Christie Blewett, a theater teacher at Chopticon High School, was honored earlier this month by the St. Mary’s County Arts Council.

Through peer recommendation and a reviewing committee from the arts council, Blewett was selected to receive the Kay Daugherty Arts Educator of the Year Award as well as $500 in appreciation of her dedication and above-and-beyond contributions as an arts educator in our community, according to a release from the arts council.

The St. Mary’s County Arts Council received the nomination from Tammi Grant, a theater parent and CHS Booster Club member. Blewett was highly recommended for the award both by Grant and other supporters who wrote “glowing letters of recommendation,” according to the release.

Blewett’s desires and dreams were born from a very early age of performing, directing and teaching. Her formal education includes a bachelor of fine arts in musical theater (with a minor in music education) and a master of fine arts.

During Blewett’s past five years at Chopticon, she has inspired many of her students to pursue their educational goals and careers in the theater arts and related fields. Blewett created a brand new “Show Troupe” class as she identified a need for a curriculum that incorporated a triad of dance, singing and acting, according to the release. She has developed customized assignments specific for Academy of Visual Arts theater students and has worked to find visiting artists to engage with students with interesting and relative subject materials.

This award is granted in memory and recognition of Kay Daugherty (1921-2006) who was well known for her love of art in a wide variety of different forms. Daugherty was one of the founding members of the St. Mary’s Arts Alliance at St. Mary’s College of Maryland and came to know, befriend and mentor many of the established and emerging artists of her time, according to the release. Daugherty’s home was creatively adorned with many pieces purchased from local artists including an infinite rainbow of paintings, prints, etchings, stained glass panels, collages, weavings and sculptures.

Realizing that the youth in the community hold the keys to the future, Daugherty held a deep admiration not only for the student artists also but for their instructors as well. In 2019, a new award was created in honor of Daugherty in recognition of an outstanding arts educator currently teaching in the St. Mary’s public school system.

Blewett has established strong professional and positive relationships with students, parents and her instructors. She has been consistently supportive and dedicated to the many different branches of the Chopticon’s theater arts program.

For more information about the school’s theater program, visit https://sites.google.com/a/smcps.org/chopticonbravehouse/home.

St. Mary’s firefighters win big at Maryland state conference

The Maryland State Firemen’s Association recently held its 128th annual convention and conference. The Firefighter of the Year award went to Anthony “Tony” Norris of Hollywood Volunteer Fire Department. The Smith N. Stathem Jr., P.P., Memorial Safety Award went to Francis Raley of Ridge Volunteer Fire Department. The Past President C. Oscar Baker Rookie of the Year Award went to Jeb G. Hayden of the 7th District Volunteer Fire Department.

In addition, two from St. Mary’s were named to the association’s Hall of Fame: Phillip R. Cooper of Ridge Volunteer Fire Department and Kenneth J. Scully of Leonardtown Volunteer Fire Department.

First Friday returns to town after hiatus

Leonardtown’s First Friday activities return this week after a coronavirus hiatus. Restaurants, shops, galleries and other stores downtown will be open for business on Friday, July 3, from 5 to 8 p.m. Social distancing and other guidelines will be in effect.

The audience participation drum circle will also be returning, albeit with a few changes in place. Participants will have to bring their own chairs and drums, as there will not be instruments to share. There will, however, be free egg shakers to give away (one per person) for those without instruments at the outdoor event.

Visit www.stmarysartscouncil.com or email info@smcart.org for more information. Also, check out the “Leonardtown First Fridays” Facebook page for details about specific activities.

Leonardtown rescue squad plans fundraiser

The Leonardtown Volunteer Rescue Squad Auxiliary will hold a fundraiser at Ledo Pizza in Leonardtown on Wednesday, July 1, from 4 to 8 p.m. Stop in to have a portion of bill donated to the squad.

American Legion dinners happening again

American Legion Post 238 in Hughesville will restart its Friday dinners beginning July 3 with a seafood dinner featuring soft crabs, shrimp and fish. Dinners are held each Friday from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Brandywine Road site. COVID-19 recommendations will be followed, including limited seating and takeouts available.

For more information, call 301-274-3522 or visit the Facebook page for American Legion Post 238.

DNR office has reopened

Appointments are now available at the Maryland Department of Natural Resources Solomons office, located at 14175 Solomons Island Road South. Customers can schedule appointments online at https://dnr.maryland.gov/Pages/servicecenter.aspx?ServiceCenter=Solomons%20Service%20Center or by calling 410-535-3382 or 1-866-688-3823. Only customers with appointments will be allowed entry, and they will be required to wear face masks.

Deadline to enroll for health insurance July 15

The Maryland Health Benefit Exchange extended the deadline of its Coronavirus Emergency Special Enrollment Period so that uninsured residents will have until July 15 to enroll in health coverage through Maryland Health Connection, the state’s health insurance marketplace. The deadline extension comes as more than 43,000 residents have received coverage during this special enrollment period that began in March.

Health insurance companies on Maryland Health Connection cover testing, visits relating to testing and treatment of COVID-19. These consumers will not be billed for a copay, coinsurance or deductible for services to test, diagnose and treat COVID-19.

To enroll, visit MarylandHealthConnection.gov. Individuals also can download the free “Enroll MHC” mobile app. Free consumer assistance is available by calling 855-642-8572 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays.

Call center open for coronavirus information

The St. Mary’s health department has opened a call center for residents seeking information about the pandemic. Community members can call 301-475-4911 Mondays to Fridays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to speak with health department staff, obtain information about the disease or get their questions answered.

Language interpretation services are available during hotline operational hours for Spanish and other languages. More information is available at www.smchd.org/coronavirus.

Census assistance offered by local agency

The St. Mary’s County Department of Aging & Human Services is now offering call-in assistance to the community for help with the 2020 Census. Anyone seeking help completing their 2020 Census can contact Jenny Beyer at 301-475-4200, ext. 71057. Visit https://2020census.gov.

Food pantry stays open

The Loaves Of Love Food Ministry and Pantry at Real Life Wesleyan Church at 27399 Old Village Road in Mechanicsville will keep offering bread, bagels and other foods to those in need on Wednesdays from 5 to 6:30 p.m. and on Sundays from 12:30 to 2 p.m. Although the church will be closed for services and all other meetings, food will continue to be given to those in need. For more information, call 240-249-6098 or visit www.RealLife.us.

Only one edition to be published this week

The Enterprise will publish just one edition this week, labeled as July 1-4. The paper will return to its usual Wednesday and Friday editions starting next week.