Nicholas DiGregory

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

pic cover maybe

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

James Rada, Jr.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Red Cross 121215 on TV

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

Nicholas DiGregory

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

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

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

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

What was the game show experience like?

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

Do you have any favorite memorable moments?

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

How was interacting with Alex Trebek?

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

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

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

How has life been since the show?

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

Jeopardy Photo

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

Deb Spalding

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nicholas DiGregory

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

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

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

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

 

What It Could Mean to Win

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

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

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

 

What It Would Actually Mean to Win

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

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

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

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

 

What If You Had Won?

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

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

 

Nicholas DiGregory

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Security Tip #3: Keep Track of Your Belongings

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

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

Security Tip #4: Involve Others in the Community

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

Security Tip #5: Be Smart!

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

 

 

 

James Rada, Jr.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

From the Mayor

Emmitsburg

by Mayor Briggs

The town received several late Christmas presents. On December 26, 2015, five Troop 727 Boy Scouts were awarded the Eagle Scout designation. Keegan X. Wright, Andrew Neibecker, Brendan P. Isaacson, Paul B. Slotwinski, and Stephen M. Lowe were awarded the prestigious achievement award at the Eagle Scout Court of Honor program held at St. Joseph Parish Hall. It was an honor to be present at the award ceremony and to see these young men tracking toward leadership in the future. Thank you to Scoutmaster Mary Neibecker and assistants, Christopher Anadale and Matthias Buchheister, for a job well done.

On January 1, 2016, Emmitsburg received more recognition, this time as one of ten “Most Beautiful, Charming Small Towns in Maryland” by onlyinyourstate.com. It sure is.

In mid-December, Emmitsburg was awarded its fourth State of Maryland Community Legacy Program (CLP) grant. CLP is a matching grant program to encourage property owners who live within the town Sustainable Community designated area to make exterior improvements to their properties. To date, over $150,000 in grant funds have been matched by that of owners equal to or in excess of for a total invested in the town historic district of over $325,000. Our goal is $400,000 by 2017.

In January, Lib and I, along with Councilman Glenn Blanchard and his wife, Maggie, attended the Vigilant Hose Company’s annual banquet and awards dinner. This is always a special event that we are honored to attend, this year even more so after the two fires in town in December.

With the mild fall, our solar field production exceeded expectations. As is the case, production dips in winter and early spring, with shorter days and typically cloudy days. The town is reliant on solar renewable energy to reduce the energy cost of residents by not competing with them for it, reduce costs, and enhance the environment. It is a twenty-year program.

January 2016

by James Rada, Jr.

Emmitsburg

Emmitsburg Commissioners Will Hold Fewer Meetings

The Emmitsburg town commissioners voted in January to meet only once a month rather than twice a month, which they have done for the past few years. If additional meetings are needed during the month for some reason, they will be scheduled on an as-needed basis.

The commissioners are required by town charter to meet only once a month. According to Mayor Don Briggs, having town staff at each meeting costs $300 to $400. Cutting the meetings in half could save the town as much as $4,800 a year.

The commissioners have been meeting twice a month since 2002.

For more information on the Town of Emmitsburg, visit www.emmitsburgmd.gov or call 301-600-6300.

Thurmont

Applications Available for Thurmont Senior Tax Credit

If you are at sixty-five years old as of January 1, 2016, live within the corporate limits of Thurmont, and have a total gross household income of $70,000 or less, you may be eligible for a tax credit on your property. The application for the Thurmont Senior Tax Credit Application is available at the town office or online at Thurmont.com.

In addition to the application, you will need proof of age and a copy of your latest tax return so that your gross household income can be verified.

Thurmont Community Park Closed to Vehicles

Thurmont Community Park will be closed to vehicles until the spring. Vehicles can still use the first parking lot next to Frederick Road. The park itself is still accessible to walkers, bicyclists, hikers, and tennis players.

 

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

Coach & Vera Bradley Bingo Night

Come out to Mother Seton School in Emmitsburg on Saturday, February 20, 2016, for their Coach & Vera Bradley Bingo Night. Doors open at 5:30 p.m., with games beginning at 7:00 p.m. Bingo features specials, raffles, door prizes, and more. View the advertisement on page 10 for more information.

Catoctin High School Class of 2016 Safe and Sane Upcoming Fundraising Events

On February 20, 2016, come out to the Ott House to see the band Sticktime and for the Silent Auction, from 8:00 p.m.-midnight. There will be a $5.00 cover charge. On February, 27, 2016, a Cash Bingo will be held at the Lewistown Fire Hall. Doors will open at 5:00 p.m. Tickets are $30.00 each. View the advertisement on page 16 for more information.

Thurmont Lions Club Cash Bingo

The Thurmont Lions Club is holding a Cash Bingo on Saturday, March 12, 2016, at the Guardian Hose Company Activities Building in Thurmont. Doors will open at 5:00 p.m., with bingo beginning at 6:45 p.m. View their advertisement on page 5 for more information.

Blue Ridge Sportsmen’s Events

The Blue Ridge Sportsmen’s Association located on Waynesboro Pike, Fairfield, PA, is hosting many upcoming events in February, including a Wagner Shoot on February 6 and 13; a Cash Bingo on February 7, with doors opening at 11:30 a.m.; a Valentine’s Dinner (by reservation only) on February 13, from 5:00-8:00 p.m., featuring band Center of Gravity from 8:00-11:00 p.m.; and much more. View the advertisement on page 44 for more event information.

St. John’s Christian Preschool Open House

St. John’s Christian Preschool in Thurmont will hold an Open House on Friday, February 26, 2016, from 9:00-10:00 a.m., with an information session and a tour of the school. View the advertisement on page 35 for more information.

Emmitsburg Volunteer Ambulance Company’s Bingo Bash

Mark your calendar for the Emmitsburg Volunteer Ambulance Company’s Bingo Bash on April 2, 2016. Doors will open at 4:00 p.m., with games beginning at 7:00 p.m. Event features three $1,000 jackpots and a meal, plus twenty-two games, paying $250 each. View the advertisement on page 8 for more information and on how to get your tickets.

Frederick County Library’s Celtic Concert

Come out to the 2016 Celtic Concert on Tuesday, March 22, 2016, at 7:00 p.m., in the Marion Burk Knott Auditorium at Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg. Admission and parking are free. Pick up your free advance tickets (tickets required for entry) at the Emmitsburg or Thurmont Libraries beginning March 1, 2016, at 10:00 a.m. View the advertisement on page 11 for more information.

Fried Oyster & Turkey Dinner

On February 13, 2016, St. John’s Lutheran Church is holding a Fried Oyster & Turkey Dinner, served family-style, from 12:00-5:00 p.m. View their advertisement on page 35 for more information.

Lakeside Hall Bridal Showcase

On Sunday, March 13, 2016, visit the Bridal Showcase at Lakeside Hall at Fort Ritchie in Cascade, Maryland, from 12:00-3:00 p.m. Admission is free. View the advertisement on page 26 for more information.

7th Annual His Place Car Show

Mark your calendar for the 7th Annual His Place Car Show, scheduled for Saturday, May 7, 2016, at Mother Seton School in Emmitsburg. Event features cars, trucks, hot rods, motorcycles, and tuner cars, along with three awards each for five categories, as well as door prizes, food, music, and more! View the advertisement on page 6 for more information and for a schedule of events.

A Winter Extravaganza

You won’t want to miss the One Mountain Foundation Winter Extravaganza on February 27, 2016, at the American Legion in Cascade, Maryland, from 6:00 p.m.-midnight. Admission includes all-you-can-eat beef and chicken barbecue, draft beer and wine, live music, and much more. View their advertisement on page 18 for more information and for ticket prices.

Masquerade Ball — A Night of Mystery to Help Save Lives

On Saturday, February 20, 2016, the Cascade American Legion is hosting a Masquerade Ball, from 7:00-11:00 p.m. Tickets are $20.00 per person. Dress clothes are required; event features a cash bar and light refreshments. Proceeds to benefit Frederick County Hotline. View the advertisement on page 8 for more information.

Seton Family Store’s Valentine Drawing

The Seton Family Store in Emmitsburg is holding a Valentine Drawing, from February 2-12, 2016. Purchasing customers can enter the drawing to win a Valentine basket (wine, bottle opener, two glasses, and chocolate)! Winner will be drawn on Friday, February 12. View the advertisement on page 25 for more details.

Harriet Chapel’s Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper

Harriet Chapel will hold its Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper on Saturday, February 9, 2016, from 5:00-7:00 p.m. It’s all-you-can-eat for only $7.00 for adults; $4.00 for children, ages 7-12; and free for children, ages 6 and under. View the advertisement on page 22 for more information.

Rocky Ridge Volunteer Fire Company’s Country Butchering

A Country Butchering will be held on Saturday, February 20, 2016, at the Rocky Ridge Volunteer Fire Company. A pancake breakfast will be served from 6:00-10:00 a.m. at the activity building. Orders must be placed by February 13, 2016. View the advertisement on page 10 for more information and how to place your order today.

Fort Ritchie Community Center Bass Fishing Series

Fort Ritchie Community Center will be hosting the 2016 Bass Fishing Series on April 16, May 21, and June 18, with the championship held on August 13. The cost is $15.00 per event for youth; $35.00 per event for adults. Chance to win a $10,000 fish! Series sponsored by Cobblestone Hotel & Suites. View the advertisement on page 3 for more information.

White Star Tours — Smoky Mountain Entertainer TN

White Star Tours is hosting the Smoky Mountain Entertainer TN, featuring seven spectacular shows, traveling six days and five nights, from May 15-20, 2016. Package includes five nights lodging, five breakfasts, five dinners, shows, visit to Harrah’s Cherokee Casino, and much more! View the advertisement on page 14 for more details and pricing information.

Weller United Methodist Church Hosting Sweetheart Lasagna Dinner

On Sunday, February 14, 2016, the Weller United Methodist Church in Thurmont is holding a Sweetheart Lasagna Dinner at 5:30 p.m., featuring live romantic musical selections. The cost is $25.00 per couple. View the advertisement on page 24 for more information.

Plans for the 2016 Business Showcase are Underway

This year, the Business Expo will have some exciting changes, starting with the name. The event will be titled the “Thurmont Business Showcase” and will be held on Saturday, April 23, 2016, from 11:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. They have a new and exciting location as well. The Thurmont Business Showcase will be held at the brand new Thurmont Community Ambulance Event Complex.

By holding the event on Saturday, at a larger venue and for longer hours, local businesses can get a bigger “bang for their buck”! Applications will be available by mid-February on thurmontmainstreet.com, at the town office, and at a few Thurmont businesses. Look for more details in next month’s issue of The Catoctin Banner.

The Thurmont Business Showcase is a Main Street Community event. Make plans now for Taking Care of Business at the Thurmont Business Showcase.

Thurmont Ministerium to Hold Annual Community Lenten Services at Area Churches

The Thurmont Ministerium will hold its annual Community Lenten services at area churches during the season of Lent. This year’s theme is “Build My Church.” The services will be held on Mondays in Lent at 7:00 p.m. as follows: February 15—Graceham Moravian, 8231-A Rocky Ridge Road in Thurmont (special music: Bells of Grace Handbell Choir); February 22—St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran, 10625 Old Frederick Road in Utica (guest speaker: Ron Kramer, Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity); February 29—Harriet Chapel, 12625 Catoctin Furnace Road in Thurmont (Taize Service); March 7—Apples United Church of Christ, 7908 Apples Church Road in Thurmont; March 14—Thurmont Church of the Brethren, 14 Altamont Avenue in Thurmont; March 21—Deerfield United Methodist Church, 16405 Foxville Deerfield Road in Sabillasville.

All services are open to all. Free-will offerings for the work of the Thurmont Ministerium will be received at each service. In addition, non-perishable food items for the Thurmont Food Bank will be received. For additional information, please call 301-271-2379, or contact the host church directly.

Thurmont Food Bank Benefit Fundraiser

Senior Benefit Services and 1st Look Properties are hosting a fundraiser to benefit the Thurmont Food Bank at the Thurmont AMVETS on Saturday, March 12, 2016, from 7:00-10:00 p.m.

Entertainment and Karaoke will be provided by The Firehouse DJ’s. Food and drink will be available for purchase. All proceeds will benefit the Thurmont Food Bank. Pay at the door with a nonperishable food item or cash donation. Admittance is open to the public. You must be 21 years old to be admitted.

Cuddles Cat Rescue Holds Unique and Successful Fundraiser

Cuddles Cat Rescue (CCR) had some awesome fundraisers in 2015: a pizza night at Rocky’s New York Pizza; Cuddles Cat Rescue and Friends calendar with photographer, Gina Rubino McCracken donating her time; a booth set up at Colorfest; and a paint night at The Furnace with Laura Day; and many people making personal donations.

But the most unique fundraiser they had was in December, when Rick Toms of Red Canary Tattoo donated his time for cat tattoos for one week. For $20.00 anyone could get a cat tattoo, chosen from one of his tattoo flash, and 100 percent was donated to Cuddles Cat Rescue. Ninety people came and got tattoos! Cuddles Cat Rescue would like to sincerely thank Rick Toms and everyone who received tattoos, and to all who participated in all of their fundraising events throughout the year and who made personal donations. You can contact them at Info@cuddlescatrescue.com.

Cuddles Rescue - cat tattoos

 Cuddles Cat Rescue volunteers are shown waiting for their cat tattoos (from left): Dawn Bonsby, Becca Lee, Sarah Stine (one of CCR’s adoptees), Devin Stine, and Cory Stine.

Devastation Rallies the Emmitsburg Community

David & Danielle Eyler with DeniseIn December, residents of Emmitsburg suffered great loss of life, homes, and personal belongings, in two separate fires. Pictured right, two of the fire victims, Mr. David Eyler (right) and his daughter, Danielle (center), stood with Seton Center, Inc.’s Case Manager Denise Sauvageau (left), to say thank you to the Seton Center and the Emmitsburg Council of Churches (ECC) Fire Relief Fund for their help to secure safe housing, receive referrals for future needs, and find the hope needed to re-build their lives.

Since the day of the first fire, Seton Center’s Outreach Office has been serving as the liaison for the Emmitsburg Council of Churches’ Fire Fund to help those affected, by providing referrals, case management, and additional support for resulting needs. The ECC’s Fire Fund is assisting the fire victims with rental deposits, first-month’s rent for new housing, and other necessities that will help them restore their lives.

The combined financial support of the Emmitsburg Council of Churches’ Fire Fund, Trinity United Methodist Church of Emmitsburg, and Seton Center, Inc. assisted the widower in paying the funeral costs for his wife, who perished in the December 7 Emmitsburg Main Street fire. The ECC Fire Funds were also used to assist with the funeral expenses of the second victim who also lost her life in that fire.

Catoctin-Ettes, Inc. Awards Ceremony

The Catoctin-Ettes, Inc. Twirling Corps recently named its 2016 Queen during the annual awards ceremony held by the organization. Miss Shyanne George, daughter of Donna Walter and Teddy George, was elected by members of the organization to represent the group in the new year. Her duties will include acceptance of the organization’s awards at various events, and a featured spot in the Emmitsburg Community day parade with the marching group. She was presented with the crown and royalty sash from the outgoing queen, Abigail Adams.

The Catoctin-Ettes also named Kiara George to the first runner-up title. Members of the royal court were Rachel Bechler and Erika Oland.

In addition to the crowning ceremony, the group celebrated the end of its performing and competing year with its annual holiday stage show, where groups and individuals performed new dance-twirl style routines for the audience.

In recognition of the group’s Advanced Marching Corps Championship title, each member of the twirling squads, the competing color guard, and the percussion line received a championship hooded sweatshirt and representative trophy.

Trophies were also presented to members achieving perfect attendance at all events, including practices. As a long-standing tradition within the organization, special recognition pins were presented to those who have maintained accumulated perfect attendance for performances throughout the years. Those receiving these prestigious awards were: Kelly Reed—28 years; Angela Ridenour—18 years; Paula Sharrer—14 years; Catilyn Purdum—12 years; Rachel Bechler—8 years; and Abby Adams—7 years.

Most improved members of the group, Erika Oland and Adelaide Flanary, were recognized with trophies for their exceptional progress as twirling members. McKenzie Walker earned the respect of her coaches as most improved percussionist. Additionally, twirlers who completed their first year of membership were rewarded with “Survivor” plaques. These members were David Haynes, Caylan Markel, Britany Study, Courtney Study, and Bianca Thews.

The Catoctin-Ettes also recognized Paula Sharrer as the Most Valuable Player for 2015, due to her involvement in each area of the corps. Completing the awards ceremony, Angela Ridenour was named as Hero of the Year.

The stage production and awards presentation marks the forty-second year that the Catoctin-Ettes has closed a successful and rewarding marching corps season.

Five Emmitsburg Scouts Earn Coveted Eagle Scout Rank

It’s hard for any high school student to stay focused on achieving the rank of Eagle, let alone five at one time, but that is exactly what happened for five scouts from Troop 727 sponsored by St. Joseph’s Church in Emmitsburg.

On December 26, 2015, Maryland State Delegate Kathy Afzali, Mayor Donald Briggs of Emmitsburg, and Fr. John Holliday CM, pastor of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Emmitsburg, joined Troop 727 Scout Master Mary Neibecker and Assistant Scout Master Christopher Anadale in honoring the five scouts who successfully completed the Eagle Scout rank. The scouts were Keegan Wright, Andrew Neibecker, Brendan Isaacson, Paul Slotwinski, and Stephen Lowe.

The Eagle Scout rank is the culmination of years of work. Most of the boys had been scouting together for ten years, starting as cub scouts. A major highlight of their scouting careers was their trip to Philmont Scout Ranch, the Boy Scouts of America’s premier high adventure base, located in New Mexico. Other highlights included camping at the Summit Bechtel Reserve; the new BSA high adventure camp, located in West Virginia; Goshen Scout Reservation; Camp Airy Boy Scout Camp; Camp Tuckahoe; and portions of the Appalachian Trail. They overnighted on both the Battleship USS New Jersey where they slept in hammocks, and the USS Constellation (at anchor in Baltimore Harbor, it’s the last all-sail U.S. Navy warship), where they stood watch aboard the frigate. They also participated in numerous training classes, including CPR and Wilderness and Remote First Aid.

“Boy Scouts has been an amazing experience from start to finish, but it wouldn’t have been the same without these guys,” said Eagle Scout Paul Slotwinski. “They helped to make every experience fun and productive. Also, we all pushed each other to finish, so if not for them, I probably wouldn’t have gotten my Eagle.”

As part of the Eagle rank requirement, scouts are required to complete “a service project helpful to any religious institution, any school, or your community.”  Years after they are gone, people who have never met them will enjoy the benefits of their Eagle service projects. This is truly the spirit of scouting.

Keegan Wright constructed a three-sided wooden firewood storage shed at Catoctin Mountain Park for the benefit of the campers staying at the Park’s camp sites. Andrew Neibecker rehabilitated the Willow Rill Nature Trail, located at Mother Seton School, to benefit the teachers and students. Brendan Isaacson constructed a fenced play area around St. Joseph’s Parish Hall to provide a safe area for the children and their parents. Paul Slotwinski blazed fifteen miles of the multi-user trail system, located throughout the Rainbow Lake watershed, for the benefit of Emmitsburg citizens and town visitors. Stephen Lowe constructed a memorial outside of St. Joseph’s Parish Hall to Army 1st Lt. Robert A. Seidel III, who died May 18, 2006, in service of his country.

“Our parish is very proud of these four young men,” said Fr. John Holliday, CM, pastor of St. Joseph’s. “This is a remarkable achievement for a small Boy Scout Troop such as ours and is a wonderful testimony to our men and women who are leaders of Troop 727.”

For more information about the Cub Scout and Boy Scout program sponsored by St. Joseph’s Church, please contact the parish at 301-447-2326. The scouts meet every Thursday at 7:00 p.m. at the parish hall.

727 Eagle Scouts 2

Troop 727, Emmitsburg, had five scouts achieve the rank of Eagle Scout: (from left) Keegan Wright, Andrew Neibecker, Brendan Isaacson, Paul Slotwinski, and Stephen Lowe.

Thurmont Community Ambulance Company Banquet Held

On January 16, 2015, members and guests of the Thurmont Community Ambulance Company gathered together in the Emmitsburg Ambulance Company Banquet Hall for their annual awards banquet. As volunteers from Rocky Ridge 4-H Club gathered up empty plates from a delicious home cooked meal, Lowman Keeney brought the audience’s attention to the podium. He announced the many honorary guests and thanked them for their participation and help throughout the year. “This year had been a great year!” he said.

As Lowman provided some updates pertaining to the progress of the new ambulance building being built on Strafford Drive in Thurmont, he was excited to announce the first event that will be held at the new facility. The Town of Thurmont’s annual Business Expo will be held in April. Then, he directed attention to the back, where donation forms were located for their “Dollar per Pound Fundraiser”. The goal of the fundraiser is to outfit the new ambulance with all of the needed equipment.

Chief DJ Ott took the stage to share the Company’s stats. They ran a total of 1,265 calls for 2015. He extended a thank you to Graceham, Libertytown, and Emmitsburg companies for their support through the year. In 2015, the volume of calls increased by 25 more than 2014. The busiest day of the week was Sunday. However, the busiest day of the year was August 29th, a Saturday, with a whopping 15 calls during a twenty-four hour span. A normal day in Thurmont averages around three calls. Between the hours of 12:00 and 1:00 p.m., are the busiest times of the day with a total of 87 calls. Most of these cases are reported as “Injured Persons.”

One of the company’s goals for this year is to bring the fail rate back down to 10 or less calls. “This year’s fail rate was marked at 2.38%, which is good, because they give until 10% before county steps in.” Unfortunately in 2015, there has been a reduction in amount of members who would sign up to run calls, but were still able to increase the amount of time people signed up to 2,000 coverage hours. “We lost seven members, but other members who were active picked up the slack,” said the Chief.

As it was a slightly slower year for training in the company, they were happy to announce they were able to train the Boy Scouts on Wilderness training, as well as receiving a 31 person turn out for CPR training from members of the community. All training by the Ambulance Company is done at cost. They volunteer their time and pass the costs along for processing paperwork. “We want you to have the training for what it costs us to give it to you.”

Another point DJ touched on, was the new ambulance the company purchased. The new ambulance will arrive in March or April and will be fully equipped for calls by June or July. The cost for the new ambulance is $229,000 un-equipped. “That means it will be a box, a chassis and lights,” said the President.

The new activities building isn’t the only big project going on at the moment. DJ explained the current ambulance building on North Church Street isn’t getting a total remodel, but will receive a facelift. Another improvement being made to the company will be a computer management system to monitor all calls, scheduling, LOSAP, and fundraising events.

The ambulance company looks forward to new programs in 2016, such as a “Community Wellness Check” that will serve seniors and disabled members in the Thurmont area.

The President then called upon Devin Stafford, President of Adventure Crew 270. Devin proudly announced some of the achievements the crew has conquered in the past year. They placed second in the Klondike Derby, participated in the Iron Chef Camporee, celebrated “Scout Sunday” by planting trees at the Thurmont Regional Library, and held a successful Scouting for Food Campaign boasting 4,869 pounds of collected food benefiting the local food bank.

Before handing out awards, the President of the Ambulance Company kindly thanked the local fire rescue companies for the support they give through the year, especially the Emmitsburg Volunteer Ambulance Company for filling in during the banquet.

Recognized for the top ten responders were Molly Joiner (58 calls), Amber Zimmerman (65), Dev Shaffer (71), Matt Demarais (88), Jarred Snyder (106), Lisa Eichelberger (125), Brooke Kennedy (158), Rose “Grandma” Latini (161), Amanda Barth (162), and for the second year in a row, Bev Frushour was the top responder with 304 calls.

DJ Ott presented the Chiefs award. DJ acknowledged that he felt this is the one of the toughest awards to give out because everyone does such a great job and it is hard to pick just one. This year’s recipient was Chris Pigula. Chris has been an outstanding member, qualifying in LOSAP every year since 1992. He started the company with no training; now in 2016, he is one of the most-well-trained members.

Administrative awards were presented by Dave Riffle. Recipients who received the award included Jason Schultz, Becky Ott, Jim Humerick, Renee Coolidge, Bob Lookingbill, Travis Unger, William Ott, Kacey Manahan, Holly Herald, Amber Zimmerman, Molly Joiner, Stephanie Kennedy, Chad Zimmerman, Shirley Stackhouse, Joyce Stitely, Matt Demarais, Chris Pigula, Dennis Ott Sr., Dev Shaffer, Jim Wolfe, Tim Wiltrout, Jared Snyder, Lowman Keeney, Lisa Eichelberger, Amanda Barth, Brooke Kennedy, DJ Ott, Rose Latini, Jen Frushour.

Proceeding to the Administrative awards, the President thanked Venture Crew 270 for their participation with the Thurmont Ambulance Company. Devin Stafford accepted a $1,000.00 donation on behalf of Crew 270 to fund future activities. Lowman thanked the Rocky Ridge 4-H, and awarded Margo Sweeney a $200.00 club donation for their efforts to prepare, serve, and clean up dinner every year.

Life members who were inducted included Johnathan Troxell and Vickie Martin. Johnathan was recognized for being an active member in the Ambulance Company, as well as serving in Emmitsburg’s Ambulance Company. Vickie Martin currently serves as Chief at Lewistown Volunteer Fire Company.

As the chief had admitted how difficult it is to choose one person to receive an award, Lowman also agreed. “Doesn’t matter if it is for the membership, for the community, or whomever.” Lowman recalls a recent event of 5 large hay bales being burnt on the new building property and sure enough, the recipient was there to clean up the remnants of the mess. He has served on the board of directors for the ambulance company for two years during which time he was bestowed with, “keeping the ambulance company’s troublemaker [Jim Wolfe] in line.” Lowman called Tim Wiltrout to join him on the stage to receive the President’s award for 2016.

We didn’t get to do much in fundraising this year, but one fundraiser that we are proud of – to the family that makes this all possible…to the people who go out of their way every year, Catoctin Mountain Orchard.” Apple Dumplings during Colorfest contribute to Thurmont Ambulance’s most successful fundraiser. This year it took 1,693 man hours to peel, bake, box and sell the mouth-watering dumplings.  The company made over $44,000 in gross profit with a net profit of $36,123.72.

As the evening drew to a close, Lowman explained how much he is looking forward to the New Year. They will hold new fundraising events that will be bigger and better, with more room for people to spread out. “We often joke that we need a golf cart to get from one side to another in the new building…” said Lowman. On October 26, 2016, The Amish Outlaws are scheduled to play an indoor concert. For more information on future fundraisers and events, check out their Facebook or drop by their location at 27 North Church Street in Thurmont.

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Thurmont Ambulance Company’s Administrative Officers

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Thurmont Ambulance Company’s Operational Officers

Photos by Gracie Eyler

Vigilant Hose Company Holds 132nd Annual Banquet

The 132nd Annual Banquet of the Vigilant Hose Company (VHC) honoring accomplishments for service in 2015 was held on Saturday, January 9, 2016, at Mother Seton School in Emmitsburg. Tim Clarke, Past President of the VHC, served as master of ceremonies. Invocation was given by Fr. Charles F. Krieg of St. Joseph’s Parish in Emmitsburg. Invited guests were introduced. Frederick County’s 5th District Councilman, Kirby Delauter, presented VHC’s Deputy Chief, Jimmy Click, with a proclamation for his dedicated service to the fire company and the Emmitsburg community.

The 2016 officers of the company were installed: President, A. Frank Davis; Vice President, David Wilt; Treasurer, Steven M. Hollinger; Assistant Treasurer, William D. Boyd, Jr.; Secretary, Steven W. Valentine; Assistant Secretary, Thomas Vaughn; and Board of Directors, Hugh Boyle, Elyssa Cool, Randy Myers, Douglas D. Orner, David Stonesifer, and Carl A. White.

2016 Operational Officers: Chief, Chad M. Umbel; Deputy Chief, James E. Click; Assistant Chief, Christopher A. Stahley; Captain, Joshua Brotherton; and Lieutenants, Douglas Yingling, Derek Rosensteel, and Alex McKenna.

Fire Police: Lynn Orndorff, Captain; Ronald P. Face, Jr., 1st Lieutenant; and Steve Orndorff, 2nd Lieutenant. Auxiliary Officers: Tina Ryder, President; Sharel Boyle, Vice President; Jo Ann Boyd, Treasurer; Joyce E. Glass, Secretary; Mandy Ryder, Financial Secretary; and Jennifer Boyd and Katie Davis, Co-Historians.

Chief Awards were presented for length of service to Tyler Bennett, Josh Brotherton, Dale Fogle, Jennifer Stahley, and Thomas Ward for 5 years of service; John Damskey, Tom Vaughn, and Mike Working for 20 years; Bill Boyd, 25 years; Carl White, 30 years; Jim Glass and Wayne Powell, 35 years; and Tom White, 55 years.

The Top 10 LOSAP President Awards were earned by the following: Tenth Top LOSAP was a tie at 79 points for Hugh Boyle and Dave Wilt; Ninth was a tie at 86 points for Chris Stahley and Karyn Myers; Eighth was Matt Boyd with 89 points; seventh Frank Davis with 92 points; sixth Derek Rosensteel with 101 points; fifth John Damskey with 103 points; fourth Carl White with 104 points; third Bill Boyd with 107 points; second Jim Click with 108 points; and Top LOSAP was earned by Cliff Shriner with 145 points.

Vigilant’s Top Ten Responders were: 1st, Cliff Shriner with 257 calls responding; 2nd, Derek Rosensteel (249); Frank Davis (193); Brandon Burriss (181); Tyler Bennett (177); Josh Brotherton (200); Hugh Boyle (147); Tyler Arrowood (140); Alex McKenna (129); Doug Yingling (116). Top Fire Police Responders were: 1st, Sam Cool (68); 2nd, Steve Orndorff (57); 3rd Mike Orndorff (33).

The Training Award was presented to the individual who attended the most hours of in-house training and training conducted outside the VHC to include Maryland Fire and Rescue Institute, the National Fire Academy, and the Frederick County Fire and Rescue Association including department drills and recertifications. The Training Award was presented to Tim McKenna who had 245 hours of training.

Karyn Myers was awarded the President’s Award; Derek Rosensteel was awarded the Chief’s Award; Elyssa Cool was awarded the Member of the Year 2015.

During the banquet, the Vigilant Auxiliary presented a check to the department in the amount of $40,000.00. A video presentation was enjoyed by all. The video showed 2015, the year in review. After the banquet, dancing was enjoyed to music by the band, “First Class.”

Memorial was held for Gerald Orndorff who passed away in 2015.

The highest award presented at the annual banquet is the Hall of Fame Award. Inductees included Thomas Hoke and Luther “Jay” Grimes.

Thomas E. “Tom” Hoke has been a long-time active member of the Vigilant Hose Company, serving many key roles over the years. Born in 1923 in Emmitsburg, he had a typical life as a youngster roaming the town and spending most of his time outside. He graduated from Emmitsburg High School in a class of 26 students. He was drafted into the United States Army to serve as a medic during the European Theater and the Battle of the Bulge in World War II.

He is one of the remaining charter members of the Emmitsburg Veterans of Foreign Wars and is a member of the Emmitsburg American Legion Post 121. Tom found his career as a heavy equipment operator with Potomac Edison and retired from there in 1985.

Tom has lived his life as a generous man. He married his wife Ethel Grace Long in 1947. They had a son, John (known as Jack) and a daughter Rebecca (known as Becky). Ethel passed away in 2003.

The VFW Post 6658 bought Emmitsburg’s first community ambulance in 1948. It was a green 1947 Cadillac. The first patient to be transported was Tom’s wife, Ethel, as she was going in to labor with Jack. Jack would go on to serve with the Vigilant Hose Company, too, while his wife, June, would be one of the first women in Frederick County to serve in the emergency services.

Thomas E. Hoke was inducted into Vigilant’s Hall of Fame for his many years of faithful service to the community and its emergency services.

Luther E. “Jay” Grimes walked in to the firehouse in the summer of 1988 asking to speak with then Fire Chief, Tom White. He introduced himself as the area’s new Pierce fire truck salesman. Story goes that the chief had run the former Pierce salesman out of town after a bad experience and the company joked that Jay had his work cut out for him.

Jay worked to correct the former salesman’s blunders at no cost to the company. This prefaced a wonderful, true and honest 25-year relationship between him and Vigilant. Over the years, Jay worked hand in hand to help replace an aging fleet of apparatus. That was instrumental in bringing new technologies to Emmitsburg—including compressed air foam, Emmitsburg’s first aerial truck, a state of the art rescue squad that was featured nationally in Fire Chief Magazine with Vigilant’s first engine/tanker, and other innovations.

Jay was a 1963 graduate of Williamsport High School in Williamsport, Maryland, and was a nationally certified firefighter. He was employed by Pierce Manufacturing of Appleton, Wisconsin, until his retirement in 2010. He was a life member of Williamsport Volunteer Fire and EMS for 54 years, where he served as chief, president, and head of various committees.

Additionally, he was instrumental in the creation of the State Wide Alert Network, LOSAP Program, 911 emergency communications, and the National Incident Management System. In 2011, he was inducted into the Maryland State Fireman’s Association Hall of Fame and also received the United States President’s Volunteer Service Award.

He took great pride in each and every fire apparatus unit he delivered. Jay passed away on Monday, April 20, 2015, at the age of 70.

For his many years of faithful service to the fire and emergency services and his very special service to the Emmitsburg community, he was inducted into the VHC Hall of Fame.

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The Vigilant Hose Company’s 2016 Fire Police (top row) and Operational Officers (bottom row).

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Vigilant’s 2016 Ladies Auxiliary

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Thomas E. Hoke was one of two who were inducted into the VHC’s Hall of Fame.

Catoctin High School Leo Club Collects Jeans for National “Teens for Jeans” Campaign

The Catoctin High School (CHS) Leo Club is collecting jeans for Teens for Jeans, a national campaign from DoSomething.org, one of the largest global not-for-profit organizations for young people and social change. Teens for Jeans encourages young people across the country to run a jean drive in their school or community to help provide clothing for youth experiencing homelessness.

Over a million young people experience homelessness in the United States every year, and one of the most requested items that young people in homeless shelters ask for is a pair of jeans. In the past eight years, young people across the country have collected over five million pairs of jeans through Teens for Jeans. This year, the top collecting school will win a $3,000 grant, the school that comes in second place will win a $2,000 grant, and the school that comes in third place will win a $1,000 grant.

Members of the community can support the CHS Leo Club’s drive by dropping off their gently used denim at Catoctin High School, located on 14745 Sabillasville Road in Thurmont, until February 29, 2016.

For more information, please visit DoSomething.org/jeans. You can contact the CHS Leo Club at catoctinleoclub@gmail to arrange drop off/pick-up.

Visit CHS Leo Club at e-leoclubhouse.org/sites/catoctin, @catoctinleoclub on Twitter, and https://www.facebook.com/CHSLEO.

If you are involved with any organization in this area helping our homeless teens, please contact Wendy Candela at 301-717-7813 and leave a message.

 

Emmitsburg High School Alumni Association Donates a Piece of History to Emmitsburg Library

The Emmitsburg High School Alumni Association has donated a copy of the school’s history to the Emmitsburg Library. The library is housed in the original building of the old high school. The library area today is housed on the floors that once housed grades one through six. The building has been renovated for multiple uses for the town and community.

The five-hundred-page history was compiled by the organization’s historian, Joyce Bruchey, with contributions from the school’s alumni and the local community. The basic book was printed in 2013, and a supplement was added in 2015.

A time line of public education in Emmitsburg—one-room school houses in the area and articles and photos from the Emmitsburg Historical Society—tell the early history of the school. Mementoes, class photos, and articles cover classes from 1923 to 1968, when the high school closed. The earliest memento is a souvenir program from the class of 1910’s graduation. A copy of the school’s first yearbook from 1928 contains information of the upper classes, sports teams, and clubs.

Photos and articles of the staff from 1898 to 1972 are included. The high school joined Thurmont High School in 1969 to create the new Catoctin High School. The building then became the home of grades kindergarten through eighth, and class photos of the elementary students during those years are included. The alumni organization has reached out to members of the 1969-1972 classes of Catoctin High to join the organization since they were a part of the Emmitsburg School for most of their education years.

The history is divided by decades, with supplements of the news, events, popular culture, and cost of living prices. Following class photos are memorabilia of the class. Graduation class photos cover most of the years from 1928 to 1968. The organization is asking the community’s help in locating class photos from the following years: 1898-1922; 1924; 1927; 1933; 1938; and 1939. An attempt has been made to list graduates from the years without photos.

An original copy of the school’s newspaper, The Tattler, dates back to June 1925. Later it was called E-Hi Times, and the earliest copy in EHSAA possession is December 1944. The association is seeking copies of the old school newspapers. Early articles from The Emmitsburg Chronicle and The Frederick News-Post are included, as well as photos of the school’s growth. The Class of 1964 issued a yearbook after a nearly forty-year hiatus, and the following years’ books add depth to the high school’s last years.

A brief history of the Emmitsburg High School Alumni Association, its scholarship winners, past officers, and reunion photos are found in the last chapter. The book includes excerpts from an antique copy of The Service Record Book of Men and Women of the Emmitsburg, Maryland and Community, sponsored by Francis X. Elder Post 14 American Legion and Emmitsburg Businessmen. It lists honor roll and photos of those who served in WWI and WWII. Statistical data of Emmitsburg in 2009-2011, and the United States economy during the years of Emmitsburg High School’s existence, concludes the book.

The Alumni Association continues to search for items related to its school’s history. Material can be sent to Joyce Bruchey, EHSAA historian at 6444 Middleburg Road, Keymar, MD 21757. Copies of the book may be obtained by contacting her at 410-775-7921 or jbruchey6444@gmail.com. The original book with the supplement is $35.00 plus $5.00 shipping. A supplement alone for those who earlier purchased the history book costs $10.00 plus $3.00 shipping.

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Joyce Bruchey (left) presents copy of the Emmitsburg High School Memory Book to staff members at the Emmitsburg Library.

 

Thurmont Middle School Science Olympiad Team Brings Home the Medals

The Thurmont Middle School Science Olympiad team competed in January in the Frederick County Science Olympiad tournament. They earned two gold medals, two silver medals, one 4th place, four 5th places, and one 6th place! The results were as follows: Air Trajectory—2nd place; Bio Process Lab—5th place; Crime Busters—1st place; Disease Detectives—1st place; Elastic Launched Glider—5th place; Invasive Species—4th place; Picture This—2nd place; Road Scholar—5th place; Scrambler—5th place; Wind Power—5th place; Write it Do it—6th place.

Thurmont Middle School is so proud of their team! Their next tournament will be held on Saturday, February 20, 2016, at the University of Maryland. There is no doubt that they will do a super job! A huge thank you goes out to Mrs. Mize, the team’s coach, as well as to all the parents who support all of the students’ efforts.

 

Thurmont American Legion Offers Scholarships and Government Experience to Catoctin High School Students

For those of you who aren’t aware, there is money available for College from the Thurmont American Legion. Post 168 in Thurmont offers four Scholarships each year for qualifying Catoctin High School (CHS) seniors. They also hold an Oratorical Contest each year, with a monetary prize for the top three places. The applications for the scholarships are at the CHS Guidance Office.

The Applications for Boys State will soon be at CHS for high school juniors. Boys State is a week-long stay, where the boys set up a mock government similar to our State government; they have all the offices and make important decisions. For your information, one of the questions on all the applications for Military Academies is: Are you an Eagle Scout or have you attended Boys State.

Last year, they had only one applicant from Catoctin High School for the Boys State. Of the four scholarships, only two were applied for. The Oratorical contest was to be held in January, but no student was interested in competing, so no contest was held.

 

New Club Starts at Thurmont Elementary

A Good News Club started this January at Thurmont Elementary School for children in grades three through five. The club, sponsored by Child Evangelism Fellowship, is a non-denominational club that features games, music, snacks, and Bible stories. The club meets after school in the school cafeteria, from 3:45-4:45 p.m. every Tuesday (unless school is closed). Children must have a signed registration form, as well as a note to the school to attend. All children are dismissed to the cafeteria at dismissal time at 3:10 p.m. Supervised recreation is led by staff members until the club officially starts at 3:45 p.m. Parents meet their children at the cafeteria doors at the end of the club. Outreach projects are planned to help the community. Children who do not attend a specific church will be encouraged to attend a local church with their families.

The Child Evangelism Fellowship is an international organization that sponsors clubs all over the world, including over eighty-four clubs in Maryland. Good News Clubs are in six schools in Frederick County, including Thurmont Elementary. The club is open to all children from kindergarten to fifth grade, but is designed for upper elementary-aged children. The club gives the children the opportunity to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ and enjoy fellowship with other children. The team leaders are all trained and have been background checked. Parents are welcome to attend any club meeting and to participate.

For more information or to register, contact any of the Thurmont Team Leaders: Sherri Eichelberger at resjae@comcast.net, Davada Irons at bdirons@gmail.com, Kari Tuttle (tandktuttle@netzero.net), or Jan Jones (janjones0626@gmail.com).

 

Thurmont Middle School Students Answer Christmas Wish

Thurmont Middle School students were inspired by one of their fellow students to answer the Christmas wish of a young arson survivor to collect Christmas cards. Safyre Terry is an eight-year-old girl from Schenectady, New York, who suffered burns on seventy-five percent of her body and lost her family due to an arson fire two years ago. Safyre was the only one of four children to survive, found under the debris protected only by her father’s body.

Over the next year, Safyre endured many surgeries and lost her right hand and left foot. This year, in anticipation of the holiday season, she and her custodial aunt bought a Christmas card holder from a secondhand store. Safyre couldn’t wait to fill it up with Christmas cards. Her aunt, however, told Safyre that she didn’t think they would get more than ten cards to put on the tree that could hold close to one hundred. Safyre wasn’t discouraged, and she was so excited when she received her first card that her aunt took a picture to share with friends and family. When a friend of the family saw the picture, he posted it to Facebook, asking a few friends if they could send a card. Within days, the picture and Safyre’s story had gone viral. When Logan Riley of Thurmont heard Safyre’s story and her wish, he immediately asked his mom if he could send a card. However, after thinking for a few moments about what type of card to send, he realized that he wanted to do more than just send a normal card, he wanted to share her story and wish. The next morning, Logan went directly to the principal’s office at school; he wanted to share Safyre’s story and wish and ask the principal if they could invite fellow students to participate. The school principal said they would love to help him share the story and to invite his fellow sixth grade students to make Safyre’s wish come true.

Over the next few days, a plan was made to have Logan share Safyre’s story and allow the students to make and write cards to be sent to Safyre. Logan continued to share the story with other classmates and students, as well as with the after school club he attended. Logan was so focused and motivated to make sure Safyre’s wish came true that he forgot to send his own letter to Santa this year. When asked what he was going to ask for from Santa this year, he paused for a moment, and then stated, “How many signatures do you think we can fit on each card?”

On December 16 and 17, 2015, Thurmont Middle School sixth grade students created and composed cards to be sent to Safyre, using their extra class time and lunch/recess time. In addition, students from sixth through eighth grade, who attended the after school club, also created and signed cards for Safyre. The cards were then mailed to Safyre’s hometown post office in New York in time to make sure she had them for Christmas. Since Safyre’s wish went viral the first week of December, the story has reached people all over the world. So many were touched by her innocent wish and heart-wrenching story that she received hundreds of thousands of cards, so many that her local post office was overwhelmed. Logan and his fellow students and friends at Thurmont Middle School remind us all that even the smallest acts of kindness and consideration can make a difference in the lives of others.

CYA Lacrosse Registration Now Open

It’s a new year—try a new sport! Lacrosse is known as the fastest game on two feet for good reason—you’re never sitting still! The Catoctin Youth Association (CYA) Lacrosse league is happy to say that it’s that time of the year again to start gearing up for another fun and exciting spring season of lacrosse. Anyone can play lacrosse—big, small, boys or girls—the game rewards coordination and agility. There is a rise in the number of teams that play, both in Maryland and nationally. CYA Lacrosse strives to provide a fun, educational, family-driven experience. In recent years, they have been fortunate to produce a number of competitive teams, including last season when their U11 Cougars—with half of the players never having played before—went to the championship.

CYA Lacrosse offers opportunities for school-age children, ages five to fourteen. They have established teams in the boys’ division, and they are happy to announce that this year they have added a girl’s division. Many of their coaches are U.S. Lacrosse certified, and with a certified coach in each division, even children with no experience will be in very capable hands to grow in the sport. Starting a new sport can be an undertaking, and an investment. For those who are interested in trying the sport, they have equipment available.

Registration is now open; they have multiple ways for you to register—even from home. You can visit them at catoctinlacrosse.com to learn more about the sport and to register; you can also find registration forms to print and mail to P.O. BOX 374 Thurmont, MD 21788.

Questions? They have answers. Email them at cyalacrosse@gmail.com or give them a call at 240-342-6238.

Just want to see what CYA Lacrosse Cougars are up to this season? Make sure to be social with them on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Thurmont Little League is Gearing Up for an Exciting Season of Baseball

The cold weather has arrived, but Thurmont Little League is gearing up for their 65th Season of Thurmont Little League baseball. Registration is open and is in full swing until March 1, 2016. Visit their website at www.TLLbaseball.com to register.

Players from Thurmont, Sabillasville, Emmitsburg, Rocky Ridge, Woodsboro, Taneytown, and Union Bridge are welcome to register. Come be a part of the Little League experience: #playLittleLeague.

At the Tee-ball, Instructional, Minor, and Major divisions, all of their games are played in-house at the Thurmont Little League Complex. This provides families the convenience of not having to travel around the county during school nights for games.

2016 League Divisions: Tee-Ball (ages 4-6): typically, seven to ten teams; Instructional League (ages 5-8): typically, six to eight teams; Minor League (ages 7-11): typically, eight to ten teams; Little League Major (ages 9-12): six teams.

Thurmont Little League is looking forward to seeing your player on the Little League Ball Fields. Feel free to call Ed Lowry at 267-664-5059 with questions or email thurmontbaseball@hotmail.com.

Mount St. Mary’s University to Host 16th Annual Maryland International Youth Rugby Festival in April

Mount St. Mary’s University (MSM) will be the site of the 16th Annual Maryland International Youth Rugby Festival on April 23-24, 2016. The entire community is invited to come out and see some of the best boys and girls high school rugby teams from the United States and Canada.

Event Chairman Dan Soso stated that the event was moved to MSM because of the outstanding facilities, the championship caliber play of Mount St. Mary’s rugby program, and the friendliness of the entire Emmitsburg community. “It’s an amazing opportunity for us to showcase our event, the scenic beauty of our state, and the outstanding program at Mount St. Mary’s. It is a win-win for everyone involved, and we can’t wait to bring first-class high school rugby to the Mount.”

Catoctin-Ettes Hosting Free Introductory Baton Twirling Course

The Catoctin-Ettes, Inc., a local non-profit youth organization, is again hosting its free, four-week introductory baton twirling course set to begin on Monday, February 1, 2016, at the Emmitsburg Community Center Gym (on the first floor). Each class will operate for 45 minutes and run on consecutive Monday evenings, from 6:30-7:15 p.m. The course, geared for the beginner twirler from age five and up, is completely free. Additionally, batons are loaned for class-time free of charge.

The course is designed to teach beginner baton twirling skills and marching while introducing this growing sport to the community’s youth. Classes are taught by experienced coaches within the organization in an exciting and fun atmosphere. This is an exceptional opportunity to bring baton twirling to families with no costs whatsoever and to determine a child’s interest in twirling without membership commitments. All students must be pre-registered. Please contact Donna Landsperger at 240-405-2604 or DONITO@aol.com.

 

Splendid Grains

This month’s story takes us back to the Roman empire, from where the term “an army marches on it’s stomach” came.

Roman soldiers on the move were given a ration of grain, and every morning they cooked all their ration for breakfast and lunch. They ate one of their portions for breakfast, and put the leftovers on rocks to cool while they broke camp. Last thing they would do is pack up their little cakes, an early form of polenta (basically cornmeal mush), before starting the morning march. So when lunch was called, they didn’t have to build a fire. They just ate their pieces of polenta and took a nap. The really smart ones ate their polenta on the march and napped all the way through lunch break.

Fast forward several hundred years to the depression when many poor families were reduced to eating what was called mush, which was any cheap grain found on-hand boiled into a porridge. Not exactly the highest form of cuisine, but nutritious enough to keep you going. Today, almost the exact same dish is made with corn meal. In the finest restaurants, it is served with roasted red peppers or a ragout of mushrooms for $18.00.

For me, winter is the perfect time for serving grains in your meals. They make hearty nutritious additions to almost any meal. Stews, roasts, soups, salads, and even desserts can be enhanced with the addition of grains.

The best way to cook grains is by the pilaf method, which is the French method of preparing rice. Chopped pieces of onion, garlic, and other vegetables are cooked in oil or butter in a saucepan. Add the grain and cook briefly. Then add liquid, broth, milk, or water in the amount specified (see chart below), and cook until all liquid is absorbed and the grain is tender. If all the liquid is absorbed and it is not tender, add more liquid and continue cooking. Some cooked whole grains often remain a little chewy.

Here are a few guidelines: (1) It is better to cook grains separately and combine them with other dishes before serving; (2) Do not add salt to the grains while cooking them, as some grains do not cook well; (3) Cooked grains freeze well, so cooking extra and saving for future meals is a good time saver; (4) Toasting grains is a great way to add flavor to grains. Simply place in a hot pan with butter or oil and stir carefully until the grain emits a “nutty” or “toasty” aroma. Then cook as instructed.

Feel free to add herbs or spices to your grains as they are cooking. There are precooked products available that just need to be reheated and served.

Use the chart below to create perfect grain dishes for your menu.

As always if you have any questions, need a recipe or idea, or you have an idea for an article, please contact me at RGuyintheKitchen@aol.com.

by Val Nusbaum

Laws of Attraction

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner and our minds and hearts are filled with thoughts of romance and love, right? Sure. In my continuing quest to make life easier for my faithful readers, I decided to go to an expert in the art of seduction and gather vital information to help you attract and keep the one you love. This is how the conversation played out:

Me: “Tell me some things a man can do in order to attract a woman.”

Randy: “Huh?”

Me: “What manly qualities do women find attractive?”

Randy: “High E. P.”

Me: “Seriously? You think the first thing I noticed about you was your earnings potential?”

(Note:  When Randy and I met, I was earning more than he was. I was NOT after his money.)

Randy: “You can’t throw this stuff at me and expect me to have the correct answer.  I need time to think.”

Me: “There is no correct answer. I just want to know what things you did to attract me.”

Randy: “Drugged you?  Deception and trickery?  I still haven’t figured that one out.”

Me: “Fine.  Tell me what it was about me that attracted you.”

Randy: “Big (unprintable).”

Me: “I give up. You’re right. I don’t know why I married you either.”

Randy followed me into my office, still berating me for asking a question he was unprepared to answer. Then he rattled off a list of qualities that included cleanliness, good grooming, fashion style, intelligence, kindness, and a few other things. I sat looking at him as he rattled on, and he became more agitated that I wasn’t typing or writing down his pearls of wisdom.  He really came undone when I asked if a sense of humor was important to him, because he’d failed to mention that quality. He launched into an explanation of how it is impossible to rate one’s good qualities. Is a sense of humor more important than a sunny disposition? Do they go hand in hand? Does it matter if a man is fun to be around if he doesn’t bathe regularly? I started giggling at his frustration, which only increased his annoyance.

Randy: “Okay, Missy. You tell me without any forethought what I can do to be more attractive to you.”

Me: “A hot fudge sundae would be nice.”

Randy: “How far away would I have to be holding the sundae in order for you to decide which of us you want more?”

Me: “You’d have to hold it right in front of you before I’d notice you. It’s hot fudge, for Pete’s sake.”

This is the way most of our conversations about love and attraction go, and this is why a sense of humor is high on my list of attractive qualities. Luckily for me, Randy is a funny man.

I didn’t get very far in finding out the things that men and women can do to be more attractive to each other, but my expert did give me a list of things that one should never do on a date.

I hope you find his advice helpful.

I made him stop at ten items, but Randy could have kept going all night long based on his own experiences.

My advice to you is simple: Be yourself, don’t take yourself too seriously, and be ready to laugh with your date. Never laugh at him or her. Wait until you get home to do that. Don’t wear anything too tight.  Be nice even if you don’t like him, and you know you’ll never see him again. You might meet his cousin someday, and the two of you may hit it off. Your wedding could get awkward. Trust me.

Tell the truth whenever possible.  Lies are difficult to remember and harder to maintain.

If you really like someone, introduce him or her to your family right away and get it over with. You’ll find out very quickly if the person you’re dating feels the same way about you.

I guess when it comes right down to it, my hubby is correct in saying that no one really knows what attracts us to each other or why.  Randy and I don’t have a clue why we like each other. We just do.

I’m sending a special thanks to Amy Messler for her kind words about my December column and for taking the time to write, and also to Loberta Staley for her continued support.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

I hope you all get flowers and candy, or at the very least, a good laugh and a yummy hot fudge sundae