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.

Democratic Central Committee looking to fill vacancy

The Charles County Democratic Central Committee has a vacancy and is accepting applications for the purpose of gender balancing to maintain equal representation. As such, the applicant must be a male, a registered Democrat and resident of the county. Contact the committee by 5 p.m., Monday, Dec. 10, by emailing ccdccweb@gmail.com. All applicants subject to a background and credit check.

Open enrollment ends Dec. 15

Open enrollment to buy, change or renew a qualified health plan for 2019 will end Dec. 15 for healthcare starting on Jan. 1. Remember that Medicaid enrollment is year-round, and Medicaid-eligible Marylanders may start their coverage immediately. Marylanders who are enrolled in Medicaid must renew their Medicaid coverage once a year through the Maryland Health Connection, according to a MedChi press release.

For those who want to enroll in a Medicare plan or change their Medicare coverage, Medicare open enrollment will continue through Dec. 15, according to the release. For additional Medicare plan information, individuals may call 1-800-MEDICARE or go to www.medicare..gov. Individuals do not need to renew their coverage if they are satisfied with their current plans, and those plans are still offered through Medicare.

Gene Ransom, chief executive officer of MedChi, stresses the importance of making sure you get the best health care plan for you and your family. “It is important to consider the factors surrounding the basic health care plans. You should make sure your family physicians are in-network; if not , it can cost you extra money. If you or a family member takes a prescription medication, you should check the list of plan-approved drugs. When considering a health care plan, it is also good to consider out of pocket costs like co-pays and deductibles so you have an accurate idea of overall costs. It is also important to read the plan details thoroughly so you don’t miss any important information in the fine print.” For questions about open enrollment, call 1-800-492-1056 ext. 3311.

MedChi, the Maryland State Medical Society, is a nonprofit association of physicians that serves as the “foremost advocate and resource for physicians, their patients, and the public health of Maryland,” according to the release.

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.

Port Tobacco River Park hosts bald eagle cam

The Department of Recreation, Parks, and Tourism recently launched a live streaming eagle cam at the Port Tobacco River Park, 7685 Chapel Point Road, Port Tobacco, according to a county press release.

The camera, trained on a bald eagle nest, is in partnership with Wild Streaming, the Southern Maryland Audubon Society and Port Tobacco River Conservancy. According to the Audubon Society this is the first live streaming eagle cam in the state of Maryland.

This nest has successfully fledged two eaglets for the last two years and the eagles have begun preparing the nest for the upcoming nesting season which should begin in January. The eagle cam will alternate to scenic views of the Port Tobacco River Park. View the web cam stream at: https://youtu.be/L8Tl-EYaWp8.

CASA looking for special advocate volunteers

Children who are confirmed as victims of abuse and neglect are removed from their homes and placed into foster care — often far from their friends, families and schools. CASA of Southern Maryland, a program of the Center for Children, screens and specially trains individuals to serve as CASAs (court appointed special advocates) for abused and neglected children who, through no fault of their own, end up in the foster care system, according to a news release.

CASAs play a vital role in the life of the child and the courts. Because CASAs are focused on one family of children, they are positioned to provide much needed individual support to the children and crucial information to the courts, in order to advocate for the best interest of the children.

According to National CASA, children with an advocate leave the foster care system 2.5 months earlier than those without.

Become a CASA volunteer to help the abused and neglected children in foster care to find safe, permanent homes. For more information, go to center-for-children.org/programs/court-appointed-special-advocate-casa, or contact Jodie Taylor at 410-535-3047, or email her at casa@center-for-children.org.

SMECO scholarship applications available

Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative (SMECO) is offering college scholarships for the 2019-2020 school year. Four high school seniors will be awarded $1,500 each, according to a news release.

Students are eligible to apply if they live with parents or guardians who are SMECO members. Seniors must be enrolled or plan to enroll full-time in an accredited college, university or trade school. The deadline for students to apply for college scholarships is Friday, April 12, 2019. For more information, or to obtain an application, go to smeco.coop/scholarships.

To be eligible for SMECO scholarships, students must have maintained a minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. Four $1,500 scholarships will be awarded based on scholastic achievement, financial need and community and school involvement. As part of the application process, students must submit an essay on “Why is a College Education Important to Completing My Lifetime Goals?” Scholarship finalists will be interviewed on Saturday, April 27.

Students also may obtain an application from their school’s career counselor or by calling SMECO at 1-888-440-3311, extension 4340. Applications are also available at the customer service desks in SMECO’s Leonardtown and Hughesville offices. Completed application packages with all items submitted together may be taken to a SMECO office or mailed to the attention of Bernadette Lewis, SMECO, P.O. Box 1937, Hughesville, MD 20637. When mailing, allow time for delivery.

CSM appoints McMillon to head marketing, communication

The College of Southern Maryland (CSM) welcomed recently Avis McMillon of Waldorf to its Division of Advocacy and Community Engagement as the new executive director of CSM’s Marketing and Communication Department. McMillon brings more than 30 years of experience in marketing, advertising and internal and external communications, which includes four years of experience overseeing grant acquisition, foundation and alumni relations, according to a news release.

In her position, McMillon oversees all of CSM’s marketing efforts including branding and advertising, creative services, the mailroom, distribution and fulfillment services, employee communications and web services. She leads a creative team which designs, creates and distributes more than 500 multi-faceted products yearly through advertising, direct mail, packaging, electronic marketing, social media and promotions.

McMillon was previously at Brookdale Community College (BCC) in Monmouth County, N.J., as its executive director of college relations.

A New Jersey native, McMillon worked at BCC in various leadership positions for more than 25 years starting out as a program and graphic design coordinator and progressing through the ranks to manager of community events, public information officer and then director of public relations and communications where she oversaw a $1 million budget.

She is a member of the Public Relations Society of American and holds past leadership roles in the American Council of Education (ACE) Women’s Network – New Jersey and the American Association for Women in Community Colleges.

McMillon earned a bachelor of arts in journalism from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey – Douglass College and a master of science in administration from Central Michigan University.

Arts Alliance scholarships available

Each year the Charles County Arts Alliance (CCAA) offers a $1,000 scholarship to one outstanding graduating senior from each of the seven public high schools in Charles County who plans to major in the arts (performing, visual or literary) at a four-year college or university toward a career in the arts.

Go to https://charlescountyarts.org/program/scholarships/ to find a link to download the scholarship application. Charles County Public School seniors may also see their college and career advisors for a copy of the application.

Complete applications must be mailed to the CCAA Office, P.O. Box 697, White Plains, MD 20695, in sufficient time to be received (not postmarked) by noon, March 8. Applications may also be hand-delivered to the CCAA Office at 10250 La Plata Road in La Plata, between the hours of 9 a.m. and 2 p.m., Monday through Friday.

For more information, contact the CCAA office at 301-392-5900, or email info@charlescountyarts.org or ronbrown990@gmail.com.