Great American Smokeout Day open house planned

Southern Maryland Anne Penman Laser Therapy is holding an Open House 4:30-7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 19, to celebrate Great American Smokeout Day.

Events include a laser demo and information on smoking cessation, weight loss and stress management. There will also be a host of mini-education sessions with various practitioners including Sergina Rodriguez of Sergina Skin Care, Stacy Green Holistic, a certified nutrition consultant, Carol Boehm of Young Living Essential Oils and Melaney Wood.

Clinical social worker and therapist Donna Bennett will share her therapy skills through music.

All will share their unique services and products, and discounted gift certificates will be available that night for Christmas gift lists. Refreshments and door prizes will be available.

Cold laser therapy is an increasingly popular way to stop smoking, beat stress and lose weight. A cold laser beam is focused on energy points in the body which helps release natural endorphins. These “feel good hormones” help to combat the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal, including cravings, irritability and high stress levels, which also apply to weight loss and stress management.

Southern Maryland Anne Penman Laser Therapy is located in Leonardtown at 22530 Washington St. For more information go to or call 301-904-4339.

Prime Street Grille hosts Santa for lunch

Santa Claus is coming to The Prime Street Grille in White Plains.

Join the restaurant staff for lunch with Santa on Saturday, Nov. 28, at noon to kick off the Toys for Tots gift drive.

Santa will arrive by helicopter since Rudolph and the gang need to rest for the big day. Children will enjoy a free hamburger or hot dog and meet Santa. Parents who bring an unwrapped toy for Toys for Tots will receive a free hamburger or hot dog, as well.

The lunch is by reservation only and no other menu items will be available during the event. Call 301-392-0510 for reservations.

SMECO launches Patriot Connect Program for veterans

Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative launched a new program called Patriot Connect to help veterans and active military personnel who may be having a difficult time transitioning back into the community.

As reports in the media indicate, the high incidence of post-traumatic stress disorder among returning military personnel has been at the root of an increased number of suicides. Nationally, as many as 22 veterans commit suicide every day, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs.

“For returning vets who may be unable to cope, dealing with a termination notice from SMECO could be the last straw,” said Austin J. Slater Jr., SMECO president and CEO, in a press release. “If we can help prevent just one tragic death by reaching out to the men and women who have served our country, then this program will have been worthwhile.”

SMECO’s customer service personnel will be empowered to waive the service application fee and deposit for new customers, or grant a payment extension to existing customers, for veterans or active military personnel in need of assistance.

Beyond that support, customers will be directed to work with Tami Gardiner, SMECO’s credit and collections director, who can put them in touch with an appropriate agency or organization that can help.

“Our goal is to help someone who is suffering from a stress disorder get one step closer to a normal life,” Gardiner said in the press release.

“By making it easier for people with PTSD, combat stress, or related trauma to accomplish everyday tasks, we hope to help customer-members—people who have risked their lives in service to our country—with reintegrating into the community,” Slater said in the release.

Follow SMECO on Facebook at and on Twitter at . The SMECO 24/7 mobile app is available at

Turning veterans into entrepreneurs

The U.S. Small Business Administration kicked-off National Veterans Small Business Week, Nov. 2-6, by launching a new private-public partnership with The Marcus Foundation, First Data Corporation and Syracuse University’s Institute for Veterans and Military Families that will support SBA’s Boots to Business: Reboot entrepreneurship training program.

This partnership will allow the SBA to present more than 100 entrepreneurial training workshops over the next year to veterans of all eras, service members and their spouses.

The Boots to Business: Reboot curriculum will introduce veterans to the fundamentals of business ownership including evaluating business concepts and developing a business plan.

Additionally, upon completion of the introductory course, participants will be eligible to register for “Foundations of Entrepreneurship,” an eight-week, online course led by instructors from Syracuse University that offers more in-depth business instruction.

To learn more about the Boots to Business: Reboot entrepreneurship training program, visit

Sagepoint building new rehabilitation center in La Plata

Sagepoint broke ground for a new rehabilitation center Oct. 14 at its La Plata campus. The center will consist of 30 private rooms complete with private baths and showers

The facility will offer a new state-of-the-art therapy gym with a mock bedroom and kitchen aimed at helping patients master the very same daily living skills needed to return home. The new rehabilitation center will be an addition to the current campus located in La Plata.

The new construction supports Sagepoint’s mission of providing rehabilitation and aging services.

“As a non-profit, mission-driven organization, we are committed to taking extra steps to support your recovery and get you back on your feet,” said Bill Holman, president and CEO, in a press release. “This new rehabilitation center will enable Sagepoint to continue providing excellent care to seniors and their families in Southern Maryland.”

As a non-profit organization, Sagepoint strives to partner with local agencies whenever possible. The organization is working with R.L. Litten & Associates, Architects, and Dennis Anderson Construction Corporation, both located in Charles County.

AFCU attends SHAPE Fest

Andrews Federal Credit Union participated in the 17th annual SHAPE Fest at Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe outside Mons, Belgium.

SHAPE Fest is an annual event to support the orientation of newcomers, augment installation command and community information programs, and generate camaraderie among staff and family members, according to a credit union news release.

“It is a pleasure to be able to participate in such a great event that is fun for individuals and families,” AFCU’s Joshua Barrett, Chievres branch manager, said in the release. “There were fun games, food from various countries, music and great company for all to enjoy.”

It is the largest international event of the year, and provides the community a chance to come together to discover what SHAPE has to offer. It also gives community members an opportunity to experience the culture of those with whom they work and live, the release states.

Buckingham, Moore celebrate 10 years at EXIT Realty

EXIT By the Bay Realty in Prince Frederick announced recently the ten year anniversary of two of its agents, Debbie Buckingham and Theresa Moore.

“We love having Debbie and Theresa on our team at EXIT Realty,” said Jen Anderson, broker of EXIT, in a press release.

“EXIT is growing and attracts quality business people like Debbie and Theresa each and every day,” said Mary Eldridge, franchisee of EXIT.

For more information about EXIT By the Bay Realty, call 443-975-7555. EXIT By the Bay Realty is located at 222 Merrimac Court in Prince Frederick.

Sagepoint acquires Circle of Care

Sagepoint Senior Living Services recently completed the acquisition of Circle of Care, a company located in Prince Frederick providing home care assistance in Charles, Calvert, and St. Mary’s Counties.

Home care services allow many older adults to maintain their independence in the comforts of their own home. Home care services are also flexible, meeting both the needs of seniors who need assistance as well as families who need someone to care for an aging parent as they run errands.

“At Sagepoint we remain committed to improving the lives of older adults,” said Bill Holman, President/CEO of Sagepoint, in a press release. “We believe there is significant benefit to enabling older adults to age in place. This acquisition of Circle of Care will enable us to better serve the needs of seniors and their families throughout Southern Maryland.”

Sagepoint Senior Living Services is a non-profit organization, headquartered in La Plata. Formerly CCNRC, Sagepoint has been providing care and advice to seniors and their families in Southern Maryland for more than 35 years. To learn more, visit or call 301-934-1900.

Veitch joins Three Notch Veterinary Hospital

Dr. Gavin Veitch joined Three Notch Veterinary Hospital and Park Veterinary Clinic as a veterinarian on Nov. 9.

Veitch is a St. Mary’s County native and is the son of the late Dr. Michael Veitch, one of the founders of Three Notch and Park. He comes to the practice with extensive experience.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in microbiology from the University of Georgia and then earned his doctorate of veterinary medicine from the University of Georgia, College of Veterinary Medicine. Following graduation, Veitch completed an emergency medicine internship at the Veterinary Emergency and Specialty Center in Richmond, Va.

Loving the fast paced environment, he stayed on as an emergency clinician for three years. In 2010, he moved to a small animal general practice, and has now joined Three Notch and Park.

Three Notch Veterinary Hospital is located in Hollywood with a satellite office, Park Veterinary Clinic, in Lexington Park. For more information, call 301-373-8633 or go to

SBA seeks 2016 small business award nominees

The U.S. Small Business Administration’s Baltimore District Office is accepting nominations for the successful small business person who might become Maryland’s 2016 “Small Business Person of the Year” and compete for the national title during National Small Business Week, May 2-6, 2016.

Nominees are also sought for Small Business Champion and Special Award categories. The submission deadline is Monday, January 11, 2016.

“This is an excellent opportunity to promote your own business, a client or even an employee,” said SBA regional administrator Natalia Olson-Urtecho. “It’s your chance to be recognized for all of your hard work and entrepreneurial spirit. Who can’t use some free publicity these days?”

Small Business Person of the Year nominees are judged on a variety of criteria, including staying power, growth in employment and sales, innovation of product or service, and evidence of contributions to the community.

Small Business Champion awards are presented to people who use their professional or personal talents to further the public’s understanding and awareness of small business.

Champion award categories include: Financial Services, Home-Based Business, Minority, Veteran and Women. Special award categories include the Family-Owned Small Business award, Entrepreneurial Success, Small Business Exporter, Young Entrepreneur and three industry awards, the Accountant Champion, Insurance Advocate and Attorney Advocate.

Nominations can be made by an individual or an organization. The Maryland program accepts nominations for individuals or businesses operating within the City of Baltimore and all Maryland counties except Prince George’s and Montgomery counties, which are accepted through SBA’s Washington Metro Area District Office.

To obtain nomination criteria and submission guidelines, visit SBA at or contact Rachel Howard at 410-244-3337 or by email at

Tractor Supply hosted 4-H Paper Clover campaign

After a record-breaking 4-H Paper Clover campaign in the spring, Tractor Supply Company, in partnership with National 4-H Council, hosted another Paper Clover campaign in October.

On Oct. 7-18, Tractor Supply Company and Del’s Feed and Farm Supply customers had the opportunity to purchase paper clovers for $1 or more during checkout. At the end of the campaign, 70 percent of the funds raised went to state and local 4-H youth development program activities, such as local camps and after school programs, and grant scholarships for 4-H youth. The remaining thirty percent was donated to the National 4-H Council to help connect more young people across America to 4-H youth development programs.

Tractor Supply Company raised $913,553 during the 12-day spring Paper Clover campaign. The amount broke the record for most monetary donations during the four-year collaboration. Tractor Supply has raised $7,029,426 for 4-H programs across the country through Paper Clover campaigns in just five years.

BalanceLogic earns certification IT certification

BalanceLogic, a Southern Maryland based small business solutions company, recently announced they were awarded the CompTIA Managed Services Trustmark for IT security business capabilities and processes. BalanceLogic is one of only six companies in Maryland to earn this prestigious certification.

The Trustmark was developed by CompTIA, the nonprofit association for the information technology industry, to identify businesses that have made a commitment to the highest levels of integrity and sustained quality service.

“Earning the CompTIA Managed Services Trustmark is furthering our commitment to being the leading managed services provider in the region,” BalanceLogic CEO Bill Campbell said in a press release.

To earn the CompTIA Managed Services Trustmark, BalanceLogic was evaluated on organizational structure, technology tools and systems they utilize, standard operating procedures and IT service specific activities. The company also committed to abiding by a code of conduct and provided customer references.

Neibauer Dental Care participates in Free Dentistry Day

The doctors and team at Neibauer Dental Care in Waldorf participated in Free Dentistry Day on Saturday, Oct. 3. They treated 128 patients and donated over $73,000 worth of oral care.

The donated work included cleanings, fillings and extractions. The annual one-day program was started to provide dental care to the growing number of Americans without dental insurance, according to a press release.

“We are very pleased with the success of this event,” said Dr. Ahmed Uthman in the press release. “Unfortunately, many people do not see a dentist on a routine basis. We were honored to open our doors to those in our community and volunteer our time and resources to make sure they received the care they need and deserve.”

One third of Americans are living without dental insurance and current economic conditions leave little room to afford dental procedures, the release said. Each year thousands of patients receive millions of dollars in free dentistry at Free Dentistry Day events nationwide.

Rocktoberfest rocked La Plata despite wind and rain

The La Plata Business Association hosted Rocktoberfest 2015 on Oct. 3 to benefit the Charles County Public Schools’ fine and performing arts. This year the event drew over 1,650 visitors and raised $10,000.

Originally planned to be a street festival along Charles Street with two separate stages, the event had to be moved inside Casey Jones Restaurant due to high winds and rain.

“Despite the tropical storm, Rocktoberfest went above and beyond our expectations this year,” said event coordinator and LPBA member Christine Parker in a press release.

With over 40 local businesses involved and ten performing bands, this event offered something for everyone. Thanks to sponsorship from local businesses this event was free to the public.

Performances ranged from rock to bluegrass and included professional bands, such as “The Paul Reed Smith Band” and “Franklin Square,” to local youth rock bands like the “Flippin’ Eyelids’.”

“The support of community organizations such as the La Plata Business Association is vital, and we appreciate their generosity,” CCPS Superintendent Kimberly Hill said in the release.

“When we were first developing plans for this event, everyone agreed on one mission: to create an event that really celebrated the local culture and developed pride in the community,” LPBA Pres. Nicki Grasso said in the release. “By having local businesses contribute we were able to capitalize on our strengths while exposing the local market to all that La Plata has to offer.”

The Polar Express rolls into La Plata for Small Business Saturday

The La Plata Business Association will host the second annual Shop La Plata celebration on Small Business Saturday, Nov. 28, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the town of La Plata.

The Polar Express will pull into the La Plata Train Station Museum for the big celebration, turning a storybook tale into a real life magical experience for the whole family. The conductor will welcome visitors aboard to enjoy sing-along carols, hot chocolate and cookies, and free activities for kids before the North Pole bound train departs at 3 p.m.

Santa Claus will arrive in grand style at 10 a.m. to board the Polar Express and give each 300 children the first gift of Christmas, a bell that rings for all those that believe. A professional photographer will be available or you can take your own family photos with jolly ole St. Nick and Mrs. Claus until 1 p.m.

Thirty of the town’s favorite locally owned small shops, spas, studios, cafes and restaurants will open their doors to greet joyful visitors to kick off the busy holiday shopping season. Ask participating small merchants how to enter the giveaway for a chance to win the $1,000 holiday shopping spree.

Discover the good things made in Southern Maryland, including artsy and one-of-a-kind boutique gifts, unique holiday décor and ornaments, vintage musical instruments, antiques, aroma-therapies, and the finest jams, jellies and local honey, and much more.

Take a merry self-guided walking tour around town to enjoy the sights, tastes and sounds of the holiday season. Admire the decorated historic landmarks and storefronts, sip on seasonal spiced hot toddies, and enjoy festive live music and caroling. Ask participating small merchants for a ballot to cast a vote for the best traditional and whimsical exterior decor for the town’s Beautification Committee’s Business Holiday Decorating Contest — People’s Choice Award.

Be sure to visit the Holi-Pop Gallery curated by Southern Maryland artists and explore the open-air La Plata Farmer’s Market, featuring local artisans.

Parking is available at the Charles County Government Building lot at 200 Baltimore Street and take the free shuttle bus that will loop the downtown business district.

Donate bagged canned goods for the Scouting for Food program at participating small merchants and neighborhood champions beginning Nov. 7 through Small Business Saturday. LPBA has partnered with Zekiah District of the National Capital Area Council, Boy Scouts of America to collect the donations and deliver them to local food pantries to feed the hungry.

Look for full page ads in the Maryland Independent on Wednesday, Nov. 25, for a list of participating small merchants and a schedule of events for the day. Stay updated and informed about the event by following #shoplaplata hashtag and “like” the La Plata Business Association Facebook page.

For more information, contact Christine Parker at 301-751-7553.

Small business workshop held

The La Plata Business Association hosted a free workshop Sept. 22 where businesses owners and government leaders learned about the latest trends in dining, shopping and regional tourism. The workshop also included resources and criteria to be successful in applying for the Main Street Maryland program.

The workshop featured guest presenter Tim Morgan, chief of tourism and special events for Charles County Government, and was held at the Optical Shoppe of La Plata. This workshop is one of a series to help merchants and neighborhood champions prepare for the second annual Shop La Plata celebration on Small Business Saturday, Nov. 28.

For more information, contact Christine Parker at 301-751-7553 or

Social media workshop held

The La Plata Business Association held a free social media workshop Sept. 29 at the Optical Shoppe of La Plata.

Back by popular demand, the workshop featured guest presenter Andy Sanford, owner of Sanford Design. Sanford designs and maintains marketing campaigns, professional web sites, and Instagram and Facebook pages for several local small businesses and nonprofits, including Bobby Rucci’s Famous Italian Deli & Doughboys, The Southern Maryland Women’s League, and Air Force Sergeants Association.

This workshop is one of a series workshops to help merchants and neighborhood champions prepare for the second annual Shop La Plata celebration on Small Business Saturday, Nov. 28.

For more information, call Christine Parker at 301-751-7553 or email

Holiday season preparation workshop held

The La Plata Business Association held a free holiday preparation workshop Oct. 12 with presenter J. Garrett Glover, Ph.D., a senior business specialist with the Maryland Small Business Development Center at the University of Maryland.

Glover is also a restaurant consultant and is the author of the book “How We Do Business: Clyde’s Primer for Beating the Odds in the Restaurant Business.”

Bill Hitte, business and financial specialist for the Southern Region of the SBDC, attended as a special guest and answered questions about training and counseling services available to attendees.

This workshop is one of a series of workshops to help small businesses prepare for the second annual Shop La Plata celebration on Small Business Saturday, Nov. 28.

According to Audra Atkinson, owner of House Boutique, the inaugural Shop La Plata celebration on Small Business Saturday was her highest sales day ever since opening over six years ago. She is preparing for another big turnout this year with many first time visitors and returning customers.

For more information, call Christine Parker at 301-751-7553 or email

Local clinics offer path to hearing implants

Hearing Professionals has joined forces with Dr. Brian Kaplan and the Cochlear Provider Network to provide solutions that go beyond hearing aids.

By offering the ability to assess candidacy for implants, as well as programming services and ongoing care, Hearing Professionals is now able to fully address the needs of patients for whom hearing aids have stopped providing benefits.

“We know that if we can expose those who are frustrated and dissatisfied with their current solutions to the world of hearing implants, we can help them regain access to sound and regain their lives” said Dr. Gina Diaz, of Hearing Professionals, in a press release.

The partnership means bringing implant services much closer to those who need them, improving accessibility and convenience.

Hearing Professionals is the first private audiology clinic in California to be a part of the Cochlear Provider Network. The group also has clinics in Bowie, Waldorf and Laurel.

To learn more visit

Side Track Hobbies hosts National Lionel Train Day

Helping to kick off the holiday season and commemorate its 115th anniversary, Lionel, the iconic model train company, is introducing its first National Lionel Train Day.

Side Track Hobbies in Leonardtown is one of the local hosts for the event which is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 5.

A variety of activities for kids and families will take place throughout the day including a working train layout to operate, conductor hats, temporary tattoos, a banner to sign and a raffle to win a Lionel train set.

In addition, a one-day-only collectible boxcar will be available for pre-order in the store.

Side Track Hobbies is located at 40845 Merchants Lane in Leonardtown.

Bonardi named deputy comptroller

Comptroller Peter Franchot has named Sharonne Bonardi deputy comptroller effective Oct. 1.

Bonardi has more than 15 years of experience in the office, serving as director of the compliance division since 2009, and before that as deputy compliance director and as manager of the hearings and appeals section.

In announcing the appointment, Franchot (D) credited Bonardi for her successful leadership of a division that has collected more than $4 billion in delinquent taxes over the past eight years.

“Sharonne is one of Maryland’s truly exceptional public servants, and she has been vital to the nationally recognized success of our agency over these past eight years,” Franchot said in a news release.

Bonardi is the first African-American deputy comptroller in the 164-year history of the office.

Franchot also announced the appointment of David Roose as Senior Advisor for Tax and Fiscal Policy and announced that Daniel C. “Chris” Riley Jr. will succeed Bonardi as Director of Compliance.