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In 1972, Kathleen Reif started her career as a children’s librarian in Baltimore County. That focus on children’s library services remained Reif’s passion through her subsequent years in library work at different locations in Maryland and for the last nine years as director of St. Mary’s County Library.

In June, that passion will be honored as Reif travels to Chicago to accept the American Library Association Peggy Sullivan Award for Public Library Administrators Supporting Services to Children Award.

“It’s perfect. It’s like it was [created] for her,” said Marilyn Lash, publicity specialist for the St. Mary’s County Library.

With library colleagues in Michigan and Minnesota leading the nomination effort for Reif, her selection for the award was also supported by close to a dozen letters of support from local people — Del. John Bohanan (D-St. Mary’s); Alan Dillinghamstaff, library board vice president; Michael Martirano, superintendent of schools and former St. Mary’s County commissioner Thomas A. Mattingly Sr., as well as members at the library staff and some library patrons.

The Sullivan award is tremendous honor, Reif said. “It’s the only award given to a public library director for ... anything.”

The award is named after Peggy Sullivan who “is just a legend” in library circles, Reif said. Traditionally, the winner of the award is also invited to accompany Sullivan to the Newbery-Caldecott-Wilder Banquet, where those children’s book awards are announced. That event will follow the American Library Association conference at the end of June where Reif receives her award.

Reif’s commitment to children’s services in the St. Mary’s County Library includes the WoW Van Service and renovations of the children’s departments and the library’s partnerships with Judy Centers, Head Start, social services and local businesses to further early literacy. The library system under Reif’s direction was selected as one of five pilot sites for The Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge Grant in Maryland.

Reif developed and chaired the Maryland Association of Public Library Administrators Birth to Four Task Force in 1998. She was instrumental in developing an ongoing relationship with public libraries and Ready at Five, the statewide public/private partnership which gives voice to young children in Maryland. She was appointed by Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) to represent public libraries on the Maryland Early Childhood Advisory Council, a first for public libraries.

Reif said that research on brain development and reading readiness has shown that the years before kindergarten are critical for preparing children to read and to learn, and she sees public libraries as playing a key role in assisting the community with information, activities and programs that foster that development.

“We need to take responsibility for this,” Reif said. “Public libraries have a responsibility to reach children before they reach school.”

Reif’s most pressing career goal at this time is related to her focus on children’s services. “Right now, my career plan is to get Leonardtown library renovated so there is more space for the kids,” she said.

‘The Daily Show’ correspondent to speak at SMCM

Author, actor and humorist John Hodgman will deliver this year’s Twain Lecture on American Humor and Culture on Saturday, April 20, at St. Mary’s College of Maryland.

Hodgman’s latest book, “That Is All” (2012), concludes his trilogy of satiric almanacs of Complete World Knowledge with “The Areas of My Expertise” (2006) and “More Information than You Require” (2009). All three were New York Times bestsellers.

Known for his acting as well as his writing, Hodgman may be best known for his work as the deranged millionaire on Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” and for his personification of a PC opposite Justin Long’s portrayal of a Mac in Apple’s “Get a Mac” advertising campaign. He has also been a guest on National Public Radio’s “This American Life.”

“An Evening with John Hodgman” is sponsored by the Twain Lecture Series on American Humor and Culture and the St. Mary’s College Student Programs Board and will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Michael P. O’Brien Athletics and Recreation Center Arena at St. Mary’s College and will be followed by a book signing. Live music by The Rusty Spurs will precede the event, starting at 6:30 p.m. Both music and lecture are free and open to the public. For more information, contact Ben Click at baclick@smcm.edu or 240-895-4253.

School invites community on outer space journey

Father Andrew White School in Leonardtown will host its fifth annual spring social and auction, “Journey into Outer Space,” on Saturday, April 27, at 7 p.m. in the school gym. Tickets are $25 per person and include beer, wine, sodas and appetizers. Entertainment will be by DJ Scram — Marc Shubrooks. The event will feature a live and silent auction. Tickets are $30 after April 23. Attendees must be 21 or older. For more information, contact Kathy Bell, spring social chairman, at 301-475-3766 or at bellk@md.metrocast.net.

Take a trip to Atlantic City

The Mechanicsville Volunteer Fire Department Ladies Auxiliary will sponsor a bus trip to the Taj Mahal Casino in Atlantic City on Monday, May 6. The bus will leave from the Mechanicsville fire department parking lot at 6 a.m. and will return around 8:30 p.m. Cost is $50 per person in advance, with each person receiving $30 in free slot play upon arrival at the casino. Morning coffee and doughnuts and evening sodas, cookies and a movie will be provided on the bus. Advance reservation and payment is required. For more information or to reserve a seat on the bus, call Valerie at 301-481-0148.

Transition conference offered

The St. Mary’s County Public Schools Department of Special Education, through a grant for transitioning youth and in partnership with Wyle Laboratories Inc., is sponsoring a transition conference luncheon on Tuesday, May 7, from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Wyle Laboratories Conference Center at 22300 Exploration Drive in Lexington Park. The conference is targeted to parents of middle and high school students who receive special education services.

Parents will have lunch as guest speakers present information regarding the funding and services that may be available for students after they transition from high school. Guest speakers include representatives from The Arc of Southern Maryland attorney Joann Wood, The Center for Life Enrichment, the College of Southern Maryland, the Maryland Division of Rehabilitation Services, Melwood, Parents’ Place of Maryland, Resource Coordination, Social Security, St. Mary’s Transit System and United Cerebral Palsy. In addition, veteran parents will speak about their children’s experiences transitioning from high school.

Registration is required for this free luncheon. To register, contact Susan Shannon at 301-863-4069 or email partnersforsuccess@smcps.com.

Teens awarded for artistic talent

Annmarie Sculpture Garden & Arts Center in Solomons has announces juror and merit awards for seven teen recipients from the 2013 Text Message: a teen art exhibit. The opening night was March 15 and was attended by more than 100 guests. Selected works in this teen exhibit include paintings, drawings, photographs, sculpture and video from 54 young artists, all of which are on display in the Mezzanine Gallery at Annmarie Garden. A panel of judges chose the final art pieces and took into account the artist’s statement, artistic merit, the text/message of the work, and the Facebook likes/comments when selecting. Eighty-three pieces of art were submitted and are available for viewing via the Text Message: a teen art exhibit Facebook page.

Jury awards went to Erin Rothback of Leonardtown High School for “Unknown Stranger,” St. Mary’s Ryken Dance Ensemble for “Text No Evil” and Victoria Wolf of Calvert High School for “Pumped Up Kicks.” Merit awards went to Erin Nordquist of Patuxent High School for “I am,” Samantha Scott of Great Mills High School for “Broken Winged Bird,” Meghan Webster of Great Mills High School for “Just Listen” and Wolf for “Time to Pretend.” Text/Message: a teen exhibit will be on display until July 28.

Church to host drive-through dinner

A drive-through country ham and fried chicken dinner will be held Saturday, May 4, from noon to 5 p.m. at Mt. Zion United Methodist Church in Mechanicsville. Dinners cost $15 and are packaged to-go, but patrons are invited to dine in the fellowship hall or at picnic tables. For more information, call 301-884-4132.

Boating safety course offered

The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, Solomons Flotilla, will present a three-session Maryland Boating Safety Education course on May 4, 11 and 25 at Lusby Southern Branch Library at 20 Appeal Lane. The class sessions will begin at 9 a.m., and sessions end at noon on May 4 and 11 and at 2 p.m. on May 25. Graduates of this course will receive the MD Boater Safety Education certificate. Students must attend all sessions and pass a final examination in order to obtain the certificate. To preregister, contact Gary Smith at 410-326-8377 or fsope.232@hotmail.com.

Recycled art show to benefit Habitat for Humanity

The fifth annual Recycled Art Show to benefit Patuxent Habitat for Humanity will be held Friday, May 3, from 6 to 9 p.m. at Crossroad Christian Church in St. Leonard.

At the art show, local artists will transform items from the Patuxent Habitat for Humanity ReStore into art. The art show will include a silent auction for the objects created by the artists. Past silent auction pieces have included furniture, ceramics, art objects, jewelry and textiles. In addition, this year a day sail trip around Solomons Island for a group of four will be up for bids, as well a trip to the shores of Mazatlan, Mexico, at the resort of Pueblo Bonito.

Tickets at $25 per person may be purchased at the ReStore location in Lexington Park or online at www.patuxenthabitat.org.

Since its founding as an affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International in 2003, Patuxent Habitat for Humanity has constructed 17 affordable homes. Habitat volunteers and partners have also completed critical repairs on six veterans’ homes through the Gary Senese Memorial and Veterans Repair Corps Foundation and have made energy efficiency improvements on nine houses in St. Mary’s and Calvert counties. For more information call Patuxent Habitat for Humanity at 301-737-6227.

Chick-fil-A to assist March for Babies

On average, a baby is born too soon every minute. These babies are at risk of severe health problems and lifelong disabilities. Chick-fil-A has signed up to support the March of Dimes largest fundraiser, March for Babies. Local operators from Chick-fil-A are working with the March of Dimes throughout Southern Maryland. March for Babies helps fund lifesaving research and educational programs aimed at helping moms have healthy, full-term pregnancies and healthy babies. Last year, the Southern Maryland events raised more than $180,000. This year, Chick-fil-A hopes to help bring in even more by setting a goal of raising $3,000. Southern Maryland residents can sign up at marchforbabies.org and start a team with coworkers, family and friends. Last year, more than 800 people attended the events, which will be combined this year and held at Regency Furniture Stadium on Sunday, May 5.

Navy CPOs, contractors to mark Memorial Day

The NAS Patuxent River Petty Officer Association, Great Mills-based defense contractor Compass Systems Inc. and apparel provider Navychief.com are co-organizers of the Sixth Annual Navy Chiefs Ride for the Wall. This annual event is intended to honor Memorial Day and all those who served with a motorcycle ride to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. All riders are welcome to join the chief petty officers as they ride to raise money for the Charlotte Hall Veterans Home. There will be a registration fee of $25 per rider, which includes a complimentary T-shirt.

Riders will meet at the Compass Systems office at 21471 Great Mills Road in Lexington Park on Sunday, May 26, between 6 and 6:30 a.m. and will then proceed to All-American Harley-Davidson in Hughesville between 7 and 7:15 a.m., where they will join other riders to make their way to the Pentagon to participate in Rolling Thunder 2013.

Coffee and doughnuts will be available for riders before the start of the ride. Donations are being accepted, and all proceeds will support activities at the Charlotte Hall Veterans Home. Registration is requested no later than May 18. Registration forms may be picked up at Compass Systems. For more information, contact Ashley Ettleman at 301-737-4640, ext. 330, or Jessica Starnes at 301-737-4640, ext. 380.

Kiwanis clean up

Each year, Kiwanis clubs around the world join in a day of service know as the Kiwanis One Day. The Kiwanis One Day involves the Kiwanis club members, students and the community. This year, the Kiwanis One Day was on April 6.

The Kiwanis of St. Mary’s County, along with Kiwanis Clubs of La Plata, Waldorf and Calvert, marked Kiwanis One Day by participating in the 25th Annual Potomac River Watershed Clean-up at Point Lookout. Participants in Kiwanis student leadership programs from St. Mary’s College of Maryland, St. Mary’s Ryken, La Plata High School, T.C. Martin, General Smallwood and Spring Ridge Middle School also assisted in the effort.

The 25th Annual Potomac River Watershed Clean-up is sponsored by the Alice Ferguson Foundation. According to Point Lookout Park Ranger Jonas Williams, the number of volunteers for this year’s event were the most ever at that site. To learn more about Kiwanis, visit www.Kiwanis.org. For more on the Kiwanis One Day event, contact Bob Owen at rdowen@md.metrocast.net.

Italian festival planned

The Golden Beach/Patuxent Knolls Civic Association and the Ferrante family announce the first Italian festival to benefit the Joseph Ferrante Memorial Scholarship Fund. The event will take place at the Moose Lodge in Mechanicsville on Sunday, April 21, from 2 to 6 p.m. There will be homemade Italian food , including porchetta, rigatoni, insalata mista and a variety of Italian desserts. There will also be a bocce tournament, an auction and activities for children.

Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for children ages 2 to 12 and free for children younger than 2. For more information, to purchase tickets or register a bocce team, go to www.josephferrantefoundation.org, or call Dale Antosh at 301-884-5478 or Jean Ferrante Burke at 240-925-9515.

Health department urges rabies prevention

With spring approaching, the St. Mary’s County Health Department is reminding residents about the dangers of rabies and encouraging pet owners to take action to protect their animals and their families from exposure to this potentially deadly disease. Bites and scratches by any animal should be reported to the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office at 301-475-8008. Animals that display unusual or aggressive behavior may pose the threat of rabies and should be reported immediately to animal control at 301-475-8018.

Pet owners are urged to check their pet’s record to make sure the rabies vaccine is current. Domestic animals that are not vaccinated against rabies are vulnerable to this potentially fatal disease, particularly if they spend time outdoors.

Rabies is spread through the saliva of an infected animal. In St. Mary’s County, the main carriers of rabies are wild animals, including raccoons, skunks and foxes. Allowing pets to roam unsupervised and approaching unknown animals, including domesticated pets, increases the likelihood of coming into contact with an infected animal and the saliva that could spread the disease.

Owners caring for their pet after contact with a possibly rabid animal are warned that the rabies virus may persist in traces of saliva for up to two hours. As a precaution, pet owners should avoid direct contact with saliva from a possibly rabid animal which may be found on a pet’s fur. When a pet has a current rabies vaccine and has been exposed to known or suspected rabies, a rabies booster vaccine and 45-day quarantine are necessary. When a pet does not have a current vaccine and has been exposed to known or suspected rabies, the options available to pet owners are to have the pet euthanized or have the pet vaccinated and held in strict isolation for six months.

Rabies in cats, dogs and ferrets is preventable through adequate and regular vaccination. Maryland requires cats, dogs and ferrets 4 months and older to be currently vaccinated against rabies.

Through a partnership with the St. Mary’s Animal Welfare League, low-cost rabies vaccination clinics will be held the second Monday of each month from 6 to 8 p.m. through November 2013 at the fairgrounds in Leonardtown. Cost is $10 per shot. For more information, call 301-373-5650 or visit www.smawl.org.

For more information about rabies and rabies prevention, visit www.smchd.org or call the health department at 301-475-4321.

Animal-loving volunteers needed

Golden Retriever Rescue of Southern Maryland (and all area rescue groups) need volunteers.

Every local animal rescue group needs temporary families, called foster families, to care for dogs and cats until they are adopted. The rescue group pays for the veterinary care and most rescue groups also pay for food and supplies. Anything purchased for a temporary “guest” is tax deductible.

The need is year-round, but more so in spring and summer months when unneutered dogs and cats are more likely to roam and unwanted litters of puppies and kittens are born.

Golden Retriever Rescue of Southern Maryland was formed in 2007. Last year the group took in and placed 58 golden retrievers. Most are local dogs given up by their owner, but some are transported from southern states where it is not unusual for even purebred golden retriever puppies to be euthanized at shelters.

The length of time an animal stays in a foster home varies. Every effort is made to adopt to permanent homes as quickly as possible. Young, healthy dogs and cats are typically adopted within a month or two. Older, special needs animals take longer.

Foster families need to be willing to provide a safe and loving environment for a dog or cat.

To learn more about fostering, visit goldenretrieverrescueofsouthernmaryland.org, beaglemaryland.org/animalrelieffund.org, smawl.org, secondhoperescue.org, cawlrescue.org, greytexpectations.org, humanesocietyofcalvertcounty.org, mdpawspet.org, humanesocietycc.org, petfinder.com/shelters/throwaways.html#contact and/or www.adoptapet.com/adoption_rescue/75978.html.

Cognard-Black honored by Maryland State Arts Council

Jennifer Cognard-Black, professor of English at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, has been chosen for a Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Award in Fiction. The award comes with a $3,000 grant to support Cognard-Black’s writing.

The council makes awards to Maryland artists annually through a competitive application process. The awards program is administered by the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation. The formal announcement of the MSAC Individual Artist Awards was made March 21.

Cognard-Black joined the English department faculty of St. Mary’s College of Maryland in 2000. Her teaching and research interests are in Anglo-American literature of the Victorian period, fiction writing, women writers and the literatures of food. A 2012 Fulbright Scholar to Slovenia, she is also a contributor to Ms. Magazine. Under the pseudonym J. Annie MacLeod, she publishes short fiction. Her stories have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, and have been featured in publications from Another Chicago Magazine to Versal to Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. Her anthology of food literature, “Books that Cook: The Making of a Literary Meal,” co-edited with Melissa Goldthwaite, is forthcoming from New York University Press in the spring of 2014.

Pets and their people invited to animal fair

The St. Mary’s Animal Welfare League will host its ninth annual Animal Fair benefit and family/pet fun day on Saturday, May 11, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the fairgrounds in Leonardtown. The day will include a pet parade, “woof it down” pet/owner pie eating contest, blessing of the pets, pet adoptions, pet pageant, youth art show, vendor booths, silent auction, food, music and more.

The king and queen competition is returning to this year’s Animal Fair. Similar to a benefit walk or bowl-a-thon, the king and queen competition offers entrants the chance to collect cash donations to benefit SMAWL. The top fundraising male and female pet from all entrants will be crowned king and queen at the Animal Fair on May 11. SMAWL will provide a sample “sponsor me” letter for a pet to send to all his/her friends and family to collection donations. Or, a pet can hold its own fundraising event to raise money. All donations will be tax deductible and 100 percent of the proceeds will benefit the St. Mary’s Animal Welfare League. Register a pet by downloading a copy of the king and queen entry form on the SMAWL website at www.smawl.org, or by calling 301-904-0332.

scraton@somdnews.com