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Charles County Public Schools will close Dec. 24 through Jan. 1. The school system resumes normal operating hours Jan. 2.

There is a two-hour early dismissal for students on Dec. 21. There will be no Three’s program, and afternoon prekindergarten students have class that day.

Go to www.ccboe.com, and view the 2012-13 Parent Handbook/Calendar.

Community education seminar set

Join Tri-County Youth Services Bureau for a free community education seminar 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Dec. 12 at the Lexington Park Library in meeting rooms A and B at 21677 FDR Blvd., Lexington Park. The event is open to the public.

Discussions will include understanding obesity and Beyond the DSM-IV: Understanding and treating the root causes of mental illness. Health Connections will provide the obesity session, and Lori Swick the DSM-IV discussion. To RSVP, contact Jaime Jones at 301-866-5992 or jaimejones@tcysb.org.

County offers excursions

The Charles County Department of Community Services will offer trips and tours during 2013, including bus trips, overnight trips and senior citizen trips, as well as “fly away” trips to the Colorado Rockies and Britain.

For more information, go to www.CharlesCounty.org.

One trip will be to the Philadelphia Flower Show.

The show will glow with the beauty and creative genius of Great Britain and pay tribute to centuries of inspiring, influential culture culminating in the urbane design of 21st-century London, according to a county news release.

Wear comfortable shoes to the world's largest indoor flower show, covering 33 acres. The trip will be March 9. Registration deadline is Feb. 4. The cost of the trip is $95. Meals are not included.

A tour of the QVC studio and store in West Chester, Pa., will be April 13. Registration deadline is March 3, and the trip fee is $66 per person.

A senior citizen trip on the Odyssey and a visit to the National Gallery in Washington, D.C., will be March 27.

Registration deadline is Feb. 12. The fee is $93 per person. Registration is available at www.CharlesCountyParks.com. Call 301-934-9305 or 301-870-3388 ext. 5151.

Nominate outstanding principal for leadership award

The Charles County school system is accepting nominations for its 2013 Principal of the Year and the Washington Post Distinguished Educational Leadership Award. The annual award honors exemplary principals and recognizes those who go beyond the day-to-day demands of their position to create an exceptional educational environment, a system news release states.

Nominees must have a minimum of five years of experience as a principal, and three of those years must have been with Charles County Public Schools. Principals may not nominate themselves.

Nomination materials must include a minimum of four statements of support, one of which must be submitted by a professional educator; a brief career summary; and a description of contributions in each of the nomination criteria categories. For nomination criteria, go to http://www2.ccboe.com/pr/index.cfm/2012/12/4/Nominate-an-outstanding-principal-for-Post-leadership-award.

Nomination packets are due Jan. 11. Materials should be sent to Jeanette Sudik, Division of Human Resources, Charles County Public Schools, Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building, P.O. Box 2770, La Plata, MD 20646. Award recipients will be announced later this school year.

Don’t get fooled by text scam

Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler is warning Maryland consumers not to fall for a widespread text message scam that falsely suggests recipients have won a large retail gift card.

“Scams like these tend to pop up around the holidays when consumers are shopping more and looking for bargains,” Gansler (D) said, according to a news release. “But you should never give away personal information in order to redeem a prize. Simply delete any message from someone you do not know and remember the old saying, ‘If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.’”

The text message scam notifies recipients that they have won a gift card to a well-known retail store and instructs the individual to go to a website and enter a provided code to claim a gift card, usually worth $500 or $1,000.

The site, which appears genuine by using the store’s name in the Web address and often uses the store logo and colors, asks for personal information, such as a birthday, email address, credit card account, bank account number or other identifying information that could leave victims vulnerable to identity theft.

Legitimate contests will never ask for that type of information. Another form of the scam asks consumers to simply reply to the text with certain information, which consumers also should never do. The text messages come from different telephone numbers.

The scam could be received by tens of thousands of mobile phone users nationwide. Although it is difficult to prevent this type of fraudulent activity, consumers are advised to contact their cell phone service provider and report the incident.

Individuals who think they have been solicited with this scam or any other suspicious scheme can file a complaint with the Consumer Protection Division at http://www.oag.state.md.us/Consumer/complaint.htm. Contact the consumer hotline at 410-528-8662 or 888-743-0023 for more information. Consumers who believe they are victims of identity theft should call the Attorney General’s Identity Theft Unit at 410-576-6491.

Literacy Council will wrap gifts for cash

Volunteers from the Charles County Literacy Council will wrap holiday gifts for donations 2 to 9:30 p.m. Dec. 14 and 21 and 9 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Dec. 15 and 22 at the St. Charles Towne Center mall at 11110 Mall Circle in Waldorf. The gift wrapping station will be in the food court. Go to www.charlescountyliteracy. org.

Pesticide applicator training, exam set

A private pesticide applicator certification training will be 6 to 8 p.m. Jan. 7 at the Davidsonville Family Recreation Center at 3789 Queen Bridge Road in Davidsonville.

The certification exam will be given at the center 6 to 8 p.m. Jan. 28. To register, call the Anne Arundel County Extension Office at 410-222-6759.