Deb Spalding

Sab Kids“Quality education,” “a comfortable learning environment,” and “friendly atmosphere” are some of the descriptions former students have used to reference the education they received at Sabillasville Elementary School (SES). Current student, Lillian Coles of Foxville, who experienced her first day of kindergarten at SES on August 24, said, “It’s fun and I like to paint.” Although she had just arrived at school and hadn’t yet had the opportunity to paint, she was definitely having fun.

SES is a single-level school that sits amongst a beautiful mountain setting in Sabillasville. When construction on the school was completed in 1965, Frederick News-Post writer, Richard Shafer, reported, “Residents of Sabillasville won their fight with local officials to get funds approved for a new elementary school, and they are happy about it. The struggle to get plans and appropriation okayed has taken at least ten years, said one Sabillasville resident. Foxville residents are happy about the new school. Their children had attended the new Wolfsville school, but traveled by bus over a dangerous mountain road.

Rev. Claude Corl, St. John’s Reformed Church, thinks area residents will be satisfied with the eight-room school. The new school will enroll an estimated 200 students and will relieve crowded conditions at Thurmont.”

In the coming months, generations of students who have attended the school since its opening will share memories and reconnect in celebration of the school’s 50th anniversary. SES’s Principal, Kate Kreitz, said, “I’m very excited for this wonderful celebration, where we will pay tribute to fifty years of quality education of several generations of students from the Sabillasville-area community.”

Fourth grader Garret Worth’s dad, Jason, attended SES, and Garret’s grandmother, Faye Worth, is a volunteer there. Garret said, “I like having a fun teacher (he has Mrs. Mortensen this year), playing with all the kids and stuff.”

Mason Newcomer, in third grade this year, said, “I like the teachers, learning new things, and meeting all my friends.” His mother, Barb Messner, also attended the school and serves on the Parent Teacher Organization (PTO).

Another PTO volunteer, Angie Hahn, said that her husband, Gus, and his siblings attended SES. Their two children, Nathanael and Elizabeth, currently attend the school. Jen Mullenex is the current president of the PTO.

Tradition has always been important for staff and students at the school. Many students may recall a single sapling of pine that was given to each student on Arbor Day, others remember the hand-made Christmas ornaments that are still hung on some student’s Christmas Trees each year. Some of these, and other traditions (including the paddle that hung on the principal’s wall), have been removed as our world has changed politically and spiritually.

The school’s custodian, Jody Miller, holds the honor of assuming the position that his late father, Jack Miller, held for over thirty years. Jody’s brother, Rick, also worked in the position, and Jody has been at SES for fifteen of his twenty years with FCPS. Jody said, “There have been three Millers in the fifty-year history of the school. It’s my honor to continue the legacy that my father started.” Some may remember the maze Jack Miller made out of boxes during the school’s Fall Bazaar. Boy was that fun!

For a long time, SES had staff cooks in the kitchen. Locals Millie Eyler and Imogene Smith served savory meals for students every school day. Students who experienced their cooking still yearn for a favorite dish. Frederick County Public Schools (FCPS) switched to centralized meal distribution years ago. Since then, the meals have been prepared in Frederick and trucked to schools throughout the county.

Despite the replacement of Millie’s and Imogene’s personal touch at lunch, the underlying family feel, overlaid with a relaxed kindness, can still be felt. Perhaps the feeling exists because of the school’s location in such a serene place. But for many, their memories of the place where they learned their arithmetic and ABCs are special. In recent years, the school has been on the chopping block to close for FCPS budget cuts. The general consensus of the community is that the school is much too valuable to close. If you stroll through SES on a normal school day, it is evident on the students’ faces that they are happy and comfortable in their classes. They are meeting and exceeding education benchmarks set by the Frederick County Board of Education. Their teachers are effective in nurturing a supportive, family-like learning atmosphere.

History of the Present Sabillasville Elementary School from 1924

by Joan Fry (article is part of her book, Part 2 Plus — The State Sanatorium At Sabillasville From 1908)

Sabillasville Elementary School was the culmination of years of work and hope for residents of the area. Actually, students from two former elementary schools in the area, Sabillasville and Foxville, were served by the new school. Foxville School, built in 1924, was closed in 1961. The 60 students enrolled there were transferred to Wolfsville Elementary School until a suitable facility could be provided for the Sabillasville-Foxville area. The former school building at Sabillasville, erected in 1927 with an addition in 1934, housed 140 students through the close of the 1964-1965 school year. Because of the limitations of the basic building, many services, which have come to be regarded as necessary and desirable, were unavailable to these students.

It was with great enthusiasm, therefore, that residents of the area greeted the announcement that a new school would be built. The school opened in 1965. This school is still serving area students currently despite multiple attempts from Frederick County Public Schools to close the school. Each time, support from residents and students has helped save the school from being closed.

sabillasville school in 1964The present (1965) Sabillasville Elementary School building is pictured. It combined the top two schools pictured left.


sabillasville school up to 1964



(right) Sabillasville School is pictured. It was built in 1927 with an addition in 1934, and served students through the close of the 1964 school year.


foxville school to 1964(left) The Foxville School is pictured. It was built in 1924 and closed in 1961.





sabillasville school to 1927The building pictured far left (now a house on Harbaugh Valley Road) served as Sabillasville School until the next school house was constructed in 1927.

Upcoming Anniversary Events

Sabillasville Elementary School’s 50th Anniversary will be honored during the opening ceremonies of the Thurmont and Emmitsburg Community Show on Friday, September 11, beginning at 7:00 p.m., in the auditorium at Catoctin High School. The school’s staff, faculty, and students are encouraged to attend. It is hoped that a record crowd attends so that many fond memories can be remembered, and former classmates can reunite.

Save the Date: The Sabillasville Elementary School PTO will host a 50th Anniversary Celebration on Wednesday, November 18, 2015, at the school. During school, students will celebrate from 1:00-2:00 p.m. in the auditorium; a community celebration will begin at 6:00 p.m. with Alumni Meet-Up, followed by a celebration at 7:00 p.m. Visit for more information.

Melvin Henry Center and the Business of Giving

Melvin Henry Center would like to thank all the volunteers and donors who have helped the organization sustain free and open access to clothes, shoes, toys, and food for Citizens of the Maryland and the West Virginia Panhandle, as volunteers create fundraising events in northern Frederick County necessary for funding a partnership with the Maryland Food Bank.

As an upstart 501 (C) (3) public charity whose mission is to serve adults with disabilities by expanding their access to workforce skills training, safe on-the-job learning experiences, and independent living options, 100 percent of the work performed for the organization is without compensation. Melvin Henry Center is seeking volunteers and board members.

Community activities include community outreach at Thurmont Colorfest on October 10, 2015, Tie Dye Cookout on September 19, 2015, and a 5K Family Fun Run and Senior Stroll on October 17, 2015, at Mount St. Mary’s University (see advertisement on page 12).

It is the support of numerous volunteers that makes these activities possible and sustains Melvin Henry Center’s service to those in need. The gifting and resale of donated items is the cornerstone for sustaining our presence in the community, as we complete renovations necessary for accreditation by the National Center for Construction Education Research and Interstate Renewable Energies Council.

Call 301-807-5464 or email for more information or to volunteer.

Mark Your Calendars for Emmitsburg Volunteer Ambulance Company’s New Year’s Eve Bingo Bash

Back by popular demand, the Emmitsburg Volunteer Ambulance Company’s New Year’s Eve Bingo Bash will be held on December 31, 2015, at 17701 Creamery Road in Emmitsburg. Doors will open at 6:00 p.m., with games beginning at 8:00 p.m. Event features four $1,000 jackpots, games paying $200 each, and a roast beef platter. View their advertisement on page 31 for more information and on how to get your tickets.

Blue Ridge Sportsmen’s Events

The Blue Ridge Sportsmen’s Association in Fairfield is hosting many upcoming events, including a Wagner Shoot on September 11, with doors opening at 5:00 p.m.; a One Wish Foundation Benefit 3D Shoot on September 12 and 13; a Crab Feed on September 12, from 2:00-5:00 p.m.; and a Cash Bingo on September 13. View their advertisement on page 24 for more information.

34th Annual Pippinfest

The 34th Annual Pippinfest will be held on September 27-28, 2015, in historic Fairfield, Pennsylvania. This family-fun event features a community yard sale, great food, crafts, children’s rides and activities, music, car show, and much more! Parking and admission are free. For more information, visit their website at and view their advertisement on page 19.

Gospel & Blue Grass Music Festival

On Saturday, September 26, 2015, a Gospel & Blue Grass Music Festival will be held at Mt. Tabor Park in Rocky Ridge, from 1:00-6:00 p.m. Admission is free, but they welcome donations. The festival features local talents and blue grass music by the Carroll County Ramblers and Hanover Express. View their advertisement on page 6 for more information.

10th Annual Scotty’s Ride

The 10th Annual Scotty’s Ride will be held on September 26, 2015. The ride begins in Emmitsburg at Jubilee Foods at 10:00 a.m. sharp. The ride will end at 3:00 p.m. at Kerry and Valerie’s, with food, drinks, and live music. Registration will be from 7:30-9:45 a.m. All vehicles welcome. View their advertisement on page 9 for more information and visit their website at

Emmitsburg Community Bible Church’s Movie Night

On Friday, September 11, 2015, at 8:00 p.m., Emmitsburg Community Bible Church is hosting a Movie Night at the Emmitsburg Community Park in Emmitsburg. Movie night is free; bring your chair or blanket and enjoy! View their advertisement on page 9.

Woodsboro Bank Holding Community Blood Drive

On Monday, September 21, 2015, from 12:30-6:00 p.m., Woodsboro Bank will hold a Community Blood Drive at the Monocacy office, located at 900 N. East Street in Frederick, Maryland. View their advertisement on page 32 for more information.

The Ott House Pub Entertainment Events

The Ott House Pub in Emmitsburg will feature the following entertainment in September: Sticktime on September 11 and 12; Karma Sharkz on September 25 and 26. View their advertisement on page 21 for more information.

Bridal Showcase at Lakeside Hall

On Sunday, October 4, 2015, a Bridal Showcase will be held at the Lakeside Hall at Fort Ritchie, located at 14324 Lake Royer Drive in Cascade, Maryland, from 12:00-3:00 p.m. The event is free and features over fifty vendors, including brides selling their wedding items. View their advertisement on page 3 for more information.

59th Annual Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show

You won’t want to miss the 59th Annual Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show this year! This much-anticipated event will take place on September 11-13, 2015, at Catoctin High School in Thurmont. Parking and admission are free. Bring the entire family for great food, activities, auctions, shows, entertainment, book sale, contests, and much more! View their advertisement on page 4 for more information and for dates and times of events.

History of the Mason-Dixon Line

On Tuesday, September 15, 2015, from 6:00-8:00 p.m., Fort Ritchie Community Center will host History of the Mason-Dixon Line, featuring David Peters (part of the George and Christina Griffin Speaker Series). The cost is $25.00 per couple; $15.00 for single. View their advertisement on page 17 for more information.

2nd Annual Pig Roast at Catoctin Breeze Vineyard

Come out for the 2nd Annual Pig Roast at Catoctin Breeze Vineyard on Sunday, September 6, 2015, from 12:00-8:00 p.m. Event is free, with complimentary food, plus live bands, Catoctin High School Drama performance, and wine tasting. Donations accepted. A portion of the proceeds will benefit Catoctin High School Drama program. View their advertisement on page 19 for more information.

Emmitsburg Lions Club’s Chicken BBQ & Yard Sale

On Saturday, October 3, 2015, the Emmitsburg Lions Club will be holding their Chicken BBQ and Yard Sale event. Yard sale will begin at 6:00 a.m. Spaces are available; there is plenty of space, so just show up that morning. The BBQ sale will begin at 11:00 a.m. and will run until they sell out. View their advertisement on page 10 for more information.

Lewistown Volunteer Fire Department Crab Feed

Enjoy some crabs at the Lewistown Volunteer Fire Department Crab Feed on Saturday, September 26, 2015. Tickets are $40.00 each. Proceeds benefit the Lewistown Volunteer Fire Department. View their advertisement on page 33 for more information.

Community Wellness Event

St. Joseph’s Ministries, located at 331 S. Seton Avenue in Emmitsburg, is holding a Community Wellness Event on September 10, 2015, from 1:30-3:30 p.m. View their advertisement on page 31 for more information.

Couponing Got You Confused?

Seton Center, Inc. will host a Pa$$port To Wealth Workshop at the Emmitsburg Public Library Community Room, located at 300 South Seton Avenue in Emmitsburg, on Thursday, September 3, 2015, at 1:30 p.m., called “The Coupon Game.” Learn the ins and outs of couponing. To learn more details about this workshop, visit Seton Center’s website at or contact Program Assistant Sister Whitney Kimmet at 240-405-4831.

Trinity United Church of Christ to Hold Second Special Veteran’s Day Service and Recognition

On Sunday, November 8, 2015, Trinity United Church of Christ will hold its second special Veteran’s Day Service and Recognition. The service will be held at 101 East Main Street in Thurmont, with a luncheon immediately following the worship service. Anyone is invited to attend, with special recognition being given to those currently serving and Veterans who had previously served in any branch of the United States Armed Services, as well as any named persons who are deceased and had previously served their country.

The purpose of this very beautiful service is to thank the living and to honor the deceased Veterans in our communities for their dedicated and loyal service to our country. Honored guests are Pastor Emeritus, Lower Marsh Creed Presbyterian Church, and retired commander US Navy, Pastor Dale Williams, leading the service. Other participants include Sheriff Chuck Jenkins; Honor and Color Guard from the Thurmont AMVETS; musical group Solid Ground out of Fort Detrick; Wes Hamrick, Commissioner of Thurmont; Marty Burns, former Mayor of Thurmont; and other retired persons of service.

If you would like to participate, please call the church (301-271-2305) to indicate your interest and to give us some information as to when you served, the branch of service, where you served and any other information you would like to share. This will all be printed in our program for the day.

Trinity United Church of Christ had a wonderful and meaningful service last year and would love to have interested persons and their families add their voices and sentiments with them on this occasion. Bring your family along and enjoy their celebratory meal at the conclusion of the service. Please RSVP by October 17. This is very important so that all names can be listed in their program and read accurately.


The Purpose of the Community Show is to Educate, to Inspire, and to Entertain

The Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show will be held at Catoctin High School on September 11-13, 2015. Visit the Community Show’s website at to view the premium list for 2015 and the community show booklet.

On Friday evening, September 11, the 2015-2016 Catoctin FFA Chapter Ambassador will be announced. The baked goods auction will begin following the program, and the grand champion cake, pie, bread, gluten-free baked product, sugar free baked product, and the Junior and Youth Department baked product champions will be sold at 9:00 p.m.

Entry of exhibits will take place on Thursday evening, September 10, from 6:00-9:00 p.m., and on Friday, September 11, from 8:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m., in the new gymnasium and in the agriculture department area. There will be changes made in many of the classes, including photography, fresh vegetables, corn, and other departments. Judging will begin at 12:30 p.m. Commercial exhibits may be entered on Friday, September 11, from 3:30-5:30 p.m. The show will open to the public at 6:00 p.m., and the Friday night program will feature the 50th anniversary of Sabillasville Elementary School, with several individuals being honored.

On Saturday, September 12, the show opens at 9:00 a.m. Activities include a Market Goat, Beef, Sheep and Swine Fitting & Showing contest, from 8:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m., at the Ag Center at the school. A Scales and Tales demonstration will take place immediately prior to the Pet Show in the front of the school. The Pet Show will be held at 10:30 a.m. outside the front of the school. The petting zoo, farm animals, and pony rides by the Mason Dixon Quarter Horse Club will also be held on Saturday and Sunday, located near the upper parking lot at the high school, featuring “Abel,” owned by Joe and Ruth Biser, who is a Brown Swiss animal that is twelve years old and weighs 2,600 pounds. Alpacas, owned by Lynn Cherish of Baggy Britches Farm, will be on display. Emus, owned by James Royer, will be on display, and a sow and litter of pigs owned by Phil Wivell will also be on display.

The Thurmont Grange will serve their turkey and country ham dinner in the school cafeteria from 3:00-7:00 p.m. on Saturday night. CATOCTIN The Band will perform in the auditorium, beginning at 6:00 p.m. At 7:00 p.m., the Taylor Brown “Elvis Show” will be performed. There will be no admission charge for this entertainment.

The 41st annual Catoctin FFA Alumni Beef, Sheep, Swine and Market Goat sale will begin at 7:00 p.m. in the Ag Center area on Saturday night, with approximately fifty-five head of livestock being sold. Buyers are welcome to attend and purchase animals.

Activities begin on Sunday, September 13th at 9:00 a.m. with the Goat Show, followed by the Dairy Show and Decorated Animal Contest. The decorated animal contest will begin at noon.

At 12:00 noon, the Catoctin FFA Alumni Chicken Bar-B-Que will be held in the cafeteria. The 35th annual Robert Kaas horseshoe pitching contest will begin at 1:00 p.m.

The Log Sawing Contest will begin at 1:00 p.m. under the show tent in the Ag Center area. A peddle tractor contest for kids will be held on Sunday afternoon at 1:30 p.m., also in the Ag Center area. The Thurmont Academy of Self Defense will have a program in the old gymnasium at 1:00 and 2:00 p.m. CATOCTIN The Band will perform in the auditorium from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. and the Taylor Brown “Elvis Show” will be held from 2:00-3:00 p.m.

The Catoctin FFA Alumni will be holding a raffle during the community show. Profit from the raffle will go toward the scholarship fund as each year the Alumni awards scholarships to graduating Catoctin FFA Chapter seniors and past FFA graduates seeking secondary education.

Exhibits must be removed on Sunday, September 13, 2015 from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. If items are left at the school after this time, they may be picked up in the Ag Center area on Tuesday, September 15, 2015, as there is no school on Monday, September 14th.

The community show booklets can be found in local Thurmont, Emmitsburg and surrounding area businesses in late July or early August. New residents of the community are urged to enter and be a part of the Community Show, the largest in the State of Maryland. Some minor additions and deletions will be made in some of the departments. Departments include: Fresh Fruits, Fresh Vegetables, Home Products Display, Canned Fruits, Canned Vegetables, Jellies & Preserves, Pickles, Meats, Baked Products, Sewing & Needlework, Flowers and Plants, Arts, Paintings & Drawings, Crafts, Photography, Corn, Small Grains and Seeds, Eggs, Nuts, Poultry & Livestock, Dairy, Goats, Hay, Junior Department and Youth Department. There is no entry fee. Please visit our website for updated information at

The Community Show is sponsored by the Thurmont Grange, Catoctin FFA Chapter, Catoctin FFA Alumni, the Maryland State Grange and the Maryland State Agricultural Fair Board.


James Rada, Jr.    

catoctin breeze 2The Thurmont area is perfect for growing grapes that then can be turned into fine wines, and Alicja and Voytek Fizyta have the awards to prove it.

Over the past five years, the wines of Catoctin Breeze Winery have earned thirty awards at shows like the Atlantic Seaboard Wine Association Wine Competition and Winemasters Choice Competition.

“The soil here is perfect,” said Alicja Fizyta. “It is absolutely like it is supposed to be, though because it’s stony, a farmer wouldn’t take it for free.”

The soil also contains limestone and other minerals. These minerals are absorbed by the grapes and give them a unique taste.

“It’s all about the grapes,” Alicja said. “You can use the same recipe in different places, and the wines will taste different because the grapes pick up the nutrients in the soil.”

The stony soil also forces the grapevines to send their roots deep into the ground in search of water, creating a stress on the vines that produces grapes of richer flavor.

Alicja and her husband Voytek lived in Montgomery County, but after their children grew up and moved out on their own, they decided to start making wine.

“We decided that we wanted a change of lifestyle, and we had always enjoyed drinking wine with friends,” Alicja said.

They started taking classes and reading books about wine making. They established Catoctin Breeze Vineyard in 2010 in Thurmont when they planted two acres of grapevines. They made their first harvest in 2012. They have also planted another two acres of vines, which were harvested this year for the first time. They now have about 8,000 vines growing.

“We also have a sister vineyard in St. Mary’s County that grows grapes that we don’t have here,” said Alicja.

Catoctin Breeze Winery expects to bottle between 1,200 and 1,500 cases of varietal wines, blended wines, and meads this year under their three labels. The Butterfly Series offers cabernet franc, chardonnay, Syrah, rose, and viognier wines. The Musical Series offers chardonnay, Riesling, Vidal Blanc, Bordeaux blend, petit verdot, and merlot. The Mead Series offers amber, dolce vita, and honeymoon.

“The secret to good wine is to have minimal intervention,” Alicja said. “The wine goes through filtration, but we don’t add artificial flavors.”

It’s a recipe that is paying off as appreciation of Catoctin Breeze’s unique wines grows. In 2011, the vineyard won four awards for its wines. This year, Catoctin Breeze Winery earned eleven awards, including a Best in Show-Reds Award at the Winemasters Choice Competition for its 2013 Adagio Petit Verdot.

While running a vineyard has turned out to be a lot more work for the Fizytas than they expected, they very much enjoy meeting the people who come to enjoy their wines.

“We want to make good wine and meet new people,” Voytek said.

Catoctin Breeze is currently building a permanent tasting room to accommodate its growth. You can visit the winery for tastings, tours, and the purchase of the wines. You can also purchase the wines online or at local retailers.

Wine Tasting and Vineyard Tours are Monday through Thursday, 10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.; Friday, 10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. and 5:00-8:30 p.m.; and Saturday and Sunday, 12:00-5:00 p.m.

Catoctin Breeze Vineyard & Winery is located at 15010 Roddy Road in Thurmont. Contact them at 240-449-0677 or by email at

Annual Picnic Held in Sabillasville

Band at Sabillasville picnicThe annual Sabillasville Picnic was held in Sabillasville on Saturday, August 15, 2015. The Bluegrass Chapel Band strummed out old hymns and folk songs while residents relaxed, mingled, and enjoyed ice cream and other goodies.

This long-time annual event is hosted by St. John’s United Church of Christ in Sabillasville, and is held on the church’s picnic ground located off of Harbaugh Valley Road.

Church volunteer, Joan Fry, sent in these diary entries made by the late Annie Harbaugh of Sabillasville:

August 17, 1935

“This was a beautiful day for the picnic in Bittner’s meadow. We did not go until evening.”

August 20, 1938

“This was a beautiful day for Sabillasville Picnic.”

August 17, 1940

“At 11:30 a.m. 70 degrees and still it rains. This is three days of rain already. This was to be the day for the Sabillasville Picnic.”

August 21, 1948

This was a threatening morning for the community picnic at Sabillasville. The crowd was slim in the daytime but at the festival there was a large crowd.

The Bluegrass Chapel Band entertains the crowd at the annual Sabillasville Picnic, held August 15, 2015.

EVAC Back in Full Operation

The Emmitsburg Volunteer Ambulance Company (EVAC) worked very diligently for fifteen months to meet all the county standards and was placed back in full operation on May 16, 2015. They welcomed six new career staff into their station family with a cookout and a “Welcome” cake for each shift. They have settled in nicely, and their volunteers and career staff are working very well with one another.

EVAC was presented the Zembower Memorial Training Award in June at the annual Maryland State Fireman’s Association (MSFA) convention in Ocean City, Maryland. This award is presented to the company with the best average of training hours in a single year. This is only the second time the Maryland state traveling trophy has been awarded within Frederick County, and EVAC is extremely proud to house it this year.

Company President Marylou Little said, “We worked our tails off in 2014-2015 to not only meet, but to exceed Frederick County’s standards set forth. We welcomed two new members to our family of EMTs this year, and look forward to several more volunteers completing their National Registry EMT status. We have four new members starting the EMT course and wish them great success. We look forward to continuing the best EMS care for you, our Emmitsburg community and surrounding areas. If you are interested in joining our team, please visit us at or stop by for an application for free training.”

Who Will Be the Thurmont Volunteer of the Year for 2015?

The Thurmont Lions Club is now accepting nominations for the 2015 Volunteer of the Year. Nominate an individual who is making a difference in the lives of others—working with children in the schools, helping at the food bank, a member of a service organization or church, a special neighbor who is always there to help whenever needed, and so on.

The volunteer service work must be done in the area zip code 21788. Forms are available at the Thurmont Regional Library, Thurmont Town Office, online at, or by contacting Lion Joyce Anthony at

Nomination forms are due no later than October 1, 2015. Send your completed nomination form to Thurmont Lions Club, ATTN: Joyce Anthony, P.O. Box 306, Thurmont, MD 21788 or email to Thurmont Lions Club members are eligible to be nominated with the stipulation that the majority of the volunteer services considered for the award must be performed outside of related Lions Club community service.

The recipient will be announced at the 2015 Make a Difference Day Reception on October 24, 2015.

Deb Spalding

MEREDITH2Young Betty Jean Hixen was raised in a family of Polish and Irish descent, who were coal miners in Jordan, West Virginia. Just three miles away, her future husband, William (Bill) Meredith, lived with his family of Welsh and Irish ancestry. They were farmers. The two were destined to love, and met when she was a freshman and he was a senior, on the school bus ride to East Fairmont High School.

Betty joked, “He said it was love at first sight!” Bill parried, “It was very sneaky, if it was.” She invited him to her 14th birthday party, to which he brought her a gift of Whitman’s Samplers candy. They liked each other and started dating that spring. Bill was scheduled to attend college at Fairmont State, located in the same town, so they continued to see each other.

Bill had a pony colt that he sold to get money to buy a ring, and he proposed to her at Christmas, 1954. He doesn’t think she was surprised. They married at their local Presbyterian Church, amid 100 degree heat on August 20, 1955, after Bill had completed his final year at Fairmont State. Betty started Business college that fall.

Graduating with a degree in Biology Education from Fairmont State College, Bill thought he would, “…get a job as a high school teacher and that would be that.” But that spring, a new professor at Fairmont recommended that Bill go to graduate school at West Virginia University (WVU) for free to serve an assistantship there.

The newly married couple moved to an apartment near WVU, where Bill received a stipend of $750 per year. Betty joked, “We went to the 10 cent Saturday Matinee for entertainment. The question was whether we could afford another 10 cents for pizza after the movie.”

While at West Virginia University, their first child arrived—a girl they named Melinda. Soon after, the assistantship came to an end and Bill had no idea how or where to apply for a job. His thesis advisor had heard about a vacancy at Mount St. Mary’s College. Bill applied and was hired right on the spot in 1957.

At Mount St. Mary’s, Bill was an instructor in biology. He said, “They have ranks, and instructor is the lowest, and that’s what I was.” Here, they had two more children, Michael and Fred.

While Bill attended the University of Maryland to obtain his doctorate, Betty raised the kids. The couple then moved to Emmitsburg and settled into the town.

Once the kids were in school, Betty worked at Sperry’s Ford in Emmitsburg, managing business affairs; after a few years, she worked as a teacher’s aide at Emmitsburg School. This job lasted a short twenty-seven years. Betty said, “I knew just about everybody in town, and now know hardly anybody.”

Family trips usually revolved around National Science Foundation (NSF) grant-funded studies. The family went to Colorado for an ecology study, Arizona for a desert biology study, and North Carolina for genetics. The whole family would go, and they met lots of nice people and kept in touch with them.

Bill received the Sears Award for Excellence in Teaching in 1990. This was a prestigious national accolade. After forty-one years at Mount St. Mary’s, he retired. “It was my first and only job. I ended up as the Dean of Undergraduate Studies.” He retired in 1998.

Bill received another accolade when he was invited to speak at Mount St. Mary’s commencement after he retired—this was the first time since the 19th Century a faculty member was asked to speak.

On the home front, the Merediths have raised a garden since the summer of 1954. Betty started entering the Thurmont and Emmitsburg Community Show with vegetables and baked goods, and won many ribbons. She said, “I could paper this whole house with the award ribbons. It was fun!” Unfortunately, she suffered a broken hip a few years ago and couldn’t enter anymore.

Bill has written his monthly column entitled “The Retired Ecologist” in local newspapers since the 1990s. The column has appeared in the former Emmitsburg Dispatch when Bo Cadle started it, then for the Emmitsburg Dispatch when Ray and Jennifer Buccheister ran it, in the short-lived New Emmitsburg Chronicle, and now, it appears in the Emmitsburg News Journal. About the column, he said, “I hope the reader will know things about ecology by reading that they didn’t realize they learned.” September’s issue will include his 185th column, featuring an interesting story about his and Betty’s wedding and marriage.

Their three children have children of their own now. Melinda and Fred both retired from Verizon, and Mike’s a jeweler. The three youngest of six grandchildren are in college, while a computer specialist, an international economics graduate, and an events coordinator round out the group.

The family gathered at their home on August 23 to celebrate their 60th anniversary.

They’ve led an interesting life together, impacting many by imparting knowledge and nurturing growth. Bill and Betty, we wish you many more years of happiness!

The Catoctin-Ettes, Inc., a non-profit 501(c)(3) competitive baton twirling, color guard, pom pom, and percussion organization from Emmitsburg, is reaching out to the community to ask for their consideration in making a tax-deductible donation to their corps. With the money that they collect, they will be able to purchase equipment and meet their operational expenses, as well as fund the part of their program that participates in various competitions.

Established in 1972 as a creative outlet for youth, they have performed in local parades, charitable events, and have earned prestigious titles in state, regional, and national competitions. If you would like to donate, visit

Fall brings the biggest fundraiser for Boy Scouts of America: Popcorn! This fundraiser is through Trails End, who are now giving seventy-three percent back to scouting. They have increased the amount of product you receive this year, but kept the price the same. They have also added a couple of new flavors.

This major fundraiser for the scouts gives them points towards paying for their summer camp adventures. Local businesses are supporting the efforts by allowing Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, and Venturing Crew members to sell popcorn outside their businesses.

If you do not see a scout and would like to purchase some popcorn, please contact and a scout will be in contact with you. Thank you for supporting scouting.

Randy Waesche

Fifty years ago three of Thurmont’s leading citizens figured in two of the most remarkable episodes in town politics. The men were Donald L. Lewis, Roy W. Lookingbill, and Calvin G. Wilhide.

Mayor Lewis

Mayor Lewis

Donald L. Lewis was one of Thurmont’s most-progressive mayors. Although only in office for just over five years, the effects of his tenure are still felt today. Of impressive stature and fitness, he came from a large and prominent Thurmont family. He was a staff sergeant in the Army Rangers during World War II and landed at Omaha Beach on D-Day. In 1956, he opened Lewis’ Confectionery on the square, a widely known general store that sold everything from fountain sodas to fishing rods. Forty years old when first elected mayor in 1959, he embarked on an activist course and worked with political leaders at all levels, and courted anyone with an eye to expand local business. Concerned that unregulated land use had allowed Thurmont to become blemished with such nuisances as dilapidated house trailers, he secured federal grant funding and developed Thurmont’s first planning and zoning ordinance, master plan, and subdivision regulations. He brought the state economic development commission to Thurmont where they touted the local spirit of cooperation and new local opportunities for progress. Surveys were undertaken to evaluate and improve town water and sewer service and establish policies for underground electric in new growth areas. He was in front of the Maryland Department of Forests and Parks advocating for local recreation areas. He opened discussions that eventually led to the Town’s ownership of what is now the 20-acre Thurmont Community Park. Lewis worked with local businessman Victor Leisner and broke ground for Greenfield Estates, a major subdivision on the town’s eastern edge then at Blue Ridge Avenue. The project promised to include the largest sewage and water development ever undertaken and was the first under the town’s new developer’s policy. He appointed the first planning and zoning commission, chaired by his brother Harry “Buck” Lewis, who owned a Sinclair auto service station diagonal from the confectionery. When plans stalled for a new north county high school, Lewis and some Emmitsburg officials headed to the Board of Education, kept the project moving, and within five years Catoctin High School opened. He worked with magistrate M.T. Mathwig to relocate local court from a rented Water Street building to the Town Office. Revision of a new town code was introduced. There seemed to be no end to the energy of mayor Donald Lewis.

Mayor Lookingbill

Roy W. Lookingbill owned and operated Lookingbill’s Barber Shop in the first block of East Main Street for 22 years. He had twice won a town commissioner seat and in 1963 ran for mayor against Lewis, but lost. Two years later in April 1965 Lewis was unexpectedly alone on the ballot for mayor and seemed to have an easy path to a fourth term. Although short on time and in uncharted legal territory, Lookingbill launched a write-in candidacy for mayor. To guard against spelling disqualifications, several thousand stickers were printed with his name and distributed across town. Voters were asked to become “sticker lickers for Lookingbill” and were instructed how to affix the stickers onto the ballot and mark an X alongside. A car with loudspeakers slowly drove the town’s streets loudly asking for votes for the mayor’s challenger. Hundreds of orange handbills from the Lookingbill campaign were spread through town that contained a list of allegations against the incumbent, and the town was rife with opinion about the upstart long shot bid. It would be weeks following the election before debate quieted about the accuracy of the handbill, but the vote was in. In an election where 627 votes were cast for mayor, Lookingbill had narrowly won by 19.

Calvin C. Wilhide

Calvin C. Wilhide

One of Thurmont’s more colorful personalities, Calvin G. Wilhide was the owner of Wilhide Chevrolet-Oldsmobile on Water Street, formerly owned by Fred Redding and started by Edwin Creeger over 40 years before. Wilhide also owned the Texas Lunch on West Main Street, operated an amusement machine business, owned and raced prize horses at Shenandoah Downs, and also had a trucking business and garage on Carroll Street Extended that included his Thurmont Star rural mail route. Known by many as Pud (pronounced like the first syllable of “pudding”), he had run for mayor in 1959 and 1961 but lost both times to Lewis. He won a town commissioner seat in 1964. On the town board he was especially critical of the town’s new zoning policies, which he declared were ruinous to business. He was again nominated to oppose Lewis in 1965 but surprised many when he declined, setting the stage for Lookingbill’s successful bid. With a year to go as commissioner, Wilhide settled in with the new mayor and board. Then came a situation that eclipsed April’s upset election in local lore.

Carroll E. Kinsey was a local developer. Among his real estate holdings was a brick building that is now the Thurmont Senior Citizens Center on East Main Street. It was in a town zoning district that allowed commercial uses. In the fall of 1965 Kinsey leased half the building to the Board of Education to hold 60 students from the overcrowded Thurmont Elementary School across the street. The other half he leased to a business called Shankle Body Works. Only thin sheets of drywall separated two grade-school classrooms from the noisy riveting, hammering, and welding operations of the truck trailer assembly plant. Amid the racket, classroom instruction was impossible. Thurmont zoning inspector Austin Bruchey stepped in and declared that the operations of the body shop were industrial rather than commercial, and therefore not allowed under the zoning policies. He ordered it shut down. To relieved parents and a grateful board of education, if ever there was a reason to have zoning policies, this was it. To Calvin Wilhide, the snuffed business proved if ever there was a reason not to have zoning policies, this was it. At the next town meeting on October 11, 1965, Wilhide sought to reverse the ruling. After a bitter and contentious meeting, the board refused to override their zoning inspector. Wilhide quit. Within days he reconsidered, and said he would return if allowed. At first, the board said no, but after being lobbied by some civic leaders, new mayor Lookingbill scheduled a meeting for October 21 to further discuss the matter. Controversy again swirled and for the second time that year, the town was consumed with opinion about the latest political drama.

On the evening of October 20 in his office at his car dealership with his son and Kinsey, Calvin Wilhide was stricken with a heart attack. He was dead at the age of 51.

A little over a year later on the first of December 1966, following a normal day at his barber shop, mayor Roy Lookingbill suffered a heart attack and died at his home. He was 57. Former mayor and commissioner C. Ray Weddle again took the helm, and during his long service to Thurmont was elected mayor ten times.

In 1970 Donald Lewis was elected to the Frederick County Board of Commissioners and was named vice president. He served two terms. Today he has been with us longer than any former Thurmont mayor or county commissioner, still sharp at 96.

CPT David Lee Burrier, son of Lonnie and Barbara Burrier of Thurmont, recently became Company Commander of the HHC, 127th Engineer Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team, and 82nd Airborne at Fort Bragg in Fayetteville, North Carolina. CPT Burrier was a 2004 graduate of Catoctin High School, and a 2008 graduate of The Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina, where he earned a Bachelors Degree in Civil Engineering, attended Airborne School, and then commissioned through ROTC. After graduation from The Citadel, CPT Burrier attended the Basic Officer Leader Course II at Fort Benning, Georgia, the Engineer Officer Basic Course at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.

CPT Burrier was first assigned to the 27th EN BN, 20th EN BDE at Fort Bragg, where he served as a Platoon Leader in the 264th Route Clearance Company and deployed to Afghanistan in 2010. During the deployment, CPT Burrier also served as the Executive Officer for the 161st Engineer Support Company, with which he redeployed back to Fort Bragg. In May of 2011, CPT Burrier took over as the Olmsted Division Executive Officer, Louisville District USACE, stationed in Paducah, Kentucky. During his time in the Louisville District, CPT Burrier earned his Professional Engineering Degree in the state of Kentucky.

After serving as the Executive Officer, CPT Burrier attended the Engineer Captains Career Course at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. Upon reporting to Fort Bragg in 2013, CPT Burrier served as the Assistant Brigade Engineer for the 3rd BCT, 82nd Airborne Division. In 2014, CPT Burrier served as the Assistant Operations Officer for the 307th AEB, 3 BCT, 82nd Airborne Division.

CPT Burrier’s awards and decorations include the Senior Parachutist Bade, Combat Action Badge, Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Army Commendation Medal, Meritorious Unit Commendation, and Senior Parachutist Badge.

CPT Burrier is married to his wife, Hunter, for five years, has one son, Mason, and resides in Raeford, North Carolina.


CPT David Lee Burrier is pictured with his wife, Hunter, and his son, Mason.

James Rada, Jr.

Ranger - Jim RadaJeremy Murphy (pictured right) was born and raised in Emmitsburg, graduating from Catoctin High in 1998. He visited both Catoctin Mountain Park and Gettysburg National Military Park on field trips and summer trips, never realizing that he would grow up to become the chief law enforcement officer for the Gettysburg National Military Park and Eisenhower National Historic Site.

Murphy, who has been with the National Park Service (NPS) for fourteen years, took over the duties of planning, direction, and execution of programs dealing with law enforcement and resource protection, emergency services, and safety for the park rangers.

“I’m happy to be here,” Murphy said. “My family lives in the immediate area, and my wife’s family is from Taneytown.

Previous to coming to Gettysburg, Murphy was chief ranger for the Visitor Protection and Resource Education Division at Monocacy National Battlefield in Frederick. He also served in law-enforcement ranger positions at Catoctin Mountain Park, Harpers Ferry National Historic Park, and Delaware Water Gap NRA. Prior to law enforcement, he worked for the resource management division and the maintenance division at Catoctin Mountain Park.

“I actually went to school and studied wildlife management and then I shifted to forestry,” Murphy said.

When he graduated from Penn State, Murphy originally tried to get a job with the Pennsylvania Forestry Service, but was turned down because he didn’t live in Pennsylvania at the time.

He had worked as a trail crew member for the NPS, which was seasonal work. He tried to get a job with NPS on a permanent basis through the NPS intake program, but the organization wasn’t hiring biologists. He did find out that they were hiring law-enforcement rangers. He applied and was hired.

“I’ve never regretted it,” Murphy said. “I like that my days are never the same.”

He has kept his work sites near his hometown, which has worked out well. He was involved with the sesquicentennial events for the Civil War sites in the area and the bicentennial events at Fort McHenry in Baltimore. When he was working at Catoctin Mountain Park, he even met President Bush. He is currently the planning section chief for the planned Papal visit this month to Independence National Historical Park.

“Each park I’ve been at has moments for me that stand out,” Murphy said.

His favorite park, however, is the Delaware Water Gap Park.

“It was the first park I was at on a permanent basis, and it was a treasure trove of natural resources,” he said. “I could go out and spend all day just hiking the trails.”

Murphy met his wife, Erin, through a mutual friend while he was working at Harpers Ferry National Military Park. They live in Fairfield, Pennsylvania, with their three children—Wyatt, Ayla, and Tristan.

Thurmont Thespians Hold Auditions for 2015 Fall Show

The Thurmont Thespians are proud to announce auditions for their fall show, God’s Favorite, a comedy by Neil Simon and directed by Matthew Bannister.

Auditions will be held at St. John’s Lutheran Church, located on 15 N. Church Street in Thurmont, on Tuesday, September 1, at 7:00 p.m. and Wednesday, September 2, at 4:00 p.m. The audition will consist of cold reads from the script and some improvisation scenarios.

God’s Favorite is based on the biblical story of Job and takes place in a Long Island mansion. One night, a messenger from God, Sidney Lipton (with a big G on his sweatshirt) arrives and, as in the biblical story, goes through all manner of temptations to get Joe Benjamin to renounce God. When he refuses, he is visited by all the afflictions imaginable. He stands firm and the messenger has to admit defeat. The household consists of a pious, God-fearing tycoon named Joe Benjamin and his family: a long-suffering wife, Rose; a prodigal son, David; a pair of kooky twins, Ben and Sarah; and the maid and butler, Mady and Morris.

All roles are open. For more information, please contact Matt Bannister at 240-626-8178 or by email

The Great American Wheat Harvest is Nominated for a Regional Emmy Award

Frederick area film maker, Conrad Weaver of ConjoStudios, LLC, just announced that his 2014 documentary film, The Great American Wheat Harvest has been nominated for an Emmy Award! On Thursday, August 7, 2015, the Mid-America Chapter of National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences revealed the nominees for the 2015 Regional Emmy Awards, and The Great American Wheat Harvest was nominated in the documentary-cultural category.

The film aired on WQPT (Quad Cities PBS) this past February and consequently qualified to be submitted for the nomination. As one of nineteen regional chapters of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, the Mid-America Chapter is the standard-bearer for excellence in the television broadcasting industry and the gatekeepers of the prestigious regional Emmy Awards. Mid-America represents the most experienced and talented television professionals from all disciplines of the industry in the region.

“It’s really an honor to be nominated for an Emmy Award; it’s the culmination of a lot of hard work and persistence in getting our film to an audience who needs to see it. This nomination is also a tribute to the farmers and harvesters who work hard, year in and year out, to bring food to our tables,” said Weaver.

The 39th Mid-America Emmy Gala will be held on Saturday, October 3, 2015, at the Marriott St. Louis Grand Hotel in St. Louis, Missouri, and Weaver hopes to come home with the golden statue.

Weaver is looking for more opportunities to air the film. Any television station programming director who would like to feature The Great American Wheat Harvest, should contact him at 301-606-7794, or email at or on Twitter: @conjostudios. The film is also available on DVD through the website:

Weaver and his company, along with another Frederick company, Archai media, are currently working on another documentary film, Thirsty Land. This film will tell the story about the drought in the American west and its impact on agriculture and communities. Learn more at

Hometown Author to Sign Books at Blue Ridge Summit Library

Hometown Author, Allison B. Hanson, will be signing books on Saturday, September 12, 2015, from 11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m., at the Blue Ridge Summit Free Library, located at 15055 Summit Plaza in Blue Ridge Summit, Pennsylvania.

Come out to meet the author as she introduces the first book in the Blue Ridge Romance Series, When Least Expected. Visit her website at