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The women of Calvert County have a new opportunity to gather. Every month, new group Calvert Coffee Connections will conduct a free meeting for women of all interests and professions to network.

The first event will be a complimentary wine happy hour from 4:30 to 6 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 6, at Heavenly Chicken & Ribs in Dunkirk.

Coordinator Kimberly Shoe of Dunkirk said while she was aware that there was no actual coffee involved at this inaugural event, “it’s a special event, so it’s worth doing a happy hour for.”

Shoe said she had the idea to start Coffee Connections after seeing similar groups in the Annapolis and Baltimore areas.

“They have been tried and true and very successful,” she said, adding that much of the success seemed to stem from the events being free.

“When you have a small business, it’s hard to come up with a fee,” Shoe said. “It’s like nickle- and dime-ing people.”

Shoe, who works in marketing, said in addition to giving women a comfortable, stress-free place together, the events also give the hosting businesses a chance to market themselves and their services.

Shoe said she would encourage everyone from business owners to stay-at-home moms to attend.

“They may have some skills that nobody even really knows about,” Shoe said, adding that the function of the group also helped to promote buying locally.

She said the group will meet once a month, ideally in Calvert County or just outside the county.

CPR, first aid training offered

On Sunday, Feb. 17, Southern Maryland CPR & First Aid Training will be conducting a Motorcycle Incident Management and Safety class, which will include CPR, AED and first aid training. It will run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Mechanicsville Volunteer Rescue Squad, 28120 Old Flora Corner Road, Mechanicsville. For questions or to register, contact Dan Kenney at 301-472-1811 or dan@motovationcyclescom; Jonathan Riffe at 443-532-5315 or jonriffe@yahoo.com; or Kim Jones 443-532-8516 or jonesks@co.cal.md.us.

Tax-free weekend for Energy Star starts next month

A press release from the office of Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot (D) reminded Marylanders to take advantage of Shop Maryland Energy, a tax-free weekend on select Energy Star products. The release said the event begins at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 16, and ends at 11:59 p.m. Monday, Feb. 18. During that time period, Marylanders will not pay the 6 percent state sales tax on qualifying Energy Star product purchases.

During Shop Maryland Energy, air conditioners, clothes washers, furnaces, heat pumps, standard size refrigerators, compact fluorescent light bulbs, dehumidifiers and programmable thermostats that have been designated as meeting or exceeding the applicable Energy Star efficiency requirements developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy will be tax-free.

For more information, go to www.marylandtaxes.com, email shopmaryland@comp.state.md.us or call 410-260-7980 in Central Maryland or, toll-free, 1-800-MD-TAXES.

Mardi Gras approaching

Tickets are now available for the 13th annual Mardi Gras celebration, United Way of Calvert County’s gala event, which will be from 7 to 11 p.m. Saturday, March 2, at the Solomons Holiday Inn Conference Center & Marina.

According to a press release, United Way aims to raise $100,000, which will benefit Community Impact programs in Calvert County that work toward ending poverty for families. The theme for this year’s gala will be “Swinging at the Juke Joint.” Tickets can be purchased at www.unitedwaymardigras.com, or by contacting United Way of Calvert County at 410-286-0100 or uwadmin@unitedwaycalvert.org.

Library presents local history series

Calvert Library is conducting a four-part series of Local History events. The first portion will be from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 12, focusing on the history of Calvert County’s main waterways. Author Donald Shomette, whose books include “Lost Towns of Tidewater Maryland” and “Shipwrecks on the Chesapeake,” will present.

The following events will be Saturday, Feb. 23, Tuesday, April 9, and Tuesday, May 14. All four events will be at the Calvert Library Prince Frederick. For more information, go to calvert.lib.md.us, or contact Robyn Truslow at 410-535-0291 or 301-855-1862.



ldukes@somdnews.com