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Charles County parks and rec canceled all its summer camps

The Department of Recreation, Parks, and Tourism has canceled all upcoming summer camps due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. Refunds will be issued for existing registrations. For questions regarding refunds call the Department of Recreation, Parks, and Tourism Registration Office at 301-932-3470 or email WebTrac@CharlesCountyMD.gov.

In addition to the camps, all sports practices and games, drop-in programs, activities, classes and events hosted by the Department of Recreation, Parks, and Tourism will remain canceled until further notice. While traditional programs and camps are canceled, the Recreation, Parks, and Tourism staff will continue to work with state and local agencies as well as public health officials to provide alternative and modified youth programming opportunities. Virtual programs and classes are available through the Charles County Parks and Recreation Facebook page at www.facebook.com/CharlesCountyParksRecreation.

A full list of closures and cancelations can be found at: www.CharlesCountyParks.com/about-us/covid-19.

Md. Choral Society to perform virtual concert May 31

The Maryland Choral Society has announced that it will hold its first virtual concert at 4 p.m. on Sunday, May 31, streaming on its Facebook page, www.facebook.com/MarylandChoralSociety/ , and its YouTube channel, www.youtube.com/channel/UCQWQio7CdOod4fMfH5ZraxQ.

This concert is a free event, featuring classical masterworks and life-affirming compositions from several of the society’s past performances. Any donations made during the concert will go to support food banks.

Comptroller urges businesses to telefile

Businesses temporarily closed due to COVID-19 are encouraged to take advantage of the Comptroller of Maryland’s Business TeleFile system. This automated system is available 24 hours per day, seven days a week and streamlines the filing of sales and use tax, as well as withholding taxes when no taxes are owed for a filing period.

One phone call, placed at the convenience of the filer, prevents unnecessary delinquent notices and keeps them focused on operations and sales.

The process is straightforward. Businesses simply need their eight-digit Maryland central registration number when they call 410-260-7225 to file zero tax due employer withholding or sales and use tax reports by telephone.

For more information email taxhelp@marylandtaxes.gov or visit www.marylandtaxes.gov/business/income/filing-information.php#telefile.

Alzheimer’s Association offers free online programs

The Alzheimer’s Association National Capital Area Chapter is offering free virtual education programs to help caregivers and their families. Each virtual education program allows the audience to ask questions and engage with others.

Following is a list of webinars scheduled for June. Participation is free. Registration is required to receive the login information for the webinar. To register, visit alz.org/nca or call the Alzheimer’s Association at 800-272-3900.

Healthy Living for Your Brain and Body: Tips from the Latest Research

June 9, 7 to 9 p.m. and June 11, 11 a.m. to noon

Learn about the latest research providing insights into how to make lifestyle choices that may help keep your brain and body healthy as you age.

Understanding and Responding to Dementia-Related Behavior

June 2, 1 to 2:30 p.m.

Learn about some of the common triggers for behaviors associated with dementia, how to assess the person’s needs and how to intervene effectively.

Living with Alzheimer’s: For People with Alzheimer’s

June 9, 1 to 2:30 p.m.

Now that you have been diagnosed, what are the things you most need to put in place to help you and your loved ones? What are strategies for care planning and support building, how do you prepare for doctor visits and where do you find support after the difficult diagnosis?

Living with Alzheimer’s: For Caregivers – Early, Middle and Late Stage

June 16, 1 to 2:30 p.m. (Early Stage); June 23, 1 to 2:30 p.m. (Middle Stage); June 30, 1 to 2:30 p.m. (Late Stage)

Hear caregivers and professionals discuss helpful strategies to provide safe, effective and comfortable care throughout the course of the disease.

The Alzheimer’s Association National Capital Area Chapter also is offering telephone and virtual support groups. To find a group that meets on a convenient day and time, visit alz.org/nca or call the Association’s free 24/7 Helpline at 800-272-3900.

Library offers telephone reference

During the COVID-19 branch closures, Charles County Public Libraries is offering patrons the opportunity to connect with staff via telephone to get their questions answered. Patrons can talk to a CCPL staff member by phone from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday by calling:

La Plata Branch: 301-934-9001

P.D. Brown Branch: 301-645-2864

Potomac Branch: 301-375-7375

Waldorf West Branch: 301-645-1395

Assistance is also available on the library website, at www.ccplonline.org, whenever the “Need Help, Live Chat” icon appears on the bottom right corner of the website. Click on it and a staff member will be available to provide live assistance.

Free meals being given in Waldorf

Our Place Waldorf will be providing 1,000 meals to families and individuals in need beginning at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, May 27. The meal giveaway will take place at DeHanas Real Estate Services at 1218 Smallwood Drive in Waldorf and will be handed out in the form of a drive-thru.

Ask CCPS help desk available during closure

To limit the possible spread of the novel coronavirus 2019, or COVID-19, Charles County Public Schools is moving to a modified telework schedule through March 27 for eligible support staff. Some 12-month employees will be required to report to work on site to conduct business operations. Supervisors and principals will notify those employees and ensure workspaces meet social distancing guidelines.

All employees should continue to monitor their CCPS email for updates on their work schedule and the school system’s operating status.

The CCPS Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building switchboard, 301-932-6610 and 301-870-3814, is closed to the public beginning Friday, March 20. The switchboard remains closed through Friday, March 27.

Parents, staff and community members in need of assistance can log on to CCPS website at ccboe.com and look for the Ask CCPS menu button located under the photo slideshow. Ask CCPS is a help desk for students, staff, parents and the community. The system features two areas for questions – general questions and technology requests. CCPS staff are monitoring the system and will respond to inquiries as they are received. A direct link to Ask CCPS is ccboe.com/askccps.

During the closure, CCPS is communicating with parents and staff via email, text notifications for text message subscribers, ccboe.com, the 24-hour information line at 301-934-7410, and CCPS social media outlets. Monitoring email and the CCPS website, ccboe.com, are the best ways to receive up-to-date information about the status of school.

Parents and staff can sign up for CCPS text message notifications. Text Y or YES to 67587 for updates from CCPS. Text messages can only be sent by CCPS to cell phone numbers on file for students and staff members.

CCPS is closed through Friday, March 27. CCPS continues to work with the state and county health departments, as well as the Maryland State Department of Education, to monitor COVID-19. Check the website at ccboe.com for the latest information.

New website highlights region’s heritage, tourism

Getting excited about a new website may seem quaint nowadays, but for the folks at a regional tourism and preservation organization, it’s worth some buzz.

The staff and board of directors from the Southern Maryland Heritage Area last month announced the newly redesigned website for the organization — www.DestinationSouthernMaryland.com.

“We’re hoping to be a digital portal to Southern Maryland,” Lucille Walker, the group’s executive director, said this week.

The new website will act as a clearinghouse of resources to Southern Maryland residents and visitors, highlighting access to places in Calvert, Charles and St. Mary’s counties, as well as focusing on the unique stories of this area.

“We tell the stories of people, place, culture,” Walker said. Destination Southern Maryland is a reflection of the great potential for heritage tourism, encouraging people to visit, invest, and enjoy the region.

There is also an interactive map to help navigate a variety of resources, such as museums and historical sites, wineries, breweries, distilleries, byways, trails and parks. And there are lists of campsites, lodgings, water rentals and marinas.

Walker said she would encourage residents to start their dives into the new website by clicking on the “Discover” link, which showcases stories including Ancient Creatures, First Peoples, Birthplace of Religious Freedom, African American Experience, War Comes to Southern Maryland and others.

Soon, she said, they hope to add an events tab to the page that will highlight the region’s arts and music shows as well as major festivals and other happenings.

Partner organizations for this website include all three counties’ governments, the Maryland Heritage Area Authority, the Tri-County Council for Southern Maryland and the Rural Maryland Council, according to a release from Southern Maryland Heritage Area. Additional partnerships are listed throughout the site (such as the Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission in “Deep Roots in Land and Sea”).

The website and related social media pages are created in conjunction with the team of Alchemi Design and will be updated on a regular basis, according to the release.

The group’s Facebook page will highlight the daily workings of the Southern Maryland Heritage Area as well as feature different sites and events in the region.

FAA seeks comments on flight path change

The Federal Aviation Administration is inviting comments until March 30 on a temporary air traffic procedure change at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport called HOLTB. The HOLTB amended a waypoint by moving it 784 feet southwest in order to move north-flow departing aircraft away from protected airspace while keeping aircraft over the Potomac River, according to an FAA press release.

The FAA implemented the temporary change on January 30 to enhance national security by reducing the number of incursions from aircraft drifting into the prohibited area. Based on the initial results of the temporary procedure, the FAA is proposing to permanently implement the amended waypoint for all north-flow departures at DCA.

The FAA is also inviting comments from the public on environmental concerns that should be considered as part of its environmental review for the implementation of the amended waypoint.

Submit comments by March 30 using the submit comment form here: www.faa.gov/air_traffic/community_involvement/dca_p56/community_comments/. Additional information about the temporary and proposed change — including radar tracks and a noise screen — can be found at www.faa.gov/air_traffic/community_involvement/dca_p56/.

Resilient Maryland pilot underway

In effort to expedite Maryland’s clean energy future, the Maryland Energy Administration has launched the new Resilient Maryland pilot program that combines clean energy technology such as combined heat and power, energy storage, solar and similar technologies to enable essential services and organizations to resist power disruptions and outages, according to an MEA press release.

“Maryland’s clean energy future needs to move forward and Resilient Maryland encourages this progress by providing vital funding to kick-start customized projects,” Gov. Larry Hogan (R) said in the press release. “Our push for clean energy ensures a more environmentally sustainable, more resilient and more prosperous Maryland.”

Resilient Maryland encourages clean energy technologies such as advanced combined heat and power, microgrids, resiliency hubs and resilient facility power systems. Sample projects include local governments seeking to bolster essential services such as emergency shelters, fire and rescue or economic development; low and moderate-income communities establishing safe shelters; or hospitals and retirement communities requiring islanding capabilities to reduce loss of life during emergencies, according to the release. Any organization seeking affordable and clean energy that is highly reliable and resilient can benefit from this pilot program.

“Historically, Maryland has imported most of our energy from out of state coal-fired power plants,” MEA Director Mary Beth Tung said in the release. “The Resilient Maryland pilot offers a unique opportunity for innovation right here in Maryland across a variety of clean energy alternatives, reducing both financial risk and total project costs.”

Co-locating energy generation near customers will help businesses, governments and other organizations mitigate power outages and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Applications are due by May 1, 2020, go to energy.maryland.gov/business/Pages/ResilientMaryland.aspx.

State House dome is now livestreamed

The Maryland Department of General Services has a new feature on its website: a livestream video of the Maryland State House dome. The service shows the U.S. and Maryland flags flying in real time atop the dome, allowing anyone to check that days flag status.

“Maryland has the most historic state house in the country, and the ability to livestream video of its most prominent architecture, the dome, brings Maryland into the 21st century,” DGS Secretary Ellington Churchill Jr. said in a press release. “Through technology, we allow both Marylanders and visitors to see the dome and the status of U.S. and Maryland flags from anywhere in the world, whether in Westminster, Maryland, Westminster, California, or Westminster, England.”

General Services’ Capitol Police is responsible for raising and lowering the flags on the State House dome. Flags may be ordered at half-staff by either the president or the governor. In 2019, General Services lowered and raised the U.S. and/or Maryland flags on 14 separate occasions.

In 2018, the department improved the illumination of the State House dome. The LED lighting package provides greater and brighter light spread across the dome, with a fixture capacity of approximately 30,000 lumens. The improved system allows the dome to be seen from more vantages around the Annapolis area.

The State House dome was fashioned by shipwrights using rot-resistant cypress logs and no metal nails. Instead, it is held together by wooden pegs reinforced by iron straps forged by an Annapolis ironmonger, according to the DGS. The exterior was completed in 1788 and the interior was completed in 1797, making this iconic Maryland symbol over 232 years old. Maryland State Archives records note the lightning rod at the top of the dome was constructed and grounded to Benjamin Franklin’s specifications. The flag system is incorporated into the lightning rod with a system of ropes and pulleys.

The public may access the live-stream images of the State House dome and flags by going to dgs.maryland.gov/Pages/Flag_videojs.html.

State park reservations site getting upgrade

The Maryland Park Service upgraded its online reservation system with new features that will make it easier for customers and park staff to use, according to press release. The new version of the online reservation system was available to customers on Feb. 13.

The updates did not affect customers’ existing reservations, account information or history. The online reservation system on the Maryland Department of Natural Resources website is used by customers to reserve campsites, cabins, pavilions and other amenities at dozens of parks around the state.

The reservation site is now mobile-responsive, adjusting to any screen size and featuring a more modern look and feel. “This is a welcome leap forward in park reservation technology that will make the booking experience much easier and more intuitive for park visitors,” Maryland Park Service Superintendent Nita Settina said in the release.

Customers will be asked to change their password. All customers who have made a reservation within the past few years will receive an email with instructions on how to reset their password and access the system.

In 2019, Park Service customers made more than 100,000 reservations using the system, either online or by phone. Any customers with questions or concerns may contact Lora McCoy at 410-260-8156.

Leadership program holds orientation in Indian Head

Leadership Southern Maryland’s new Emerging Leaders Program, or LEAP, Class of 2020 held its first of six program sessions to kick off the pilot program in the tri-county region on Jan. 17.

The day opened at the Indian Head Pavilion with a discussion on the definition of a leader with Marine Col. (ret.) Joe Mortenson, LSM’16. During the majority of the day, participants worked with Leslie Fazio on their “Emergenetics” profiles, where they learned about everyone’s behavioral and thinking attributes and how to use this new understanding within a team framework.

This was followed by a panel discussion, facilitated by Theresa Kuhns, LSM’19, on leadership and current community issues with Charles County leaders, including Sheriff Troy D. Berry (D), Commissioners’ President Reuben B. Collins II (D), Economic Development Director Darréll Brown, Executive Director of Schools Marvin Jones and Naval Surface Warfare Center Indian Head Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technology Division’s Technical Director Ashley Johnson.

At the conclusion of the program day, the class adjourned to Ollie’s Bar & Grill to reflect on the events of the day and network with one another.

Air Force Aid Society grant program now open

Air Force Aid Society’s General Henry “Hap” Arnold Education Grant application window is now open for the 2020-2021 academic year. Eligible recipients have until April 30 to submit applications.

The General Henry H. Arnold Education Grant program dates back to 1988. Since the program’s inception, 111,654 students have received more than $172 million in education assistance through grants ranging from $500 to $4,000 based on need. Eligible recipients include dependent children of Air Force members currently on active duty (including Title 10 reservists and Title 32 guard), in retired status or deceased. Spouses of active-duty members and surviving spouses of active or retired members are also eligible.

All applicants must be enrolled as full-time undergraduates at an accredited college or university during the 2020-2021 academic year and are required to maintain a minimum 2.0 GPA.

“Our Hap Arnold education grants are the centerpiece and gateway to all of our education programs at AFAS,” said the organization’s CEO and retired Air Force Lt. Gen. John D. Hopper Jr. “Applying for the grant program opens the door to our scholarship program and no-interest education loans.”

A select group of incoming college and university freshmen who complete the General Henry “Hap” Arnold Education Grant application with a 4.0 GPA will be notified to apply for the AFAS merit-based $5,000 achievement scholarships. A minimum of 10 scholarships is awarded annually. To date, AFAS has awarded 275 merit scholarships totaling over $1 million. Eligible students can also apply for up to $1,000 to help fund reimbursable out-of-pocket education expenses.

For more information on eligibility for all of these programs and to access the Hap Arnold Education Grant application, visit www.afas.org. The application submittal deadline is April 30. Students are encouraged to apply early.

Registration opens for leadership workshops

Maryland Leadership Workshops, a division of Leadership Maryland, announces that registration for its summer 2020 programs is now open for middle and high school students. The organization also announced that it will be returning to its former long-time home at Washington College in Chestertown this year.

Commemorating its 65th year in 2020, Maryland Leadership Workshops offers five peer-led, week-long residential programs that empower and inspire middle and high school students to succeed and be more engaged in their schools and communities:

Middle School Experience in Leadership (July 19-25): For students entering grades six through eight in fall 2020. Students begin to develop their individual leadership skills and learn how to identify and take advantage of opportunities for leadership in their schools and communities.

Bridge (July 19-25): For experienced student leaders entering grades seven through nine in fall 2020, who are ready for more intensive training and practice prior to entering Senior High Workshops.

Senior High Workshop (July 26-Aug. 1): For students entering grades nine through 12 in fall 2020. A fun, challenging, inspiring, and fulfilling week-long experience for teens that helps them develop leadership skills needed to succeed in diverse environments.

Advanced Leadership Seminar (July 12-18): For high school students who have attended Senior High Workshop or have completed an equivalent program/leadership experience. This program challenges students to re-examine themselves as individuals and leaders through innovative workshops crafted according to their unique needs, individual goal setting and a culminating project focused on real-world application of leadership skills.

Journey (July 12-18): For Howard County girls entering seventh through ninth grade in fall 2020. Support for this program has been provided by the Women’s Giving Circle, a fund of the Community Foundation of Howard County. At this unique program, each student identifies her own leadership skills, strengths, and weaknesses in a supportive and fun environment, which fosters increased self-esteem and confidence.

Each program offers a supportive and fun environment to foster increased independence, self-esteem and confidence for a diverse composition of students from around Maryland and the country. Program participants, known as delegates, develop concepts and skills during workshops, group projects, committee responsibilities and small group discussion sessions. Other activities include games, variety shows, dances, and opportunities for delegates to lead activities for their peers.

Registration for the summer 2020 programs is available online at www.mlw.org. Registration closes on May 15. A deposit of $25 is due upon registration, and monthly tuition payments will be accepted through June 2020. Scholarships are available. For more information, please contact Anita Durall Anderson at 301-444-8623 or anita@leadershipmd.org.

Charles County Arts Alliance accepting scholarship applications

Each year the Charles County Arts Alliance 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 performing, literary or visual arts at a four year college or university with the goal of a career in the arts.

Visit charlescountyarts.org/program/scholarships/ to download an application. Charles County Public Schools seniors may also see their college and career advisers for a copy of the application.

Complete applications must be submitted via U.S. Postal Mail to the CCAA Office, P.O. Box 697, White Plains, MD 20695, in sufficient time to be received (not postmarked) by noon on March 6. 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.

The mission of the Charles County Arts Alliance is to stimulate, promote, encourage and provide recognition of the arts and the creative spirit in Charles County. For more information about the Arts Alliance, visit www.charlescountyarts.org.

DNR names 30 new forest wardens

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources graduated a class of 30 new forest wardens last fall, a special commission that authorizes employees to perform educational and enforcement activities, according to a DNR press release.

From Southern Maryland, Collin M. Sapp, a forest ranger in Charles County, and Ryan Galligan, a forest ranger in Calvert County, graduated from the program.

The warden training school was held at Wor-Wic Community College in Salisbury and attendees included current Maryland Forest Service employees ranging in years of service from four months to nine years. A graduation ceremony was held Oct. 3. The forest warden commission provides employees the authority to perform their job functions under Natural Resources Title 5 in program areas ranging from state forest management, wildfire prevention and suppression, urban and community forestry, and forest stewardship activities.

“Our forest wardens are usually the first point of contact for Maryland citizens regarding forest laws and regulations,” Maryland Forest Service Director Don VanHassent said in the press release. “The guidance they provide helps avoid violations and situations that could lead to enforcement actions.”

Since Maryland Forest Service was founded by the 1906 Forestry Conservation Act, forest wardens have been charged with education and enforcement of Maryland’s forest protection laws and regulations.

Prepare for the next emergency

The American Red Cross prepares all year for disasters and urges everyone to “Be Red Cross Ready,” too.

“Disasters can happen anywhere, at any time, even in your home,” Scott R. Salemme, Greater Chesapeake Region American Red Cross CEO, said in a press release. “During National Preparedness Month, we ask you to take three action steps — get an emergency kit, make an emergency plan and be informed — so you and your loved ones can react quickly if an emergency occurs.”

The Red Cross urges everyone to take three important action steps to get prepared:

• Build a kit: Build an easy-to-carry emergency preparedness kit that you can use at home or take with you if you must evacuate. Include items such as water, non-perishable food, a flashlight and extra batteries, a battery-powered radio, first aid kit and medications.

• Make a plan: Talk with members of your household about what to do during emergencies. Plan what to do in case everyone is separated and choose two places to meet — one near your home in case of a sudden emergency such as a fire, and another outside your neighborhood, in case you cannot return home or are asked to evacuate.

• Be informed: Know what kinds of emergency situations may occur where you live, where you work, and where you go to school. Get trained in First Aid and CPR/AED so you’ll know what to do in an emergency if help is delayed. Don’t forget your pets, plan for them, too.

La Plata physical therapists receive board certification

University of Maryland Charles Regional Rehabilitation in La Plata has announced that two of their team members, physical therapists Amol Bakre and Lourdes Potestades, have received orthopaedic specialist certification.

According to UM Charles Regional Rebilitation’s blog, only 10% of physical therapists have achieved this designation, and are usually identified by the title “OCS” following their name.

“While any physical therapist can specialize in orthopaedics, becoming a board-certified specialist requires a rigorous certification process that spans over a decade of a therapist’s career.”

Requirements include completing 2,000 hours of physical therapy over 10 years, passing a 200-question certification test and committing to continuing education and ongoing professional development. Those with Orthopaedic Specialist Certification must recertify every 10 years.

So. Md. American Red Cross elects new board members

The Southern Maryland Chapter of the American Red Cross announced that Richard Tait of Arnold will serve as chairman of the chapter’s board of directors for a one-year term that began earlier this year. Tait and other board members were elected in proceedings at Anne Arundel Community College recently.

Tait is COO of Kaizen Approach Inc., a cybersecurity consulting firm, a University of Maryland University College graduate and a U.S. Navy veteran.

“I am truly honored to be elected the American Red Cross Board Chair of Southern Maryland,” Tait said. “I look forward to leading a dedicated team of volunteers in writing a new chapter for the Red Cross of Southern Maryland. Our long-term goal is to become a top performing chapter and be recognized as a diverse and inclusive board of choice for volunteers, donors, and employees, while offering the highest level of compassionate service to our clients.”

The highly visible role works cooperatively with the Southern Maryland Chapter’s executive director to ensure the American Red Cross’ goals and mission are achieved. The population served by the chapter ranges between 500,000 and one million that reside in Anne Arundel, Calvert, Charles and St. Mary’s counties.

The following were also elected as new members of the board of directors to serve a three-year term:

• Mary-Ann Burkhart, chief, Anne Arundel County State’s Attorney’s Office.

• Joshua Burnett, business owner.

• Ignacio Goya, pastor and director of Chesapeake Conference of the Seventh Day Adventist Church.

• Whitney Harmel, director of Strategic Partnerships at the Maryland Chamber of Commerce

• Jeremy Tucker, emergency room physician.

The board of directors is composed of representatives from many different community sectors. The group develops the vision for the chapter and determines the policies that guide decisions. The board also ensures that the local Red Cross unit is an effective steward of our donors’ contributions. Board members are selected based on their individual expertise as well as their commitment to the American Red Cross humanitarian mission.

USDA helps ag businesses lower energy costs

Acting assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Joel Baxley is encouraging farmers, rural small businesses and agricultural producers to apply for financing in a key U.S. Department of Agriculture program that provides loan guarantees to help rural small businesses lower their energy costs, according to a USDA news release.

USDA accepts applications for REAP funding year-round. Potential applicants should contact their state USDA Rural Development office for additional information.

REAP funding can be used for renewable energy systems such as anaerobic digesters, biomass, geothermal, hydropower, wind and solar. It also can be used to make energy efficiency improvements to heating, ventilation and cooling systems; insulation; and lighting and refrigeration. Below are some examples of USDA’s REAP investments.

Edgehill Farms, an ag tourism center in Oakland, Ky., received a $34,596 loan guarantee to install a 34.8-kilowatt photovoltaic array system on the roof of its ham processing facility. The system will generate approximately 45,000 kilowatt hours annually that will be sold directly to the local utility, earning $4,448 for the firm annually.

In Magnolia, N.C., Optima KV received a $6.5 million loan guarantee for an anaerobic digester that will help hog producers dispose of waste by converting it to energy. The project aggregates multiple biogas streams at a refinery. The resulting natural gas is then transported via pipeline to a power plant to generate electricity. The digester produces additional revenue for hog producers and a cleaner environment.

In April 2017, the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity was established to identify legislative, regulatory and policy changes that could promote agriculture and prosperity in rural communities. In January 2018, the task force’s findings included 31 recommendations to align the federal government with state, local and tribal governments to take advantage of opportunities that exist in rural America. Supporting the rural workforce was a cornerstone recommendation of the task force.

USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov.

Md. School for the Blind appoints new principal

The Maryland School for the Blind recently appointed Nicholas Pagani as its new principal of the General Academic Program, according to a press release from the school.

Pagani has been on the staff at the school for six years as a teacher of the visually impaired before being promoted to an assistant principal in 2015. He received a bachelor of science in special education from Northern University in Illinois in 2005 and a master’s degree in educational leadership and administration from Capella University in Minnesota in 2014.

In addition to holding teaching and administrative positions at MSB, Pagani has taught students who are blind or visually impaired, including those with multiple disabilities at the Colorado School for the Deaf and Blind and the Philip Rock Center and School and the Chicago Lighthouse for the Blind in Illinois. He and his family currently reside in Parkville.

The Maryland School for the Blind is a private, statewide resource center providing outreach, education and residential programs to children and youth from infancy to age 21 who are blind or visually impaired, including those with multiple disabilities. Annually, the school serves 65% of the 2,000 students identified in Maryland who are blind or visually impaired from all 24 Maryland jurisdictions through its on-campus and outreach programs.

For more information, contact Dotty Raynor at 410-319-5722, dottyr@mdschblind.org, or visit www.marylandschoolfortheblind.org.

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