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New selection announced for 'One Book' statewide program

Maryland Humanities recently announced the selection of “The Island of Sea Women: A Novel” by Lisa See for the 2020 One Maryland One Book program.

The novel follows the decades-long friendship of two haenyeo, or female divers, from Jeju Island in Korea.

The annual program, now in its 13th year, encourages people to read and discuss the book and to participate in related activities, including an author tour, each fall.

According to the Maryland Humanities, because the One Maryland One Book programming takes place in the fall, they do not as yet anticipate any impact from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“For the past 12 years, One Maryland One Book has generated frank conversations about urgent issues explored through literature — including refugees and migrants, conflicts with police, and most recently the Flint water crisis,” Aaron Heinsman, acting executive director at Maryland Humanities, said in a release. “I’m excited to see what new perspectives Lisa See’s novel surfaces for readers.“

The book was chosen by a committee of librarians, educators, authors and bibliophiles in February from more than 165 titles suggested last fall by readers across the state for the theme “friendship.” In 2019, “The Island of Sea Women” made the New York Times’ list of best sellers.

“I’m thrilled and honored that The Island of Sea Women has been chosen as the 2020 One Maryland One Book selection,” the author, See, said in the release. “This has been a trying year and some of us have sustained terrible losses. I’m proud of the way we’ve had to come together in our families, communities, and states.”

The author continued, saying, “Books have always given me joy, solace, and courage. Now we have the opportunity to come together to have a shared reading experience. I hope the sea women that I wrote about — their physical and emotional bravery — are as inspiring to all of you as they have been to me.”

For more about the program, check out the website

Free call program will check in on seniors

The St. Mary’s County Department of Aging and Human Services recently announced a program through the Maryland Department of Aging called Maryland Senior Call Check, a free telephone service to check on older residents.

This service will place an automated daily call to the participant at a regularly scheduled time. If the call is not picked up after three attempts, the service will call an alternate person on the senior citizen’s behalf to check in. If the alternate does not pick up or there is alternate, local authorities will be contacted to perform a wellness check.

For more information, call 1-866-50-CHECK (1-866-502-0560) or register online at

Nominate special educators for award

The St. Mary’s County Citizens’ Advisory Committee for Special Education is accepting names for the “Rise Up” award from parents/caregivers for the 2019-2020 school year. This award is to recognize a teacher, administrator, therapist, assistant or anyone in the special education system that has truly gone to extraordinary efforts to contribute, in a compassionate and caring way, to the growth, happiness and general well-being of our children with disabilities.

Send submissions by April 17 by going to the link for the Rise Up Award application form, visit or send email to to get a mailing address.

Soup kitchen now offers pop-up pantries

St. Mary’s Caring Soup Kitchen in Lexington Park is distributing take-and-go meals, one meal per person, between 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Mondays through Saturdays.

The soup kitchen also has bagged lunch distribution sites on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, with pop-up pantries on Wednesdays between 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. in the parking lots at the following locations: Ridge Dollar General, Chief’s Restaurant in Piney Point, April’s Pools in Charlotte Hall and Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Bushwood. For more information, call 301-863-5700.

Department surveying health care workforce

In an effort to prepare the health care workforce and optimize resources at the local level for COVID-19 response, the St. Mary’s County Health Department issued a survey to health care workers in order to establish reserve capacity. This effort will help identify those workers who may be able to assist with the frontlines of this pandemic.

The health department asks any licensed or previously licensed health care worker who may be willing to volunteer or work above and beyond their current employment (whether unemployed, retired or currently working) to complete the survey as soon as possible at

For more information about the survey, email or call 301-475-4330.

Schools offer daily meals

Breakfast, lunch, supper and snacks will continue to be available for free to any children in St. Mary’s at four school sites. Community members can drive up and receive all meals for the day conveniently packed in one grab-and-go bag for children 18 and younger on Mondays through Fridays, from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Leonardtown Elementary, Lexington Park Elementary, Greenview Knolls Elementary and Margaret Brent Middle. There will be no school site meal distribution on the designated holidays of Friday, April 10, and Monday, April 13. For more information regarding the lunch service program, email

Call center open for COVID-19 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

Hospital offers testing for the coronavirus

MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital in Leonardtown is offering drive-thru testing to St. Mary’s County residents outside the Outpatient Pavilion entrance at the rear of the hospital in Leonardtown. Testing will be offered between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Call 301-475-6142 for more information or current wait times.

To be tested for coronavirus, a person must present a prescription from a medical provider or the health department. Those with a high fever and cough may come to the hospital’s emergency department where they will be screened to determine if they meet the criteria for testing.

Coronavirus test results are not immediate; results may take up to four days to become available.

Archdiocese plans to livestream Holy Week services on Facebook

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and in continued compliance with state orders issued, the Catholic Archdiocese of Washington will continue to not hold public Masses during Holy Week and Easter Sunday. The archdiocese will livestream Masses on its Facebook and YouTube pages, and some individual parishes will also continue to stream Masses and other services.

Remaining Mass schedule for the week includes: Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday, April 9, at 5:30 p.m. (no washing of feet); the service for Passion of the Lord on Good Friday, April 10, at 1 p.m.; the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday, April 11, at 8 p.m.; and Easter Sunday Mass, April 12, at 10 a.m. Visit for more information.

Need seedlings?

The Maryland state tree nursery at John S. Ayton State Forest in Preston is accepting orders for the 2020 spring planting season. Whether you want to reforest timberland or create a windbreak, improve wildlife habitat or just enjoy the feeling of planting trees, the nursery can provide the trees you need. Orders must be in increments of 25 for deciduous trees and increments of 50 for conifers. For more information, visit

Report fishing, hunting violations

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources Police is cracking down on the illegal killing of fish and wildlife through a partnership with Maryland Wildlife Crimestoppers. Citizens can relay information anonymously to dispatchers, who will alert the nearest patrol officer. If the tip leads to the arrest and conviction of a suspected poacher, the Maryland Wildlife Crimestoppers board of directors may issue a reward.

To contact Maryland Wildlife Crimestoppers, citizens can call or text 443-433-4112, email or report violations using the department’s free mobile app.