Star Local News Archives for 2020-05

Citizen Preparedness Urged for Atlantic Hurricane Season

The Atlantic hurricane season officially begins June 1 and the Calvert County Department of Public Safety, Emergency Management Division, urges citizen awareness and preparedness.
 
The Atlantic hurricane season lasts from June to November, but most hurricane-like weather occurs between mid-August and late October. Calvert County is at risk for strong winds, heavy rain, inland flooding and other severe weather. Residents can be “weather ready” by knowing how to receive information and warnings, having a plan and practicing safety during and after a storm.
 
The National Weather Service notes hurricanes can cause coastline damage and destruction for several hundred miles inland. Hurricanes often produce extreme winds, devastating high tides, flooding from torrential rains and even tornadoes.
 
Residents can take the following actions to prepare for severe weather:
 
·         Stay tuned to local radio and TV stations for official weather information, alerts and warnings.
 
·         Follow instructions and advice given by emergency officials.
 
·         Know your evacuation route and have an emergency shelter plan.
 
·         Remain indoors during a hurricane and away from windows and glass doors.
 
·         If you live in a mobile home, plan alternate shelter. Mobile homes are unsafe in high winds.
 
·         Have a family communication plan and easy-to-find meeting place in case you are separated when a storm or disaster strikes.
 
·         Consider specific needs of household members, such as medical needs, dietary needs, disabilities, languages spoken, pets or service animals, as well as babies and young children.
 
·         Build an emergency kit and store supplies in easy-to-carry containers. Recommended items for a basic kit include water, non-perishable food, battery-powered or hand crank radio, flashlight, first aid kit, whistle to signal for help, local maps, cell phone with chargers and backup battery, prescription medications, cash, important family documents, blankets and change of clothing. Prepare supplies for home, work and vehicles.
 
·         Fill a bathtub or large container with water for sanitary purposes such as for cleaning and flushing toilets. This is important for those whose water runs on an electrical system.
 
Residents are encouraged to stay informed and prepared in the event of an emergency by visiting www.CalvertCountyMd.gov/BeAwarePrepare and signing up for Calvert County ALERT to receive timely information about various emergency and non-emergency situations in the county. Calvert County ALERT messages can be received by cell phone, landline, email, text messaging, fax, pager and more.
 
While visiting the Be Aware and Prepare safety portal, citizens can register with Smart911 to create a safety profile for emergency communications. Smart911 is a free online service that allows individuals and families to automatically provide vital information to 911 call takers during an emergency. Citizens can also visit the portal to register individuals with special needs for the Calvert County Emergency Management special needs registry. Anyone who has unique needs that hinder or prevent them from taking protective actions during an emergency should sign up for the special needs registry.
 
The Department of Public Safety also offers a free “Prepare Me Calvert” app to put critical, real-time information at users’ fingertips in the event of a regional emergency and helps residents stay prepared. Those without internet can contact the Calvert County Division of Emergency Management at 410-535-1600, ext. 2638, to sign up for additional emergency preparedness information. To view more emergency-planning tips and information visit www.ready.gov.
 
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 Collaboration to Study COVID-19 in Wastewater

The St. Mary’s County Health Department (SMCHD), St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM), and the St. Mary’s County Metropolitan Commission (MetCom) have partnered on a pilot project to monitor the presence of COVID-19 in local wastewater. Detecting novel coronavirus in local wastewater before outbreaks of coronavirus disease happen allows for early public health intervention to suppress disease and readying of health care resources. 
 
“We need to think about the long-term with COVID-19. We may be dealing with this virus for years,” said Dr. Meena Brewster, St. Mary’s County Health Officer. “This pilot study on virus in wastewater helps us plan for longer-term monitoring. In the future, when this pandemic is over, we may have to play whack-a-rona with this virus - pick up on early signs of it re-emerging and aggressively implement public health measures to suppress it before it becomes an epidemic.”
 
“The Metropolitan Commission is excited about the opportunity to help quantify the scale of this virus and potentially determine if there is a population link to a specific wastewater treatment plant,” said George Erichsen, MetCom Executive Director. “MetCom facilities process wastewater produced by local residences and businesses so we have a perfect opportunity to work with the College and to provide the Health Officer with background data that could be used in science–based recovery recommendations.”
 
“St. Mary’s College is happy to lend its expertise to this important local initiative that may prove beneficial for the citizens of the state beyond the county,” said Dr. Tuajuanda Jordan, St. Mary’s College President. “This collaborative partnership between St. Mary’s College, the St. Mary’s County Health Department and MetCom is supported by our local COVID-19 Scientific Advisory Group and is the first of its kind in Maryland.”  
 
MetCom is providing wastewater samples from all county wastewater treatment plants to SMCM, and SMCHD is supporting laboratory supplies for SMCM so faculty from the biology department can process the wastewater samples in their laboratories.  As expected, early results of this pilot study confirm the presence of SARS-CoV-2 in local wastewater. Based on results from the pilot study, SMCHD epidemiologists and faculty from the SMCM biology and mathematics departments will work together to develop a longer-term sampling protocol in order to monitor for the presence of SARS-CoV-2 in the community and inform public health decision making.
 
 
For more information about COVID-19, please visit http://www.smchd.org/coronavirus/. Community members may call the COVID-19 Community Hotline at 301-475-4911 Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. for COVID-19 information. 

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Charles County Commissioners Announce Approval of Outdoor Dining, Additional Activities Beginning May 29

On Thursday, May 28, the Board of Commissioners held a special meeting to discuss completion of Stage One of Maryland’s “Roadmap to Recovery.”  They voted unanimously to move forward with outdoor dining, opening of outdoor pools and other activities in accordance with Stage One of Governor Hogan’s executive order that becomes effective at 5 p.m. on Friday, May 29.

 

This decision authorizes the following businesses and activities to resume beginning at 5 p.m. on Friday, May 29:

 

Restaurants as well as social organizations such as American legions, VFWs, and Elks Clubs may begin to safely re-open for outdoor dining only; following strict public health requirements in accordance with the governor’s orders.
Outdoor pools may also reopen in accordance with strict safety guidelines, including 25 percent capacity restrictions and strict physical distancing and sanitization measures.
Youth sports and youth day camps may also resume, operating under strict safety protocols and capacity limitations.
Businesses are advised that an online permit application for a temporary outside service area will be available after 5 p.m. today along with guidance documents regarding the opening requirements at [www.CharlesCountyMd.gov]www.CharlesCountyMd.gov.  This application must be completed and returned prior to opening to the public.

 

Charles County Commissioners previously initiated the County’s initial move to Stage One, which allows certain retail businesses, houses of worship, and other personal services to re-open on Friday, May 29.

 

This decision authorizes the following businesses and activities to resume during their normal business hours beginning on Friday, May 29:

 

Retail businesses may re-open to 50 percent of their normal capacity, with curbside pickup and delivery strongly encouraged. Examples of retail businesses that may re-open include clothing and shoe stores, pet groomers, animal adoption shelters, car washes, and bookstores. Enclosed malls may not re-open at this time, except for stores with access to the public directly from the outside. St. Charles Town Center Mall is planning for the re-opening of certain stores with outside access beginning next week.
Churches and houses of worship may begin to hold religious services, up to 50 percent capacity, with outdoor services strongly encouraged.
A limited number of personal services, including barber shops and hair salons, may re-open with up to 50 percent capacity, by appointment only. Nail salons and establishments that provide esthetic services, tattoo parlors, tanning salons, and massage parlors must remain closed to the public at this time.
Before making these decisions, Commissioners received briefings to gather data and other relevant information from County Attorney Wes Adams; Dr. Howard Haft, who is county’s response to COVID-19 for the Charles County Health Department; Director of the Department of Emergency Services Michelle Lilly; CEO of Charles Regional Medical Center Noel Cervino; and Chair of the Charles County Chamber of Commerce Tom Blandford. After considering the feedback, legal advice, and additional information from public health experts, they decided to move forward with the decision to gradually expand the re-opening of more businesses and activities in Charles County.

 

“Charles County’s decision to completely implement Stage One of the Governor’s Roadmap to Recovery depends on each one of us,” stated Commissioner President Reuben B. Collins, II, Esq. “As we gradually re-open for business, the health and safety of our community can only be ensured if every retailer, restaurant owner, personal services provider, and each customer they serve do their part. That means continuing to wear face masks, maintain social distancing, ensure frequent handwashing, and follow strict cleaning protocols.”

 

Residents are advised to assess their own health situation before deciding to head out to newly opened establishments. For the latest updates on the Coronavirus, including how to protect yourself and what to do if you suspect you are infected, visit www.CharlesCountyMD.gov. Re-opening guidance for public spaces, workplaces, and businesses is available at Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at www.cdc.gov.

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

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Update: School Feeding Programs

LEONARDTOWN, MD – St. Mary’s County Public Schools (SMCPS), in partnership with St. Mary’s County Department of Social Services, St. Mary’s County Health Department, and the St. Mary’s County Department of Emergency Services has engaged the assistance of local food service facilities to ensure continued safe food distribution to families with children. Food will be prepared and packaged in off-site food service facilities licensed and inspected by the St. Mary’s County Health Department and brought to the schools for distribution. 

 

No contact, drive-up meal service will take place on Friday, May 29, 2020.  Services are also scheduled for next week, Monday through Wednesday June 1 - June 3, 2020, at the locations listed below from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. daily.

 

Leonardtown Elementary School

22885 Duke Street

Leonardtown, MD 20650

 

Greenview Knolls Elementary School

45711 Military Lane

Great Mills, MD 20634

 

Margaret Brent Middle School

29675 Point Lookout Road

Mechanicsville, MD 20659

 

Lexington Park Elementary School

46763 Shangri-La Drive

Lexington Park, MD 20653

 

Meals will be offered to all children 18 years and younger free of charge. Parents and children can drive up to these locations and receive meals that they can take home during current school closures. For questions regarding the lunch service program, please email foodservice@smcps.org.

 

For local COVID-19 data, updates and information, please visit www.smchd.org/coronavirus or call the COVID-19 Community Hotline at (301) 475-4911 Monday – Friday from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

 

For information on St. Mary’s County Government Operations and Updates please visit our website at www.stmarysmd.com/covid-19/updates/.

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Governor Hogan Announces Resumption of Outdoor Dining, Additional Activities to Complete Stage One of Recovery

Youth Sports, Day Camps, Outdoor Pools Can Reopen Under Strict Protocols and Public Health Guidance
Maryland’s Positivity Rate Has Dropped By More Than Half Since Peaking on April 7; State Adds New Data to Public Dashboard
Maryland Reaches Goal of 10,000 Tests Per Day, Has Completed More Than 300,000 COVID-19 Tests
Will Continue Flexible, Community-Based Approach for Reopening; Nearly All Jurisdictions Have Entered or Announced Plans to Enter Stage One
 
ANNAPOLIS, MD—Governor Larry Hogan today announced that due to successful Stage One reopenings across the state and improvements in key data and metrics, the State of Maryland can now safely move forward with the completion of Stage One of the ‘Maryland Strong: Roadmap to Recovery,’ which includes the resumption of outdoor dining and outdoor activities such as youth sports and youth day camps, and the reopening of outdoor pools and drive-in movie theaters.
 
Stage One will continue to be implemented with a flexible, community-based approach that empowers individual jurisdictions to make decisions regarding the timing of reopenings. As of today, 23 of Maryland’s 24 jurisdictions have entered or announced their plan to begin entering Stage One.
 
“Though we continue to make great progress toward recovery, COVID-19 is still very much a deadly threat, and our responsible behavior is absolutely critical in the continued efforts to defeat it,” said Governor Hogan. “Thankfully, the vast majority of our citizens clearly understand that while doing things like avoiding crowds, practicing distancing, and wearing masks may be inconvenient, that these are some of the best tools we have to continue to slow the spread of this virus, and to put us in a position to rebuild and restore our economy, and to finally defeat this invisible enemy.”
 
MARYLAND’S POSITIVITY RATE HAS DROPPED BY HALF, NEW DATA NOW AVAILABLE. Maryland has now reached the goal of conducting 10,000 tests in a day, and has completed more than 300,000 COVID-19 tests statewide. With the state’s expanded testing and tracing capacity, Maryland now has the ability to take a closer and more accurate look at positivity rates—another important indicator of the recovery and a key metric being used by the CDC and other states to track the containment progress of COVID-19.
 
Building on Maryland’s data-driven approach, Governor Hogan unveiled positivity rate data for the state showing that Maryland’s statewide positivity rate peaked at 26.91% on April 7. Since then, it has dropped by more than half, down to 12.8%. This data is now available on the state’s public health dashboard.
 
LOWER RISK DOES NOT MEAN NO RISK. Governor Hogan continued to stress the importance of staying home as much as possible, avoiding crowds of people, teleworking when possible, practicing physical distancing, wearing masks in indoor public areas, and avoiding public transportation unless it is absolutely necessary.
 
Stage One Activities Effective Friday, May 29, at 5:00 pm:
 
OUTDOOR DINING. Restaurants as well as social organizations such as American Legions, VFWs, and Elks Clubs will be able to begin safely reopening for outdoor dining following strict public health requirements consistent with the CDC, FDA, and the National Restaurant Association.
 
Restaurants must:
 
Ensure patrons are appropriately distanced with no more than six people seated at a table, with the exception of members of the same household.
Ensure patrons are seated at least six feet away from each other, except for households seated together.
Use single-use disposable paper menus or sanitize reusable menus between each seating.
Sanitize outdoor tables and chairs between each customer seating.
Train staff in current COVID-19 health and workplace guidelines.
Begin screening procedures including daily temperature checks of all staff.
Ensure staff wear masks or face coverings when interacting with other employees or patrons.
In an effort to promote safer dining and support the restaurant industry, the governor is encouraging local jurisdictions to expand the footprint of outdoor dining by allowing for the closing of streets and expanding into parking lots and public outdoor spaces.
 
Guidance and best practices for restaurants.
 
YOUTH SPORTS. Outdoor youth sports may resume following appropriate CDC guidelines including:
 
Limited, low-contact outdoor practices focused on individual skill building versus competition.
Limited group sizes.
Limited touching of shared equipment and gear.
The ability to engage in physical distancing while not actively engaged in play.
Guidance and best practices for youth sports.
 
YOUTH DAY CAMPS. Outdoor activities at youth day camps may resume under the following guidance:
 
Capacity limitation of no more than 10 individuals in a group.
Daily COVID symptom checks for youth camp staff and campers.
No out-of-state or overnight campers will be permitted.
Physical distancing and masks will be required for all staff and campers.
Department of Health directives regarding youth camp programs.
Guidance and best practices for youth day camps.
 
OUTDOOR POOLS. All outdoor pools may reopen with strict safety guidelines including:
 
25% capacity restrictions.
Strict physical distancing and sanitization measures.
Patrons will be required to sign-in and sign-out.
All pools will be required to post signage warning anyone who is sick not to enter.
Department of Health directives regarding swimming pools.
Guidance and best practices for outdoor pools.
 
STAGE TWO. Governor Hogan noted that health officials will continue to watch the data closely, and if these encouraging trends continue into next week, the state will then be in a position to move into Stage Two of the recovery, which would mean lifting the order on non-essential businesses.

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Local COVID-19 Testing Expanded

In order to expand COVID-19 testing access for St. Mary’s County residents the St. Mary’s County Health Department (SMCHD) will begin operating drive-thru testing sites in various locations throughout the community. Testing has been scheduled for the following date, time, and location - additional sites will be announced on later dates.
 
 
June 3, 2020 from 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. (while supplies last)
Mechanicsville Volunteer Fire Department - Station 22
29848 Therese Cir, Mechanicsville, MD 20659
 
 
Pre-registration for this testing event is available by calling the COVID-19 Community Hotline at (301) 475-4911 by 5:00 p.m. on June 2, 2020 (open Monday - Friday between 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.). Pre-registration is not required, however, those who pre-register may have reduced wait times, depending on volume. 
 
In order to be tested at these sites, individuals must:
 
Be a St. Mary’s County resident
Present a photo ID
Remain in their vehicle with the windows rolled up until it is time to receive their test - A clinician will come out to your vehicle
If you have insurance coverage, please bring your insurance card with you to the testing site. Insurance coverage is not required and testing is provided free of charge (no out-of-pocket cost, co-payment, co-insurance, etc.) to all residents.
 
Additionally, appointment-free drive-thru testing continues to be available Monday through Friday from 12:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. outside of the Outpatient Pavilion at MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital. An order for testing from a doctor, pharmacist or the COVID-19 Community Hotline is required for testing through the MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital drive-thru.
  
COVID-19 testing requires a swab to be inserted into the back of the person’s nostril for several seconds. Most individuals experience minor discomfort at most. All tested individuals will receive information with further instructions at the test site and should continue to self-isolate at home while waiting for results, which should be available within approximately two to five days.
 
Community members, healthcare providers, and local business owners are encouraged to visit the St. Mary’s County Health Department’s website for local COVID-19 updates, data and information at www.smchd.org/coronavirus.

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UPDATE: Identity Needed for Theft and Fraud Suspect

The suspect has been identified
 
The St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office is seeking the identity of the person pictured in a theft and fraud investigation. On Friday, May 15, 2020 at 9:04 am, the suspect used the victim’s credit cards to make fraudulent purchases at the California Walmart store. The victim’s wallet was stolen from a parked car at the 45400 block of Buttercup Lane in Great Mills the night before.
 
 
Anyone with information about the identity of the suspect or this incident is asked to call Deputy Tyler Westphal at 301-475-4200, ext. 78017 or email tyler.westphal@stmarysmd.com. Case # 32564-20
 
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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News Release: School Feeding Programs Closed Thursday 5-28-20 Due to COVID-19 Outbreak

An outbreak of COVID-19 has been identified involving St. Mary’s County Public Schools (SMCPS) employees; the public health response involves universal testing of individuals working in the food preparation and distribution system for Community Feeding Programs. As a result, the SMCPS drive-up meal service at all locations will be closed Thursday, May, 28, 2020 for deep cleaning and employee testing.
 
“Thankfully, exposure risk to community members who received food through the SMCPS drive-up meal service is extremely low as distribution did not involve close contact between staff and those picking up food,” said Dr. Meena Brewster, St. Mary’s County Health Officer. “Our health department is working very closely with SMCPS to investigate and respond to this situation.”
 
SMCPS is working with St. Mary’s County Department of Social Services, St. Mary’s County Health Department, and the St. Mary’s County Department of Emergency Services to organize a backup food distribution mechanism that will commence on Friday, May 29, 2020 after the deep cleaning is complete.
 
“We are doing everything we can to establish a new process for food pick-up while ensuring the safety of our team members and of the families who rely on these meals,” said Dr. James Scott Smith, St. Mary’s County Superintendent.
 
Further information/updates to meal distribution through the Community Feeding Program may be forthcoming. 
 
For local COVID-19 data, updates and information, please visit www.smchd.org/coronavirus or call the COVID-19 Community Hotline at (301) 475-4911 Monday – Friday from 8 a.m  – 5 p.m.

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Public Notification: Interruption of Public Water Supply for Town Creek Residents

LEONARDTOWN, MD (May 27, 2020) – The St. Mary’s County Metropolitan Commission (Metcom) is reporting a public water main leak located in the area of Gunston Drive and Spruce Drive in Town Creek. The water main will require scheduled repairs and may result in a temporary interruption of water supply. Metcom plans to perform this work during off peak hours beginning at approximately 9 a.m. on May 27, 2020. Repairs are expected to take approximately 4 hours to complete.  For additional information, please contact St. Mary’s County Metropolitan Commission at (301) 373-5305.

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St. Mary's County Approves Covid-19 Small Business And Nonprofit Relief Fund

LEONARDTOWN, MD - On Tuesday, May 5, 2020, the Commissioners of St. Mary’s County approved the St. Mary’s County COVID-19 Small Business and Nonprofit Relief Fund. St. Mary’s County recognizes that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused economic hardship for many small businesses and nonprofit agencies. To provide local relief from this hardship, St. Mary’s County has established the COVID-19 Small Business and Nonprofit Relief Fund to support businesses and agencies during this time.
 
The new grant program will have a maximum budget of $2 million. The goal is to provide grants to support certain small businesses and nonprofit agencies, based in St. Mary’s County that have realized significant financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. Therefore, this relief program targets businesses and nonprofits with 30 or less FTE employees that have experienced a drop-in revenue of at least 50%.
 
Grants may be used for working capital to support payroll expenses, rent, mortgage payments, utility expenses, or other similar expenses that occur in the ordinary course of business.
 
Small businesses and nonprofits will have access to grant funding up to $7,500. Entities with 15 or less employees are eligible for grants of $5,000 and entities with 16 to 30 employees are eligible for grants of $7,500 (grant amount not to exceed yearly average of two months revenue).
 
Eligible businesses and nonprofits can submit an online application starting at 11 a.m. Tuesday, June 2, 2020, at  https://www.yesstmarysmd.com/grants/
 
Applicants are encouraged to visit the grant portal at any time before June 2 for more information on required documents, applicant eligibility, a sample application and to create a user account before submission of the application.
 
The application portal will be open until 325 qualified applications have been received.
 
If you have any questions, please contact Kellie Hinkle, Deputy Director, St. Mary’s County Department of Economic Development at Kellie.Hinkle@StMarysMD.com  or at 240-925-7178.

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Calvert County Sheriff's Office Incident Report

Burglary: 20-25890
 
On May 21, 2020, Deputy Plant responded to Plum Point Road in Huntingtown for the report of a burglary. The complainant advised sometime between May 3rd, and May 15th, an unknown suspect(s) had broken padlock on the door of the residence and stolen various items from the kitchen and living areas. The total value of stolen property is $815.00. 
 
Damaged Property: 20-25721
On May 20, 2020, Deputy Gilmore responded to Fastop in Chesapeake Beach for the report of damaged property. The complainant advised that three male suspects approached his vehicle while parked at the rear of the building and threw a beer can, leaving a dent on the rear driver’s side door. The value of damaged property is $450.00.
 
Theft: 20-25207
On May 18, 2020, Deputy Kwitowski met with a complainant who was reporting a theft. The complainant advised sometime between 7:00am on May 14th and 9:00am on May 18th, an unknown suspect(s) stole their trailer tag. The value of stolen property is $20.00.
 
Theft: 20-26074
 On May 22, 2020, Deputy Hardy was contacted by a complainant who was reporting a theft that occurred on Castesby Oak Court in Port Republic. The complainant advised sometime between 2:47pm on May 11th and 12:00pm on May 12th, a package that was delivered was stolen from their mailbox. The value of stolen property is $98.00. 
 
Arrests:
 
On May 20, 2020, Deputy Plant responded to Calvert Health Medical Center in Prince Frederick for the report of a disorderly subject. Upon arrival, Deputy Plant met with the complainants who advised a female subject was discharged, but was refusing to leave the Emergency Room. Deputy Plant met with the female subject, Kylie Renee Letcher (19), who refused to speak with Deputy Plant. When Deputy Lewis arrived on scene to assist, Letcher ignored multiple questions and commands given by the deputies and was eventually assisted out of the hospital. Outside, Letcher began shouting and acting disorderly and ignored deputies commands to leave the premises. Letcher was then placed under arrest and transported to the Calvert County Detention Center where she was charged with Trespass: Private Property, and Disorderly Conduct.
 
On May 21, 2020, Deputy W. McDowell conducted a traffic stop on South Solomons Island Road at German Chapel Road. Upon making contact with the driver, Dondre Phylep Jones (22), Deputy McDowell detected the odor of marijuana emanating from the vehicle. Jones admitted to having marijuana on his person, and a search of the vehicle was conducted which resulted in a large sum of US currency, two heat sealed bags containing suspected marijuana and a digital scale. Jones was placed under arrest and a search of his person was conducted, resulting in additional US currency. Jones was transported to the Calvert County Detention Center where he was charged with CDS: Possession with Intent to Distribute, and CDS: Possession of Marijuana 10 GM+. 
 
On May 21, 2020, Deputy Plant responded to Wawa in Prince Frederick for a welfare check. The complainant advised a vehicle was parked in the rear of the building near the dumpster. Upon arrival, Deputy Plant and Detective Rector made contact with the driver, Brian Joseph Morgan (36), who was asked to exit the vehicle. Morgan advised deputies that he had smoked marijuana in the vehicle. A search was conducted which resulted in a prescription bottle containing suspected marijuana and a glass smoking device, a Newport Cigarette box containing two glass smoking devices with suspected crack residue and steel wool, two Suboxone packets, a black and gold paper pouch containing suspect THC Wax, and rolled up currency with suspected crack residue. Morgan was detained and a search of his person was conducted resulting in a paper fold in his wallet containing suspected LSD tabs. Morgan was placed under arrest and was transported to the Calvert County Detention Center where he was charged with CDS: Possession- Not Marijuana, and CDS: Possession of Paraphernalia. 

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Calvert County Division of Emergency Management to Test Alert and Notification System Sirens June 1, 2020

The Calvert County Department of Public Safety, Division of Emergency Management, will conduct a full-cycle test of the alert and notification sirens throughout Calvert, St. Mary’s and Dorchester counties Monday, June 1, 2020, at noon.
 
The full-cycle test includes a three-minute activation of all sirens within the 10-mile area around Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant. All citizens are asked to remember the scheduled testing and relay the information to friends, family and neighbors.
 
The testing is conducted to check siren operation and increase public awareness of the alert and notification siren system. If the sirens sound at any other time, residents should tune to one of the local radio stations listed below for information and instructions.
 
Emergency Alert System stations include:
 
WPTX 1690 AM Lexington Park  WMDM 97.7 FM Lexington Park          WTOP 103.5 FM Washington, D.C.                                         
 
WKIK 1560 AM La Plata              WKIK 102.9 FM California                    WPRS 104.1 FM Waldorf
 
WSMD 98.3 FM Mechanicsville    WNNT 107.5 FM Warsaw                      WGOP 540 AM Pocomoke
 
WCEM 1240 AM Cambridge        WCEM 106.3 FM Cambridge                 WCEI 96.7 FM Easton
 
WRAR 105.5 FM Tappahannock   WKHZ 1460 AM Easton           
 
Residents are encouraged to stay informed and prepared in the event of an emergency by visiting www.CalvertCountyMd.gov/BeAwarePrepare and signing up for Calvert County ALERT to receive timely information about various emergency and non-emergency situations in the county. Calvert County ALERT messages can be received by cell phone, landline, email, text messaging, fax, pager and more.
 
While visiting the new Be Aware and Prepare safety portal, citizens can register with Smart911 to create a safety profile for emergency communications. Smart911 is a free online service that allows individuals and families to automatically provide vital information to 911 call takers during an emergency. Citizens can also visit the portal to register individuals with special needs for the Calvert County Emergency Management special needs registry. Anyone who has unique needs that hinder or prevent them from taking protective actions during an emergency should sign up for the special needs registry.
 
The Department of Public Safety also offers a free “Prepare Me Calvert” app to put critical, real-time information at users’ fingertips in the event of a regional emergency and helps residents stay prepared. Those without internet can contact the Calvert County Division of Emergency Management at 410-535-1600, ext. 2638, to sign up for additional emergency preparedness information.
 
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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Vehicle Gathering in Mechanicsville Dispersed

On Saturday, May 23, 2020 at approximately 10:10 p.m., deputies from the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office responded to the 37700 block of Golden Beach Road (Charlotte Hall Park and Ride) in Mechanicsville, for the reported traffic complaint called in by the Charles County Sheriff’s Office. Charles County Sheriff’s Office advised approximately 400 vehicles left their jurisdiction and were heading into St. Mary’s County.
 
Deputies arrived on scene and observed numerous vehicles along Golden Beach Road and in both the Park and Ride lot as well as the Social Security Administration parking lot. As officers arrived, numerous people dispersed the area on foot and in vehicles. Several traffic stops were conducted for violations and 13 citations were issued. One vehicle was towed from the scene as a result. It took approximately 30-45 minutes for deputies to disperse the vehicles from the area.
 
The St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office remains diligent during this time in enforcing social distancing guidelines decreed by Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan. Deputies are currently reviewing film and video evidence obtained from this incident to identify operators and owners of vehicles for possible additional traffic/criminal charges.
 
Anyone with information or videos/pictures of this incident is asked to contact Deputy Dianne Hersh at (301) 475-4200 extension 78155 or by email at Dianne.Hersh@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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Motor Vehicle Collision in Mechanicsville Under Investigation

On May 25, 2020, at 1:30 p.m. deputies from the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office responded to the 27400 block of North Sandgates Road in Mechanicsville, for the reported motor vehicle collision. Deputies arrived on scene and located a vehicle and motorcycle involved in the collision. The St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office Collision Reconstruction Unit responded to the scene and continued the investigation.
 
Preliminary investigation determined a 2017 Ford Explorer operated by Thomas Van Oudenaren, age 55 of Great Mills, was traveling north on North Sandgates Road and attempted to make a left turn into a private driveway. Van Oudenaren failed to yield the right of way to a 2008 Harley Davidson Motorcycle operated by a 75-year-old male from Waldorf. The operator of the motorcycle and a 59-year-old female passenger from Waldorf, were both ejected from the motorcycle. Both the operator and passenger of the motorcycle were transported via helicopter to area trauma centers.
 
Van Oudenaren was assessed on the scene by emergency medical personnel and not transported for treatment. Deputies on scene determined that Van Oudenaren had been operating his vehicle while impaired by alcohol at the time of the collision. Van Oudenaren was arrested and charged with Driving Vehicle While Impaired by Alcohol.
 
Anyone with information on this collision is asked to contact Corporal Christopher Beyer at 301-475-4200 extension 78004 or by email at Christopher.Beyer@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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YMCA Exploratory Committee to Hold Rescheduled Meeting via Teleconference

LEONARDTOWN, MD - NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that the YMCA Exploratory Committee will hold a rescheduled meeting via teleconference Wednesday, June 3, 2020, at 6 p.m. in the Commissioners Meeting Room located in the Chesapeake Building, 41770 Baldridge Street in Leonardtown, MD discuss their final report. 
 
The regular meeting scheduled for March 19, 2020, was canceled but has been rescheduled for June 3, 2020, at 6 p.m. and will be held via teleconference. Due to social distancing guidelines at this time, the meeting will not be open to the public. While the public is not allowed to be physically present, the public may listen to the meeting by calling 301-579-7236; Access code: 963443 While citizens may listen only, you are encouraged to submit your comments via video clip (under 3 minutes please) and email them by June 1, 2020, to PublicMtgs@stmarysmd.com.  Press may attend.
 
If the Public Gathering/Social Distance guidance cannot be followed, the meeting will be canceled/rescheduled.
 
For more information, please contact SMCG Staff Contact at  diane.gleissner@stmarysmd.com.
 
Appropriate accommodations for individuals with special needs will be provided upon request.  In order to meet these requirements, we respectfully ask for one week’s prior notice.  Please contact the County Commissioners Office at 301-475-4200, Ext. 71707.  Proceedings may be televised live and/or recorded for later broadcast on television.  All content of these proceedings is subject to disclosure under the Maryland Public Information Act.  Photographic and electronic audio and visual broadcasting and recording devices may be used during the YMCA Exploratory Committee meetings. These are public meetings and attendance at these meetings automatically grants St. Mary’s County Government permission to broadcast your audio and visual image.

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Motor Vehicle Collision in Leonardtown Under Investigation

On May 25, 2020, at approximately 3:15 p.m. deputies from the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office responded to the 22000 block of Newtowne Neck Road in Leonardtown, for the reported motor vehicle collision. Deputies arrived on scene and located two vehicles involved. The St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office Collision Reconstruction Unit responded to the scene and continued the investigation.
 
Preliminary investigation determined a 2015 Mazda 3 operated by Corey Michael Brooks, age 32 of Clements, was traveling south on Newtowne Neck Road in the area of Rosebank Court, when for unknown reasons the vehicle crossed the centerline into the opposite travel lane. The Mazda 3 collided with a 2014 Ford Focus operated by Jonathan Eric Payer, age 51 of Leonardtown. Brooks was transported to an area trauma center via helicopter with incapacitating injuries. Payer was assessed on scene by emergency medical personnel and not transported for treatment.
 
At this time, the circumstances surrounding the collision remain under investigation. Anyone who witnessed the collision, that has not provided a statement to law enforcement is asked to contact Deputy First Class Shawn Shelko at (301) 475-4200 extension 78147 or by email at Shawn.Shelko@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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FDR Boulevard Extension Road Opening from Monterey Lane to Kinnegad Drive/Castletown Way

LEONARDTOWN, MD - Please be advised that on Tuesday, June 9, 2020, the roadway extension of FDR Boulevard, from Monterey Lane (Private) to the roundabout at the intersection of Kinnegad Drive/Castletown Way (Private) for a length of 0.28 mile, will be open to traffic.
 
Construction completion will provide a connection to the current end of Amber Drive at the intersection of Kinnegad Drive/Castletown Way (Private), located in Great Mills, MD, within the Hickory Hills community. Amber Drive was previously reconstructed as part of the FDR Boulevard project. A road renaming will occur June 9, changing the road name of Amber Drive to FDR Boulevard.
 
The extension and connection of the FDR Boulevard roadway will allow traffic to flow between MD 4 - St. Andrews Church Road and MD 237 - Chancellors Run Road. Due to this extension and connection, additional traffic volume will occur within the Laurel Glen, Beverly Hills and Hickory Hills communities. Pedestrians and cyclists should be aware of the increased vehicular traffic and use only designated crosswalk locations for crossing FDR Boulevard.
 
Citizens with questions about the roadway extension of FDR Boulevard and the renaming of Amber Drive to FDR Boulevard can contact the Department of Public Works and Transportation at 301-475-4200 ext. 73525.

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Identity Needed for Theft Suspect

May 26, 2020:
 
The St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office is seeking the identity of the person pictured in a theft investigation. On Wednesday, May 20, 2020 at 7:30 pm, the suspect stole the tip jar from the Ledo Pizza restaurant in Leonardtown. The suspect was described as a white male wearing a red puffy jacket.
 
 
Anyone with information about the identity of the suspect or this incident is asked to call Deputy Robert Chase at 301-475-4200, ext. 78079 or email robert.chase@stmarysmd.com. Case # 31838-20
 
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 Seek Public's Help Locating Missing Juvenile

Charles County Sheriff’s detectives are seeking the public’s help in locating Jelani Isreal Freeman, 12, of Waldorf who was reported missing on May 23. He was last seen on May 22 at approximately 10 p.m. in the 8700 block of Bancroft Drive in Waldorf. Freeman is 5’2” and weighs about 125 lbs. Family members believe he is in the Washington, DC area. Detectives are pursuing leads and ask that anyone with information regarding Freeman’s whereabouts call Detective K. Goddard at 301-609-6428. The investigation is ongoing.

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Drive-Thru COVID-19 Testing & Community Hotline Memorial Day Closure

Due to the Memorial Day holiday on Monday, May 25, the St. Mary’s County Drive-Thru COVID-19 Testing Site at the MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital will be closed. Drive-thru testing will resume normal hours on Tuesday, May 26 (12:00 – 4:00 p.m.).
 
Testing is offered in front of the Outpatient Pavilion at MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital. In order to be tested in the drive-thru, individuals must:
 
Have a doctor’s order for testing from a community health care professional or the Health Department, available through the COVID-19 Community Hotline (301-475-4911)
Present a valid photo ID and insurance card 
Remain in their vehicle with the windows rolled up until it is time to receive their test. An associate will come out to your vehicle.
 
The COVID-19 Community Hotline will also be closed, Monday, May 25, but will reopen for callers with COVID-19 questions on Tuesday, May 26. Regular business hours are Monday - Friday from 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
 
For more information regarding COVID-19 prevention, local data, symptoms and testing, please visit www.smchd.org/coronavirus.

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Woman Killed In Vehicle Accident In La Plata

(La Plata, Maryland) – On Thursday, May 21, 2020, at approximately 2348 hours, Troopers from the Maryland State Police La Plata Barrack responded for a report of a motor vehicle collision on Maryland Route 6 (Charles Street) in the area of Bel Alton Newtown Road in La Plata, Maryland. Due to the seriousness of the collision, the Maryland State Police La Plata Barrack requested a Collision Reconstruction Specialist (CRS) to assume the investigation. Trooper First Class M. Posch of the Maryland State Police Leonardtown Barrack responded as requested.
A preliminary investigation conducted by Troopers indicates a 2014 Nissan Sentra operated by Virginia Gayle Stout (53 yoa) of La Plata, Maryland was traveling eastbound on Maryland Route 6 in the area of Bel Alton Newtown Road. For reasons unknown, the Nissan traveled off the roadway and entered a ditch, traveled through a group of bushes and subsequently collided with a tree. Ms. Stout sustained injuries that were not compatible with life and was pronounced deceased on the scene.
 Anyone who may have witnessed this crash is asked to contact the Duty Officer at the
Maryland State Police La Plata Barrack at (301) 392-1200.
The investigation is continuing and being investigated by TFC B. Meurrens of the Maryland
State Police La Plata Barrack and TFC M. Posch (CRS) of the Maryland State Police Leonardtown Barrack. (20-MSP-016889)

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Calvert County Releases Flood Mitigation Plan Annual Progress Report

The Calvert County Department of Planning & Zoning announces the release of the Calvert County Flood Mitigation Plan Annual Progress Report.
 
The Flood Mitigation Plan Annual Progress Report can be viewed online at www.CalvertCountyMd.gov/FloodMitigationProgressReport.
 
Calvert County's Flood Mitigation Plan includes Calvert County’s flooding history, a description of flooding issues that impact the county, a flood vulnerability assessment, property protection measures and preventative measures. The plan was adopted in 2011.
 
Calvert County participates in the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Community Rating System (CRS) program, which requires the county to engage in activities that protect the 100-year floodplain, educate citizens and empower the community by providing 100-year floodplain information and data resources. To learn more about the CRS program in Calvert County, visit www.CalvertCountyMd.gov/1926/Community-Rating-System.
 
As of May 1, 2015, Calvert County’s participation in FEMA’s CRS program allows county residents who own property with structures within the 100-year floodplain to receive a discount on flood insurance premiums when renewing their policies.
 
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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Fatal Collision In Lexington Park Under Investigation

On May 21, 2020, at 5:25 a.m. deputies from the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office responded to the 21130 block of Three Notch Road in Lexington Park, for the reported motor vehicle collision. Deputies arrived on scene and located a truck and motorcycle involved in the collision. The St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office Collision Reconstruction Unit responded to the scene and continued the investigation.
 
Preliminary investigation determined a 2016 Chevrolet Colorado operated by Aaron Jacob Windsor, age 24 of Avenue, was traveling north on Three Notch Road and made a left-hand turn at the intersection with Hermanville Road. Windsor’s vehicle collided with a 2017 Indian Motorcycle travelling south bound on Three Notch Road operated by Marc Allen Guetschoff, age 61 of Lexington Park. Guetschoff was ejected from the motorcycle and pronounced deceased on the scene by emergency medical personnel.
 
At this time, speed, alcohol, and drug use do not appear to be factors in the collision. Anyone who witnessed the collision and has not yet provided a statement to law enforcement is asked to contact Corporal Vincent Pontorno at (301) 475-4200 extension 72337 or by email at Vincent.Pontorno@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

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2020 County Summer Camps Canceled Due to COVID-19 Concerns

The Department of Recreation, Parks, and Tourism has canceled all upcoming summer camps due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. Refunds will be issued for existing registrations. For questions regarding refunds, please contact the Department of Recreation, Parks, and Tourism Registration Office at 301-932-3470 or WebTrac@CharlesCountyMD.gov.

 

In addition to the camps, all sports practices and games, drop-in programs, activities, classes, and events hosted by the Department of Recreation, Parks, and Tourism will remain canceled until further notice. While traditional programs and camps are canceled, the Recreation, Parks, and Tourism staff will continue to work diligently with state and local agencies as well as public health officials to provide alternative and modified youth programming opportunities.  Virtual programs and classes are available through the Charles County Parks and Recreation Facebook page at www.facebook.com/CharlesCountyParksRecreation.

 

A full list of RPT closures and cancelations can be found at: www.CharlesCountyParks.com/about-us/covid-19.

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Testing of Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant Sirens

LEONARDTOWN, MD - There will be a full-cycle test of the alert and notification sirens throughout St. Mary’s, Calvert and Dorchester counties Monday, June 1, 2020, at noon.
 
This includes a three-minute activation of all sirens within the 10-mile area around Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant. All citizens are asked to remember the scheduled testing and relay the information to friends, family and neighbors.
 
The testing is conducted to check siren operation and increase public awareness of the alert and notification siren system. If the sirens sound at any other time, residents should tune to one of the local radio stations for information and instructions.
 
Knowing what to do before, during and after an emergency is a critical part of being prepared and may make all the difference, when seconds count.
 
To learn about Disasters & Hazards, Being Prepared and Being Informed visit:
 
www.co.cal.md.us/emergencymanagement.com
 
http://www.dorchestercntymd-ema.com
 
prepare.stmarysmd.com

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$2.9 Million Broadband Grant Awarded to Charles County

The Charles County Board of Commissioners are pleased to announce that the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development has approved Charles County’s funding request for the Fiscal 2020 Broadband Infrastructure Grant Program in the amount of $2,924,083. This grant was awarded to ThinkBig Networks, LLC. to provide rural broadband to Nanjemoy and Cobb Neck areas with a county match of $2,598,802.
 
Access to broadband in rural areas is an issue throughout the nation, and Charles County is no exception. Although the more populated areas of our county have access to high-speed internet, there are many homes and businesses in the less-populated areas that do not. For this reason, the Board of Commissioners included Infrastructure/Services, which included broadband access, in their 2019-2021 Goals and Objectives.
 
“We are pleased to receive this grant, which allows us to expand broadband access in some of the county’s rural areas. With this expansion, more Charles County residents and businesses will have access to the technology they need to stay connected to school, work, and commercial activities,” said Commissioner President Reuben B. Collins, II, Esq. “I applaud the tireless efforts of the Broadband Task Force to develop and move forward a successful plan to address the county's most urgent broadband needs."
 
The Broadband Task Force, composed of representatives from multiple County departments, Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative, Charles County Public Schools, and community stakeholders, worked tirelessly over the last year to develop an action plan for bringing broadband access to rural areas of the county. Under the leadership of Deborah Hall, Deputy County Administrator, and Evelyn Jacobson, Chief of IT, they successfully mapped areas of the county where access was needed, presented recommendations for expanded access, and sought out grant opportunities to pay for it. The complete member list of the Rural Broadband Taskforce is located at www.CharlesCountyMD.gov/our-county/rural-broadband-in-charles-county.
 
The support from our partnership agencies, such as ThinkBig Networks LLC., Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative, and Charles County Public Schools, as well as the many letters of support from County residents were instrumental in receiving this grant. The continued support from, and collaboration with, our partnership agencies will be essential to bring this project to its successful completion.
 
ThinkBig Networks CEO Mark Wagner said, “I am pleased that this grant allows us to use our expertise in providing a valuable service to Charles County residents and we are ready to move forward with construction.”
 
Construction of this project is expected to start summer of 2020 and take three years for completion.
 
For more information about the Maryland Broadband Infrastructure Grant Program, visit https://dhcd.maryland.gov/RuralBroadband.

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Identity Needed for Fraud and Vehicle Theft Suspect (Photos)

The St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office, as well as the Montgomery County Police Department, is seeking the identity of the person pictured. On Monday, March 30, 2020, the suspect used a fraudulent Maryland driver’s license as his identification and basis for a car loan to purchase a SUV from the Used Car Factory in Mechanicsville. The SUV is a black 2017 Dodge Durango with a red interior, which was seen on April 5, 2020 at National Harbor in Prince George’s County and on April 6, 2020 in Perryville in Cecil County.
 
 
Anyone with information about the identity of this suspect or this incident is asked to call Detective Cpl. David Potter at 301-475-4200, ext. 78037 or email david.potter@stmarysmd.com. Case # 31012-20
 
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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Calvert County Government Announces Memorial Day Schedule

PRINCE FREDERICK, Md. – May 20, 2020 – The Calvert County Board of County Commissioners announces county offices will be closed Monday, May 25, 2020, in observance of Memorial Day. In addition:
 
·         Meals on Wheels will not be delivered Monday, May 25. However, participants are provided shelf-stable meals in advance. Requests for meal delivery can be made through the Office on Aging at 410-535-4606 or OOAmailbox@calvertcountymd.gov.
 
·         There will be no county bus service Monday, May 25.
 
·         The Appeal Landfill and county convenience centers will be closed Monday, May 25.
 
·         The Water & Sewerage billing and customer service office, and the Solomons Septage Receiving Facility, will be closed Monday, May 25. On-call crews will be available for water and sewer service emergencies only at 410-535-3491.
 
·         Battle Creek Cypress Swamp will be closed.
 
·         Chesapeake Hills Golf Course will be open May 25 with normal hours. Golf carts are available for use but limited to one cart per person except individuals living in the same household. Modified policies and procedures for golfers and staff have been implemented to comply with distancing requirements and protective guidelines to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission. The course is open to all users.
 
·         Kings Landing Park will be open with normal operating hours.
 
·         Flag Ponds Nature Park will be open to Calvert County residents only. Hours of operation are Friday through Monday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Tuesday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
 
·         All recreation parks including Dunkirk, Hallowing Point, Cove Point and Solomons Town Center parks will be open. Parks close at civil twilight. Playgrounds, pavilions, skate parks, restrooms, athletic fields and basketball courts remain closed.
 
·         Breezy Point Beach & Campground will be open to Calvert County residents only. Current hours of operation are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and weekends and holidays, 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Breezy Point Beach is limited to 100 people. 
 
·         The Linda L. Kelley Animal Shelter and Animal Control Division will be closed Monday, May 25. The shelter will reopen Tuesday, May 26 by appointment only.
 
The following facilities remain closed until further notice as a preventative measure to help slow the spread of COVID-19:
 
·         County senior centers remain closed.
 
·         Community centers remain closed.
 
·         Calvert Library locations remain closed. Online services are available.
 
·         The Calvert Marine Museum and Museum Store remain closed. The Solomons Visitor Center, located in the museum, is also closed.
 
·         Kings Landing and Cove Point pools remain closed.
 
·         The Edward T. Hall Indoor Aquatic Center remains closed.
 
The county continues to share the latest updates surrounding Calvert County’s response to COVID-19 through a virtual resource center on its website, including any precautionary measures, guidance and closures. Residents, employees and media are encouraged to regularly monitor the page and use the resources available at www.CalvertCountyMd.gov/Coronavirus.
 
Information on Calvert County Government services can be found online at www.calvertcountymd.gov. Find Calvert County Government on Facebook.

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Commissioners Adopt Fiscal 2021 Budget

On Tuesday, May 19, the Board of County Commissioners adopted a balanced General Fund budget of $433,441,200, an increase of 2% over last year. The adopted budget protects County Government core services, exceeds maintenance of effort funding for Charles County Public Schools and preserves necessary operations for the Sheriff’s Office.
 
“The budget outlook changed significantly since we started this process due to the COVID-19 pandemic, yet despite a challenging budget outlook we prioritized funding education above maintenance of effort,” stated Commissioner President Reuben B. Collins, II, Esq. “Instead of making additional investments, we recognized we needed to limit new spending. We ensured where it was essential to enhance services to protect public health and safety, we did so, maintaining core services to our citizens who need it the most during this time of need.”
 
While revenue growth in property taxes has been stable, economic stability is more fragile due to the closure of all non-essential businesses and significant unemployment that has occurred during the COVID-19 public health emergency. To address the shortfall in revenue, the county did not fully fund the budget requests from Charles County Public Schools and the Sheriff’s Office, which comprises approximately 71 percent of the budget. The county’s executive leadership team also identified several internal government efficiencies to reduce expenditures in next year’s proposed budget.
 
Budget Highlights
 
The General Fund budget funds the ongoing costs of government, and includes:
 
$3.64 million increase for Charles County Public Schools, which exceeds maintenance of effort funding by $1.71 million. The total allocation, which also includes funding for the Charles County Public Library and College of Southern Maryland, is $210.1 million, or 48.5 percent, of the General Fund budget.
$1.61 million increase for the Sheriff’s Office, to fund two new school resources officers and includes supporting the volunteers in community services (VICS) program which is no longer self-sufficient. The total allocation is $96.37 million, or 22.2 percent of the General Fund budget.
$1.91 million increase for County Government operations, primarily to fund the additional emergency medical services crew in Waldorf, continues to support the mobile integrated health program for the medically underserved, and employment programs for our youth. The total allocation is $67.64 million, or 15.6 percent, of the General Fund budget.
$1.59 million increase for other local government functions, including the State’s Attorney’s Office and the health department for a new position to triage and fast track inspections, meet debt obligations for the capital improvement program, and other expenditures to facilitate Commissioners’ goals and objectives.
The $656.5 million, five-year capital improvement program (fiscal 2021-2025) funds one-time expenditures that pay for community assets (schools, roads, parks, water and sewer, etc.), and includes:
 
School modifications and improvements for Benjamin Stoddert Middle School and Eva Turner Elementary School and other school maintenance projects;
College of Southern Maryland projects, including Health Training Facility at the Hughesville campus and renovations and wastewater treatment plant replacement at the La Plata campus;
Transportation projects, including Western parkway, Old Washington Road reconstruction, and various upgrades;
Construction of new facilities, including the new animal shelter, a new EMS station in Pinefield, La Plata Library, and developing Waldorf park;
County technology investments to upgrade the radio communications system;
Support of conservation programs to protect the county’s natural resources;
Maintenance for county facilities, including the government building, the detention center and the Mattawoman Wastewater Treatment Plant.
The real property tax rate is $1.141 for County Government and $0.064 for Fire and Rescue per $100 of assessed value. The adopted fiscal 2021 budget details are available online at www.charlescountymd.gov/government/fiscal-and-administrative-services/budget/future-budget.

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Proposed Ordinance for Supplemental Appropriation to the County's FY2020 General Fund Operating Budget

LEONARDTOWN, MD - NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that the County Commissioners of St. Mary’s County will hold a Public Hearing Tuesday, June 2, 2020, at 9:15 a.m. in the Chesapeake Building, 41770 Baldridge Street in Leonardtown, Maryland to consider a proposed ordinance for supplemental appropriations to the County’s FY2020 General Fund Operating Budget. 
 
The Commissioners will consider the supplemental appropriation of $19.8 million for the CARES grant to fund emergency costs related to COVID-19.   This Federal grant will be $9.9 million for medical and public health items and $9.9 million for county items. This action allows the county to proceed with activities and costs appropriate to respond to the needs of its citizens during this emergency.
 
Due to COVID-19 precautions, the public is not allowed to be physically present, but may view the meeting on Channel 95 or the St. Mary’s County Government YouTube channel. Citizens may also listen by calling 301-579-7236, access code 963443. The press is permitted to attend.
 
In lieu of appearance, comments may be submitted via:
 
a.       Written Comments via Email: csmc@stmarysmd.com
 
b.      Mail: PO Box 653 Leonardtown, MD, 20650
 
c.       Call 301-475-4200, ext. 1234 to speak via telephone during the public hearing.
 
d.      Submit a 3-minute video clip to publicmtgs@stmarysmd.com through Thursday,
May 28, 2020 5 p.m.
 
 
 
All submissions will be considered by the Commissioners at the Public Hearing.

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May 19th Charles County Commissioners Meeting Update

On Tuesday, May 19, the Board of Commissioners received an update from Maryland Department of Health and the Charles County Department of Emergency Services on the COVID-19 public health emergency. Dr. Howard Haft, executive director at Maryland Primary Care Program of the Maryland Department of Health, shared the latest data and trends for COVID-19 cases in Charles County. Dr. Haft discussed progress in testing all residents and staff at skilled nursing facilities and reported that they will be finished by the end of May. On May 21, the Department of Health will host a webinar from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m., to provide information and technical assistance to small businesses that are reopening on May 29.

 

Department of Emergency Services Director Michelle Lilly reported that calls for service and persons under investigation for COVID-19 remains flat or is declining. She also stated that the county is providing information to small businesses on where to purchase sanitizer and personal protective equipment as they prepare to reopen.

Commissioners held a final budget work session and adopted a balanced fiscal year 2021 General Fund budget of $433,441,200, an increase of 2% over last year. The adopted budget protects County Government core services, exceeds maintenance of effort funding for Charles County Public Schools and preserves necessary operations for the Sheriff’s Office. Read the full news release here.

Commissioners briefly discussed a proposal by Commissioner Gilbert “BJ” Bowling to offer a property and income tax rate credit for volunteer firefighters and emergency medical technicians, which Charles County has been authorized to enact through state legislation that was approved earlier this year. They discussed the timing and cost of the initiative, and it will be brought back to the Board for further consideration later this year.

Approval Items:

 

Commissioners approved the following items:

A budget transfer request of $600,000 to pay for annual costs that exceed the anticipated budget for monthly equipment rental and power generator costs at the Mattawoman Wastewater Treatment Plant.
A budget amendment increase of $202,000 to pay for contract services associated with plan review and inspections, which were appropriated from fund balance for payments collected in the previous year and applied to services rendered in the current year.
A budget transfer request of $50,000 from savings associated with the Post Office Road Expansion Study, that are being reallocated to pay for a study to determine the best fit and location for a potential Bryans Road Senior and Recreational Center.
A budget amendment increase of $2,598,800 from the Cable TV I/Net Special Revenue fund balance to provide matching funds for the County’s share of the Maryland Broadband Infrastructure Grant that will provide broadband to certain areas of Nanjemoy and Cobb Neck.
A resolution to extend the local state of emergency to June 29, 2020 so that the county can continue to deploy staff and assets to support the response to the COVID-19 public health emergency.
A letter of support for the fiscal year 2021 management grant to the Southern Maryland Heritage Area Consortium which supports local tourism.
A partnership intermediary agreement between Charles County and the Naval Surface Ware Center Indian Head Explosive Ordnance Technology Division (NSWC IHEODTD). The purpose of the agreement is to promote cooperative activities between NSWC IHEODTD and small business firms and educational institutions served by Charles County’s Department of Economic Development.
A resolution to temporarily suspend the enforcement of a provision within the Zoning Ordinance that, as applied in conjunction with another provision with the Zoning Ordinance, would require a site plan for changes in occupancy (which conflicts with the expedited process currently used by PGM to issue a new Certificate of Use & Occupancy when no substantial change to the use will result).   
A request from Commissioner Thomasina O. Coates, M.S., to direct staff to brief Commissioners on a proposed comprehensive plan amendment that would incorporate the Billingsley Road realignment project.
Recognitions:

 

Commissioners proclaimed May 17 – 23, 2020 as Emergency Medical Services Week to recognize all the men and women who provide emergency medical services in Charles County and thank them for their dedication and commitment, especially throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Commissioners proclaimed May 20, 2020 as Emergency Medical Services for Children Day and urged all pediatric providers serving children and youth to celebrate the theme “EMS Strong: Ready Today. Preparing for Tomorrow.”
Commissioners proclaimed the month of May and Mental Health Awareness Month and encouraged the community to take time to acknowledge, support and recognize those whose mental health may be at risk.
Public Hearings:

 

Commissioners held virtual public hearings on Bill 2020-04 Zoning Text Amendment # 19-153 Business Park (BP) Zone and Bill 2020-03 Zoning Text Amendment #19-155 Watershed Conservation District Zone Transitional and Grandfathering Provisions. Comments are accepted May 19, starting at 8 a.m. through May 29, ending at 5 p.m. by using:

E-Comment
Bill 2020-03:  www.charlescountymd.gov/ztaBP
Bill 2020-04: www.charlescountymd.gov/ztaWSCD
Phone: Call 301-645-0652 to leave a message.
Mail: Send to Commissioners of Charles County, 200 Baltimore Street, Maryland, 20646.
Next Commissioners Session: June 2, 2020 at 9 a.m. (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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- Calvert County Board of Elections Offers Drop Box to Submit Primary Election Ballots

The Calvert County Board of Elections will provide a ballot drop box for citizens to submit ballots for the 2020 presidential primary election, scheduled for Tuesday, June 2, 2020. The secure drop box will be available beginning Thursday, May 21 through Tuesday, June 2 at 8 p.m., at the Community Resources Building at 30 Duke St. in Prince Frederick.
 
The drop box will be located at the rear of the building beneath the stairwell. The box is under video surveillance 24 hours a day and Board of Elections staff will retrieve ballots from the box three times per day.
 
All active, eligible voters were mailed a ballot to the address on record earlier this month.  The election will be conducted primarily by mail, in accordance with a proclamation by Gov. Larry Hogan, in order to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19.
 
Citizens can also mail completed ballots using the prepaid, addressed reply envelope provided with the ballot. Mailed ballots must be postmarked on or before June 2. 
 
All voters must sign the Oath of Absentee Voter on the back of the reply envelope when submitting either by drop box or mail.
 
Those who are unable to vote by mail may vote in person on Presidential Primary Election Day, June 2, 2020, at the vote center located at 30 Duke St., Lower Level, in Prince Frederick. In-person voting is extremely limited; voters who can vote by mail are strongly encouraged to do so in order to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19.
 
The last day to register to vote or change voter registration information, including political party affiliation, is May 27, 2020.
 
Due to the continuing state of emergency, the Calvert County Board of Elections office and Community Resource Building are currently closed to the general public. Staff is available by phone and email during normal operating hours of 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. For questions, please contact the Calvert County Board of Elections at 410-535-2214 or elections@calvertcountymd.gov.
 
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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State Fire Marshal Investigating Fatal Fire In Mechanicsville

 A team of investigators from the Office of the State Fire
Marshal, St. Mary's County Sheriffs Office, and the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner are conducting an investigation involving a fatal dwelling fire in the 38500 block of Lockes Forest Lane in Mechanicsville. The first 911 call was received at 12:03 p.m when an occupant of the home came home and discovered the fire. Another occupant of the home, who was inside, was able to escape without injury.
 
Upon the arrival of firefighters, they were advised another person was trapped inside the home. Firefighters entered the home and subsequently located an elderly female victim. The victim was later pronounced deceased at the scene. The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner will determine the identity and cause of death. Numerous firefighters from Mechanicsville Volunteer Fire Department and surrounding departments controlled the blaze, which consumed nearly half the home.
 
The origin and cause remain under investigation at this time, and updates will be released as additional information is developed.

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Public Hearing Scheduled for Calvert County Fiscal Year 2021 Commissioners' Recommended Budget

The Calvert County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) will hold a public hearing Tuesday, May 19, 2020, at 7 p.m. to consider and receive comments regarding the fiscal year (FY) 2021 commissioners’ recommended operating and capital improvement budget.
 
Citizens are encouraged to view the budget in its entirety and learn more about the FY 2021 budget process by visiting www.CalvertCountyMd.gov/FY2021BudgetProcess. 
 
The BOCC will also hold a public hearing to receive public comment regarding a proposed donation of land to the Calvert Affordable Housing Alliance, Inc., which will provide the land needed to develop a single-family home for a low- to moderate-income veteran. View the agenda and documentation at www.CalvertCountyMd.gov/1501/Meetings-On-Demand.
 
The hearings will begin at 7 p.m. at the Harriet E. Brown Community Center. In keeping with social distancing guidelines and to protect the health of citizens and staff, the public is encouraged to participate in the meetings by viewing the live stream on www.CalvertCountyMd.gov. The public can also listen by phone or provide public comment by calling either of the following toll-free numbers to participate remotely:
 
·         U.S. toll-free number: 888-475-4499 or 877-853-5257
 
·         Meeting ID: 899 4188 8251
 
·         Passcode (if asked): #
 
·         To provide public comment: *9
 
Reasonable accommodation for persons with disabilities or linguistic barriers should be requested by contacting the BOCC office at 410-535-1600, ext. 2202. Individuals who cannot attend the public hearing may submit written comments. These written comments may be submitted by emailing COMMISS@calvertcountymd.gov or through the U.S. mail to the BOCC at 175 Main St., Prince Frederick, MD 20678.
 
For additional information, contact the Calvert County Department of Finance & Budget at 410-535-1600, ext. 2651 or by email at Beth.Richmond@calvertcountymd.gov.
 
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 Operations for Memorial Day

LEONARDTOWN, MD – Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, St. Mary’s County Government Offices remain closed to the public. However, for the Memorial Day Holiday Monday, May 25, 2020, all county government administrative telework offices will also be closed.
 
The St. Andrews Landfill, six Convenience Centers and St. Mary’s Transit System (STS) will likewise be closed Monday, May 25, 2020, in observance of Memorial Day. The Convenience Centers and the STS will be open for regular business hours before and after the observed holiday. St. Andrews Landfill (closed on Sundays) will be open the Saturday before Memorial Day and will reopen for regular service hours Tuesday, May 26, 2020.
 
Additionally, the COVID-19 Community Call Center will also be closed, Monday, May 25, 2020, but will reopen for callers with COVID-19 related questions at 8 a.m. Tuesday, May 26. The COVID-19 Community Call Center number is 301-475-4911 and is operated in collaboration with the St. Mary’s County Health Department.
 
For more information, please visit the St. Mary’s County Government website.

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Hurricane Season 2020 Awareness

LEONARDTOWN, MD - The Department of Emergency Services reminds the community Atlantic hurricane season officially starts June 1, 2020 and goes through Nov. 30, 2020.
 
Disasters won’t wait, and neither should you. As we continue our efforts with all of the country to respond to and recover from coronavirus, we are also leaning forward and preparing for our county for the upcoming hurricane season.
 
Hurricane researchers at Colorado State University (CSU) are predicting an above-average 2020 Atlantic hurricane season. Specifically, they expect it to be 140% above average hurricane seasons. Experts are calling for 16 total named storms; of those storms, CSU is forecasting eight hurricanes, four of them to be major hurricanes (category three or higher) because of the anticipated lack of El Nino conditions and warmer than normal tropical Atlantic.
 
For more information about preparing for emergencies, please visit our website.

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Moving Ahead with the Garvey Senior Activity Center

LEONARDTOWN, MD - Due to the current stay at home order and to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, the Department of Aging & Human Services Senior Activity Centers remain closed to the public. Additionally, the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Garvey Senior Activity Center and Leonardtown Library was postponed in April. However, that does not mean we are not continuing work for our patrons in our brand-new facility.

 

Garvey Senior Activity Center Staff moved into the new building Monday, April 20, 2020, and have been working on unpacking and organizing in preparation for use. According to the Division of Senior Center Operations Manager, Alice Allen, the new Garvey Senior Activity Center boasts several upgrades including a fitness studio for group classes which provides more space for a wide range of new programs that will complement the wide variety of classes currently offered; four outdoor pickleball courts; an expanded exercise equipment room; an art room with natural lighting; and a state-of-the-art kitchen outfitted to produce meals on-site for the congregate meals and Home-Delivered Meals programs. “Everything is going to be just awesome,” she said.

 

Department of Aging & Human Services Director Lori Jennings-Harris is looking forward to seeing the new Garvey Senior Activity Center open to the public. However, the timing of that will be contingent on the Governor’s current order, closing all senior activity centers statewide being rescinded. In the meantime, our staff is working to ensure the Garvey Senior Activity Center is primed and ready for use. Lori Jennings-Harris looks forward to the opportunities for expanded programming that both the larger footprint of the senior activity center and the co-location with the Leonardtown Library will offer.

 

For more information about the Department of Aging & Human Services, please call 301-475-4200, ext. 71050, or visit www.stmarysmd.com/aging.

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Motorcyclist Flown from Prince Frederick Crash

On May 16, 2020 at approximately 2:04 p.m., members of the Calvert County Sheriff’s Office Patrol Bureau and Crash Reconstruction Team responded to a motor vehicle crash on Stoakley Road in the area of Barstow Road in Prince Frederick, MD.
 
Preliminary investigation revealed a 2015 Nissan pick-up truck operated by Heather Irene Johnson, 25 of Prince Frederick, MD had backed out of a private driveway onto Stoakley Road when a 2012 Yamaha Motorcycle traveling west on Stoakley Road and struck the front passenger side of the pick-up truck. The operator of the motorcycle who has been identified as Austin Russell Aley, 22 of Prince Frederick, was ejected from the motorcycle and struck a tree. Aley suffered serious injuries as a result of the collision and was transported by Maryland State Helicopter to Baltimore Shock Trauma. 
 
Johnson, the driver of the Nissan was not injured. 
According to witnesses and scene evidence the motorcycle was traveling at an excessive speed and appears to be a contributing factor to this collision. 
Sgt. T.S. Phelps of the Crash Reconstruction Team is conducting the investigation into the crash.  Anyone with information about the collision is asked to contact Sgt. Phelps at (410) 535-2800 or via e-mail: Thomas.Phelps@calvertcountymd.gov 

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Single Vehicle Accident Kills Two In Owings

On Thursday, May 14, 2020 at approximately 3:45 p.m., members of the Calvert County Sheriff’s Office Patrol Bureau and Crash Reconstruction Team responded to a single vehicle crash on northbound Rt. 4 (Southern Maryland Boulevard) in the area of Skinners Turn Road in Owings, MD.
 
Units arrived on scene and discovered a black 2014 Dodge RAM pick-up truck overturned and off the roadway. Deputies located two adult occupants, who were unresponsive, and two additional adult occupants suffering from minor injuries.
Preliminary investigation revealed the pick-up truck was travelling northbound on Rt. 4 and for unknown reasons left the roadway. Two of the passengers were pronounced deceased on scene as a result of their injuries. The deceased have been identified as Jessica Nicole Brady (34) and Gerald Michael Fragman (35).
 
The driver, identified as Christopher Morgan Hynson, (32) and front seat passenger, identified as Kristin Carol Brady (30), suffered minor injuries during the crash. 
At this time, vehicle speed, driver error, alcohol, and drugs appear to be contributing factors to this collision.
Cpl. V. Bortchevsky of the Crash Reconstruction Team is conducting the investigation into the events that lead up to the crash.  Anyone with information about the collision is asked to contact Cpl. Bortchevsky at (410) 535-2800 or via e-mail: vlad.bortchevsky@calvertcountymd.gov.

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Statement Regarding Social Media Posts and Board of Commissioners' Vote on Phase One Reopening Order

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect our region and nation, we are reminded of the delicate balance between opening businesses and maintaining public health and safety. Last night the Board of Commissioners in Charles County voted to continue Governor Hogan’s initial Stay-At-Home Order and wait until May 29 to implement phase one of Maryland’s “Roadmap to Recovery.”  The outcome of the vote resulted in strong reactions on social media, some that raised concern among our community. Further, a protest of the vote took place earlier this evening at the County Government Building in which the Sheriff’s Office monitored. The protest concluded without incident.    
 
Throughout these challenging times, the Sheriff’s Office primary role has been to maintain public safety and we appreciate the overall cooperation we have experienced so far. Out of an abundance of caution, we have reached out to all five commissioners as well as community leaders and we will continue to work with them to address any concerns.  We will continue to monitor this situation and any others brought to our attention to ensure public safety is never compromised.  

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St. Mary's County Public Schools Feeding Program

LEONARDTOWN, MD – St. Mary’s County Public Schools will continue to provide drive-up lunch service Monday-Friday, from May 18-May 29, 2020, at the locations listed below from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. daily. Please note there will be no school site meal distribution on the Memorial Day, Monday, May 25, 2020.

Meals will be offered to all children 18 years and younger free of charge. Parents and children can drive up to these locations and receive meals that they can take home during current school closures.

Leonardtown Elementary School

22885 Duke Street

Leonardtown, MD 20650

 

Greenview Knolls Elementary School

45711 Military Lane

Great Mills, MD 20634

 

            Margaret Brent Middle School

29675 Point Lookout Road

Mechanicsville, MD 20659

 

Lexington Park Elementary School

46763 Shangri-La Drive

Lexington Park, MD 20653


For questions regarding the lunch service program, please email foodservice@smcps.org.

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NAS PAX RIVER Sets Noise Advisory for Nighttime Field Carrier Landing Practice Flights May 19 to May 22

PATUXENT RIVER NAVAL AIR STATION, MD – Communities surrounding the naval air station are advised that noise-generating testing events are scheduled to take place May 19 - May 22, 2020 between the hours of 6 p.m. – 11 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. 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. It is a highly complex skill that requires an 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.

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Calvert County Government Announces Local Guidance in Accordance with Governor Hogan's Stage I – Road to Recovery

In response to Gov. Hogan’s announcement May 13, 2020, that Maryland will move from the Stay at Home Order to a Safer at Home Public Health Advisory, the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) announces Calvert County will take parallel actions.
 
Gov. Hogan authorized Stage I of Maryland’s Roadmap to Recovery to include the gradual reopening of retail, manufacturing, worship and some personal services, effective at 5 p.m. today. Local businesses and citizens should review the state guidelines, available online at https://governor.maryland.gov/recovery. Business may also contact the Calvert County Department of Economic Development by email info@ecalvert.com or by calling 410-535-4583.
 
As recovery begins, statewide limitations on gatherings, physical distancing measures and other protective health guidelines remain in place to continue reducing the spread of COVID-19.
 
On May 14, the BOCC extended the local state of emergency (SOE). This declaration provides local authority to maintain the Calvert County Emergency Operations Center that provides coordination with local, state and federal authorities. The SOE impacts county government emergency management operations and does not impact private business operations. Guidance is available via the Maryland Roadmap to Recovery for the impact to local businesses and other organizations.
 
County government is open, however buildings remain closed to the public. In accordance with the plan, Calvert County provides updated information on some local services:
 
·         Calvert County Transportation will run the south fixed route bus service from 7:15 a.m. to 4:40 p.m. The north fixed route bus service will run from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Both services will begin Monday, May 18, and run Monday through Friday. Saturday transit service will remain canceled until further notice. Masks are required for all passengers with a limit of nine passengers per transportation bus at a time. Passengers who need transportation for essential trips should contact the Transportation office at 410-535-4268 to schedule their ride.
 
·         The Linda L. Kelley Animal Shelter remains closed to the public for walk-in visits, but will be open by appointment only. Shelter staff will remain onsite to care for animals and to sanitize and disinfect the facility. For questions, please contact the shelter at 410-535-7387 or AnimalShelter@calvertcountymd.gov.
 
·         Most Calvert County parks will be open to residents and non-residents with normal hours at restricted capacity beginning Saturday, May 16. Dunkirk, Hallowing Point, Cove Point, and Solomons Town Center Parks will continue to close at civil twilight. Playgrounds, pavilions, skate parks, restrooms, athletic fields and basketball courts remain closed.
 
·         Breezy Point and Flag Ponds beaches will continue to be open with regular operating hours for Calvert County residents only. Beginning Saturday, May 16, beaches will allow sunbathing, picnicking, swimming and other beach activities with distancing requirements. Park capacity will be restricted. Public restrooms will open beginning Monday, May 18. Grills and picnic tables will NOT be available.
 
·         Chesapeake Hills Golf Course continues to be open with a modified tee time schedule and reduced capacity. Scheduling tee times prior to arrival is recommended to ensure accommodation. Public restrooms are available for use.
 
 
Citizens are reminded:
 
·         Gathering of groups are limited to no more than 10 people.
 
·         Capacity at each park will be adjusted to maintain social distancing.
 
·         Patrons will not be allowed to wait at a park gate to gain entry once capacity is reached.
 
·         Recreation activities such as walking, hiking, running or biking are permitted while adhering to 6-foot social distancing measures.
 
·         Users must provide the following information to park staff upon arrival: including name, county of residence, number of people in vehicle / party.
 
The county continues to share the latest updates surrounding Calvert County’s response to COVID-19 through a virtual resource center on its website, including any precautionary measures, guidance and closures at www.CalvertCountyMd.gov/Coronavirus. Updates will continue to appear on the Calvert County Government website, www.CalvertCountyMd.gov, Facebook page at www.facebook.com/CalvertCountyMd and Comcast Channel 6.

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Update: Expanded Hours for St. Mary's County Drive-Thru COVID-19 Testing

Beginning Friday, May 15, MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital will expand hours for drive-thru COVID-19 testing to 12:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. Testing will continue to be available Monday through Friday and is offered in front of the Outpatient Pavilion.
 
Individuals who are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms should call their primary health care provider or call ahead to a local urgent care or the hospital’s Emergency Department. Anyone who is experiencing a medical emergency, should call 9-1-1.
 
Community members may call the COVID-19 Community Hotline at 301-475-4911 Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. for COVID-19 information. Health Department nurses are available through the hotline to discuss concerns and assist in coordinating testing for those who do not have a primary care provider.
 
In order to be tested in the drive-thru, individuals must:
 
Be a St. Mary’s County resident
Have a prescription for testing from a primary care provider or the St. Mary’s County Health Department
Present a valid photo ID
Remain in their vehicle and an associate will come out to them
Test results are not immediate. In the meantime, anyone with symptoms and concern for COVID-19 awaiting test results should stay at home and avoid close contact with others. If you need medical attention call ahead. Individuals tested will receive a follow-up call from the physician that wrote the order/prescription for their testing (their primary care provider or the Health Department).
 
Community members, healthcare providers, and local business owners are encouraged to visit the St. Mary’s County Health Department’s website for local COVID-19 updates and information at www.smchd.org/coronavirus.

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Detention Center Testing Initiative Announced

Joint Press Release:
St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office
St. Mary’s County Health Department
MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital
 
LEONARDTOWN, MD (May 14, 2020) – The St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office (SMCSO) in partnership with St. Mary’s County Health Department (SMCHD) and MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital has launched a universal testing strategy for inmates and employees of the St. Mary’s County Detention and Rehabilitation Center.
  
"Testing has been going very well this week," Corrections Major Deborah L. Diedrich said. "Inmates at our detention center are your neighbors and family members and we take great strides to ensure their health and welfare, in addition to our Corrections Officers and civilians who work alongside them on a daily basis."
 
The St. Mary’s County Detention & Rehabilitation Center has been working closely with SMCHD and other community partners during the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure the continued protection of the health and safety of incarcerated persons and staff.
 
Preparedness and response efforts have aligned with guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on the management of COVID-19 in correctional and detention facilities, including visitor restrictions, daily monitoring of staff and inmate symptoms, use and ongoing stock assessment of personal protective equipment (PPE), and planning for isolation and treatment if needed. 
 
"The St. Mary's County Sheriff's Office continues to work closely with our health partners – the St. Mary's County Health Department and MedStar St. Mary's Hospital – as we navigate through these challenging times. I am proud of our community partnership and the progress we are making to keep our residents safe," Sheriff Tim Cameron said.
 
Community members, healthcare providers, and local business owners are encouraged to visit the SMCHD website for local COVID-19 updates and information at www.smchd.org/coronavirus or call the COVID-19 Community Hotline at 301-475-4911 Monday-Friday from 8am - 5pm.
 
For official news and information, follow the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office on Twitter @firstsheriff 

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St. Mary's County Government Announces Local Road to Recovery

LEONARDTOWN, MD – In response to Governor Hogan’s announcement on Wednesday, May 13, 2020, that Maryland will move from the Stay at Home Order to a Safer at Home Public Health Advisory, St. Mary’s County announces parallel actions.
 
Additionally, the Governor has authorized Stage One of recovery which includes the gradual reopening of retail, manufacturing, houses of worship and some personal services. St. Mary’s County Government is doing the same with the St. Mary’s County COVID-19 Pandemic Roadmap to Recovery.
 
Local businesses are encouraged to review the state guidelines and to take a ‘Back to Business’ pledge. As recovery begins, please remember to maintain physical distancing, keep gatherings to ten or less, wear face coverings and follow all safe health precautions.
 
Residents may access the  St. Mary’s County COVID19 Pandemic Roadmap to Recovery, the Maryland Strong Back to Business Pledge and the guidelines on our website at https://www.stmarysmd.com/covid-19/updates/

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Charles County Commissioners Announce Charles County Phase One to Reopen May 29

On Thursday, May 14, the Board of Commissioners met to discuss implementing phase one guidelines of Maryland’s “Roadmap to Recovery.”  They voted 3-2 to institute phase one of Governor Hogan’s order beginning May 29. The Stay-at-Home Order will remain in place in Charles County until that time. After that, Charles County will begin a phased-approach recovery plan to initiate a safe and sensible path to reopen certain retail businesses, houses of worship, and other personal services. Before voting on this decision, they received briefings to gather data and other relevant information from Wes Adams, County Attorney; Dr. Howard Haft, who is county’s response to COVID-19 for the Charles County Health Department; Michelle Lilly, the Director of the Department of Emergency Services; Noel Cervino, CEO of Charles Regional Medical Center; and Tom Blanford, Chair of the Charles County Chamber of Commerce.
 
“I am committed to a regional approach to reopening our economy;” stated Commissioner President Reuben B. Collins, II, Esq. “Our community’s response has been excellent so far and I want to continue that trend by asking our residents and businesses to continue following the Stay-at-Home order while preparing for the next phase of our recovery. Ensuring the safety and wellbeing of all residents remains my highest priority.”
 
For the latest updates on the Coronavirus, including how to protect yourself from it and what to do if you suspect you are infected, visit [www.charlescountyhealth.org]www.charlescountyhealth.org. Reopening guidance for public spaces, workplaces, and businesses is available at Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at www.CDC.gov.
 
Citizens with special needs may contact the Maryland Relay Service at 711, or Relay Service TDD:  800-735-2258.

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Volunteers Sought for Boards, Commissions and Committees

LEONARDTOWN, MD - The Commissioners of St. Mary’s County is calling all citizens interested in volunteering their time to the community by serving on various Boards, Committees and Commissions. Detailed descriptions of the various boards and membership application are available on the County’s website at https://www.stmarysmd.com/boards/. All applications must include a resume and be submitted no later than June 1, 2020.

 

Vacancies:
Agriculture, Seafood & Forestry Commission

Airport Advisory Committee

Animal Control Advisory Board

Board of Trustees, Museum Division

Commission for Women

Commission on Aging

Commission on the Environment

Housing Authority Board of St. Mary’s County

Library Board of Trustees (Applications must be received by 5/27/20)

Local Management Board

Social Service Board

Transportation Advisory Committee

Tri-County Animal Shelter

                       

The following vacancies have special requirements:

Economic Development Commission – Education/Small Business Owner

Historic Preservation Commission – Discipline of architecture, architectural history, history or archaeology.

Metropolitan Commission – Must live in the 1st District

Plumbing Fuel Gas Board – Must be a Licensed plumber

Property Tax Assessment Appeal Board – applications must be completed on the Governor’s Appointments Office website at: https://govappointments.maryland.gov/

Youth Advisory Committee – Must be between 14 – 22 years of age

 

Interested citizens can download an application from the county’s website or call Diane Gleissner at (301) 475-4200 ext. 71707 for more information.

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CCPS Meal Distribution Sites Closed on Memorial Day

Calvert County Public Schools meal distribution sites will be closed on Memorial Day, Monday, May 25.  To ensure students continue receive the nutrition they need during this closure, additional meal kits will be distributed on Wednesday, May 20, at all four Grab ‘n Go locations. Meal service will resume on Wednesday, May 27, and subsequently follow the regular schedule of distribution on Mondays and Wednesdays. 
Grab ‘n Go meal service is available from 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. at the following locations:
 
Windy Hill Middle School Parking Lot (bus drop-off area):
9560 Boyds Turn Rd. Owings, MD 20736
 
Calvert High School Parking Lot:  
520 Fox Run Blvd. Prince Frederick, MD 20678
GPS Address:  600 Dares Beach Rd. Prince Frederick, MD 20678
 
Southern Middle School Parking Lot:  
9615 H.G. Trueman Rd. Lusby, MD 20657
 
Patuxent High School Parking Lot:  
12485 Southern Connector Blvd. Lusby, MD 20657
 
All sites remain open to all children, so families are welcome to select whichever site is most convenient.  

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Stage One: Governor Hogan Announces Gradual Reopenings With Flexible, Community-Based Approach

Maryland Will Move From Stay At Home Order to Safer At Home Public Health Advisory
County Leaders Empowered to Make Decisions on Timing of Stage One Reopenings
Retail Stores May Reopen at 50 Percent Capacity, All Manufacturing May Resume Operations
in a Safe Manner
Religious Services May Resume with Appropriate Safety Protocols, Outdoor Services
Strongly Encouraged
 
ANNAPOLIS, MD—Governor Larry Hogan today announced the beginning of Stage One of the ‘Maryland Strong: Roadmap to Recovery,’ which includes moving from a Stay at Home order to a Safer at Home public health advisory and the gradual reopenings of retail, manufacturing, houses of worship, and some personal services.
 
Stage One will be implemented with a flexible, community-based approach that empowers individual jurisdictions to make decisions regarding the timing of reopenings.
 
“As we begin Stage One of our recovery, I want to assure every Marylander who may feel uneasy, and anyone who is concerned that we are moving either too quickly or too slowly, that each and every decision we make is both fact-based and science-based and made only after extensive consultation with our expert Coronavirus Recovery Team,” said Governor Hogan. “We are continually monitoring this crisis, we remain focused on the clusters, outbreaks, and hotspots, and I can assure you that we remain ready to quickly and decisively respond to any changes in the facts on the ground, and that we will continue to attack this virus with every single tool at our disposal.”
 
SAFER AT HOME. Effective Friday, May 15, at 5:00 pm, Maryland will move from a Stay at Home order to a Safer at Home public health advisory.
 
Marylanders, particularly older and more vulnerable Marylanders, are strongly advised to continue staying home as much as possible. Employers should continue to encourage telework for their employees when possible. Individuals who can work from home should continue to do so. Maryland citizens should continue wearing masks in indoor public areas, retail stores, and on public transportation. Additionally, Marylanders should continue practicing physical distancing, continue avoiding gatherings of more than 10 people, keep washing their hands often, and frequently sanitize high-touch areas.
 
LOCAL FLEXIBILITY FOR JURISDICTIONS. Governor Hogan’s ‘Maryland Strong: Roadmap to Recovery’ provides a flexible and community-based approach which empowers county leaders to make decisions regarding the timing of Stage One reopening in their individual jurisdictions. Read the new order here.
 
RETAIL STORES. Governor Hogan announced that retail stores may reopen at up to 50 percent capacity, with curbside pickup and delivery strongly encouraged, and all public health precautions in place. Examples of businesses that may reopen include clothing and shoe stores, pet groomers, animal adoption shelters, car washes, art galleries, and bookstores.
 
MANUFACTURING. Governor Hogan announced manufacturing may resume operations in a safe manner which protects the health of employees, with guidelines encouraging multiple shifts and other safety precautions.
 
CHURCHES AND HOUSES OF WORSHIP. Churches and houses of worship may begin to safely hold religious services, at up to 50 percent capacity, with outdoor services strongly encouraged. Religious leaders are strongly urged to do everything possible to keep their congregants safe, and particularly to protect the elderly and vulnerable within their congregations.
 
PERSONAL SERVICES. Some personal services, including barber shops and hair salons, may reopen with up to 50 percent capacity, by appointment only and with appropriate health and safety guidelines.
 
‘BACK TO BUSINESS.’ Businesses that adopt all safety guidelines are encouraged to take a ‘Back to Business’ pledge.

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Maryland Delegation Members Announce More Than $205 Million to Expand Statewide Testing Capacity

WASHINGTON – Members of the Maryland congressional delegation, including U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen and Congressmen Steny H. Hoyer, Dutch Ruppersberger, John P. Sarbanes, Kweisi Mfume, Anthony G. Brown, Jamie B. Raskin, and David Trone announced that Maryland will receive $205,723,600 to expand COVID-19 testing capacity statewide.

 

Funding comes from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and was authorized through the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act. This new federal funding follows the delegation’s recent announcement of nearly $7 million to help Maryland’s community health centers increase COVID-19 testing, also provided through the most recent federal legislation.

 

“Widespread testing is still the key to safely reopen Maryland’s economy and help Americans get back to work,” the lawmakers said. “Our federal COVID-19 response effort has focused intensely on the need to expand America’s COVID-19 testing capabilities significantly. We will continue to work closely with state and local officials to improve our ability to track the virus, contain outbreaks and protect the health and safety of all Marylanders.”

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County Commissioners Announce Special Meeting Agenda Scheduled on May 14, 2020

The Charles County Board of Commissioners are convening a special meeting to discuss the timing of reopening Charles County. The meeting is being convened following today’s announcement from Governor Hogan to move into phase one of the Maryland’s Roadmap to Recovery and will consider relevant state orders that are associated with this action. The Board of County Commissioners will hold this public meeting “virtually.” The public will be able to watch this meeting on Charles County Government Television (CCGTV) which airs on Comcast Channel 95 and Verizon Channel 10 or at www.CharlesCountyMD.gov. Residents without internet service can listen to the meeting at 301-645-0500. We appreciate your patience as we work to keep you, our residents, informed during this unprecedented public health emergency.

 

Thursday, May 14

Charles County Commissioners' Meeting

*Special Meeting*

 

OPEN SESSION

4:15 p.m.  – The Open Session of the Commissioners’ Meeting begins virtually.

Call to Order/Pledge of Allegiance
Discussion: Discuss Charles County’s plans for reopening, following Governor Hogan’s announcement today about Phase 1 Reopening in Maryland and State Orders.
 

THE AGENDA IS TENTATIVE AND SUBJECT TO CHANGE WITHOUT NOTICE.

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Public Notice for the Proposed Rebuilding of the East Patuxent Seaplane Basin Seawall Project at NAS Patuxent River

PATUXENT RIVER NAVAL AIR STATION, MD – The Navy is planning to rebuild the East Seaplane Basin (B-1176) at NAS Patuxent River and is seeking public comments on this undertaking.
 
This historic property, which dates to 1942-43, when the Base was originally constructed, was one of three seaplane basins built on the Base when the U.S. Navy tested and operated seaplanes. Although seaplanes were important in World War II, carrier-based planes are now the norm and the Navy currently has no operational seaplanes.  Today, the East Patuxent Seaplane Basin is used for occasional munitions offloading operations, and the other two seaplane basins for port operations and recreational boats.
 
The proposed repair method involves driving steel sheet piling on the waterside, adjacent to the existing concrete bulkhead walls.  The angled batter pilings, which are present along most of the walls, would be removed below the mudline at the bottom of the basin.  The caps on the existing walls will be demolished, and the new sheet piles will be anchored inland with tiebacks to deadman pilings. The tieback installations will necessitate cutting, removing and replacing sections of the existing concrete and asphalt apron along the wall, particularly along the south and east walls. 
 
The basin repairs include the removal of the unused seaplane ramp (B-1170) that is currently in poor condition, with significant deterioration in the intertidal zone, where large holes penetrate the ramp.  While the ramp is a historical resource, there are three other seaplane ramps of the same design in the other two basins on the Base.  One of these other ramps is still functional for recreational boats.
 
As this project will alter some of the historic characteristics of the seawall, we have determined the project will have an adverse effect on a historic property, as per the National Historic Preservation Act.  While our efforts have minimized these effects, a mitigation program will be implemented. 
 
If you have any questions or concerns about the East Basin Seawall Project, please contact Craig Lukezic, Cultural Resource Manager, at craig.lukezic@navy.mil.

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Applications Accepted for Calvert County Purchase and Retirement Fund Program with New Price and Deadline

The Calvert County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) and the Agricultural Preservation Advisory Board announce the application period for the county’s Purchase and Retirement (PAR) Fund program has been reopened through June 30, 2020. Through the program, Transferable Development Rights (TDRs) are purchased, retired and permanently removed from the market to protect farmland from development.
 
The BOCC recently approved a new purchase price of $4,000 per TDR, which will replace the $3,037 price previously approved in October 2019.  This new price will be applied retroactively to January 2020. The county will offer to buy development rights from willing sellers until funding is exhausted. There is no cap on how many TDRs can be sold by an owner.
 
Current owners of Agricultural Preservation Districts may apply. Applications are ranked by a formula established in the Agricultural Preservation Program rules and regulations.
 
The application deadline is June 30, 2020 at 4:30 p.m. Applications are available on the county website at www.CalvertCountyMd.gov/2565/Purchase-and-Retirement-Option-PAR. Completed applications may be submitted by U.S. mail to the Department of Planning & Zoning, Attention: Rural Planner Ronald Marney at 150 Main St., Prince Frederick, MD 20678, or by email to Ronald.Marney@calvertcountymd.gov. For more information, email or call Mr. Marney at 410-535-1600, ext. 2336 or 410-610-2200.
 
Established in 1992, the PAR Fund program is part of Calvert County’s longstanding effort to preserve agricultural land.
 
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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Identity Needed for Theft Suspect (Photos)

May 13, 2020:
 
The St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office is seeking the identity of the person pictured in a theft investigation. On Wednesday, May 6, 2020 at 12:06 pm, the suspect left the California Walmart store with merchandise that she did not scan at the self-checkout register. Anyone with information about the identity of the suspect or this incident is asked to call Deputy Courtney Edwards at 301-475-4200, ext. 78003 or email courtney.edwards@stmarysmd.com. Case # 28192-20
 
 
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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Maryland Congressional Delegation Announces $4.1 Million in COVID-19 Relief for State Fishing Industry

WASHINGTON – The Maryland congressional delegation, including U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen and Congressmen Steny H. Hoyer, Dutch Ruppersberger, John P. Sarbanes, Kweisi Mfume, Andy Harris, M.D., Anthony G. Brown, Jamie B. Raskin, and David Trone announced the award of $4,125,118 for Maryland’s fishing industry through the Department of Commerce (DOC) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Last month, the delegation wrote to Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross and NOAA Administrator Chris Oliver to urge the swift allocation of this funding, which was authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The CARES Act provided $300 million nationally for businesses in the fishing industry who have been negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

“Maryland’s seafood industry has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said the delegation. “These predominantly small and family-owned businesses urgently need our help as the livelihoods of thousands of Maryland families depend on their ability to weather this storm. We need to see this funding awarded as quickly as possible for the good of Marylanders and our local and state economies.”

 

Tribes, commercial fishing businesses, charter/for-hire fishing businesses, qualified aquaculture operations, processors, and other fishery-related businesses are eligible for this relief. Maryland will work with the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission to determine how to verify which fishery participants meet the threshold of economic revenue losses greater than 35 percent as compared to the prior five-year average or negative impacts to subsistence, cultural, or ceremonial fisheries. Recipients may use the funds to address direct or indirect fishery-related losses and subsistence, cultural, or ceremonial impacts related to COVID-19. Funding allocations among states, tribes, and territories are based on total annual revenue information from the commercial fishing, charter fishing, aquaculture, and processor/seafood sectors.

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Maryland State Police Arrest Man On Firearms Violations In St. Mary's County

(CALLAWAY, MD) – Maryland State Police arrested a St. Mary’s County man on open warrants for firearms-related charges and a violation of probation charge.
The suspect, Colin Jacob Eaton, 26, of Callaway, Maryland, was arrested Monday by troopers from the Maryland State Police Criminal Enforcement Division – Firearms Enforcement Unit. Eaton is charged with nine counts of rifle/shotgun possession as a disqualified person.  In addition to the arrest warrant, Eaton was also wanted on an open violation of probation warrant from Calvert County.
As part of their investigation, troopers served a search and seizure warrant and located Eaton at a residence in Callaway, Maryland. Eaton was arrested without incident and transported to the St. Mary’s County Detention Center.
This case highlights the State Police goal of helping to prevent and investigate multi-jurisdictional crime while supporting allied law enforcement agencies across Maryland. The Maryland State Police Criminal Enforcement Division – Firearms Enforcement Unit is committed to supporting Governor Hogan’s efforts to reduce gun violence.  The Firearms Enforcement Unit consists of sworn troopers who are tasked with working throughout the state to identify those illegally in possession of firearms and infiltrating and dismantling criminal organizations perpetuating firearm-related violence.

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Department of Aging & Human Services Offers Call-In Census Assistance

LEONARDTOWN, MD - The St. Mary’s County Department of Aging & Human Services is proud to support the 2020 Census by offering call- in assistance to the community. Anyone seeking help completing their 2020 Census should contact Jenny Beyer, MAP Coordinator, at 301-475-4200, ext. 71057.
 
According to the United States Census Website, the census collects demographic information that can affect federal funding, Congressional representation, and much more. For more information about the 2020 Census and the importance of your participation, visit https://2020census.gov

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Notice of Public Meeting Calvert - St. Mary's Metropolitan Planning Organization

LEONARDTOWN, MD - The Calvert-St. Mary’s Metropolitan Planning Organization (C-SMMPO) will conduct a Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) public teleconference meeting Friday, May 15, 2020, from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Main Meeting Room of the Chesapeake Building, St Mary’s County Government, located at 41770 Baldridge Street, Leonardtown, Maryland.
 
At this meeting, the TAC will review the Unified Planning Work Program (UPWP) Fiscal Year 2021 and the Transportation Improvement Program (TIP), FY 2021-2024 reports.
 
Copies of the Transportation Improvement Program FY 2021 – 2024 and the Unified Work Program FY 21 are available upon request by calling 301-475-4200, EXT. 1500 or from the Calvert – St. Mary’s Metropolitan Planning Commission website.
 
Due to COVID-19 precautions, the public is not allowed to be physically present, but may view the meeting on Channel 95 or the St. Mary’s County Government YouTube channel. Citizens may also listen by calling 301-579-7236, access code 963443. The press is permitted to attend.
 
For further information contact Kwasi Bosompem, St. Mary’s County Department of Land
 
Use and Growth Management, 301-475-4200 ext. 71507 or Kwasi.Bosompem@stmarysmd.com.

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May 12th Charles County Commissioners Meeting Update

On Tuesday, May 12, the Board of Commissioners received an update from the Maryland Department of Health on how county nursing homes are being impacted by COVID-19. Dr. Howard Haft, executive director at Maryland Primary Care Program of the Maryland Department of Health, shared the latest numbers of positive COVID-19 cases in Charles County, that more than 370 individuals have been tested at skilled nursing facilities, the state’s contact tracing will begin soon, and information on the Governor’s Roadmap to Recovery.

 

Department of Emergency Services Director Michelle Lilly provided an overview of the Emergency Operation Center’s (EOC) work. She also shared a plan for personal protective equipment protection decontamination and reuse of N95s and eye protection has been developed for county first responders. There were also 2,000 cloth face masks donated from the community for first responders.

 

Budget Work Session

 

The Board of County Commissioners held a budget work session to review the fiscal 2021 General Fund Operating Budget. Fiscal and Administrative Services staff also provided information on the Enterprise Funds, Special Revenue Funds, fiscal 2021 New Position List, and fiscal 2021-2025 Capital Improvement Projects. County Commissioners also provided their budget proposals and future considerations. A motion was approved for a budget proposal from Commissioner President Reuben B. Collins, Esq. on the Volunteer Lawyer Program at the Charles County Legal Clinic.

 

Briefings

Department of Community Services provided a presentation on the Housing Choice Voucher Waiting List, which is planned to open, for the first time in eight years, at the end of June. The application process will be conducted online and details will be provided shortly for those who may require assistance.
Department of Planning and Growth Management and County Attorney’s Office provided a presentation on the Rental Housing Work Group Report. A rental licensing program was discussed with next steps to include developing a fiscal analysis, drafting and distributing targeted rental housing survey to community stakeholders, and holding one or more community listening sessions. 
Deputy County Administrator Deborah Hall and Department of Emergency Services Director Michelle Lilly provided a briefing on the New Normal Task Force. The task force is working to develop a safe and gradual plan to operate Charles County Government.
Approval Items

Commissioners approved the following items:

A budget transfer request of $100,000 to account for the Material Recovery Facility’s increased tipping fee to process the county’s single stream recyclables.
A budget transfer request of $58,000 to provide funds for organizational assessment services for potential reorganization of the Department of Planning and Growth Management and the optimum placement of the Tourism Division.
A budget transfer request of $106,480 to cover the cost of Maryland Department of Transportation’s invoice for the Cobb Island Bridge construction costs.
A change order request of $164,233.18 to cover the reconciliation of prevailing wages for the Mattawoman Wastewater Treatment Plant’s Closed Loop Project.
An agreement with the National Park Service, which permits Charles County to manage, operate, and maintain Marshall Hall’s day use boat ramp, public restrooms, pier, and parking lot; and design and construct a stone jetty.
A federal funding certification and agreement for the county to request direct payment from the State of Maryland, which are allocated from the federal Coronavirus Relief Fund as created in the CARES Act.
Next Virtual Public Hearings: Tuesday, May 19, 6 p.m.

Proposed Bill 2020-03 Zoning Text Amendment #19-155 Watershed Conservation District Zone Transitional and Grandfathering Provisions
Proposed Bill 2020-04 Zoning Text Amendment # 19-153 Business Park (BP) Zone
If you wish to speak during the meeting, a call-in option is available. Please call 301-885-2779 to register to speak during the public hearing. Registration to speak will begin at 8 a.m. and end at 4 p.m. on May 19, 2020. If you are registered to speak, you will be called to speak during the meeting between 6 p.m.- 9 p.m. If you are not available to speak when you are called, we have the right to move onto the next caller. For more information, visit BoardDocs.

 

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

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St. Mary's County Transit System to Provide Additional Service

LEONARDTOWN, MD – St. Mary’s Transit System (STS) has added Bus Route 3 and will begin running this service every other hour along Route 5 from Lexington Park to Leonardtown, Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. starting this Wednesday, May 13, 2020.

STS will continue to operate the following schedules:

Monday through Friday

Rt. 7 Southern Route- Every hour, 6 a.m. to 6:45 p.m.
Rt. 11 Great Mills/California Route- Every hour, 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Rt. 12 Leonardtown Route NB/SB- Every hour, 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Saturday

Rt. 11 Great Mills/California Route- Every hour, 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Rt. 12 Leonardtown Route NB/SB- Every hour, 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.
 

Sunday

·         Rt. 11 Great Mills/California Route – 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Rt. 12 Leonardtown – 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.

 

COVID-19 precautions on all buses include the following:

Riders should restrict trips to essential travel only. Essential travel means taking trips to work, hospitals, health care providers, pharmacies, grocery stores, banks, food distribution centers, schools, to provide care for family members, and other similar destinations.
To minimize operator contact, passenger must place fare or ticket in the fare box or show their monthly pass or daily pass while boarding the bus.
No more than 9 passengers are allowed on the bus at a time. Additional riders must wait until the following hour to ride the bus. First responders and medical service workers will be given priority boarding.
All passengers are required to wear a face cover before boarding the bus.
Mobility - ADA and SSTAP paratransit service will continue to book and provide medical trips such as dialysis, chemotherapy, hospitals, clinics, mental health facilities, as well as trips to pharmacies and grocery stores.

 

Rider safety is our paramount concern and St. Mary’s County Transit System (STS) performs daily wipe-down of buses and paratransit vehicles; as well as disinfecting areas of high passenger touchpoints.

 

Riders needing assistance with trip planning, lost and found, or other transportation related questions can contact the STS Transit Information Contact Center from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday at 301-475-4200 ext. 1120 or 1121. Residents are also welcome to visit our webpage.

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Cardin, Bipartisan Colleagues Push to Expand Delivery for SNAP Recipients During Pandemic

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.) today joined bipartisan colleagues in a letter calling on the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to immediately work to ensure SNAP participants can receive home food delivery and curbside pickup during the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

In the letter to USDA, the Senators wrote, “The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in an unprecedented rise in unemployment and a subsequent increase in demand for food assistance. At the same time, social distancing guidelines and stay at home orders have made it challenging—and unsafe—for many individuals to travel to purchase food. This is especially true for seniors and immunocompromised individuals who are at higher risk of serious illness from COVID-19, as well as individuals with disabilities and families who lack reliable transportation. We believe that no individual or family should be disadvantaged simply because they rely on SNAP benefits to access the food they need.”

 

In addition to Cardin, the letter to USDA was signed by Senators Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Angus King (I-Maine), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Pat Leahy (D-Vt.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).
 

USDA’s SNAP Online Purchasing Pilot makes it possible for SNAP participants to purchase grocery deliveries, but its availability remains limited to the states and retailers who have opted in to the program. Maryland is one of 16 states approved to participate in a federal pilot program to allow recipients to select and purchase groceries online, but these options are not yet available to Marylanders. In addition to expanding the Online Purchasing Pilot, the Senators urged USDA to answer key questions and to maximize and expand the alternative mechanisms that exist to facilitate delivery for SNAP participants.

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2020 Census Underway in Calvert County

 The 2020 United States Census is underway and it’s not too late to visit my2020census.gov to fill out a census form and ensure every resident is counted once, only once and in the right place. Census data helps shape health decisions in the community including:
 
·         How vaccines are allocated into communities
 
·         Funding for nutrition-based services like school lunches and SNAP
 
·         Emergency medical services
 
It is critical, more than ever, for citizens to fill out a census form. Responding to the census only takes about 10 minutes and is easy, safe, confidential and is important to providing our children, families and neighbors with the resources they need and deserve for the next decade. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the census has been extended through Oct. 31, 2020, to allow citizens more time to fill out the census form.
 
Citizens can fill out the census questionnaire online, by mail or phone by calling
844-330-2020. Callers may experience increased call wait times due to social distancing safety measures implemented for call center staff. The Census Bureau is offering a callback option to better respond to requests during periods of high call volume.
 
When the callback option is presented, simply provide your preferred phone number and time of day for a return call, and an official census representative will call you back to collect your response to the 2020 Census.
 
Ensuring that everyone is counted is vital to planning for public health and safety, schools, transportation projects, funding public programs, and ensuring equal representation in Congress.
 
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 currently has a 66% response rate, and the county's self-response rate is higher than the national and state rates. 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.
 
Citizens are encouraged to visit www.CalvertCountyMd.gov/Census to stay up to date on census information, its impact on the local community, why participation matters and more.
 
Visit www.CalvertCountyMd.gov/Coronavirus for COVID-19 updates, guidance and resources. Updates will continue to appear on the Calvert County Government website, www.CalvertCountyMd.gov, Facebook page at www.facebook.com/CalvertCountyMd and Comcast Channel 6.

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In Court, Maryland Defends Stay-At-Home Order As Crucial For Public Health

Maryland’s top lawyer offered a legal defense for Gov. Larry Hogan’s stay-at-home order in a court filing Friday night, calling it a temporary measure that is likely saving the lives of the state’s residents.
 
Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh and a team of lawyers from his office wrote in a federal court filing that critics who sued to temporarily halt the order misunderstood its provisions and failed to mount a sufficient legal argument against them.
 
They argued that Hogan has enacted temporary measures to promote public health and limit the spread of the coronavirus that has killed more than 1,500 Marylanders. The stay-at-home order, issued March 30, keeps many businesses closed, continues a prohibition on large gatherings and restricts residents’ travel to essential trips such as getting food or seeking medical care.
 
Last weekend, a group sued the state in U.S. District Court in Baltimore and asked for a temporary restraining order to halt enforcement of the governor’s order.
 
The group includes Republican state lawmakers, pastors, owners of two Western Maryland businesses, military veterans and the “Reopen Maryland” group that has formed in recent weeks.
 
They claimed that the stay-at-home order has infringed on their Constitutional rights to free speech and exercise of religion, harmed businesses and and diminished their quality of life.
 
The state’s lawyers wrote, however, that limiting contact between individuals by closing many businesses and requiring masks inside stores that remain open is “a rational and justified policy response to a public health threat” that spreads through close contact.
 
The Republican governor has consulted a team of public health and business experts, considered guidance from the federal government and outlined an eventual plan for easing the restrictions, Frosh and his team noted.
 
In making his decisions, Hogan has acted within the bounds of state law that grants the governor broad powers to act in the interest of public health during a state of emergency, the state’s lawyers wrote.
 
“To emergently combat a virulently infectious disease in a pandemic, the State must be able to take swift and decisive action,” the state’s lawyers wrote.
 
The state’s lawyers argue that the lawsuit is not likely to succeed if it moves forward, and notes that several legal challenges in other states already have failed. In addition to opposing the temporary restraining order, they also filed a motion to dismiss the case.

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Road Construction Work to Begin at Naval Air Station Patuxent River Gate One Entrance, New Traffic Patterns Will be in Effect

LEONARDTOWN, MD – Using funding from the Department of the Navy, construction crews, contracted by the St. Mary’s County Department of Public Works will begin performing cooperative road work on the Naval Air Station Patuxent River Gate One Buse Road Entrance Monday, May 11, 2020.
 
Due to the extensive level of work being performed, the following traffic patterns will be in effect:
 
5:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. – Inbound Traffic Only
 
From 5:30 a.m. to 9 a.m., NAS Pax River’s Gate 1 will be open to inbound traffic only. Inbound traffic will be diverted to outbound lanes by cones and barriers during these hours. The Commercial Vehicle Inspection Lane will be open as usual during these hours for commercial vehicle inspections.
 
9 a.m. to 6 p.m. – Inbound and Outbound Traffic
 
From 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., NAS Pax River Gate 1’s two inbound lanes will shift to one inbound lane and one outbound lane. The Commercial Vehicle Inspection Lane will be open as usual during these hours for commercial vehicle inspections.
 
6 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. – Inbound and Outbound Traffic; All Inbound Traffic through Commercial Vehicle Inspection Lane
 
From 6 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. NAS Pax River’s Gate 1 will be open to inbound and outbound traffic; all inbound traffic will be directed through the Commercial Vehicle Inspection Lane.
 
For more information on this project, contact the Department of Public Works and Transportation at 301-475-4200, ext. 3510.
 
For updates on NAS Patuxent River operations, please visit our social media feeds on Facebook at www.facebook.com/NASPaxRiver  and on Twitter at @NASPaxRiverPAO.

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Updates to Maryland's Stay at Home Order

As you know, the State of Maryland previously issued a stay-at-home order, which remains into effect today. However, Governor Hogan has amended the order to expand opportunities for outdoor recreation and exercise in the state and on Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) properties. In addition, small group sports such as golfing, tennis, and similar activities are now permitted. Recreational fishing and hunting, recreation boating, and horseback riding are also now permitted. The changes include:
 
BEACHES
DNR-owned beaches are now opened and outdoor exercises such as walking, jogging, running, swimming, and fishing are permitted. However, all guidance on social distancing must continue to be followed, and the prohibition on social gatherings remains.
 
BOATING
Recreational boating activities, including motorized and non-motorized vessels are permitted. As before, boaters must be with immediate family members or people with which they reside, and no more than 10 people can be on a boat at one time, inclusive of the captain and crew.
 
Marinas can reopen to recreation boaters, but must adhere to all State health guidelines. Vessel and boat races remain prohibited. Pump-out stations and boats may resume operations under State health guidelines. Local jurisdictions may choose to open public boat ramps, but must ensure social distancing guidelines are followed.
 
FISHING
Recreation fishing activities, including catch-and-release, are allowed. When fishing from a boat, you must be with immediate family members or people with which they reside, and no more than 10 people may be on a boat at one time. All normal rules and regulations regarding fishing are in effect and must be followed.
 
HORSEBACK RIDING
Horseback riding activities, including on state lands, are allowed. Equestrians must be riding with immediate family members or people with which they reside, and social distancing rules must be followed.
 
HUNTING/TRAPPING
All hunting activities are allowed on private and public lands so long as hunters are with immediate family members or people with which they reside with only. All normal rules and regulations regarding hunting are in effect and must be followed.
 
OFF-ROAD VEHICLES
Off-road vehicles can be ridden on DNR-owned land in which they are allowed.
 
SHOOTING RANGES
Shooting ranges on DNR-owned land are re-open. No groups of more than 10 are allowed, and social distancing guidelines are in place.

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Road Construction Work to Begin at Naval Air Station Patuxent River Gate One Entrance

LEONARDTOWN, MD – Using funding from the Department of the Navy, construction crews, contracted by the St. Mary’s County Department of Public Works will begin performing cooperative road work on the Naval Air Station Patuxent River Gate One Buse Road Entrance Monday, May 11, 2020.

 

Due to the extensive level of work being performed, Gate One inbound traffic lanes will be closed from May 11 - June 11; outbound lanes will remain open to traffic exiting the base.

 

For more information on this project, contact the Department of Public Works and Transportation at 301-475-4200, ext. 3510.

 

For updates on NAS Patuxent River operations, please visit our social media feeds on Facebook at www.facebook.com/NASPaxRiver  and on Twitter at @NASPaxRiverPAO

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Maryland State Police Prince Frederick Barrack

Warrant Service / Gun Seizure - On 4/28/2020, multiple Troopers responded to the Maryland
State Police, Prince Frederick Barrack in reference to a subject with active warrant and possibly being in possession of a gun in the parking lot. Contact was made and the subject was identified as Joseph Allan Ramos, Jr. (9/29/96), who had responded to the Barrack to turn himself in for the active warrant (1st Degree Assault) that was issued against him the previous night. A 38 special caliber Smith and Wesson was located in the vehicle and seized due the Extreme Risk Protective Order (ERPO). Ramos was transported to the Calvert County Detention Center, where the warrant was served without incident.
 
Traffic Stop/ DUI/ Possession of CDS - On 4/29/2020, Trooper White conducted a traffic stop
on Route 4, in the area of Chaney Road, Dunkirk, for traffic violations. As Trooper White made contact with the driver, he noticed the smell of alcohol and marijuana emitting from the vehicle. The driver was identified as Robert Donte King (6/14/83) and the passenger was identified as Taron Delaney Wilkes (7/13/87). When asked to exit the vehicle both King and Wilkes initially refused. Sargent Newman arrived on scene and was able to get both subjects to comply and exit the vehicle. King was put through field sobriety and was subsequently arrested for Driving Under the Influence. A probable cause search of the vehicle yielded a large amount of suspected heroin in the trunk of the vehicle. A search of the driver and passenger yielded more suspected heroin as well as marijuana. Both King and Wilkes were
placed under arrest and were transported to the Maryland State Police, Prince Frederick Barrack, where they were charged accordingly and then taken to the Calvert County Detention Center. All CDS was packaged and stored at the Maryland State Police, Prince Frederick Barrack.
 
2nd Degree Assault/ MDOP/ Threats of Arson - On 5/4/2020, Trooper Moorman, Trooper
First Class Rucker, and Trooper First Class Matthews responded the wooded area located behind 143 Central Square Drive, Prince Frederick to make contact with Aaron Micheal Ballard who advised Wilford Alfred Fowler (08/20/64), hit him in the back with a baseball bat and burned his clothes. However, Fowler had fled on foot prior to our arrival, he was located by Deputy Childress (CCSO) and  placed under arrest. Ballard was checked by the Prince Frederick Volunteer Rescue Squad and he refused to be transported. Witnesses on scene stated Fowler told them he was going to come back and burn them all to death, before fleeing the scene. Fowler was transported to Calvert County Detention Center where
he was charged accordingly. 

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Child Attacked by Family Dog in Lusby

On Thursday, May 7, 2020 at approximately 12:15 p.m.., deputies from the Calvert County Sheriff’s Office were dispatched to a residence on McMichael Drive in Lusby, MD for a reported animal bite.
 
Preliminary investigation revealed a 5-year-old child was playing inside the residence, when the child was attacked by the family German Shepard. During the unprovoked attack, the child sustained severe traumatic injuries to the head, neck, and lower hip. The child was flown by Maryland State Police helicopter to Children’s Hospital in stable condition.
 
Further investigation revealed, a family member on scene witnessed the dog aggressively charge towards officers on scene and as a result the officers fired shots toward the animal in an effort to end the attack. The dog was pronounced deceased on scene.
This case remains under investigation. 
 
For official news and information, download the new free Sheriff’s Office mobile app, available in the app stores or visit https://apps.myocv.com/share/a39520678  to download now. 

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Vehicle Theft Suspect Identity Needed (Photos)

May 7, 2020:
 
The St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office is seeking the identity of the person pictured in a vehicle theft investigation. On Sunday, May 3, 2020 at 2:29 am, the suspect stole the victim’s 2019 Toyota C-HR at the 21700 block of Great Mills Road in Lexington Park with a key the suspect found in another vehicle. The suspect returned the stolen vehicle at 5:35 am with a damaged front end with fragments of brick on it from an impact.
 
    
 
Anyone with information about the identity of the suspect is asked to call Deputy Joseph Bowling at 301-475-4200, ext. 78085 or email joseph.bowling@stmarysmd.com. Case # 27514-20
 
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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Charles County Government May Holiday Schedule

The County Administrator wishes to remind residents that virtual communication with staff will not be available and County buildings will continue to be closed to the public on Monday, May 25, in observance of Memorial Day.  In addition to the County buildings being closed, please note changes to the other operating schedules:

 

The Charles County Landfill and Recycling Center, Pisgah Recycling Center, Gilbert Run Recycling Center, Breeze Farm Recycling Center, and Piney Church Road Mulch Facility will be closed.
Curbside recycling and yard waste collection will be delayed one day for the entire week, Tuesday, May 26 through Saturday, May 30.
VanGO services will not be operating.
 

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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Maryland Delegation Members Urge Negotiators to Strengthen SNAP in COVID-19 Relief Package

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen and Congressmen Steny H. Hoyer, Dutch Ruppersberger, John P. Sarbanes, Kweisi Mfume, Anthony G. Brown, Jamie B. Raskin and David Trone (all D-Md.) sent a letter to Congressional leadership urging them to prioritize important policies for the Supplemental Nutrition Program (SNAP) in the next COVID-19 relief legislative package. As the COVID-19 crisis has devastated the economy and left many out of work in Maryland and nationwide, food assistance programs should be top of mind as negotiators work on the next legislative package.

 

“SNAP plays a critical role in our nation’s social safety net and helps protect families, especially women, young children, and seniors, from poverty and hunger,” write the Members. “A statewide stay-at-home order and the closure of non-essential businesses have left many of our state’s residents out of work and struggling to pay their bills and meet basic needs. Many Marylanders have turned to their local food banks and SNAP for assistance.”

 

They go on to urge specific increases, writing, “we request that you increase the maximum SNAP benefit for all recipients by increasing the thrifty food plan by at least 15 percent to all households and increase the monthly minimum SNAP benefit from $16 to $30 for all households. A 15 percent increase to the maximum benefit is equivalent to an additional $25 per person per month. Currently, the average SNAP benefit per person is $1.40 per meal each day – which is not enough to purchase a meal, especially in a high-cost state like Maryland.”

 

The Members emphasize the necessity to strengthen SNAP against any harmful regulations, including three rules put forward by the USDA last year. “These rules would needlessly cut off SNAP benefits for tens of thousands of Marylanders and should never take effect, but this is especially the case during the COVID-19 pandemic,” they write.

 

They also call attention to the fact that many low-income and underrepresented college students have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. They urge, “We request that you expand SNAP eligibility to certain college students, specifically students who receive the maximum Pell Grant award, are in foster care, a veteran of the Armed Forces, or are classified as an unaccompanied youth who is homeless.”

 

Lastly, the Members argue the need to extend the SNAP recertification process for vulnerable populations, writing, “we ask that you extend the SNAP recertification period from 12 to 36 months for households with members who are elderly, disabled, or enrolled in Medicaid or the Medicare Savings Program. We know that there are circumstances under which SNAP-eligible individuals have their SNAP coverage lapse in the event they do not complete their recertification in a timely manner, which is always problematic, but especially during this crisis.”

 

The full text of the letter is available here and below.

 

Dear Majority Leader McConnell, Minority Leader Schumer, Speaker Pelosi, and Minority Leader McCarthy,

 

We appreciate your initial efforts to provide additional resources and flexibilities to the Supplemental Nutrition Program (SNAP) and other critical federal nutrition programs. Given the devastating economic impact of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, many individuals in Maryland and across the country are struggling to meet their basic food needs – and we must do more. We write today to request that you include important food assistance priorities in the next COVID-19 relief legislative package considered by Congress.

 

SNAP plays a critical role in our nation’s social safety net and helps protect families, especially women, young children, and seniors, from poverty and hunger. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic began, one in 10 Maryland households struggled with food insecurity and 650,000 residents participated in SNAP. This crisis and its corresponding economic fallout have only exacerbated these existing problems. Approximately 380,000 unemployment claims were filed in Maryland from March 15 to April 25. A statewide stay-at-home order and the closure of non-essential businesses have left many of our state’s residents out of work and struggling to pay their bills and meet basic needs. Many Marylanders have turned to their local food banks and SNAP for assistance. 

 

In order to ensure that SNAP recipients are able to afford the food they need, we request that you increase the maximum SNAP benefit for all recipients by increasing the thrifty food plan by at least 15 percent to all households and increase the monthly minimum SNAP benefit from $16 to $30 for all households. A 15 percent increase to the maximum benefit is equivalent to an additional $25 per person per month. Currently, the average SNAP benefit per person is $1.40 per meal each day – which is not enough to purchase a meal, especially in a high-cost state like Maryland. These additional funds are particularly important to allow individuals to purchase additional food in order to limit their number of trips to the grocery store during this public health crisis.

 

We also believe it is imperative that the next bill prevents any harmful regulatory actions related to SNAP from going into effect. Unfortunately, last year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture put forward three rules that would weaken SNAP eligibility and benefits. The first would effectively end waivers that prevent SNAP benefits from being terminated for Able-Bodied Adults Without Dependents in areas with elevated unemployment, which would result in 6,300 Marylanders losing their eligibility. The second would eliminate broad-based categorical eligibility flexibilities that encourage work and saving among low-income households, and if implemented, could result in 74,800 Maryland residents losing their SNAP benefits. The final rule would eliminate state flexibility to set their own Standard Utility Allowance using state-based and current energy cost information. These rules would needlessly cut off SNAP benefits for tens of thousands of Marylanders and should never take effect, but this is especially the case during the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

The COVID-19 crisis has had a profoundly negative impact on low-income and underrepresented college students. These students face many challenges during normal times, but this public health emergency is having a disproportionate impact on them. We must ensure that food insecurity does not add another burden. As you know, most college students enrolled half-time or more cannot receive SNAP. We request that you expand SNAP eligibility to certain college students, specifically students who receive the maximum Pell Grant award, are in foster care, a veteran of the Armed Forces, or are classified as an unaccompanied youth who is homeless.

 

Finally, we ask that you extend the SNAP recertification period from 12 to 36 months for households with members who are elderly, disabled, or enrolled in Medicaid or the Medicare Savings Program. We know that there are circumstances under which SNAP-eligible individuals have their SNAP coverage lapse in the event they do not complete their recertification in a timely manner, which is always problematic, but especially during this crisis. Individuals and families are impacted when they lose their benefits unexpectedly and it also adds to state and county caseloads when individuals need to reapply.

 

Thank you in advance for your consideration of these requests. We look forward to working with you to ensure that the next COVID-19 relief package includes these critical priorities.

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Calvert County Parks & Recreation Eases Restrictions

PRINCE FREDERICK, Md. – May 8, 2020 – The Department of Parks & Recreation announces additional updates for park use following Gov. Larry Hogan’s announcement broadening permitted outdoor recreational activities. Statewide limitations on gatherings, physical distancing measures and other protective health guidelines remain in place to continue reducing the spread of COVID-19.

·         Kings Landing Park is open to Calvert County residents only, with regular operating hours. The pier is open for fishing and crabbing. Equestrian use is permitted in the Equestrian Area. Be advised public restrooms, buildings, the pavilion and challenge course remain closed.

·         Fishing piers and boat ramps are available for recreational use. Users must observe distancing guidelines and group size limitations.

These changes are in addition to those announced previously:

Chesapeake Hills Golf Course reopened Thursday, May 7 at 9 a.m. Golf carts are available for use but limited to one cart per person except individuals living in the same household. Modified policies and procedures for golfers and staff have been implemented to comply with distancing requirements and protective guidelines to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission. The course is open to all users.

The use of the below county parks and facilities remains limited to Calvert County residents only until further notice.

·         Flag Ponds Nature Park beach will reopen Friday, May 8 with regular operating hours. The beach will be open for outdoor exercise activities, such as walking, running, or other individual and small group fitness activities. The park entrance fee for Flag Ponds Nature Park is waived until further notice.

·         Breezy Point Beach will reopen Friday, May 8 with regular operating hours. The beach will be open for outdoor exercise activities, such as walking, running, or other individual and small group fitness activities. The park entrance fee for Breezy Point Beach will be waived until Friday, May 15.

·         Breezy Point Campground will open for daily camping beginning Sunday, May 17. Parks & Recreation will begin taking campsite reservations Monday, May 11. For more information about Breezy Point Beach and Campground, please visit www.CalvertCountyMd.gov/BreezyPoint.

·         Tennis/pickleball courts at county parks will reopen Thursday, May 7. Reservations are encouraged. To reserve a tennis court, contact the Office of Sports, Community & Well-being at 410-535-1600, ext. 2229.

Residents are advised that public restrooms, port-a-potties and water fountains at county parks will remain out of service until further notice. In addition:

·         The following amenities are closed until further notice: skate parks, dog parks, basketball courts, ball fields, playgrounds, pavilions.

·         Gathering of groups are limited to no more than 10 people.

·         Capacity at each park will be adjusted to maintain social distancing.

·         Patrons will not be allowed to wait at a park gate to gain entry once capacity is reached.

·         Recreation activities such as walking, hiking, running or biking are permitted while adhering to 6-foot social distancing measures.

·         Users must provide the following information to park staff upon arrival: including name, county of residence, number of people in vehicle / party.


The county continues to share the latest updates surrounding Calvert County’s response to COVID-19 through a virtual resource center on its website, including any precautionary measures, guidance and closures at www.CalvertCountyMd.gov/Coronavirus. Updates will continue to appear on the Calvert County Government website, www.CalvertCountyMd.gov, Facebook page at www.facebook.com/CalvertCountyMd and Comcast Channel 6.

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Environmental Commission Challenges Residents to "Pump for the Bay"

PRINCE FREDERICK, Md. – May 6, 2020 – In addition to the prize of a healthier Chesapeake Bay, one lucky county resident will be reimbursed up to $350 for their septic system pump-out or upgrade in 2020 by entering the “Pump for the Bay” contest, run by the Calvert County Environmental Commission.
 
Any Calvert County resident who hires a company to pump out their septic tank or upgrades to a nitrogen-removing tank between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2020, is eligible to enter by submitting a copy of the bill or receipt along with an entry form. Entries must be received before 4 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021. Full details and entry form are available online at www.CalvertCountyMd.gov/PumpfortheBay.
 
The commission will select one top prize winner to be reimbursed up to $350 in a drawing to be held at the January 2021 Environmental Commission meeting. Additional prizes include gift certificates from Calvert County businesses and free passes to county recreational facilities. Winners will be notified by mail.
 
Even when operating properly, conventional septic systems remove only about 10% of nitrogen from the effluent that flows from the septic tank into the drain field. Excess nitrogen can enter the groundwater and eventually enters the Chesapeake Bay, increasing algae growth. Excessive algae causes a decline in water quality, reduces marine plant and animal life and creates low-oxygen “dead zones.”
 
Homeowners can help reduce nitrogen pollution in the county’s waterways by pumping their home’s septic tank every 2-3 years or upgrading to a more efficient system that converts 50-75% of the effluent nitrogen to a gas and vents it harmlessly into the atmosphere.
 
The contest, now in its 15th year, is sponsored by the Calvert County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) and Department of Planning & Zoning. Prizes in previous years were donated by the Calvert County Department of Parks & Recreation, Lusby Hardware, Chesapeake’s Bounty, Dream Weaver Catering & Café and others.
 
The Environmental Commission was established in 1975 by the BOCC to promote recycling programs, alternative energy use and energy conservation; provide public education through outreach events; support other county environmental organizations; and advise the BOCC, the Department of Planning & Zoning and the Planning Commission on environmental matters. Learn more about the Calvert County Environmental Commission at www.CalvertCountyMd.gov/Environment.
 
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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Maryland Schools To Remain Closed For The Rest Of The Academic Year

Maryland’s public school students will not return to classrooms for the rest of the academic year, officials announced Wednesday, making it one of the last states in the nation to make the call during the coronavirus pandemic.
 
Online and distance learning will continue while the State Department of Education readies a comprehensive long-term recovery plan called “Maryland Together: Recovery Plan for Education,” said Karen Salmon, the state superintendent of schools.
 
“I am convinced this is the appropriate decision in order to continue to protect the health and safety of our students, educators, staff and all members of school communities throughout Maryland," Salmon said at a news conference Wednesday.
 
Salmon emphasized that the school recovery plan was not prescriptive and does not make any mandates that school systems must follow. Rather, the plan outlines a set of “options and considerations developed from best practices and available research across the country,” she said.
 
School systems could opt to reopen on a staggered schedule, to small groups or on a case-by-case basis depending on a student’s needs. A full return of the study body to in-person instruction would likely come during the third stage of the governor’s plan, Salmon said.
 
The school board plan identifies several sample schedules and calendar ideas that dovetail with Gov. Larry Hogan’s recovery plan for the state. Officials said they did not expect the re-opening of schools to be included in the first stage of that plan.
 
Public school students were last in their classrooms on March 13, as officials have kept kids out of their buildings in an attempt to limit the spread of the coronavirus. An initial two-week closure was extended through mid-May then extended again on Wednesday to cover the rest of the year.
 
All of Maryland’s neighboring states and Washington, D.C. already cancelled in-person instruction for the rest of the year.
 
Only two other states haven’t canceled classes for the rest of the year. Wyoming schools are currently closed through May 15, and a few school districts in Montana are starting to reopen for in-person classes this week.
 
Salmon’s announcement followed “extensive discussions” between the board of education, the Maryland Health Department and public health experts advising Hogan.
 
The switch to online learning has been a challenge for teachers, students and parents. It has exposed a digital divide, with significant numbers of students lacking laptops or tablets and the internet access necessary to access online schoolwork.
 
In Baltimore, for example, nearly one-quarter of homes don’t have an internet connection. Some parents have used their cellphone data plans to power their kids’ devices.
 
By mid April — about a month into the school closures — tens of thousands of children had not logged into their online learning systems or picked up paper lesson packets, according to a survey of school superintendents.
 
Closing for the remainder of the year "is the right decision for the safety of students, educators and families. But it is sad because educators really miss their students. We want to have some closure,” said Cheryl Bost, president of the Maryland State Education Association, the union representing the majority of teachers in the state.
 
Bost said the inequalities that have become evident during the period since physical schools closed down have to be addressed in the future.
 
“This is going to be a very long period of time for them to lose progress in learning,” she said.
 
Parents and students have been anxiously awaiting some definitive ruling from the state for weeks, but Bost said she thought overall the state was right to make the decisions in a gradual manner. 
 
“It was its own transition period. It eased us into it even though it created anxiety,” Bost said.
 
The final decision was welcomed by Baltimore City School parent Joe Kane. 
 
“It allows parents to move forward during the COVID-19. Our routine has been day by day. Now we can begin to adjust our schedules. It is adjusting to what this new reality is,” he said.
 
His family is considering making their children work intensively for three days in a row and then give them two days off.”
 
Children still have a lot of concerns about their futures, he said, particularly if they are moving from elementary to middle school or if they are juniors in high school. 
 
“They are still looking for guidance as to how this will play out. For them, it is more getting some understanding of what their future holds,” Kane said.
 
Even as students will remain out of their classrooms as a protective measure, Hogan announced the easing of restrictions beginning Thursday at 7 a.m. on a few outdoor activities.
 
The governor amended his stay-at-home order to allow for individual and small group sports such as golfing and tennis, outdoor fitness instruction, recreational fishing and hunting, recreational boating and horseback riding.
 
Maryland’s beaches and state parks will also open Thursday for walking and exercise. Local governments will have the flexibility to take similar actions at their discretion, Hogan said.
 
Hogan also said hospitals and license healthcare professionals can resume elective and non-emergency procedures.
 
Providers should exercise judgment in determining what procedures are appropriate to perform, Hogan said.
 
The Republican governor’s stay-at-home order remains in effect, requiring most nonessential businesses to remain closed and limiting residents’ travel to only trips to procure food or supplies or to get outdoor exercise. Residents are required to wear masks in stores, on buses and trains or whenever social distancing is difficult to maintain.
 
Hogan previously laid out a “roadmap to recovery” for gradually easing restrictions once the state experiences a flattening or decline in key coronavirus trends, such as hospitalizations and use of intensive care units.
 
Hogan said he may soon be ready to lift the stay-at-home order across the state as the rate of hospitalizations and the number of patients in intensive care have steadily decreased. The governor said he needed “several more days of good metrics” to launch the first stage of his three-stage recovery plan for the state.
 
“I realize that these are only small steps and that they may be of little comfort to those who are out of work and who are struggling financially,” Hogan said. “But it is thanks to all of you and your incredible sacrifices that we are making great progress.”

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May 5 Charles County Commissioners Meeting Update

On Tuesday, May 5, the Board of Commissioners received an update from the Maryland Department of Health on how county nursing homes are being impacted by COVID-19. Dr. Howard Haft, executive director at Maryland Primary Care Program of the Maryland Department of Health, shared information on the Governor’s Executive Order, an update that all Charles County nursing facilities are using  technology to connect senior citizens to connect with loved ones, and confirmed that all county nursing home residents were tested for COVID-19 last weekend, and staff will be tested soon.

 

Department of Emergency Services Director Michelle Lilly provided an overview of the Emergency Operation Center’s (EOC) work. She also reported that additional statistics have been added to the daily Situation Report sent to elected and executive leaders. A kickoff meeting was held last Thursday by the New Normal Taskforce, which has been charged with developing a plan for re-opening County Government. There have also been more than 1,800 cloth face masks and large number of Tupperware soup bowls donated from community members to support local first responders.

 

Budget Work Session

 

The Board of County Commissioners held a budget work session to review the fiscal 2021 General Fund Recap and Special Revenue Funds. Fiscal and Administrative Services staff also provided follow-up on the Enterprise Funds and fiscal 2021-2025 Capital Improvement Projects, which included Board consensus on swapping the Billingsley Road Safety Improvement Project for the Billingsley Road Realignment Project and included a discussion on the Bryans Road Senior and Recreation Center and a homeless shelter. 

 

Briefings

Deputy County Administrator Deborah Hall and Chief of Information Technology Evelyn Jacobson provided a presentation on the Rural Broadband Task Force, including the awarded grant announcement from the Broadband Infrastructure Grant Program which will serve Cobb Neck and Nanjemoy.
Charles County Charitable Trust provided an update on the Charles County COVID-19 Grant Relief Program for Non-Profits which distributed grants to 21 nonprofit recipients. The Economic Development Department provided an update on the Charles County COVID-19 Loan Relief Program for Small Business. The department has received 115 requests for applications and 14 applications have been submitted, although some applications are incomplete. The Business Loan Committee will meet and make decisions on eight completed applications on Thursday, May 7. Economic Development staff is reaching out to all businesses that have requested applications to offer assistance in completing and submitting their requests.
Approval Items

Commissioners approved the following items:

A budget transfer request of $59,000 and a budget transfer request of $95,000 to fund overtime costs for the Emergency Medical Services Division that are estimated to exceed the budget.
A contingency transfer request of $225,000 for the Mattawoman Wastewater Treatment Plant Final Filter upgrade project to complete the rehab of all filters and place them back in service.
Public Hearing

Commissioners held a virtual public hearing on the fiscal 2021 Operating Budget and fiscal 2021-2025 Capital Budgets. Comments are accepted May 5, starting at 8 a.m. through May 7, ending at 5 p.m. by using:

E-Comment: www.CharlesCountyMD.gov/government/public-comments-for-fy2021-operating-and-capital-budget-public-hearing.
Phone: Call 301-645-0652 to leave a message.
Written comments must be received no later than May 11, 2020 via:

Mail: Send to Commissioners of Charles County, 200 Baltimore Street, Maryland, 20646.
Citizens with special needs may contact the Maryland Relay Service at 711, or Relay Service TDD: 800-735-2258.

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Van Hollen, Collins Lead Bipartisan Call for Hazard Pay, Increased Safety Measures for Federal Employees and Contractors

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) led 17 of their colleagues in a bipartisan letter to Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Acting Director Russell T. Vought and Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Acting Director Michael J. Rigas, urging them to take immediate steps to support federal employees and contractors during the COVID-19 crisis. The Senators’ letter emphasizes several actions that the Administration should take now to support these crucial public servants.

 

The Senators begin by urging OPM use their existing authority to implement hazard pay for federal employees, which provides for pay increases of up to 25 percent. They write, “Many federal workers and contractor employees are putting themselves at increased risk of COVID-19 to work on the frontlines of the public health response and continue essential public-facing services. We appreciate the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) guidance on recruitment, retention, and relocation bonuses in response to COVID-19, and we urge you to build on this by using existing hazard pay authority to provide a 25% increase in basic pay for employees in essential, frontline, or public-facing positions whose jobs cannot be accomplished while maintaining the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) social distancing recommendations. The statute provides for hazardous pay differentials for duties involving unusual hazards that are not typical for the job, which certainly describes the current situation for many workers.”

 

They go on to call for OPM and OMB to clarify and fully support maximum telework and to implement safety leave when necessary. They state, “Agencies should receive clear criteria to make greater use of safety leave, including how to weigh costs and benefits in order to reach a determination… Safety leave also has positive effects to mitigate community spread within federal facilities and surrounding communities. This is especially true in large federal facilities with many employees and in communities that rely on mass transit.”

 

The Senators urge that employees be provided the equipment and supplies they need to stay safe on the job, noting, “The need for adequate supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE) remains a significant concern for frontline and essential workers across the country, including federal employees and contractors, who have not had access to the PPE as well as cleaning and disinfecting supplies they need to do their job safely. Congress has provided significant resources to address these needs for workers across the country, as well as appropriations for several agencies to procure the safety equipment and supplies needed for their workforces. All federal employees and contractors – like workers across the country – should have everything they need to stay safe on the job.”

 

In addition to these issues, the Senators also address the continuity of pay for federal contract employees and ask the Administration to ensure that they are working collaboratively with employees and unions on these matters.  

 

Joining Senators Van Hollen and Collins on the letter are Senators Angus King, Jr. (I-Maine), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Edward Markey (D-Mass.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Benjamin Cardin (D-Md.), Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Jack Reed (D-Ore.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.).

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St. Mary's County Health Department Appoints New Environmental Health Director

 The St. Mary’s County Health Department (SMCHD) announces the appointment of Heather Moritz, LEHS, as the new Director for its Environmental Health Division. Ms. Moritz previously served as Environmental Health Deputy Director at the health department, and replaces Daryl Calvano who recently retired after almost 33 years of State service. 
 
“Ms. Moritz brings extensive environmental health experience and familiarity with our county to her new role,” stated Dr. Meena Brewster, Health Officer. “Her expertise in land development, water safety, food safety, and numerous other environmental health areas is essential for her new role. We look forward to her strong leadership in addressing environmental health matters for our county.”
 
“I am extremely excited and honored to have been chosen for this position,” said Ms. Moritz.  “We have an amazing team in Environmental Health that is providing outstanding services to our community.  I look forward to the years ahead, and seeing the growth in these services and how they are impacted by evolving environmental circumstances.  We have a strong team that is ready to take on the changing dynamics of environmental health.”
 
The SMCHD Environmental Health Division is responsible for public health concerns related to water safety (including drinking water, groundwater, recreational water, and wastewater), food safety, zoonotic infections (such as rabies and insect-borne illness), air quality, and indoor environments. The Division works closely with many key community partners in successfully addressing these core responsibilities.
 
For more information about the SMCHD Environmental Health Division, please visit the agency’s website at www.smchd.org.

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Kerry Dull Appointed Director of Public Works

 The Calvert County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) is pleased to announce the appointment of Kerry Dull as the county government director of Public Works. Dull’s appointment is effective May 11, 2020. Dull previously served as the general services director.
 
“Kerry has proven the past several months that his diverse background and exceptional leadership qualities are exactly what the Department of Public Works needs,” said BOCC President Kelly McConkey. “Kerry has an outstanding track record in providing excellent public service, and I am looking forward to see him tackle this new challenge.”
 
“Kerry possesses a senior level set of skills required to run a large, public-facing department,” said County Administrator Mark Willis. “Kerry’s logistical and specific operational and planning experience allows us to consider new efficiencies in the department, while ensuring outstanding customer service. To me, he is the obvious choice to lead Public Works to the next level.”
 
Dull has an extensive leadership and military background. He served in the U.S. Army for more than 28 years in a variety of positions beginning as an aviation officer in 1989 before being promoted to the rank of major and assigned to the Pentagon as an airborne reconnaissance officer in January 2001. Dull quickly moved up the ranks becoming a battalion operations officer in June 2003, battalion executive officer in 2004 and material management and logistics officer in October 2006.
 
In November 2007, Dull joined the National Guard Bureau Joint Staff where he served as a strategic analyst/counter-narcotics program manager. There, he served as lead strategist for the joint staff, identifying and bridging gaps between policies while providing reports and analysis on key information and objectives to senior leaders.
 
Dull later became commander for the 29th Combat Aviation Brigade and ended his career with the Army National Guard as the chief of staff for the 29th Infantry Division. In this role, he was responsible for leading organization activities and operational planning by successfully supporting and implementing a strategic framework with more than 500 executive-level staff for three chief executives. He identified necessary resources and managed budget constraints to meet established priorities and goals.
 
Dull replaces Rai Sharma, who retired earlier this month after serving 10 years in Calvert County Government; the last five years as the director of public works.
 
Dull holds a bachelor’s degree in marketing and management and a master’s degree in business administration, with a concentration in finance.
 
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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Charles County Man Charged With Arson Of Family Home

CHARLES COUNTY, MD (May 5, 2020) - Deputy State Fire Marshals charged a Charles County man yesterday after determining he was responsible for intentionally setting fire to a family-owned, single-family dwelling. The home was co-owned by the suspect, Paul Sherwood Swann, age 55, and his brother Wardell Swann.

On April 24, 2020, at approximately 4:00 p.m., Charles County Sheriff's Office responded to 6840 Swann Gate Place for the emergency evaluation of a subject. While en route, the Sheriff's Office requested Deputy State Fire Marshals respond as well to investigate a dwelling fire at a neighboring address that occurred earlier in the day. During their investigation, Swann was developed as a suspect. The home was vacant at the time of the fire and is considered a total loss. No fire departments were requested on the day of the fire.

On May 4, 2020, at 5:30 p.m. Paul Sherwood Swann was charged with First Degree Arson and was arrested by members of the Office of the State Fire Marshal and Maryland State Police at his residence. Swann was transported to the Charles County Detention Center. If found guilty, Swann could face 30-years imprisonment and $250,000.00 in fines.

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Identity Needed for Attempted Burglary Suspect

The St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office is seeking the identity of the person pictured in an attempted burglary investigation. On Sunday, May 3, 2020 at 2:02 am, the suspect attempted to enter a home in the 22100 block of Long Bow Drive in the Arrowhead subdivision in California. The suspect was observed pulling on the front doorknob and walking around the exterior of the home. A witness confronted the suspect while he was sitting in a blue vehicle and said his name was “Jay.”
 
   
 
Anyone with information about the suspects or this incident is asked to call Deputy Zachary Jerew at 301-475-4200, ext. 78154 or email zachary.jerew@stmarysmd.com. Case # 27532-20
 
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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Calvert County Opens Emergency Vehicle Decontamination Site

Calvert County has established a decontamination site for police, fire, paramedic and emergency medical services (EMS) and other county vehicles. The vehicle decontamination site, which began operating April 21, is part of ongoing efforts to minimize the risk of COVID-19 transmission by providing clean, safe transport for first responders and the public.
 
The site, located in a cordoned-off section of the parking lot at CalvertHealth Medical Center, is available for service 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
 
 
“The vehicle decontamination site is one of many steps being taken to safeguard frontline workers and the public,” said Public Safety Director Jackie Vaughan. “The public can rest assured that we are taking strong precautions around the clock to make sure it is safe to ride in ambulances and other transport vehicles.”
 
Ambulances are decontaminated after every transport using disinfectant that meets EPA criteria for use against the virus that causes COVID-19. Calvert County averages about 20 EMS calls per day.
 
The Department of Public Safety contracted with Maryland-based company Pristine Inc. to provide the decontamination service and worked with CalvertHealth Medical Center to set up the site.
 
The process uses atomizing foggers, spray bottles and electrostatic sprayers to apply disinfectant inside each vehicle – including stretchers – as well as all door handles and any other touch points inside and outside the vehicle.
 
Previously, Fire/Rescue/EMS personnel would sanitize vehicles by hand after each transport. Decontamination at the new site can fully treat a vehicle within 10-15 minutes.
 
The site is located in the CalvertHealth Medical Center complex near the emergency department entrance. It is equipped with a tent for decontamination gear, a 25-foot camper to house site staff during shifts, an area for crews to safely remove and dispose of personal protective equipment, and a covered area for crews to wait while their vehicle is being sterilized.
 
Visit www.CalvertCountyMd.gov/Coronavirus for COVID-19 updates, guidance and resources. Updates will continue to appear on the Calvert County Government website, www.CalvertCountyMd.gov, Facebook page at www.facebook.com/CalvertCountyMd and Comcast Channel 6.
 

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Single Vehicle Collision Under Investigation

On May 3, 2020, deputies from the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office responded to the 20900 block of Three Notch Road in Lexington Park, for the reported single vehicle collision. Upon arrival deputies located a vehicle off the roadway with three injured occupants. The St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office Collision Reconstruction Unit responded to the scene and continued the investigation.
 
Preliminary investigation determined a 2004 Ford Expedition operated by Calvin Matthew Douglas, age 35 of Lexington Park, was traveling northbound on Three Notch Road, in the area of Turkey Neck Road, when the vehicle left the roadway and struck a tree. The rear-seat passenger, Jamie Shammara Nicole Biscoe, age 32 of Lexington Park, was ejected from the vehicle. Biscoe and the front-seat passenger Blair Elizabeth Spicer, age 29 of Great Mills, were flown to an area trauma center with incapacitating injuries and at this time are in stable condition. Douglas was transported to a local hospital with incapacitating injuries.
 
The 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 78031 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.

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Van Hollen Urges Trump Administration to Clarify Timeline, Expedite Process for PPP Loan Forgiveness

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) urged U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin and Small Business Administrator Jovita Carranza to issue guidance clarifying the timeline and expedite the process for Payroll Protection Program (PPP) loan forgiveness. In a letter sent today, the Senator conveyed the concerns of Maryland small businesses and non-profits, who have expressed the need for further clarification on PPP forgiveness requirements in order to apply for loans, make informed business decisions, and get the relief they need to weather the coronavirus crisis.

 

“If a small business or non-profit applies for forgiveness after the eight week covered period and qualifies, they should know the tentative date on which they will be repaid by their lender after submitting their loan forgiveness application as well as a step-by-step guide to the forgiveness process from application to remittance of the loan amount to the borrower,” the Senator writes.

 

He goes on to press the urgency of this needed guidance, stating, “Without a clearly defined timeline and process for repayment of the loan, small business owners and non-profit organizations do not have the information necessary to make informed financial decisions for their businesses or organizations. This uncertainty may drive some business owners or non-profit organizations to forgo desperately needed assistance when that assistance could have allowed them to keep their workers employed and their businesses and organizations alive.”

 

“The PPP is meant to be a lifeline to small businesses and non-profits during this exceedingly challenging time. A lack of information should not prevent them from obtaining the help they need,” the Senator concludes.

 

The full text of the letter is available here and below.

 

Dear Secretary Mnuchin and Administrator Carranza,

 

I write to urge you to provide updated guidance clarifying the timeline and process for forgiveness under the Payroll Protection Program (PPP). Over the past several weeks, I have been in touch with businesses and non-profits throughout Maryland, and some have expressed concerns that Treasury has not clarified the timeline and process for loan forgiveness under the PPP.

 

If a small business or non-profit applies for forgiveness after the eight week covered period and qualifies, they should know the tentative date on which they will be repaid by their lender after submitting their loan forgiveness application as well as a step-by-step guide to the forgiveness process from application to remittance of the loan amount to the borrower.

 

Without a clearly defined timeline and process for repayment of the loan, small business owners and non-profit organizations do not have the information necessary to make informed financial decisions for their businesses or organizations. This uncertainty may drive some business owners or non-profit organizations to forgo desperately needed assistance when that assistance could have allowed them to keep their workers employed and their businesses and organizations alive. 

 

The PPP is meant to be a lifeline to small businesses and non-profits during this exceedingly challenging time. A lack of information should not prevent them from obtaining the help they need. 

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Nonprofit Organization is Saving Hospitals Millions of Dollars Nationwide with this Heat Sanitizer

California, MD – COVID-19 continues to sweep across the nation, and hospitals are being hit hard. Due to the public clearing everything off the shelves, doctors and nurses are grasping for equipment anyway they can. Hospitals are running dangerously low on supplies and equipment, as they do not have enough masks to protect themselves and do not have enough respirators for patients.
 
Normally, the cost of medical masks were approximately .58 cents for one face mask.1 The global panic caused by the pandemic resulted in masks quickly disappearing from the shelves. The high demand resulted with the price of face masks skyrocketing and are now at a minimum of $7 per single mask, according to Bloomberg.com.2 Hospitals already pay a high amount to obtain face masks for their daily work routine. During this period, it is shown how that price could only grow drastically. 3.5 billion are predicted to be used nationwide during this pandemic. 3.5 billion masks, at $7 per mask, would be 24.5 billion dollars in N95 mask sales. Hospitals are faced with large amounts of debt just from the cost of face masks alone, imagine how much money they will have to compensate just during this month alone. Luckily, one organization has created a way to help to exceedingly decrease the expense.
 
Southern Maryland Loves You (SoMDLovesYou), a non-profit organization, was quickly formed in March. Incubated out of TechPort, a technological incubator founded in Southern Maryland, this organization works to support those combating on the front lines during COVID-19 by providing products. SoMDLovesYou Heat Sanitization Box, also known as the ‘Hot Box’, can disinfect thousands of masks within an hour. This box could provide emergency service personnel the ability to reuse their gear, 20 times at minimum, saving them money and materials. If masks could be reused 20 times, we would only need 175 million masks, which would be 1.225 billion dollars, saving 23.275 billion dollars. It could aid hospitals the opportunity to salvage their medical equipment, while providing substantial savings.
 
Not only would the ‘Hot Box’ greatly lower costs, it would also have a positive environmental result. Reusing this box at a minimum of 20 times would result in 3.325 billion masks from ending up in waste fields during this pandemic by providing people the chance to reuse their face masks multiple times. This pandemic has provided an opportunity to show how local community efforts can have positive national impacts in numerous ways.

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Detectives Identify and Arrest Two Suspects in Connection with Murder Case on Aldermans Place

Charles County Sheriff’s detectives assigned to the Criminal Investigations Division have arrested two people in connection with a murder that occurred on Aldermans Place two weeks ago. The details of the case are as follows:
 
On April 20 at approximately 2:10 p.m., officers responded to the 2000 block of Aldermans Place in Waldorf, for the report of a shooting. Officers arrived and located the victim, Trevon Smiley, 26, of Waldorf, suffering from multiple gunshot wounds. Smiley was pronounced deceased while being transported to the hospital. During the investigation, detectives identified Avante Kenneth Tazewell, 18, of Accokeek as the person who shot Smiley and obtained an arrest warrant. Detectives also identified Courtney Ann Smith, 18, of Waldorf as the person who drove Tazewell away from the scene. Smith continued to aid Tazewell since the murder.
 
       
 
On April 29, with the assistance of the U.S. Marshals Task Force, Smith was located in Waldorf. She was arrested and charged with accessory after the fact relating to the first-degree murder. On April 30, Tazewell turned himself in at District III / Waldorf Station and was charged with first-degree murder and other related charges. Anyone with additional information is asked to call Detective J. Riffle at (301) 609-6501. Tipsters wishing to remain anonymous may contact Charles County Crime Solvers by calling 1-866-411-TIPS. Tips can also be submitted online at www.charlescountycrimesolvers.com or by using the P3Intel mobile app. The investigation is ongoing.

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Maryland Congressional Delegation Discusses Status of COVID-19 Testing with State Health and Emergency Management Leaders

WASHINGTON – Members of the Maryland congressional delegation, including U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen and Congressmen Steny H. Hoyer, C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, John P. Sarbanes, Andy Harris, M.D., Anthony Brown, Jamie B. Raskin and David Trone, today discussed with Maryland Secretary of Health Robert Neall, Deputy Secretary for Public Health Services Fran Phillips and Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) Director Russell Strickland the status of Maryland’s ability to test for COVID-19 and potential ways that the federal delegation can help expand that capacity.

 

“Responding to the COVID-19 outbreak is a dynamic challenge that depends on the continual exchange of information and ideas among officials from all levels of government, so Team Maryland has and continues to closely coordinate with Governor Hogan and the leaders of key state agencies,” said Senator Cardin. “Secretary Neall, Deputy Secretary Phillips and Director Strickland today discussed the recent enhancements to Maryland’s COVID-19 testing capacity and how much more we need to do to develop the full capacity needed to reopen the state. We will continue working to mobilize all available resources to keep Marylanders safe and healthy.”

 

“Working together for Marylanders at the federal, state, and local levels is crucial to both a comprehensive and effective COVID-19 response. I appreciate state officials taking the time to hear our concerns and to answer our questions on the issues the state is facing – from outbreaks at our nursing homes to the immediate need for additional testing capacity and making sure critical resources get to where they’re needed most. We will continue to offer our assistance in addressing these issues, and we will keep fighting at the federal level for the resources Maryland needs,” said Senator Van Hollen.

 

“I appreciate the work Secretary Neall and Director Strickland are doing to protect families in Maryland during this public health crisis,” said Congressman Hoyer. “I share the frustration of many Marylanders about our state’s testing capacity. Our economy, and the livelihood of many, cannot return to normal until we have a significant testing plan in place. I will continue to work with my colleagues in the Maryland Delegation to ensure our hospitals, health care workers, nursing homes, and all those on the front line of this epidemic have the supplies they need, and work with our state and local colleagues to increase testing capacity in our region.”   

 

“The key to saving lives and livelihoods is testing, testing, testing,” said Congressman Ruppersberger.  “We still have more work to do to achieve short-term goals like universal testing at nursing homes and longer-term goals like fully re-opening our economy. We must continue to collaborate and communicate at the federal, state and local level to defeat this pandemic absent a vaccine.”

 

“We will continue to work closely with our partners at the state level to expand Maryland’s COVID-19 testing capacity – especially among vulnerable populations like nursing home residents and in underserved communities, where the virus poses significant risks,” said Congressman Sarbanes. “As Congress considers its next coronavirus response package, we will push for additional federal resources to help Maryland conduct more tests, better track the virus, contain clusters of outbreaks and allow healthy Marylanders to get back to work.”

 

“Hopefully the increased testing capacity we have now can allow us to rapidly re-open low risk businesses while we concentrate on employees in high risk businesses like nursing homes and meat processing plants,” said Representative Harris.

“Testing is the top issue facing Maryland and the country, and we cannot start moving forward towards reopening our state without expanded testing,” said Congressman Brown. “Maryland has to be able to do 10,000 tests a day, but it is clear that as of yet, the state’s testing capacity has not been scaled up significantly. Tests are in high demand – especially in hard-hit jurisdictions like Prince George’s County – and we must work together to ensure Maryland has sufficient swabs, viral transport media and reagents to collect and process tests from significantly more residents in the coming weeks.”

 

“Without a vaccine, the only way to defeat COVID-19 is through mass testing, rigid contact tracing, commonsense social distancing, and aggressive proactive public health measures to prevent further outbreaks,” said Representative Raskin. “The Maryland congressional delegation is committed to working with our state and local partners to ensure that health and emergency management officials are able to dramatically expand testing capacity across the state to ensure the health of our people and a safe and successful reopening.”

 

“Marylanders are ready to get back to work, but that won’t be possible until we have a dramatic expansion of testing, a robust contact tracing initiative, and continued guidance from our nation’s top public health experts,” said Congressman Trone. “Our federal, state, and local partners need to work together as Team Maryland to expand our testing capacity to keep every Marylander safe and our economy strong.”

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April 28 and 29 Charles County Commissioners Meeting Update

Tuesday, April 28

The Board of Commissioners received an update from the Maryland Department of Health on how county nursing homes are being impacted by COVID-19. Dr. Howard Haft, executive director at Maryland Primary Care Program of the Maryland Department of Health, shared that 133 nursing home residents in Charles County have tested positive for COVID-19 and the state is continuing to work on a new statewide reporting system across all nursing home facilities with standardized data.

 

Department of Emergency Services Director Michelle Lilly provided an overview of the Emergency Operation Center’s (EOC) work. She also reported that local first responders recognized the University of Maryland Charles Regional Medical Center last week with a banner and parade of ambulances and fire trucks. Also, earlier this month, as part of the statewide medical surge planning efforts, the EOC requested an advanced medical tent for the hospital and this tent will be constructed in May and will provide 10 additional hospital beds.

 

Budget Work Session

 

The Board of County Commissioners held a budget work session to review the fiscal 2021 General Fund. Commissioners also received video and written comments from partnering agencies, including the Board of Education, Charles County Sheriff’s Office, College of Southern Maryland, Charles County Public Library, Charles County State’s Attorney’s Office, Charles County Department of Health, Circuit Court, Election Board, Charles County Department of Social Services, and Charles County Charitable Trust.

 

Briefings

Department of Planning and Growth Management staff provided a presentation on the Drainage System Improvement Project, including response to stormwater concerns in the county.
Economic Development Department staff provided an update on Bryans Road current conditions and market assessment, which included demographics, zoning and current conditions, retail and commercial market trends, residential market and housing trends, economic development implications of the Watershed Conservation District, and economic development implications of the Maryland Airport.
Department of Public Works staff provided an update on the Billingsley Road safety improvements, including recommendations for Prince Edward Drive and Pearl Street improvements.
Economic Development Department staff provided answers to Commissioners’ questions on COVID-19 Relief Fund, including information about the documents required for applicants and updating verbiage on the application for clarification purposes.
Commissioners also discussed a CARES Act advisory board and the discussion was tabled.
Approval Items

Commissioners approved the following items:

A budget transfer request of $286,630 to cover the overage of debt issue cost.
An intercategory budget transfer request by the Board of Education of $10.3 million to support instruction supplies and materials, student personnel services, student transportation, operation of plant funds, community service, and capital outlay funds.
A Neutrality Agreement with an amendment to section 7, which includes neutrality between Charles County and union organizations in regards to employees.
A letter of support for the joint Charles County and Prince George’s County Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development transportation planning grant application. This funding will be used to complete a draft environmental impact statement for the Southern Maryland Rapid Transit (SMRT) project.
A motion to set up infrastructure for a COVID-19 business Relief Grant fund using funds from the Federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARE’s Act) to provide economic support to those Charles County businesses that have suffered interruptions due to COVID-19 related business closures, subject to the following conditions:
Meet all eligibility requirements established by the program.
Must use all funds for purposes related to the impact of COVID-19.
Provide written statement prior to closing certifying that funds will be used in accordance to the grant eligibility requirements for expenses incurred due to COVID-19.
A motion to add $100,000 to the Non-profit COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund and that non-profits applying meet eligibility requirements, must utilize funds specifically for COVID-19, and provide evidence for expenses incurred due to COVID-19. Amended to include the funding source coming from the fund balance.
Wednesday, April 29

County Commissioners held another budget work session to review fiscal 2021 General Fund Operating Budget. County Administrator Mark Belton and budget staff presented the county’s proposed fiscal 2021 budget of $433,441,200, an increase of 2 percent over last year. More information available on our website.

 

Meetings

Commissioners and Town of La Plata and Town of Indian Head representatives conferred on the fiscal 2021 tax differential. Section 6-306 of the Tax- Property Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland requires governing bodies to meet and confer on an annual basis regarding a form of compensation for government services that are provided by the municipal government. To compensate municipalities for services, many counties implement a tax differential (tax credit) on the residents’ tax bills or provide a tax rebate to the municipality.
Commissioners held a joint meeting with the Board of Education and Department of Planning and Growth Management staff to discuss the fiscal 2020 school allocation cycle.
Approval Items

Commissioners approved the following items:

A resolution to extend the County State of Emergency until May 30, 2020.
Public Hearing

Commissioners held a virtual public hearing on the fiscal 2021 Constant Yield. Comments for the Constant Yield Tax Rate public hearing may be submitted until Friday, May 1 at 5 p.m. via:

E-Comment: www.CharlesCountyMD.gov/ConstantYield.
Phone: Call 301-645-0652 to leave a message.
Mail: Send to Commissioners of Charles County, 200 Baltimore Street, Maryland, 20646 (must be received by Tuesday, May 5).
Next Commissioners Session and Fiscal 2021 Budget Public Hearing: May 5, 2020

 

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

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Officers Apprehend Man Shooting Firearm / Reckless Endangerment

On April 29 at 2:51 p.m., officers responded to the 11800 block of Holly Lane in Waldorf for the report of the sound of gunshots behind a business. Upon arrival, officers spoke with an employee who indicated they had just seen a man firing a rifle in the parking lot behind a nearby convenience store. When the employee approached, the male walked about 100 yards and stood behind another store where he fired several more rounds. Employees at that business called 911. Officers canvassed the area and located the man, Joseph Michael Overmiller, 39, of Waldorf, hiding in a wooded area.  He was in possession of a .22 caliber AR style rifle. Overmiller was taken into custody and charged with reckless endangerment. Officers also located shell casings in both areas where the man was seen shooting. Although no one was injured, it is not clear at this time if the rounds he fired struck anything. Anyone with information is asked to call PFC C. Collins at (301) 932-2222.

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Mail-In Ballots Begin Arriving for June 2nd Presidential Primary Election

The Maryland State Board of Elections is urging all Maryland voters to be on the lookout for mail-in ballots for the June 2nd Presidential Primary election. Mail-in ballots could begin arriving in mailboxes this week. Due to the coronavirus, the June 2nd Primary will be conducted by mail, with limited options to vote in person on election day.
 
“We are asking all Maryland voters to be on the lookout for their mail-in ballot for the June 2nd primary election and to vote-by-mail if possible,” said Linda Lamone, Maryland Administrator of Elections. “Voting by mail is safe, secure and free. There is no postage required. Voters simply need to fill out their ballot, sign the oath on the envelope, and place it back in the mail.”
 
The Maryland State Board of Elections is committed to educating voters on the changes made to election procedures due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. These changes have been made to ensure voters can exercise their fundamental right to vote while also safeguarding the public’s health during this pandemic.
 
The June 2nd Presidential Primary election will be conducted by mail, with up-to-four in-person voting locations in each county and Baltimore City for those who are unable to vote by mail.
 
For information about this election and for a list of voting locations, please visit www.elections.maryland.gov or contact the State Board at 1-800-222-8683.

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