For the eighth year in a row, the St. Mary’s sheriff’s office is boosting its presence during the holiday season in an effort to deter crime.

The Maximum Deployment initiative kicked off last Friday with a public roll call in the Walmart parking lot, and will continue with high-visibility patrols and increased police presence near shopping centers, roadways, and neighboring communities to ensure safety during the holiday season, according to a recent release from the sheriff’s office.

The initiative, started in 2011 by Sheriff Tim Cameron (R), is “when we use all of our resources,” according to Cpl. Julie Yingling, a spokesperson for the county sheriff’s office. Police say that the holiday season can be especially taxing for law enforcement.

“We collect data, we do crime mapping, and we see an increase in crime and traffic incidents around this time of the year,” Yingling said.

Along with increased police presence throughout the county, the sheriff’s office has other scheduled initiatives through the end of the year following last week’s public roll call, “basically along the same lines,” according to Yingling, as well as boosted traffic patrol initiatives.

“We’re just trying to have a safe holiday season for all citizens,” Yingling said.

Find the Grinch tonight as they light up Leonardtown

Tonight from 5 to 8 p.m., the Grinch will be out and about at Leonardtown’s First Friday festivities. The town will be dressed up in a Seussian “Whoville” style, according to a release from the Leonardtown Business Association, and holiday decor can be voted on as part of the “Light Up Leonardtown” contest.

Also on Friday, from 7 to 8 p.m., the First Friday drum circle will be gathering at its new winter location inside Leonardtown’s Town Hall. Both the North End Gallery and Patina + Stone Studio will be hosting holiday receptions on Friday night, and the Port of Leonardtown Winery will host live music from the Whiskey Diplomats. For more information and other first Friday events, see the official event page on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ents/1988929334742414/ or contact Jen Stotler at 301-247-7611.

Church celebrating women in worship

The First Missionary Baptist Church in Lexington Park will be celebrating women in worship with special guest preacher Rev. Tawana Twitty, of Victory Life Center, on Wednesday, Dec. 11, during a 7:30 p.m. service. For more, call 301-863-8388.

Summerseat Farm hosting Christmas open house Dec. 7

Take photos with Santa, create holiday ornaments in the kids craft room, tour the manor house, enjoy cookies and cider, take a hay ride and take a guided manor house tour at Summerseat Farm’s Christmas open house this Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Admission is a $10 donation per a family. Contact Jean Campbell at 240-298-6072.

Police honoring homicide victims in Sunday tribute

The St. Mary’s sheriff’s office will hold the annual Silent Angel Memorial tree lighting to commemorate lives lost to homicide. The tree lighting will take place on Sunday, Dec. 8, at the Bay District Volunteer Fire Department at 6 p.m.

The Silent Angel Memorial was started in 2002 by Eileen Bildman, whose son, Kevin Clarke, was murdered at a party in November 2001. Bildman started the nonprofit to “bring families together to provide comfort, support and resources to those survivors whose lives have been affected by homicide,” according to its website.

New farm holiday guide available from ag commission

The Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission has released the 2019 edition of its Farm Holiday Guide, a free booklet featuring Southern Maryland farm products and events available during the holidays.

This year’s guide showcases more than 80 farms and agriculture-related businesses in Anne Arundel, Calvert, Charles, Prince George’s and St. Mary’s counties. Extensive listings offer an array of home-grown options for festive decorating, entertaining and gift giving. Find local “choose and cut” Christmas trees and greenery, quality meats and poultry, wines, beer, whiskey and rum, freshly harvested oysters and seafood, farm-made cheese, produce, jams and pickles, plus unique handmade gifts. Look for special sections that highlight tips for buying firewood, where to order locally raised turkeys, and find farm-hosted tours, tastings and more.

The “Holiday Farm Guide” is available now to view or download on the “Get Our Guides” page at SMADC.com and free printed guides are available at participating farms and businesses as well as at public libraries and visitor centers.

Art supply drive is underway thanks to local council

Bethany Yates, an artist and social worker, is collecting art supplies through Dec. 15 for local children in need. Donations of items may be made at the St. Mary’s County Arts Council office in Leonardtown or at Yates’ office in Lexington Park. Local pickup may also be arranged. Email Bethany@thetherapycafe.com for more information.

Teachers can borrow wildlife education trunks from DNR

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is offering a variety of wildlife education trunks for use by classroom teachers, home-school educators, naturalists, scout leaders and other instructors. These unique, interdisciplinary teaching tools designed to educate and engage students about local wildlife while building on fundamental disciplines like art, language arts, math, physical education, science and social studies.

Each trunk contains an educator guide with background information, lesson plans, as well as activity supplies, books and other hands-on items. The trunks are available for a variety of subjects, including aquatic invasive species, bats, furbearers, white-tailed deer and wild turkeys, and can be borrowed free of charge for up to two weeks. They are available at seven locations around the state. More information is available at http://dnr.maryland.gov/wildlife/Pages/Education/education_trunks.aspx.

Special movie showings planned

The Promise Resource Center has partnered with R/C Theaters Lexington Exchange to provide Special Showings for Special Needs, bringing sensory-friendly movie showings to Southern Maryland. The region has a large community of families with special-needs children, many who are unable to attend a movie because of sensory issues such as light and sound sensitivity, trouble sitting still or staying quiet. During these special showings, the sound will be turned down, the lights will be turned up, and parents or providers can bring their own snacks and drinks for children with dietary restrictions, according to a release from The Promise Resource Center. Parents can relax and children can feel free to sing, cry, shout, or dance in a comfortable, judge-free zone.

The showings will occur on one Tuesday and one Saturday of each month. Admission is a reduced rate for bargain Tuesdays and the concessions will be open. Call 301-290-0040. or visit thepromisecenter.org/specialshowings for the schedule.