New cycling program will help seniors get outdoors

Christina Allen of Park Hall is starting the a new chapter of Cycling Without Age, which will use a trishaw like this to give seniors and others a chance to experience the outdoors.

Christina Allen knows firsthand the benefits of cycling, and hopes to extend those through a new program to seniors and others who may be unable to bike themselves.

Allen, 60, of Park Hall has formed the first Maryland chapter of the international Cycling Without Age program. She expects her first trishaw cycle — the heart of the program — to arrive soon; it recently shipped from Europe.

Cycling Without Age is a social enterprise formed in 2012 in Denmark that offers recreational mobility to seniors in the form of volunteer-driven trishaws. The vehicles have three wheels (two in the front and one in the back), and accommodate two passengers in front of the cycle’s driver. And, Allen said, her new trishaw will have an electric battery option to help her make it up hills, if needed.

Allen took a quick break from a bicycle ride Monday morning to speak about the program to a reporter.

She said she is on the lookout for people to give rides to, free of charge, once the trishaw arrives.

“It’s going to be a slow, pleasant ride,” she said. The vehicle has a “good gear ratio,” which will allow her to pedal even with two extra bodies onboard. That will mean for a leisurely ride, although it won’t take away the thrill and excitement for the guests, some of whom may not have been able to enjoy the outdoors for quite sometime, she said.

Allen, an heirloom farmer and book illustrator who lives in Park Hall, is also a two-year cancer survivor. She regularly bikes 12- to 25-mile rides multiple times a week, and believes cycling got her through her year of cancer treatments.

She wants to share with others the benefits that come with being outdoors and having the wind whip through one’s hair, so about a year ago she began the process of ordering the specialized cycle and creating the local affiliate.

She is trying to get buy-in from local nursing centers or senior living homes, but most are not particularly apt to allow the rides so far, she said.

Still, she has gone through the volunteer process of St. Mary’s Hospice, and hopes to be able to offer people some comfort through outdoor experiences toward the end of their lives. She’s also hoping to create relationships with the county’s senior activity centers and maybe some churches or other places.

While the rides themselves are and always will be free, Allen said she may start taking donations from businesses or individuals to go toward purchasing more trishaws and to train others to drive. She’s put out the clarion call to anyone or any business interested in becoming a sponsor to get more trishaws and support the program.

For more information on Cycling Without Age, visit the website www.cyclingwithoutage.org or the local St. Mary’s chapter’s Facebook page www.facebook.com/Cycling-Without-Age-St-Marys-County-MD-2060855123983890/.

To contact Allen to schedule a ride, email Christina@CyclingWithoutAge.com or call 301-247-3285.

Find more to explore throughout summer

The More to Explore summer program is underway for its fifth season, offering families a chance to explore local parks and win prizes.

The More to Explore passport guides participants to locations including parks and farmers markets. Those who visit multiple sites can win prizes through the program, which is sponsored by Healthy St. Mary’s Partnership’s Healthy Eating and Active Living action team.

The challenge started last week and runs through Aug. 17. For more information on how to participate, visit www.healthystmarys.com/more-to-explore.

Have fun with the family this Friday

Friday Night in the Park will be held on Friday, June 28, from 6 to 9 p.m. at John G. Lancaster Park in Lexington Park. A family night out in the community with food, fitness, music, games and pick-up sports including basketball and soccer. There will also be a mobile video game station featuring a basketball video game tournament.

Admission is free to the event, which is sponsored by NAACP and St. Inie’s Coffee.

“It’s all about offering the community a fun and safe place to connect. It’s a party to kick off the summer,” William ‘BJ’ Hall, NAACP president, said in a release. “We’re extremely excited about all the fitness activities and I’m challenging everyone to bring their skills to the courts, fields and video game station.”

For more information, contact Catherine Grube at 240-538-5473.

Fireworks show slated for Saturday

The Hollywood Volunteer Fire Department’s Fireworks Display Extravaganza will be held on Saturday, June 29, from 5 to 10 p.m. at the firehouse. Parking opens at 4:30 p.m. There will be music provided by Stars in Bars, carnival rides, games and food and drinks to purchase. Special appearances by the “Magic Man” Reggie Rice and Keegan Zimmerman, a U.S. Special Olympics gold medal winner. Donations accepted for parking. For more information, visit www.hvfd7.com.

Test fitness against Air National Guard

The Air National Guard has launched a nationwide recruitment tour featuring assets designed to engage qualified recruits to fill diverse career vacancies in the guard. The physical fitness challenge asset, “The Beast,” is touching down at the Spartan Race: at the Maryland International Raceway in Mechanicsville on June 29 and 30. The Beast challenges athletes at all fitness levels through a timed physical fitness series containing monkey bars, cargo nets, horizontal peg boards, box jumps and pull-up bars, giving a first-hand glance at basic military training test. For more information, visit www.GoANG.com.

Applications taken for scholarships

The Knights of St. Jerome, based in Dameron, are awarding scholarships to students attending college in the 2019-2020 school year. The group’s mission is to provide financial assistance to continue the educational endeavors and encourage students to obtain a higher education.

Scholarships will be awarded based on GPA to residents of St. Mary’s County. Applications are being accepted through Aug. 4. For more information, contact Jacqueline Mason at masonjl1@verizon.net or Delora Crafton-Chase at ksJ1@md.metrocast.net.

Posters, essays shine at Realtors contest

The Southern Maryland Association of Realtors community relations committee hosted its Fair Housing Art and Essay Contest Reception on May 6, recognizing the winners of the annual contests. Over 40 were present including the winners, parents, siblings, grandparents, teachers and a school principal. Each of the winners received a certificate and cash prize from Chris Hill, SMAR president-elect.

In the essay contest, third-grade students wrote an essay on the theme “What My Home Means to Me.” In St. Mary’s, Father Andrew White School students Anna Tritschler won first place in the essay contest and Sam Wathen second place.

The fair housing poster contest was open to students in kindergarten through 12th grade who were invited to create artwork based on a predetermined fair housing theme, “One America – Housing for All.” Visit www.somdrealtors/FHContestReception2019.

Bible school planned

First Missionary Baptist Church will host a weeklong vacation Bible school, with the theme “On a Safari,” from July 8 to 12. The program will run each evening from 5:30 to 8 p.m. and is open to anyone ages 4 and up. Call 301-863-8388.

Scholarships awarded

The Marine Corps Aviation Association, John Glenn Squadron, recently announced its scholarship winners for 2019. Tucker Protzman of Great Mills High School was awarded $4,000 as Annie Glenn Scholarship winner. Other winners were each awarded $3,000, and included Margaret Holmes of Great Mills High School, Emily Imhof of Leonardtown High School, Savannah Jabr of Great Mills High School, Kaitlyn C. Ng of Leonardtown High School, Finnegan O’Neill of Great Mills High School, Tahsin Rahman of Great Mills High School, Jennifer Tennant of St. Mary’s Ryken High School and David Tydings of Leonardtown High School.

The program is designed to assist students in Southern Maryland who are interested in a field in science, technology, engineering and math. For more information about the association and its scholarships, visit www.mcaajgs.org.

Conditions at beaches available on mobile devices

The Maryland Department of the Environment posts information on conditions of nearly 200 monitored beaches in the state on the Maryland Healthy Beaches app for mobile devices. The app is available for download via the App Store andGoogle Play.

Also, the Maryland Healthy Beaches website www.marylandhealthybeaches.com provides color-coded status reports on beaches throughout the state and daily updates on rainfall, which causes runoff that can affect water quality.

The MDE website also includes information on Vibrio, bacteria that occur naturally in brackish water such as the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries, especially during warm weather months. Vibrio infections are relatively rare in Maryland; however, when bacteria come into contact with an open wound it can cause serious infections.

Although swimming in natural waters is not risk-free there are several things you can do to reduce the likelihood of getting sick, according to MDE. Precautions include: avoid swimming near storm drains and within 48 hours of a heavy rain event, or until the water clears; do not swallow beach water; shower or bathe after swimming; and avoid swimming if you feel ill or have open cuts or sores.

Past editions of The Tester available digitally

Archives of The Tester newspaper, which is owned by APG Media, the parent company of The Enterprise, are now available digitally through the St. Mary’s County Library.

The library system and Naval Air Station Patuxent River also announced the availability of command histories at the base from the 1940s and 1950s.

The Navy plans to continue the digitization process to include post-1962 editions of the paper. Many Tester editions from 1943 to 1962 and the command histories are currently available on computers at all three county library branches; they are not yet available online and must be viewed in the library. Once this process is complete, everything will be available to anyone with an internet connection.

Many early issues are missing. Anyone with access to any pre-1948 editions of The Tester is asked to contact Patrick Gordon at Pax River at 301-757-3343 or email patrick.a.gordon@navy.mil.

Sailing program offered at college

The Brendan Sailing Program, which provides learn-to-sail camps for children and teens with learning differences, will again this summer offer day and overnight camps at St. Mary’s College of Maryland.

The program at the college will run from July 17 to 26. Overnight students sleep in the residence halls on campus, take meals in the student dining center and learn to sail at the James P. Muldoon River Center on the banks of the St. Mary’s River. In addition to sailing, campers experience other water activities such as swimming, kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding and canoeing. Through Brendan Sailing’s partnership with Spirit of America, students also have the option to learn powerboating and obtain their Maryland Safe Boating Certificate.

For more information, email info@brendansailing.org or visit www.brendansailing.org.

Twitter: @JesseEntNews