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Gabrielle Cory, 16, of Leonardtown was named Miss Maryland Agriculture 2013 at the Maryland State Fair in Timonium on Friday during the fair’s opening-night festivities.

“It was very surprising. Very overwhelming,” Cory said during a phone interview Monday afternoon.

She said the moment her name was announced for the honor “was just like what you’d see on TV,” as they put a Miss Maryland Agriculture sash on her. “Who would have through someone from little St. Mary’s County would get that?”

She noted that the program indicated that someone from St. Mary’s County had only been selected two other times in the history of the program — first in 1946 when Edith Russell won and again in 1983 when Crystal Hayden won.

Miss Maryland Agriculture is selected through a series of judging events, according to Mary Amoss of Fallston, coordinator of the Miss Maryland Agriculture Program since 1979. Three judges from out of state rated the 22 participants representing county farm bureaus throughout Maryland. First impression, roundtable and formal interview judging events make up 70 percent of the contestant’s score. An on-stage public speaking event, when the contestants each have 90 seconds to talk about themselves and agriculture in their county and then answer a question related to their biography, makes up the rest of the score.

The judges are looking for “a well-rounded individual who can speak on behalf of the agriculture industry and farm bureau,” Amoss said.

As the new Miss Maryland Agriculture, Cory will be present throughout the run of the Maryland State Fair to award prizes and meet with visitors to the fair, dignitaries and media representatives. For instance, on Thursday she is scheduled to have lunch with Gov. Martin O’Malley (D).

After the fair, Cory will participate in the Maryland Farm Bureau convention in December, travel around the state to speak to students about agriculture and appear at other farm bureau events. Her duties, however, “will take a back seat to school,” Amoss said.

Cory said she is most excited about the opportunity to talk about agriculture to young people. She noted that St. Mary’s County has a strong 4-H program but that “it definitely could grow more” and people her age could be more interested in agriculture.

Cory, who is the daughter of Wesley and Marian Goddard Cory, lives on a 20-acre farmstead dedicated to forest conservation. She helps to raise livestock and grow crops on her grandmother’s 60-acre farm two miles from her home. She just started her junior year at Leonardtown High School and after graduation plans to pursue a degree in dental hygiene.

She has been a member of Chaptico Chargers 4-H Club for eight years and an officer for six years. She is also a member of the Maryland 4-H Teen Council, National Honor Society, the Student to Student Mentoring Program and Girl Scout Troop 4549. When Cory ages out of the 4-H program, she plans to volunteer to assist younger members in 4-H activities.

Along with the title of Miss Maryland Agriculture, Cory was awarded $11,000 in scholarship funds and $2,000 to pay expenses for her travels for the coming year. Other Southern Maryland participants in the program were Sarah Manning representing Calvert County and Caitlin Olejnik representing Charles County.

“I am very honored to have been chosen,” Cory said.

County seat celebrates being an arts and entertainment designation

Leonardtown is celebrating Maryland’s newest Arts and Entertainment Designation Award. One way to celebrate with the town is to participate in Leonardtown’s Art Walk that will be held Aug. 30 through Sept. 6. The public is being asked to visit galleries and businesses hosting art, and vote on their favorite works of art. Winners and awards will be announced on the square on First Friday, Sept. 6.

For more information visit leonardtownfirstfridays.com or call the town office at 301-475-9791.

Art contest designed to support breast cancer Awareness

The St. Mary’s County Arts Council invites artists to submit a decorated piece of “bra art” to its first Uplifting Designs Bra Art Contest to support Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

The bra exhibit will be displayed in Leonardtown on Friday, Oct. 4. Artists are asked to get creative — to thread a needle, fluff a few feathers and prepare to decorate bras.

Hundreds of bra art contests have been held across the country in the last few years as a way to raise money. About one in eight women in the United States will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of their lifetimes.

The bras will be displayed in Leonardtown during First Friday on Oct. 4 from 5 to 8 p.m. Visitors can vote with a donation for their favorite design. All proceeds from the event will be donated to the First Friday cause to support breast cancer awareness. There is no charge to enter the event. Entry forms and complete details are available at www.stmarysartscouncil.com. All bra art entries should be turned in by Tuesday, Oct. 1, to the Town of Leonardtown office, which is located at 41660 Courthouse Drive.

The Arts Council will be offering a workshop on Saturday, Sept. 28, from 1 to 3:30 p.m. at the Leonardtown Arts Center for those who would like to decorate their bras in the company of others. The Leonardtown Arts Center is located at 22850 Washington St., on the second floor. Organizers will supply bras, decorating materials and refreshments for a fee of $10. Registration for the workshop can be found at www.stmarysartscouncil.com. Walk-ins are welcome. Bras created from the workshop will be displayed at the arts center and will also be entered into the contest.

Bras should be selected and decorated in a manner that is tasteful; no inappropriate or offensive entries will be put on display. For more information, call Nell Elder at 240-687-5418.

Take a tour of trees

The Maryland Tree Farm Committee, Maryland Forests Association and other partners are sponsoring a field tour in St. Mary’s County this fall to help the area’s woodland owners and enthusiasts discover the benefits provided by the region’s woodlands. The half-day, outside event will occur at the Skyview Family Tree Farm, located off of Loveville Road in Mechanicsville, on Saturday, Sept. 21, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

While Maryland is a relatively small state, its woodlands vary dramatically depending on your location. For instance many of the trees found in the cooler higher elevations of the western part of the state won’t be found growing on the lower, more humid Eastern Shore. The St. Mary’s County tour is part of four regional events to be held throughout Maryland this fall to showcase this woodland diversity and to highlight their importance to the state’s air quality, wildlife, economy, drinking water and quality of life.

The event will take place outside, rain or shine, and some trail walking will be necessary. Preregistration is required. For more about the agenda and to register, visit www.forestryforthebay.org/discover_woodlands.cfm or contact David Gailey at 301-880-2746 or dgailey@dnr.state.md.us.

Buddy Walk set for Sept. 14

Southern Maryland’s Buddy Walk will be held Saturday, Sept. 14, at 12:30 p.m. at Regency Furniture Stadium in Waldorf. The Buddy Walk is a 1-mile walk designed to promote awareness, inclusion and acceptance for children and adults with Down syndrome.

This walk is also an annual fundraising event for Angels Forever Up! Funds raised from the Buddy Walk will pay for various events provided by the group, including its annual fall festival at Bowles Farm, family day at Pump it Up and Chuck E. Cheese. This year, Angels Forever Up! provided $6,000 in summer camp scholarships. The group also provides new parent packets to local hospitals and obstetrician’s offices.

To register for the walk, go to http://buddywalk.kintera.org/angelsforeverup or send email to angelsforeverup@gmail.com. Information is posted at www.angelsforeverup.org. Participants can start their own team or register individually. Prizes will be awarded for the team and individual that raises the most money. Registration fee includes T-shirt, entertainment, goody bags, game ticket and food voucher.

In addition, organizers are looking for volunteers to assist on the day of the Buddy Walk and for corporate sponsors. For more on these opportunities, email angelsforeverup@gmail.com.

Three-day event set to focus on domestic violence

Leah’s House Shelter and For Kathy’s Sake Inc. are sponsoring a three-day event featuring Donna Andersen from Sept. 12 to 14.

For three days in September, students and their families can learn how to spot and escape potentially dangerous dating partners. “Love Fraud and How to Avoid It” will be presented by Andersen, author of Lovefraud.com, who was featured in the premiere episode of Investigation Discovery’s “Who the (Bleep) Did I Marry?”

On Thursday, Sept. 12, at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, the event will be held in St. Mary’s Hall from 7:30 to 9 p.m. and will feature drum corps, step team performances and refreshments. Donation is $5.

On Friday, Sept. 13, at the Dr. James A. Forrest Career and Technology Center in Leonardtown, the event will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. and will include step team performances and refreshments. Donation is $5.

On Saturday, Sept. 14, organizers will host a catered brunch from 10 a.m. to noon at the Patuxent Presbyterian Church in California. This brunch will include Andersen’s presentation and a panel of experts in domestic violence response. Donation is $20.

Proceeds from the events will benefit the Leah’s House shelter, which protects women and children in crisis, including human trafficking victims. For more information, call 301-994-9580 or email leahshousefriend@msn.com. Refreshment sponsors and volunteers are needed.

College chapter honored

Omicron Delta Kappa recently awarded St. Mary’s College of Maryland with the Superior Circle Award. Each year Omicron Delta Kappa recognizes circles (chapters) that meet all the circle standards. Circles qualify as a superior circle if they meet all standards and produce two or more campuswide leadership events during the year.

St. Mary’s College also announced that the ODK Foundation Scholarship Committee selected Emily Wavering from the Class of 2013, who was also named ODK Circle Leader of the Year, as a recipient of the 2013 ODK Scholarship. Each year the foundation awards up to 20 scholarships to members who are applying for post-graduate programs. These $1,000 scholarships are available to students who have earned a 3.5 or higher cumulative GPA, were voting members of their ODK Circle and are current seniors or have graduated within the past five years.

Artsfest set for Sept. 21 and 22

The 20th Annual Artsfest Fine Arts Festival will take place at Annmarie Sculpture Garden and Arts Center on Sept. 21 and 22 in Solomons. Artsfest is a weekend of shopping, live music, food and drink, free family and children’s activities and more. In celebration of the 20th anniversary, more than 165 indoor and outdoor artist booths will be set up. The event will also feature more than 30 entertainers, including jazz, rock, folk, blues and country.

Genticorum to perform, workshops offered

The Celtic Society of Southern Maryland in partnership with the Calvert Marine Museum will present Genticorum, the award-winning traditional Quebecois trio from Montreal. The band members will offer master workshops in fiddle/feet, guitar and flute/pennywhistle on Saturday, Sept. 7, from 2 to 4 p.m. A concert will be presented at 7:30 p.m. The workshops and concert will be held at the Calvert Marine Museum Auditorium in Solomons. Workshop cost $35, with some scholarships available. Concert tickets are $25 and are available online at www.cssm.org/tickets.

Alumni association awards scholarships

This year, the Margaret Brent High School Alumni Association has awarded six scholarships of $1,000 each to the following 2013 high school graduates.

The recipients are: Charles Ryan Gilbert, graduate of Chopticon High School, son of Charles and Lori Gilbert; Jacob Noah Jarboe, graduate of St. Mary’s Ryken High School, son of William and Lori Kay Jarboe; Katlyn Florence Lyon, graduate of Leonardtown High School, daughter of Michael and Brenda Lyon; David Rippetoe Norton Jr., graduate of Providence High School in Florida, son of David and Margaret Norton; Maxwell Scott Pilkerton, graduate of Huntley High School in Illinois, son of Scott and Susan Pilkerton; and Megan Elizabeth Spence, graduate of Chopticon High School, daughter of Robert and Dorothy Spence.

All of the winners are direct descendents of former MBHS students who attended the school between 1931 and 1965, prior to the school becoming a middle school. Winners were selected based on their academic record and achievements in school and in their community.

Workshop on land preservation set

The Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission and the Maryland Environmental Trust will hold a workshop Sept. 3 at 6 p.m. to discuss opportunities for land preservation in Southern Maryland. The workshop will take place at the SMECO auditorium in Hughesville.

Recently, the state increased funding in the Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Program and the Rural Legacy Program. The federal government increased the tax break for easement donations in 2013. After a donation of an easement to the Maryland Environmental Trust, landowners may deduct up to 50 percent of adjusted gross income from their federal income tax, and they can continue to take the deduction for another 15 years, or until they reach the value of the easement.

Landowners may deduct up to 100 percent of their adjusted gross income per year if the majority of their income comes from farming, ranching or forestry, until they reach the value of the easement. In previous years, the maximum deduction was 30 percent of adjusted gross income and it is likely to be no higher than that in the foreseeable future.

The majority of the workshop will concentrate on easement donation because of the one-time jump in the percentage of adjusted gross income deduction. As easement donation does not suit all landowners, information on alternative land preservation programs will also be provided. Light refreshments will be served. Respond by today, Aug. 28, by emailing Greg Bowen at gbowen@smadc.com or calling 301-274-1922, ext. 1.

Yard sale to raise funds for fire/rescue squad

A yard sale will be held by the Second District Volunteer Fire Department and Rescue Squad in Valley Lee on Sept. 28 from 7 to 11 a.m. To reserve a table for $10 or for more information, call Kelly at 240-299-5261 or Georgia at 301-994-1960.

Registration open for cycling event

Registration is now open for the 2013 Crop Hop: a cycling tour of Southern Maryland farms. Hosted by the Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission and the Charles County Board of Commissioners, the Crop Hop highlights the connection between local farms, fresh food and good nutrition. Profits from the event will go to the Southern Maryland Food Bank for purchasing fresh, local food.

This year’s 2013 Crop Hop will be held Saturday, Oct. 19, in Charles County. All rides begin and end at Gilbert Run Park. Riders cycle to local farm stops to experience farm tours, interact with farmers and enjoy locally-sourced snacks.

This year’s routes include the Silo Century (62 miles) for serious riders, the Harvest Hop (33 miles), the Barnstormer (15 miles), the Barnstormer Lite (for those less inclined to ride the hilly terrain) and the Sprout Route for children. Farm stops along the route specialize in turkeys, cattle, horses, goats, produce, agritourism and more. The Sprout Route is a kid-friendly course, featuring a 3-mile, in-park walk and ride with educational stops featuring animals, seed planting and exercise.

After the ride, cyclists can participate in a locally sourced picnic lunch at Gilbert Run Park.

Cost for the Sprout Route is $20 per rider. Cost is $40 for the Barnstormer routes and $60 for the Harvest Hop and Silo Century courses. Riders registering before Sept. 30 are guaranteed a complimentary lunch and event T-shirt.

Non-cyclists and community members are welcome to attend the festivities and lunch at Gilbert Run Park from 11:30 to 2 p.m. Registration for lunch is open on the Crop Hop website, and the cost is $10 per adult and $5 per child (6 and younger). For more, see www.crophop.com.

Butterfly bonanza created

Rachel Adler, the Lindsey Paul Rudolph summer intern at the St. Mary’s County Library, created a native butterfly garden at the Lexington Park branch as her summer project. Caterpillars were raised at the library over the summer, and then the resulting butterflies were released at a Waiting for Wings event on Aug. 5, attended by more the 40 people. Photos are available on the library’s Flickr page at www.flickr.com/photos/stmaryslibrary/9447861006/.

Native plants for the project were donated by the ELMS Environmental Center’s native plant nursery. The garden was planted outside the windows of the children’s section at the Lexington Park branch. Paper butterflies with facts now decorate the inside windows, and a nearby felt board with butterfly life cycle pieces was installed. The aim of this learning center is to engage children in learning about the life cycle of a butterfly, pollination, native plants and gardening.

Chaney beautification grants awarded

The Chaney Beautification Fund, a field of interest fund at the Community Foundation of Southern Maryland, awarded 11 grants to nonprofits in Anne Arundel, Calvert, Charles and St. Mary’s counties this year. Nonprofits, educational institutions and governmental agencies were eligible to apply for the grant. The Community Foundation of Southern Maryland Grants Committee accepted and reviewed approximately 17 grant applications from five counties and 11 organizations were selected for this year’s grant cycle. Awardees include Friends of Jefferson Patterson Park and Museum, Friends of Cedar Lane, Captain Avery Museum, Humane Society of Charles County, College of Southern Maryland, University of Maryland Extension-St. Mary’s Master Gardeners, Historic Sotterley Inc., Center For Life Enrichment, Mary H. Matula Elementary School, Sandy Point State Park and Ridge Elementary School.

The fund is designed to assist projects that add beauty to the communities in which Chaney Enterprises does business by matching donated resources community stakeholders with cash and/or construction materials.

Holy Angels to host annual seafood dinner

On Sunday, Sept. 8, from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Holy Angels Catholic Church in Avenue will hold its annual seafood dinner, featuring fried oysters, steamed spiced shrimp, crab balls and fried chicken. The meal is all you can eat, served buffet style. Cost is $25 for adults, $8 for children 6 to 12 and free for children 5 and younger. Carryouts will be available at $23 each. There also will be homemade desserts and a craft table. The raffle prize this year is for $1,500 — with the first prize being $1,000 and the second prize $500. You do not need to be present to win.

Holy Angels is located at 21340 Colton Point Road in Avenue. For more information or to purchase advance tickets, call the rectory at 301-769-3332 or email holyangelsnews@aol.com.

Allen, Madden win book award

Dakota Allen of Leonardtown and Emma Madden of Leonardtown, both students at St. Mary’s Ryken High School, were awarded the 2013 Saint Michael’s College Book Award for Academic Achievement with a Social Conscience.

The award recognizes students who demonstrate a commitment to leadership in volunteer service and academic achievement. Saint Michael’s, located in Burlington, Vt., was founded on the belief that serving others is part of its Catholic tradition. Award recipients, named at schools throughout the country, are high school juniors who are inductees of the National Honor Society or an equivalent school-sponsored honors organization. They must demonstrate a commitment to service activities in high school or community organizations, taking leadership roles in these activities.

Winners were presented the book “First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers” by Loung Ung, a 1993 Saint Michael’s College graduate.

Farm Bureau awards two scholarships

At the annual picnic for the St. Mary’s County Farm Bureau, Katherine Thompson of Chopticon High School and Catherine Raley of St. Mary’s Ryken were each awarded a $1,000 scholarship from the bureau’s Floyd Raley Scholarship program. Both Thompson and Raley are dependents of farm bureau families.

Long-term care conference scheduled

It’s time to register for the third annual Long-Term Care Awareness Conference, hosted by the St. Mary’s County Department of Aging and Human Services. The conference will be held Friday, Oct. 11, at Dr. James A. Forrest Career and Technology Center in Leonardtown. Registration fee is $22. Advance registration is required.

The conference will begin at 9 a.m., with registration doors opening at 8 a.m. This year’s theme is “A Focus on Services & Supports in Long-Term Care Facilities.”

Guest speakers will address topics including medical benefits for residents in long-term care, understanding the needs of those with dementia-related illnesses, Medicare updates, legal documents essential for long-term planning, alternative choices for long-term care and psychosocial benefits of activities and recreation.

Registration forms are available at the Garvey, Loffler and Northern senior activity centers. For more information or a registration form, contact Mindy Carter or Kathy Goodspeed at 301-475-4200, ext. 1055, or email Kathleen.Goodspeed@stmarysmd.com.

scraton@somdnews.com