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St. Mary’s College of Maryland will celebrate commencement on May 11.

Most of the new graduates will be thinking about beginning their career or graduate school or how to land that first job. However, four of those graduates will be thinking about an adventure they’ve been planning.

“I have this bike ride lined up, and that’s as far as I’m looking,” said Alex Cole, a St. Mary’s County native. Cole, along with fellow graduates Lukas Iraola, Nathan Smith and Devon Jerrard, will be cycling cross-country on “A Ride to Remember” to raise funds for the Alzheimer’s Association.

The plan is for the ride to start in Washington, D.C., on May 12, the day after graduation, and end in San Francisco on June 23. The foursome are hoping to make the trip in 41 days so that one of the riders can get back home in time for a family trip.

“We’ll be riding no matter what — heat, rain, tornadoes, wind,” Cole said, so they can keep their schedule.

They plan to pack their gear in bags they’ll have on their bikes. No car with backup assistance will be trailing them. They hope to camp out and stay at places where people open their homes to the group as much as possible. The ride will be more than 3,000 miles long and the riders will need to average more than 85 miles per day.

Cole, who was born in Leonardtown and attended first Hollywood and then Leonardtown elementary schools before his family moved to Chevy Chase, is the grandson of Ed Cole, who owns Cole Travel in Lexington Park.

While Cole said he has been cycling since middle school and has taken some longer rides, the upcoming trip will be his longest by far. “No, nothing of this magnitude,” he said. “It will definitely be unforgettable.”

Iraola is from Kensington. Smith is from Ellicott City, and Jerrard is from Hunt Valley. While Cole doesn’t have any personal experience with Alzheimer’s, the other riders have had grandparents with the disease or have connections with people who have dementia. The group’s originally hoped to raise at least $500 each that would go directly to the Alzheimer’s Association. But the group has already surpassed that goal, having raised more than $7,000 collectively, with a portion of those funds going to fund the trip expenses.

Those who would like to learn more about the trip or donate toward the cause can visit the trip’s website, A Ride to Remember, at Updates on the trip will also be posted at that site.

Run/walk to benefit St. Michael’s

The Third Annual St. Michael’s School Fun Run and Walk 5K will take place Saturday, May 11, at 8 a.m. in Historic St. Mary’s City. The event will begin at the HSMC Visitor’s Center and will follow a 5K wooded path along the nature trails. Participation fee is $25, and all proceeds will benefit St. Michael’s Catholic School in Ridge. Register online at or contact Monika Herdlick at for more information and sponsorship opportunities.

Cedar Lane to honor Burch

For the first time in its 36-year history, Cedar Lane Senior Living Community will host the Cedar Lane Distinguished Service Award Dinner and Silent Auction on Friday, May 10, at The Harry Lundeberg School of Seamanship in Piney Point. The inaugural distinguished service award will be presented to F. Elliott “Sonny” Burch Jr., chairman of Burch Oil, in recognition of his more than 23 years of service to the organization his father helped establish in 1977.

Nearly 200 guests are expected to attend the dinner, which will feature live music, cocktails and a silent auction. “This event is not only an opportunity for us to pay tribute to one of our most valued supporters, it’s also an opportunity for us to increase the community’s awareness of the changing and growing needs of local seniors,” Beverly Stickles, president and CEO of Cedar Lane, said in a statement.

Proceeds from the event will help fund daily meals and activities for the more than 200 senior residents at Cedar Lane. Tickets for the event are $100 each. For more information, call 301-475-8966 or visit

Climb aboard the ‘Love Boat’

The Lexington Park Rotary is hosting a fundraiser, the “Love Boat” dinner and cruise, on May 11. Participants can join friends at the Back Creek Bistro, located at Calvert Marina in Solomons, for dinner at 5 p.m. and then board the Steven Thomas docked across from the bistro for coffee, dessert, live music, dancing and open bar for a two-hour cruise on the Patuxent River. Music will be by Gretchen Ritchie. Guests will disembark at the marina at 9 p.m. Tickets are $100 per person. For more information or for tickets, contact Jim Davis at 301-904-5065 or Tickets are also available online at

Sorority to honor local women

The Phenomenal Ladies of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc., Phi Alpha Zeta Chapter, will host its 2013 Finer Womanhood Honors Celebration on Sunday, May 19, from 3 to 5 p.m. at the La Plata Volunteer Fire Department Hall at 911 Washington St.

This year’s invitation-only event will be honoring community leaders who perform services that benefit those in need throughout Southern Maryland. Phi Alpha Zeta Chapter’s highest honor will be awarded to Christine Mulcahey, executive director of Health Partners, a community clinic that delivers quality medical and dental care to the uninsured and underinsured residents of Charles County. Other honorees include Charles County Commissioner Debra Davis, and local community leaders, the Rev. Cynthia Baker, pastor at Shabach Evangelistic Ministries; Samantha Christian of Reaching Out Now; and Robin Espy-Harlan of the Mended Wings Project. For more, see

Soil conservation district supervisor to be appointed

Nominations for an appointment to the St. Mary’s Soil Conservation District Board of Supervisors are being accepted by the Maryland State Soil Conservation Committee. The appointment will be for a term to expire March 30, 2015, and will fill the uncompleted term of Robert Jarboe. Nominations should be sent to State Soil Conservation Committee, Department of Agriculture, 50 Harry S. Truman Parkway, Annapolis, MD 21401. Any interested individual or organization may submit a recommendation. Nomination forms are available at the St. Mary’s Soil Conservation District, 26737 Radio Station Way, Suite B, Leonardtown, MD 20650. Nominations should be received by the State Soil Conservation Committee by May 30. The form is available online at (click on “Conservation,” then “committees”). A supervisor must be a resident of the district. District boundaries are the same as county boundaries. Anyone recommended should be able to attend monthly meetings of the board of supervisors and have knowledge of and interest in proper land use and the conservation of soil, water and related natural resources.

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 and music.

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 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, or by calling 301-904-0332.

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

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 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.

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 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 day was 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 Cleanup at Point Lookout. Participants in Kiwanis student leadership programs from St. Mary’s College of Maryland, St. Mary’s Ryken High School, La Plata High School, T.C. Martin Elementary School, General Smallwood Middle School and Spring Ridge Middle School also assisted in the effort.

The 25th Annual Potomac River Watershed Cleanup is sponsored by the Alice Ferguson Foundation. According to Point Lookout State 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 For more on the Kiwanis One Day event, contact Bob Owen at

Seeking sequestration stories

Sequestration has hit St. Mary’s County in a significant way. The impact has been felt among employees who have been laid off from private industry jobs or who have seen their full-time hours slashed to part time. The impact also has been felt among federal workers waiting to see if they will be subject unpaid furloughs. If you would like to raise awareness that these budget cuts are real, that they’re affecting families and the local economy, or that a smarter solution would alleviate the pain for many St. Mary’s County workers, share your story with us. Contact staff writer Nicole Clark at or 301-866-6452.

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

For more information about rabies and rabies prevention, visit 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,,,,,,,,, and/or