The University of Maryland Charles Regional Center for Diabetes Education has achieved the significant milestone of accreditation by the American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE) for the second consecutive year. This accreditation represents a high level of quality and service to the community, and the ability to better meet the needs of Medicare recipients and others living with diabetes in Charles County, according to a news release.

Diabetes education services use a collaborative process through which people with or at risk for diabetes work with a diabetes educator to receive individualized care to help them reach their health goals. Since opening in September 2016, the Charles Regional Center for Diabetes Education has provided diabetes self-management education and support to more than 500 patients with Type 1, pre-diabetes, Type 2 and gestational diabetes, according to the release. Located on the first floor of Charles Regional Medical Center, the center recently surpassed 1,600 patient visits. Diabetes education is a covered Medicare benefit when delivered through an accredited program.

The usual plan of care starts with a one-hour evaluation, followed by four group classes, spaced every two weeks. Morning, afternoon and evening classes are available. The program provides 10 hours of diabetes self-management instruction and is a covered benefit by Medicare and most insurance plans. Financial assistance is available to those who qualify, and individual instruction is available for glucometer training, insulin starts, injection technique and glucagon instruction.

The UM Charles Regional Center for Diabetes Education sponsors a Diabetes Support Group for adults with diabetes or pre-diabetes. Available to everyone, the sessions provide a way for people with diabetes and their guests to learn more about diabetes in a fun, informal setting. Meetings are usually on the fourth Wednesday of every other month, from 2 to 3:30 p.m.

For more information, go to UMCharlesRegional.org.

Donate to Toys for Tots at local fire stations

The Charles County volunteer fire and EMS departments are participating in the 2018 Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots campaign.

Donate new, unwrapped toys of any age group by dropping them off at any fire or EMS department in Charles County. Additional collection boxes are at the County Government Building, 200 Baltimore St. in La Plata, and the Department of Emergency Services, 10425 Audie Lane in La Plata.

Donations are being accepted through Tuesday, Dec. 11.

Maryland seat belt use drops in 2018

The 2018 seat belt survey conducted by the Maryland Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Administration (MDOT MVA) showed that seat belt usage has decreased among travelers statewide, according to a state press release.

Maryland’s seat belt use rate for 2018 was 90.3 percent — a drop from the 92 percent reported in 2017, according to the release. The usage rate among passenger car drivers decreased by more than 2 percent, and the use rate on secondary roads among all drivers decreased by 3 percent. In 2017, 116 people were killed in crashes on Maryland’s roads while not wearing a seat belt.

The Department of Transportation’s Roadside Observational Survey, which was completed in June 2018, conducted 42,100 roadside seat belt observations in 13 jurisdictions across the state. The observations included 33,800 drivers and more than 8,300 front seat passengers. In vehicles where the driver was belted, 94 percent of passengers were belted. Conversely, in vehicles with unbelted drivers only a third of passengers buckled up.

Education is a key component for driver awareness and MDOT MVA is working to re-educate its youngest drivers on the importance of wearing seat belts, according to the release. National data shows that seat belt use tends to be lower among teen drivers, and car crashes are the most common cause of death for people aged 5 through 24. To help promote seat belt use among teens, the MDOT MVA’s Maryland Highway Safety Office is partnering with State Farm insurance for the second time this year in a program called Making It Click. The program is specifically intended to raise awareness about the benefit of wearing a seat belt to reduce deaths and injuries resulting from traffic crashes.

To learn more about the MDOT MVA’s Maryland Highway Safety Office’s Toward Zero Deaths campaign, go to towardzerodeathsmd.com.

SMADC release book on So. Maryland meat producers

The Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission (SMADC) has announced the release of “Taking Stock,” a quality bound coffee table book featuring photographic portraits and conversational insights which reveal the personalities and the faces of the farming families of SMADC’s Southern Maryland Meats (SMM) marketing program.

As the title of the book suggests, ‘taking stock’ can have many meanings: in the literal sense of ‘being aware’ as a person, or in ‘making an inventory’ as a business, and as a ‘shepherd and steward’ of livestock and the land, according to a SMADC press release. The book’s author, Craig Sewell, Southern Maryland Meats’ new livestock and marketing specialist, set himself an ambitious schedule to ‘take stock’ of the 52 livestock producers of the SMM program by personally visiting every farm. During his visits Sewell was invited to “sit a spell” and listen to their stories. “Something extraordinary happened when they spoke and revealed their hopes and hardships,” he recalled. From that point forward Sewell was inspired to capture each conversation and share his experiences.

The Southern Maryland Meats program was created in 2011 to promote and raise awareness for Southern Maryland’s farm-raised raised meats. The “Southern Maryland Meats” logo and standards were co-created by SMADC and regional livestock producers to assure transparency and product authenticity in the marketplace, so that consumers know exactly how their meat is raised and where to buy it. Participating farms’ raising practices are verified to maintain integrity of the SMM brand.

The book’s 152 pages are illustrated with vibrant full color photo-biographies, by accomplished agriculture photographer Lena McBean of Remsberg Inc., who expertly captures the character of her subjects and Southern Maryland’s farmscapes.

A first edition run of 500 copies will be in stock by Dec. 14. The cost of the book is $35 (plus shipping). Pre-order and purchase online at SMADC.com and Southernmarylandmeats.com.

Photography for “Taking Stock” was made possible in part by a grant from the Rural Maryland Council and their Rural Maryland Prosperity Investment Fund.

Health center collecting coats for families

Eze Health Center in Waldorf is hosting a coat drive for the Charles County Children’s Aid Society. Children’s and adult’s coats are being collected to help bring warmth to families in need. New and gently used coats of all sizes can be dropped off at 11750 Business Park Drive, Suite 103, in Waldorf. Coats are being accepted, Monday through Friday, through Dec. 23.

First Baptist, Jaycees host Night to Shine Prom

First Baptist Church of Waldorf will serve as one of nearly 500 churches around the world registered to host Night to Shine 2019, sponsored by the Tim Tebow Foundation, simultaneously on Friday, Feb. 8, according to a press release.

Night to Shine is a prom night experience, centered on God’s love, for people with special needs ages 14 and older, hosted by local churches in all 50 states and across the globe all on one night. FBC Waldorf and The Jaycees are part of this worldwide movement to change how culture embraces people with special needs and to rally churches worldwide to stand up for those who are differently-abled, according to the release.

Every guest of Night to Shine enters this complimentary event on a red carpet complete with a warm welcome from a friendly crowd and paparazzi. Once inside, guests receive the royal treatment, including hair and makeup stations, shoe shining areas, limousine rides, corsages and boutonnieres, a catered dinner, karaoke, prom favors, and a dance floor, all leading up to the moment when each guest is crowned king or queen of the prom.

As sponsor of Night to Shine, the Tim Tebow Foundation will provide each host church with the official 2019 Night to Shine Planning Manual, the official Night to Shine Prom Kit, complete with decorations and gifts for the guests, and personalized guidance and support from a Tim Tebow Foundation staff member. The foundation also has committed millions of dollars in financial support to hundreds of churches needing assistance in hosting the event.

When Night to Shine launched in 2015, 44 host churches and 15,000 volunteers worked together to honor more than 7,000 kings and queens of the prom, according to the release. This past February, 537 host churches and 175,000 volunteers came together to celebrate 90,000 honored guests with special needs. Now in its fifth anniversary year, the Tim Tebow Foundation is seeing new churches sign up continuously, and the event is expected to take place in over 700 locations this coming February.

For additional information on the Night to shine hosted by First Baptist Church of Waldorf and Greater Waldorf Jaycees in Waldorf, go to www.facebook.com/nighttoshinecharlescounty.

CSM, SMADC team up for ag workshop

The Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission (SMADC) and the College of Southern Maryland (CSM) has teamed up to offer a one-day college level agricultural workshop for the Southern Maryland region.

Through an established partnership between CSM and SMADC, the workshop “Introduction to Agricultural Careers (HGC-8050)” will be held at the CSM La Plata campus on Saturday Feb. 23, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The six-hour course will identify and compare different segments of the agricultural field and illustrate industry options, as well as outline educational requirements for relevant industry certification in engineering, machinery, horticulture, agronomy, safety, business, economics, law and agri-tourism.

Agriculture is one of the United States’ most important industries, employing more than 17 percent of the country’s total work force. The SMADC/CSM class will help students target opportunities in the agricultural workforce by examining current specializations and trends in the farming industry.

Costs for the workshop include the tuition fee of $17 and college fees of $55. Scholarships are available from SMADC, awarded on a first come first serve basis to students from Southern Maryland who show proof of enrollment in ‘Introduction to Agricultural Careers (HGC-8050). To review the criteria and scholarship application/request form, go to ‘SMADC Programs’ and find the ‘Scholarships’ page at SMADC.com.

Workshop registration is open and closes Feb. 22 at 5 p.m. For more information on the CSM course schedule, course details and non-credit course registration options (online and by mail), go to www.csmd.edu/apply-register/noncredit/. For questions, contact SMADC staff at 301-274-1922, ext. 1, or email info@smadc.com. Information on scholarships can be found at http://www.smadc.com/programs/scholarships.html.

Charles County to begin enforcing new tow laws

Earlier this year, the Charles County Sheriff’s Office began the process of implementing legislation that was signed into law regarding tow services in the county. Beginning on Jan. 1, the new code will be strictly enforced.

House Bill 1320, which passed in March 2017 and was initiated by Sgt. Jon Burroughs of the CCSO Traffic Operations Unit, ensures oversight and regulation of towing operations within Charles County. In order to operate within the county, tow companies must now complete and submit the application for tow services at https://www.ccso.us/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/Tow-Service-Permit-App.pdf. The new regulations are at https://bit.ly/2rbJq4d.

For a Level 1 application, which covers only consensual tow services, the fee is $250. For a Level 2 application, which covers consensual and non-consensual tow services, the fee is $500. All fees will need to be paid prior to submitting the application. Fees will be paid to the Charles County Treasurer’s Office, located at 200 Baltimore St., La Plata, MD 20646. Proof of payment will need to be submitted with the application. Completed applications and proof of payment should be mailed to: Tow Program Coordinator, Traffic Operations Unit, Charles County Sheriff’s Office, 6915 Crain Highway, P.O. Box 189, La Plata, MD 20646-0189.

Completed applications and proof of payment can also be submitted in person to the Charles County Sheriff’s Office Tow Program Coordinator at 10435 Audie Lane, La Plata. Hours of operation are Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., excluding holidays. For additional information, the Tow Program Coordinator can be contacted via email at towing@ccso.us.