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When it comes to our diet, small changes can add up. For instance, cut out that 16-calorie teaspoon of sugar in your coffee or tea every morning, and you’ve practically painlessly saved 5,840 calories during one year.

That’s the thinking behind the Healthy Holiday Recipe Re-do Contest, which is being sponsored for the first time this year by the Fit & Healthy St. Mary’s Coalition.

The idea is for area residents to pull out their must-have holiday recipes and consider how they can adjust them to make them healthier, making substitutions like using Greek yogurt instead of mayonnaise or sour cream or by decreasing the amount of sugar or fat in the dish. While the new version of the recipe should resemble the original in taste and look, it needs to contain less fat and fewer calories per serving and be made from wholesome ingredients. Participants might consider incorporating new ingredients, such as different vegetables, meats or dairy products, eliminating ingredients and maybe incorporating fresh spices or additional seasoning.

“We want people to get creative,” said Jaclyn Shaw, operations specialist at MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital’s Health Connections and the recipe contest coordinator. “We’d like to see changes to holiday recipes that will be a new holiday norm.”

Shaw said that she changes recipes like this at her home. “I have children, and I try to substitute with things that have less sugar,” Shaw said. “When I make brownies, I use applesauce instead of the oil.”

The Fit & Healthy St. Mary’s Coalition encourages area residents to give it a try. The original holiday recipe, along with the altered, trimmed-down recipe should be submitted with name and contact information by Dec. 15 to Shaw at, indicating “recipe contest” in the email’s subject line, or mailed to Recipe Contest, Attn. Jaclyn Shaw, Health Connections, MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital, Box 527, Leonardtown, MD 20650.

The dietician at Health Connections will review entries and make recommendations and a panel of coalition members will select the winner in mid-December.

The winner will receive a $50 gift certificate to Good Earth Natural Foods in Leonardtown and a Fit & Healthy gift basket. The winning recipe will also be published in Healthy Living, the hospital’s quarterly magazine, and at the Fit & Healthy St. Mary’s website,

For more information on the contest, visit or call Shaw at 301-475-6019.

Toys for Tots campaign under way

The Toys for Tots campaign is under way in St. Mary’s County and many area businesses have collection boxes set out where residents can donate new, unwrapped toys to assist in the effort.

In addition, Marines and Toys for Tots volunteers will be at Walmart, Kmart and Dress Barn on Nov. 23 and 24 and Dec. 1 and 8 collecting toys and monetary donations. Monetary donations are used to supplement the toy donations. Everything donated in St. Mary’s County stays here to help county families.

For drop box locations, online donation information and more about the Toys for Tots program, see

Organizers expect a large number of requests from local families this year, and the goal is to help as many children as possible.

Information about qualifying for Toys for Tots assistance will be announced soon.

Since the beginning in 1947, the Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots program has distributed more than 452 million toys to more than 209 million children.

Veterans invited to join CSM club

Former or current members of the armed services are invited to join the College of Southern Maryland Veterans Club. The club offers opportunities to connect with fellow veterans at CSM, find and give support in transitioning to college and civilian life, learn about college and other services to veterans, share experiences with other veterans and with the community, engage in service projects and help collect items to send to troops currently serving. For more information, contact professor Wayne Karlin at or 240-725-5451 or professor Barbara Link at or 240-725-5455.

Litigators sought

Experienced litigators are wanted to conduct settlement conferences in Charles County’s District Court Day of Trial Alternative Dispute Resolution Program.

Litigators who are in good standing with the Maryland Bar and who have practiced civil litigation in the District Court of Maryland in the past for at least three years are encouraged to apply.

An ADR volunteer application for a settlement conference attorney can be downloaded from

Benefits from participation include professional development, ADR experience and the chance to earn pro bono hours.

For more information, contact Leona Elliott at or 410-260-1677 or Nancy Kreitzer at or 443-550-6727.

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.

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

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

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

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

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.

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 See

Check out new COSMOS content

A new service has been purchased by the Southern Maryland Regional Library to provide additional content to COSMOS, the online library catalog used by the three county public library systems in Southern Maryland.

COSMOS is an online service of the regional library that allows users to find library materials by author, title, subject or category. Not only does it contain the records for all library materials, but it now provides direct links to reader ratings and reviews; lists books in a series and recommends related books; suggest new titles, authors and series’; list awards; related articles; and more.

Additional information also provides access to free e-newsletters called “NextReads,” which contain book recommendations by more than 20 topics, such as mystery, romance, biographies, travel, etc.

The additional information appears under individual search results within a pull-down option called “Novelist Content.” To access the information in NoveList Content go to or look for the COSMOS link at

College noted for maintaining landscapes

The Professional Grounds Management Society recently announced that St. Mary’s College of Maryland is winner of its 2012 Grand Award. The award distinction is the highest in PGMS’ Green Star Professional Grounds Management Awards program.

The award recognizes the college as having one of the country’s best maintained landscapes in the colleges and universities category.

St. Mary’s College congratulates Kevin Mercer, superintendent of grounds; Steve Gregory, assistant superintendent; and Cheryl Krumke, assistant supervisor of grounds; as well as to groundskeepers Justin Mattingly, Eric Reed, Sylvester Parren, Ed Copper, Kevin Duffy, Chris McKay, Earl Barber and Jeff Gerek for the honor.

The awards grand, honor, and merit are offered in 15 categories, including private, public commercial and industrial landscapes. Awards were presented during the 2012 PGMS School of Grounds Management held in conjunction with the GIE+EXPO in Louisville, Ky., last month.

Benefit March of Dimes by eating out

Premature birth is the most serious infant health problem in the United States today. It affects more than half a million babies nationwide each year. Babies born too soon are more likely to die or have lifelong disabilities.

The March of Dimes and its partner organizations are asking everyone to help spread the word about the serious problem of premature birth during November, which is Prematurity Awareness Month, and on Nov. 17, World Prematurity Day.

Another way to help is by eating out this month.

Throughout November, various area restaurants will donate portions of their proceeds from Dining Out for Babies to the March of Dimes.

On Nov. 19, from 2 to 10 p.m., 10 percent of all sales at Pizza Hotline in Charlotte Hall and LaPlata will be donated to March of Dimes.

On Nov. 26 from 4 to 10 p.m., 10 percent of all sales at the Texas Roadhouse in LaPlata and Lexington Park will be donated, if the patron brings in a flier or ad about the promotion.

For a complete list of participating restaurants, see

Doctoral work about slavery in St. Mary’s City available online

Although most people think of 17th-century archaeology when they think of St. Mary’s City, the historic site’s space contains many more stories from later eras. One is the 19th-century story of slavery and freedom at a large slave plantation. This story is being told on a digital exhibit and blog, All of Us Will Walk Together at, published by Michigan State University doctoral candidate Terry Peterkin Brock.

Brock is studying the lives of the slaves and tenant farmers who lived at the St. Mary’s Manor Plantation, which stood in what once was the heart of St. Mary’s City. Brock traces these African-American laborers from the erection of the slave quarters in 1840, through the Civil War and into the post-slavery era, when they lived and worked as tenant farmers. One building, a duplex quarter, continued to serve as a tenant home until 1950. St. Mary s City is in the process of turning this structure into an exhibit through funding from the Maryland Commission on African American History and Culture and the Maryland Historical Trust. The digital exhibit and blog will include a discussion of the process.

Visit All of Us Will Walk Together to see the findings of Brock’s research and learn about how researchers use archaeology, history and preservation to discover the African American past. The website and blog are designed for audience participation and visitors to the site are encouraged to comment and ask questions on the site and learn how to participate by sharing their own stories, see if they are a descendant of those who lived on the plantation or help to preserve the duplex quarter.