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Newsletter Messages

Newsletter Messages From Mayor Briggs,

June 2022

A memorial day holiday greeting to all. It’s easy to forget what homage goes with the intent of the Memorial Day holiday. The Memorial Day was initially called Decoration Day. A day set aside from others to remember, and pay tribute to those who have died in military service for our liberty and freedom Please take time to read the banners recently put up on town light posts for those relatives of ours who served. Really so proud of this town.
Not so much in the spirit of the Memorial Day holiday, the Frederick News Post recently announced it will stop home delivery of newspapers. The paper will now route delivery service through the Post Office. So the paper that you picked up in the morning, and read with a freshly brewed cup of coffee, a tinker with the crossword puzzle, now will show up whenever your mail is delivered, noon, three O’clock, whenever. Going to miss scurrying around the front porch looking under chairs, in bushes or in a snowpack wherever the morning missile may have landed. A good partner for going on 55 years. This will be particularly hard on those who have to go to the post office to pick up their mail.
June is filled with many events, lots of graduations, Flag Day June 14th at 7 O’clock in Memorial Park, and Community Heritage Day festivities on Saturday, June 25th.
Give the grill a good scrub. Hello burgers, ‘dogs, coleslaw, potato salad, all fixings.
This is Emmitsburg at its best.

May 2022

Recently I had the opportunity, along other county municipal leaders, to meet USDA Rural Development/Department of U.S. Agriculture, Under Secretary Xochitl Torres Small. The event was held at the South Mountain Creamery in downtown Frederick and hosted by our to-be 6th district congressional representative David J. Trone. The discussion centered around the ever-increasing load of regulatory demands being placed on municipalities. .

There are many new additions to the Town so far; sidewalk connections, bleachers at the ballfield, family picnic gazebos, and pickle ball. I look forward to future improvements throughout the Town, including the paved parking lot at Memorial Park.

The town project to replace 122 existing curb ramps with the American Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant ramps is now complete. Thank you to all for your perseverance in this year long project. The Town added piping along Cedar Avenue (south side of Community Center) to South Seton Avenue to improve storm water management in this area. For Fiscal Year 2023, sidewalk installation over this new piping is planned. The estimated project cost of $685,893 will be funded by a state administered, federal community block grant. Congratulations to the town staff for overseeing this project.

One of the Town accomplishments to meet the state mandatory MS-4 requirement is the native tree planting program. This program is funded by Chesapeake – Atlantic Coastal Bays Trust Fund grant. On the beautiful, sunny Saturday morning of April 16th, the day designated by the Town to celebrate Arbor Day, approximately 50 volunteers planted 250 trees in this area. To date, approximately 3,300 trees have been planted on eleven acres of town owned land by our wastewater treatment plant on Creamery Road (east side of US 15). Thank you to Town Staff and Stream Link Education for organizing these plantings.

The North Seton Ave Green Street project is also in the planning stages. This project provides streetscape beautification to replace bare open concrete/asphalt culverts. It will also include sustainable plantings to impede the flash flood storm sheet flow that on more than one occasion has contributed to flooding at the base of Federal and North Seton Avenue as well as the entry into the Northgate subdivision. Adding to the practical aspects of the design will be twenty-three designated on-street parking spaces. The estimated cost of this project is $291,000 and should be 100% funded by Chesapeake Bay Trust, Community Legacy, and Federal Flood grants.

I also wanted to let everyone know that pickle ball is now part of the array of town outdoor activity offerings. An overlay imprinted of the smaller 20” wide by 44’ in length pickle ball court has been added over the tennis court in E. Eugene Myers Park. The lines are only visible from close-up and should not affect tennis play. This game has become more popular and uses the same net height as tennis, but is played with a wiffle ball. 

The time for Memorial Day cookouts and graduations is almost here. Best wishes to everyone for a safe and happy month of May. Please keep the people of Ukraine in your thoughts and prayers.

April 2022

A belated Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all. Here we go again, heading into spring and mid- March snow. Sometimes, for those of another generation, this snow event is characterized as a “Robin’s snow”. At this turn of the seasons, this winter, for the most part, was a dry one. Even though it’s hard to visualize a drought during the winter months, we may have experienced one. Snow plays an important role in replenishing the ground water so the lack of precipitation this winter would be cause for concern.

It was so kind of the twenty students from Virginia Tech who recently graced our town to work on projects for those in need. Thank you for spending your spring break with us. Also, thank you to the Seton Center and Daughters of Charity for pulling the pieces together to host and provide housing for those students. To our elderly and those in a squeeze, if you need help with projects around the house, contact Sister Martha. She can be reached at the Seton Center (301.447.6102). We have students from the Mount, Gonzaga High out of D.C., and St. Mary’s High from Niagara, NY, coming to town this spring eagerly looking for things to do.

It’s hard to believe that it was two years ago in March 2019 the town meetings were first affect by COVID-19. Fast forwarding to March 2022, the last remnant of COVID-19 protection measures, the plexi-glass dividers between the Commissioners, were moved.

Congratulations to our Catoctin High School Cougar girls’ basketball team after securing a berth in the state championships game after a decisive 56-27 win over the rival Brunswick. Unfortunately, they lost a rough one to Pikesville in the championship game. Great season for coach Amy Entwistle, the team and especially seniors Emma Wivell, Emily Williams, Paige Smith, and Lily Gadra.

Thank you, Dee Connolly, for once again bringing the Gettysburg Walking Club for a tour of the town wayside exhibits and lunch at one of the fine restaurants in town.

The rising cost of fuel affecting us at the gas pump is compounded by the rising embedded cost to produce and deliver items to the grocery store. As a result, producers, wholesalers, and retailers must then move the cost onto us. So far, rising gas prices seem to have not affected the market demand for homes in the northern part of the county. The secret is out. It’s a great place to live.

At the March 2022 regularly scheduled meeting, the Board of Commissioners approved the recommendation of the Mayor and staff to design and construct a town sign in front of the town office / community building with the capability of providing timely updated information. The masonry stone base of the sign spans eight feet and the height is nine feet, three inches. The sign will feature the town name, logo, and a detailed two-faced message board. The hope is to commence install as soon as the County gives permission to replace the current sign.

Also, at the March meeting, the commissioners approved the Mayor and staff recommendation to pave the parking lot and circular drive at the Memorial Park this year. We anticipate this to be completed this spring.

Most of the Irishtown Road improvements are completed, but the weather delayed “detailing” so there is shoulder work that remains to be done. Just a friendly reminder to be aware of your surroundings due to increased construction activity. Please rejoice in the benefit of two-way traffic, but do so at a moderate speed.

The work to replace 120+ sidewalk curb ramps throughout town to meet current American Disabilities Act (ADA) guidelines is done. The project cost was $683,000 which was funded totally through a federal block grant. Way to go staff!

Hope everyone is having a blessed Lent and let’s all pray for the Ukrainians. From Lib and I, we hope you have a wonderful Eastertide.

March 2022

With masks coming off, spring almost here, and months of talking about the new businesses and major town improvements, here are some things about people.

Over the last year, unimpeded by COVID variations, the Frederick County Health Department partnering with Dr. Portier, has conducted a sample group program of forty patients to enhance selfcare blood pressure care and awareness. Forty (40) “Cuffs”, medical parlance for the wide band you put around your bicep and squeeze a rubber ball kits, were distributed to the patients. The intent is to develop patient motivation in using cuffs, provide literature, and a more than “one and done” follow-up support system to keep blood pressure in a healthier range. It is my understanding that the program is still being tweaked before being opened to the public. Preventive medicine at work.

Providentially with spring comes another restaurant option on the Square. The vacated Stavros space is occupied again. Tuscany Pizzeria held its grand opening on January 21st. To boot with new décor and expanded menu comes the retention of the Stavros pizza recipe. Please welcome them with a visit. 

So who is Father Gene? He is the gentle octogenarian, who walks several miles every day, and has run fifteen marathons. Besides being a very spiritual parish priest at St. Joseph’s Church, he is an ardent Auburn Tigers fan. In his earlier days, he was pastor at Auburn University. His number of ran marathons is impressive and noteworthy posing possibly a challenge to Bridget McCarthy in marathons, but I do not think so. Way back in the number of marathons he ran is the Marine Marathon in Washington D.C.  I ran it in 1980, followed a year later by the one notable initiates of the club Libby ran (an hour faster than me). 

So where are we with the Change for Food program, the donations placed in those little jars throughout town retail checkouts? The initiative to raise money for Emmitsburg Food Bank was started ten years ago by Bob and Jean Rosensteel and has been maintained by them and the Emmitsburg Business and Professional Association (EBPA). The latest tabulation is $54,056 raised. To add to that, the EBPA college scholarship assistance fund, administered by the Frederick County Community Foundation, now exceeds $27,000. Well done business community.

There is a Catoctin High student program known as “Family, Community, and Career Leaders of America” (FCCLA). A school sponsored club whose mission is, "Leading Others to a Better Tomorrow" and motto is "Caring and Sharing". The goal is, by performing services for the community, students learn and develop leadership skills. Notable initiates of the club include “ adopting” area elderly and Thurmont Primary School students for engagement in activities.

If you want to be nudged in an intellectual way, consider the Mount’s Alumni Symposium sponsored by the University’s College of Liberal Arts. Now in the third year of fall and spring sessions, this may be the one for you. The overseer of the program is Dr. Peter Dorsey. You do not have to be a Mount grad to join in person or by Zoom. For 2022 spring session, in January, Drs. Elizabeth and Charles Strauss led a discussion on Catholics and Jews after the Holocaust. Followed in February by Fr. Jim Donohue, “The Hospitality of God: A Reading of Luke's Gospel". March will be Dr. Carol Hind, “Sanctification of the Ordinary in Mark Salzman’s Lying Awake”. In April, Dr. John Hershey: Star Wars and the Force of Philosophy. In May Dr. Jack Dudley: “The Everyday Life of the Priesthood, The Short Stories of J.F. Powers”. The symposium sessions are held at the Mount Frederick campus one evening a month. There is a fee that includes reading materials and dinner. Contact the College of Liberal Arts for information on the 2022 fall semester.

We mourn the loss of Francis G. Smith, 95 years young. He was a wonderful person and renowned area artist and poet. In 2019 recognized as the town of Emmitsburg Poet Laureate for 2019 – 2021. From his poem, “The Poet’s Fantasy”,

Pent-up within the bounds of my humanity,

My restless spirit, ever straining upward,

Thrills to harmony.

Not so much giving up something but rather do something special for others during Lent.

February 2022

So here we are, a new year, 2022, duly anointed there to enfold, there onto judgment, hopefully, a blissful repletion be ours. To that goal we seem to be tracking well. A “Big Snow” event is now behind us. It has been a dry fall into winter period. Snow is good for replenishment of the water table as its tendency when melting is to slow seepage into the ground and less lost to runoff. 

Two way through traffic from Brookfield Drive to Irishtown Road, after a decade after opening to one way out is now open. Thank you to everyone for your patience. From permit applications and conversations with the nineteen proposed houses along Irishtown Road, ten homes have been placed under contract. 

To the questions of no masks, masks, shots, boosters, variants, what is medicine, the role of science and discovery? Why the back and forth? From Stephen Hawking’s, “The Brief History of Time, “...redefining the goal of science: our aim is to formulate a set of laws that enables us to predict events only up to the limit set by the uncertainty principle....On many occasions we have increased the sensitivity of our measurements or made a new class of observations, only to discover new phenomena that were not predicted by existing theory and to account for these we have had to develop a more advanced theory”. Knowledge is frustrating as it is a never-ending progression. With every question comes more questions. Adds credence to the old axiom, “When you think you know, you don’t know.” 

At the town regularly scheduled monthly meeting, Deputy Ben Whitehouse was honored for his six years of service to the town as a resident deputy. He is moving on to other responsibilities within the Sheriff’s Department. Ben once went into a building fire and lead people out to safety. Thank you, Ben for your service.

Also announced at the meeting were several changes on the Planning Commission. Joyce Rosensteel stepped away from her twenty years of public service as an elected member of the town Council and later as an appointed member of the planning commission and formerly. Thank you, Joyce. Well done. It has been a pleasure to work with you over the years. Lured by a fellowship grant at Harvard, Dr. Bernard Franklin, is relocating to Cambridge MA, and has resigned from his appointment to the Planning Commission. 

To the two vacancies on the Commission, Kevin Hagan, moved from being the alternate to a regular member and Amy Boehman - Pollitt is a new member. Terri Ray, a former employee of the town, has accepted the invitation to be an alternate on the Commission. Terri Ray is an exceptional person. Her warm voice greeted us all as the former receptionist and office manager. After over six years with the town, Terri has accepted a position in the accounting field with one of our local organizations. Thank you, Terri, for your service to the community and best to you for the bright future that lies ahead for you.

Now on to Lent and budget preparation for the upcoming 2022-2023 town fiscal year.

January 2022

Lots of things in the town stocking this year - 
-New Downtown improvements: With the New Year comes a new façade on the building located in the northwest corner of the Square. Now properties on three corners of the square have benefitted from grants offered through the town.
-New Road: Construction work along Irishtown Road (I know, I am tired of talking about it too) is moving closer to completion. Underground infrastructure work is complete, curbs are being set and if the weather holds up paving of road could start before the end of this year.
-New businesses: Federal Stone’s relocation to Emmitsburg is still planned for groundbreaking spring 2022 off Creamery Road east of US 15 for their new home, 50,000 sq. ft. office/warehouse.
-New Development: There is the possibility for development of the Emmit Ridge II single-family subdivision off Irishtown Road. The development process could begin spring 2022. With the development will come the long awaited second entrance into Northgate.
-In town Campus: In a town December podcast, Mount president Tim Trainor confirmed that the Mount, in partnership with Daughters of Charity, will open a Professional Health Graduate School in town. The school will occupy a two-story wing off the Basilica. The initial focus of program offerings will be a graduate Physician Assistant degree. The first class of 40 students is planned for September 2023. Other graduate programs planned for later include one for Applied Behavior Analysis and another for Athletic Training and the possibility for several more.
-New Medical Aid: The Frederick Health and Mount St. Mary’s Partnership medical facility is now under construction and planned to open summer of 2023. The facility services will be available to the community as a whole.
-New Infrastructure projects: Major Infrastructure projects are planned for new year include a water treatment plant pump station upgrade $1,000,000+/-, water clarifier $800,000+/-, and DePaul Street water line $1,000,000+/- scheduled for 2022.
-The repairs to Brookfield Drive caused by construction traffic are scheduled to be completed spring 2022.
-Wonderful to again have a town Christmas tree lighting. Holding to the tradition of the first Monday evening of December in front of the Community Center, defiant to and humbled by a winter mix, those in attendance stood their ground to join the caroling offered by the raised voices of the Christ’s Community Church children’s choir and music of the Mount St. Mary’s flute ensemble. From there a short scamper walk to the Carriage House Inn for Christmas music, free hot dogs, cookies, hot chocolate, hayrides, and meeting Santa. Thank you.
Even with COVID-19, out there we will move forward to add to our wonderful life here.
From Lib and I, Happy New Year!