Star Local News Archives for 2019-12

Property Values Rise 8.9% According to SDAT's 2020 Reassessment

The overall statewide increase for “Group 2” properties was 8.9% over the past three years according to the Maryland State Department of Assessments and Taxation (SDAT). SDAT announced today its 2020 reassessment of 769,668 “Group 2” residential and commercial properties. In Maryland, there are more than 2 million property accounts which are split into three groups, each appraised once every three years. 
 
The overall statewide increase nearly matched 2018’s 9.1% increase. This represents an average increase in value of 7.3% for all residential properties and 13.5% for all commercial properties since the last Group 2 reassessment in 2017. 
 
The 2020 assessments for Group 2 properties were based on an evaluation of 73,106 sales that occurred within the group over the last three years. If the reassessment resulted in a property value being adjusted, any increase in value will be phased-in equally over the next three years, while any decrease in value will be fully implemented in the 2020 tax year. For the 2020 reassessment, 86.4% of Group 2 residential properties saw an increase in property value. 
 
“All 23 counties and Baltimore City experienced an increase in residential and commercial properties for the second consecutive year, which is a good indicator the market remains strong and growth is steady,” said SDAT Director Michael Higgs. “I want to thank all of the Department’s real property assessors throughout Maryland for the hard work and dedication they have displayed this year to ensure that Maryland’s properties continue to be assessed fairly and uniformly. As part of our Tax Credit Awareness Campaign, each reassessment notice includes information about the Homeowners’ and Homestead Tax Credits, which save Marylanders more than $260 million in taxes each year.” 
 
The Homeowners’ Tax Credit provides relief for eligible homeowners by setting a limit on the amount of property taxes that are owed based on their income. Residential property owners who complete a one-time application and meet certain eligibility requirements can also receive a Homestead Tax Credit, which limits their principal residence’s taxable assessment from increasing by more than a certain percentage each year regardless of their income level. Although statewide legislation caps the increase at no more than 10% per year, many local governments have capped property taxes at lower percentages. 
 
Property tax assessment notices were mailed to Group 2 property owners on Friday, December 27, 2019. A map of which properties fall into Groups 1, 2, and 3 and their respective years for reassessment can be viewed on SDAT’s website here. For additional statistics and information, please visit the Department’s Statistics & Reports webpage.

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Commissioners Host Public Forum January 14

Leonardtown, MD – The Commissioners of St. Mary’s County will host the first Public Forum of the New Year Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020, at 6:30 p.m. The forum will be held in the Commissioner’s meeting room inside the Chesapeake Building, at 41770 Baldridge Street, in Leonardtown.

 

Individuals wishing to speak at the Forum will receive up to three (3) minutes to address the Commissioners (those representing a group will be allotted five (5) minutes to speak.) Anyone wishing to provide more detailed comments can do so via email or regular mail.

Commissioners of St. Mary’s County Public Forums are televised live on St. Mary’s County Government TV 95 (SMCG TV 95) and streamed live on the St. Mary’s County YouTube Channel at http://tinyurl.com9n9k521.

 

The Commissioners of St. Mary’s County can be reached via email at csmc@stmarysmd.com or at Commissioners of St. Mary’s County, P.O. Box 653, Leonardtown, Maryland, 20650.

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Community Invited to Participate in Market Study for Department of Recreation and Parks

Leonardtown, MD – The Department of Recreation and Parks invites the community to attend prescheduled meetings to weigh in on a potential sports complex building project in St. Mary’s County. These meetings will serve as the market study analysis and are the first in a series of planning steps.
 
Appointments can be scheduled Monday, January 13, 2020 between 11:00am – 8:00pm and Tuesday, January 14th from 8:00am – 11:00am and will take place at the Recreation and Parks main office on Leonard Hall Drive in Leonardtown MD. Residents and interested parties will meet with the Crossroad Consulting firm and staff from the St. Mary’s County Department of Recreation and Parks to provide input.
 
It is important that the consulting team hears from other potential users, general managers of existing indoor and outdoor sports facilities, representatives from governmental entities and other stakeholders impacted by this project.
 
If you would like to be a part of this study and would like to schedule an appointment to participate in this market study analysis, please contact Lori Tyer-Ellis, Project Manager, Recreation and Parks at lori.tyerellis@stmarysmd.com or call 301-475-4200 ext., 71811.

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Charles County Commissioners Announce January Public Meetings

The Charles County Commissioners invite the public to attend the January public meetings as scheduled below. The purpose of the meetings is to take questions from those in attendance and to discuss items of importance to the citizens and the community.

 

Commissioner President Reuben B. Collins, II, Esq.

“Community Conversation with our Senior Residents”

Monday, Jan. 27 at 6:00 p.m.

Waldorf Senior and Recreational Center ( 90 Post Office Road, Room 109, Waldorf)

 

Amanda M. Stewart, M.Ed., Commissioner (District 3)

Monday, Jan. 13 at 6:30 p.m.

Waldorf West Library (10405 O'Donnell Place, Waldorf)

 

Commissioner Thomasina O. Coates, M.S. (District 2)

Thursday, Jan. 16 at 6:30 p.m.

Pleasant Grove Baptist Church (5560 Pleasant Grove Rd, Marbury)

 

Future meeting dates are available at www.CharlesCountyMD.gov. 

 

For more information, contact the Citizen Response Office at CitizenResponse@CharlesCountyMD.gov or call 301-645-0550.  Citizens with special needs may contact the Maryland Relay Service at 711, or Relay Service TDD: 866-269-9006.

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State Releases 2019 Third Quarter Fatal Overdose Data

ANNAPOLIS, MD – The Opioid Operational Command Center and the Maryland Department of Health have released their quarterly report on the opioid crisis in Maryland for the third quarter of 2019. The report includes preliminary data for unintentional drug- and alcohol-related intoxication deaths for the period between January and September 2019. The report also provides a summary of the state’s annual strategic plan for the heroin and opioid crisis and includes information on the grant programs that the OOCC administers to support Maryland’s fight against the epidemic.
 
From January through September of 2019, there were 1,574 deaths related to opioids in Maryland. Opioid deaths accounted for 88.7 percent of the 1,774 total unintentional intoxication deaths during this same period.
 
When compared to the first nine months of 2018, opioid-related deaths declined by 4.8% percent, and total unintentional intoxication deaths were down by 4.1 percent.
 
“The third-quarter data show that we must remain completely dedicated to this cause. While opioid-related fatalities have fallen from their all-time highs, they continue to represent an unprecedented threat to Maryland’s citizens – a threat that we are working overtime to neutralize,” said Executive Director Steve Schuh of the OOCC.
 
The state is addressing the opioid crisis through efforts in the areas of Prevention & Education, Enforcement & Public Safety, and Treatment & Recovery. In addition to overseeing the distribution of approximately $10 million in general-fund grants each year, the OOCC works closely with each of Maryland’s 24 local jurisdictions to coordinate response efforts and ensure that best practices and other informational resources are in place and working effectively. This coordinated response is outlined in the state’s annual strategic plan for the opioid crisis, entitled Maryland’s Inter-Agency Opioid Coordination Plan. Additionally, the OOCC has cataloged 129 model programs from around the state in the Opioid Use Disorder Program Inventory, which is made available to all local jurisdictions.
 
There were 1,436 fentanyl-related deaths in the first nine months of 2019, representing a 1.1 percent decrease over the same time period last year. Fentanyl was involved in over 93 percent of all opioid-related deaths during this period.
 
"Fentanyl is a lethal drug often involved in fatalities. The situation has become extremely complex since people often use multiple substances, such as fentanyl in combination with cocaine. Thus far in 2019, there have been more fatalities involving cocaine than heroin," said Secretary of Health Robert R. Neall.
 
Cocaine is the second-most prevalent drug involved with overdose deaths in Maryland. There were 643 cocaine-related deaths in Maryland between January and September of 2019. When compared to the same period of 2018, the number of cocaine-related deaths decreased by eight percent. The general increase in cocaine-related deaths over the last several years can be attributed to the use of cocaine in combination with opioids, which have been involved with approximately 90 percent of cocaine-related deaths so far in 2019.
 
Heroin-related deaths continued their recent downward trend. The 571 heroin-related deaths in Maryland between January and September of 2019 represent a 12.7 percent decrease when compared with the same period in 2018. Prescription opioid-related deaths fell by 2.5 percent in the first nine months of 2019 when compared to the same period in 2018. 
 
“Through collaboration and diligence, we have developed an effective response to the crisis in Maryland using resources from across the state and employing multiple strategies," Secretary Neall added. "Although we can't let up on our efforts, we are optimistic that the burden of this crisis will continue to decrease.” 
 
The OOCC’s quarterly report can be found at www.BeforeItsTooLate.Maryland.gov.
 
Before It’s Too Late is the state’s effort to bring awareness to the opioid epidemic and to mobilize resources for effective prevention, enforcement and treatment. Marylanders struggling with a substance use disorder can find help at BeforeItsTooLateMD.org; through our state's crisis hotline, CALL 211, PRESS 1; or by texting their ZIP code to 898-211. 

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Charles County Sheriff's Office Utilizing National Integrated Ballistic Information Network

Charles County Sheriff Troy D. Berry and the members of the CCSO Forensic Science Unit are pleased to announce the Agency is now utilizing the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN) – a program managed by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). The NIBIN program automates ballistics evaluations and provides actionable investigative leads in a timely manner by allowing forensic examiners to compare ballistic evidence to crimes throughout the region. “Being able to use the NIBIN system will expedite our investigations and quickly help us determine if cases could be linked, thus providing more clues to unsolved crimes,” said Sheriff Berry.   
 
According to Ms. Noelle Gehrman, Deputy Director of the Agency’s Forensic Science Unit, “NIBIN is the only national network that allows for the comparison of ballistic evidence to aid in solving crimes involving firearms. It is a resource that is vital to any violent crime reduction strategy because it provides investigators with the ability to compare their ballistics evidence against evidence from other crimes on a local, regional and national level and possibly generate investigative links that would rarely be revealed absent the technology.”
 
Prior to the NIBIN program, firearms examiners performed this process manually which was extremely labor intensive. To use NIBIN, firearms examiners or technicians enter cartridge casing evidence into the Integrated Ballistic Identification System. These images are correlated against the database. “This program is one of many investigative tools accessed by investigators that allows each of us to share information making all of us more effective in closing cases,” said Gehrman.
 
“It took us nearly three years to get this program up and running and I am excited that we can bring this level of technology to our agency and our county. We truly appreciate the ATF and Maryland State Police for their guidance in helping us bring this to fruition,” said Lt. Erica Budd, a former supervisor of the Forensic Science Unit.
 
“NIBIN is a great resource for us all, producing relevant intelligence for investigators and providing a better chance to identify and arrest suspects. This network will give us a head start,” said Sheriff Berry. Currently, six members of the Agency’s Forensic Science Unit are trained to complete NIBIN acquisitions. 
 
PHOTO from left to right: Captain Joseph Pratta (Commander, Criminal Investigations Division), Noelle Gehrman (Deputy Director, FSU), and PFC David Sylvestre (FSU Technician). 

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Detectives Identify and Arrest Shooting Suspects

Charles County Sheriff’s detectives have identified and arrested three suspects involved in a shooting which took place earlier this year. On September 27 at approximately 12:15 p.m., officers responded to the area of Medinah Street and Mesquite Court in Waldorf for the report of a shooting. Upon arrival, officers located the victim, a 34-year-old male, who was transported for serious but non-life-threatening injuries. Through their investigation, detectives identified the suspects as Joshua Daniel White, 21, of Waldorf, Delonte Christopher White, 21, of Waldorf, and Nicholas Alexander Lovell, 20, of Lanham. During the month of October, arrest warrants were obtained for Joshua White and Delonte White. They were subsequently located and arrested for their involvement in this incident. On December 26, CCSO officers with the assistance of the US Marshalls Task force located Nicholas Lovell at his residence in Prince George’s County. Detective R. Johnson investigated.

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Troopers Search For Suspect Involved In Reported Shooting In St. Mary's County

(CALIFORNIA, MD) Maryland State Police are searching for a suspect involved in a reported shooting in St. Mary’s County.
 
The suspect is identified as an African American male. He reportedly fled the scene in an SUV with Virginia plates.
 
The victim is identified as Ea’sen Lee Mackall, 18, of St. Mary’s County.  He was transported by ambulance to Medstar St. Mary’s Hospital for treatment of injuries sustained during the incident.
 
The preliminary investigation indicates an altercation between the suspect and the victim, later identified as Mackall, occurred outside of a convenience store around noon today in the 22,000 block of Three Notch Road in California, Maryland. During the altercation, Mackall was shot in the hand. The suspect immediately fled the scene.
 
A perimeter has been set up in the area.  The Maryland State Police K-9 Unit is conducting a search. Crime scene analysts from the Maryland State Police Forensic Sciences Division responded to process the scene and gather evidence.
 
Police urge anyone who may recognize the suspect pictured or who may have witnessed the incident to contact police at the Leonardtown Barrack at 301-475-8955.  Calls may remain confidential.
 
More details will be available as the investigation continues…
Suspect In California Shooting
 

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Whereabouts of Sex Offender Sought (Photo)

The St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office is seeking the whereabouts of Matthew Scott Hurry, 33 of Mechanicsville, for failing to register as a sex offender. Hurry also has an open warrant for Violation of Probation and a Maryland State Police warrant for assault.
 
Hurry is a white male, 5’10” tall, 135 pounds with brown hair and brown eyes.
 
Anyone with information on Hurry’s whereabouts is asked to call Detective Cpl. Melissa Hulse at 301-475-4200, ext. *1996 or email melissa.hulse@stmarysmd.com. Case # 72866-19
 
Citizens may remain anonymous and contact St. Mary’s County 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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Detectives Conducting Death Investigation in Nanjemoy

On December 21 at 7:45 a.m., officers responded to the 8900 block of Jacksonstown Road in Nanjemoy for the report of a male lying on the side of the road. Officers arrived and found Guy Kevin Hayes, 31, of Nanjemoy; he was pronounced deceased on the scene. There were no signs of trauma and the cause of death is unknown. The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Baltimore will conduct an autopsy. Anyone who may have had recent contact with Hayes is asked to call Detective R. Johnson at (301) 609-6453. The investigation is continuing. 

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All St. Mary's County Properties Tobacco Free Effective January 1

Leonardtown, MD – All St. Mary’s County owned, and leased buildings, properties, and vehicles will adopt a tobacco free policy effective January 1, 2020. This policy includes smoking, vaping and any and all other nicotine products.

 

A two-phase tobacco free resolution adopted by the Commissioners of St. Mary’s County banned the use of tobacco products at parks and museums in September and encompasses county owned or leased buildings and properties beginning January 1st.

 

Additional details and resources regarding the tobacco free policy, including a link to free smoking cessation classes offered through the St. Mary’s County Health Department, are available online: https://www.stmarysmd.com/tobaccofree/

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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 pictured in a theft case. On Monday, Dec. 16, 2019 at 6:12 pm, the suspect entered the Charlotte Hall Dollar General store and loaded a handbasket with items and then fled the store without paying for them. The suspect is described as a white male, about 5’7” tall, with a full beard and handlebar mustache.
 
 
Anyone with information about the identity of the suspect or this incident is asked to call Cpl. Gray Maloy at 301-475-4200, ext. 78035 or email gray.maloy@stmarysmd.com. Case # 72032-19
 
Citizens may remain anonymous and contact St. Mary’s County 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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Co-Defendant in 2012 Murder Case Sentenced to 20 Years in Prison

LA PLATA, MD—Tony Covington, State’s Attorney for Charles County, announced that on Thursday, December 19, 2019, Charles County Circuit Court Judge H. James West sentenced Darrayl John Wilson, 28 of Nanjemoy, to 20 years in prison for the Conspiracy to Commit Second-Degree Murder of Crystal Anderson. Wilson was also sentenced to 5 years of supervised probation upon his release.
 
On October 23, 2019, Wilson entered a guilty plea in Charles County Circuit Court for the aforementioned charge.
 
Anderson was initially reported missing in August 2011 and remained as a missing person until January 2, 2012, when a hiker discovered her skeletal remains in the area of Purse State Park in Nanjemoy, MD.
 
An investigation revealed that on the night of July 26, 2011, Anderson, Wilson, and co-defendant Raymond Daniel Posey, III left a party in Nanjemoy to obtain PCP from Anderson’s supplier in Prince George’s County, MD. Anderson was promised that there was a potential buyer for the PCP in the Nanjemoy area. According to court documents, upon returning to Nanjemoy, Anderson was robbed at gun point and then shot repeatedly by Posey. Wilson then helped throw Anderson’s body over a guardrail and down a steep hill in a remote area of Purse State Park. Following the murder, Wilson was seen selling clothing items of Anderson before she was reported missing. Anderson remained a missing person for five months, until a hiker discovered skeletal remains in the area of Purse State Park, later identified by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner of Maryland to be Anderson’s.
 
Anderson was 29 years old  at the time of the murder.
 
During sentencing, Assistant State’s Attorney Jonathan Beattie addressed the judge, “the only reason anything ever came of this case is because of [Anderson’s mother]. There wouldn’t be any justice to Crystal if it wasn’t for her. My only hope is that this brings some level of closure to the family because it’s been a long, long time.”
 
He furthered, “[The victim] died with people she believed were her friends. There’s no worse fate that anyone could imagine.”
 
Before sentencing Wilson, Judge West stated, “A violent ending to such a young life reverberates throughout the community. – This family, this mother, this victim deserve so much better. For the people to bring this sort of thing to you to be your friends is unimaginable.”
 
He then addressed the defendant, “You had a strange loyalty to someone who could do this type of thing – someone I don’t think would have the same loyalty to you.”
 
On October 30, 2017, co-defendant Posey was sentenced to 60 years in prison for his role in the murder.

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Governor Hogan Applauds Successful Effort to Boost Federal Funding for Chesapeake Bay

ANNAPOLIS, MD—For the second year in a row, Governor Hogan has led a successful bipartisan effort to protect federal funding for Chesapeake Bay restoration. The U.S. Senate today gave final approval to a government funding bill that includes $85 million for Chesapeake Bay cleanup efforts, a 16% increase over last year. In Maryland, the Hogan administration has committed a historic $5 billion for wide-ranging bay initiatives—more than any administration in state history.
 
“We successfully fought last year to restore federal funding for the Chesapeake Bay, and we are proud to have worked with our regional partners to protect critical bay funding once again this year,” said Governor Hogan. “Maryland is fortunate to be home to countless natural assets, but for us, none is more important than the Chesapeake Bay, which is truly a national treasure. Our administration has committed an historic $5 billion toward wide-ranging bay initiatives, and as a result of our collective efforts, the bay is the cleanest it has been in recorded history.”
 
Earlier this year, after the federal administration proposed cuts to Chesapeake Bay restoration, Governor Hogan called it a “total betrayal.” As chairman of the Chesapeake Executive Council, Governor Hogan led a bipartisan coalition of Chesapeake Bay watershed leaders—including Governor John Carney of Delaware, Governor Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania, Governor Ralph Northam of Virginia, Governor Jim Justice of West Virginia, and Mayor Muriel Bowser of Washington, DC—urging Congress to approve $85 million in the final funding measure that goes to the president’s desk.
 
Governor Hogan also wrote directly to congressional leaders, pushing them to boost federal funding for the Chesapeake Bay Program: “I ask that Congress heed our call to action and preserve and increase the federal commitment to restoring this national treasure.”
 
“This timely boost in funding will help all of the states and the EPA prevent more pollution and monitor the pace of our progress upstream and downstream,” said Maryland Department of the Environment Secretary Ben Grumbles. “The Chesapeake Bay Commission and our Congressional Delegation should be commended for listening and responding to our call to action.”
 
The Hogan administration has made record investments to conserve, enhance, and protect our natural environment, including fully funding Program Open Space for the first time in more than a decade and fully funding the Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays Trust Fund for the first time in state history.

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NAS PAX RIVER Sets Noise Advisory for Field Carrier Landing Practice Flights Dec. 30, Jan. 3-5

PATUXENT RIVER NAVAL AIR STATION, MD – Communities surrounding the naval air station are advised that noise-generating testing events are scheduled to take place December 30, 2019, and January 3 to January 5, 2020 between the hours of 7:15 a.m. – 7 p.m.
 
Pilots at NAS PAX will be conducting Field Carrier Landing Practices (FCLPs). FCLPs are simulated carrier landings conducted to prepare the pilot to land safely on an aircraft carrier. The practices consist of series of touch-and-go maneuvers, “bounces”. Airspeed, altitude and power are all precisely choreographed in order for a pilot to approach the ship within an acceptable window to land on the deck safely. FCLP training is essential for the precision and safety of our military men and women and the success of their mission. Landing on an aircraft carrier is perhaps the most difficult task in military aviation. It is a highly complex and perishable skill, and requires intense period of training before pilots deploy. Residents may notice increased noise levels due to these operations.
 
As with all operations, NAS Patuxent River takes precautions to lessen the impact of testing activities on the community. For more information call the Pax River toll-free Noise Hotline at 1-866-819-9028. V/r,

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Recycling Centers' New Operating Hours to Begin Jan. 6

The Department of Public Works Environmental Resources Division announces new operating hours effective Monday, Jan. 6, 2020, at the four Charles County Recycling Centers.

 

Facility Locations and NEW Hours:

Breeze Farm Recycling Center (15950 Cobb Island Rd, Cobb Island):  Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Charles County Landfill Recycling Center (12305 Billingsley Road, Waldorf): Monday through Saturday 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Gilbert Run Recycling Center (13140 Charles Street, Charlotte Hall):  Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Pisgah Recycling Center (6645 Mason Springs Road, La Plata): Monday through Saturday 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
 

The changes were made based on previous usage and participation of the recycling centers. 

 

For more information, call the Department of Public Works, Environmental Resources Division, 301-932-3599 or 301-870-2778. Citizens with special needs may contact the Maryland Relay Service at 711, or Relay Service TDD: 800-735-2258.

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Carpenter Appointed as Director of Planning and Growth Management

Charles County Administrator Mark Belton is pleased to announce the appointment of Deborah Carpenter as director of the Department of Planning and Growth Management. Carpenter will begin her employment with Charles County Government on January 13, 2020.
 
As director of the Department of Planning and Growth Management, Carpenter will be responsible for planning, organizing, and directing programs and functions relating to Charles County’s land use, development, public facility planning, property acquisition, and transportation. She will oversee and manage the Planning; Transportation; Codes, Permits, and Inspection Services; and Resource and Infrastructure Management Divisions.
 
Carpenter brings to the county 24 years of experience engaging in land use, transportation, environmental and infrastructure planning. Most recently, Carpenter served as the director for Garrett County’s Department of Planning and Land Management. She provided oversight in the regulation of zoning issues, building code, subdivision administration, parks and recreation planning, environmental planning and education, licensing issuance and renewal, land preservation program administration, sensitive areas protection, comprehensive planning, mapping/geographic information services, stormwater management, sediment and erosion control, and inspection services. Carpenter also worked as the assistant director of Garrett County’s Department of Community and Planning Development and a geographic information services specialist for Garrett County’s Department of Planning and Land Development.
 
“Ms. Carpenter has an impressive breadth of experience working in county government, specifically in planning. She’s been a key leader in her field in both Garrett County and statewide,” said Belton. “I look forward to her knowledge and insight as the newest member of our Executive Leadership Team.”
 
“I look forward to continuing the improvements within the county’s Department of Planning and Growth Management and advancing the County Commissioners’ goals and objectives, particularly in planning strategically for economic development and growth in the future,” said Carpenter.
 
Carpenter has a master’s degree in geography from West Virginia University in Morgantown, West Virginia, and a bachelor’s degree in environmental analysis and planning from Frostburg State University, in Frostburg, Maryland. She is certified by the American Institute of Certified Planners and a Leadership Maryland graduate.

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2020 Census Preparations Underway in Calvert County

Calvert County is planning for the 2020 Census in order to ensure every resident is counted once, only once and in the right place on Census Day, April 1, 2020.
 
The U.S. Constitution mandates that a census of the population be conducted once every 10 years. Census data is used to reapportion congressional representation among the states and determine how $675 billion in federal funds is distributed to states and local communities every year for services and infrastructure, including health care, jobs, schools, roads and businesses.
 
Calvert County saw a 76% response rate in 2000 and 80% in 2010. The U.S. Census Bureau, who conducts the census, estimates that each adult and child not counted equates to about $1,825 per year in lost federal funding – a total of $18,250 per person over 10 years.
 
“Calvert County is invested in helping every resident be counted so our citizens can get the public services they need and deserve,” said Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) President Kelly D. McConkey. “The information collected in the census is vital to planning for public health and safety, schools, transportation projects, obtaining grants and funding for public programs, and ensuring equal representation in Congress and state and local districts. The 10 minutes it takes to respond can have far-reaching impact.”
 
The BOCC voted in May to establish a complete count committee representing a broad range of community interests. The committee is collaborating with the Maryland Complete Count Committee and the U.S. Census Bureau to educate the public and motivate Calvert County residents to complete the census questionnaire.
 
The Calvert County Complete Count Committee is led by Committee Chair Dr. Sudha Haley, board member for the Calvert County Commission on Aging and the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association, and vice chairs Janet Bellizzi, representative for the League of Women Voters of Calvert County, and Stacy Milor, town clerk for the Town of North Beach. The committee held a kick-off meeting in September and meets monthly.
 
“Calvert County is our little piece of Paradise on Earth, and we want everyone to be counted and help shape the future of our community,” said Haley. “Responding to the census is easy, confidential and secure, and important to providing our children, families and neighbors with much-needed resources for the next decade.”
 
The committee launched a Calvert County 2020 Census webpage at www.CalvertCountyMd.gov/Census for citizens to stay up to date with upcoming census-related events in the community, as well as information on when and how 2020 Census information will be collected, its impact on the local community, why participation matters and more.
 
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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Valley Lee Man Arrested For Second Degree Murder For Deadly Drug

In March of 2019, Robert Bryan Clements Jr., age 34 of Valley Lee, died of a Fentanyl overdose. The St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office Vice Narcotics Division conducted an investigation and identified William Joseph Leo Brown, age 41 of Lexington Park, as the distributor of the fatal dose to the decedent. The investigation determined the distribution of Fentanyl occurred in St. Mary’s County.
 
In collaboration with St. Mary’s County State’s Attorney Richard D. Fritz, a Circuit Court indictment for the arrest of Brown was obtained via Grand Jury. On December 17, 2019, Brown was arrested and served the indictment. Brown was charged with the following:
 
Murder Second Degree- Inherently Dangerous Nature of Felony
 
Murder Second Degree- Depraved Heart
 
CDS: Distribution- Not Marijuana (Fentanyl)
 
CDS: Distribution- Not Marijuana (Despropionyl Fentanyl)
 
CDS: Knowingly Distribute- Not Marijuana (Fentanyl)
 
CDS: Possession- Not Marijuana (Fentanyl)
 
CDS: Possession- Not Marijuana (Despropionyl Fentanyl)
 
Brown is currently incarcerated at the St. Mary’s County Detention and Rehabilitation Center in Leonardtown, on a no bond status.
 
The St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office continues to aggressively pursue those involved in distribution of opioids in our community. If you or a family member lives with a substance abuse condition, we urge you to get help. The following link to the St. Mary’s County Health Department provides tools and resources to understand treatment options available. http://www.smchd.org/BHtreatment/

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Deceember 17th Charles County Commissioners Meeting Update

On Tuesday, Dec. 17, the Charles County Board of Commissioners received a program update on RecAssist, which provides financial assistance for recreation programs for up to 400 low-income residents and senior citizens annually. Since the program was launched in September, 41 applicants have been approved to receive assistance from RecAssist.  Enrollment remains open for RecAssist and more information, including the application is located on the county’s website.
 
Commissioners also received a briefing from staff in the Department of Planning and Growth Management. Staff highlighted their progress in leading the department through a transition, filling vacant positions, and conducting outreach through the Citizens Academy. They also highlighted the department’s accomplishments in finding efficiencies in reviewing permits and improvements in meeting review deadlines, implementing paperless processes, expanding land preservation efforts, and resolving complaints in a timely manner. The Transit Division shared their progress in the design and engineering phase for a new transit operations and maintenance facility, adding a new service route, improving bus stops, and enhancing security and reliability of its bus fleet.
 
Approval Items:
 
Commissioners approved the following items:
 
A contingency transfer request of $518,000 for a facility plan to address improvements at the Mattawoman Wastewater Treatment Plant.
A budget transfer request of $17,230 to purchase EnerGov licenses for the Department of Health.
A budget transfer request and budget amendment totaling $1,894,000 to award a construction contract for the Detention Center Intake Area project, to pay for a higher than anticipated bid award.
Commissioners reviewed a Dec. 10 briefing regarding the addition of a chief equity officer. Commissioners discussed and approved a budget amendment of $113,000 for the new position, which will be assigned to the County Administrator’s Office.
 
Commissioners also discussed revisions and approved a letter from the Charles County Board of Commissioners to Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative (SMECO) regarding opportunities to partner on providing broadband access.
 
Recognition:
 
Commissioners recognized new employees and employees who reached milestones in years of service.

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Identity Needed for Theft Suspect (Photos)

The St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office is seeking the identities of two individuals in a theft case. On Friday, Dec. 13, 2019 at 3:55 pm, the suspects scanned some merchandise at the self-checkout register at the California Walmart store, but did not scan other merchandise and then left the store without paying for those items.
 
 
Anyone with information about the identity of the suspects or this incident is asked to call Deputy Artina Manns at 301-475-4200, ext. *8107 or email artina.manns@stmarysmd.com. Case # 71435-19
 
Citizens may remain anonymous and contact St. Mary’s County 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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Detectives Searching for Car Stolen in Kidnapping Case

Charles County Sheriff’s detectives are asking for the public’s help in locating a car that was stolen during a kidnapping on December 11. Specifically, investigators are looking into the possibility the vehicle may have been left in a public place such as a commuter bus lot or abandoned in the parking lot of a business and are asking the business community to check their lots for the car.
 
 
The vehicle is a 2010 black Toyota Camry, four-door, with MD tags 6BM 3802. The registration plates may have been removed and the last four digits of the vehicle identification number are 9180. The VIN can be locked on the lower driver’s side of the windshield or on a sticker located inside the driver’s door frame. Further, the vehicle likely has rear-end damage. While a suspect was arrested in this case, detectives still need to locate the car. Anyone with information is asked to call Detective H. Burgess at (301) 609-6494.  
 

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Reckless Endangerment Under Investigation

On December 15, 2019, at approximately 2:30 a.m. deputies from the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office responded to the 46800 block of Rogers Drive in Lexington Park, for the report of shots fired. Investigation determined numerous shots were fired from a handgun and as a result several vehicles and one residence sustained damage. At this time, no injuries have been reported.
 
Anyone with information on this incident is asked to contact Detective Daniel Sidorowicz at (301) 475-4200 extension *8043 or by email at Daniel.Sidorowicz@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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ATF Fugitive Captured by Law Enforcement in Waldorf

CHARLES COUNTY, Md. —U.S. Marshals arrested Deante Duckett, a fugitive wanted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Baltimore Field Division, in Waldorf, Md. without incident on December 12, 2019, following investigative work by local and federal law enforcement officers. The Charles County Sheriff’s Office and ATF conducted a search warrant on December 12, 2019 at the residence Duckett was in at the time of his arrest and seized a box of 9mm ammunition and a stolen 9mm pistol.
 
Duckett is the subject of a joint investigation between ATF and the Charles County Sheriff’s Office. He is a five-time previously convicted felon who was federally indicted on May 6, 2019 on three counts of being a felon illegally in possession of a firearm. Duckett was under court-ordered supervised release at the time he became a fugitive. He cut off his ankle monitoring device on July 10, 2019 before absconding. A $5,000 reward was previously announced on October 22, 2019 for information leading to his arrest.

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Md State Police Investigating Crash That Killed Government Police Officer In Charles County

(INDIAN HEAD, MD) – Maryland State Police are investigating a crash that killed a Department of Defense civilian police officer early this morning in Charles County.
Around 2:30 a.m., troopers from the LaPlata Barrack responded to the area of southbound Maryland Rt. 224 Chicamuxen Road and Sweden Point Road in Indian Head, Maryland on a report of a vehicle that ran off the road.  The victim was identified as Anthony Oglesby Jr., 34, of Bowie, Maryland. According to a preliminary investigation, Oglesby was driving a 2015 Ford Taurus, when for unknown reasons, he drove off the right side of the road and struck a tree. The tree fell on top of the vehicle, which then caught fire.
Investigators said Oglesby, a sergeant for the U.S. Navy Police, was on duty and driving a marked patrol car at the time of the crash. He was declared deceased at the scene. There was no one else in the vehicle and no other injuries were reported as a result of this crash. His body was transported to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Baltimore for an autopsy. 
The intersection was closed for approximately four hours in the area of the crash. The Charles County Sheriff’s Office and the Maryland State Police Forestville Barrack assisted with the crash.
 
The Maryland State Police Crash Team is continuing to investigate the crash.

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Charles County Government January Operating Schedule

The County Administrator wishes to remind residents of changes to normal operating schedules for the month of January.  All offices, facilities, and services not listed will be operating their normal hours.

 

Wednesday, Jan. 1 (New Year’s Day)

All Charles County Government offices and the Tri-County Animal Shelter in Hughesville are closed.
VanGO services will not be running.
The Nanjemoy Community Center, all senior centers, Waldorf Senior and Recreational Center, Port Tobacco Recreation Center, Elite Gymnastics and Recreation Center, all indoor pools, and all school-based community centers are closed.
The Charles County Landfill and all recycling centers are closed.
Curbside recycling will be delayed one day for the remainder of the week.
The Crain Memorial Welcome Center is closed.
Port Tobacco Historic Village is closed.
Charles County Health Department is closed.
Charles County Public Library (all branches) is closed.
 

Thursday, Jan. 2

All Charles County Government offices and the Tri-County Animal Shelter in Hughesville are closed.
The Nanjemoy Community Center, and all senior centers are closed.
The Waldorf Senior and Recreational Center will be open 1 p.m. -9 p.m. for recreation activities only.
Curbside recycling will be delayed one day for the remainder of the week.
The Gilbert Run Recycling Center and Breeze Farm Recycling Center will be open.
Charles County Health Department is closed.
 

Monday, Jan. 20 (Martin Luther King Jr. Day)

All Charles County Government offices and the Tri-County Animal Shelter in Hughesville will be closed.
VanGO last departures from the Waldorf transfer point will be at 6 p.m. on the 301 Connector, Berry Road, Brandywine Connector, Pinefield, Indian Head, St. Charles A, St. Charles B, St. Charles C.  Last departures from the Waldorf transfer point will be at 5:30 p.m. on the Business A, Business B, Charlotte Hall.  Last departure from the Waldorf transfer point will be at 6:30 p.m. for St. Charles D.  Last departures from the La Plata transfer point will be at 6:30 p.m. on the 301 Connector.  Last departures from the La Plata transfer point will be at 5:30 for Bryans Road, La Plata and Nanjemoy.  Last departure from the La Plata transfer point for Newburg will be at 4:30 p.m.
The Nanjemoy Community Center, all senior centers, and school-based community centers are closed.
The Waldorf Senior and Recreational Center will be open 9 a.m. -9 p.m. for recreation activities only.
All indoor pools will be open 1 p.m. - 9 p.m. for open swim (Lackey, Donald M. Wade Aquatic Center, and North Point).
The Charles County Landfill and Recycling Center on Billingsley Road in Waldorf, and the Pisgah Recycling Center on Route 425 in Pisgah are closed.
Curbside recycling will be delayed one day for the remainder of the week.
Charles County Public Library (all branches) are closed.
Charles County Health Department is closed.
 

For questions about County Government holiday closures, contact the Public Information Office at 301-885-2779 or PressRoom@CharlesCountyMD.gov.  Citizens with special needs may contact the Maryland Relay Service at 711, or Relay Service TDD: 800-735-2258.

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Lexington Park Man Arrested On Drug Offenses

On December 11, 2019, the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office Vice Narcotics Division with assistance from the Emergency Services Team (EST), K-9 Unit, and members of the Patrol Division executed a search and seizure warrant at a residence located in the 46400 block of Chapman Drive in Lexington Park. Thomas Emanuel Gross, age 34 of Lexington Park, was located at the residence and found to be in possession of a quantity of suspected heroin and cocaine, indicating the intent to distribute. Gross was in possession of a handgun which he is prohibited from owning due to a prior felony conviction.
 
Gross was arrested and charged with the following:
 
CDS: Possession With Intent to Distribute-Cocaine
 
CDS: Possession With Intent to Distribute-Heroin
 
Two counts of CDS: Possession-Not Marijuana
 
Firearm-Possession- Crime of Violence With Felony Conviction
 
Gross remains incarcerated at the St. Mary’s County Detention and Rehabilitation Center on a no-bond status. Additional charges are pending review with the Office of the States Attorney for St. Mary’s County.
 
For official news and information, follow the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office on Twitter @firstsheriff.

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Calvert County Adopts Protections for Animals against Harsh Weather

The Calvert County Board of County Commissioners last week adopted new and amended provisions to the animal ordinance pertaining to the shelter, tethering, abuse and cruelty to domesticated animals. The provisions include protections for animals during harsh weather conditions.
 
Added provisions allow the Department of Public Safety deputy director of animal services to set forth precautions for the care and keeping of animals when the National Weather Service issues a severe weather advisory for Calvert County. Residents will be notified of these precautions through Calvert County Government social media; Calvert County Government, animal shelter and animal control websites; and by press release.
 
Additionally, the adopted provisions require an animal to be removed from harsh weather conditions that endanger its health, safety or well-being regardless of the method of confinement.
 
Ordinances and resolutions are available on the Calvert County Government website at http://CalvertCountyMd.gov/1378/Ordinances-and-Resolutions.
 
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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Calvert County Sheriff's Office Incident Report

During the week of December 9 – December 15 deputies of the Calvert County Sheriff’s Office responded to 1,387 calls for service throughout the community.
 
Burglary: 19-71618
On December 10, 2019, Deputy Clark responded to Forest Ridge Terrance in Chesapeake Beach for the report of a theft. The complainant advised that sometime between 2:00pm and 7:50pm on December 10th, an unknown suspect(s) stole the garage door remote from their vehicle while parked in the driveway. The value of stolen property is $50.
 
Theft: 19-71347
On December 9, 2019, Deputy Burggraff responded to Perry Lane in Lusby for the report of a theft. The complainant advised that on September 9th or September 10th an unknown suspect(s) stole a handicap placard from inside their vehicle while parked at World Gym in Prince Frederick. The value of stolen property is $5. 
 
Theft: 19-71586
On December 10, 2019, Deputy Naughton was notified of a theft that occurred at Abner’s Crab House in Chesapeake Beach. The complainant advised that they had inserted money to a slot machine they were playing and stepped away briefly. An unknown male suspect is seen cashing out the complainant’s remaining funds and taking the ticket to the bar to collect the funds before leaving the area. The value of stolen funds is $193.50.
 
Theft: 19-71659, 19-71660
On December 11, 2019, Deputy Cress responded to Ivy Lane in Chesapeake Beach for a Theft of a Motor Vehicle. The complainant stated that sometime between 5:30pm on December 10th and 4:45am on December 11th an unknown suspect(s) stole their 2015 Ford F150 with various personal belongings inside the vehicle. In addition, the complainant stated a second vehicle was broken into and the suspect(s) stole 3 pair of sunglasses, a credit card, earphones, and kays. The value of stolen property is $22,043.
 
Theft: 19-71707
On December 11, 2019, Deputy Flynt responded to Eagle Tire and Automotive in Dunkirk for the report of a theft. The complainant stated they left their vehicle at Eagle Tire and Automotive for service on December 1st, and when they returned to pick the vehicle up on December 11th, both tags were missing. The value of stolen property is $20.
 
Theft: 19-72195
On December 13, 2019, Deputy Sturdivant responded to Spot Thrift Shop in St. Leonard for the report of a theft. The complainant advised that two females entered the store and stole a blue and white antique petal bike, a plastic closet organizer, and two wooden rocking chairs. The value of stolen property is $420.
 
Theft: 19-72540
On December 14, 2019, Deputy Hardesty responded to Holly Drive in Lusby for the report of a theft. The complainant advised that a package was confirmed as delivered to their house per the UPS tracking number, however the package was no longer at the front of the residence as the tracking number indicated. The value of stolen property is $25.
 
Arrests: 
On December 10, 2019, Deputy Parks responded to Walmart in Prince Frederick for the report of a theft. The complainant advised they observed Paul Oburke (41) take barcode stickers from his pocket and stick them to items he was placing in his shopping cart. While checking out, the complainant took the shopping cart from Oburke and observed the false barcode stickers on 6 of the items in the cart. Deputy Parks made contact with Oburke in the parking lot, and observed several Walmart shopping bags on the passenger side of the vehicle. Oburke stated that he bought the $1,110 worth of items for $60 using the fake barcodes at the Walmart in Dunkirk, and was attempting to purchase additional items totaling $2,269 from the Walmart in Prince Frederick using the false barcodes. Oburke was placed under arrest and transported to the Calvert County Detention Center where he was charged with Theft Scheme: $1,500 to <$25,000 and Theft: $1,500 to under $25,000.
 
On December 12, 2019, Deputy Bowlan responded to Great Clips in Dunkirk for a welfare check. The complainants advised a woman, Theresa Sue Haley (53), was behind the store screaming that she was having a heart attack and would die if police got involved. They also advised that Haley was referencing the Marshall’s store next door. Upon making contact with Haley and the Marshall’s employees, it was determined that Haley attempted to steal a cart full of merchandise valued at $483.96 and exit the back door of the store. When approached by employees, Haley fled from the store wearing a pair of shoes that she had also stolen. Haley was placed under arrest and transported to the Calvert County Detention Center where she was charged with Theft: $100 to under $1,500.  

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Charles County Residents Can Recycle Christmas Trees from Dec. 26 to Jan. 12

The Department of Public Works Environmental Resources Division announces Christmas tree drop-off locations will be available beginning Thursday, Dec. 26 through Sunday, Jan. 12. Trees must be ornament, tinsel, and plastic bag free. Collected Christmas trees will be shredded into mulch for Charles County residents, while supplies last, at no charge. A list of drop off locations and hours is listed below.
 
 
 
24 Hour Drop-off Sites:  Christmas tree recycling sign will be posted
 
Calvary Gospel Church, Route 228, Waldorf
•     Charles County Courthouse, Baltimore Street, La Plata
 
•     Pinefield Park, Pinewood Drive, Waldorf
 
Route 5 Park N’ Ride, Mattawoman-Beantown Rd, Waldorf
Radio Station Road, La Plata
Ruth B. Swann Memorial Park, Route 210, Bryans Road
St. Nicholas Drive, Waldorf
 
 
Facility Locations and Hours: (Please see below new facility hours beginning Monday, Jan. 6.)
 
Breeze Farm Recycling Center (15950 Cobb Island Rd, Cobb Island):  Wednesdays, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturdays, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. 
Charles County Landfill Recycling Center (12305 Billingsley Road, Waldorf): Monday through Saturday 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Gilbert Run Recycling Center (13140 Charles Street, Charlotte Hall):  Wednesdays, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturdays, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Piney Church Yard Road Mulch Facility (5370 Piney Church Road, Waldorf): Monday through Saturday, 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Pisgah Recycling Center (6645 Mason Springs Road, La Plata): Monday through Saturday 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
 
* New Facility Operating Hours beginning Monday, Jan. 6:
 
Breeze Farm Recycling Center & Gilbert Run Recycling Center: Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Charles County Landfill Recycling Center & Pisgah Recycling Center: Monday through Saturday 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
 
 
For more information, call the Department of Public Works, Environmental Resources Division, 301-932-3599 or 301-870-2778. Citizens with special needs may contact the Maryland Relay Service at 711, or Relay Service TDD: 800-735-2258.

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Officers Looking For Missing Teen (Photo)

Advisory: Missing Person - 14 y/o Khalil Lavelle Brown (see photo). Last seen on 12/14/19 in Lexington Park. Case #71949-19
 
Missing Person - 14 y/o Khalil Lavelle Brown. Last seen on 12/14/19 in Lexington Park. Anyone with information contact 301-475-4040. Case #71949-19
 

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Identity Needed for Theft Suspects (Photos)

The St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office is seeking the identity of the person pictured in a theft case. On Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019 at 12:50 pm, the suspect walked out of the California Ulta Beauty store with numerous colognes, makeup and accessories merchandise without paying for them.
 
 
Anyone with information about the identity of the suspect or this incident is asked to call Cpl. Alvin Beishline at 301-475-4200, ext. *8019 or email alvin.beishline@stmarysmd.com. Case # 69175-19
 

 

 

 

 

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Mt. Hope Community Center to Close Temporarily for Maintenance

The Calvert County Department of Parks & Recreation announces Mt. Hope Community Center will close temporarily beginning Dec. 31 at noon and remain closed through Jan. 5 for routine maintenance.
 
The center will reopen with normal hours of operation Monday, Jan. 6. Normal hours of operation are Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday, 12:30-6 p.m.
 
For questions about the closure or additional information, contact the Calvert County Department of Parks & Recreation at 410-535-1600, ext. 8200, or by email at Doris.Holland@calvertcountymd.gov or Sharon.Hudson@calvertcountymd.gov.
 
Learn more about the Department of Parks & Recreation and its comprehensive program of recreational activities offered in community centers, aquatic facilities, public schools and county parks by visiting online at www.CalvertCountyMd.gov/ParksAndRecreation.
 
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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St. Mary's County Government Holiday Hours

Leonardtown, MD – All St. Mary’s County Government administrative offices will be closed Wednesday, Dec. 25, and Thursday, Dec. 26, for the Christmas holiday. Offices will reopen Friday, Dec. 27. Offices will also be closed Wednesday, Jan. 1, and Thursday, Jan. 2, 2020, for the new year’s holiday. Offices will reopen Friday, Jan. 3.

 

All three Senior Activity Centers (Garvey, Loffler and Northern) will be closed Dec. 25 and 26 for Christmas and Jan. 1 and 2, 2020, 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 Dec. 24 and 25 for Christmas. The museums will be open Dec. 31 and Jan. 1 from noon – 4 p.m.

 

All St. Mary’s County Library locations (Charlotte Hall, Leonardtown and Lexington Park) will be closed Dec. 24 and 25 and Jan. 1 for the holidays. All library locations will close at 5 p.m. Dec. 31.

 

The St. Mary’s Transit System (STS) System will operate until 6 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 24, 2019, be closed Dec. 25, and return to a regular operating schedule Thursday, Dec. 26, 2019. STS will be closed Jan. 1 and return to a regular operating schedule Jan. 2.

 

The Statewide Specialized Transit System (SSTAP) service will operate Monday, Dec. 23, be closed Dec. 24-26, and return to normal service Friday, Dec. 27. SSTAP service will be unavailable Dec. 31 - Jan. 2, and will return to regular service, Friday, Jan. 3, 2020.

 

The St. Andrews Landfill and six (6) Convenience Centers will be closed Wednesday, Dec. 25, 2019, and Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2020. Additionally, the six (6) convenience centers will open early for operations Thursday, Dec. 26, and Friday, Dec. 27, at 8 a.m., The purpose of opening early is a convenience to our customers and allows us to be able to accommodate the increased usage of the facilities by County residents during the busiest holiday season.  The Landfill hours of operation will remain unchanged during these two days (8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.). The convenience centers and landfill will return to regular operating hours Saturday, Dec. 28.

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Governor Hogan Announces Homelessness Prevention Awards for Carroll, Cecil, and Charles Counties

ANNAPOLIS, MD—Governor Larry Hogan today announced $1.4 million to assist Maryland’s homelessness prevention efforts through the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development’s Community Development Block Grant program (CDBG).
 
“We have made significant progress to reduce homelessness in Maryland by enhancing the way we administer essential resources to those in need, and by partnering with dedicated programs and organizations across our state,” said Governor Hogan. “Our administration will continue working hard to ensure the safety and security of our most vulnerable citizens.”
 
The department is awarding grants to nonprofits in three different counties to support their fight against homelessness, including:
 
Family and Children’s Services of Central Maryland (Carroll County): $800,000 to construct a 10,000-square-foot addition onto a building in Westminster, which will include a shelter for victims of elder abuse and domestic violence and offices for case management, counseling, and operations.
Meeting Ground, Inc. (Cecil County): $376,656 to hire staff to implement a coordinated point of entry for persons needing services and for as-needed emergency sheltering.
Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington, Inc. (Charles County): $200,000 to hire staff to serve persons living in their newly constructed shelter in Waldorf.
“Thanks to Governor Hogan’s commitment, we have seen a historic reduction in homelessness throughout our state,” said Maryland Housing Secretary Kenneth C. Holt. “These awards will help counties sustain this momentum as winter approaches and there is greater need for resources.”
 
Earlier this year, Governor Hogan announced that overall homelessness has been reduced by more than 9% since 2017, according to data from the 2019 Point-in-Time Count. The number of chronically homeless individuals dropped by nearly 15% and veterans experiencing homelessness declined by nearly 9%. Conducted by the state’s 16 designated Continuums of Care and supported by the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development, the Point-in-time Count is a count and survey of homeless persons on a single night in January by local homelessness service providers.
 
In Fiscal Year 2020, the state’s housing department allocated nearly $7.8 million in CDBG funding by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. In addition to the homelessness awards, CDBG funding is being used for previously announced community development and infrastructure projects and special projects across the state.
 
For more information on Maryland’s homelessness reduction initiatives, visit: https://dhcd.maryland.gov/HomelessServices/.

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Man Sentenced to 43 Years in Prison for Sexually Assaulting Two Juveniles

LA PLATA, MD—Tony Covington, State’s Attorney for Charles County, announced that on Friday, December 13, 2019, Charles County Circuit Court Judge H. James West sentenced Sherman Kelly, Jr., 40 of Waldorf, to 43 years in prison for Sexual Abuse of a Minor, Third-Degree Sex Offense, and two counts of Production of Child Pornography.

 

On July 2, 2019, Kelly entered a guilty plea to the above listed charges in Charles County Circuit Court. 

 

On December 20, 2018, officers made contact with the victim and her mother after receiving a report of an assault. The then 14-year-old victim reported that Kelly had repeatedly sexually assaulted her over the span of approximately six months. The last assault occurred the prior day when Kelly had sexual intercourse with her inside of her Waldorf residence. The victim disclosed the assaults to her mother during the early morning hours of December 20; her mother then contacted the police. 

 

During the course of the investigation, pictures were discovered of the victim in a state of undress from a camera that Kelly placed inside of the victim’s bathroom.

 

It was also revealed that Kelly sexually assaulted a 12-year-old relative of the victim. On several occasions, Kelly had the 12-year-old victim perform sexual acts in exchange for cell phone usage.

 

Before sentencing Kelly, Judge West addressed the defendant, “these two girls have been through things that no one [their age] should go through. When you’re fourteen and twelve, you are more vulnerable. [The victims were] in a position where the person abusing [them] is also the person who is supposed to protect [them]. I imagine that’s confusing. You, for a large portion of their lives, were the biggest danger to them and the world is dangerous enough.”

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Motor Vehicle Collision Involving Pedestrian

On December 14, 2019, at 6:15 p.m. deputies from the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office responded to the area of Three Notch Road and Pegg Road in Lexington Park, for the reported motor vehicle collision involving a pedestrian. Upon arrival deputies determined a single vehicle had struck a pedestrian causing injury. The St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office Collision Reconstruction Unit responded to the scene and continued the investigation.
 
Preliminary investigation determined a 2004 Scion xB operated by Kyle Deven Shelnutt, age 20 of Drayden, was traveling southbound on Three Notch Road, and entered the right turn lane for Pegg Road. A pedestrian, later identified as Brandon Wayne Johnson, age 28 of Chesapeake Beach, entered the vehicle’s path of travel as he attempted to cross the southbound lanes of Three Notch Road. Johnson sustained incapacitating injuries and was transported via helicopter to an area trauma center and remains in critical condition. Shelnutt and his passenger, Jordan Michelle McLaughlin, age 21 of Ridge, were not transported from the scene.
 
At this time circumstances surrounding the collision remain under investigation. Anyone who witnessed the collision or events leading up to the collision is asked to contact Corporal Brian Connelly at (301) 475-4200 extension 8031 or by email at Brian.Connelly@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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Detectives Identify and Arrest Suspect in Kidnapping and Robbery Case

On December 14, Charles County Sheriff’s detectives charged Marc Christopher Brown, Jr., 26, of Waldorf, in connection with the December 11 kidnapping and robbery of a Waldorf woman. In that case, Brown broke into the victim’s residence through a window and was in the process of burglarizing her home when the victim entered her house. Brown confronted the victim, bound her hands and then forced her into her car. He drove the victim to various ATMs throughout the county and attempted to withdraw money from her account. After a long period of time, Brown left the victim in an isolated area of Accokeek. A passerby observed her walking in the roadway - barefoot and her hands tied together - and called police. Detectives worked closely with the victim throughout the day and night. Through their extensive investigation, detectives were able to identify the suspect and link him to the kidnapping as well as the burglary of the Waldorf AMF bowling alley. Brown has been charged with kidnapping, robbery, first-degree assault, home invasion and other related charges. He is being held with no bond at the Charles County Detention Center.

 

Investigators are still searching for the victim’s black 2010 Toyota Camry with Maryland tags 6BM 3802 which likely has damage to the rear of the car. There have been no other similar cases reported to the CCSO. Anyone with additional information about this case or the suspect is asked to contact Detective H. Burgess at (301) 609-6494. 

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Governor Hogan to Invest $130 Million More for Pre-K Expansion and Other Education Priorities

ANNAPOLIS, MD—Governor Larry Hogan today, following his recent announcement to launch the next chapter of education reform in Maryland, committed another $130 million in additional education spending, including prekindergarten expansion and Concentrations of Poverty Grants. The governor will also introduce new legislation to expand access to Advanced Placement (AP) tests for low-income students.
 
“I believe very strongly that every single child in Maryland deserves access to a world-class education, regardless of what neighborhood they happen to grow up in, and that commitment must begin with our youngest Marylanders,” said Governor Hogan. “Education has been, and will continue to be, our administration’s highest priority. With this funding, we are reaffirming our commitment to provide increased investment for our schools, more accountability for Maryland parents, teachers, and taxpayers, and most importantly, better results for our children.”
 
Pre-K Expansion
 
More than $100 million will be dedicated over the next two years to expand access to early support and interventions for young children and their families, including access to high-quality, full-day prekindergarten for three- and four-year-olds. In Fiscal Year 2020, $31.7 million in Pre-K Supplemental Grants provided funding for more than 8,000 four-year-olds in full-day Pre-K.
 
The governor also committed more than $30 million over two years to fund Concentration of Poverty Grants to provide full-time coverage of health care practitioners and community school coordinators. The funding would also include wraparound services for extended learning time, safe transportation to school, and additional social workers, mentors, counselors, and psychologists. This investment would allow the state to provide funding for a total of 309 local schools.
 
Since taking office, Governor Hogan has invested a record $32 billion in K-12 education and committed over $420 million above the current funding levels required by legislatively mandated formulas. Additionally, this year the governor released $255 million for the Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education’s Fiscal Year 2020 spending plan.
 
AP Opportunities Act of 2020
 
Governor Hogan committed to fund over $1 million with the AP Opportunities Act of 2020 to provide low-income students in Maryland access to AP tests free of charge. This legislation would cover the costs of over 25,500 AP exams.
 
“With this important legislation, we are giving deserving Maryland students from low-income families the opportunity to take AP exams free of charge,” said Governor Hogan. “We are excited to expand access to the AP program, which gives high school students the chance to pursue college-level studies, allows them to learn skills that are essential to college and career access, and provides students with an opportunity to save time and money through college placement and credit-granting policies.”

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Detectives Identify and Arrest Suspect in Homicide at Smallwood Village Center

Charles County Sheriff’s detectives have identified and arrested the suspect in the homicide of John Ercell Staton, 54, of Newburg, who was shot and killed on December 10 in the 100 block of Smallwood Village Center in Waldorf. The suspect, Fred Odell Scott Sr., 55, of Waldorf, was arrested on December 12 and charged with first-degree murder, first-degree assault, use of a firearm during the commission of a crime and other related charges. He is being held with no bond at the Charles County Detention Center. The suspect and victim were known to each other. The investigation is ongoing.

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Santana Sentenced to Life in Prison for Conspiracy to Commit Murder

LA PLATA, MD—Tony Covington, State’s Attorney for Charles County, announced that on Thursday, December 12, 2019, Charles County Circuit Court Judge Amy J. Bragunier sentenced Miguel Angel Santana, 29 of Waldorf, to life in prison for Conspiracy to Commit the First-Degree Murder of Lydell Wood and Possession of a Firearm with a Disqualifying Crime.

 

On April 3, 2019, a Charles County jury found Santana guilty of the above-mentioned charges.

 

On January 6, 2016, officers responded to the 2600 block of Rooks Head Place in Waldorf for the report of a shooting. Upon arrival, officers found one victim, Lydell Wood, with a single gunshot wound in his back. The victim succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced deceased. 

 

An investigation into the shooting revealed that an acquaintance of Wood got into a confrontation with Santana earlier that day while Wood and other men were present. The acquaintance brandished a handgun and shot at Santana. Wood had no involvement in the shooting. Santana fled the area unharmed and contacted co-defendant Antonio Ka-Juan Owens to help him retaliate.

 

Santana and Owens returned to the area in search of the person who shot at Santana earlier in the day. When Wood was spotted, Santana and Owens confronted him. Wood ran away after both men brandished guns. Santana and Owens gave chase and fired several gunshots, striking Wood in the back as he attempted to find safety and enter a house in the neighborhood. After the shooting, both men fled the area.

 

Santana was later identified as one of the shooters by witness testimony, as well as other extensive corroborating evidence.         

 

Co-defendant Owens was previously found guilty by a Charles County jury of First-Degree Murder and related charges for his involvement. He was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole plus 50 years in prison on August 30, 2018 by the Honorable Judge H. James West.

 

At sentencing, Assistant State’s Attorney Jonathan Beattie addressed the judge, “[the defendant] has shown a propensity for violence. Mr. Santana is a violent and dangerous person. There’s no other way to spin it. The only thing to look at is his history – and that is a very horrifying and dismal picture. The State asks that Your Honor incapacitates the defendant for as long as humanly possible to ensure he does not victimize anyone else in this community or another [community].”

 

Prior to his conviction for this case, Santana was convicted for the first-degree murder of another victim. Santana is serving life plus 105 years in a prison for that case. 

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Wanted Individuals-Fail to Register (Photos)

The St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office is seeking the whereabouts of the following convicted sex offenders who have failed to comply with the Maryland rules and regulations of the sex offender registry.
 
 
Gary Ignatius Branson, age 34 of Lexington Park
5’11” 230 pounds, brown eyes, black hair
 
Roger Glenn Chin, age 32 of Lexington Park
5’8” 170 pounds, brown eyes, brown hair
 
 
Phillip Chainey Farrell, age 33 of Coltons Point
5’9” 150 pounds, blue eyes, brown hair
 
Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Branson, Chin, or Farrell is asked to contact the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office at (301) 475-8008 or Detective Melissa Hulse at (301) 475-4200 extension *1996 or by email at Melissa.Hulse@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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