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Maryland's unclaimed property insert runs in June 3 edition

Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot (D) is reminding Maryland residents there are millions of dollars worth of unclaimed property. The 2020 Maryland Unclaimed Property insert will appear in the Wednesday, June 3, edition of the Maryland Independent.

This year’s 180-page unclaimed property insert lists 80,247 accounts worth more than $63.9 million. Individuals and businesses can also search the online Unclaimed Property database. In total, the agency has more than 1.35 million accounts with a value of more than $1.65 billion in unclaimed property.

In Fiscal Year 2019, the Comptroller’s Office honored nearly 44,000 claims totaling more than $71 million. Since 2007, the Comptroller’s Office has returned more than $775 million in unclaimed property to its rightful owners.

The unclaimed property accounts include personal property and cash amounts from banks, insurance companies and financial institutions that could not be returned to their owners. Any property that goes unclaimed is eventually handed over to the State.

Along with the unclaimed property insert, which is published annually as required by law, and in-person outreach, the Comptroller’s Office searches tax records and Motor Vehicle Administration files to try and locate property owners.

The comptroller urges anyone who locates their name or that of a family member on the list to contact the office at 410-767-1700 (Central Maryland) or toll-free at 1-800-782-7383 or by email at to find out how to reclaim their lost property.

Fisheries commission to hold meeting

The Potomac River Fisheries Commission will hold its next regular meeting on Friday, June 5, at 8:30 a.m. via GoToMeeting. The virtual meeting is open to the public.

Items on the agenda include: a COVID-19 update, summary reports from FFAC, BCAC and the OCAC meetings, setting the River Wide Female Harvest Limits for 2020-2021, and updates on the NRG/Knotts Hollow and MDTA/Lower Cedar Point SMAs. There will be an update on the ASMFC spring meeting. Dr. Tom Miller will present the winter dredge survey results. The commission will also be considering items for a future public hearing.

To join the meeting from a computer or smart phone, go to To listen in on a telephone, call 1-312-757-3121 and use access code: 608-579-637. To get the app, go to

Southern Maryland Meats seeks library hosts

Southern Maryland Meats, a program of the Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission, has built 100 Little Free Libraries and will be installing them, once it is safe to do so, throughout the Southern Maryland region of Anne Arundel, Calvert, Charles, Prince George’s and St. Mary’s counties.

Little Free Library is a worldwide nonprofit organization that increases access to books through the creation of book-sharing boxes. These libraries are housed in parks, playgrounds, neighborhood common areas, on school grounds, at government buildings, at farmer’s markets, and other regional public/private venues in order to boost community involvement with the intention of inspiring readers. To date, there are more than 90,000 libraries globally.

The Southern Maryland Meat’s Little Free Libraries will be stamped with the SMM logo and constructed in the shape of little red barns. They are designed in a way that encourages awareness of the importance of agriculture in our everyday lives, as well as to promote the Southern Maryland Meats livestock producers, and to provide free reading materials to the community.

Southern Maryland Meats is looking for groups or individuals to host libraries throughout the Southern Maryland region such as parks, communities, and other public/private venues. Please send location ideas to Rachel Norris at 240-528-8850 ext. 306, or email

Registration for CSM virtual summer programs open

Registration for Kids’ and Teen College at the College of Southern Maryland has opened to offer 150 virtual enrichment programs for children ages 5 to 17 years old. These programs allow kids and teens to design a fun, online summer experience specific to their interests, from home.

CSM Kids’ and Teen College programs range from acting/improv/vocals, YouTube Content Creators and Junior Vet to creative writing, coding and STEM. There are also a variety of school prep classes for music theory, foreign and sign language, webpage design and SAT/ACT. Math and reading common core classes help students who may have missed out on concepts that were critical in the 4th quarter of this school year. The courses are broken down by grade level.

To review the CSM Kids’ and Teen College programs and register visit

July Maryland bar exam postponed

Maryland’s 2020 Uniform Bar Examination, which was scheduled to take place July 28-29 at the Baltimore Convention Center, has been postponed, according to a news release from the Maryland Judiciary..

The Maryland Court of Appeals issued an administrative order, May 26, postponing the July 2020 Bar Exam due to the COVID-19 public health emergency. It is tentatively rescheduled for Sept. 9-10, at multiple locations, which will be determined and announced at a later date.

Various factors were taken into consideration, including the number of exam filings received by the May 20 filing deadline, as well as discussions between the State Board of Law Examiners (SBLE) and the governor’s chief legal counsel. SBLE concluded it could not administer a single-site bar exam in July 2020.

The board’s ability to administer the UBE on Sept. 9-10 will depend on the status of COVID-19 in the state of Maryland and public health recommendations regarding group gatherings and social distancing.

There will be no new, additional, or extended application filing periods because of this delay. Applications timely filed by the May 20 filing deadline will be carried over automatically to the September administration. Requests for the board to accept late-filed applications, pursuant to Maryland Rule 19-206(d) and Board Rule 2, will be addressed pursuant to those rules.

The administrative order postponing the exam suspends Maryland Rule 19-203(b), which requires the board to schedule the exam each July and February.

To read the administrative order, go to:

State House dome is 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

State park reservations site gets upgrade

The Maryland Park Service upgraded its online reservation system earlier this year with new features that make it easier for customers and park staff to use, according to a February press release.

The new version of the online reservation system was available to customers on Feb. 13.

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. There may be restrictions currently due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

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.

Past customers will be asked to change their password.

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.

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

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,, or visit

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