Half a century ago, in 1969, the St. Mary’s County Regional Airport opened its doors to the public. The airport will be celebrating the occasion throughout the year with a series of 50th-anniversary festivities.

Preliminary planning for the airport started in the 1950s, according to the county government, and the original airport properties were acquired by the county commissioners in August 1968. Construction had been completed in 1969, and the airport opened later that year.

“After years of study and hours of volunteer work the St. Mary’s County Airport will finally become a reality, a functioning entity which, it is hoped, will bring light industry into the county and provide a sizable boost to the county’s tax base,” a Nov. 13, 1969, copy of The Enterprise reads, the story following several ceremonies celebrating the leasing of the airport.

The airport has grown since then, with several runway expansions and technological upgrades, now encompassing a total of 224.5 acres. John Deatrick, the director of public works and transportation for the county, said in a release the airport is “more than a hub for transportation, it is rapidly becoming a center for community resources mirrored in the events we’ve put together to commemorate the 50th anniversary.”

To kick off the anniversary, on Saturday, Dec. 21, from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m., the airport will be hosting a fly-in farmers market at the airport, where aircraft pilots and their passengers are welcome to drop in and shop for fresh foods and treats; of course, anyone arriving by more traditional means such as automobiles will be welcomed, too.

Shoppers can pick up cupcakes, French and sourdough bread, natural beef and pork, pasture-raised chicken and eggs, Maryland-distilled bourbon and rum, local oysters and more at the airport, and, straight from the North Pole, Santa Claus will be flying in on his helicopter at about 11 a.m., according to Historic Sotterley, which is sponsoring the event.

Future events will include “safety forums, a taxiway 5K run, and several fly-in breakfasts,” according to county government.

For more information on the airport, visit www.stmarysmd.com/dpw/airport-operations.

County government announces holiday hours for offices and services

The St. Mary’s county government recently announced holiday hours for government offices, including the library, transit, senior centers and museums.

All St. Mary’s County Library locations will be closed on Tuesday, Dec. 24, and Wednesday, Dec. 25. Library locations will also close at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 31, and remain closed on Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2020, reopening on Thursday, Jan. 2.

Garvey, Loffler and Northern senior activity centers will be closed Dec. 25 and 26, as well as Jan. 1 and 2. No home-delivered meal deliveries will be made on those dates.

The St. Clement’s Island Museum and Piney Point Lighthouse Museum will be closed Dec. 24 and 25. The museums will be open on Dec. 31 and Jan. 1 from noon until 4 p.m.

The St. Mary’s Transit System will run until 6 p.m. on Dec. 24, and will be closed on Dec. 25. The buses will return to a normal schedule on Dec. 26. STS will be closed again on Jan. 1, and will return to a normal schedule the next day.

The St. Andrew’s Landfill and the six convenience centers around the county will be closed on Dec. 25 and Jan. 1. In order to accommodate greater usage during the holiday season, the convenience centers will open early, at 8 a.m. on Dec. 26 and 27. The normal landfill hours of operation (8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.) will remain unchanged on those days.

The Statewide Specialized Transit System will be closed Dec. 24 through 26, and again from Dec. 31 through Jan. 2. The system will reopen on Dec. 27 and Jan. 3.

SMECO warns of scam where impostors try to collect payment at door

The Southern Maryland Electrical Cooperative has recently been made aware that individuals are going door to door claiming to be SMECO representatives. The electric company does not go door to door asking for personal information, such as your account number or your social security number, according to a social media post by the company.

SMECO also does not require payment at the time of any past-due payment call, and warns on its website that callers “who give short deadlines and threaten to cut off service within an hour or two are probably running a scam.”

For more information, visit SMECO at https://smeco.coop/stop-scams.

Sierra Club to host Grinch Garbage Gather at park on Saturday

The Southern Maryland Sierra Club will be hosting its third annual Grinch Garbage Gather on Saturday, Dec. 21, from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. at John G. Lancaster Park in Lexington Park.

The group will pick up trash on the 1-mile trail at the park and talk about the Zero Waste Campaign. Volunteers are encouraged to bring warm clothes, boots and a trash picker-upper, if possible. Steady rain would push the event to Sunday, Dec. 22. For more information, contact Rosa Hance at 240-808-4233 or rosa.hance@mdsierra.org.

Museum stores offering new collectible holiday ornaments until Jan. 5

The St. Clement’s Island and Piney Point Lighthouse museum stores will offer new special-edition collectible ornaments this year, featuring the Drayden African American Schoolhouse, and both Blackistone and Piney Point lighthouses.

Through Jan. 5, 2020, the ornaments can be picked up for $13.95, or $10 for members of The Friends of the St. Clement’s Island and Piney Point Museums. Shoppers can visit the museum stores daily, from noon until 4 p.m., except four Dec. 24 and 25, when the museum is closed.

Recreation and parks board seeking feedback from county citizens

The St. Mary’s Department of Recreation and Parks is seeking feedback on strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to help develop a five-year plan. The parks board encourages county residents to fill out a short survey at www.surveymonkey.com/r/recparksinput2019 in order to form goals, recommendations and actions for the future.

Hunters encouraged to donate extra deer meet to assist the hungry

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources has noted that Maryland hunters can donate extra deer to the Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry, or FHFH, a charity organization which now provides the funding to fully process donated deer.

Hunters may claim a tax credit of up to $50 per each legally hunted deer that is processed and donated to a nonprofit food sharing program, and can claim up to $200 in tax credit, a release from the DNR states.

For more information on FHFH, visit their website at www.fhfh.org or call 301-739-3000. Income tax forms for the Venison Donations Feed the Hungry Tax Credit can be found on the department’s website at dnr.maryland.gov/wildlife/Documents/Feed-the-Hungry-Form.pdf.

Land trust seeks both donations and volunteers

The Patuxent Tidewater Land Trust recently put out a request for donations. “We hope you will think local by keeping PTLT in mind as you consider your end-of-year giving,” a release states.

Contributions to PTLT are tax-deductible and will be acknowledged in the group’s print and electronic communications.

Those wishing to donate to the land trust, which aims to preserve land by putting acreage into easements that restrict building, can mail checks to PTLT, P.O. Box 1955, Leonardtown, MD 20650. For electronic payment, visit www.ptlt.org. For more information about donating or volunteering, contact Frank Allen, PTLT president, at 301-862-3421 or frank@ptlt.org.

Twitter: @DanEntNews