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This is exactly what the Rotary Club is set up to do, said Bob Parkinson of Hollywood, as he described the Hurricane Sandy relief effort that he is helping organize through the local clubs.

Parkinson is the district governor of Rotary District 7620, which includes 64 clubs and 2,350 Rotarians. He said his district has a truck with a semi-trailer waiting in Lanham to take supplies up to people in northern New Jersey as well as two box trucks in Bel Air that will also deliver supplies. In addition, the Rotarians are contacting other organizations such as the Experimental Aircraft Association and the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association to team with them to see if they can provide pilots to fly donated items into local airfields.

“We have Rotarians everywhere and when they’re in need, we connect,” Parkinson said.

In addition to regular efforts like distributing dictionaries to area schoolchildren, providing college scholarships to assist students with higher education costs and donating toward SMECO’s heating assistance program, the local Rotary clubs also assist with needs farther afield, like the earthquake in Haiti last year and now the hurricane victims in New Jersey.

“We respond all over the world,” Parkinson said.

The district governor of Rotary clubs in affected areas of New Jersey met Monday evening to determine what items were most in need and pass on those requests to relief efforts like the one Parkinson is heading up. New clothing, blankets, socks, mattresses, cots, pillows, bedding, towels, coats, sweaters and sweatshirts are needed as well as bottled water, cleaning supplies, nonperishable food items, paper plates and cups and plastic utensils, baby food, disposable diapers, batteries (especially D-sized) and non-electronic toys and games.

Area residents who would like to participate in the Rotary relief effort can drop off these items (in boxes, please, to make stacking and handling easier) to Bob Grill’s (past district governor) workshop at 9817 Lanham-Severna Road in Lanham or to the Patuxent River Naval Air Museum in Lexington Park next to Gate 1 during working hours by Thursday. For more information on donating at the museum, call Mari Rondeau at 301-863-1900.

Financial donations so the club can purchase items can be mailed to Rotary Club of Lexington Park, P.O. Box 202, Lexington Park, MD 20653, with “Sandy relief” indicated in the memo line.

If the donor would like the donation to be tax deductible, the check should be written out to the Lexington Park Rotary Club Foundation, the 501(c)3 charity associated with the club. Donors should provide a letter for the donation if the amount is more than $250.

St. Michael’s School in Ridge is also collecting donations to take up to hurricane victims. The school is filling a 53-foot trailer with items to aid hurricane victims in Toms River Township, N.J. Items will be collected at the school through Saturday, Nov. 10, or until the trailer is full.

The truck is being provided courtesy of Kessler’s and transport is provided by Quality Van Lines Quality Transfer and Storage.

The school is collecting nonperishable foods that need no preparation, as well as water, Gatorade and non-perishable drinks and supplies (all new and unopened) including tarps, toiletries, socks and underwear, medicine (cough syrup, aspirin, etc.), bed pillows and blankets.

A 53-foot donated semi-trailer will leave Ridge as soon as it is full; supplies will be dropped off at the Pine Belt Arena in Toms River Township, N.J. For more information about the St. Michael’s School collection effort, call Robin Pajak at 301-872-5454.

In addition, the American Red Cross is responding to aid the storm’s victims. Financial donations help the American Red Cross provide shelter, food and other assistance can be made at www.redcross.org, by calling 800-HELPNOW or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

Farm bureau elects officers

St. Mary’s Farm Bureau elected officers and board directors at the group’s annual membership meeting on Oct. 16. Jamie Raley of Avenue was elected president. Joe Wood of Mechanicsville was elected vice president and Jim Moore representing district 7, Joan Bearden and Brian Russell representing District 6 and Jim Grube representing District 1 were elected board directors. For more information on the St. Mary’s Farm Bureau, contact the new phone number, 301-475-0050. The office is located at 26737 Radio Station Way, Box 7, in Leonardtown at the Ag Services Building.

Invitation extended to membership tea

The GFWC Women’s Club is having a membership tea on Monday, Nov. 19, at 10:30 a.m. at the Maryland Antique Center Tea Room in Leonardtown. The club is looking for members to carry on the club’s vision of supporting educational and charitable groups in St. Mary’s County. Those who feel that they can contribute their time and talent are invited to attend. The tea is $15. Reservations must be made by Nov. 12. For reservations or more information, call Sally Huff at 301-997-0285 or Noreen Neel at 301-994-1038.

Nominations open for Woman of the Year, Woman of Tomorrow

Nominations are now being accepted for the 2013 Woman of the Year and 2013 Woman of Tomorrow awards from the St. Mary’s County Commission for Women. Award nominees will be recognized and winners announced at the commission’s annual Women’s History Month Banquet on Thursday, March 14, at the Dr. James A. Forrest Career and Technology Center in Leonardtown. The Woman of the Year award honors community service while the Woman of Tomorrow award recognizes a high school-aged woman for community service. People may submit a nominee for either award or both. To request a nomination packet, visit www.co.saint-marys.md.us/voluntr/women.asp or email commissionforwomen@stmarysmd.com or call 301-475-4200, ext. 1689. All nomination forms must be submitted by Jan. 16, 2013.

Tickets to attend the banquet are $20 per person and include dinner. Reservations must be made by March 1.

Proceeds from the banquet benefit the Jane Hale Sypher Scholarship at the College of Southern Maryland, Leonardtown campus, which supports a nontraditional student who is a single parent or displaced homemaker.

In addition to recognizing women for outstanding community service, the commission will present a Lifetime Achievement Award at the banquet, which honors a woman who resides in St. Mary’s County for outstanding service and dedication to the needs of women in the community.

For more information, contact Denise Krumenacker at 301-475-4200, ext. 1689, or by email at commissionforwomen@stmarysmd.com or call the St. Mary’s County Department of Aging & Human Services at 301-475-4200, ext. 1849.

Mini-grants awarded

The Southern Maryland Heritage Area Consortium has announced its annual mini-grant awards that are designed to build the heritage tourism resources of Calvert, Charles and St. Mary’s counties. This year, the consortium made 13 grants across the region. Five of those grants benefit sites in St. Mary’s County.

A grant was awarded to Point Lookout State Park for Point Lookout Civil War enhancements. This project will refurbish signs, panels and lighting as well as adding display items at the Civil War Museum at Point Lookout.

The Town of Leonardtown received funding to help create and install signs to direct visitors to areas of historic significance.

The Lexington Park Business & Community Association received funding to resupply the commemorative coins for the Lexington Park Geo Trail, as well as refurbish the geocaches themselves. Historic Sotterley received a grant to create a new booklet for children, and Trinity Episcopal Church received funding to create a brochure that describes the historic significance of the church.

Contact the consortium at 301-274-4083, or SoMdHeritage@tccsmd.org.

Guaranteed Ride Home program expanded to St. Mary’s

Commuter Connections’ Guaranteed Ride Home program has expanded to include St. Mary’s County and the Baltimore metropolitan region. This expansion comes at the request of the Maryland Department of Transportation, which will provide additional funding to the program.

Guaranteed Ride Home provides people who regularly commute by carpool, vanpool, bike or transit with a free ride home in the event of an emergency. According to Commuter Connections, one of the main reasons people do not take transit or join carpools is because of concerns about getting home when family members get sick or other personal emergencies occur. Guaranteed Ride Home eliminates that barrier by offering commuters a free and reliable ride, up to four times per year, to get home early for these unexpected emergencies or to get home late because of unscheduled overtime. For more information, see www.commuterconnections.org.

School to host holiday craft/vendor event

Hollywood Elementary School will host its first holiday craft/vendor night on Nov. 15 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the school, located at 44345 Joy Chapel Road in Hollywood. More than 20 vendors will showcase holiday crafts and gifts, including jewelry, accessories, food, home decor and much more. Admission is free. Proceeds will benefit St. Mary’s County Relay For Life, American Cancer Society. For more information, email dmhooyer@smcps.org.

Essay contest announced for high school students

High school students in their sophomore, junior or senior year of study during the 2012-2013 school year are invited to enter in the National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution, George S. Stella M. Knight Essay Contest. This contest is sponsored by the Thomas Stone Chapter of the SAR and is open to students attending public, parochial, private or home-schooled students in Charles, St. Mary’s and Calvert counties.

The local winner will be eligible for the state contest with the state winner eligible for the national contest. A $2,000 prize, a medal and certificate of recognition and paid airfare and one-night stay for the winner and one chaperone at the annual national conference is awarded to the winner of the national contest. In addition, the winning essay will be submitted to the SAR magazine for publication. The Maryland winner will receive an award of $250. In addition, the Thomas Stone Chapter provides a monetary award of $100.

The contest is for an original essay written in English. It shall be a minimum of 800 words and not more than 1,200 words. The essay shall deal with an event, person, philosophy or ideal associated with the American Revolution, the Declaration of Independence or framing of the U.S. Constitution.

Contest entry deadline is Dec. 30. Rules and other information about the contest can be obtained by contacting Tim Dyson at 301-643-5932 or tdyson2465@aol.com.

Open auditions announced

The Newtowne Players announce open auditions for the upcoming production of “The Lion in Winter” by James Goldman.

King Henry II of England has three sons by Eleanor of Aquitaine: Richard, Geoffrey and John. He wants the kingdom to stay united after his death, but all three sons want to rule, and it is likely to be torn apart by revolution.

There are five male roles and two female roles. People interested in helping with the technical and support crew are also welcome (stage manager, producer, set builders, backstage crew and light operators). The show runs March 8 to 24, 2013.

Auditions will be held Nov. 15 at 7 p.m. and Nov. 17 at 10 a.m. at Three Notch Theatre on 21744 South Coral Drive in Lexington Park. Auditions will consist of cold readings from the script. Scripts will be available 30 minutes before the auditions begin. Although the auditions and casting should be complete before Thanksgiving, full rehearsals will not begin until after the Christmas holiday.

Those who cannot make audition dates but wish to work either onstage or backstage are encouraged to contact the director, Bill Scarafia, at 301-863-2329 or wscarafia@hotmail.com. See www.newtowneplayers.org.

scraton@somdnews.com