Fire destroys townhome on Carrollton Drive


A fire broke out in seven town houses in the 500 block of Carrollton Drive in Frederick shortly before 9 a.m. June 7. Eighteen people were displaced, and the town houses considered a total loss.

The Red Cross, as well as a local church, is assisting the displaced residents. News-Post reporter Rebecca Duke Wiesenberg joins producers Heather Mongilio and Allen Etzler to talk about the fire.

Mongilio also spoke with Sarah Davis, disaster program manager with the Western Maryland chapter of the Red Cross. Davis discussed how Red Cross is helping those displaced by the fire.

Later, Mongilio and Etzler discuss Mongilio’s story with News-Post reporter Jeremy Arias on how doctors and police officers give death notifications before talking about Etzler’s upcoming cover story for 72 Hours’ Pride edition.

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LYNX celebrates its second year


Linking Youth with New Experiences (LYNX) at Frederick High School connects students with opportunities, such as internships or learning new skills that they might not have with traditional high school education. 

LYNX celebrated its second year, and education reporter Katryna Perera attended both the ceremony and a classroom experience where she spoke with students, Frederick County Public Schools Superintendent Terry Alban and the chef leading students through how to cook a three-course meal. 

Perera and Frederick Uncut host Heather Mongilio welcomed LYNX advocate Beth Sands into the studio to hear more about the program.

"Every student at Frederick High School is a LYNX student," Sands said. "They don't have to apply to be a LYNX student. The minute they walk into those doors as freshmen, they're LYNX students."

Later in the episode, Mongilio speaks with features reporter Kate Masters about her story on a guitar shop in downtown Frederick, as well as what is coming up in the latest edition of 72 Hours.

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Frederick's connection to the second-largest Ebola outbreak


The Democratic Republic of Congo is experiencing the second-largest outbreak of Ebola.

As of June 1, the World Health Organization confirmed 1,900 cases with 1,245 confirmed deaths.

An international response team from Battelle’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases’ Integrated Research Facility traveled to the DRC to help train local responders on testing Ebola samples. The team also goes to Liberia to work on ongoing clinical trials.

Bonnie Dighero-Kemp and Gregory Kocher join producer Heather Mongilio in the podcast studio to speak about their work with Ebola.

Fort Detrick’s connection to Ebola extends back to the late 1970s, when Ebola was discovered. Later in the episode, Dr. John Dye, with the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, joins Mongilio to talk about the hemorrhagic fever and the advances USAMRIID has made.

Finally, Cols. Nancy and Jerry Jaax, who worked for USAMRIID in the 1980s and were featured in Richard Preston’s “The Hot Zone,” now a National Geographic Channel show, will speak with Mongilio.

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Remembering Heather Williams and discussing abussive relationships


Friends and family described Heather Williams as a kind-hearted person who would help anyone.

On May 2, Williams, of Jefferson, was found deceased at her boyfriend’s home. Her boyfriend, Chris Lee Myers, 39, of Jefferson, was arrested and charged in her death.

Producers Heather Mongilio and Allen Etzler spoke with reporter CJ Fairfield about a vigil she attended for Williams.

At the vigil, Fairfield spoke with Williams’ parents. Her father encouraged people to donate to Heartly House in Williams’ memory.

Williams’ friend Jordan Abel spoke about her own abusive relationship and how Williams helped her leave it.

Later in the episode, Abel speaks with Mongilio and Etzler about her experience with domestic violence and ways people can help survivors.

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A new 72 Hours


The Frederick News-Post’s arts and culture publication, 72 Hours, is undergoing a redesign.

The layout will incorporate a cleaner look with more white space and art. There will be new columns, including an advice column and a music section, and the food review section is getting a new name.

Features editor Mallory Panuska, features reporter Kate Masters and page designer Katlynn Almansor join Frederick Uncut producer Heather Mongilio in the studio where they discussed the new design of the publication.

Masters also spoke about the first piece in a series looking at the arts scene in Frederick and some of the obstacles local artists face in creating art downtown. Her story will be the cover of the edition coming out Thursday.

Later, city editor Allen Etzler joins Mongilio in the studio to recap some of the news of the week, including a look at flood coverage, an partnership with local law enforcement and the FBI to catch sexual predators and the results of a point-in-time survey on homelessness.

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Marked by high water: Frederick looks back a year after devastating flood


A downpour in mid-May 2018 left stormwater drains overflowing, cars submerged and millions of dollars in damage to local infrastructure. Frederick County experienced a half-foot of rain during the storms.

On the first day of rain, May 15, 911 received more than 300 calls and local fire and rescue services performed more than 60 rescues. Riders of the MARC train heading for Brunswick were stalled on the tracks for hours. The damage to the infrastructure was about $6 million, with an additional $16 million of damage to businesses and residents.

As Wednesday marks the first anniversary of the flooding, Frederick Uncut producers Heather Mongilio and Wyatt Massey review what happened in May 2018 and how the rising waters affected the community.

Later in the episode, environmental, agriculture and statehouse reporter Samantha Hogan joins to talk about the anniversary story she worked on with city reporter Jeremy Arias.

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The effect of active shooter drills on students


After an unannounced lockdown drill at Middletown High School in mid-April, questions about how safety drills are handled in local schools revealed the fine line school leaders walk between traumatizing students and preparing them for this reality.

Unannounced drills to prepare for active shooters are becoming increasingly common as schools have been the scene of high-profile shootings, such as the 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida that left 17 people dead.

This week, Frederick Uncut producers Heather Mongilio and Wyatt Massey discuss how Frederick County Public Schools handles unannounced drills.

Later, students Laurelle Maubert, a 15-year-old at Saint James School, and Navian Scarlett, a 17-year-old senior at Frederick High School us to talk about their experiences with the drills and how it affects students.

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Railroad Square affordable housing project gaining steam in Brunswick


After more than a year of public hearings and heated debate, the Brunswick City Council voted to send a letter of support for an affordable housing project on the Railroad Square site.

Verdant Development Group will still need to submit a site plan and take other steps — including presenting to the city’s Planning Commission — before the project would be brought back before the council for full approval.

Understanding the full story of the Railroad Square development requires going back more than a year. This week, Frederick Uncut producers Heather Mongilio and Wyatt Massey speak with reporter Kate Masters, who was covering Brunswick when the development was introduced.

Members of the Brunswick community were concerned the affordable housing development would increase crime in the area or hurt local property values, according to Masters.

Later in the episode, Mongilio and Massey discuss the recent updates on the project and how feelings among community members have shifted as the project has been updated. At a public gathering the day before the City Council meeting, several residents who said they were opposed to the project when it was first introduced said they were more willing to see the project move through the planning stages.

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Curbing tobacco use in Frederick


Local and state leaders have turned their attention to tobacco use with a number of events and initiatives in the county to prevent the habit, especially among young people.

This week, Frederick Uncut producers Heather Mongilio and Wyatt Massey speak with several reporters from The Frederick News-Post about stories related to prevention of tobacco use. First, legislative reporter Samantha Hogan discusses how Maryland’s changing the legal age to buy cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco and e-cigarettes from 18 to 21 is designed to curb usage.

Later in the episode, city reporter Jeremy Arias talks about a trip to West Frederick Middle School in March for a program hosted by the Asian American Center of Frederick to raise awareness about the health problems with tobacco use. Students rang a bell every 72 seconds to signify the rate in America in which someone dies from a tobacco-related illness.

Finally, Mongilio talks about a trend educators are seeing with children in middle and high school using e-cigarettes. In early April, the Thurmont Addiction Commission held a discussion with parents about vaping and its dangers.

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'A Marriage Con' Part Two


The five-part series “A Marriage Con” details how a man from Western Maryland allegedly stole tens of thousands of dollars from multiple women, including declaring them dead and creating fake accounts in their names.

As the series concludes, producer Heather Mongilio discusses the final articles and the failures in systems established to stop crimes like the ones Williamson is alleged to have done. Mongilio also talks about what questions remain in Williamson’s cases and how

the ex-wives and girlfriends are rebuilding their lives.

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Reporting 'A Marriage Con'


The five-part series “A Marriage Con” details how a man from western Maryland allegedly stole tens of thousands of dollars from several women, including declaring them dead and creating fake accounts in their names.

With the series at its mid-point, producer Heather Mongilio discusses her reporting of it, including how she connected with Williamson’s wives and verified their stories through court documents and police reports.

Later in the episode, Mongilio talks about why these cases stand out from previous domestic violence stories she has covered.

Download the episode this week to hear directly from the women about their experiences in marriages and relationships with Williamson. Williamson’s location remains unknown with multiple states looking for him.

Part two of this series in Frederick Uncut comes will be out later this week.

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Scout leaders honored to have girls joining scouts


Local girls now have a new opportunity to participate in programs long reserved for boys.

In February, girls ages 11 to 17 were allowed to join Scouts BSA, which was rebranded from Boy Scouts of America. The girls can now earn the highest rank in scouting, Eagle Scout. A year earlier, girls were allowed to join Cub Scouts, the lower-level scouting organization open to first- through fifth-graders.

This week, producers Heather Mongilio and Wyatt Massey spoke with Monica Robyns, scoutmaster for Troop 3017, and Jeff Geyer, Francis Scott Key district commissioner, about the addition of girls to the scouting program.

“The things that Boy Scouts teach [are] not gender-specific at all,” Robyns said. “It’s basically teaching people how to be better humans, better leaders, people with integrity, and that’s genderless. It’s an honor. I love being part of this group of girls.”

Also in the episode, Robyns explained why she got involved in being a troop leader and Geyer talked about the new opportunities local girls can participate in through Scouts BSA.

Summit to address the opioid crisis


Frederick County continues to face an opioid crisis that has ripped apart communities across the nation. More than 47,600 people died across the country in 2017 from an opioid-related overdose, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

In Frederick County in 2018, there were 55 fatal opioid-related overdoses and 279 non-fatal overdoses. Last week, the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office, Frederick County Health Department and Frederick County Chamber of Commerce held a joint summit to raise awareness of the opioid problem.

On this week’s episode, producer Heather Mongilio went to the summit and spoke with some of the leaders there. Jay Hessler, a coordinator for the health department’s local addiction authority, said the summit brought awareness as well as empowerment for those who may be struggling

Later in the episode, features reporter Kate Masters joins to discuss the upcoming edition of 72 Hours.

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Vigil attendees rally to support local Muslims following New Zealand Mosque shooting


On Sunday evening, hundreds of community members gathered in the parking lot and on the lawn of the Islamic Society of Frederick to mourn the tragic loss of life to terrorism.

The vigil came nine days after a terrorist attack at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. A white supremacist with hateful views of Muslims and immigrants carried out the attacks during Friday afternoon prayers, killing 50 people and injuring 50 others.

On this week’s episode of Frederick Uncut, producer Wyatt Massey talked to those gathered at the vigil about their reactions to the news.

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The financial strains seniors face


Fred Berney proposed to his wife Ellen approximately a week after they met at a dance.

The two have been married for more than 50 years, and owned a video business together. But in 2014, Ellen was diagnosed with spatial Alzheimer’s Disease. She has trouble drawing two intersecting rectangles, finding buttons on a remote, reading and knitting. While her eyesight is fine, her brain cannot see.

Ellen had to stop working due to her diagnosis, and, every day, Fred faces a dilemma. If he works at the video company, he confines his wife to a chair in front of the television. If he takes care of Ellen, he cannot complete projects and is unable to bring in money.

But the Berneys are not alone. Financial hardships are common among seniors as they face more health problems and limited incomes.

Producer and host Heather Mongilio spoke with the Berneys at their Walkersville residence about how they met and their current financial strains.

Then producer Wyatt Massey and features reporter Kate Masters join Mongilio in the studio to preview this week’s issue of 72 Hours.

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The so-called "Momo Challenge" and why so many people have bought into the hoax


What started as a now-deleted tweet amplified widely by Kim Kardashian, the “Momo Challenge” went viral in the past week, especially among youth. The fake challenge claimed there were videos encouraging children to harm themselves or commit suicide spliced into otherwise regular youth content.

The image of Momo is actually that of a sculpture created by a Japanese artist. The challenge associated with the image has surfaced before but gained particular traction in the United States last week.

Parents and school districts across the country reacted as though the challenge was real, including Frederick County Public Schools. Three schools in the county sent out email notices about the challenge without mentioning the story was a hoax.

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The consequences of a Methodist church decision


A week ago, a multinational conference of United Methodist Church leaders voted to toughen the church’s stance on sexuality, banning gay clergy and same-sex marriage. The conference was intended to bring a resolution to the church whose position on sexuality had become increasingly ambiguous. Previously, local churches and jurisdictions have cut their own path on whether to advocate for gay rights.

However, the decision added fuel to an already controversial topic. LGBTQ church members and advocates felt the church was denying them basic rights. More conservative church members felt their church was returning to being a pure organization.

On this week’s episode of Frederick Uncut, the Rev. Dr. Eliezer Valentín-Castañón, senior pastor at Trinity United Methodist Church, talks about being caught in the middle of the debate. As he told his congregation on Sunday, clergy or churches that do not follow the agreed-upon stance on sexuality will be removed. He would be one of them.

Later in the episode, producer Heather Mongilio speaks with two board members of The Frederick Center who discuss how the recent church decision on banning LGBTQ clergy and same-sex marriage affected their membership.

What budget season means for your tax dollars


As the temperatures begin to climb and the season changes, the Frederick County Public Schools Board of Education and County Council are entering their own season: Budget season.

Over the next few months, the two elected bodies will be deciding where to put funding for the upcoming year. To better understand how the budget process works and what will be prioritized this year, Frederick Uncut producer Emma Kerr sat down with Brad Young, Frederick County Public Schools Board of Education president.

Later in the episode, Steve Bohnel, county government reporter for The Frederick News-Post, joins the show to discuss the county budget process. Bohnel details how much of county spending is pre-determined each year and where the “discretionary funds” may be headed in the upcoming year.

Bohnel has previously reported about how new legislation in the near future from the council on school construction fees and impact fees is unlikely.

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Why vaccinations are still a public health priority


An outbreak of measles in Clark County, Washington, has provided more fuel to an ongoing national debate about the role of vaccinations and the freedoms from immunization requirements.

More than 40 cases have been confirmed in Washington, and the state's governor, Jay Inslee, has declared a state of emergency. So far this year, measles cases have been confirmed in 10 states across the country.

This week, Frederick Uncut producer Wyatt Massey spoke with Kurt Seetoo of the Maryland Department of Health Center for Immunization to learn more about the importance of vaccines. The center oversees various immunization and vaccination programs in the state, such as the Vaccines for Children Program.

Plus, producer Graham Cullen takes a field trip with a recorder in hand to gather audio of a vaccine being administered- to himself.

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How to pick out the perfect Valentine's Day chocolate


With Valentine’s Day quickly approaching, some couples will be scrambling to find the perfect gift. Randy Olmstead, chef and owner of Perfect Truffle in Frederick, has a business designed not just to fill the need for last-minute gift but fulfill the dreams of local candy lovers.

The chef said couples should think about what flavors the other person likes instead of simply buying any box of chocolate. Instead, the holiday can be made special by what is bought, he said.

“I’m going on 32 years of marriage, and I’ve learned that just you don’t just buy something. There has to be reason behind it,” Olmstead said.

This week, Frederick Uncut producer Emma Kerr visited Perfect Truffle to learn about how the chocolates are made. Olmstead detailed how he picks the perfect combination, such as his white ginger pear tea. The chef said not all candy is made equal.

Listen to this week’s episode to learn how Olmstead uses 17 different chocolates in his blends, along with the process of melting chocolate to put it back in the perfect solid form.

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