Nicholas DiGregory

Photo Courtesy of Nicholas DiGregory

40 yrs

The teachers and students of Emmitsburg’s Mother Seton School gather for a picture after Bishop Gainer’s anniversary Mass. The school traces its history all the way back to Elizabeth Ann Seton’s original school in Emmitsburg.

On March 2, 1809, Elizabeth Ann Seton penned a letter to her life-long and possibly dearest friend, Julia Sitgreaves Scott. The letter described Seton’s intention to move from Baltimore to the Catoctin Valley, where she would start a school on lands provided by a generous Mount St. Mary’s seminarian.

“He is about purchasing a place at Emmitsburg, and has offered me the department of taking care of the children who may be presented or rather of being the mother of the family,” Seton wrote in the letter. “This pleases me for many reasons—in the first place I shall live in the mountains, in the next I shall see no more of the world than if I was out of it and have every object centered in my own family.”

The Catoctin Mountains and Valley always held a special place in Seton’s heart. Throughout her life, she referred to the area as the “Valley of Blessings.” The town of Emmitsburg, nestled quietly in the Catoctin Valley, provided Seton with the perfect place to begin the Sisters of Charity of Saint Joseph. Emmitsburg’s reasonable distance from major cities and quiet country lifestyle allowed Seton and her religious sisters to be free of distractions, which in turn enabled them to focus all of their time on the care and education of the poor.

It was in quiet Emmitsburg, in the heart of the Catoctin Valley, that Seton’s religious community flourished. The Sisters of Charity of Saint Joseph inspired the formation of other communities across North America. The religious sisters of these communities have served and educated the poor, just as Mother Seton did, in hundreds of countries throughout the world.

Mother Seton’s humble mission of love and service to the poor, a mission that found its realization largely in Emmitsburg, sowed the seeds for her canonization. The title of saint, which in the Roman Catholic Church signifies a person of utmost virtue and spirituality, was bestowed upon Elizabeth Ann Seton on September 14, 1975, making her the first American-born individual to be graced with the title.

Now, for the fortieth anniversary of Seton’s canonization, the town of Emmitsburg is once again celebrating their very own saint.

The National Shrine of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton is hosting a year-long celebration commemorating the fortieth year of Seton’s sainthood. Entitled “40 Years a Saint,” this celebration is embodied in a premier exhibition that displays memorabilia previously unavailable for public admiration. This exhibit, which has become the centerpiece of the shrine’s museum, is composed of treasured objects, letters, documents, and pictures that were significant during Seton’s canonization process.

Among the most treasured of these pieces on display at the National Shrine is Seton’s canonization banner. When a saint is proclaimed by the Roman Catholic Church, a large image of the person is often painted and displayed prominently in Saint Peter’s Square in Rome. Seton’s canonization banner, which depicts her bathed in heavenly light and standing in the clouds above the earth, has not been seen by the public since the canonization celebration 40 years ago. It was removed from archival storage in Emmitsburg and restored specifically for the new exhibit at the shrine.

“That canvas was painted specifically for her canonization celebration in Rome, and it hung in Saint Peter’s Square, right above the entire celebration,” said Rob Judge, the executive director of the National Shrine of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton. “It was the centerpiece during the canonization, and it is now the centerpiece in our museum.”

Besides the banner, many noteworthy artifacts of Seton’s canonization are on display at the “40 Years a Saint” exhibit. Among these items are letters validating miraculous healings for those who prayed to Mother Seton, as well as the congressional proclamation which denoted September 14, 1975, as “National Saint Elizabeth Seton Day.”

In addition to the yearlong exhibit, the National Shrine of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton hosted a three-day anniversary festival, which led up to the fortieth anniversary of Seton’s canonization on Monday, September 14, 2015. All public events throughout the festival were held at the National Shrine and were free to attend.

The weekend festivities started at 7 p.m. on Saturday, September 12, with a commemorative concert by Dr. David Hildebrand, adjunct professor of musicology at the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and presenter for the Colonial Music Institute. Hildebrand, a master of colonial-era music, performed instrumental pieces from Mother Seton’s time period on the harpsichord, fiddle, period guitar, and recorder. An a cappella quartet also performed alongside Hildebrand.

“The grounds where Mother Seton once walked were again serenaded with the music of her time,” said Becca Corbell, the worship and retreat coordinator for the National Shrine of Elizabeth Ann Seton. “Dr. David Hildebrand beautifully escorted us through the life and sounds of her era.”

Events the following day began at 1:30 p.m. with a commemorative Mass celebrated by Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore. During the Mass, Lori shared his memories of Elizabeth Ann Seton’s canonization day. At that time, he was studying to become a priest at Mount St. Mary’s seminary; on the day of the canonization, he and his fellow seminarians helped the Sisters of Charity coordinate the celebrations in Emmitsburg.

“Looking back on it, I’m not sure that we were much help to the sisters,” joked Lori. “But I certainly remember how happy we were, how excited we were that a saint, who so loved Emmitsburg, and who so loved the grotto, and who knew our seminary, and who was the first saint born in the United States, we were so excited about all these things unfolding before us.”

During the commemorative Mass, Lori also praised Seton’s concern for, and care of, the poor, stressing that her example was one that should be followed by all men and women.

“It is safe to say that Mother Seton is not remembered as a mystic or a theologian, though, to repeat, she was a woman of deep contemplation, a poetic, gentle soul, who combined that gentility with resolute determination,” said Lori. “For her, her faith was not merely a matter of her head or her heart. It was something to be practiced with one’s hands.”

Following the conclusion of the commemorative Mass, a party was held outside of the shrine. Guests were offered refreshments and live music was provided by the Baltimore-based folk band, Charm City Junction. Fun-filled opportunities included games such as cornhole and hopscotch, nineteenth-century period photographs, and silhouette drawings. All the while, a living historian dressed as Elizabeth Ann Seton posed for photos and led tours through interactive exhibits.

The events of the three-day festival concluded on September 14, the anniversary of Mother Seton’s canonization. Since much of Seton’s life was spent as a teacher, students and teachers were invited to an anniversary Mass offered by Bishop Ronald Gainer of Harrisburg. More than half a dozen schools from Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia were present at the Mass, including the entirety of Emmitsburg’s Mother Seton School, which traces its history back to Seton’s original school.

“It’s amazing that our school has gone this far, and that we get to be a part of Mother Seton’s community now,” said Sydney McCarron, a seventh-grade student at Mother Seton School. “It’s great that we get to be here to witness everything she’s done.”

The events of the anniversary weekend were attended by hundreds of residents of Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. Among the most esteemed of guests were 150 Sisters of Charity from across the United States, Canada, and several other countries.

Although the three-day anniversary festival has ended, the National Shrine of Elizabeth Ann Seton will continue to host the “40 Years a Saint” exhibit through the summer of 2016. But even though the fortieth anniversary commemorations must end next year, one can be sure that the residents of the Catoctin Valley will continue to celebrate their beloved saint.

“[Seton] sent sisters out all over the country, who in turn have gone out across the world, and they’ve built hospitals and schools and orphanages—all of that came out of our community here,” said Judge. “And now, especially now that she’s canonized, she’s a saint of the universal church, which of course is international—Emmitsburg’s own, so to speak, has an international footprint. That’s a reflection on the community, and they rightly should have a lot of pride in that recognition.”

The National Shrine of Saint Elizabeth Ann is open for visitors from 10:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m. every day at 339 S. Seton Avenue in Emmitsburg.

Exhibit Photo - 40 yrs a saint

Photo Courtesy of Scott Dugan

James Rada, Jr.

As an eighty-five-year-old man, it wouldn’t seem that Mark Strauss would be able to relate to modern teenagers. However, when he recently sat down before a group of students at Catoctin High School, Strauss didn’t tell them about his adulthood. He took them all the way back to 1941, when he was just a boy of eleven, living in Lvov, Poland.

“I was hunted to be killed, and almost my entire family and community were,” said Strauss.

He lived in a small three-room apartment with his parents and grandparents. When World War II started, his town came under control of the Soviet Union; however, in 1941, Germany attacked the Soviet Union and took control of Poland.

Strauss watched the German army roll into his town in their tanks and troop transports. The soldiers were all in high spirits, which shouldn’t be surprising since they were winning the war.

Yet, the next day, problems began. Strauss was walking on the street when he saw a mob of people attack a man and beat him to death.

“Two thousand people, mostly men, were killed in the next couple days,” recalled Strauss. “My uncle went for a walk on the street and never came back. Temples were torched, sometimes with people inside.”

These people were Jews, who made up about one-fifth of the town’s population. The Jewish community lived in fear as soldiers began going door to door, looking for Jewish citizens. Even if a Jewish family lied and said that they weren’t Jewish, there was always the possibility a neighbor would turn them in.

Jews were taken from their homes to be interrogated or simply shot on the street. Others were loaded into a truck and taken to a mass grave outside of the town, where they were shot.

“In one year’s time, almost all the Jews in my town had been murdered,” Strauss said. “My family—thirty to forty people—were killed, except for me and my parents.”

Strauss would hide himself from people to avoid the Nazis on the streets. His grandparents weren’t so lucky. He saw them being taken away, presumably to be killed, since he never saw them again.

Eventually Strauss’s luck ran out when a group of soldiers and local police broke into his family’s apartment. Strauss was there with his mother. His father was working at his job. The local policemen ransacked the apartment, looking for money.

“I was scared, because I knew I was going to die,” Strauss said.

Strauss and his mother probably would have been killed if one of the soldiers hadn’t found a picture of Strauss’s father in his Polish army uniform. The sight of the soldier in the picture changed the man’s mind about what he was doing, and he ordered his men to leave.

The remaining Jews in Lvov were eventually forced into a Jewish ghetto, an area of the city that was far too small a space, even for the few remaining Jews. Strauss and his parents had to share a room with twenty people. There was no greenery, no place to go to the bathroom, and little food and water.

A Catholic woman eventually wound up hiding Strauss in a 10 x 12 room for a year and a half.

“I was in jail, but a jail where you fear you could be executed every day and not just wait out your time,” said Strauss.

A jail it may have been, but it allowed him to survive, as the few remaining Jews in Lvov were killed or died from starvation. He still had little food, but at least he had a certain degree of safety. Strauss said he appreciated the family’s bravery in hiding him since he knew that they could have been killed for hiding him.

Strauss and the other Jews in Lvov were liberated by the Soviet Army in 1944. He moved to New York in 1947. He worked at MIT and became a painter and author. He also shares his story with groups like the students at Catoctin High School so that they can better understand what it was like during the Holocaust, and that something like that never happens again.

Holocaust articleHolocaust Survivor, Mark Strauss, speaks with students at Catoctin High School about his personal experience and what it was like at that time in history.



Photo by James Rada, Jr.



DSC_0793“People working together. It’s community, it really is.” These were the words of The Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show’s President, Rodman Myers, when he was asked what he liked best about the Community Show. The Community Show is an elaborate 3-day community fair that has saturated one weekend in September with community opportunity and involvement for the past 59 years. This year, it was held on the weekend of September 11 through 13, 2015 at Catoctin High School.

The Community Show’s Opening Ceremonies on Friday evening honored the 50th Anniversary of Sabillasville Elementary School. Dr. Theresa Alban, Superintendent of Frederick County Public Schools, spoke about the strong community that exists in northern Frederick County. Though her comments were brief, she spoke pointedly to our Catoctin community; especially our “extraordinary heroes” who were present in the flag ceremony representing our community’s first responders, service organizations, and our Veterans.

She said, “I’ve seen it first hand in the generous way that these organizations reach out to our schools to support them and our students who are most in need. But I’ve also seen it when a community member is in crisis. The way you rally around that person, that family, that school. It truly is my honor to be able, on September 11th, to remember the things that are important in our country that are embodied here in the people of Thurmont and Emmitsburg. So, I thank you so much for being who you are, for instilling those kinds of values in our students, and for maintaining these kinds of traditions year after year after year…”

Dr. Alban and Sabillasville Elementary School Principal, Kate Krietz announced Catoctin’s 2015-2016 FFA Ambassador, Stephanie Kennedy. Honorees for the 50th Anniversary representing Sabillasville Elementary School included Michele Firme, Paula Bowman, Nicky Lingg, Susan Valenti, and Jody Miller, not to forget the many alumni and current students of Sabillasville Elementary who were in the audience.

Rodman said, “This was one of the best programs we’ve had in a long time. Not to say that other programs haven’t been good, but this year’s Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Alban, she had a great message and the community really came together.”

The Show is sponsored by the Thurmont Grange, Catoctin FFA Chapter, Catoctin Area FFA Alumni, Maryland Agricultural Fair Board, and the Maryland State Grange. A large volunteer force pulls together to make the Community Show happen. They are led by the Show’s President, Rodman Myers, and Vice President, Bob Valentine. While the purpose of the Community Show is to educate, to inspire, and to entertain, it’s community that makes all of those things happen. This is the community’s annual Show. Rodman said, “It’s amazing – the volunteerism it takes to put on a show like this.”

Local organizations benefit financially from the Show starting with the baked goods auction on Friday night immediately following the Opening Ceremony. People donate money from the sale of baked goods to many entities including Catoctin FFA students’ participation in the FFA Convention, the Burall Brothers Scholarship Fund, diabetes, the Boys and Girls Club of Frederick, the Thurmont Grange, and many more. The top sale of a single cake generated $1300.00 this year.

The Silver offering is a donation collected at the door of the Community show, and the proceeds from that collection and the Junior and Youth Department champion cakes were donated to the Thurmont and Emmitsburg Food Banks. Each food bank received $400.00. Carol Robertson, President of Catoctin Colorfest, Inc., purchased two hogs in the name of the Food Bank.

Refreshments were sold throughout the weekend by the Thurmont Lions Club, the CHS Basketball team, and the CHS Junior Class. A Roast Turkey & Country Ham Supper was served by the Thurmont Grange, and a Chicken Bar-B-Que was served by Catoctin FFA Alumni. These fundraisers did well. Rodman said, “We had to get more food, or we sold out of food.” Entertainment by “Catoctin” (The Catoctin Mountain Boys), and the Elvis Show was enjoyed by many. New this year included the Elvis Show, the Pedal Tractor pull for the kids, and face painting.

Exhibits were up in entries this year. The youth department was well represented. Lewis Auctioneers and the Ruby’s from Route 15 Auction Center were the auctioneers for the baked goods and livestock auctions.

In the livestock area, Bob Valentine managed the Show. He said to, “Thank the community for their support over the years.” This year’s livestock action resulted in the following average prices; swine $2.51/lb., sheep $3.362/lb., beef $2.38/lb., and goats $262/head. The gross sales totaled $36,996.

Look forward to the 60th Anniversary of the Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show next September! Plans are underway with some great entertainment, community showing, and agricultural awareness. This year’s buyers will be listed in next year’s Community Show Booklet. If you would like to volunteer, please call Rodman Myers at 301-271-2104.

Photos by Deb Spalding and Grace Eyler


Sabillasville Elementary School’s 50th Anniversary: (top row) Laura Keilholtz, Dave Harman, Annette Harbaugh, Rodman Myers, Bernie Quesado, Dr. Theresa Alban, Bob Valentine, Daniel Myers, and Jody Miller; (front row) Michele Firme, Paula Bowman, Brenda Smith, Stephanie Kennedy, Nicky Lingg, Susan Valenti, and Kate Kreitz. These folks were joined by some of the school’s alumni and current students.


Pictured from left are Thad Bittner, Beef, Sheep and Swine Committee Member; Carol Robertson, President of Catoctin Colorfest; Rodman Myers, President of the Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show; Harold Bollinger, Thurmont Food Bank Volunteer; Sue Keilholtz, Chair of the Youth Department; and Margaret Black, Chair of the Junior Department.


Pictured from left are Mary Price and Phyllis Kelly, Emmitsburg Food Bank Volunteers; Denise Valentine, Chairman of the Baked Goods Department; and Rodman Myers, President of the Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show.


2015 Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show Champions and Reserve Champions

Fresh Fruits: Martha Hauver (White Hale Peaches); Reserve Champion—Robert Black (Plums); Fresh Vegetables: Brian Harbaugh (Onions); Reserve Champion—Roxanna Lambert (Scallop Squash); Home Products Display: Charlotte Dutton; Reserve Champion—Roxanna Lambert; Canned Fruit: Carolyn Hahn (Whole Red Cherries); Reserve Champion—Carolyn Hahn (Pears); Canned Vegetables: Ann Welty (Rhubarb); Reserve Champion—Carolyn Hahn (Whole Green Beans); Jellies & Preserves: Denise Shriver (Peach Jelly); Reserve Champion—Denise Shriver (Apricot Preserves); Pickles: JoAnne Fuss (Vegetable Relish); Reserve Champion—Deborah Howd (Other – Pickled Asparagus); Meat (Canned): Ann Welty (Spare Ribs); Reserve Champion—Pauline McAfee (Canned Tenderloin); Home Cured Meats: Robert McAfee (Ham); Reserve DSC_0819Champion—Catoctin FFA Alumni (Ham); Baked Products: Cake: Michelle Troast (German Chocolate Cake); Reserve Champion—Maxine Troxell (Hummingbird Cake); Honorable Mention Cake—Burall Brothers Scholarship—Maxine Troxell (Sponge Cake); Bread: Maxine Troxell (Onion Bread); Reserve Champion—Maxine Troxell (Fruit & Nut Bread–Spiced Pear); Pie: Deborah Howd (Pecan Pie); Reserve Champion—Deborah Howd (French Apple Pie); Sugar Free: Roxanna Lambert (Diabetic Bread); Catherine Miller (Peach Pie); Gluten Free Baked Product: Sharon Lewis (Gluten Free Fudge Cake); Reserve Champion—Sharon Lewis (Pecan Pie); Sewing: Patricia Lipscomb (Misc. Items – Tatted Items); Reserve Champion—Janet Jewell (Quilt – Handmade and Machine – wool applique by hand); Flowers & Plants: Roxanna Lambert (Side Table Arrangement); Reserve Champion—Roxanna Lambert (Hanging Flowering Potted Plant); Arts, Painting & Drawings: Charlotte Dutton (Other Painting – painted tile); Reserve Champion—Jackson Steinly (Charcoal Drawing); Crafts: Thomas Horvat (Woodburning); Jack Hymiller (Misc. Craft – Pumpkin Minions); Photography: Kenneth Trout (Color Photo – Sports); Reserve Champion—Gina McCracken (Color Picture – Animal/Pets); Corn: Brian D. Glass (Hybrid Corn); Reserve Champion—Brian Glass (Best Single Ear); Small Grain & Seeds: Rodman Myers (Shelled Corn); Reserve Champion—Preston Clark (Soybeans); Eggs: Audrey Downs (Brown Eggs); Reserve Champion—Audrey Downs (White Eggs); Nuts: Jen Sayler (Shellbarks); Reserve Champion—Edward Hahn (English Walnuts); Rabbit: Olivia Dutton Poultry (Breeding Rabbits and Offspring); Reserve Champion—Laura Dutton (Breeding Male); Dairy: Joseph Hubbard (Ayrshire Calf); Reserve Champion—Dylan Moser (Brown Swiss Calf); Dairy Goats: Olivia Dutton—(Milking Yearling); Reserve Champion—Rose Froelich (five-year-old Doe); Hay: Dalton Sayler (Mixed Hay); Reserve Champion—Dalton Sayler (Alfalfa Hay); Straw: Dalton Sayler (Barley Straw); Reserve Champion—Steve Strickhouser (Oat Straw); Junior Department: Caroline Clarke (Sewing); Reserve Champion—Hannah Hurley (Other Garden Item – Cabbage); Junior Department Baked Product: Hoyt Sayler (Peanut Butter Fudge); Reserve Champion—Madison Ott (Sour Cream Pound Cake); Youth Department: Stephanie Freniere (Recycled Material picture); Reserve Champion—Justin McAfee (Metal Craft – Boot Rack); Youth Department Baked Product: Justin McAfee (Apple Pie); Reserve Champion–Ray Martin, IV (Black Walnut Chiffon with Vanilla Glaze); Beef: Samantha Bentz; Reserve Champion–Brittnee Brown; Sheep: Ashley McAfee; Reserve Champion–Caroline Clark; Swine: Ashley Lescalleet; Reserve Champion—Wyatt Davis; Market Goat: Laura Dutton; Reserve Champion—Kendra Keeney; Decorated Animal Contest: Olivia Dutton (Goat); Reserve Champion—Laura Dutton (Goat); Pet Show: Debbie Harbaugh (Dog); Reserve Champion—Dan Kulczak (Dog).

The annual Mount Tabor Church Big Picnic and Baby Show was held on August 8, 2015, at Mt. Tabor Park in Rocky Ridge, Maryland. A total of thirty-five babies—twenty-one girls and fourteen boys—participated in the show, judged by Connie Fisher, Bev Long, and Ellen Staub. The youngest baby was nineteen-day-old Easton Shuff, son of Kelsey and Sean Shuff of Thurmont. Jeffrey Petko, eleven-month-old son of Jenny and Josh Petko, traveled the farthest distance from Pasadena, Maryland. There was one set of twins in this year’s Baby Show: Camryn and Cooper Beachy, four-month-old twin daughters of Jordyn and Chris Beachy from Woodsboro, Maryland. Babies placed in three categories: prettiest girl, cutest boy, and chubbiest baby, in five-age categories (one day to twenty-four months old).

In the one-day to three-month-old category, the prettiest girl was Tyler Smith, two-month-old daughter of Tiffany and Brandon Smith of Emmitsburg. The cutest boy was Easton Shuff, three-week-old son of Kelsey and Sean Shuff of Thurmont. The chubbiest baby was Claire Myers, two-month-old daughter of Heidi and Steve Myers of Emmitsburg. The prettiest girl in the four- to six-month-old category was Lennon Phebus, five-month-old daughter of Blaine and Shaylynn Phebus of Waynesboro, Pennsylvania. The cutest boy was Isaac Hamilton, five-month-old son of Kris and Randy Hamilton of Thurmont. The chubbiest baby was Dixie Eckenrode, five-month-old daughter of Scott Eckenrode and Ashley Baumgardner from Keymar, Maryland.

In the seven- to twelve-month-old category, Aliannah Smith, nine-month-old daughter of Deanna Smith of Thurmont, was judged the prettiest girl. The cutest boy was Patrick Morgan, eleven-month-old son of Bill and Amy Morgan of Emmitsburg. Dillon Miller, twelve-month-old son of Stacey Shriner and Ben Miller from Fairfield in Pennsylvania, was named the chubbiest baby. In the thirteen- to eighteen-month-old category, Olive Beard of Thurmont, fifteen-month-old daughter of Shayna Beard, was judged the prettiest girl. The cutest boy was Blaine Elliott of Thurmont, fifteen-month-old son of Tyler and Brandon Elliott. The chubbiest baby was Bradyn Barton, fourteen-month-old son of Cody Barton from Woodsboro, Maryland.

In the nineteen- to twenty-four-month-old category, the prettiest girl was Paisley Walker, twenty-three-month-old daughter of Ray and Yvonne Walker of Thurmont. Cason Stone, twenty-three-month-old son of Donny and Holly Stone of Hagerstown, Maryland, was named the cutest boy. The chubbiest baby was Kaylee Trenchard, twenty-month-old daughter of Danielle and Ryan Trenchard of Thurmont.

by James Rada, Jr.


September 2015

Doughboy Repairs Out for Bid

The Emmitsburg Mayor and Board of Commissioners expect to see bids for what it would cost to restore the Doughboy statue to its pedestal and repair any damage caused from an accident on June 17.

A car struck the statue’s pedestal, causing some damage. The statue has been at that same location since 1927, and residents would like to see it once again mounted on a repaired pedestal, looking down Main Street.

Because the statue is considered a historic artifact in Emmitsburg’s historic district, the State of Maryland must also approve any changes.

Mayor Don Briggs pointed out during a recent town meeting that the town has been doing everything that it can do, such as getting a state-approved conservator’s report that cost the town $1,500 and putting the repair out for bid.

“We’re doing what we’re permitted to do, but it’s not our schedule,” Briggs said.

Briggs said that he had submitted an article to another local newspaper, which the newspaper chose not to print. It outlined everything that the town had been doing to get the Doughboy statue repaired. The statue’s location will not be moved, which was a decision made in early July. The cost of repairs should be paid by the driver’s insurance company, and the town is pursuing that option.

The commissioners are expecting to see bids by the second town meeting in October. At that time, they will see how much the restoration and repair will cost. They may begin discussion on how to fund the repairs and the timeline for repairs.

There will be an add-on to the bids for replacing rather than repairing the plaque with Veterans’ names on it. If the commissioners chose to replace the plaque, they would be able to integrate the names of the African-American Veterans with the white ones. The names are currently segregated.

“I have to give that option to you all to vote on,” stated Town Manager Dave Haller.

However, when asked, Haller noted that the damage to the plaque is minimal.

“You can hardly tell it really… If somebody didn’t tell you, you would think it was normal wear,” Haller said.

High Schools May Be Able to Serve on Parks and Recreation Committee

Commissioner Jennifer Mellor gave the Emmitsburg Mayor and Commissioners an update on a recent meeting of the Parks and Recreation Committee. One of the topics of discussion was about the town’s open field and who is allowed to use it, and whether high school students could participate on the committee and give their input.

Mellor said she saw nothing in the committee’s mission that precluded high school student participation; the commissioners and Town Manager Dave Haller agreed.

“That’s healthy. That’s absolutely what we want,” Commission President Tim O’Donnell said.

Comprehensive Plan Review

The Emmitsburg Mayor and Commissioners will hold a public hearing about the 2015 Emmitsburg Comprehensive Plan on October 5 at 7:30 p.m. in the meeting room in the town offices at 300A South Seton Avenue, which can be reviewed online at or in person at the town office. The hearing will also include the rezoning of Parcels 300/1884, 300/1886, 300-1887, and 300-1888 from R-1 Residential to B-1 Neighborhood Commercial, as recommended in the plan.

Parks and Recreation Committee Members Appointed

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners appointed seven members to the Parks and Recreation Committee on September 21: Dwight Baumgardner, David Maze, Shannon Cool, Cynthia Canadas, Matt Myers, Jen Myers, and T.J. Burns.

For more information about the Town of Emmitsburg, log onto or call 301-600-6300.


September 2015

Additional Community Park Paving Approved

The Thurmont Mayor and Board of Commissioners voted to spend $14,750 to pave part of Community Park. However, the net cost of the project to the town will be $6,185. The town had $8,565 left over in Program Open Space funds from a previous Community Park paving project, so they were able to use the money for a similar project. The town had solicited bids for the new project, and Frederick County Paving was the low bid and has done previous satisfactory work for the town. The company will be paving approximately 800 feet of trail that is currently gravel.

Can Thurmont Get More Tax Equity Funds?

The Thurmont Mayor and Board of Commissioners discussed the Frederick County Tax Equity Program that returns tax dollars that provide duplicate services. Since the county doesn’t have to provide a service to a municipality, such as police enforcement, the county returns a portion of tax dollars to the municipality that is supposed to be representative of the portion of the county tax bill that residents would need to pay to have county sheriff’s office deputies patrolling the town.

This is a somewhat contentious issue between municipalities and the county; the municipalities seek to increase their tax equity amount, and the county seeks to minimize how much it needs to return to the municipalities. The county has proposed having an annual discussion of the tax equity formula and opening it up for adjustments.

For Fiscal Year 2016, it is proposed that Thurmont receives $249,000 for highways; $545,714 for police; $54,124 for parks and recreation; and nothing for planning and zoning.

Two areas that the commissioners would like to see added to the formula would be senior centers and volunteer fire services. Both of these items tend to be paid by the county in other municipalities, so it would benefit Thurmont if it could be reimbursed some of the costs for those items.

Hazardous Waste Drop Off

Frederick County will sponsor a hazardous waste drop-off on October 17, from 8:00 a.m.-noon, at the Public Safety Training Facility, located at 8349 Reichs Ford Road in Frederick. The event will be held rain or shine. Although there is no cost for county residents, only residential hazardous waste will be accepted. A list of acceptable items can be found at or at the Thurmont Town Office.

View the Town of Thurmont’s website at or call the town office at 301-271-7313 for more information.

Emmitsburg Ambulance Company’s Buck A Bowl

Bring the whole family out to the Emmitsburg Ambulance Company’s Buck A Bowl on Saturday, November 14, 2015, from 4:00-8:00 p.m. You get a choice of chicken noodle or vegetable soup, hot dog, and chips for just $1.00! Event also features 50/50 bingo, games, Longaberger basket drawing, and more!

Can’t Miss Yard Sales

Victory Tabernacle, located at 6710 Kelly Store Road in Thurmont, is holding a Clothing Rummage Sale on October 8-10, 2015: October 8 & 9—8:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.; October 10—8:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. Just $5.00 per bag.

Come out to Keeney’s Farm, located at 14801 Motter’s Station Road in Rocky Ridge, on October 9-10, 2015, from 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m., for clothing, fabric, housewares, furniture, and records.

Big Cork Vineyards’ Second Annual Fall Festival

Big Cork Vineyards, located in Rohrersville, Maryland, is holding their Second Annual Fall Festival on October 24-25, 2015, from 11:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. Event features Big Cork Vineyards wine tastings, great food from local vendors, live local music, pumpkin and gourd picking, crafts, hayrides, and much more!

Meat Raffle to Benefit Rocky Ridge Volunteer Fire Company

Rocky Ridge Volunteer Fire Company is holding a Meat Raffle on Friday, October 30, 2015. Doors open at 6:00 p.m., with dinner at 6:30 p.m. Admission is $10.00 (dinner included).

Mother Seton School’s Fall Fest Community Event

Bring the whole family out to the Fall Fest Community Event at Mother Seton School on Friday, October 23, 2015, from 6:00-8:00 p.m. This is a free family-friendly event, with a bouncy house, trick-or-trunk, games, crafts, and much more!

Holiday Bazaar

The Guardian Hose Company is hosting a Holiday Bazaar with a visit from Santa on Saturday, November 21, 2015, from 9:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m., at the Carnival Grounds at 123 East Main Street in Thurmont. Crafters needed. Santa will visit with gifts for children (ages birth through ten years old) at 11:00 a.m.

52nd Annual Catoctin Colorfest

You won’t want to miss the 52nd Annual Catoctin Colorfest, one of the largest juried arts and craft shows on the East Coast, being held on October 10-11, 2015. The hours of operation are 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. each day. Admission is free. Breakfast will be available from various food vendors, starting at 7:00 a.m.

10th Annual Lacie’s Legacy Memorial Walk

Bring the family out for the 10th Annual Lacie’s Legacy Memorial Walk Against Tay Sachs Disease on Saturday, October 17, 2015, at Carroll Valley Park in Fairfield, Pennsylvania. Registration begins at 10:00 a.m.; walk starts at 11:00 a.m. (rain or shine). The cost is $10.00 per participant (includes lunch). There will be silent auctions, raffles, door prizes, and more! All proceeds will be donated to NTSAD in memory of Lacie Wivell.

Red Cross Blood Drive

A Red Cross Blood Drive will be held on Monday, October 19, 2015, at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, located at 103 N. Church Street in Thurmont. The Blood Drive will be held from 2:00-7:30 p.m. Walk-ins are welcome.

Estate Auction for Robert E. Harper

An Estate Auction for Robert E. Harper will be held on Saturday, October 17, 2015, at 9:00 a.m., at 10621 Bethel Road in Frederick, Maryland. Auction will include antiques, collectibles, household items, furniture, equipment, tools, and much more.

Fall Fest at Harriet Chapel

Come out for the Fall Fest on October 8-10, 2015, from 8:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m., at Harriet Chapel Episcopal Church on Catoctin Furnace Road in Thurmont. Fall Fest features an enormous yard sale, delicious food, baked goods, and more!

Spooky Section

Turn to our Spooky Section—pages 23 through 26—to view advertisements for corn mazes, spooky activites, pick-your-own pumpkins, corn cannon, hayrides, and more!


The Main Street Center will open Saturday, October 10, 2015, from 9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. It will then be open during October and November on Saturdays from 11:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. and Sundays from 12:00-4:00 p.m. The new center is located on Water Street in Thurmont in the former Thurmont Library space.

Volunteers have been stepping forward to assist in various ways at the new center; anyone interested in helping out is welcome. Duties include handing out Thurmont business information to visitors to encourage them to spend time in Thurmont.

In December, the Center’s hours will change to include some evenings to accommodate the Festival of Trees, Wreathes, and Gingerbread House displays. People will be able to vote on their favorite tree and gingerbread house, and the wreathes will be auctioned off after Christmas. Anyone can enter a wreath; details will be mailed out in the electric bills. Gingerbread and wreaths are open to anyone, but trees are open only to businesses. All entries must come from within the Main Street Thurmont area.

Vickie Grinder, the Center’s coordinator and Thurmont’s Main Street manager, is soliciting every business in Thurmont, not just Main Street businesses, to have their information displayed in the Center. Businesses (within the parameters of 21788) that want to take advantage of having their information displayed on a permanent basis, please drop off your material(s) to the Thurmont Town Office, attention Vickie.

Art will be displayed in the Center. Local artists are invited to submit their art for consideration.

The Center will also have retail products for sale, including Josh Bollinger’s barbecue sauce, a Main Street label apple butter, Christmas ornaments for the Thurmont Lions Club, wine glasses from the Thurmont Murals, a lip balm made locally, and so on. If you have any locally-made products that you’d like to sell, please call for consideration.

The Main Street Center will facilitate visitors, as well as offer residents fun and educational events, such as paint night, paint lessons, lectures, WiFi, and other cool happenings.

For more information or if you have any questions, please contact Vickie Grinder at 301-748-5876.

thurmont main street

The Main Street Center, located at 11 Water Street in Thurmont, opens October 10, 2015.

Deb Spalding

Johnny Keaton and Christine Shriner of Catoctin Mountain Spa and Tub will host SPAtacular on Saturday, October 10, 2015, from 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m., and on Sunday, October 11, 2015, from 11:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. at their showroom, located at 14135 Graceham Road in Thurmont. Johnny and Christine have been servicing and selling hot tubs and spas for twenty years. They started out strictly providing service, but as people asked Johnny’s opinion about the brands of tubs to purchase, they started selling them. Today, they sell Strong Industries tubs, from two-person spas to the bigger swim spas.

Service is Johnny’s job. He conducts weekly service all over a multi-state area, as well as provides winterizing, summer openings, and warranty work for a variety of makers. Neil Hagelin has helped out with service a few days a week for about ten years.

While Johnny is out and about on service calls, Christine keeps everything in order, from bookwork to scheduling. She is assisted by Carlie Hopkins, who also helps Johnny when needed on service calls. Colton and Aaron Shriner (grandsons) have been helping Johnny since they were three and two years of age (now fifteen and fourteen).

During SPAtacular, the orders taken on Saturday and Sunday will feature an extended labor warranty on any spa, on top of the manufacturer’s warranty.

“They can get up to five years of coverage on the tub,” Johnny said.

So, if you’re in the market for a hot tub or spa, head out to take a look at the latest and greatest models at 14135 Graceham Road in Thurmont. Call 301-271-4704 for more information.

Reference their advertisement on page 46 for more details.


Buck Reed

In this day and age of businesses with what can only be described as a lackluster workforce, it is refreshing to find an establishment like The Flying Barrel, where the customer is the focus. Think about the last time you walked into a service-focused industry and found an employee who wants $15.00 an hour, but could not even muster up a smile when asking unenthusiastically if they can help you.

The Flying Barrel is a bit different. Yes, it is a one-stop shop for everything you might want or need in a hobby dedicated to the creation of beer and wine. Having on-hand all the countless variety of equipment and ingredients needed to make the wide selection of different varieties of beer and wine is easy. Having all the equipment on-hand to make the products on premise is easy as well. The hard part is dealing with people on a personal level. Far too many businesses fail at this point, but not The Flying Barrel.

“We are fortunate in that brewing is a real community of people helping people,” said James McEver, owner of this brew on premise and brew shop for the past three years. “We have a great customer base that, when it gets busy, actually helps each other out.”

The Flying Barrel was first opened in 1980, and has been a Frederick institution ever since. Started by Bob Frank, and later purchased by James, it was first a home brew shop that specialized in educating enthusiasts in the art and science of fermentation. Later, it went on to become a brew on premise, where new brewers could get a hands-on experience making their own beer or wine under the guidance of more experienced aficionados.

In a world where online shopping and shipping is becoming the norm, The Flying Barrel is still a customer-oriented business. Need help with a recipe or a brewing technique? The Flying Barrel is still the go-to-place for information, ideas, and even feedback on your finished product. Although James is a hands-on owner—who is there almost every minute that they are open—there is no shortage of beer or wine enthusiasts who can help you with ideas for making a better product. And most everyone is willing to give your libation a taste, strictly for evaluation purposes. “There really is only one way to tell if your beer is good or not, and that is to taste it and evaluate it,” emphasized James. “You are not going to get that from a website.”

The Flying Barrel is located at 1781 North Market Street in Frederick, Maryland. Their hours of operation are: Monday and Saturday—10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.; Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday—10:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m.; Sunday—11:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.; closed Wednesday. For more information, contact them at 301- 663-4491 or visit their website at

The Flying Barrel

Wide angle shot of the Brew House.

On September 25, 2015, the Town of Emmitsburg celebrated the completion of the state-of-the-art wastewater plant and solar field. Members of the community, county officials, and project engineers joined together to cut the ribbon on the lengthy project.

Photo by Grace Eyler


Pictured are John Cannon, GHD; Thor Young, GHD; Karin Tome, Mayor of Brunswick; Mike Schultz, RK&K; Commissioner Glenn Blanchard; Scott Wiater, President Standard Solar; Mayor Don Briggs; Senator Ron Young; Commissioner Cliff Sweeney; Bud Otis, President Frederick County Council; Jan Gardner, Frederick County Executive; Lynn Buhl, Maryland Department of Environment; Devan Willemsen, Maryland Energy Administration.


James Rada, Jr.

Frederick County Sheriff’s Deputy Tony Ruopoli is used to seeing accidents after the damage is done, and then reconstructing what happened. However, that all changed in August, when Ruopoli was driving home to Emmitsburg with his family and he witnessed a van and car collide on U.S. 15 North.

“The car cut across the road, hit the embankment, and went up in the air and came down on its roof,” Ruopoli said.

Ruopoli stopped his car and rushed over to the accident scene, while his wife dialed 911. The female passenger had her legs wedged between the seat and door. He managed to open the door and free her legs. He said that she was mumbling, but alive.

Then he saw the driver. The man was hanging upside down in his seat belt; his head was against the roof of the car in such a way that his weight was on his neck.

“He was blue,” Ruopoli said. “His hands, his face, his feet were blue. He wasn’t breathing.”

Ruopoli rushed around to the driver’s door and opened it. A woman who had gotten out of her car to help told Ruopoli that she had emergency dispatch on the line, and they were telling her to leave the man alone in case moving him made his injuries worse.

Ruopoli told her, “He’s not breathing. If I don’t do something, he’s going to be dead.”

Ruopoli’s son began to tell the gathering crowd that Ruopoli was a deputy, which is something that Ruopoli realized that he hadn’t done.

He reached into the car and felt for the man’s pulse. It was there, but something needed to be done to get the man breathing again.

Ruopoli freed the man’s trapped legs and then was able to roll him around gently, relieving the pressure on his neck and lay him out in the car. He then cleared the man’s airway and began chest compressions.

After a while, the injured man spit up a little and began breathing. The color came back into his body, and his eyes began moving.

Trooper 3 landed in the southbound lanes of U.S. 15, and the paramedics placed the man on a back board to transport him to the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore.

The woman passenger and woman van driver were taken to Frederick Memorial Hospital for treatment. Ruopoli later contacted the female passenger and found out that the man had been released from Shock Trauma and was in a rehabilitation hospital. He had to have neck surgery, but he is expected to recover.

If not for Ruopoli’s actions, the man might have died before emergency services personnel could have reached him.


Participants in Zumba at the Fort Ritchie Community Center made a financial contribution to Breast Cancer Awareness of the Cumberland Valley (BCA-CV). Heather DeLauter, a Zumba instructor at the community center, organized a special session of the class in which participants made a donation instead of paying the usual class fee.

“It was Heather’s idea to hold the class, and she had lots of support from her friends and family,” said Buck Browning, executive director of the community center. “She and the participants wanted to do something special to honor the memory of some close friends,” he added.

Unfortunately, DeLauter has seen the impact breast cancer can have in a family and a community. She has two friends that have each lost their mothers recently to breast cancer. She said that the $324.00 raised from the one-hour class is being donated to Breast Cancer Awareness of the Cumberland Valley, in memory of Shanda Eyler and Tricia Clopper.

“Thank you to Heather and her Zumba participants from the Fort Ritchie Community Center for raising      these funds to support our mission,” said Janet Lung, executive director of BCA-CV. “What an awesome way to give back to the community.”


Zumba participants posed for a quick photograph prior to class at the Fort Ritchie Community Center.

Deb Spalding

Thurmont will again host and expand a Think Pink campaign during the month of October, in support of the Patty Hurwitz Cancer Research Fund. This year will see the first-ever Thurmont Think Pink 5K Run/Walk, taking place on October 24, 2015, at 15 Eyler Road in Thurmont. Registration and check-in begins at 7:00 a.m., with the race starting at 8:00 a.m. The cost is $25.00, if registered by October 10 (guaranteed a t-shirt), and $35.00 on race day. Register online at, at the Thurmont Town Office, or at Thurmont’s Anytime Fitness.

Pink light bulbs were a hit last year and can be purchased this year at Hobb’s Hardware or Ace Hardware in Thurmont.

Don’t miss the Think Pink Paint Night with Laura on Friday, October 23, at 6:30 p.m., at the Main Street Center, located at 11 Water Street in Thurmont. Wear pink clothing or feel free to wear your pink pajamas. The cost is $40.00 per person, which includes all supplies and one free glass of wine. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to Thurmont Think Pink. Get your tickets at the Thurmont Town Office or contact

For a list of business sponsors and for more information, see the Town of Thurmont’s Think Pink advertisement on page 9.

The Hurwitz Breast Cancer Fund at Frederick Memorial Hospital (FMH) was established in 1999 by Jeff and Patty Hurwitz, after Patty’s diagnosis of breast cancer. The Hurwitz Breast Cancer Fund is a fund of FMH, a private, not-for-profit, community hospital with a 501 (c)(3) tax status. All contributions are tax-deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law. Visit


Upon Pope Francis’ arrival at the White House on September 23, 2015, in Washington, D.C., President Barack Obama presented him with the original key to the home of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton. The key once opened the door of her home, the Stone House, in Emmitsburg, on the grounds of The National Shrine of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton.

Presented in a case crafted specifically for the occasion, the key honors both His Holiness Pope Francis and Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton.

“This gift is a fitting tribute,” said Rob Judge, Executive Director of The National Shrine of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, “to a woman who opened doors for so many women to serve the poor, and for a man who has been a strong advocate for those who are poor and marginalized.”

“It is humbling,” said Judge, “to know that Pope Francis literally holds the key to Mother Seton’s home, where we welcome tens of thousands of visitors every year. People of all faiths are drawn here to learn the story of her life and legacy.”

Go to for a short biography and photos of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, as well as photos of her home and Basilica.