Don’t miss Thurmont’s Shop N’ Sip on Saturday, May 27, 2017, starting at 10:00 a.m. Event features shop n’ sip specials at each participating business. View the advertisement on page 24 for more information.

The Woodsboro Bank, in partnership with the American Red Cross, will host the Woodsboro Bank Community Blood Drive on Thursday, May 18, 2017, from 12:30-6:00 p.m., at their Thurmont office, located at 143 Frederick Road. View the advertisement on page 18 for more information.

Just after his first birthday, six-year-old Ben Myers (pictured right) began having hundreds of seizures a day, for over a year, and was diagnosed with a catastrophic form of epilepsy caused by a rare mutation of the SCN2A gene. There is currently no cure for SC2NA. Due to the seizures, Ben can no longer talk, but he can give the best hugs! Please come out and support this sweet little boy and his family and help fight for a cure for SCN2A. All proceeds from the tournament go to Ben and his family to cover therapy, equipment, and other medical expenses not covered by insurance.

Bags for Ben’s Bunch Cornhole Tournament will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, June 3, 2017, at 13702 Graceham Road in Thurmont. The cost is $40.00 per team. The tournament will feature food, raffles, and prizes. To reserve your team’s spot today, call or text Renee Lawyer at 301-639-4585.

View the advertisement on page 33 for more information.

On Friday evening, May 26, 2017, the Myersville-Wolfsville Area Historical Society will sponsor a free PowerPoint presentation, exploring the rich history of the presidential retreat at Camp David.

The program is open to the public and will be followed by a social hour with refreshments. There is no charge.

Since 1942, the Catoctin Mountains have provided presidents of the United States with a respite from the pressures and stresses of Washington, D.C.

Camp David—formerly Shangri-La—has evolved from a highly secret, rustic facility to a resort-like mountain retreat, easily reached from the nation’s capital.

Established during the presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt, the “camp” was originally reached via a two-hour drive from Washington, through Frederick and Thurmont. Today, it is minutes away from the White House via helicopter.

This presentation will trace the fascinating 75-year history of Camp David, detailing the day-to-day activities of its occupants and the momentous decisions and events that have taken place there. In addition to anecdotes about the chief executives and their families, highlights include FDR’s wartime deliberations with Winston Churchill, Eisenhower’s talks with Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev, Nixon’s intense days at Camp David during the Watergate crisis, and Carter’s successful efforts to piece together the Camp David Accords with Anwar Sadat and Menachim Begin.

The presentation will be held at 7:30 p.m. at the Myersville Fire Hall, located at 301 Main Street in Myersville.

 

Thurmont

Mayor John Kinnaird

The Town of Thurmont celebrated Arbor Day on April 22 by planting more trees in the Community Park.  This planting was undertaken by the Thurmont Green Team, as part of their ongoing efforts to ensure a clean environment for our current and future residents. The damages inflicted on our Ash trees by the emerald borer resulted in many of the mature trees having to be removed from the Community Park. The planting of new trees will, over time, replace the cooling canopy we enjoy in the park. The Green Team also sponsored a Hunting Creek Clean Up Day and managed to remove 690 pounds of trash from the steam and its banks. The Green Team also wants to remind everyone that garden spots are still available in the Community Garden. Many thanks to Thurmont’s Green Team for their hard work!

The Board of Commissioner (BOC) recently approved a bid for street improvements within town. The work includes blacktop overlays of East Street, Lombard Street, and Shipley Avenue. This work will be completed during the summer months; please be aware of these projects and, as with all of our street repairs, please be careful when driving through the construction areas.

The BOC is currently working on the 2017-2018 Budget. I am hopeful that we will use the Constant Yield Tax Rate for the upcoming year.  This means that we will be collecting the same amount of taxes as during the 2016-2017 fiscal year. With recent increases in property values, everyone should realize a very small decrease in property taxes. We hope to adopt the final budget in May.

In recent weeks, you may have noticed underground work being completed at the intersection of Rouzer Lane and Rt. 550. This work is part of the ongoing effort to ensure dependable electric service for Catoctin High School and the Catoctin Heights subdivision.  Currently, Catoctin Heights is at the end of a service line that starts on the Emmitsburg Road and crosses Rt. 15. The improvements will include new underground service lines, as well as a new loop connected to Sandy Spring Lane, to provide a backup circuit should there be a problem with the current feed line.

I was recently appointed to serve on the Frederick County Solid Waste Advisory Committee (SWAC). SWAC is charged with reviewing the County Solid Waste Plan, and we have been following closely the What’s Next initiative, established by County Executive Gardner to investigate improved recycling options for our residents. The State of Maryland has mandated a recycling level of 90 percent for organic waste, including food waste and grass clippings, by the year 2040. This goal will require a massive undertaking within Frederick County to start a program of collection and composting to realize these levels of recycling. The current recommended plan calls for as many as 10-14 small composting facilities across the County and new methods of collection. Ultimately, all residences, businesses, schools, and other facilities will be included in this plan. I encourage all of our residents to pay attention as this plan moves forward and to get involved! For more information about What’s Next, visit www.frederickcountymd.gov/whatsnext.

Please take the time to enjoy the newly rebuilt Roddy Road Covered Bridge, as well as the improvements to Roddy Road Park and Loy’s Station Park!

I can be reached at 301-606-9458 or by email at jkinnaird@thurmont.com.

Emmitsburg

 Mayor Don Briggs

In April, I was given the opportunity to speak at three events.

On April 8, at the Doughboy statue, the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and the town commemorated the 100-year anniversary of the United States declaring war on Germany and entering World War I. Commissioner Blanchard and I spoke. Thank you, Commissioner Blanchard, for putting this event together.

In addition to a quote of General Douglas MacArthur, I referenced, in a humble tribute to the soldiers who fought in WWI: “There, for those soldiers, in the prime of their lives, it was a hope for a tomorrow and a prayer for their – now. For us, because of them and what they did and gave, we have a tomorrow of tomorrows and prayers for our now and those nows to come.”

Also on April 8, I joined the  more than two hundred people who attended the dedication of the sprinkler system at the Frederick County Fire/Rescue Museum National Fire Heritage Center on South Seton Avenue, sharing in awe of the live-burn demo, which used a “Side-by-Side Burn Trailer.”

“Welcome. They say every story has a protagonist, a leading character. The good person, the good people. In our town, there are many protagonists for the many stories that form our community story. And what a story it is, with a rich history that includes both an emphasis on education and spiritualty… Today, we gather for one such story to recognize the collaborative efforts of suppliers, installers, fire service personnel, and all levels of government, to bring about the installation of the sprinkler system in the Fire Museum and National Fire Heritage Center…But underlying this effort has been the quiet efforts of a group of amazing people, lifelong fireman, rooted here in Frederick County and from all over the country… To these founders, it is an honor and pleasure to know and work with you,” I said during my remarks.

On April 10, Libby and I dined with Korey Shorb and Conrad Weaver. Korey is doing great things for the county to educate and understand addiction through his “Up & Out” Foundation. Our Emmy-Award-winner Conrad is producing a documentary on drug addiction, with a focus on Frederick County. More to come on the town’s collaboration with these gentlemen.

On April 12, Libby and I, along with Commissioner Buckman, attended the presentation on addiction at Catoctin High School, sponsored principally by the Schildt family: “CHRIS for Family Support in Recovery.” It was a moving program that touched all the sensibilities of those in attendance, in the nearly packed-full auditorium. I am blessed to have coached young men, in either football or rugby, over a span of five decades, during which I attended funerals for five of my players. Recently, I have been blessed to be mayor of Emmitsburg for the past five years, and during this time, I have already attended five funerals for drug-related deaths.

It is written, “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Our treasure is our families. In the face of this insidious onslaught, put away petty distractions, and, yes, everything is petty when it comes to our families, as well as our friends and community.

They say that our grandparents—and for some, great-grandparents—were the greatest generation in what they did during WWI. We need another greatest generation in this fight for our children. We can be the next greatest generation—we have to be the next greatest generation.

I am so blessed to live in Northern Frederick County.

April 2017

by James Rada, Jr.

                                                                           Emmitsburg

Waynesboro Offers Emmitsburg Residents Local Pool Rates

Commissioner Elizabeth Buckman announced during the April Emmitsburg town meeting that Emmitsburg residents will be offered the local resident rate at the Northside Pool in Waynesboro, Pennsylvania. It is something that she pursued to partially offset the lack of a pool in Emmitsburg this summer.

Timeline for Trail Expansion

Emmitsburg Commissioner President Tim O’Donnell updated his fellow commissioners on the expansion of Emmitsburg multi-user trails. The project is expected to be completed by August 2018.

The Trail Conservancy awarded a $30,000 grant to Emmitsburg last year for the construction of a new trail. It will be a town connector trail, geared toward new users, so it will have only modest inclines.

The grant required a 20 percent matching grant of $6,000, which the Trail Conservancy will allow to be paid through volunteer service hours. To date, over 1,453 volunteer hours, valued at $33,419, have been donated to the trail.

Requests for proposals to build the trail will go out in June, with construction expected to begin by June 2018.

Board of Appeals Members Appointed

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners unanimously appointed Wayne Slaughter and Patrick Joy to the Board of Appeals for three-year terms that began on April 15.

Town Enters into Mutual Aid Agreement

The Town of Emmitsburg entered into a mutual aid agreement recommended by the Maryland Municipal League and the Department of Homeland Security. The agreement is a formal recognition that if any municipality experiences an emergency or catastrophic event, other municipalities will respond with help as needed.

The agreement does not force the town to respond to another municipality’s emergency. It is left to the town to determine how to provide aid. The municipality is also indemnified from liability under the agreement.

Thurmont signed the same agreement last month.

                                                                                Thurmont

Trolley Trail Will Get Kiosk

Economic Development Director Vickie Grinder recently told the Thurmont Commissioners that the town received a grant from the State Highway Administration and the Maryland Office of Tourism for a kiosk. It will be placed at the start of the trail and will have historical information about the trail, as well as other town information and events.

Thurmont Tour Guide Planned

Economic Development Director Vickie Grinder told the Mayor and Thurmont Commissioners that a map and guide are in the works that will feature a walking tour, driving tour, and biking tour of the town. It was funded through a TRIPP Grant that requires a 50 percent match, for which Criswell Chevrolet is paying.

Thurmont Working on Budget

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners have started considering the budget for FY2018 in a series of workshops that are part of their Tuesday evening meetings. The mayor and commissioners are considering how to allocate a projected $3.6 million general fund and $963,105 general capital fund. The approved FY2018 budget will go into effect on July 1.

Planning POS Projects

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners have to submit their priorities for Program Open Space by May 5. Funding for these projects comes from a pool of money that the state sends to Frederick County. The municipalities then meet to decide on how to divvy up the funds.

The commissioners decided on their two major projects: (1) Get additional funding for the East End Park special-needs playground and converting the concession stand there to an ADA-compliant bathroom; and (2) Get solar-powered lighting for the Thurmont Trolley Trail.

Another two or three projects will be added to the list before it is submitted on May 5. The representatives from the different county municipalities will meet to decide how to divide the pot of money that Frederick County gets from the state. They do not expect to get money for all of their projects, or even all of the funding for the projects that do get POS money. However, the projects that do get funding will be greatly helped.

Wild Song Farm operates on a historic property known as Father’s Farewell on Moser Road in Thurmont. In 1738, the farm was part of the 500-acre Taylor’s Lot, owned by Johann Jacob Weller. Fifty acres were later passed to his stepson, John Henry Firor, who is believed to have built the beautiful stone home on the property, from 1765 to 1780. The property earned its name, Father’s Farewell, when son John Leonard Firor inherited it from his father, who moved west. The farm stayed in the Firor family until about 1872.

Since then, the farm has seen a dairy operation, beef cattle, sawmill and woodshop, horses, and even a goldfish-growing operation. Since 2015, when Thomas and Nicole Luttrell purchased the property, they have been preparing a farm business called Wild Song Farm. The name is appropriate because of the music of nature heard every day on the farm—song birds, frogs, and crickets. After big storms, you can hear Big Hunting Creek roar. Lately, the sound of clucking chickens and quacking ducks can also be heard.

Thomas grew up in Frederick and Nicole grew up in the Poconos, Pennsylvania. They met while attending Washington College on the Eastern Shore. Thomas studied economics, and Nicole studied biology and chemistry. While in school, they became interested in growing food and learning how to be self-sufficient. They both worked for a successful small produce farm called Colchester Farm, where they were part of the strong local food movement in Chestertown, Maryland.

After graduating, the couple moved to Frederick. Thomas worked for Hometown Harvest, a home delivery service for local food, while Nicole worked for the Frederick County Office of Sustainability, helping homeowners get energy-efficiency upgrades. She then worked with Ecologia Design, installing edible landscapes. Nicole still offers design and consultation services for edible and natural landscapes and homesteads through her business Deeply Rooted Design (www.deeplyrooteddesign.us).

On the farm, Thomas tends to take charge of the machines and animals, and Nicole tends to take charge of the produce and business management. They come together for many projects and to develop plans for the future. There are many reasons why the Luttrells decided to start a farm. The main reason was for their own health. They wanted to be in control of the food they eat. They also wanted to become more self-sufficient.

Nicole said, “It seems that so many skills are being lost. Farming has pushed us to learn about a very wide range of subjects. Not just plants and animals, but machines, electrical, plumbing, carpentry, and business management. We’re very excited about the possibilities of agriculture and all of the opportunities for innovation.”

While their current focus is on short-term crops like eggs and produce, they are also working on establishing some long-term crops like shiitake mushrooms grown on logs, unique and disease-resistant fruits such as paw paws, and even nut crops such as hazelnuts and Chinese chestnuts.

Another aspect of the farm that is very important to the Luttrells is connecting with the local community. There is something very special about knowing where our food comes from, and knowing the farmer who grows it. Thomas said, “We love this property because it is tucked right into Thurmont, a short walk to the library and to the trolley trail that leads to Main Street. We are surrounded by neighborhoods, including Jermae Estates just up Moser Road. There are many farmers that understandably drive to the D.C. area to sell produce, where there are more people and higher prices. But for us, we really want to feed the local people and do our part to help Thurmont’s local economy grow. And what better place to do it than a farm so close to town?”

The Luttrells have a flock of about 130 chickens living out of a big coop on a hay wagon that is moved around on pasture and through their gardens to do soil prepping. They make their own soy-free, non-GMO feed with local grain to ensure quality and freshness. They have a small flock of ducks that free range in their yard. They are currently selling eggs from the farm, and the eggs are also sold at The Lion Potter Market in Gettysburg.

They grow produce using organic practices, building rich and healthy soil. It’s important to the Luttrells that their soil is rich in nutrients and minerals, which then are passed into the food that customers eat. This year, they will grow a variety of greens, carrots, beets, radishes, turnips, cabbage, onions, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, summer squash, melons, garlic, winter squash, and shiitake mushrooms.

If you want to see a show, stop by and watch them cut and bale fifty-pound round bales of hay with a walk-behind two-wheel tractor, hay rake, and baler. They use that hay for chicken bedding and composting, and plan to start selling it this year.

Their farm stand will open soon, starting Saturday, May 13, at 13720 Moser Road. Expect Saturday and Sunday hours at the start of the season, with some weekday hours added as they move into summer. Eggs, produce, baked goods, and plants are available for sale. They are looking into offering some specialty items for sale from other local farms as well. Stop by their stand on Saturday, May 27, during Thurmont’s Sip N’ Stroll event for a special “buy two dozen, get one free” on eggs. Customers can also enter their names in a drawing for a $20.00 gift certificate.

Customers can call or text an order to 240-405-7622, email wildsongfarm1780@gmail.com, or just stop by the farm.

For more information, visit www.wildsongfarm.com or check them out on Facebook at www.facebook.com/wildsongfarmthurmont.

James Rada, Jr.

For entertainment, Emmitsburg resident Rick Oleszczuk, along with his wife, Erin, and children, were once trapped in an underground playground in Nashville. They barely escaped, and decided that they had so much fun that they wanted to trap other people. That’s why they opened Escape Gettysburg.

“We didn’t want to do it at first, but then we talked about it for days afterwards,” Rick said of his family’s experience in the Nashville escape room.

Back in Emmitsburg, he and his wife started talking about opening one. They decided on Gettysburg because of its nearness to their home, its large number of tourists, and its limited indoor entertainment offerings.

They rented the old Department of Motor Vehicles space at 59 N. Fifth Street in Gettysburg, and opened with two escape rooms in March. By summer, they should have four rooms open.

For those unfamiliar with escape rooms, a group of people are locked in a room that has been designed around a theme. The group that I was part of was locked in a room called the Mad Hatter’s Tea Parlor. It was a Victorian room with a fireplace, furniture, unusual pictures, and odd clocks. We had one hour to find and decipher clues and to work our way through a series of surprises, in a race against time. The pressure to find a way to unlock the door builds as the time we had to free ourselves vanished.

However, my group also laughed, got frustrated, and cheered when we solved a tough clue. When the locked door finally popped open, with less than ten minutes to spare, everyone felt a great sense of success and accomplishment.

The other rooms include: the wizard’s chamber, where you must unravel the clues to escape the room before the head wizard returns; and museum heist, where the group is attempting to steal the Gettysburg Address from a museum before the police arrive. You are given an hour to escape the room, and not every team is successful.

“Our rooms tend to be more challenging than some of the escape rooms that are part of a chain,” Rick said.

The rooms are designed to hold eight to ten people, although larger groups can be accommodated. Participants should be at least thirteen years old to be able to fully participate in the adventure.

“We’ve already had some return customers. We had one group come in for a birthday party, and they had so much fun, they came back the next weekend to do the other room!”

Escape Rooms are great family activities, but businesses also use them as a team-building exercise.

Escape Gettysburg is a family-run business. Even the Oleszczuk children—Noah, Ella, and Eva—participate in the business. They either act as greeters or game masters. Game masters monitor the progress of the trapped people, and may give them hints from time to time about how to escape.

If you would like more information and/or you would like to schedule your ‘escape’ at Escape Gettysburg, visit the website at www.escapegettysburg.com or call 717-769-5397.

Theresa Dardanell

A solemn, respectful crowd gathered in Emmitsburg on Saturday, April 8, 2017, for the ceremony to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the United States’ entrance into World War I on April 6, 1917.

The event, sponsored by the Town of Emmitsburg, along with the Francis X Elder Post 121 American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6658, was held in front of the Doughboy statue in town. The ceremony began with the Pledge of Allegiance, an opening prayer by Father John Holliday, and a welcome by Emmitsburg Mayor Donald Briggs. Commissioner Glenn Blanchard gave a brief history of the war and added a personal story about his own grandfather, who served in the war. The ceremony continued with the American Legion and VFW Color Guard and the laying of the wreath by the commanders of the Post.

The Doughboy statue was erected in 1927. Doughboy is the name of a World War I foot soldier. On the pedestal are the words, “This memorial erected and dedicated in honor of those from Emmitsburg district who served in the world war.” It includes the names of those who made the supreme sacrifice.

The mountain bike trails above Emmitsburg, around Rainbow Lake, are in need of upkeep. Volunteers are invited to Trail Work Days on May 21, June 17, and August 5, during which trail work takes place from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Free coffee, juice, bagels, fruit, and donuts are provided before the work begins, and a free barbeque in town is provided afterwards. You may win a free prize.

Please direct any questions to Tim O’Donnell at todonnell@emmitsburgmd.gov or visit www.MORE-MTB.org for information about the trails.