So.........an interesting turn of events.
I received a letter a couple of weeks ago that said that the renewal doc's that stated I had pass emissions were incorrect, and that I do NOT have to pass emissions to renew. I was able to go to the Adams Cty. DMV yesterday and renew my tags without issue, except that I had to pay a $75 late fee for being 3 months late in renewing (and I have to send in a form to the state office to get that fee refunded).
I will try to scan and upload the letter for everyone's reference.
This is for my '79 that was grandfathered in for being registered prior to 2009.