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It could be a great way to start 2013. Add a new member to your household by adopting a cat from the St. Mary’s Animal Welfare League.

SMAWL rescues and adopts out more than 150 cats each year, according to Carol Wilson, a member of the SMAWL board of directors.

“Some are strays, others’ owners come into hard times,” Wilson wrote in an email.

She noted that finding homes for older cats is one of SMAWL’s goals. “They are so easily overlooked when there are cute, cuddly kittens. The older ones are settled and just want to be loved, fed and sleep,” she said.

As of Jan. 12, SMAWL will house its kittens and cats available for adoption in the Callaway Village shopping center. Moved from an aging structure in Loveville, the new SMAWL site, located at 20845, 2B in the shopping center, will be open weekends and weekdays by appointment. The public is welcome to stop by to meet potential pets and fill out applications.

Adoptions are made after SMAWL makes sure the match between new family and cat is likely to be a good one and there is an assurance that all current pets in the family are up to date on their veterinarian visits and that the new home is safe for the animal.

“We take pride in the care we take ... of our charges, but also their new homes,” Wilson said.

While SMAWL members are pleased with their new location, they are also dreaming of an even better facility. “It is wonderful to have the Callaway site as a sturdy, well-located option. But the goal is [SMAWL’s] own, independent structure, where the animals will be comfortable, well-vetted and available for public visitation on a regular basis,” Wilson said. “Wonderful dreams for our fine, furry friends! Donations toward the Callaway location or the future site are very well appreciated.”

For more information or to volunteer with SMAWL, call 301-373-5659 and leave a message, or visit www.smawl.org.

Vendors, crafters invited to flea market

An indoor flea market will be held by the St. Mary’s County Fair Association on Jan. 26 from 8 a.m. to noon. All vendors and crafters are welcome. An 8x10 space with one table may be rented for $20. For information or to reserve a space, call 301-475-9543.

Encore Chorale announces spring season

The Southern Maryland Encore Chorale has announced its spring season schedule. Participants can join in with 40 other singers who are 55 or older and rehearse music by Copland, Stephen Foster and Gershwin. Singers will then perform free community concerts, joining forces with other encore chorales.

The Southern Maryland group will hold its first meeting of the 15-week class on Wednesday, Jan. 9, from 1 to 2:30 p.m. at Solomons Asbury Retirement Community, 11100 Asbury Circle, central building auditorium, in Solomons.

Classes are designed specifically for the older adult population and taught by experienced artists in the aging field. The group is conducted by Krystal Rickard McCoy, conductor of the St. Marie’s Musica. There are no auditions and singers may be seated for rehearsals and performances. Rehearsal CDs are available to help singers learn their part.

Tuition assistance is available. For choral questions, call Krystal Rickard McCoy at 690 -915-2644. For registration information and tuition assistance, call Jeanne Kelly at 301-261-5747 or email Jeanne.kelly@encorecreativity.org. For more on the encore chorale, see http://encorecreativity.org.

Farm management classes for women offered

University of Maryland Extension will host Annie’s Project for the Southern Maryland region during the winter of 2013.

Annie’s Project focuses on farm management and is designed to empower women in farm decision-making and to build networks throughout the state. The target audience is women in agriculture with a passion for business, agriculture and involvement in the farm operation. Topics for the sessions cover the five areas of risk management — production, market, financial, legal and human risk.

The course will include eight sessions to be held at the Prince George’s County Extension Office in Clinton. Classes will run each Wednesday evening from 6 to 9 p.m., beginning Jan. 23 and ending March 20, (one extra week is included in the schedule to allow for inclement weather).

Cost of the course, including meals and materials, is $75. Participants are encouraged to register by Jan. 15, as space is limited. For more information, visit www.anniesproject.umd.edu or call 301-868-9366. For special assistance to attend the classes, contact the site at least two weeks prior. Annie’s Project has been approved for FSA borrower training. For more information, contact a FSA loan officer.

Caregiver’s support group to meet

Beginning on Jan. 8, MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital will be offering a caregiver’s support group that will meet the second Tuesday of every month from 6 to 7:30 p.m. in the Pavilion, second floor, Health Connections Meeting Room C.

The group is open to anyone in the community caring for a loved one with any illness or disability. The group is free of charge, and no registration is required.

For more, call 301-475-6019.

2013 Historic Preservation Grant applications being accepted

The Maryland Historical Trust, an agency of the Maryland Department of Planning, is accepting applications for Fiscal Year 2013 capital grants under the MHT Historic Preservation Grant Program. The program aims to assist and encourage efforts to acquire and preserve historic properties. In this funding cycle, grants will only be awarded to assist properties on which MHT already holds a preservation easement recorded in the local land records on or before the application postmark deadline of Feb. 15.

Eligible applicants for program funding include nonprofit organizations and local jurisdictions. Business entities and individuals may also apply for program grants when seeking funds for a preservation or development project that serves a high public purpose. Eligible projects include acquisition, rehabilitation or restoration of historic properties, as well as predevelopment costs as part of an acquisition, rehabilitation or construction project.

Completed applications must be mailed in hard copy to MHT and must be postmarked on or before Feb. 15. The grant awards will be announced in late spring or early summer of 2013. Grant awards will range from a minimum of $5,000 to a maximum of $25,000.

A dollar-for-dollar match is required of local jurisdictions, individuals and business entities. Nonprofit organizations are not required to provide a match; however, those projects that do include funding from other sources will be more competitive in the grant selection process.

To apply, contact Anne Raines, MHT capital grants and loans administrator, at 410-514-7634 or araines@mdp.state.md.us for assistance in determining your project’s eligibility. Copies of grant guidelines and application are available at mht.maryland.gov/grants_capital.html.

Scholarships offered in emergency management

The Maryland Emergency Management Association is offering five $1,000 scholarships for the 2013-2014 school year. One scholarship will be awarded in each of the association’s five geographic areas: Area I — Western Maryland, Area II — Central Maryland, Area III — Maryland’s Eastern Shore, Area IV — Southern Maryland and Area V — National Capital Region.

The association’s objective is to promote emergency management in the state and to assist students pursuing a career in emergency management or in a related field. Applicants must be a senior and enrolled at an accredited Maryland high school. Applicants must also submit an essay along with the application. Forms can be obtained from high school guidance offices or at a local emergency management office. Submission deadline is April 1, 2013.

For more information, write to Verna Brown, CEM, c/o Washington County Emergency Management, 16232 Elliott Parkway, Williamsport, MD 21795; or call 240-313-4364.

Volunteers sought

The Maryland Defense Force, the volunteer arm of the Maryland Military Department, is establishing a presence in Southern Maryland to support Maryland Air National Guard, Maryland Army National Guard and the Maryland Emergency Management Agency. The MDDF is seeking volunteers (officers and enlisted members) from Charles, Calvert and St. Mary’s counties, from all walks of life, including former members of the U.S. military, physicians, nurses, paramedics and EMTs, engineers, lawyers, legal assistants, chaplains and any qualified Marylanders between the ages of 17 and 65 wanting to train and serve their communities in times of emergency while in uniform.

An informational recruiting session will be held at the La Plata National Guard Armory, located at 14 W. Hawthorne Drive in La Plata on Saturday, Jan. 12, from 10 a.m. to noon.

For more information, visit http://mddf.maryland.gov or email questions to ggertz@mddf.us.

Auditions set for choral arts group

The Chesapeake Choral Arts Society, under the direction of Michael K. Santana, will be conducting auditions on Monday, Jan. 7, and Monday, Jan. 14, beginning at 6:30 p.m. by appointment. Alternate dates may be arranged. All auditions will take place at Peace Lutheran Church, 401 E. Smallwood Drive in Waldorf. Auditions will consist of vocal warmups, pitch matching and vocal exercises to determine the singer’s vocal range. No prepared piece is necessary. High school-age singers and older are welcome.

The choir meets regularly from September through June, rehearsing at Peace Lutheran Church on Monday evenings from 7 to 9 p.m., and produces three different concerts throughout the season. The remaining concerts this season are “Shamrock Shenanigans — The Sequel,” on March 16 and 17 and “Great Opera Choruses” in collaboration with COSMIC on May 18 and 19. For more information about Chesapeake Choral Arts Society, visit www.chesapeakechoral.com. To set up an audition appointment, call Carol at 301-642-0594.

Adopt a tree at Sotterley

The Sotterley Landscape Committee at Sotterley Plantation in Hollywood is seeking help to restore the site’s landscape through the Adopt-A-Tree program. Donations are being accepted to cover costs for phase one of the plan, to include the purchase and planting of 16 trees to be located within the site’s historic core. Individuals or organizations may choose to either adopt an entire tree, or they can make a donation of any size to the tree fund.

During last year’s hurricane, more than 170 trees were downed, some dangerously close to the 1703 plantation house, the original 1830s slave cabin and other outbuildings. As a precautionary measure, the Sotterley Landscape Committee opted for the removal of the remaining two trees which loomed over the rooftop of the plantation house.

All donations will be entered into a journal that will become a permanent part of Sotterley’s archives. Donations can be made out to Historic Sotterley Inc., and please note “Adopt a Tree Fund” in the check’s memo line. To donate by credit card or to learn more about the planting plan details, call 301-373-2280 during regular business hours.

Youth orchestra names director

The Southern Maryland Youth Orchestra, a newly formed music group for musicians in the sixth- through 12th grades, has announced its selection of AnneMarie Karnbach of Hollywood as its director. Karnbach currently serves as the orchestra director at Chopticon High School, where she also teaches A.P. music theory and art appreciation courses. In addition, she teaches private music lessons.

Karnbach began playing viola in elementary school, and she performed in the Baldwin Wallace Youth Symphony as well as the Three Rivers Young People’s Orchestra in Pittsburgh. She also spent four years performing with the Johnstown Symphony Orchestra. She attended the Indiana University of Pennsylvania, where she earned a bachelor of fine arts degree in music performance with a concentration in viola in 1997. She went on to earn a master of arts degree in leadership in teaching with a focus in administration and supervision in 2008 from the Notre Dame of Maryland University in Baltimore.

Karnbach has performed with the McLean Symphony in Northern Virginia as well as COSMIC in Southern Maryland.

“I hope [the Southern Maryland Youth Orchestra] provides an outlet for kids who are looking to get out and play for the love of music,” Karnbach said in a statement. “I want them to gather performance experience, friendships and networking and expand their appreciation of music.”

For more on the new orchestra, email inquiries to smyorchestra@gmail.com or visit www.smyorchestra.org.

Prevent norovirus

Several cases of suspected norovirus have been reported across the country, including in St. Mary’s County.

Norovirus (also known as the stomach flu) is a highly contagious virus that causes symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting and stomach pain. Symptoms typically last 24 to 48 hours. Norovirus can be spread by eating food or drinking liquids that are contaminated with the virus, touching surfaces or objects that have norovirus on them and then putting your fingers in your mouth and by having close, personal contact with an infected person such as caring for or sharing food, drinks or eating utensils with an infected person.

The St. Mary’s County Health Department recommends cautionary actions to avoid contracting this illness. Tips to prevent the spread of norovirus and other similar viruses include:

Ÿ Practice proper hand hygiene. Wash hands carefully with soap and water after using the restroom and before eating, preparing or handling food. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers may be used in addition to hand washing, but they should not be used as a substitute for soap and water.

Ÿ Wash fruits and vegetables and cook seafood thoroughly. Be aware that noroviruses are relatively resistant and can survive quick steaming processes that are often used for cooking shellfish and temperatures as high as 140°F.

Ÿ If sick, do not prepare food or care for others for at least two or three days after you recover. This also applies to sick workers in schools, day care businesses and other places where they may expose other people to norovirus.

Ÿ Clean and disinfect contaminated surfaces with a chlorine bleach solution. Wash contaminated laundry thoroughly. Wear disposable gloves while handling soiled laundry. Wash items with detergent at the maximum cycle and machine dry.

If you or a family member becomes ill from norovirus, drink plenty of liquids to replace fluid loss and prevent dehydration. See your primary health care provider if dehydration or other complications develop. More information about norovirus can be found at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website at www.cdc.gov/norovirus/index.html.

scraton@somdnews.com