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Officers Arrest Suspect Armed with Firearm in Domestic-Related Assault

Officers Arrest Suspect Armed with Firearm in Domestic-Related Assault: On February 26 at 12:23 a.m., officers responded to a house on Malcolm Road in Brandywine for the report of an assault involving a firearm. When officers arrived, they were informed the suspect was inside the house with two young children and armed with a gun. Moments earlier, the suspect had been involved in an argument with the victim and attempted to assault her. Two other adults in the house intervened at which time the suspect grabbed a gun and pointed it at one of the people trying to help. The victims were able to run outside and call police. Officers made entry into the home and ensured the safety of the children. They were able to secure the firearm, de-escalate the situation, and apprehend the suspect without further incident. John Cornelius Washington, 44, of Brandywine, was charged with illegal possession of a firearm, first-degree assault, second-degree assault and other related charges. Officer J. Bottorf and PFC S. Hooper investigated.

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Van Hollen, Whitehouse, Cicilline Reintroduce DISCLOSE Act to Repair Americans' Faith in Democracy, Require Transparency in Campaign Finance

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) joined Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Representative David Cicilline (D-RI) in reintroducing the DISCLOSE Act, legislation to combat the flood of anonymous special interest spending in American politics. The bill would require organizations spending money in federal elections to disclose their donors, allowing the American people to see who is attempting to sway their elections and gain control over their government. Senator Van Hollen authored and first introduced the DISCLOSE Act in the House of Representatives in 2010, where it passed but then narrowly failed in the Senate. He has joined in introducing it every Congress since.

 

“Special interest money is eating away at our democracy, disempowering voters and leaving them in the dark. The public has a right to know who is paying billions of dollars to try to influence their vote. We passed the DISCLOSE Act in the House of Representatives years ago, but it died in the Senate. As a result the public has been bombarded with ads paid for by corporations and special interests who hide behind secret money. It’s past time we get it done,” said Senator Van Hollen. “We must act quickly to return our democracy to the hands of the American people, and sunlight is the best disinfectant.”

 

“Americans are drowning in anonymous political attacks and misinformation,” said Senator Whitehouse, who has introduced the DISCLOSE Act in every Congress since 2012. “That’s because a dark-money ‘tsunami of slime’ is washing over our democracy with virtually no way for the public to see who’s behind it. No wonder Americans are losing faith in our political system. It’s time to require big corporations and anonymous ultra-rich donors to take responsibility for their crooked influence campaigns.”

 

“The only way we can fix what’s broken in Washington is if we first get secret corporate spending out of our elections,” said Representative Cicilline. “The DISCLOSE Act will bring this money out of the shadows by requiring dark money groups to disclose their donors. I’m proud to once again join Senator Whitehouse in introducing this bill today.”

 

Special interest influence over elections is a major problem in America. Citizens United and subsequent Supreme Court rulings permit super PACs and certain types of tax-exempt groups, such as 501(c)(4) nonprofits, to spend unlimited sums in elections. Many of those groups are not required to disclose their donors, allowing wealthy corporations and individuals to spend unlimited, undisclosed – or “dark” – money without being tied to the television attack ads and other electioneering activity the groups carry out. Since the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision, spending by corporations, ultra-rich ideologues, and secretive front groups has exploded. Dark money in particular has skyrocketed, despite the Supreme Court, by an 8 to 1 margin in Citizens United, upholding disclosure requirements as a means for citizens and shareholders to hold elected officials and corporate spenders accountable. 

 

The DISCLOSE Act requires organizations spending money in elections – including super PACs and 501(c)(4) dark money groups – to promptly disclose donors who have given $10,000 or more during an election cycle. This will permit Americans to see who is really spending to influence elections.

 

The DISCLOSE Act contains a number of other important safeguards against special interest influence. The bill includes measures to prevent political operatives from using layers of front groups to hide donor identities. It includes provisions to crack down on the use of shell corporations to hide the identity of the donor by requiring companies spending money in elections to disclose their true owners. And it contains a “stand by your ad” provision requiring corporations, unions, and other organizations to identify those behind political ads – including disclosing an organization’s top five funders at the end of television ads.

 

The DISCLOSE Act will be vital in helping Americans understand who is behind the massive uptick in dark-money and other special interest spending in recent years. Dark money spending in our elections since Citizens United has now topped $1 billion, and the pace of spending by outside forces (i.e., not the candidates themselves) is accelerating. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, outside spenders—super PACs, dark money groups, and political parties—spent $2.6 billion in federal elections during the 2020 election cycle; that is roughly twice what was spent in the last presidential cycle in 2016. 

 

A version of the DISCLOSE Act is slated for inclusion in Senate Democrats’ For the People Act, a sweeping package of pro-democracy reforms announced in January. On the heels of the rampant self-dealing and special interest control of the Trump administration, the For the People Act will overhaul America’s broken campaign finance system, make it easier to vote, and strengthen ethics laws. The Democratic House passed the For the People Act last Congress, only to be ignored by the Republican-controlled Senate.

 

Members of both parties long supported campaign finance disclosure prior to Citizens United. In 2003, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told NPR that spending in elections should be “limited and disclosed” so that “everyone knows who’s supporting everyone else.” 

 

Introduction of the bill follows the deadly assault on the Capitol on January 6. In the lead-up to the attack, groups backed by anonymous donors stoked the lie of a stolen election and organized the rally then-President Trump used to spur the riot. In a robocall issued at the behest of an anonymous donor, one such group encouraged “patriots” to “march to the Capitol building and call on Congress to stop the steal.” Several of the groups are active spenders in federal elections and right-wing political causes.

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Cardin Leads Senate Call for Restoring Voting Rights to Formerly Incarcerated Individuals

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.) today introduced the Democracy Restoration Act (DRA) that would end the permanent denial of voting rights for individuals with criminal convictions nationwide. The bill aims to eliminate the complicated patchwork of state laws that creates a lack of uniform standards for voting in federal elections, exacerbates racial disparities in access to the ballot box, and contributes to confusion and misinformation regarding voting rights.

 

“Voting is a fundamental right of citizenship and, under our Constitution, there is no legitimate justification for denying people who have paid their dues from having a voice in our democracy,” said Senator Cardin. “The United States is one of the few Western democracies that allows the permanent denial of voting rights for individuals with criminal convictions. This must end if we truly want to reintegrate ex-offenders as productive members of our communities.”

 

In 30 States, individuals with convictions may not vote while they are on parole and 28 of those States disenfranchise individuals on felony probation as well. In 11 States, a conviction can result in lifetime disenfranchisement. Several States deny the right to vote to individuals convicted of certain misdemeanors. These state laws deny citizens participation in our democracy and have a disproportionate impact on African Americans and other racial minorities Studies indicate that disenfranchisement is associated with an increased risk of recidivism. In 2020, more than five million individuals and as many as one in five African-Americans in some states were disenfranchised as a result of these laws.

 

The Democracy Restoration Act is endorsed by a large coalition of civil rights and reform, faith-based, and criminal justice groups. This includes the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, the Sentencing Project, and other organizations working on federal criminal justice reform. 

 

“The DRA is a critically important piece of civil rights legislation.  The DRA makes our country more just, our democracy more inclusive, and our elections more participatory.  The DRA makes space in the public square for second chances, for forgiveness, for redemption, and for love. Thank you, Senator Cardin, for continuing to be such a champion of the DRA,” said Myrna Perez, director of the Brennan Center's Voting Rights and Elections Program.

 

“The Democracy Restoration Act would begin to right the wrong of disenfranchisement by restoring the right to vote to returning citizens. Stripping the right to vote – a basic human right – is a relic of the Jim Crow era’s suffocating racism. Our democracy works best when all can participate,” said Sonia Gill, Senior Legislative Counsel, American Civil Liberties Union.

 

“The criminal justice system shouldn’t decide who gets a say in our democracy. One in 16 Black Americans cannot vote because of a felony conviction -- a rate almost 4 times greater than for people who aren’t Black. The racial injustices that permeate the U.S. criminal justice system now infect the electoral process. The Democracy Restoration Act would restore voting rights to millions of citizens released from prison; an important step to strengthen communities harmed for generations by oppressive laws,” said Kara Gotsch, Deputy Director of The Sentencing Project.

 

Senate cosponsors of the Democracy Restoration Act include U.S. Senators Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Amy Klobuchar (Minn.), Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) and Mike Bennet (D-Colo.).

 

As noted in the legislation, state disenfranchisement laws disproportionately impact racial and ethnic minorities. In recent years, African-Americans have been imprisoned at over 5 times the rate of whites. More than 6 percent of the voting-age African-American population, or 1,800,000 African Americans, are disenfranchised due to a felony conviction. In 9 States—Alabama (16 percent), Arizona (13 percent), Florida (15 percent), Kentucky (15 percent), Mississippi (16 percent), South Dakota (14 percent), Tennessee (21 percent), Virginia (16 percent), and Wyoming (36 percent)—more than 1 in 8 African Americans are unable to vote because of a felony conviction, twice the national average for African Americans.

 

Latino citizens are also disproportionately disenfranchised based upon their disproportionate representation in the criminal justice system. In recent years, Latinos have been imprisoned at 2.5 times the rate of whites. More than 2 percent of the voting-age Latino population, or 560,000 Latinos, are disenfranchised due to a felony conviction. In 34 states Latinos are disenfranchised at a higher rate than the general population. In 11 states 4 percent or more of Latino adults are disenfranchised due to a felony conviction (Alabama, 4 percent; Arizona, 7 percent; Arkansas, 4 percent; Idaho, 4 percent; Iowa, 4 percent; Kentucky, 6 percent; Minnesota, 4 percent; Mississippi, 5 percent; Nebraska, 6 percent; Tennessee, 11 percent, Wyoming, 4 percent), twice the national average for Latinos.

 

The full text of the Democracy Restoration Act is available here. A section-by-section summary follows.

 

Section 1: Short title.

 

Section 2: Findings.

 

·       This section details some of the statistics and other problems associated with criminal disfranchisement laws, as well as the recent success of the Florida ballot initiative.

·       There are no standard qualifications for voting in federal elections, so disparate state standards effectively determine who may vote in federal elections, and the same individual may be arbitrarily allowed to vote by one state, but barred by the next.

·       The 48 states that prohibit voting by some or all people with convictions disproportionately disfranchise racial and ethnic minorities.

·       Disfranchising citizens who are living and working in our communities hinders their rehabilitation and reintegration into society.

 

Section 3: Voting Rights Protected.

·       This section guarantees all citizens the right to vote in elections for federal office regardless of felony or misdemeanor criminal conviction.

·       An individual’s voting rights may be restricted, however, in elections that take place while s/he is incarcerated and serving a felony sentence.

 

Section 4: Enforcement of Federal Voting Rights.

 

·       This section authorizes both the Department of Justice and individuals harmed by violation of this Act to sue to enforce its provisions.

·       Unless an alleged violation occurs during the 30 days prior to a federal election, individuals must attempt to resolve grievances by providing notice to state election officials before they may file suit. State election officials have 90 days after receipt of a complaint to correct a violation, or 20 days if the complaint is filed within 120 days prior to a federal election. If a violation occurs within 30 days of a federal election, individuals may file suit immediately, without providing notice.

·       Neither the Department of Justice nor aggrieved individuals may seek monetary damages.


Section 5: Notification of Restoration of Voting Rights.

 

·       This section obligates state officials, the federal Bureau of Prisons, and the U.S. Probation and Pretrial Services System to provide written notification of the right to register and vote in federal elections to any individual who has been convicted of a criminal offense.

·       Notice must be given at the time of sentencing in cases involving misdemeanor charges, and felony charges for which a sentence of probation-only is given.

·       Notice must be given at the time of release from incarceration in cases involving felony charges pursuant to which an individual serves time in a correctional institution.

 

Section 6: Definitions.    

 

·       “Correctional institution or facility” includes all public and private facilities in which individuals are incarcerated pursuant to criminal conviction, but does not include residential treatment centers.

·       “Election” means any primary, special, runoff, or general election, including party conventions and caucuses held for purposes of nominating candidates, and elections held to designate delegates to a political party’s national nominating convention.

·       “Federal office” means the positions of President, Vice President, and Senator, Representative, Delegate, or Resident Commissioner to the Congress of the United States.

·       “Probation” means any period of probation imposed by a federal, state, or local court, without regard to conditions, or lack thereof, related to the person’s movement, payment of restitution, reporting or supervision.

 

Section 7: Relation to Other Laws.

 

·       This section makes clear that this Act does not prevent states from providing more expansive federal voting rights than mandated herein.

·       This Act also is not intended and should not be read to limit or replace the voting rights afforded by other federal laws, including the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (42 U.S.C. 1973 et seq.), the National Voter Registration Act (42 U.S.C. 1973gg et seq.), and the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (U.S.C. 20901 et seq.).

 

Section 8: Restriction on Use of Federal Funds.

 

·       This section provides that federal funds may not be used to construct or improve correctional institutions unless the jurisdiction (includes state, unit of local government or person) that is served by the institution is: (1) in compliance with Section 3; and (2) has in place a program to notify people released from incarceration of their federal voting rights.

 

Section 9: Effective Date.

 

·       This Act applies prospectively to any federal election held on or after its passage.

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St. Mary's County Museum Division Installs Unique Replica 5th Order Fresnel Lens in New Exhibit at Piney Point Lighthouse Museum

LEONARDTOWN, MD – The St. Mary’s County Museum Division, which oversees several museums and historic sites throughout the county, has added yet another brand-new exhibit to Piney Point Lighthouse Museum, a replica 5th Order Fresnel Lens.

 

This intricate and unique lens, an exact reproduction of the original apparatus that once lit Piney Point Lighthouse’s tower and guided mariners to safety on the Potomac, was purchased from, created and installed by Florida-based company Artworks Florida Classic Fresnel Lenses, LLC, after several years of fundraising by the Friends of St. Clement’s Island & Piney Point Museums. The reproduction lens is a complex and intricate device and costs around $30,000 to produce.

 

Though Piney Point Lighthouse once utilized a 5th Order Fresnel Lens when in operation, during the many years since being decommissioned the lens was lost to history. When developing the recently installed exhibits at Piney Point Lighthouse Museum, the St. Mary’s County Museum Division and the Friends of St. Clement’s Island & Piney Point Museums wanted to add something exciting as the focal point of the new displays. Bringing back an exact replica of Piney Point’s once-used Fresnel Lens was chosen as the perfect centerpiece. Future plans for the exhibition include exhibit panels and a “Learn About the Lens” program for visitors.

 

Dan Spinella, owner of Artworks Florida Classic Fresnel Lenses, installed the lens February 20, 2021. The company, established in 1992, custom designs and manufactures historic full-scale reproduction Fresnel lenses that were used to illuminate lighthouses in the 1800s. Along with their full reproduction work, they also reproduce components used in the restoration of original Fresnel lenses. These lenses are used in interpretive exhibits at museums as well as private aids to navigation in many lighthouses around the United States.

 

Invented and developed by French physicist Augustin Fresnel in the early 1800s, Fresnel lenses revolutionized the way lighthouses illuminated the waterways of the world. This ingenious contraption utilized a complex system of lenses, mirrors and panels rotated by a weighted clockwork mechanism with gears and cables like a grandfather clock. This allowed the lens to rotate at specific speeds depending on the lighthouse’s lighting requirements. This allowed it to radiate much more light in all directions, something previous lighting methods did not allow. Because of the design, these lenses are not only engineering marvels, but also incredible works of art.

 

For more information about this exhibit or how to visit and take a tour of Piney Point Lighthouse Museum, please call 301-994-1471 or visit Facebook.com/1836Light.

 

About the St. Mary’s County Museum Division

The St. Mary’s County Museum Division was established by the Commissioners of St. Mary’s County to collect, preserve, research and interpret the historic sites and artifacts which illustrate the natural and cultural histories of St. Mary’s County and the Potomac River. With this as its charter, the Museum Division serves as a resource, liaison and community advocate for all St. Mary’s County public and private cultural assets. For more information regarding hours of operation, programs, events, admission prices and more, visit the St. Mary’s County Museum Division’s social media pages on Facebook at Facebook.com/SCIMuseum, Facebook.com/1836Light, Facebook.com/DraydenSchool or Facebook.com/TheOldJailMuseum, or on Twitter at @StClemIsMuseum, @OldJailMuseum or @PineyPtLHMuseum, or at Museums.StMarysMD.com.

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St. Mary's County Public Schools Meal Distribution - Change Of Schedule

LEONARDTOWN, MD – St. Mary’s County Public Schools Department of Food and Nutrition Services announce changes in the schedule for curb-side meal distribution.  Meals are available for students ages 18 years and younger.  Meals can be picked up from any school site even if your student attends a different school. Curb-side meals are distributed on Monday, Wednesday, and Fridays.  Meal bags include breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a snack, plus milk and/or water for each student. 
 
As we enter Phase 3 of the Return to School Hybrid Instruction for students, more support is needed in our kitchens to prepare meals for students who are on site.  Beginning the week of March 1, curb-side meal distribution will continue Monday, Wednesday, and Fridays; however, the time is changed to 11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.  
 
More information can also be found on the SMCPS home page and on Twitter@SMCPS_Food.   If you have any questions regarding the schedule change, please send them to www.foodservice@smcps.org.

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Grab 'n Go Schedule for March

The Department of Child Nutrition of Calvert County Public Schools will distribute Grab ‘N Go meals on the following dates: February 26 (Friday), March 5 (Friday), March 12 (Friday), March 19 (Friday), March 26 (Friday). The pick-up time will be from 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. at all five of our current locations.  
Kits continue to be available free of charge. Parents/guardians wishing to pick up meals without their children being present must pre-register. Families may register by calling the Child Nutrition Office at 443.550.8680 Monday through Friday, 7:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. Any parent/guardian who is unsure if their child is already registered for the program, may contact the Child Nutrition Office. Once registered, parents/guardians may pick up meals without their children being present.
GRAB ‘N GO MEAL LOCATIONS
• Windy Hill Middle School (bus drop-off area)
9560 Boyds Turn Rd. Owings, MD 20736
• Calvert High School (side parking lot):
520 Fox Run Blvd. Prince Frederick, MD 20678
GPS Address:600 Dares Beach Rd. Prince Frederick, MD 20678
• Southern Middle School (bus drop-off area):
9615 H.G. Trueman Rd. Lusby, MD 20657
• Patuxent High School (bus drop-off area):
12485 Southern Connector Blvd. Lusby, MD 20657
• Huntingtown High School (student parking lot, right side of building):
4125 N. Solomons Island Rd. Huntingtown, MD 20639
In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA. 
Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.) should contact the Agency (State or local) where they applied for benefits.  Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339.  Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.
To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the online USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027), and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by:
1) Mail:  U.S. Department of Agriculture
Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20250-9410;
2) Fax:  (202) 690-7442; or
3) Email:  program.intake@usda.gov 
This institution is an equal opportunity provider.
The Maryland State Department of Education does not discriminate on the basis of age, ancestry/national origin, color, disability, gender identity/expression, marital status, race, religion, sex, or sexual orientation in matters affecting employment or in providing access to programs and activities and provides equal access to the Boy Scouts and other designated youth groups. For inquiries related to Department policy, please contact: Equity Assurance and Compliance Officer, Office of the Deputy State Superintendent for Finance and Administration, Maryland State Department of Education, 200 W. Baltimore Street - 6th Floor, Baltimore, Maryland 21201-2595, 410-767-0426 - voice, 410-767-0431 - fax, 410-333-6442 - TTY/TDD

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Identity Needed for Theft Suspect (Photos)

The St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office is seeking the identity of the person shown in a theft investigation. On Monday, Feb. 8, 2021 at 6:08 pm, the suspect picked up the victim’s wallet from the sidewalk in front of the Lexington Park Family Dollar store on Great Mills Road. The black bi-fold wallet contained the victim’s Maryland driver’s license, a VA Veterans card and credit and debit cards.
 
 
Anyone with information about the identity of the suspect or this incident is asked to call Deputy Max Schell at 301-475-4200, ext. 78161 or email max.schell@stmarysmd.com. Case # 6857-21
 
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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NAS Patuxent River Adjusts Base Entry Procedure to Stop-and-Proceed at Gates

PATUXENT RIVER NAVAL AIR STATION, MD – Naval Air Station Patuxent River will adjust its base entry procedures in February 2021 to institute “stop-and-proceed” entry for vehicles coming on to all of its fence lines. The new procedures will require vehicles to stop at a designated point several feet before the gate until directed forward by gate sentries, and will be implemented at NAS Patuxent River, Webster Outlying Field, and Navy Recreation Center Solomons.
 
“Unlike the current entry procedure, where drivers come right up to the gate and show their credentials, the new stop-and-proceed will have drivers stop at a painted line with posted signage and wait to be signaled forward by the Naval Security Forces sentry,” said Allan Mayor, deputy antiterrorism officer at NAS Patuxent River. “Once directed by the sentry, drivers will then approach and stop at the sentry and present ID for verification.”
 
Mayor explained that the new procedures are intended to add an extra degree of scrutiny by security personnel to vehicles entering the installation. It allows sentries at the gates a brief but critical additional period for sentries to visually identify vehicles and occupants, and provided direction to approach when the sentry is ready.
 
“Following the attacks at NAS Corpus Christi and NAS Pensacola last year, it became apparent that an added level of security was necessary,” said Mayor. “While it may seem insignificant, seconds can mean life or death in an emergency situation.”
 
The stop-and-proceed method also provides watch standers with an indication of hostile intent should a driver attempt to proceed through the gate without stopping, allowing them to more quickly engage an attacker if necessary, added Mayor.
 
NAS Patuxent River does not anticipate major impacts to traffic as a result of the new procedures, but driver awareness of it is key to preventing delays.
 
“With any new entry procedure, driver distraction, attentiveness and unfamiliarity with new procedures may delay gate operations,” said Mayor. “But so long as drivers know what to expect ahead of time and follow posted signage, we shouldn’t see any major impacts to traffic.”
 
Stop line painting at Pax River and its associated fence lines is estimated to be complete Feb. 24, 2021 with an expected implementation of new gate procedures Feb. 25, 2021.
 
For more information on base operations, follow NAS Patuxent River on Facebook at www.facebook.com/NASPaxRiver or on Twitter at @NASPaxRiverPAO.

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Maryland Has Successful Sale of $475 Million in General Obligation Bonds

Maryland State Treasurer Nancy K. Kopp announced that the
Board of Public Works (BPW), composed of Lieutenant Governor Boyd Rutherford (sitting in today for Governor Lawrence Hogan), Treasurer Nancy Kopp, and Comptroller Peter Franchot, completed the sale of $475.0 million of General Obligation bonds earlier this morning. The overall interest rate for the bonds was 1.599%, which places it near all-time lows, despite modest increases in municipal bond yields over the last two weeks. The bonds also generated $135.4 million in bond premium which will be used to support various capital costs.
Treasurer Kopp commented, “This is an outstanding outcome and a win for all Marylanders. Despite pandemic-induced fiscal challenges with which the State continues to grapple, investors have shown that they believe Maryland’s dynamic economy, highly educated workforce, above-average wealth and history of prudent fiscal management still make Maryland’s bonds the highest quality and safest investment possible. The confidence that investors have in Maryland’s fiscal resilience and its ability to weather this crisis, along with the State Treasurer’s Office’s creative and carefully managed approach to bond offerings, has resulted in low borrowing costs for funds that will finance investments
in Maryland’s schools, colleges, hospitals, and other vital public infrastructure projects.”
“However, we must not forget why interest rates remain so low – we are still in the midst of a global pandemic, with many of our residents simultaneously dealing with a deadly virus, a terrible jobs crisis, and food and housing insecurity. As we move towards recovery, we must continue to maintain and enhance measures to support vulnerable Marylanders, as the State has done with the RELIEF Act, and as we hope that the Federal government will do by passing the relief bill currently moving through Congress,” she concluded.
At today’s BPW meeting, the sale for Series A was divided into two bidding groups, with the State receiving six bids for the $207.5 million of Tax-Exempt General Obligation Bonds (Series A Bidding Group 1) and four bids for the $217.5 million of Tax-Exempt General Obligation Bonds (Series A Bidding Group 2). The State also received eight bids for the $50.0 million of Taxable General Obligation Bonds (Series B).
In today’s competitive sales:
• $207.5 in Tax-Exempt Bonds (Series A Bidding Group 1), with maturities from 2025 – 2031,
sold at an all-in true interest cost of 0.931%; the winning bidder was Bank of America Merrill
Lynch and the premium was $61.0 million;
• $217.5 million in Tax-Exempt Bonds (Series A Bidding Group 2), with maturities from 2032
– 2036, sold at an all-in true interest cost of 2.032%; the winning bidder was Bank of America Merrill Lynch and the premium was $74.5 million;
• $50.0 million in Taxable Bonds (Series B), with maturities from 2024 – 2025, sold at an allin true interest cost of 0.503%; the winning bidder was Wells Fargo, National Association;
and
• The all-in true interest cost for the overall sale of the $475.0 million in bonds was 1.599%.
Maryland is one of only thirteen states to hold the AAA rating, the highest possible rating, from all three major bond rating agencies. The AAA rating was recently affirmed by Fitch Ratings, Moody’s Investors Service, and S&P Global Ratings in anticipation of this bond sale.
The Maryland State Treasurer’s Office expects to conduct another bond sale in the summer of 2021.

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Charles County Board Of Education Approves April 19 Phase 4 Start; Phase 2 Begins March 22

The Board of Education of Charles County in a unanimous vote at its Feb. 22 work session approved an April 19 Phase 4 start date for Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) students. The Board voted on a recommendation from Superintendent of Schools Kimberly Hill for CCPS to move forward with its reopening plan.

 

In her recommendation to the Board, Hill shared her goal to return as many students to in-person learning as possible.

 

“Based on the number of parents who chose in-person learning for their children, I recommend we bring back all students who would like to attend school in person on April 19. The move from Phase 2 directly to Phase 4 would bring back a total of about 7,924 students to 39 buildings. The move would also provide optimal time for students to be in the building before the end of the school year. April 19 also allows teachers and students in Phase 2 one week after spring break to settle back to in-person learning before adding students,” Hill said.

 

The Board approved Hill’s recommendation with an amendment to include notification to CCPS staff, students and parents about the laws and guidelines about out-of-state travel.

 

Earlier this month, the Board approved a March 22 start date for Phase 2. Phase 2 includes eligible students whose parents opted to send their child to school for in-person learning. CCPS in a return-to-school survey provided parents with the option to keep their children on virtual learning for the remainder of the 2020-21 school year, or send their child back to school for in-person learning.

 

Phase 2 students will attend in-person classes on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Wednesday remains an asynchronous day for the rest of the school year. Any student whose parent completed the survey and opted to keep their child in virtual learning will remain on virtual learning for the rest of the school year.

 

Phase 4 details – begins April 19, 2021

 

Phase 4 includes students in prekindergarten through Grade 12 and a rotating schedule of two days of in-person instruction each week. Any student eligible for Phase 3 now falls under the Phase 4 schedule if they are returning to school. This applies only to students who were opted in by a parent/guardian to return to in-person learning.

 

A-K last names: students with last names starting with letters A to K will attend school in-person Monday and Tuesday. Wednesday is an asynchronous day for all students. This group of students will participate in virtual learning on Thursday and Friday.
 

L-Z last names: students with last names starting with the letters L to Z will attend school in-person Thursday and Friday. Wednesday is an asynchronous day for all students. This group of students will participate in virtual learning on Monday and Tuesday.
According to results from the return to school parent survey, about 3,000 students will return to school in person under Phase 2 on March 22. Phase 2 includes special populations of students identified in the first group to return to school. Phases 2 through 4 includes about 8,000 students whose parents opted for their children to return to school for in-person learning.

 

Any CCPS student who did not have a parent response on file to the return to school survey has been marked as remaining with virtual learning for the rest of the school year. Parents who opted their child in to return to school but have changed their mind should contact their child’s school to request their child stay with virtual learning for the remainder of the school year.

 

Parents who opted for their child to remain virtual but now want their child to return to school in-person should call their child’s school. These students will be placed on a waiting list and parents will be notified if space becomes available for their child.

 

Important return to school information for parents of Phase 2-4 students

 

School hours remain the same. Hours are listed on Pages 32 and 33 in the CCPS Parent Handbook/Calendar.
Students and staff must wear masks at school except while eating meals.
Parents should complete the health screening each morning. The guidelines are posted on the CCPS website here.
Any student who shows two or more COVID-19 symptoms will be sent to the school nurse for evaluation. Parents may be offered a COVID-19 test for their child (to be completed in the school parking lot).
Parents will have 60 minutes to pick up a sick child from school. The school nurse or a staff member will release a sick child to a parent/guardian outside of the school building.
Food and Nutrition Services staff will serve lunch and breakfast each day. The meals are free for all children. Meal bags will also include dinner and a snack.
Students can bring a bagged lunch from home.
AlphaBest is offering childcare at most elementary schools. AlphaBest will reopen registration for new Phase 2 families next week. Sites with low enrollment may not open.
AlphaBest registration for Phase 4 families may be offered at a later date. 
Students should bring their technology, including a laptop, to school each day. Parents should review the technology bring your own device rules if their child is bringing a personal device to school. The rules are posted online here.
Transportation information for families who requested bus service will be available in ParentVue soon.
The CCPS reopening plan is posted on the CCPS website at ccboe.com.

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February 23rd Charles County Commissioners Meeting Update

On Tuesday, Feb. 23, County Administrator Mark Belton, Department of Fiscal and Administrative Services, and other supporting county staff provided the Board of County Commissioners with an update on the Commissioners’ second goal of institutional governance and policy.

 

County work on institutional governance includes the smart county concept, automated technology and cyber security, information and data programming, equitable program funding, streamlining services and comprehensive zoning review, diversity and cultural competency, employee engagement, citizen engagement, and county branding. County work on public policy includes legislative initiatives and updated process, governance leadership efforts, resource stewardship through asset management and fiscal responsibility, and promotion of local and minority businesses.

 

Open Session Briefings  

 

Department of Emergency Services Director Michelle Lilly and Health Officer Dianna E. Abney provided the Board of County Commissioners with an update on the COVID-19 public health emergency. COVID-19 vaccinations have expanded to include Phase 1A, 1B, and 1C. The Department of Health is providing this information on their website and a recorded hotline message, at 301-609-6710. The State of Maryland now has a call center number, which is 855-MDGOVAX (855-634-6829), available 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. Those who are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms should get tested through their medical provider, urgent care center, or local pharmacy. A drive-through testing site is available every Tuesday at Regency Furniture Stadium, and appointments are required in advance by scheduling online. The University of Maryland Charles Regional Medical Center provided an update on its COVID-19 patients and vaccination of its staff. Charles County Public Schools Director of School Safety and Security Jason Stoddart provided an update on county teachers and other school staff receiving the vaccination. Chief of Media Services Jennifer Harris provided an update on the county’s communications efforts, which are focused on informing residents about the upcoming COVID-19 vaccinations and reminders to continue to wear masks, social distancing, and avoiding large gatherings of family and friends. 
Department of Planning and Growth Management staff provided a presentation on the VanGO Operations and Maintenance Facility at the Driggs site. The design and engineering phase began in December 2020 and 30 percent of the design is expected to be complete in March 2021.
Department of Planning and Growth Management provided presentation on the annual VanGO Transportation Plan and the Commissioners provided approval for the plan and Resolution 2021-03 Authorizing Applications for Grants under the Federal Transit Act.
Department of Planning and Growth Management and Southern Maryland Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D) Board, Inc. provided a presentation on leveraging innovative partnerships with the county, Department of Defense, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, and RC&D, to include the Zekiah Watershed Rural Legacy Area. The County Commissioners approved the Memorandum of Understanding with RC&D.
Department of Planning Growth and Management, Department of Public Works, and Economic Development Department provided update on Waldorf Urban Redevelopment Corridor. Commissioners requested county staff to address zoning concerns and county staff to present implementation plan priorities to Commissioners at a later date.
 

Approval Items 

 

Commissioners also approved the following items: 

 

A fiscal 2021 budget transfer request of $149,000 to cover costs to construct a well building at Cliffton Well 5.
A fiscal 2021 budget transfer request of $216,180 to cover the final expenses associated with the BRIDGE pilot program.
A fiscal 2021 budget transfer request of $215,000 for the purchase of mobile recreation vehicle, which would further outreach to the community and underserved populations through the county. 
A fiscal 2021 budget transfer request of $60,750 for the maintenance of county-owned traffic signals by the Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Association.,
A requested membership change to Public School Forward Funding Task Force.
Proposed bylaw changes, a change from seven voting members to nine voting members, to the Resilience Authority of Charles County.
A Memorandum of Understanding with the Maryland Department of Health and Southern Maryland Blue Crabs to utilize the Regency Furniture Stadium as a mass COVID-19 vaccination site.
 

Appointment

 

Appointed Dr. Craig Beyrouty, Bonnie Norman, Dr. Charles C. Glass, Ryan Hicks, Patrice Kelly, Tom Schueler, Jenifer Ellin, Deborah Carpenter, Dave Nemazie, Daniel Donohue, and Teresa Ball to the Board of Directors of the Resilience Authority of Charles County.
 

Legislative Update 

Associate County Attorney Danielle Mitchell discussed the 2021 legislative bills being considered by the Maryland General Assembly, including House Bill 655 and an amendment to House Bill 1061. Charles County Board of Education representatives discussed House Bill 1060 with the County Commissioners, as well as Senate Bill 245.

 

Proclamation

National Engineers Week
 

Next Commissioners Session: March 2, 2021 (held virtually) 

 

Citizens with special needs may contact the Maryland Relay Service at 711, or Relay Service TDD: 800-735-2258. 

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Maryland Delegation Members Applaud New FEMA-Supported Mass Vaccination Site in Waldorf

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senators Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin and Congressmen Steny Hoyer and Anthony Brown (all D-Md.) applauded the announcement of a new Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) mass vaccination site in Waldorf, Md. The site will be located at the Regency Furniture Stadium, at 11765 St. Linus Dr., Waldorf, Md., 20602 and is expected to open for operation in early March.

 

“Providing Marylanders access to vaccines and ensuring equitable distribution is our top priority. This new federally-supported site will increase availability for residents in Charles, Prince George’s, and the surrounding counties so that more Marylanders get vaccinated. As the state faces difficulty in vaccine delivery to the hardest hit communities, we will continue pushing for federal resources to help expand distribution and reduce disparities in access,” the lawmakers said. 

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Calvert County Sheriff's Office Incident Report

During the week of February 15 – February 21, Deputies of the Calvert County Sheriff’s Office responded to 1,365 calls for service throughout the community.
 
Theft: 2021-8616
On February 19, 2021, Deputy Sturdivant was dispatched to 1000 block of Church Road in Lusby, MD for the report of a theft. Contact was made with the complainant who advised sometime in January, eight Morgan Dollar coins were stolen.  The approximate value of stolen property is $240.
 
Theft: 2021-8508 
On February 18, 2021, Deputy Gough responded to Fox Run Liquors, located at 701 N. Solomons Island Road in Prince Frederick, MD for the report of a theft. Contact was made with the complainant who advised an unknown suspect came into the store and stole a bottle of Burnett’s Vodka. The value of stolen property was valued at $8.99.
 
Theft: 2021-8349
On February 17, 2021, Deputy Payne responded to 10900 block of South Marie Lane in Dunkirk, MD for the report of a theft.  Contact was made with the complainant who advised his Maryland trailer tag was stolen approximately three weeks ago. The value of stolen property is unknown at this time. 
 
Theft: 2021-8250
On February 17, 2021, Deputy Callison responded to the 500 block of Chisolm Trail in Lusby, MD for the report of a theft from a vehicle. Contact was made with the complainant who advised unknown suspect(s) had entered his unlocked 2009 Chevrolet HHR and took various items to include a GPS, a set of Blueparrot Bluetooth Headphones, and $50 in cash.  The total value of stolen property is $550.00.
 
Theft: 2021-8281
On February 17, 2021, Deputy Freeland responded to the 1000 block of Coster Road in Lusby, MD for a reported theft. Contact was made with the complainant who advised an unknown subject(s) stole the tailgate off of his Ford F-150 to include his Maryland registration plate. The approximate value of stolen property is a $1300. 
 
Theft: 2021-7853
On February 15, 2021 Deputy Parks met with a complainant at the Calvert County Sheriff’s office in regards to a reported theft. The victim advised his rear Maryland Registration Plate was removed from a work truck sometime between Feb. 13th -14th, while parked at 1525 Solomons Island Road in Prince Frederick, MD. 
 
Theft of Motor Vehicle: 2021-8782
On February 20, 2021, Deputy Sturdivant responded to the 12400 block of Hisperia Lane in Lusby, MD for the report of a vehicle theft. Contact was made with the complainant who advised his Hyundai Elantra was missing from the driveway last seen the evening of Feb. 19th. The stolen vehicle was recovered Feb. 20th unoccupied in Colonial Beach, VA with damage to the rear fender and tire. The approximate value of stolen and damaged property is unknown at this time.
 
Damaged Property: 2021-7846
On February 15, 2021, Deputy Lewis responded to 3000 block of Dixies Land Circle in Huntingtown, MD for the report of damaged property. Contact was made with the complainant who advised sometime between Feb. 14th at 6 p.m. and 7:30 a.m. on Feb. 15th, unknown suspect(s) vandalized three vehicles parked in the driveway of the residence. All three vehicles had multiple tires slashed. The value of damaged property is approximately $2,000.00.
 
ARRESTS
 
On February 15, 2021, Deputy Robshaw conducted a traffic stop in the area of Southern Maryland Blvd and Rt. 260 in Dunkirk, MD. Deputy Robshaw made contact with the driver of the vehicle Ashley Chane Pace, 32 of Upper Marlboro, MD and informed her that the tags on the vehicle were coming back stolen from Prince George’s County and the vehicle itself was unregistered and uninsured. Pace claimed her brother loaned her the tags and she was not aware they were stolen. Page was arrested and transported to the Calvert County Detention Center and charged with Theft less $100, Possession of Stolen Property and numerous traffic violations.
 
On Saturday, February 20, 2021, Deputy McDowell and Deputy Idol responded to the 2000 block of Boyd’s Trail in Owings, MD for the report of a burglary in progress. Upon arrival, deputies observed two males walking away from the residence. The complainant advised two males suspects identified as Jaron Avry Lillard, 18 of Chesapeake Beach, MD and Kyle Randolph Robinson, 19 of Chesapeake Beach, MD had entered the home through a bedroom window and used forced entry to gain access to a bathroom inside the residence. No property was stolen. Damage to the bathroom door and drywall is estimated to be $1,000.000. Lillard and Robinson were transported to the Calvert County Detention Center. Both suspects was charged with Burglary-Third Degree, Malicious Destruction of Property $1000+, Burglary- Fourth Degree and Trespass: Private Property.
 
On February 17, 2021, Deputy Denton was dispatched to the area of Rt. 4 and Saw Mill Road for report of a vehicle driving erratically. Deputy Denton conducted a traffic stop on the suspected vehicle and while making contact with the driver, Michael Stephen Kubisiak, 28 of Lusby, MD, it was determined Kubisiak’s driving privileges were suspended. A search of the vehicle was conducted and a straw containing a white powdery residue, suspected heroin was discovered. At the conclusion of the traffic stop, Deputy Denton informed Kubisiak of the citations being issued and Kubisiak took the citation handed to him and threw it on the ground. Kubisiak was transported to the Calvert County Detention Center and arrested for Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, Driving on a Suspended License, Obstructing/Hindering an Investigation, and Littering. 

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February 23 Commissioner Meeting Rollup

LEONARDTOWN, MD – The Commissioners of St. Mary's County held their final regular business meeting for the month, Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021, in the Chesapeake Building in Leonardtown.

 

The first two items on the agenda were Public Hearings requested by the Department of Land Use & Growth Management. The first Public Hearing was for a Proposed Amendment to the Solar Task Force Temporary Moratorium on Utility-Scale Solar Projects.

 

At 9:15, the Commissioners held a Public Hearing on a Proposed Amendment to change the Critical Area Overlay from Resource Conservation Area (RCA) to Intensely Developed Area (IDA) for the Real Food Studio Project.

 

The Commissioners will continue to accept public comment on these items until 5 p.m., March 2, 2021. Comments may be made via email to CSMC@stmarysmd.com or U.S. postal mail to P.O. Box 653, Leonardtown, MD, 20653. Commissioner decisions are expected March 9, 2021.

 

The Commissioners then read a Proclamation recognizing National Engineers Week. The Proclamation will be sent to the College of Southern Maryland.

 

The Department of Economic Development presented a request to the Commissioners for approval to extend a property tax credit incentive to Pier450, a local establishment offering tourism-related business services in St. Mary’s County. In early 2017, the Commissioners approved this property tax credit incentive allowing identified businesses that will create 10 or more jobs to receive a property tax credit for up to 10 years. The Commissioners voted to approve the tax credit as proposed.

 

The Commissioners voted to approve the Board of Education’s request of an FY2021 budget adjustment for the Blueprint Transitional Supplemental Instruction Grant. The funds will be reallocated to support the purchase of research-based intervention materials of instruction. 

 

County Attorney David Weiskopf presented his weekly Legislative Update to the Commissioners.

 

The Commissioners will reconvene at 1:30 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021, for their FY2022 Budget Work Session on Capital Improvement Projects and the proposed Operating Revenue.

 

The next regularly scheduled business meeting of the Commissioners of St. Mary's County is Tuesday, Mar. 2, 2021. Commissioner decisions and related public documents are available on the county government website in BoardDocs. St. Mary's County Commissioner Meetings may be viewed live Tuesday mornings on SMCG Channel 95 or as a replay Friday nights at 6:30 p.m. Meetings are also available for on-demand viewing on the St. Mary's County Government YouTube Channel.

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Commissioners Appoint Resilience Authority of Charles County Board of Directors

The Charles County Board of Commissioners are pleased to announce the newly appointed Resilience Authority of Charles County Board of Directors. The Resilience Authority of Charles County, a non-profit, government instrumentality financing organization, will undertake and support resilience infrastructure projects that mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change by offering a range of financing structures, forms, and techniques that leverage public and private investment. Through projects and outreach efforts, the Authority will also encourage demand for resilience infrastructure projects throughout Charles County.

“On behalf of the Board of Commissioners, I’m pleased to appoint this group of professionals to our Resilience Authority Board of Directors,” said Commissioner President Reuben B. Collins, II, Esq. “The Resilience Authority builds on our climate preparedness efforts including professional education for our employees, planning efforts to include our Climate Resiliency Plan and Nuisance and Urban Flood Plan, and projects to transition our energy consumption from fossil fuels to renewables.”

“I’m delighted these talented individuals have agreed to share their expertise and vision to further our climate change mitigation and adaptation plans. Together, they are an extremely impressive group that collectively bring an unmatched combination of experience and skills to help us solve these complex challenges,” said County Administrator Mark Belton.  “I want to personally thank each of them for their time and willingness to join our team.”

 

The Board of Directors include:

 

Dr. Craig Beyrouty is a professor and dean of the University of Maryland’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and previously served as the dean of Colorado State University’s College of Agricultural Sciences. He is also a fellow of the Soil Science Society of America and the American Society of Agronomy.

 

Bonnie Norman is the president of E3 International, LLC, where she directs strategic energy advisory services, sustainable energy project development, capacity building, and financial solutions—resulting in more than $500 million in clean energy and energy efficiency investment in developing and transition countries. She was a co-founder in 2010 and CEO of E3’s U.S.-focused affiliate, EnerCon Solutions, LLC. She is the current chair of the Montgomery County Green Bank.

 

Dr. Charles C. Glass, P.E. was appointed by Governor Larry Hogan in June 2020 as acting director and chairman at Maryland Environmental Service after serving as deputy secretary at the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. His credentials include serving more than 20 years as a research and engineering professional in academia and the consulting engineering industries.

Ryan Hicks is the town manager of the Town of Indian Head and responsible for the overall supervision and administration of Town affairs.  The manager makes recommendations to the Town Council and advises them on financial matters and future needs of the town, prepares the annual budget, ordinances and resolutions, supervises all personnel, and carries out the policies adopted by the Town Council.

Patrice Kelly serves as senior chief (legal) in the Office of Judge Advocate General Corps in the U.S. Navy. She is a member of the Southern Maryland Sierra Club and the Charles County lead for the Community Garden project.

Tom Schueler directs the Chesapeake Stormwater Network, a non-profit organization devoted to implementation of more sustainable stormwater practices across the Chesapeake Bay watershed. He has more than 30 years of experience in practical aspects of stormwater practices to protect and restore urban watersheds.

 

Jenifer Ellin is the director of the Department of Fiscal and Administrative Services at Charles County Government. During her more than 27 years of tenure, she has progressively advanced through the department. Ellin has played a key role with the budget team, earning the Government Finance Officers Association’s Excellence in Budget Presentation Award since 1996.

 

Dave Nemazie serves as the chief of staff for the University of Maryland’s Center for Environmental Science and has extensive experience in aquatic research, science and policy interface, university administration, partnership development, and public relations. He has developed new partnerships with the public, private, and non-profit sector, locally, as well as internationally.

 

Daniel Donohue is a member of the Alice Ferguson Foundation Board of Directors, a nonprofit organization that promotes the environmental sustainability of the Potomac River watershed. He is a lifelong resident of the area and owns a farm that extends into Charles County.

Teresa Ball is the compliance officer for Soul Tree LLC, an energetic education, training, and consulting company; and has served on a variety of organizations including the Sierra Club Maryland Chapter, Charles County NAACP, NAACP Environmental Justice Leaders, Smarter Growth Alliance for Charles County and Clean Air Prince George’s.

 

Deborah Carpenter is the director of the Department of Planning and Growth Management at Charles County Government.  She brings more than 25 years of experience in the field of planning, with expertise in land use, mineral resources, sensitive areas, and water resources.  She excels at stakeholder engagement, communication, and project management, and is credentialed through the American Institute of Certified Planners.

 

Additional information on the Resilience Authority of Charles County can be found on the county’s website. Citizens with special needs may contact the Maryland Relay Service at 711, or Relay Service TDD: 866-269-9006

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Commissioners Announce Appointment of Wicomico Shores Golf Course and River View Restaurant Manager

LEONARDTOWN, MD – The Commissioners of St. Mary’s County are pleased to announce the appointment of Mr. George Ancuta as Manager for the Wicomico Shores Golf Course and Riverview Restaurant.
 
Mr. Ancuta is a PGA Certified Professional in the areas of golf operations, instruction, retail and general management. His list of awards includes the 2014 National PGA Merchandiser of the Year Award.
 
Commissioner President Randy Guy said, “As the new manager, Mr. Ancuta will bring over 20 years of experience in the golf industry. He spent nine years as the Head Professional at the municipally owned Knoll Country Club. This course was Golf Digest’s 2010 pick as No. 1 municipally owned course in New Jersey while George was there. His credentials are excellent, and we are pleased to have him on board.”
 
“George’s professionalism and desire to see everyone that comes to Wicomico Shores Golf Course and Riverview Restaurant enjoy the experience from the moment they arrive is a major reason we look forward to the future at WSGC,” said Arthur Shepherd, Director, Department of Recreation and Parks.
 
Mr. Ancuta will assume his role Monday, March 15, 2021.
 
For information on Wicomico Shores Golf Course or the Riverview Restaurant, please visit https://www.stmarysmd.com/recreate/golfcourse/.

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Governor Hogan Announces $7 Million in Emergency Relief Awards for Main Street Communities

ANNAPOLIS, MD - Governor Larry Hogan today announced $7 million in awards for 41 Main Street programs across the state. The funding will support small businesses and other economic recovery efforts in both the state- and Baltimore City-designated Main Street communities. Through this relief, more than 5,000 businesses will be eligible for support from their local Main Street program.
 
"Maryland communities would not be the same without our vibrant, historic Main Streets," said Governor Hogan. "We are proud to support local small businesses and help them recover from the economic toll brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic."
 
These awards mark the third phase of the Maryland Strong: Economic Recovery Initiative administered by the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development. Governor Hogan previously announced more than $8 million in awards for tourism-related institutions and $30 million in awards for entertainment venues, promoters and independently-owned movie theaters through this initiative.
 
All of the state's 33 designated Main Street Maryland communities and Baltimore City's eight designated Main Street neighborhoods applied for and received awards to support their operating and capital grants to businesses in their districts. A full list of awardees is available here.
 
"The pandemic has hit our small businesses particularly hard," said Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development Secretary Kenneth C. Holt. "The state and Baltimore City Main Street programs have a crucial role to play in supporting those businesses, and this funding will allow them to provide grants to their local businesses that will ultimately restore the vitality of their commercial districts and impact Maryland's economic recovery."
 
Last year, the impact of the local efforts of the state's 33 designated Main Street Maryland communities resulted in 180 businesses expanding or opening, 665 new jobs, and 130 private and public investments totaling over $80 million. Since 1998, the total impact of these efforts has resulted in nearly 3,300 businesses expanding or opening, over 12,000 new jobs, and more than 6,000 private and public investments totaling over $740 million.
 
Last week, the governor signed the bipartisan RELIEF Act of 2021 into law, delivering more than $1 billion in tax relief and economic stimulus for struggling families and small businesses who are suffering as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
 
For more information about the state's Main Street Maryland program, visit mainstreetmaryland.org. To learn about Baltimore's Main Street neighborhoods, visit mwbd.baltimorecity.gov/baltimore-main-streets.

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Wanted for Escape- Nelson Battle Jr.

The St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office is seeking the whereabouts of Nelson Leroy Battle Jr., age 36 of Lexington Park. Battle has an active warrant for his arrest for the charge of escape, due to violating the conditions of his pretrial release on the initial charges of burglary and assault. Battle is 5’9”, weighs 160 pounds, and has green eyes with black hair.
 
 
Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Nelson Leroy Battle Jr., is asked to contact Detective James Bare at (301) 475-4200 extension 78118 or by email at James.Bare@stmarysmd.com. For immediate assistance contact the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office at (301) 475-8008.
 
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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Citizens Invited to Participate in Prince Frederick Town Center Master Plan Virtual Workshop

The Calvert County Department of Planning & Zoning, on behalf of the Calvert County Planning Commission, will hold a virtual public workshop as a continuation of the Prince Frederick Town Center Master Plan update process. The virtual workshop will be held Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021 at 7 p.m.
 
This workshop will introduce concepts for the future land use, growth and development patterns in the Prince Frederick Town Center and the Town Center expansion areas. Attendees will have the opportunity to participate in a hands-on scenario planning exercise to propose and envision where to place new residential and commercial development to create a vibrant town center and protect the rural landscape.
 
Those wishing to participate in the workshop must register in advance through the registration link: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZIuc-2gqTMoHdU_lggLhzdsxHIRUovTh3ax. In addition, registration details can be accessed through a link on the Town Center Master Plan Update webpage at www.CalvertCountyMd.gov/TownCenterUpdate. Registration closes at 9 a.m. on Thursday, Feb. 25, or when capacity is reached. It may take up to one business day to receive confirmation.
 
The workshop will be streamed live on the Calvert County Government website at www.CalvertCountyMd.gov/Meetings and Calvert County Government Facebook page at www.facebook.com/CalvertCountyMd. The workshop will also be broadcast live on Comcast Channel 6 and 1070 HD.
 
Planning & Zoning Department staff and Sabra & Associates, Inc., a Mead & Hunt Company, will conduct the workshop. Sabra & Associates, Inc., is the consultant company that was selected to assist the county with updating the Prince Frederick Town Center Master Plan.
 
All who live, work, shop or visit Prince Frederick are encouraged to participate in the workshop.
 
The Prince Frederick Town Center Master Plan sets policies and actions that guide the physical development within the town center, including private and public development. The master plan was originally adopted in 1989.
 
For more information about the Prince Frederick Master Plan visit www.CalvertCountyMD.gov/TownCenters, email TownCenterUpdate@calvertcountymd.gov or call 410-535-1600, ext. 2356.
 
Find information on Calvert County Government services online at www.CalvertCountyMd.gov. Stay up to date with Calvert County Government on Facebook at www.facebook.com/CalvertCountyMd.

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Storm Debris Cleanup Along County Roads

LEONARDTOWN, MD – Following the recent winter storms, the Department of Public Works & Transportation has dispatched road crews to clear the remnants of fallen trees, branches and other debris from county-owned roads.

 

Debris that is obstructing county-owned roads should be reported to the Department of Public Works & Transportation by calling 301-475-4200, ext. 3513. Additionally, citizens can use the nonemergency 311 reporting system on the St. Mary’s County Government website at www.stmarysmd.com/SM31

 

Residents who may have debris in their yards or on a privately owned property should dispose of it at the St. Andrews Landfill located at 44837 St. Andrews Church Road in California. The landfill is open Monday-Saturday, 8 a.m.- 4:30 p.m.

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Detectives Conducting Death Investigation in Waldorf

Detectives Conducting Death Investigation: On February 21 at 10:46 a.m., officers responded to a wooded area in the 3300 block of Plaza Way in Waldorf for the report of an unconscious person in a small body of water. Upon arrival, officers located an adult male who was deceased; there were no obvious signs of trauma. The man was transported to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Baltimore for an autopsy. Anyone with additional information should contact Det. J. Riffle at (301) 609-6501. The investigation is ongoing.

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Phase 1C Occupations Now Eligible for SMCHD COVID-19 Vaccination Clinics

LEONARDTOWN, MD (February 22, 2021) – The St. Mary’s County Health Department (SMCHD) has updated the eligibility list for local SMCHD COVID-19 vaccination clinics to include Phase 1C occupations. Eligible individuals are encouraged to review the allergy guidance and the FAQs for SMCHD COVID-19 vaccination prior to registering for a vaccine appointment.
 
Currently Eligible to Register for SMCHD Vaccination Clinics:
 
St. Mary’s County residents age 65 and older (for telephone assistance with registering, seniors may call the St. Mary’s County Department of Aging & Human Services at: (301) 475-4200, ext. 1049)
St. Mary’s County residents age 16 and older who have a developmental or cognitive disability (requires written verification of eligibility from health care provider, such as letter or medical record brought to vaccine appointment)
Phase 1A occupational group members who live or work in St. Mary’s County: Licensed, registered or certified healthcare providers and their staff; EMS & Fire Rescue first responders; law enforcement (including corrections); public health professionals responding to the pandemic; and judiciary staff. To verify your occupational eligibility as a member of this group, please complete our Phase 1A Survey
Phase 1B occupational group members who live or work in St. Mary’s County: Education sector/school personnel (PreK – grade 12); child care providers; higher education faculty/staff for essential in-person learning that cannot be provided remotely; and elected officials/continuity of government. To verify your occupational eligibility as a member of this group, please complete our Phase 1B Survey
NEW! Phase 1C occupational group members who live or work in St. Mary’s County: Grocery stores, public transit, U.S. Postal Service, laboratory services, agricultural production/farming/aquaculture, critical manufacturing, veterinary services, certain staff for higher education institutions (need verification letter from institution), clergy and essential support for houses of worship, and all other public safety or healthcare not included in Phase 1A. To verify your occupational eligibility as a member of this group, please complete our Phase 1C Survey
Note for Phase 1A, 1B & 1C Businesses: If your business or organization falls within the eligible phases/groups, please have one point of contact (POC) for your organization complete the survey above for the appropriate group to verify eligibility. Verified occupational group members for Phase 1A, 1B & 1C can use the clinic registration links posted at www.smchd.org/covid-19-vaccine to make vaccine appointments. Work identification (work ID or organizational letter verifying employment) will be required at the vaccine clinic. Individuals are required to register online for a vaccine appointment. Appointment times fill quickly as the allotted vaccine amount from the state does not satisfy local demand.  
 
For more information about COVID-19 vaccine and registering for vaccine, please visit the SMCHD website at: www.smchd.org/covid-19-vaccine.
 
For local COVID-19 updates, information and data, please visit www.smchd.org/coronavirus or call the St. Mary’s County Health Department at 301-475-4330. 

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Calvert Library Staff Member Positive for COVID

A member of Calvert Library Prince Frederick staff has tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. Deep cleaning of the building took place Sunday, February 21.  The staff member worked in the public space on Tuesday, February 16, from 2-5pm and on Wednesday, February 17, from 12-5pm.

 

The staff member worked with the public following library COVID-protocol and had no contact with customers greater than 15 minutes, maintained 6 feet of social distance, washed/sanitized their hands regularly and wore a mask covering their nose and face at all times while working with customers.  Risk should be minimal to any library customers but please follow Health Department guidance or your physician’s recommendations if you visited the library during the affected time period.

 

Staff members who have had close contact with the team member in the days prior to the positive test are quarantining per CDC guidelines.  They are able to work from home providing phone and email reference, virtual programming planning and execution, training, etc.

 

Please know that the safety of our staff and the public we serve is our top priority. We will continue to take the proper precautions to promote social distancing and keep our workplaces and equipment clean and sanitized. Remember to wash your hands frequently with soap and water, avoid touching your face, wear a cloth face covering over your nose and mouth when in public spaces and make sure to practice social distancing by staying at least 6 feet away from others.  If you are feeling ill, please stay home.

 

We will continue to work together through this difficult time, and we will continue to keep you informed of any new information over the course of this pandemic.

 

More information call 410-535-0291.

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Applications Being Accepted for 2021 Donald "Doc" Lumpkin's Memorial Scholarship Program

LEONARDTOWN, MD – The Department of Emergency Services and the Maryland Emergency Management Association (MDEMA) is pleased to announce that applications are now being accepted for the 2021 Donald “Doc” Lumpkin’s Memorial Scholarship Program. MDEMA is offering five (5) $1,000.00 scholarships for 2021.  One scholarship will be awarded to a student in each of the following geographic areas:
 
            Area I – Western Maryland                Area IV – Maryland’s Eastern Shore
 
            Area II – National Capital                  Area V – Southern Maryland
 
            Area III – Central Maryland
 
Applications must be submitted by April 2, 2021, for consideration.
 
For more information about the 2021 Donald “Doc” Lumpkin’s Memorial Scholarship and to apply, visit www.marylamdmema.org or click here: https://www.marylandema.org/new-page-5.

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Identities Needed for Vandalism Suspects (Video and Photo)

Feb. 22, 2021:
 
The St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office is seeking the identities of the persons shown in a vandalism investigation. On Thursday, Feb. 18, 2021 between 5-5:30 pm, the suspects illegally entered Chaptico Park by removing a section of the split-rail fence and rode on the BMX bicycle track causing damage to it.
 
 
Anyone with information about the identities of the suspects or this incident is asked to call Deputy Shawn Shelko at 301-475-4200, ext. 78147 or email shawn.shelko@stmarysmd.com. Case # 8702-21
 
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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