Star Local News

Bring Warmth to a Child in Need this Holiday Season

The Calvert County Department of Parks & Recreation is partnering with Maryland’s local Department of Social Services office to accept donations of new and lightly used youth coats for their annual “Koats for Kids” program through January 2019. Coats can be dropped off at the Northeast Community Center during normal hours of operation. Center hours are Sunday through Thursday, 8:30 a.m.-10 p.m., and Friday and Saturday, 8:30 a.m.-11 p.m.

 

With each donation, citizens are encouraged to choose an ornament from the community center’s giving tree as a thank-you gift. For more information about the coat drive, please contact the Northeast Community Center at 410-535-1600, ext. 8210.

For information on Department of Parks & Recreation programs, please call 410-535-1600, ext. 2649. For updates on Parks & Recreation services, park availability, field closures and more visit Parks & Recreation at www.Facebook.com/CalvertCountyParks.

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Bomb Threats Investigated

On December 13, 2018, two area businesses, and one local fire department reported they had received bomb threats. The St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office responded and checked the buildings, and no devices were located. At this time, the bomb threats which were received via email, appear to be part of a national trend to extort money from businesses and are not considered credible threats. The St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office encourages the public to remain vigilant and to promptly report suspicious activity.

For official news and information, follow the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office on Twitter @firstsheriff.

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Driver High on Cocaine Sentenced for Homicide by Motor Vehicle

LA PLATA, MD— Tony Covington, State’s Attorney for Charles County, announced that on Thursday, December 13, 2018, Charles County Circuit Court Judge H. James West sentenced Kelly Yvonn Young, 61, to 5 years in prison for the vehicular killing of Robert Maguire. Following her time in prison, Young will have 5 years of supervised probation.

 

On July 30, 2018, Young entered a guilty plea to Vehicular Manslaughter in Charles County Circuit Court.

 

On October 8, 2015, troopers from the Maryland State Police responded to Maryland Route 234 in the area of Edgewater Drive for the report of a collision involving a passenger vehicle, pickup truck, and motorcycle. At the scene, troopers observed a Chevrolet Camaro and a Harley Davidson motorcycle with severe damage. They also observed a Ford F-250 with serious damage. The driver of the Chevrolet Camaro – Young – was suffering with non-life-threatening injuries, but also showed signs of impairment. Victim Maguire was discovered lying in a grassy area with fatal injuries. Both Young and the driver of the Ford F-250 were transported by helicopter to be treated for their injuries. Unfortunately, Maguire was pronounced deceased at the scene.

 

An investigation into the collision revealed that Young was traveling westbound Maryland Route 234. During this time, Maguire was traveling eastbound Maryland Route 234 operating a Harley Davidson motorcycle. A Ford F-250 was directly behind Maguire’s motorcycle. During travel, Young failed to drive in a single lane and entered the eastbound side of the roadway, colliding head on with Maguire’s motorcycle. As a result, Maguire was ejected from his motorcycle to a grassy area on the eastbound side of the roadway. After the collision with Maguire, Young’s vehicle collided with the Ford F-250, causing the truck to travel off the roadway on the eastbound side.

 

Prior to the collision, Young was observed by her boyfriend, who was traveling westbound Maryland Route 234 in a separate vehicle, swerving into the other lane. Her boyfriend called expressing concern, however, Young continued driving.

 

A blood test kit was conducted on Young that revealed she was impaired by Cocaine, Oxycodone, and Benzoylecgonine (Cocaine Metabolite) on the date of the collision.

 

During sentencing Assistant State’s Attorney Constance B. Kopelman told the judge, “There has to be a serious response to what the defendant did. The defendant’s choices are why we’re here. In a day and age of Uber, Lyft, and taxi services, she chose to get behind the wheel under the influence of drugs. And here, it seems her boyfriend tried to get her to stop.  Not caring about anyone’s safety, she chose to keep going and that choice killed Mr. Maguire. – There is never a reason to get behind the wheel in [that] condition.”

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Arrest Made in Armed Robbery

On Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018, St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office Patrol Officers made contact with an adult female who advised she had been using an ATM located at the 13000 block of Point Lookout Road in Ridge, Maryland. As the female completed the transaction and was walking back to her vehicle, she was confronted by an unknown black male armed with a handgun who demanded money.
 
After the unknown male was able to obtain an undisclosed amount of currency, he fled the scene on foot.
 
The investigation was continued by the St. Mary’s County Criminal Investigations Division (CID). Investigatory leads were developed and Victor John Lee Scottland, 30 years old of Ridge, was developed as a suspect. A search and seizure warrant was executed at a Scottland’s home and items of evidentiary value were located.
 
At the time, Scottland had two open warrants for his arrest through Calvert County and Charles County and was taken into custody without incident. After an interview with a detective, Scottland was charged with the following criminal violations:
 
-Armed Robbery
 
-Robbery
 
-Second-Degree Assault
 
-Theft less than $100
 
Scottland remains incarcerated at the St. Mary’s County Detention and Rehabilitation Center in Leonardtown pending a bond review.
 
Anyone with further information pertaining to this investigation is asked to contact Detective Melissa Hulse at 301-475-4200, ext *1996 or via e-mail Melissa.hulse@stmarysmd.com.
 

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MDOT SHA To Partially Shift Traffic Onto New Brandywine Road Bridge Over Rt. 5

Beginning Sunday night, the Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA) will shift traffic at several locations for the interchange construction project on MD 5 (Branch Avenue)/MD 373 (Accokeek Road)/MD 381 (Brandywine Road). The traffic shift should be complete mid-week.

After the traffic shift, motorists traveling on northbound MD 5 will be directed to the new Brandywine Road Bridge to make left turns. The current at-grade left turn will be eliminated. Motorists traveling southbound on MD 5 will be directed to the bridge, eliminating the at-grade right turn movement.

The lane closures will begin at 8 p.m. with all lanes opening by 5 a.m. each subsequent morning. In case of inclement weather, the work will be performed beginning Sunday night, January 6.

The lane closures are as follows:

• December 16 - single lane closure on westbound Brandywine Road between US 301 (Crain Highway) and MD 5. During the work, travel on westbound Brandywine Road will be prohibited beyond the MD 381/MD 5 intersection. Drivers will use a short section of MD 373 to MD 5 and back to westbound Brandywine Road.

• December 17 - double lane closure on northbound MD 5 at Brandywine Road. During this work, northbound MD 5 traffic will be prohibited from making left turns at the intersection of MD 5 and MD 381. Traffic will use the new interchange overpass.

• December 18 – double lane closure on southbound MD 5 at Brandywine Road. During this work, southbound MD 5 traffic will be prohibited from making right turns at the MD 5/Brandywine Road intersection. Traffic will use the new interchange overpass.

MDOT SHA will use arrow boards, cones and law enforcement assistance to guide motorists through the work zone. This project will relieve significant daily congestion by removing an at-grade signalized intersection, as well as a roundabout. A new park and ride facility will be constructed to provide much needed ridesharing opportunities in this heavily travelled commuter route. The project is nearly 75 percent complete. For more information on the $37 million project, click here.

Stay alert and look for reduced speed limits, narrow driving lanes and highway workers. Slow down and don’t follow too closely. Work Zone Safety is in Your Hands. For a list of all major MDOT SHA projects, click on Road Ready, MDOT SHA's electronic construction brochure. For a look at real-time commute conditions, log onto www.md511.maryland.gov.

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Comptroller Franchot's Statement on New Revenue Estimates

The Board of Revenue Estimates voted today to decrease its September 2018 revenue projections for Fiscal Year 2019 by 0.1 percent to $18.07 billion – representing a $18.4 million decrease. Additionally, the board will be revising the September estimates for Fiscal Year 2020 to $18.71 billion, representing a 0.3 percent, or $55 million, decrease from its previous projections.
 
Following are Comptroller Franchot's remarks, as prepared for delivery:
 
"At our September meeting, this Board voted to increase our revenue projections by more than $700 million. Thanks to a more than half-a-billion-dollar surplus after we closed the books on FY 2018, the state finds itself with more than $1 billion in unspent revenue as we approach the 2019 Session.
 
Included in the revenues is the considerable inflow of revenue resulting from Wayfair Supreme Court ruling and the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. And as we chart a course for the state's fiscal future, it is incumbent upon our policymakers to make thoughtful decisions on the path forward when it comes to how we spend the taxpayers' hard-earned dollars.
 
The fact of the matter is that while our state's economic bones remain strong, we continue to see stagnation in wage growth and permanent, long-term employment, both of which serve as critical indicators for our state's fiscal and economic outlook.
 
This is the 113th month of economic expansion since the Great Recession, and the only other expansion to run longer was 119 months, which occurred during the tech boom back in the 1990s. So we're six months out from that historic benchmark, and we cannot expect that we will defy the laws of economic gravity, and we must plan for the inevitable economic downturn that will occur in the future.
 
That's why I have publicly called upon the Governor and the General Assembly to increase the state's allocation into the Rainy Day Fund, especially now that the state's bank account is considerably higher thanks to the unexpected injection of revenue from the Wayfair decision and the Federal Tax Cuts.
 
I took office the year before the Great Recession paralyzed our economy. And I, like many in this room, remember the very difficult choices that we had to make as our state tried to weather through the Great Recession.
 
Budget cuts, furloughs, tax increases were some of the tough decisions that were made by the previous Administration and the General Assembly to balance our state's books. Because it is impossible to foresee unexpected and disruptive changes to our economy due to market volatility and trade uncertainty, and given the continued political turmoil that paralyzes Washington, we – here in Maryland – have an obligation to do everything we can to plan for future economic downturns.
 
We have to show Maryland taxpayers that we learned our lessons from the Great Recession, and that we – like so many working families and small businesses – are going through our budget line-by-line and foregoing the things we want, in order to pay for the things we need.
 
As the Governor and legislators prepare to convene for the 2019 Legislative Session, let me once again publicly renew my call for fiscal restraint. I know the General Assembly will be considering a number of very worthy and critically important programs and proposals in the upcoming year.
 
But it is my sincere hope that my colleagues up the street would be mindful of the great need to carefully consider these proposals' impact on the state's fiscal health and the financial well-being of hardworking Marylanders across our state."

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Governor Larry Hogan Announces Judicial Appointments

ANNAPOLIS, MD – Governor Larry Hogan today announced the appointments of Andrew Martin Battista to the Baltimore County Circuit Court, Kerwin Anthony Miller, Sr. to the District Court for Harford County, Joseph Michael Stanalonis to the St. Mary’s County Circuit Court, and Sidney Allen Butcher to the District Court for Anne Arundel County. The governor made the appointments after interviewing nominees sent by the judicial nominating commissions.
 
“The appointment of qualified individuals to serve across our state’s justice system is paramount to upholding our responsibilities to the people of Maryland and the rule of law,” said Governor Hogan. “I have confidence that Mr. Battista, Mr. Miller, Mr. Stanalonis, and Mr. Butcher will be strong advocates for the law and will serve the citizens of their respective counties and the state of Maryland admirably.”
 
Andrew Martin Battista has been a solo practitioner in Baltimore County since 1993. In this capacity, he has handled a wide variety of cases, ranging from personal injury to family law matters and criminal defense to workers’ compensation claims. Mr. Battista started his legal career at Hardwick, Tripoda and Harris in Baltimore as an associate defending cases before the Worker’s Compensation Commission and in state trial courts. He then joined the law firm of Marlow, Peddicord and Young in Towson where he represented construction and life insurance companies before starting the law firm of Young and Battista. Mr. Battista holds a B.S. from Towson University and obtained his J.D. from the University of Baltimore School of Law.
 
Kerwin Anthony Miller, Sr. has been an an administrative law judge with the Office of Administrative Hearings since 2016. Prior to holding that position, he worked as Deputy State’s Attorney for Cecil County from 2009-2015. In that position, he handled serious felony prosecutions and oversaw homicide crime scene responses. He received a B.S. from Mary Washington College and obtained his J.D. from the Southwestern University School of Law.
 
Joseph Michael Stanalonis has worked in the St. Mary’s County State’s Attorney’s Office for his entire legal career, previously serving as District Court Chief and Senior Assistant State’s Attorney. He is currently the Deputy State’s Attorney, representing Maryland in criminal cases involving robberies, homicide, drug distribution, arson, and both the juvenile and adult drug courts. Mr. Stanalonis holds a B.A. from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and received his J.D. from the University of Baltimore School of Law.
 
Sidney Allen Butcher has worked as an attorney with the Office of the Attorney General since February 2018. He is currently assigned to the Medicaid Fraud Unit where he handles civil and criminal enforcement of Medicaid fraud matters in state and federal courts across Maryland. Prior to this position, Mr. Butcher worked as counsel in the White-Collar Group at Whiteford Taylor Preston LLP for three years. He also spent 10 years as a prosecutor in the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office. Mr. Butcher holds a B.S. from Florida A&M University and received his J.D. from the University of Kansas School of Law.

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Calvert County Board of County Commissioners Seeks Applicants to Fill Board of Education Seat

The Calvert County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) is seeking applicants to fill a vacancy for the Third Election District representative on the Calvert County Board of Education.
 
Kelly D. McConkey won the District 3 BOCC seat in the Nov. 6 elections, thereby creating a vacancy on the Board of Education upon his swearing in as a county commissioner. By state law, the BOCC appoints members to fill any Board of Education vacancy for the remainder of the term until a successor is elected and qualified. For a full description of the position visit online.
 
Individuals interested in applying must submit an application no later than 11:59 p.m., Jan. 2, 2019. Organizations may also submit individuals for consideration. The application is available online at www.calvertcountymd.gov/BOEapplication.
 
Those interested in applying for appointment must be a Calvert County resident for a minimum of two years and a current resident of the Third Election District before the beginning of the appointed term.
 
For more information contact Executive Administrative Aide Lisa Tolomei at Lisa.Tolomei@calvertcountymd.gov or call 410-535-1600, ext. 2214.
 
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Calvert County to Host Free Residential Shredding Event

The Calvert County Department of Public Works, Solid Waste Division, will host a free paper shredding event for county residents Saturday, Dec. 15. The event will be held at Appeal Landfill located at 401 Sweetwater Road in Lusby from 8 a.m. to noon, rain or shine. The shred event helps prevent identity theft by destroying confidential or sensitive documents.
 
All paper must be removed from plastic bags and cardboard boxes. Paper clips and staples are acceptable. Binders and binder clips are not acceptable. There is no limit per resident, and proof of residency is required. Certificates of destruction will be provided if requested. Businesses are prohibited from this event.
 
For information about this event, call the Calvert County Department of Public Works, Solid Waste Division, at 410-326-0210 or visit www.calvertcountymd.gov/recycle.
 
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December 11th Charles Commissioners Meeting Update

On Tuesday, Dec. 11, the Board of Commissioners approved the Hazard Mitigation Plan. The plan provides for sustained actions that the county will take to reduce or eliminate long-term risk to life and property from hazards and natural disasters. The plan is required to qualify for mitigation grants and must be updated every five years. Staff provided an overview of the planning process, which involved internal and external community stakeholders who assessed vulnerabilities and updated mitigation strategies. Following a thorough review process, 70 new or updated mitigation actions have been included in the 2018 plan.

 

Approval Items

 

Commissioners approved a letter of support from the County Attorney for Russell Shlagel, property owner of Shlagel Farms, which is required as part of an application for an agricultural deer cooperator permit from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. The approval includes conditions that require written public notification and outreach to the adjacent neighborhoods to inform them of the activities and regulations associated with the permit.
Commissioners approved several 2019 legislative proposals in their legislative package to the Charles County Delegation for the 2019 General Assembly Session. Proposals submitted by the Sheriff’s Office were all approved, except for a request to access records related to juveniles prohibited from firearms possession. The Board of License Commissioners received approval for a proposal seeking to amend the Alcohol Beverages License to allow exterior protective coverings to a premises, as well as reclassify a golf course license to a privilege that is automatically granted. The Homeowners Association Dispute Review Board received approval to broaden the scope of matters that could be adjudicated, including Homeowners Association bylaws and adopted rules and regulations.
Commissioners approved a change to the Charles County Safety Manual regarding take home vehicles. The change would provide members of the Board of Commissioners to have the option of being issued a take-home, county vehicle for the purpose of conducting official county business. The County Administrator will manage the Commissioners’ fleet of vehicles.
Commissioners approved an exception to the process for the Community Support Fund in order to pay for a $1,000 sponsorship for the Charles County NAACP Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. community breakfast. Commissioners will schedule a more thorough review of the community sponsorship process in the future.
Commissioners also approved the following agenda items:

 

The appointment of Carol DeSoto as the acting clerk to the Commissioners.
A budget amendment increase of $425,000 to purchase water from Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission, during periods of time when Charles County wells were out of service and it could not be acquired from other locations due to limits established in state permits.
Budget transfer requests reallocating $1,671,000 in funding to construct an interconnection from Ocelot Street to Piney Grove Estates. This project is no longer necessary as traffic volume is lower than anticipated. A portion of the fund will be set aside for a future traffic study in that area, and the remaining funds will pay for the remaining costs associated with the Billingsley Roundabout, for upgrades to Stavors Road, and for other general government projects.
Commissioner Appointments:

 

Commissioners approved appointments of individual members to local boards, committees, and councils. View the list of appointments on BoardDocs.

 

For More Information:

 

Commissioners meetings are aired on CCGTV, which broadcasts on Comcast channel 95 and Verizon channel 10, and are available for streaming at www.CharlesCountyMD.gov/media-services/ccgtv/ccgtv.    Materials and minutes of the Commissioners meeting will be posted at www.boarddocs.com/md/chrlsco/Board.nsf/Public upon approval.

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Calvert County Sheriff's Office Incident Report

Damaged Property: 18-66378
On December 6, 2018 Deputy Idol responded to the 7-Eleven in Huntingtown for the report of damaged property. The complainant advised sometime between December 4th and

December 5th an unknown suspect(s) damaged the screen on the Redbox machine. The value of damaged property is approximately $700. 

 

Theft: 18-65750
On December 3, 2018 Deputy Holt responded to Rawhide Road, Lusby for the report of a theft. The complainant advised sometime between December 2nd at 8:00 PM and December 3rd at 9:00 AM an unknown suspect(s) broke into her vehicle and stole an iPad, a DVD player, numerous DVDs, CDs and $50 cash. The total value of stolen property is $1,550.

 

Theft: 18-66007
On December 4, 2018 Deputy Aurich responded to Pony Trail, Owings for the report of a theft. The complainant advised on November 28th between 12:00 PM and 2:00 PM an unknown suspect(s) stole packages that were delivered to her house. 

 

Theft: 18-66044
On December 4, 2018 Deputy Spalding responded to Calvert Blvd, Lusby for the report of a fraud. The complainant advised he believed he dropped his credit card earlier in the day and an unknown suspect used it multiple times in St. Mary’s County. The total amount of the fraudulent charges is $619.36.

 

Theft: 18-66444
On December 6, 2018 Deputy Childress responded to Mayflower Court, St. Leonard for the report of a theft. The complainant advised on December 3rd an unknown suspect stole his 65” Sharp TV that was delivered to his home. The value of the TV is $450. 

 

Theft: 18-66824
On December 8, 2018 Deputy Boerum responded to Stone Drive, Huntingtown for the report of a theft. The complainant advised sometime between December 7th at 10:00 PM and December 8th at 9:00 AM an unknown suspect(s) stole his wooden sign from his driveway that is personalized with Newington Hill – Stone Drive – and the family’s last name. The estimated value of stolen property is $500. 

 

ARRESTS:

On December 4, 2018 Deputy S. Naughton responded to the 7-Eleven in Huntingtown for the report of a female nodding out in her vehicle. Deputy Naughton watched through the window as Allison Marie Large (37) mixed water with heroin in a white prescription bottle cap. Large was removed from the vehicle and a search was conducted which resulted in 6 used syringes, 3 prescription bottle caps with heroin residue inside, 3 cut straws with a white powder residue inside, a crack pipe with suspected crack cocaine residue, and approximately 20 miscellaneous pills. Large was placed under arrest and transported to the Calvert County Detention Center where she was charged with CDS: Possession-Not Marijuana and CDS: Possession of Paraphernalia. 

 

On December 4, 2018 Deputy Yates conducted a traffic stop on Solomons Island Road just north of Dares Beach Road, Prince Frederick. A search of the vehicle revealed one Diazepam pill, a cotton swab with suspected heroin residue, 22 syringes, a glass pipe with CDS residue, a metal spoon, and two baggies with suspected heroin. Everything listed above was found in a jacket and a duffle bag that belonged to William Broomfield Sr. (54). Broomfield Sr. was placed under arrest and transported to the Calvert County Detention Center where he was charged with CDS: Possession-Not Marijuana and CDS: Possession of Paraphernalia.

 

On December 5, 2018 Deputy Rediker responded to Trinity United Methodist Church in Prince Frederick for the report of a disorderly subject. The complainant advised Philip Holladay Dew III (43) was acting disorderly, confrontational and appeared to be under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. Deputy Rediker and Trooper Matthews made contact with Dew and told him he needed to leave the facility. Dew became increasingly confrontational with the officers and continued to make derogatory remarks to them, therefore, he was placed under arrest. Dew was transported to the Calvert County Detention Center where he was charged with Disorderly Conduct, Failure to Obey Reasonable/Lawful Order and Intoxicated Public Disturbance. 

 

On December 5, 2018 Deputy Gott conducted a traffic stop in the area of the Thomas Johnson Bridge in Solomons. The driver, Melissa Anne Ridgell (39), was driving on a suspended license. A search of her vehicle revealed a metal spoon with suspected Oxycodone residue, a cloth tourniquet, three used syringes containing suspected Oxycodone residue and nine unused syringes. Ridgell was placed under arrest and transported to the Calvert County Detention Center where she was charged with CDS: Possession-Not Marijuana and CDS: Administer Equipment-Possession/Distribute. 

 

On December 5, 2018 Deputy Flynt conducted a traffic stop in the area of Plum Point Road and Sycamore Place, Huntingtown. While making contact with the driver, Dai Quan Delon Garner (27), Deputy Flynt noticed the odor of marijuana emitting from the vehicle. Garner was removed from the vehicle and detained. A search of the vehicle revealed a vacuum sealed bag containing almost 30 grams of suspected marijuana. Garner was transported to the Calvert County Detention Center and charged with CDS: Possession of Marijuana > 10 grams. 

 

On December 9, 2018 Cpl. Wilson conducted a traffic stop in the Walmart parking lot in Prince Frederick. While making contact with the driver, Zachary Kenneth Lengfield (25), Cpl. Wilson immediately detected he was under the influence of something. All occupants were removed from the vehicle and detained. A search of the vehicle revealed hypodermic needles, suspected cocaine, suspected heroin, suspected Subutex, straws with heroin residue inside, and other paraphernalia. The driver and all three passengers, Rebecca Holly Grooms-Wills (36), Walead Othman (51) and Dana Nicole Reiser (24), were transported to the Calvert County Detention Center. Lengfield and Reiser were charged with CDS: Possession-Not Marijuana and CDS: Possession of Paraphernalia. Grooms-Wills and Othman were charged with CDS: Possession-Not Marijuana, CDS: Possession of Paraphernalia and Possession of Contraband in a Place of Confinement. 

 

On December 9, 2018 Deputy Aurich responded to the Walmart in Dunkirk for the report of prescription fraud from the pharmacy. Momodou Manneh (25) was trying to obtain a prescription for Phenergan/Codeine that was not in his name. Manneh was placed under arrest and transported to the Calvert County Detention Center where he was charged with Obtaining Drugs by Fraud and Obtaining a Prescription by Fraud. 

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Officers Looking To I.D. Theft Suspect (Photo)

The Calvert County Sheriff’s Office is asking the public’s help in identifying
the females pictured. On November 29, 2019, Deputy Sampson with the
Calvert County Sheriff’s Office, took a theft report in the 100 block of Hospital Rd,
Prince Frederick. The victim states her wallet was stolen from her purse while
working at her place of employment. The suspect (pictured above) used the victim’s
stolen credit card to make purchases at the Office Depot and the Wawa in Prince
Frederick, Maryland.
If anyone has any information into the identity of either female pictured
above, please contact the Calvert County Sheriff’s Office at 410-535-2800. Refer
to case number 18-65060. 

 

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Cardin Lauds Passage of Farm Bill Supporting Maryland Farmers

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), a senior member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, praised the overwhelmingly bipartisan 87-13 approval Tuesday of the Conference Report for the Farm Bill. The key conservation title in the amended H.R. 2 triples the amount of funding for the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) while streamlining program participation requirements with a “focus on increasing producer access, improving conservation outcomes, and simplifying procedures.” The Maryland Farm Bureau fully supports the bill.

 

Senator Cardin: “The 2018 Farm Bill is a win for Maryland farmers and the entire state. Agriculture is central to Maryland’s economy and way of life for so many Marylanders. It’s why I supported final passage of the Farm Bill today that supports Maryland farmers and strengthens the federal commitment to conservation programs through the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) with a minimum of $300 million per year to help farmers do their part to preserve a healthy Chesapeake Bay and support other conservation programs. A healthy Bay is good for our farmland and good for our regional economy. Federal and regional partnerships have been crucial to the progress we have made in improving the health of the Chesapeake Bay.”

 

In addition to protecting the RCPP, Senator Cardin praised the bipartisan conferees for keeping the legislation primarily focused on agriculture and farmers without the inclusion of damaging anti-environmental policy riders favored by the House of Representatives. As predicted in a letter Senator Cardin led with nearly 40 senators, “[a]voiding controversial provisions that erode landmark environmental laws could pave the way to an on-time and widely supported reauthorization of the Farm Bill.” 

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Hogan Administration Awards $1 Million in Pretrial Services Grants

ANNAPOLIS, MD – The Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention (GOCCP) today announced 11 awards to counties totalling $1 million to establish or improve pretrial services programs. The goal of pretrial services programs is to provide additional options to local courts, reduce recidivism, and improve case outcomes for defendants. In Maryland, an estimated 69 percent of detention statewide is attributed to pretrial detention.
 
The Pretrial Services Program Grant Fund was established during the 2018 legislative session of the Maryland General Assembly to assist counties in the development, implementation, and improvement of pretrial services programs. The program is consistent with the goals of the Justice Reinvestment Act (JRA), which encourages the safe reduction of detention populations and reinvestment of savings into further reducing crime.
 
“We worked closely with counties to incorporate national and local best practices that would result in consistent outcome measurements across the state,” said GOCCP Executive Director V. Glenn Fueston, Jr. “We received nearly $1.3 million in requests for new and existing programs, and we were able to fund a majority of the requests.”
 
The grants will help local jurisdictions respond to rises in pretrial detention by arming judges and court commissioners with evidence-based risk assessments, new monitoring technology, and case management staff to handle referrals for substance use and mental health services. The 11 grants announced will establish new pretrial programs in four counties, bringing pretrial services to a total of 15 counties. Seven counties that already provide pretrial services will receive funding to bring their programs in line with a statewide standard that incorporates best practices.
 
Awards were made to the following entities:
 
Anne Arundel County Dept. of Detention Facilities - $94,255.00
Calvert County Board of County Commissioners - $109,477.00
Cecil County Sheriff's Office Law Enforcement Facility - $94,051.00
Dorchester Community Partnership - $29,250.00
Howard County Department of Corrections - $165,546.00
Montgomery County Department of Correction & Rehabilitation - $130,000.00
Prince George's County Department of Corrections - $48,712.00
Somerset County Detention Center - $95,825.00
St. Mary's County Detention Center - $57,252.00
Washington County Detention Center - $125,386.00
Wicomico County Department of Corrections - $50,245.00

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Fire Safety For The Upcoming Winter Months

STATEWIDE SAFETY RELEASE (December 11, 2018) -- State Fire Marshal Brian S. Geraci reminds all residents of Maryland to check for fire safety where they live, work, attend classes, training and meetings.  “Fire and life safety is everyone’s responsibility; by testing smoke alarms and CO detectors, keeping exits clear of obstructions, and maintaining fire alarms and fire sprinkler systems, we can all avoid injury or death from the effects of fire.”

          To ensure your best chances of surviving a fire, the State Fire Marshal offers the following tips on both escaping a fire and preventing one:    

Test smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors to ensure they are working properly. Remember, the effects of toxic smoke and gases can quickly overcome your ability to think clearly.  Every second counts when escaping a fire.  Also check the dates on your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors, if they are 10 years old or older, they should be replaced.

Check exits in both your home and any place you go to ensure you will be able to get to safety.  Blocked exits resulting from improperly placed chairs, tables or even holiday decorations can result in the delay of getting out quickly and safely.  Be vigilant of these safety concerns whether at church, school or your local favorite eatery.  Ensure snow is removed from the outside of doors as well.

When using portable non-vented fuel-fired heaters, such as kerosene heaters, make sure to use only the recommended fuel specified in the owner’s manual and NEVER use gasoline.  Note: Portable kerosene heaters are banned for use in Baltimore City.

If you find it necessary to use an electric space heater, use only one that has been approved by an authorized testing laboratory such as UL.  Plug space heaters directly into an outlet.  NEVER use an extension cord or power strip as they can easily overheat and cause a fire.

Keep all portable space heaters at least three feet away from anything combustible.

If heating equipment fails, do not use kitchen stoves or ovens to supply heat.  These appliances are not designed for that purpose and the chance of a fire improves greatly.

When using fireplaces, wood stoves or pellet stoves; please ensure these heat sources have been installed and properly serviced by trained technicians according to state and local codes, allowing them to work at peak efficiency and lower the risk of a catastrophic failure.  Place ashes in a metal container with a lid.

Please ensure you have the chimney cleaned and inspected before use. 

Never leave candles burning unattended.  Extinguish the flame before leaving the room. Consider battery operated candles instead of flaming candles for safety.

If a fire occurs inside your home, close the doors behind you as you vacate to the outside, call 911 and never go back inside the home.  Tell arriving first responders if anyone is still inside.

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Charles County Department of Health Announces Flu Immunization Clinic on December 13, 2018

The Charles County Department of Health will hold a community flu vaccination clinic on Thursday, December 13th from 3:00 pm-7:00 pm. The clinic will be held at the Charles County Department of Health 4545 Crain Highway, White Plains, MD. The clinic is open to the public and free of charge.  Flu Mist© will be available this year.

 

There are many benefits of the flu vaccination. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention there are many reasons to get the vaccination:

The vaccination can prevent you from getting sick with flu.
Reduces the risk of flu-associated hospitalization in both children and older adults.
It is an important preventive tool for people with chronic health conditions.
Helps to protect women during and after pregnancy. Getting vaccinated can also protect a baby after birth from flu.
Getting vaccinated you and people around you, including those who are more vulnerable to serious flu illness—babies, young children, older people, and people with certain chronic health conditions.
 

To learn more about the benefits of flu vaccination visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website at https://www.cdc.gov/flu/prevent/vaccine-benefits.htm . For additional information about flu clinics, visit www.CharlesCountyHealth.org or call the Charles County Department of Health at 301-609-6900.

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Juvenile Arrested For Threats Of Mass Violence Against North Point High School

On December 7 at approximately 6 a.m., a Charles County Sheriff’s school resource officer was notified of a social media post containing a threat to North Point High School later that day. Officers were able to quickly identify the person who posted the message and made contact with him and a parent. The suspect, a 16-year-old male, indicated the post was a joke. He was charged with making threats of mass violence and school disturbance. The Charles County Sheriff’s Office works closely with Charles County Public Schools to help keep schools safe and secure. Through the SRO program, sworn police officers work with the school administrative staff on a daily basis to enhance safety at schools. The CCSO has been working with Charles County Public Schools and administrators to remind students about the dangers of making threats, the disruption they cause and the consequences for anyone identified as having posted a threat to the safety of a school or community. As a reminder, parents are asked to talk with their children about the implications of making threats and encourage them to report information immediately.

 

According to Md. CRIMINAL LAW Code Ann. § 3-1001, making threats of mass violence can result in the following penalties upon conviction: Imprisonment not exceeding 10 years or a fine not exceeding $10,000 or both. Additionally, a court can order a person to reimburse the appropriate unit of federal, state, or local government or other person for expenses and losses incurred in responding to the unlawful threat.

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Bay District Volunteer Fire Department receives Class 2 ISO Rating

The Bay District Volunteer Fire Department is proud to announce that we have received notification of our Public Protection Classification (PPC®) (ISO classification) changed from a Class 3 to a Class 2. Insurance Services Office (ISO), has a system for determining the price of fire insurance in a community through a 1 to 10 classification system. This classification change will take effect March 1, 2019.
Bay District, in cooperation with the St. Mary's County Department of Emergency Services and MetCom (St. Mary's County Metropolitan Commission) has worked as a team since the last inspection in 2014 to enhance our services to the community to lower the Public Protection Classification (PPC®). As of December 7, 2018, there is only five (5) class 2 ISO rated fire departments in the state of Maryland.
The Fire Suppression Rating Schedule (FSRS) is a manual containing the criteria ISO uses in reviewing the fire prevention and fire suppression capabilities of individual communities or fire protection areas. The schedule measures the major elements of a community’s fire protection system and develops a numerical grading called a Public Protection Classification (PPC®).
Our FSRS employs nationally accepted standards developed by such organizations as the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), the American Water Works Association (AWWA), and the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) International. When those organizations update their standards, the ISO evaluation changes as well. The PPC program always provides a useful benchmark that helps fire departments and other public officials measure the effectiveness of their efforts — and plan improvements. The FSRS considers three main areas of a community’s fire suppression system: emergency communications, fire department (including operational considerations), and water supply. In addition, it includes a Community Risk Reduction section that recognizes community efforts to reduce losses through fire prevention, public fire safety education, and fire investigation.

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St. Mary's County Government Holiday Season Schedule

Leonardtown, MD – All St. Mary’s County Government administrative offices will be closed Monday, December 24 and Tuesday, December 25 for the Christmas holiday. Offices will reopen Wednesday, December 26. Offices will also be closed Monday, December 31 and Tuesday, January 1, 2019 for the New Year’s holiday. Offices reopen Wednesday, January 2.

 

The St. Andrews Landfill, six (6) Convenience Centers will be closed and St. Mary’s Transit System (STS) will not operate Tuesday, December 25 in observance of Christmas and Tuesday, January 1, 2019 in observance of New Year’s.

 

St. Mary’s Transit System (STS) will operate until 6 p.m. on December 24 and return to normal operations on December 26. The Statewide Special Transportation Assistance Program (SSTAP) will not operate on December 24 or 25. Normal SSTAP service resumes on December 26.

Additionally, the six (6) convenience centers will open at 8 a.m. Thursday and Friday, December 20 and 21, as well as Monday and Wednesday, December 24 and 26. The early opening will accommodate the expected increase in usage of the facilities during the holiday season. St. Andrews Landfill hours of operation will remain unchanged at 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

The landfill, six (6) Convenience Centers and STS will operate under normal business hours December 31 and January 2.

 

The St. Andrew’s Landfill and six Convenience Centers will serve as Christmas tree collection points. Citizens can drop off undecorated trees free of charge. Undecorated trees may be placed in the designated areas at these sites December 26, 2018 through January 31, 2019.  Last year, nearly 2 tons of Christmas trees were collected. The trees will be mixed with collected yard waste and ground into mulch. Just over 6,000 tons of mulch is made available annually at the St. Andrews Landfill site and provided at no charge to St. Mary’s County citizens while supplies last.

 

All St. Mary’s County Library locations (Charlotte Hall, Leonardtown and Lexington Park) will be closed December 24 and 25 for Christmas as well as January 1, 2019 for New Year’s. All library locations will close at 5 p.m. on December 31

 

All three Senior Activity Centers (Garvey, Loffler and Northern) will be closed December 24 and 25 for Christmas and December 31 and January 1, 2019 for New Year’s. No Home Delivered Meals deliveries will be made on these dates.

 

The St. Clements Island Museum and Piney Point Lighthouse Museum and Historic Park will be closed December 24 and 25 for Christmas. The museums will be open December 31 and January 1, 2019 from noon – 4 p.m.

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Maryland to Fund College Saving Accounts For Over 13,000 Applicants

ANNAPOLIS, MD – Maryland 529 today announced that 13,381 eligible applicants for the 2018 Save4College State Contribution Program will receive a $250 or $500 contribution from the state to their Maryland Senator Edward J. Kasemeyer College Investment Plan, also known as Maryland College Investment Plan (MCIP), by the end of the year. State funding for this program will exceed $6.3 million in the current year. Maryland 529 is the administrator of MCIP.
 
“Our administration is doing everything we can to ensure that all Marylanders have access to a college education, and planning ahead is key to assisting with the high levels of college debt that many of our students face,” said Governor Larry Hogan. “Our administration remains committed to providing families with much-needed relief from student loan debt and making college more accessible and affordable.”  
 
Earlier this year, Governor Hogan announced that he will reintroduce the Student Debt Relief Act as emergency legislation during the 2019 session of the Maryland General Assembly, which will allow Marylanders to deduct 100 percent of the interest paid on their student loans from their state income tax return. The legislation would also expand the Maryland Community College Promise Scholarship Program to include four-year Maryland public institutions. Students who qualify for the Promise Scholarship and fulfill the requirements by graduating from community college with an associate’s degree while maintaining at least a 2.3 GPA will receive free tuition for the remaining two years.
 
Since taking office, Governor Hogan has invested more than $7.1 billion in higher education and has diligently worked with Maryland’s public colleges and universities to cap tuition growth at two percent annually for Maryland residents.
 
Established in 2016, the Save4College State Contribution Program was designed to help families, especially those from low- and middle-income households, have the opportunity to start saving for college for their children. Income-eligible families who opened a new Maryland College Investment Plan after December 31, 2016, applied during the application period of January 1 and June 1, 2018, and made the minimum contribution will receive a $250 or $500 contribution to their MCIP account from the state.
 
During the program's second year of operation, applications for the 2018 State Contribution Program increased by 400 percent from 2017. Of the 16,088 applications received, 13,381 were eligible to receive the contribution, with 11,925 Marylanders receiving $500, and 1,456 receiving $250, for a total of $6,326,500. As funding for the program is limited by the state budget ($3 million for fiscal year 2019), not all eligible applicants were guaranteed to receive a contribution. Recognizing the significant increase in demand and interest by Maryland families wanting to start saving for college, Governor Hogan agreed to increase the State Contribution budget by over $3.3 million to ensure all eligible applicants would receive their contribution this year.
 
According to the Corporation For Enterprise Development, families that save any amount of money for college - even less than $500 - are three times more likely to enroll a child in college and four times more likely to see that child graduate than families that don't save anything. Families receiving the state contribution will now be able to get a jump start on college savings.
 
“We are grateful to Governor Hogan for his support of the State Contribution Program," said Treasurer Nancy Kopp, Maryland 529 Board Chair. "We are proud of the program's success and the lasting impact it will have for many Maryland families who otherwise may not have been able to start saving for college."
 
To be eligible to apply for the State Contribution Program, the beneficiary must be a Maryland resident; the account holder's Maryland taxable income cannot exceed $112,500 as an individual or $175,000 as a joint couple based on the previous taxable year; and you must open a Maryland College Investment Plan or have opened an account after December 31, 2016. Account holders are also required to make a minimum contribution to the account of $25, $100, or $250, depending on the account holder's income bracket. The 2019 application period will open on January 1 and will run through May 31, 2019.
 
Please visit www.maryland529.com/Save4College to apply or for more information.

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Serious Accident With Injuries In Prince Frederick

On December 5, 2018 at approximately 3:24 p.m. members of the Calvert County Sheriff’s Office Patrol Bureau and the Crash Reconstruction Team responded to the area of MD Route 4 just south of Prince Frederick Volunteer Rescue Squad Company 4 for a report of a motor vehicle collision involving two vehicles.  Upon arrival, units located a Nissan pick-up truck, driven by Richard Lowe 68 of Sunderland, on the northbound shoulder on MD Route 4.  The vehicle had with damage to the right front corner of the vehicle.  A Chevrolet pick-up, driven by Steven Burns 64 of Lusby, was located in the woods on the east of northbound MD Route 4 with catastrophic damage.  

A Preliminary investigation revealed the driver of the Chevrolet was traveling southbound on MD Route 4 and crossed over the grass median that separates northbound and southbound lanes.  Upon entering northbound lanes the Chevrolet struck a Nissan pick-up truck traveling northbound and entered the woods off the east side of the roadway.  The driver of the Chevrolet was trapped in the vehicle; he was extricated and transported to Baltimore Shock Trauma by MSP Trooper 7.  The driver of the Chevrolet is listed in critical, but stable condition.  The driver of the Nissan was transported to Calvert Health Medical Center with minor injuries.    

  It is unknown why the driver crossed over the median and the investigation is ongoing.  Anyone with information about this collision asked to contact Cpl. V. Bortchevsky of the Crash Reconstruction Team at vlad.bortchevsky@calvertcountymd.gov or at 410-535-2800 Ext. 2134   

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New Board of County Commissioners Hold First Meeting on December 5

The new Board of County Commissioners, sworn in on Dec. 4, convened for their first meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 5. They reviewed the adopted budget calendar, approved 2019 calendar dates for Commissioner meetings, and reviewed current board procedures.

 

The Charles County Board of Commissioners' next meeting is scheduled on Tuesday, Dec. 11. Open Session will begin in the Commissioners’ Meeting Room, with the following agenda:

 

OPEN SESSION

 

9 a.m.­ –
Call to Order/Pledge of Allegiance
Commissioners’ Comments
Approval of Minutes of Wednesday, Dec. 5
Tentative Agenda for Tuesday, Jan. 8
Approval Items
 

9:15 a.m. – Briefing and Request for Approval: Deer Cooperator Permit
 

CLOSED SESSION

The Closed Session will begin at 9:30 a.m. in the Government Building Conference Room.  All or a portion of this session may be closed pursuant to Section 3-305(b)(1)(8) of the General Provisions Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland. A portion of this session will include the Administrative function of the Board.

 

OPEN SESSION

Commissioners will reconvene in Open Session in the Commissioners’ Meeting Room at 1 p.m.

 

1 p.m. – Request for Approval: Legislative Proposals for 2019 General Assembly Session
1:15 p.m. – Briefing and Request for Approval: Hazard Mitigation Plan
1:45 p.m. – Request for Approval: Charles County Safety Manual Procedures
1:55 p.m. – Work Session and Request for Approval: Board Procedures
 

Visit BoardDocs for detailed information on this agenda.

 

THIS AGENDA IS TENTATIVE AND SUBJECT TO CHANGE WITHOUT NOTICE.
 

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Funding Utility for Non Profit Entities Now Available

Leonardtown, MD - The funding utility for St. Mary’s County Non-profit entities for the FY2020 Budget year, as awarded by the Commissioners of St. Mary’s County, is now open. 

 

The Notice of Funding Availability can be found at www.stmarysmd.com/finance/non-profit.  Those using the utility should read the notice completely and follow the links. The application process is entirely electronic and must be submitted on-line. 

 

The application is for agencies with IRS 501(c)(3) status only.  The deadline for submission is January 11, 2019. Late submissions will not be allowed.  Final adoption of the FY2020 Budget is anticipated to be in May 2019.

 

Agencies are urged to not delay beginning the application process as it is new for some. The system will allow you to save and go back and edit your submission until the January 11 deadline.

 

Questions about the utility should be emailed to nonprofithelp@stmarysmd.com 

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Historic Preservation Commission to Hold Special Meeting

Leonardtown, MD – The Historic Preservation Commission will hold a special meeting on Thursday, December 13, at 4 p.m.  The meeting will take place at the Department of Land Use and Growth Management, located at 23150 Leonard Hall Drive in Leonardtown. The meeting will serve as the commission’s regular monthly meeting.

 

Historic Preservation Commission meetings are generally held monthly on the fourth Thursday of the month. The next regularly scheduled meeting will be held on January 24, 2019, at the Department of Land Use and Growth Management.

 

For more information, please contact Vanessa Price at 301-475-4200, ext. *1505.

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Juvenile Arrested for Robbery

On December 5, 2018, deputies from the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office responded to the 22800 block of Three Notch Road in California, for the reported robbery. Investigation determined the victim was outside when confronted by the suspect, later identified as Moises Andreas Ardon, age 17 of Great Mills. Ardon indicated he had a gun, and demanded money from the victim. Ardon ultimately retrieved money from the victim, and fled the scene. Deputies arrived on scene and quickly established a perimeter; Ardon was located in the area and found to have a firearm in his possession, as well as the victim’s property.
 
Authorization was obtained from the States Attorney for St. Mary’s County, Mr. Richard Fritz, to charge Ardon as an adult with the following crimes:
 
Armed Robbery
 
Possession of a Firearm by Minor
 
Handgun on Person
 
Firearm Use/Felony
 
Loaded Handgun on Person
 
Assault First and Second Degree
 
Theft Less than $100
 
Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to contact Detective Brian Fennessey at (301) 475-4200 extension *8103 or by email at Brian.Fennessey@stmarysmd.com. Citizens may remain anonymous and contact Crime Solvers at (301) 475-3333, or text a tip to “TIP239” plus their message to “CRIMES” (274637). Through the Crime Solvers Program tipsters are eligible for an award of up to $1,000 for information about a crime in St. Mary’s County that leads to an arrest or indictment.
 
For official news and information, follow the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office on Twitter @firstsheriff.
 

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