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Charles County Sheriff Rex W. Coffey and the Charles County Sheriff’s Office received a Hometown Hero award last week from the U.S. Air Force, in recognition of the agency’s support of current CCSO employees who are assigned to the Air National Guard.

According to the National Guard Bureau, there are an estimated 70,000 current or former citizen-airmen nationwide who have deployed for 30 consecutive days or more since Sept. 11, 2001.

The Air National Guard Hometown Heroes program recognizes the contributions of employers that support citizen-airmen and their contributions to national security.

The award was presented to Coffey by Cpl. Charles Gass, an eight-year veteran of the sheriff’s office, assigned as a detective in the Criminal Investigations Division, Special Victims Unit. Gass also serves in the Air Force.

After receiving the award, Coffey commended Gass for his dedication to Charles County and to his country.

“I’m proud that our agency was recognized with this award, and I’m even more proud of your service to our country. We will always support our employees who serve in the military, as we recognize how important your service is,” Coffey said.

Gass is a security forces superintendent assigned to the 113th Security Forces Squadron at Joint Base Andrews AFB.

River conservancy wins three grants

The Port Tobacco River Conservancy has been awarded three grants — to plant trees that will create a stream buffer, to build a micro-bioretention system to filter stormwater before it gets to the Port Tobacco River, and to support the conservancy’s efforts to become self-sustaining and work toward a cleaner, healthier river.

The tree-planting grant is part of Gov. Martin O’Malley’s Stream Restoration Challenge, which has made funds available for planting forested buffers that will reduce the amount of pollutants that reach the Chesapeake Bay.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources awarded the conservancy a $4,855 cash grant, with $10,459 matching from PTRC, to plant 8,800 year-old seedlings on 14 acres in the wetland bank at Mitchell Road and Hawthorne Drive in La Plata.

Students from five local high schools and two Boy Scout troops, as well as conservancy volunteers, will plant the trees over two weekends in the spring.

The Chesapeake Bay Trust awarded PTRC an $11,769 grant to build a micro-bioretention stormwater system in a parking lot used by two office buildings on U.S. 301 in La Plata. The project will clean the polluted storm water that now flows from the parking lot into the Port Tobacco River.

Charles County Planning and Growth Management and the Charles County Soil Conservation District helped with planning. Lorenzi, Dodds & Gunnill did the engineering design. Levin La Plata Limited Partnership contributed to construction of the retrofit, and the town of La Plata waived all permitting fees. The La Plata Garden Club funded design and plants, and the garden club and the conservancy did the planting. The official opening is planned for next spring.

A $10,000 capacity-building grant from the Chesapeake Bay Funders Network supports the conservancy’s goal to make Port Tobacco River save for swimming and fishing.

Anyone interested in helping on any of the grant projects should contact the conservancy at 301 934-2025 or ptrcons@gmail.com.

Thinking of starting a new career?

The College of Southern Maryland will hold Career Starters program open houses to introduce its noncredit training courses for people who want to kickstart a new career in business, construction, early childhood, health care, hospitality, information technology, transportation or veterinary medicine in 10 to 16 weeks.

An open house will be 4:30 to 6 p.m. Jan. 10 at the La Plata campus at 8730 Mitchell Road.

Another open house will be held at Center for Trades and Energy Training at 17 Irongate Drive in Waldorf from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Jan. 17.

During this open house, prospective students can learn about electrical, HVAC, welding, carpentry and plumbing courses.

Career Starter programs offer training and classes in short sequences for students to gain skills quickly and then enter the workforce.

During the open houses, prospective students can meet with a program coordinator and instructors from each career field, learn about financial assistance options and register for classes.

Attendees can enter a drawing for a scholarship for the spring semester.

Call 301-934-7765 or go to www.csmd.edu/CareerStarters.

Memories tours begin in January

Each Monday, the public is invited to a free Monday Memories guided tour of Point Farm at Jefferson Patterson Park & Museum at 10515 Mackall Road in St. Leonard.

All are welcome to enjoy the memories of Calvert County, the Patterson family, JPPM or those who once worked on the land that is now JPPM. The public is welcome to share stories.

Tours will be given at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Mondays.

Call 410-586-8501 or go to www.jefpat.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, 3789 Queen Bridge Road, 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.

Jaycees to host blood drive Thursday

The Greater Waldorf Jaycees and the American Red Cross are hosting a blood drive at the Jaycees center at 3090 Crain Highway in Waldorf from 1 to 7 p.m. Dec. 27.

Call 301-645-4546.

The need for blood is constant, and only volunteer donors can fulfill that need, according to a Red Cross news release. Nationwide, someone needs a unit of blood every 2 to 3 seconds, and most of us will need blood in our lifetime.

Time to check out the new library

You haven’t visited the new Waldorf West library? Why not?

The new library opened last month, and the Charles County Arts Alliance will continue a presentation of local artists with a multimedia exhibit at the library at 10405 O’Donnell Place in Waldorf.

The exhibit will be on display through January.

Go to www.charlescountyarts.org.

Want to be a beekeeper?

The Association of Southern Maryland Beekeepers will host a five-session beginners beekeeping course in February at the Charlotte Hall library.

The honeybee is a beneficial insect, but the stresses of the modern environment are making survival a challenge. If you are interested in improved pollination, producing honey or simply improving the environment for the honeybee, this course is your gateway.

The course fee is $40 per person and is limited to the first 50 respondents. To check class availability and enroll, contact Ralph Whipkey at 240-925-2196 or ralphwhipkeygmail.com.