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People on the Go of Calvert will host the second annual “Camp out for Calvert” homelessness overnight event to benefit Project ECHO Inc.

The event will take place Saturday, Sept. 21, from 1 p.m. through Sunday, Sept. 22, until 10 a.m. at Kings Landing Park in Huntingtown. Participants will raise funds for Project ECHO by having others sponsor them to experience the night outdoors. Individuals, families and groups are welcome to attend.

The goal of the event is to “raise awareness of homelessness in the community … so the youth would understand what a homeless person has to do to withstand the elements,” Trisha Gipson, executive director of Project ECHO, said. “Once you are in survival mode, you have to be creative to survive the elements.”

Project ECHO had put on the event previously, but this year, People on the Go is taking over. The organization is a self-advocacy group for people with mental and physical disabilities. The goal is to get out and prove that people with disabilities are not limited and that their capabilities are endless, Gipson said.

Gipson said while many people view homelessness as an effect of alcoholism or substance abuse, mental health can play as big a role as physical health.

Camp-out activities will include a Superhero Challenge, corn hole, volleyball, ladder ball, musical entertainment and s’mores around the campfire. There is a $1 per person charge to attend and participants are encouraged to raise as many donations as possible to benefit Project ECHO’s Prince Frederick homeless shelter.

Registration deadline is Sept. 13. Participants must bring their own food, non-alcoholic beverages and charcoal for the on-site grill, in addition to camping gear. Kings Landing will provide gated security within the park and restrooms, but not showers. Individuals may be grouped into teams of no more than five campers and one leader. Organizations may have multiple teams.

“What is special to us is that [the event] shows we have an importance in the community and we like to help other people,” Connie Willoughby, a representative from The Arc of Southern Maryland and People on the Go, said. “We want to focus on the abilities for people with disabilities, and it’s nice to get out there in the community and work alongside other people in the community.”

Willoughby said this is a chance for people, who may never have had the opportunity to go camping before, to enjoy a safe social environment and meet others. She hopes participants leave knowing individuals with disabilities are assets to the community.

“One of the core ideas is that this could happen to you,” Willoughby said. “You can’t guarantee you will always have what you have, so let us support each other and enjoy working with others in the community for a common cause.”

Christmas in April seeks applicants for home improvements

Christmas in April Calvert County, an affiliate of Rebuilding Together and a United Way community partner, is now accepting applications for work to be done on homes the last Saturday in April 2014. Deadline for receipt of applications is Sept. 30. This non-profit organization repairs and improves the homes of low-income homeowners, assuring that they live in warmth, safety and independence. Since 1991, hundreds of volunteers a year have donated their time to improve 634 homes in Calvert County, a press release states. In 2013, work was done free of charge for homeowners of 30 homes.

All homeowners must live in a home referred for Christmas in April. Friends and family members may submit an application on another’s behalf but should first obtain the homeowner’s consent. Applications may be obtained at the senior centers, libraries and churches, or may be requested by calling 410-535-9044. Applications are also available at www.christmasinaprilcalvertcounty.org, and may be submitted online.

Blues Festival announces designated driver program

Chesapeake Bay Events Inc., in cooperation with Bob Hall, Budweiser, Sheriff Mike Evans and the Calvert Alliance Against Substance Abuse (CAASA), will join together in the creation of a Designated Driver Program for the first Southern Maryland Blues Festival on Sept. 7 and 8 at the Calvert County Fairgrounds. The program will reward those abstaining from consuming alcohol for the day with free water and sodas and the chance to win prizes.

Patrons will be able to participate at the festival by signing a pledge to stay sober for the day and get those driving with them home safely. They will then receive a wristband that allows them to drink water and sodas free all day, a press release states.

As part of the program, the festival will stop the sale of alcohol before the last act and post the telephone number of local taxi cab companies and others offering a ride home.

There also will be a Crafter Village, Kids Zone, a variety of local food, beer and craft beer tasting by local hosted breweries.

The festival will benefit the less fortunate of Southern Maryland through a contribution of all net proceeds to End Hunger in Calvert County. For more information, go to www.somdblues.org. Tickets are available in advance until Sept. 5 at http://somdblues.org/index_files/tickets.htm or at the gate the day of the event.

Chesapeake Community Chorus seeks concert hosts

The Chesapeake Community Chorus is an all-volunteer group of about 35 members, which sings to raise money for Calvert County charities. Their concerts have raised more than $62,000 for Calvert Hospice, the Burnett-Calvert Hospice House, Windows of Strength, local food pantries and housing renovations for the sick and handicapped, a press release states. Concerts are free, which allows all money collected to go directly to the charity. If a group would be interested in sponsoring a benefit concert for a charity in Calvert County, contact Larry Brown, director of the Chesapeake Community Chorus, at 301-855-7477 or lbrown9601@verizon.net.

New public bus route to serve Dunkirk region

Calvert County’s Public Transportation Division will begin a new northern county bus route Monday, Sept. 30, bringing accessible, affordable bus service to areas from Dunkirk to Huntingtown.

Running Monday through Friday, the new route allows easy access to shopping, health care, employment and more in northern Calvert County, including the Dunkirk Town Center, Dunkirk District Park and Calvert Library Fairview Branch. Destinations served by the new route include the Sunderland Park & Ride, Skinners Turn Road, Grovers Turn Road, Mt. Harmony Road and the town centers of Huntingtown, Owings and Dunkirk. At the Sunderland Park & Ride, riders can connect to the county’s other northern bus route leading to Chesapeake Beach and North Beach, a press release states.

All Calvert County public transportation routes operate through the use of designated reference points for timing the route and the “flag system.” Riders must flag down the bus and can board anywhere along the route where the driver deems it safe to pull over.

One-way fares on the new route are $1.50 for adults ages 18 to 59 and 50 cents for youth ages 7 to 17, adults ages 60 and over and those with a valid disability or a Medicare card. Children ages 6 and younger ride for free. Full-day passes and value cards with preset denominations are also available.

Information on the complete bus route, fares and passes, commuter bus connections, service for the disabled and more is available online at www.co.cal.md.us/transportation, or by calling the Public Transportation Division at 410-535-4268.

Artsfest celebrates 20 years

Annmarie Sculpture Garden and Arts Center in Solomons will host the 20th annual Artsfest Fine Arts Festival on Sept. 21 and 22 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days. In celebration of the 20th anniversary, Artsfest will feature more than 170 indoor and outdoor artist booths along with more than 25 performers on three stages. New this year, Artsfest will include street performers, strolling musicians and many children’s activities. Twelve different food vendors will offer a wide selection of food, along with wine and beer.

Admission to Artsfest ’13 is $6 per person. Annmarie Garden members and children 11 and under, are free. There is abundant free parking in the field adjacent to Annmarie Garden and a handicap pick-up and drop-off area located at the front gate; follow the signs. Pets are not allowed at Artsfest. Visitors can download a $1-off coupon or view event details online at www.annmariegarden.org, or call 410-326-4640.

Library to host ‘tween’ Punkin Chunkin

‘Tweens’ can join their friends at Calvert Library Prince Frederick on Tuesday, Oct. 8, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. for Punkin Chunkin. Science and engineering skills will be used to turn homemade “pumpkins” into projectiles. Registration is required. Go to www.calvert.lib.md.us, or call 410-535-0291 or 301-855-1862.

Affair at Point Farm to raise funds for JPPM

The Friends of Jefferson Patterson Park and Museum’s annual fundraising event, “Affair at Point Farm,” will be Saturday, Sept. 14, from 6 to 9:30 p.m. in the Pavilion at JPPM. Guests, including ABC 7 Chief Meteorologist Doug Hill and several local elected officials, will enjoy an evening of music, dancing, an open bar, buffet and views of the Patuxent River.

Live and silent auction items include two tickets and a parking pass for six days (practice round, Pro-Am, and four tournament rounds) of the 2014 AT&T National PGA Tour at the Congressional Country Club; a private tour of the ABC 7 studios given by Hill with a live viewing of the evening news broadcast and dinner afterward with Hill; weekend cabin getaways; a week at a vacation house in Calabash, N.C.; a six-hour boat trip on the Chesapeake Bay; and an Elvis impersonator gig. Guests will be able to purchase a ticket for a mystery wine raffle, as well as a 50/50 raffle that will benefit renovation of the Discovery Room in the JPPM Visitor Center.

Money raised at this event will help support the educational programs at JPPM, including summer camps and workshops, repair of the Indian Village and special events, such as Discovering Archaeology Day, Children’s Day on the Farm, the 1812 Fair and Re-enactment and American Indian Heritage Day.

Many area businesses are sponsoring the “Affair at Point Farm,” including Pepco, Coakley & Williams Construction Inc., Dominion Cove Point LNG, Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative, M&T Bank, Constellation Energy Nuclear Group at Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant, Comcast, Community Bank of Tri-County, Marianne and John Harms, NRG Energy Inc. and PNC Bank.

Corporate sponsorships and auction items still are being accepted. Tickets are available for $50 per person if purchased before Sept. 1 or $60 per person after Sept. 1. To donate auction items, place a sponsorship ad or purchase tickets, call Anne Starkweather at 410-586-8515.

Auction to Benefit Calvert Hospice

“An Evening of Great Expectations,” Calvert County’s premiere red carpet event at the Calvert Elks Lodge, will take place Saturday, Nov. 23, starting at 6:30 p.m.

Guests will enjoy a cocktail hour surrounded by the music of Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra while bidding on numerous enticing items displayed in the silent auction. For additional information on donating to, sponsoring or attending the event, call 410-535-0892.

Tickets are available for purchase at Scalped Salon and Spa, 141 Main St.; or at the Calvert Hospice office at 238 Merrimac Ct., both in Prince Frederick. Tickets may also be purchased over the phone with a credit card by calling 410-535-0892. Tickets are limited; early reservations are strongly encouraged.

General admission tickets are $50 per person. VIP seating is available for $600 per table of eight; individual VIP seating is also available for $75 per person. Sponsorships and corporate tables are available. For more information, call 410-535-0892, or go to www.calverthospice.org.

Compensation Review Board to meet

The Compensation Review Board will meet Monday, Sept. 9, at 6 p.m. in the Community Resources Building, Duke Meeting Room, 30 Duke St. in Prince Frederick. This meeting replaces the meeting originally scheduled for Aug. 22.

The board meets to perform those duties set forth in Section 9-405 of the Public Local Laws of Calvert County, including the review of and making recommendations regarding the salaries of Calvert County officials, including members of the Calvert County Board of County Commissioners, whose salaries are set through law by the Maryland General Assembly.

For more information on the meeting or the Compensation Review Board, contact Lisa Viverette, executive administrative assistant to the county administrator, at 410-535-1600, ext. 2201, or email viverelm@co.cal.md.us.

2013 Calvert County Fair Books available

Books may be found at the Calvert County libraries, the fairgrounds, the 4-H Office and many places of business throughout the county. Plan now to beat the registration deadlines for the Calvert County Idol Contest, the Miss Tranquility & Lord Calvert contests, the children’s contests and the poultry and livestock registrations. Registrations for the children’s contests (baby, tots and Little Miss and Little Prince) must be done by midnight Friday, Sept. 13.

Registration forms will be accepted by: 1) mail (send completed registration form to Calvert County Fair Inc., P.O. Box 224, Barstow, MD 20610); 2) email (send completed registration form to: ccfairchildrenscontest@gmail.com); or 3) in person at the fairgrounds Sunday, Sept. 8, from noon to 2 p.m. Registration forms may be found in the 2013 Fair Book, online at www.calvertcountyfair.com or at the fairgrounds.

Now is also the time to review the premium lists in the Fair Book and decide which items to enter on Entry Day — Monday, Sept. 23. The 2013 Calvert County Fair opens Wednesday, Sept. 25, and runs through Sunday, Sept. 29.

County to hold hazardous waste collection day

The Calvert County Department of Public Works, Division of Solid Waste, is hosting a household hazardous waste collection day on Saturday, Sept. 14, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Mt. Hope Convenience Center at 104 Pushaw Station Road in Sunderland. The event will give Calvert County residents the opportunity to safely dispose of hazardous substances free of charge.

During the collection day, a licensed contractor will collect household hazardous waste for proper disposal. Collection is limited to Calvert County residents only and proof of residency is required. Waste from commercial businesses is prohibited, a press release states. The service ensures that Calvert County meets all state and federal requirements with regard to the safe collection of household hazardous waste.

Hazardous waste commonly found in the home includes materials such as oil-based paints, pool chemicals, solvents, fertilizers and other items usually labeled with “DANGER,” “POISON,” “TOXIC” or “WARNING.” These items should be separated from regular household trash and disposed of in an environmentally friendly way, according to the release. Latex paint, however, is not hazardous and may be thrown out with regular trash once it has dried and will not be accepted. Small amounts of latex paint can be left to dry in an open can. Larger amounts can be combined with oil absorbent, kitty litter or paint hardener until it is hard.

County residents may drop off trash, recyclables and certain other materials at customer convenience centers and the Appeal Landfill, including motor oil and oil filters, antifreeze, propane tanks, fire extinguishers, batteries, electronics and various types of light bulbs, the release states.

For more information, call 410-326-0210, or go to www.co.cal.md.us/hazardouswaste for a full listing of materials accepted.

Dialogue project to focus on diversity

The Maryland Humanities Council and the Maryland Commission on Civil Rights will launch a 2013 Southern Maryland Public Dialogue Project, “Defying Definitions,” this fall. This interactive community engagement program will employ a variety of strategies to engage Marylanders in an ongoing discussion of identity, stereotypes and diversity.

“Defying Definitions” is a public conversation and community engagement program that challenges participants to reflect on how they perceive others, how they are perceived by others and what they understand about themselves. The project uses the humanities (film, literature, photography, poetry, etc.) to bring people together for dialogue, both online and in community settings, with the goals of breaking down stereotypes, reducing conflict and modeling civil and meaningful discussion, a press release states. The program will engage participants both in person at dialogue events and via www.DefyingDefinitions.org, an online platform designed by Cake and Eat It Designs LLC.

The dialogues and the website are designed to spark interactive discussion between community members around focus topics, including age, gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion and disability. It will travel to community venues throughout Calvert, Charles and St. Mary’s counties collecting resident voices through video, audio, photographs and writing. The program will then culminate in three public dialogues.

Dialogue events will be from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Sept. 23 at the Calvert Library Prince Frederick, from 6 to 8 p.m. Oct. 28 at the College of Southern Maryland La Plata Campus and from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Nov. 13 at the Leonardtown Library.

Beretta becomes corporate sponsor for Calvert Hospice

Brenda Laughhunn, Calvert Hospice executive director, recently announced Beretta USA as a new corporate partner supporting Calvert Hospice.

“We are delighted that Beretta has taken the steps to become a Corporate Partner,” stated Laughhunn in a press release. “We need strong corporate support like Beretta’s to serve the people of Calvert County and fulfill our mission.”

“I admire the work of Calvert Hospice because my family has benefited from the work they do. I am doubly pleased that Beretta is now a corporate sponsor,” said Jeff Cooper, general manager and chief operating officer for Beretta USA, in the release.

Corporate partners with Calvert Hospice have a year-round presence with thousands of Calvert County families, friends, physicians, nurses and volunteers, the release states. Funds raised through corporate partnerships make an immediate and direct impact on the lives of those served by Calvert Hospice. What is raised in Calvert County stays in Calvert County and has a benefit for the people hospice provides for every day.

For more information about corporate partnership opportunities, call Linda Gottfried, director of development, at 410-535-0892.

snewman@somdnews.com