Reading the recent 2019 “year in review” quotes in The Enterprise likely conjured memories of last summer’s drag queen story hour controversy at the local public library.

Southern Maryland Area Secular Humanists, or SMASH, and PFLAG Leonardtown, the hosts of that event, previously were involved in controversy in 2017 when they revived a sex education class at the Lexington Park library branch for teens, a class that had been canceled after an uproar by some Southern Marylanders who disagreed with the event’s content.

When asked about the program, SMASH organizer Samantha McGuire was very clear that, like the sex ed program’s revival in 2017, and last year’s drag queen story hour, “SMASH and PFLAG Leonardtown are hosting it, not the library. We booked the room.”

This month, SMASH and PFLAG are hosting the “Straight Talk Sex-ed for Teens” workshop presented by graduate nursing student and sex educator Bianca Palmisano. The event is for teens only, with their parents’ permission.

“We had a lot of requests for a redo, either their kids were too young or they found it helpful last time,” McGuire said.

Palmisano, who has been a sex educator for about five years, said she is still in the process of developing a curriculum for this session, but is adjusting it based on what she learned from St. Mary’s teens last time.

“So many of them had a lot of good information already, which they had gotten from the internet or YouTube,” Palmisano said. “I’m looking at doing something where they can learn to sort good information from bad information.”

McGuire said SMASH and PFLAG were interested in hosting a “science-based, evidence-based and LGBT inclusive sex ed class.”

“A lot of places do not do a good job of teaching sex ed,” McGuire said, adding that she believed the public school system’s sex education curriculum was “lacking” when her teen was in school.

“There is a lot of fear and misunderstanding about our bodies,” Palmisano said, later adding that she hopes to “be a light” into understanding oneself.

When asked if they are expecting controversy this time, McGuire and Palmisano both indicated they are hoping nothing goes wrong.

“I’m hoping it’s just another Sunday,” Palmisano said. “Not that I’m shy about what I do ... it just makes it easier for young people who may be shy about this to not have to go through protesters.”

“If they don’t like the event, they can stay home,” McGuire said. “It’s not your place to parent other people’s kids.”

This year’s event will be on Sunday, Jan. 19, from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Lexington Park library. The event is free, but RSVP is recomended at the link provided on Southern Maryland Secular Humanists or PFLAG Leonardtown’s Facebook pages.

Choral arts society hosting auditions for 2020 Season

The Chesapeake Choral Arts Society, directed by Leroy Pressley, focuses on “extended choral works as well as various choral styles and periods of music,” according to a release, and the singers have been able to perform with soloists from the Washington National Opera and the Singing Sergeants.

This coming season, the choir will meet regularly September through June on Monday evenings at Peace Lutheran Church in Waldorf, from 7 to 9 p.m. The choir performs three concerts each year, and this year’s shows include “Winter Melodies Old and New” (a Renaissance dinner), “Melodies through Time” and Groovy ’60s Melodies.”

Auditions for the 2020 season will be held at Peace Lutheran Church in Waldorf on Monday, Jan. 6, and Monday Jan. 13, starting at 6:30 p.m., and will consist of vocal warm-ups, pitch matching and vocal exercises; no prepared piece necessary.

Singers high school age and older are welcome to audition, and the chorus noted in the release that it is especially seeking tenors and baritones/basses.

Contact Carol at 301-642-0594 for audition appointments. For more information, visit www.chesapeakechoral.com.

Leonardtown hosts First Friday of the year event tonight

The Leonardtown Business Association is hosting its monthly First Friday tonight, this month’s theme is “A New Year, a New You, a New Look!”

The North End Gallery will open their new 3D art exhibit “Animal Vegetable Mineral,” and there will be live music at the Port of Leonardtown Winery, a release from the business association says as well as special activities at Shepherd’s Old Field Market. This month, there will be no drum circle.

For more information, visit the Leonardtown First Fridays Facebook page.

Health department offers overdose response training

The St. Mary’s County Health Department is hosting a free opioid overdose response training at the Charlotte Hall library on Tuesday, Jan. 7, from 10 a.m. to noon Participants will learn the signs and symptoms of an opioid overdose, how to care for someone experiencing an overdose until emergency services arrive and how to administer naloxone, a medication that might restore the breathing of somebody who has overdosed on opioids.

Participants will receive a free rescue kit that includes naloxone upon completing the training. For more information, or to schedule a training session for a group, contact the health department at 301-475-6806.

Lighthouse pier is now reopened

The pier at the Piney Point Lighthouse Museum has been closed for some time now because of a partial collapse due to shore erosion, but work by the St. Mary’s Department of Public Works and emergency funds from the St. Mary’s commissioners have led to a full repair of the pier, a release from county government says.

The erosion was temporarily controlled by Maryland DNR, which has placed bio logs and plantings along the beach, the release says, and additional work for a more permanent fix is still pending.

The Piney Point Lighthouse Museum Park is open from sunrise to sunset, and the museum from noon to 4 p.m.

Parks department to host public meetings

The St. Mary’s Department of Recreation and Parks is inviting community members to attend meetings to weigh in on a potential sports complex building in the county.

Appointments can be scheduled Monday, Jan. 13, between 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. and Tuesday, Jan. 14, from 8 to 11 a.m. and will take place at the recreation and parks main office on Leonard Hall Drive.

Community members will meet with the Crossroad Consulting firm and staff from the St. Mary’s County Department of Recreation and Parks to provide input.

For more information, or to participate in the study, contact Lori Tyer-Ellis, the department’s project manager, at lori.tyerellis@stmarysmd.com or 301-475-4200, ext. 71811.

Walden plans pop-up recovery talks

Walden, a local behavioral health clinic which specializes in treating addiction, rehabilitation and mental health issues, hosts a regular pop-up clinic at county libraries.

Next week, a representative from Walden will be in the foyer of the Charlotte Hall library on Wednesday, Jan. 8 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. to talk about behavioral health and wellness. Activities, games and crafts will be provided.

Learn about careers, meet with staff at tech expo

The Dr. James A. Forrest Career and Technology Center will be hosting its annual Tech Expo on Thursday, Jan. 16, from 5:30 to 8 p.m., where students and parents can learn about career options offered by St. Mary’s public schools.

Staff from the Forrest center will be present, and participants can learn about the school’s 23 completer programs and five elective classes being offered. Middle and high school counselors will be available to answer questions about careers, as well as assisting students in planning their academic program.

For more details, contact the Forrest center at 301-475-0242. In the event of inclement weather, the alternate date for the Forrest center Tech Expo will be Thursday, Jan. 23, from 5:30 to 8 p.m.

Planning a wedding?

The Bay District Volunteer Fire Department will be hosting its 10th Annual Bridal Expo on Sunday, Jan. 19, from 11:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. at the fire department’s hall on South Shangri-La Drive in Lexington Park. Admission is free, and the grand prize is a wedding gown from Today’s Bride valued at $1,000. For more information on the event, email hallrental@bdvfd.com.

Twitter: @DanEntNews