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Robert and Patience Mason make about four joint public appearances a year to talk about their books. One of those will be at 7:30 p.m. today, Friday, at the Leonardtown campus of the College of Southern Maryland, as they share their story of recovery from the Vietnam War.

Robert Mason is the author of “Chickenhawk,” an account of his tour as a helicopter pilot, during which he flew more than 1,000 missions. He said this week from the couple’s Florida home that he got shot down during one of those flights, but the worst of the experience — post-traumatic stress disorder — hit him after he returned back to the United States.

“I thought I was going crazy. I did not know why I was that way,” Mason said, adding that “Patience tells her side of it” through the talks, working with other war survivors’ families and the words in her own book, “Recovering From the War: A Guide for All Veterans, Family Members, Friends, and Therapists.”

“Telling our story tells other people that you’re not alone. You can survive this experience,” Robert Mason said, whether its from wartime service, a serious accident or a series of traumatic occurrences. “You can inspire people to get help for themselves, if they realize that it’s possible. I’m happy that I’m giving other people some hope.”

For Mason, getting away from “the storm” is a matter of practicing what works.

“There are techniques, there are ways to get through this, regain some of the calmness that you’re missing,” he said, including some fairly simple acts. “You can take a couple breaths,” he said, to get back to the better here and now.

The Masons will speak about their books and experiences this evening in the A Building auditorium on the Leonardtown campus.

Sign up by Saturday for recycled art show

The Leonardtown Arts Center’s Recycled Art Show will be held from Friday, April 4, to Sunday, April 27, coinciding in part with next month’s Earth Day weekend activities in the town. A sneak peek from 5 to 8 p.m. on “First Friday,” April 4, will be followed by a reception for the show from noon to 3 p.m. from Sunday, April 13. The deadline for the submission of entries is this Saturday, March 29. An entry form and more information can be found online at www.stmarysartscouncil.com.

Cable show to explore St. Mary’s death case

The Oxygen television channel is scheduled to present a full day of episodes of its “Snapped” series this Sunday, March 30, including a one-hour segment at 10 p.m. on the 2010 death of Gary Alan Trogdon from a gunshot injury at his Hollywood home, and the ensuing murder trial of his wife, Joanna Joyce Findlay.

Joanna Findlay’s lawyer argued from the onset that her husband took his own life. Trial jurors acquitted Joanna Findlay of first-degree murder, but convicted her of charges of attempted second-degree murder and a handgun offense. Her five-year prison sentence was cut short in 2012 when a prosecutor retroactively dismissed the handgun charge, on the condition that the former University of Maryland writing instructor report to an immigration detention center to await deportation to Scotland, her native country.

Pax River watershed talks set for April 1 and 10

The Patuxent River Commission will hold a pair of public hearings in April on new policies affecting Maryland’s longest river and its watershed that is equal to one-tenth of the state’s land mass, and serves as a regional source of drinking water.

The health of the river is stewarded by the commission, made up of policymakers from seven counties, municipalities, state agencies and interest groups in the river’s 937-square-mile watershed. The commission is poised to update its policy document, which guides the work of state agencies and local governments within the watershed to maintain and improve the health of the river.

The draft version of the 2015 policy document will be the subject of the public hearings to be held at 7 p.m. next Tuesday, April 1, in the Prince George’s County Administration Building’s fourth floor board room, at 4741 Governor Oden Bowie Drive in Upper Marlboro, and at 6 p.m. on Thursday, April 10, at Laurel City Hall, at 8103 Sandy Spring Road in Laurel.

Bluegrass season’s shows conclude April 13

The Sons of the American Legion and Jay Armsworthy will present Joe Mullins & the Radio Ramblers for the final American Legion Bluegrass concert of the winter season, to be held Sunday April 13, at the American Legion Post 238 in Hughesville.

Joe Mullins & the Radio Ramblers, the 2012 IBMA Emerging Artist of the Year, play old-school bluegrass picking and harmony singing, in an energetic mix of Bluegrass and gospel music. Opening the show at 2 p.m. will be Charlie Thompson & Bottom County Bluegrass, from Hollywood. A fried chicken dinner will be available for sale before the show. For more information, tickets and directions, go online to www.americanlegionbluegrass.com, or call 301-737-3004. Non-perishable food donations will be accepted for the Helping Hands Food Bank in Southern Maryland.

Learn to put farm goods online

A Social Media Tools for Farms workshop to be held on April 15 will explore Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, apps and more digital resources so farmers can learn how to market their products and services effectively using social media. The workshop also will cover how to list a farm business on digital databases such as Google Maps.

Presented by University of Maryland Extension, in partnership with the Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission, the workshop will begin with a 9 a.m. check-in and breakfast at Calvert County Economic Development’s Courthouse Square Meeting Room at 205 Main Street in Prince Frederick. Advance registration is required by April 7, and can be handled online at the “news and announcements” link at www.smadc.com, by calling 301-274-1922, ext. 1, or by sending email to info@smadc.com.

Yard sale set for April 26 in Chaptico

A Community Rummage and Yard Sale at Christ Episcopal Church’s parish hall in Chaptico, from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, April 26, will combine browsing tables of treasures with refueling on beverages and snacks at the grab-and-go refreshment table. To obtain a table or space rental application, go online by April 18 to www.christepiscopalchaptico.org, call 301-884-3451 or send email to office@christepiscopalchaptico.org.

Register by May 16 for LEAD class

Leadership Southern Maryland and Maryland Leadership Workshops have partnered for a fifth year to offer rising 10th-, 11th- and 12th-graders from Calvert, Charles and St. Mary’s counties a chance to delve into the facets of leadership during a four-day, three-night summer camp experience.

Through activities and lessons, LEAD delegates are able to sharpen problem-solving skills, and hone communication and presentation skills. A staff of young professionals guides the camp participants through hands-on workshops and projects, with help from mentors who share their real-world experiences. Teamwork and friendships are forged between teens from varied cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds, across county lines.

The program includes downtime for delegates to enjoy bonfires and hang out on the waterfront campus of St. Mary’s College of Maryland. The participants use the college’s dorms, cafeteria and recreation center during their stay. A limited number of scholarships are available.

For more information or to register online, visit the program’s website at www.lsmlead.org. The application and registration deadline is May 16. Additional information also is available by calling 240-725-5469, or by sending email to leadsomd@verizon.net.

Join food issues discussion

A diversity of food-related issues will be explored in a discussion to be held by the Southern Maryland Food Council, on Wednesday, May 7, at the Waldorf Jaycees building at 3090 Crain Highway in Waldorf.

Topics may include community and school gardens, environmental impacts of food systems, childhood obesity and disease, nutrition education, recycling, farming, natural foods and remedies. The event will feature an optional networking session from 6:30 to 7 p.m., followed by focused roundtable discussions from 7 to 9 p.m. to give participants an opportunity to share their interest and experiences, and make connections toward resolving food issues together.

Register online for the free event at the “news and announcements” link from www.smadc.com. To find out more about the Southern Maryland Food Council initiatives or this event, go online to www.somdfoodcouncil.com, send email to info@somdfoodcouncil.com, or call 301-274-1924, ext. 1.

Eat Italian food, play bocce on May 18

The Golden Beach-Patuxent Knolls Civic Association, in cooperation with the Ferrante family, is sponsoring a second Italian Festival to benefit the Joseph C. Ferrante Memorial Scholarship Fund, to be held from 2 to 6 p.m. on Sunday, May 18, at the Mechanicsville Moose Lodge at 27636 Mechanicsville Road.

A silent auction will begin at 2 p.m., followed at 4 p.m. by a live auction. There also will be outdoor activities including bocce, games for children, face painting and a playground. Tickets must be ordered in advance by May 4, by going online to www.josephferrantefoundation.org, or calling Dale Antosh 301-884-5478 or Jean Marie Ferrante Burke at 240-925-9515.

Play golf for Arc on May 22

The Arc of Southern Maryland will hold its 12th Annual Pat Collins Golf Classic on May 22 at the Twin Shields Golf Club in Calvert County, starting at 7:30 a.m. with a continental breakfast and an 8:30 a.m. shotgun start. The event will include a buffet lunch, with snacks provided during the day, and golfers also will have the chance to participate in various putting contests, win prizes, purchase mulligans and receive a gift bag for playing. Opportunities to sponsor or register a team for the golf tournament are now available. The Twin Shields Golf Club is located at 2425 Roarty Road in Dunkirk.

The annual tournament is held in honor of Pat Collins, a former Arc board president who worked tirelessly for many years to help individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Southern Maryland. Proceeds from the tournament will be used to support various programs and services provided by The Arc, including residential and community-supported living, day support, employment support and respite care to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities living in Southern Maryland.

For information on the tournament or to register a team, call 410-535-2413, ext. 123, or visit www.arcsomd.org. For information about The Arc of Southern Maryland, call 410-535-2413 or visit www.arcsomd.org.

BeerFest to return June 21

The fourth annual BeerFest will be held at the Historic St. Mary’s City Museum from noon to 6 p.m. on Saturday, June 21, featuring the music of John Luskey, The 25th Hour Band and the Justin Myles Experience, and beverages from craft brewers such as Ruddy Duck, Brewers Alley and The Raven.

There will be tours of Van Sweringen’s Ordinary, one of the first taverns of the colony, along with a beer-making demonstration and a cider-making demonstration. Artisans will have select offerings for sale, and fun activities for children may be found at the Kid’s Tent.

The event is a fundraiser to support the education and research activities of the museum. Festivalgoers can arrive on foot, on a boat, in a car or by swimming to the site. Designated drivers get in for half the admission fee. Parking is free.

For more information, call the Historic St. Mary’s City Foundation at 240-895-4977, send email to SusanE@DigsHistory.org or go online to www.stmaryscitybeerfest.org.

Register for writers’ conference

Writers may practice their craft on the shores of the St. Mary’s River this summer at the Chesapeake Writers’ Conference at St. Mary’s College of Maryland.

The week of craft talks, lectures, panel discussions, and readings in July also will include daily workshops in fiction, poetry, or creative nonfiction led by accomplished faculty. This year, the conference will be offering course credit for interested college students.

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. For more information, go online to the Chesapeake Writers’ Conference website at www.smcm.edu/summer/writing/ or send email to Jerry Gabriel, the conference’s director, at chesapeakewritersconference@smcm.edu.

Be wary of suspicious packages

The Maryland State Fire Marshal’s Office recently issued an advisory that the potential exists for anyone to receive a suspicious package or locate an explosive device, and the agency offered some related safety tips for dealing with the situation.

A suspicious package or letter may contain explosives, chemicals or even biological agents, the fire marshal’s office reports, so if a recipient is unsure about the contents of a package or letter, they should not handle or touch it. Instead, isolate the area and contact 911.

Be wary of packages that are unexpected or from someone unfamiliar. Do not touch or move the package if wires are protruding, aluminum foil is visible, a strange odor in present or odd staining is visible. Misspellings of common words, threatening language, unusual labeling, excessive postage and restrictive endorsements such as “personal,” “confidential,” or “do not X-ray” notifications are potential signs of a suspected device. A missing return address, excessive tape or string, or oddly shaped packages also are warning signs.

An explosive device is something placed or set up in an improvised manner, and contains destructive, lethal, noxious, pyrotechnic, or incendiary chemicals. These devices are designed to destroy, incapacitate, harass, or distract. Do not touch or attempt to move a suspected explosive device, and instead, isolate and evacuate the area immediately and call 911.

Explosive devices can be very unstable — including being sensitive to movement, friction, impact, electronics or heat — and may even detonate without warning. Devices large or small can cause serious injuries or death. Explosive devices have no limit on type or design, and if there’s a question on whether an object is a potential explosive device, call 911 for assistance.

Military ordnance is occasionally located in areas that were utilized by the U.S. government in the past, as well as, in some homes, garages and sheds of military veterans. Until these devices are rendered safe by a trained professional, they can be very unstable.

Devices manufactured by an individual are considered to be Improvised Explosives Devices (IED’s). These types of devices are extremely unstable and are illegal to possess. The possession, manufacture and use of these devices are felony offenses, and a conviction carries a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

jwharton@somdnews.com