranier, exploring glaciers in Alaska, and ultimately settling in the California Sierras. It was there that he wrote his most inspiring words, describing the beauty and wonder of the plant life, animals, boulders, sequoias, and experiencing ecstatic moments at the top of a tree during a hurricane. Muir proclaimed his reverence for all life forms, becoming a “voice for the voiceless,”as he worked to convince others of the need to preserve as much of the untouched purity of the natural world as possible.

Muir’s invitation to go out and become “steeped in the wonder of creation” was not only for people back then. It is still an invitation to us all today. My own life has been shaped by Muir and many other voices for the voiceless; that is how I have come to write of my own passion to preserve and enhance wild places, allowing even more habitat on our properties and in our backyards.

Fortunate for us, there is a monthly meeting of the Sierra Club at the Thurmont Regional Library. This month, we will meet on Saturday, September 3, from 10:00 a.m.-noon. Please come and join us as we work on a variety of projects to help preserve the goodness of our planet for generations to come.
With John Muir’s Vision as our inspiration, we can make progress in spite of adversities. If he did it, so can we!

Nicholas DiGregory

Fort-RitchieMany residents of the historic Fort Ritchie and the surrounding town of Cascade, Maryland, are concerned regarding the manner in which Washington County government’s redevelopment plan for the retired military base was communicated to current residents. The redevelopment plan requires existing buildings at Fort Ritchie to be torn down to make room for a new mixed-use development called Cascade Town Centre. The development is intended to bring new residents and businesses to Cascade.

In mid-July, around ninety families that reside on the grounds of Fort Ritchie discovered that their leases would not be renewed and that they are being forced to relocate when their leases end over the next six months, some as early as September 2016.

The decision to terminate the leases of the residents of Fort Ritchie came on July 12, 2016, when the Washington County Board of County Commissioners voted unanimously to take the Fort Ritchie property from the current owner, PenMar Development Corporation, and transfer it to Washington County. Arrangements were approved by both parties, stating that ownership of the property would be completely transferred by September 15, 2016, and that redevelopment plans would be put into effect for Fort Ritchie by January 2017.

To many of the residents of the retired military base, the county’s decision to take charge of the property and its redevelopment came as a complete surprise. While the residents understood that redevelopment of their community was likely ever since the base was put up for sale by PenMar in 2015, not one of them anticipated being thrown out of their home so abruptly.

Jodi Gearhart, a single mother who lives in Fort Ritchie with her two thirteen-year-old children, said that she had no idea that the property was being transferred and that leases were being terminated until she read an article online by CJ Lovelace of Western Maryland’s Herald-Mail Media group.

“My initial notification of the issue was my neighbor,” Gearhart said. “He asked if I had read the Herald-Mail. I told him no, and he then told me that we have to be out by September. I was like, ‘What are you talking about?’”

Gearhart said that it was not until July 14 that any written notification of the lease terminations was provided by PenMar or Washington County when some, not all, of the residents received letters.

Gearhart also said that the method by which the information was communicated seemed strange, “Normally, when PenMar has something, they take it and they put it in your door,” Gearhart said. “They come around on a little golf cart with the notifications, and they stick them in your storm door, like if they are having some kind of function or a traffic change. So I’m not sure why they felt like they had to physically mail them, and not just go around and post them, then we would have known the same day.”

Gearhart stated that hers and her fellow residents’ frustrations grew when Washington County officials refused to put anything concerning the redevelopment plan into writing until September.

“One of the biggest issues is that Washington County and PenMar right now are lacking in their transparency,” Gearhart said. “I live in Washington County, I work for Washington County, and I pay taxes to Washington County. This is my county. It’s different when the county tells you that you’re out, and that you have a few months to get out.”
Disturbed by the county’s lack of communication and concerned about the redevelopment plan, the residents of Fort Ritchie and the surrounding town of Cascade decided to take matters into their own hands by organizing a “Save Fort Ritchie” campaign.

Lev Ellian, a resident of Cascade, created the campaign when he built a Facebook page entitled “Save Fort Ritchie.” Gearhart and several other residents joined Ellian and created Twitter and Instagram accounts for the campaign as well. The Facebook page is currently being followed by more than 350 people.

Sterling Sanders, a nineteen-year-old resident of Cascade, helps run the daily social media operations, as well as organizes events for the “Save Fort Ritchie” campaign. Sanders helped to organize and lead a series of protests and prayer circles for the residents of Fort Ritchie to express their concern and to come together as a community.

“The prayer circle, instead of giving a message to the county, is giving a message to the community, letting them know that: we are sticking together, we are still here together, that we are going to fight this, we are going to stay together, and that we are going to put our faith in God,” Sanders said. “On the other hand, the protests send a message to the county that says ‘Hey, we aren’t going to give up on this, we’ve done this before, and we are going to do it again.’”

More than a hundred residents attended the protests held in July. While all present mainly protested the removal of the Fort Ritchie residents from their property, many of the protesters also voiced concerns ranging from distrust of the investors interested in purchasing Fort Ritchie to a fear of crime and pollution increase due to over-development.

In addition to the protests and prayer circles, the residents of Fort Ritchie and Cascade drafted a petition, asking Washington County officials to postpone the redevelopment plan until a public forum is held for residents to voice their opinions.

The petition, which was signed by nearly 200 individuals, was sent to the Washington County Board of County Commissioners, PenMar, Maryland District 2 Senator Andrew Serafini, and Maryland Governor Larry Hogan.

While no written response from Washington County or PenMar officials has been released, Washington County Administrator Greg Murray and PenMar Executive Doris Nipps both said that the redevelopment of Fort Ritchie must proceed in order to bring back jobs and revitalize the Cascade area.

Despite these statements, the residents of Fort Ritchie and Cascade continue to reach out to the residents of surrounding areas and to members of the Washington County government to work toward a compromise to ensure the continued well-being of the displaced families and the historic grounds of Fort Ritchie.

“We can’t all just do this on our own; we’d like all of the people of all surrounding areas to get involved with this issue,” said Sanders. “Even if we don’t win this fight, I think it would really help and really be a great thing for us all to become closer with all of the people in the surrounding areas as a community. So whether or not we win in the end, we will, I think, get closer as a community, and hopefully get closer with our government, to open lines of communication with them and come together.”

James Rada, Jr.
2016-07-12_JAK_1496Early Tuesday morning, July 12, 2016, a line of tour buses pulled into Thurmont’s Community Park. About 250 rock musicians and roadies spilled out of the buses, stretched, and got ready to work.

They separated into groups and spread out throughout the community, not to sing and play instruments, but to help beautify the area.

They were part of the Vans Warped Tour, a traveling rock revue, featuring dozens of bands. Not only have members of the tour helped beautify communities, but they have also helped out in the wake of big disasters such as New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina and New Jersey after Hurricane Sandy.

This year, the group is helping out along the Journey Through Hallowed Ground, the historic and scenic byway between Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and Charlottesville, Virginia. Working with Shuan Butcher, director of communications for the Journey Through Hallowed Ground, the group identified places where they could be of some help.

“It’s a great activity, and they came ready to do some hard work,” said Thurmont Mayor John Kinnaird.

By 7:00 a.m., groups had divided up to help out in the park, the Catoctin Furnace, the Thurmont Historical Society, Cunningham Falls State Park, Owens Creek Campground, the Emmitsburg watershed, the Appalachian Trail, and Catoctin Mountain Park.

Donna Voellinger, president of the Thurmont Historical Society, said that eighteen people came to assist historical society volunteers with outdoor work to the grounds.

“They didn’t need a lot of direction,” Voellinger said. “They just needed a task.”

She added that both the Warped Tour volunteers and the Historical Society volunteers seemed to have a lot of fun while they worked.

A group of artists painted a mural on the basketball court wall in Community Park.

“It’s a great piece of art,” Kinnaird said. “It adds a lot to the basketball courts and the park.”

The groups met back at the park for lunch around noon and headed out of town after that. A few of them stayed later to finish the mural, but even those stragglers were gone by 6:00 p.m. They left behind not only a more-beautiful area, but a piece of art that will remind residents of their generosity for years to come.

The day of service for the Warped Tour volunteers came between concert days in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and Mansfield, Massachusetts.

Photos Courtesy of
Mayor John Kinnaird (fourth from right) stands with a group of talented artists of the Vans Warped Tour in front of the awesome mural they painted on the wall by the basketball courts in Thurmont Community Park.

Deb Spalding

This year, the Emmitsburg Heritage Day Event was spectacular for visitors and town residents. The volunteers who worked on the Emmitsburg Heritage Day Committee planned all year to make the day a success. The weather was beautiful, the people were happy, and the fireworks were fabulous. Volunteer Jim Houck, Jr., said, “All (members) of our committee are truly dedicated to helping our community, especially the kids, enjoy a day of fun and games.”

Although it was originally an Emmitsburg Lions Club event, it is now a cooperative effort among multiple organizations. It is hoped that the festival will continue in the future with even more involvement from the community. Jennifer Joy, Heritage Day Committee chair, said, “It was a wonderful day because of the involvement and support of all of the town’s civic organizations, businesses, and churches that make this event possible each year. Through their generosity and commitment, we are able to provide fireworks (Emmitsburg Professional Business Association), parade (Sons of the American Legion), music (Knights of Columbus), food (SAL and Lions), field games (Lions), and kids activities (Christ’s Community Church) at the festival.”

Jim Houck and Mike Hartdagen coordinated the parade that followed the traditional route from the Doughboy on West Main Street to the square, then down South Seton Avenue. Houck boasted, “The turnout was great and we had some last-minute surprises in our line up.” The Parade was well attended and had more than forty organizations participate.  Most enjoyed were the ponies and the Harmony Cornet Band, who also regaled with their talents before and after the Memorial Event.

Through a grant from the Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area, a History Art Contest was held. Coupled with donations from local organizations and donors, $1,100 in prizes was distributed to nine winners in three categories. Art Contest Winners: Elementary Division—1st Prize, Arianna Calhoun, 2nd Prize, Darren Fry, 3rd Prize, Lynzee Davis, and Honorable Mention, Abigail Mae Turner; Middle School Division—1st Prize, Gabrielle Lee Archie, 2nd Prize, Emily Grace Williams, 3rd Prize, Shae Lynn Archie Fuller, and Honorable Mention, Marques Miller; High School Division—1st Prize, Eli Fryer.

A beach week raffle was also held as a fundraiser for next year’s event, and the winner was local resident, Kendall Moore, from Pembrook Woods. Thanks to all who participated and congratulations to the Moore family!

At the Memorial event, all were touched by guest speaker, Brenda Sheaffer’s, story as someone with severe learning disabilities who struggled to make a living and be considered a contributor to society. With the help of Melwood, a non-profit organization, she has now been able to hold a position as a custodian at the National Zoo and the Auditors Building, before earning a security clearance to work at the White House complex. Also at the Memorial event, responders to Emmitsburg’s three major fires were honored and thanked for their service. Parade awards were given to “Best In” categories, and Art contest awards were given out to winners.

At the Bandstand, Miriam Warther of Fairfield, Synergy (a girl group from the Let there be Rock School of Frederick), Screaming Melina’s from Pennsylvania, and Jellyfish Jam Band (from Emmitsburg) entertained the crowd.

Sack Race winners were: Singles—Andy Walters and Addy Dodson (ages 1-4), Landon Miller and Blake Cool (ages 5-8), Joshua Wantz and Deondre Febus (ages 9-12), Josh Maze and Jayson Howard (ages 13-16), Jack McCarthy/Dave Zentz (tie) and Davey Ott (ages 17 and older); Doubles—Addie Dobson/Tierney Burns and Alyse Scarzello/Andy Walters (ages 1-4), Josh Hahn/Savannah Phebus and Robert Upchurch/Annelle Upchurch (ages 5-8), Deandre Febus/Adrian Febus and Helen Hochschild/Violet Walker (ages 9-12), McKenna Stambaugh/Alexis Cool and Cheyene Marsee/Carmella Ogle (ages 13-16), and Nathan Fritz/Brittany Fritz and Kacie Boyle/Wendy Gray (ages 17 and older).

Egg Toss winners were Kimberly Shields and Kathy Shields.

Water Balloon Toss winners were Steve Wantz, Sr. and Steve Wantz III, who tied with Dave Shields and Dave Shields Jr.

Pie Eating Contest winners were Andy Walters and Felicity Phelan (up to 4 years), Robert Upchurch and Lucien Ridenour and Josh Hahn (ages 5-8), Nate Snyder and Krystal Lane (ages 9-12), Jordan Ebaugh and John Lane (ages 13-16), and Jack McCarthy (ages 17 and older).

Watermelon Eating Contest winners were Cassie Click and Cora Krom (up to 4 years); Sarah Lagare, Thomas Love, and Robert Upchurch (ages 5-8); Krystal Lane, Matthew Know, Deandre Febus, and Nate Snyder (ages 9-12); Danielle Wilson, Hannah Kaas, and Caeley McVearry (ages 13-16); and Jack McCarthy and Jared Suit (ages 17 and older).

Casting Contest winners were Trinity Mahon (up to 4 years), Charlie Scarzell (ages 5-8), C.J. Upchurch (ages 9-12), and Jared Suit (ages 17 and older).

Car Show winners were: Best In Show Overall—Brenda Titman; Truck Division: 1st  Place—Steven Kimmel, 2nd Place—Jean Eyler, 3rd Place—Paul Best; Motorcycle: 1st Place—Robert Droneburg, 2nd Place—Wade Droneburg; Car Division: 1st Place—Stephen Kupick, 2nd Place—Greg Parry, 3rd Place—Brenda Titman, and 4th Place—Jim Hoover.

The Friends of the Emmitsburg Library held their annual book sale.  The Friends raised over $560 to support library programs and the Summer Reading Program.

Next year, the committee hopes to have a carnival and some additional attractions during the event. If anyone is interested in participating or getting involved in the planning of next year’s event, please contact Jennifer Joy at 301-447-6467 or Clifford Sweeney 301-447-1712 or email

Brandon Burris, Savannah Phebus, and Jayson Howard were some of the game winners during Emmitsburg Heritage Day on June 25, 2016.

Photo by Stephanie Freniere


Participants in the Pie Eating Contest enjoyed the game and the sweets.

Photo by Stephanie Freniere


Around 5:15 p.m., families began lining the streets, eagerly awaiting the parade to begin, a much-anticipated event each year.

Photo by Gracie Eyler

Emmitsburg Sons of the American Legion’s Mike Hartdagen presented the Vigilant Hose Company’s Jimmy Click with a plaque of appreciation for their quick response to the house fires in Emmitsburg this past year.

Photo by Gracie Eyler


Greased Pig Chase winners were Savannah Phebus (ages 1-6 years), Mathew Knox (7-11), Jayson Howard (12-16), and Brandon Burris (17 and older).

Photo by Stephanie Freniere


Group shot of some of the riders from Mid-Atlantic Off-Road Enthusiasts (MORE), who participated in the mountain bike group rides on the Multi User Trail on Community Heritage Day.

Courtesy Photo





James Rada, Jr.

Emmitsburg’s version of Cape Canaveral is Memorial Park. Once a month this summer, Frederick County deputies and youths will meet to build model rockets and send them soaring into the air over Emmitsburg.

“It’s a great project and a lot of fun,” said Deputy Travis Rohrer, one of Emmitsburg’s resident deputies.

The rocket club is called the Jim Moxley Memorial Rocket Club, and is named after a former Emmitsburg resident deputy who died last year. Moxley ran a model rocket club from 2003-2005. The club would meet an hour a week to work on their rockets and then they would be launched on Heritage Day.

“DFC Whitehouse and I decided to bring back the rocket club as a special project directed towards the kids in the community, and to honor Moxley’s service,” Rohrer said.

The new rocket club meets once a month on Sunday afternoon for three hours. During that time, youths, eight to twelve years old, build their rockets and launch them. The Emmitsburg deputies pay for all the materials to build the rockets.

The first meeting of the club was on May 22, 2016, from 2:00-5:00 p.m. Eight children attended. Older and younger participants are allowed, although parents need to stay for the meeting to help their younger children.

“It was a huge success despite the rainy weather,” Rohrer said. “I believe we shot off a total of ten rockets.”

Not only do the youths get to have fun, Rohrer said it was a good way for the children to interact with law enforcement in the right light. They come to see the deputies as friends they can trust, rather than someone to be seen as unapproachable or scary.

Information on future meetings can be found on the town’s website at Click on Government and then Community Deputies. Questions can be e-mailed to

The Jim Moxley Memorial Rocket Club, named after a former Emmistburg resident deputy who passed away last year, is pictured with Dfc Whitehouse and Deputy Travis Rohrer

Allison Rostad

It has been said before that true heroes never die. These words were proven during a memorial for Marine Cpl. William Kyle Ferrell of North Carolina. Cpl. Ferrell grew to call the Thurmont community his second family, as he was assigned to the naval support facility at Camp David.

On September 29, 2015, Ferrell was a victim of a hit-and-run while pulled over on Route 15 north bound to lend his assistance to a stranded motorist in a heavy rain storm.

On the morning of June 11, 2016, just four months shy of one year since Ferrell’s death, the Thurmont community, along with Ferrell’s family, friends, and his North Carolina hometown community, gathered for a dedication ceremony at Memorial Park in Thurmont, hosted by the Thurmont American Legion.

During the ceremony, guest speaker, David Wood, expressed with admiration, “That day, Cpl. Ferrell wasn’t ordered to pull over and help, but he did what any non-commissioned officer of the Marine Corps does: He led by example.”

This same notion echoed through every word spoken about Ferrell during the ceremony.

Congressional Candidate Daniel Cox said, “We understand that this Marine is a hero, because not only did he serve when not required to, he paid the ultimate sacrifice for it.”

Prior to the completion of the ceremony, a pin oak tree had been planted and dedicated to Ferrell in Memorial Park, along with a new highway sign revealed, dedicating the Catoctin Furnace Trail footbridge to Ferrell in honor of his selflessness, kindness, and dedication to helping those in need. His parents, Dan and Donna Ferrell, were also given a smaller, exact replica of the dedication sign to be taken home with them to Carthage, North Carolina.

Following the ceremony, a pig roast was held at the American Legion, from which all proceeds were donated to the Carthage Police Department in North Carolina, in Ferrell’s name.

Just as Emily Potter once said, “Heroes never die. They live on forever in the hearts and minds of those who would follow in their footprints,” so will Cpl. William Kyle Ferrell live on eternally in the hearts and minds of his loved ones, the Thurmont community, and those who travel Route 15 northbound through Thurmont.

Photos by Allison Rostad

Sgt. Tyler Bergeron, who served with Cpl. Ferrell, presents Cpl. Ferrell’s parents, Dan and Donna Ferrell, a scale replica of the dedicated footbridge sign.

The sign reveal for the Catoctin Furnace Trail footbridge that spans across Rt. 15, in honor of Cpl. William Kyle Ferrell.