Two county museums to join nationwide commemoration of first enslaved peoples

The bells at St. Clement’s Island Museum and Piney Point Lighthouse Museum, historic sites overseen by the St. Mary’s County Museum Division, will participate in a nationwide bell-ringing commemoration Sunday, Aug. 25 at 3 p.m. to honor the first enslaved Africans brought to English colonies in America 400 years ago.

The bells at each museum site, along with bells across the United States, will ring to remember the first enslaved Africans who landed at Point Comfort, VA, in 1619. The bells will ring for four minutes; one minute for every 100 years.

Public comment requested update to airport rules

The airport advisory board has rewritten the county’s draft airport rules, originally published in December. St. Mary’s County published a documents updating the rules, standard operating procedure and minimum standards of the St. Mary’s County Regional Airport that generated considerable public input. Since then, the advisory board has taken that input and conducted further research to improve these documents, and is requesting public review and comment. As the board seeks to complete a final version by the end of September, public comment is requested by 4 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 6. Comments can be sent to aac2w6@outlook.com, which forwards input to the entire advisory board. The draft airport rules ordinance is available at the airport advisory board’s webpage on the St. Mary’s County website, or at the shortcut tinyurl.com/AAB2W6.

St. Mary’s County government offices to close for Labor Day

In observance of Labor Day on Monday, Sept. 2, all administrative offices for St. Mary’s County government will be closed, along with the St. Andrew’s Landfill and six convenience centers.

All St. Mary’s County library branches and the Garvey, Loffler and Northern senior activity centers will also be closed Sept. 2. The St. Mary’s Transit System and the Specialized Statewide Transportation Assistance Program will be closed on Monday. The Piney Point Lighthouse Museum and St. Clement’s Island Museum will both be open on Labor Day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. All offices and services will operate under normal hours Tuesday, Sept. 3.

For additional information please visit www.stmarysmd.com.

7th District Optimist Club Presents the 52nd annual Blessing of the Fleet at the St. Clement’s Island Museum

The 7th District Optimist Club will hold the 52nd Annual Blessing of the Fleet on Saturday and Sunday, October 5 and 6, at the St. Clement’s Island Museum in Colton’s Point.

Held the first weekend of October for more than 50 years, this significant occasion celebrates St. Mary’s County’s ties to the Chesapeake Bay watershed and the watermen who work it. This year’s event will feature a revamped format and showcase fun for all ages.

Activities include tours of St. Clements Island State Park, Blackistone Lighthouse and St. Clement’s Island Museum, live performances by popular music acts, free boat excursions, Southern Maryland food, art and craft vendors, boat blessing ceremony, a Sunday parade, evening concert, activities on the island, children’s activities, fireworks and more. This year’s live performances are by local talent Robbie Boothe and headliner Nathan Osmond and the Cabana Dogs.

Gates are open from noon until 9 p.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is $10 for adults; children 12 and under are free. To stay up to date on the festivities, visit Facebook.com/BlessingOfTheFleetSOMD.

Artists, crafters and nonprofits who would like to exhibit at the event, please contact Jayne Walsh at jayne.walsh@stmarysmd.com to register.

Two new temporary exhibits to open at Piney Point Lighthouse Museum & Historic Park

Two new temporary exhibits entitled “Medical Bottles and Others of the 1800s” and the “Samuel Bailey Oyster Buy Boat Replica,” will be available for viewing at the Piney Point Lighthouse Museum & Historic Park until September 23 and 30, respectively.

The first exhibit features an array of medical bottles and the descriptions of the “medicines” provided by individuals like Lydia Pinkham, Dr. Jacob Fahrney and others used to treat their patients during the 1800s.

The second exhibit displays a replica of the Samuel Bailey Oyster Buy Boat, a local boat that would buy just-caught oysters from oyster tongers and transport them to distributors. Built by Ralph and Kim Lawrence, this model was constructed by hand using original tools.

The exhibits are available to visitors of the museum, which operates daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For more information regarding these exhibits, please call the Piney Point Lighthouse Museum at 301-994-1471. For hours of operation, programs, admission prices and more, visit Facebook.com/1836Light or on Twitter at @PineyPtLHMuseum.

St. Clement’s Island Museum to host Children’s Day

With the start of a new school year just around the corner, enjoy a free day of family fun in the sun on the beautiful waterside lawn at the annual Children’s Day at St. Clement’s Island Museum Saturday, Aug. 17 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Families can enjoy games, crafts, face painting, a bike raffle, snow cones, balloons and more. Hometown Karaoke & DJ Services will have everyone dancing to kid-friendly tunes, and children’s books author Cindy Freeland will give a story book presentation about the animals that live around the Chesapeake Bay.

The St. Clement’s Island Museum will be open free to all event-goers. The water taxi to St. Clement’s Island State Park will operate during normal hours and the regular fee applies.

The Seventh District Optimist Club will provide a $0.50 meal menu and a free bike raffle for children 12 and younger. Organizers encourage families to get there early; the first 100 children will receive a free water bottle.

The St. Clement’s Island Museum is located at 38370 Point Breeze Road in Colton’s Point. For more information call 301-769-2222 or visit Facebook.com/SCIMuseum.

St. Mary’s County Department of Recreation and Parks announces adult volleyball league meetings

St. Mary’s County Department of Recreation and Parks will hold adult volleyball informational meetings for teams and individuals.

The Coed League meeting will be Tuesday, Sept. 10 at 7 p.m. at the Margaret Brent Recreation Center and is open to men and women ages 18 and up. Recreation games begin Monday’s in September and take place at the Margaret Brent Recreation Center. Competitive League games begin in November at the Carver Recreation Center. The cost is $400 per team without referees and $500 per team with referees.

The Women’s League meeting will be Thursday, Sept. 12 at 7 p.m. at the Margaret Brent Recreation Center and is open to women ages 18 and up. Game days are Thursdays beginning in September and take place at the Margaret Brent Recreation Center; cost is $500 per team.

No equipment is needed; teams must provide their own uniforms.

For more information, please call Kenny Sothoron at 301-475-4200 ext. 71830.

RSVP seeks new music director for the Senior Vibes

The Retired & Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) with the St. Mary’s County Department of Aging & Human Services is seeking an experienced choral director to serve as the new Volunteer Music Director to lead Senior Vibes during rehearsals and performances in Leonardtown.

Senior Vibes is a caring group of volunteers with RSVP that provides musical entertainment and friendly visitation to residents of St. Mary’s Nursing & Rehabilitation Center and Cedar Lane Senior Housing Community.

Practices are held once per month at the Garvey Senior Activity Center in Leonardtown, followed by two community performances per month. Senior Vibes performs classic favorites as well as folk, country, patriotic music, hymns, and more. RSVP is seeking an individual capable of leading a choral group who would like to help the Senior Vibes share their love of music with others.

Senior Vibes meets three Tuesday’s per month to practice or perform, from September to June. The group takes a brief winter and summer break.

The choir consists of 20-plus members. Senior Vibes occasionally performs for extra events during the year. Also, during July and August, the group may meet once or twice to sing and socialize. Performances usually last about an hour.

For more information, contact Norine Rowe, RSVP Project Manager, at 301-475-4200, ext. 71653, or email Norine.Rowe@stmarysmd.com.

Volunteers sought to study YMCA option

The St. Mary’s County commissioners are seeking 11 volunteers for a local YMCA Exploratory Committee. This committee will learn about YMCA programs and services, investigate community needs, identify potential locations for a facility, discuss potential facility amenities and gauge fundraising capacity for the purpose of delivering an in-depth report to the commissioners.

The committee will meet monthly for six months to discuss gathered information and gauge adherence to stated objectives. At the end of six months, the committee will provide a report of findings to the St. Mary’s commissioners.

All citizens interested in being considered should fill out an application on the county’s website at www.stmarysmd.com/boards. All applicants must include a resume and submissions must be received no later than Wednesday, Aug. 14.

The county is seeking applicants to represent St. Mary’s government; the St. Mary’s Commission on Aging; the Community Youth Center Campaign; Tri-County Youth Services; Youth Advisory Board; St. Mary’s public schools; St. Mary’s Chamber of Commerce; and the U.S. Navy. The county is also seeking two local business leaders and a citizen-at-large.

If you have any questions or need more information, please call Diane Gleissner at 301-475-4200 ext. 71700.

Household hazardous waste collection day coming this fall

The St. Andrew’s Landfill will host hazardous waste collection day Saturday, Sept. 21, between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

This program allows residents to clean out their barns, basements, sheds, garages, storage areas under kitchen sinks, etc. and take advantage of the opportunity to properly discard of potentially toxic/dangerous materials.

Hazardous waste items which will be accepted for collection include: acids, ammonia, bleach, cleaners, fuels, gas/oil mixtures, gasoline, household and lawn pesticides, mercury thermometers, photography chemicals, pool chemicals, solvents, wood preservatives, paint thinners and alkyd (oil-based) paint.

Latex paint is not considered hazardous, as it can be discarded with regular trash if the mixture has been hardened by adding absorbents (cat litter, sand, sawdust or paint drying crystals) before disposal. If, however you are unable to do that, latex paint will also be accepted.

Items which will not be accepted include ammunition, asbestos, explosive materials, medical waste, pharmaceuticals, radioactive materials and picric acid.

Collect and dispose of household hazardous waste materials through safe and environmentally responsible practices using the county’s certified vendor, ACV Enviro.

For more information, contact the St. Mary’s County Department of Public Works and Transportation at 301-475-4200, ext. 73517. You can also log on to www.co.saint-marys.md.us/dpw/recycling-solid-waste/

Emergency services warns families about dangers of vehicular heatstroke

Outside of crashes, heatstroke is the primary vehicle-related killer of children in the U.S. That’s why the St. Mary’s County Department of Emergency Services is teaming up with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to reduce these deaths by reminding parents and caregivers about the dangers of vehicular heatstroke and leaving children in hot cars. In 2018, there were 52 preventable deaths of children in vehicles; a 21% increase from 2017.

“As outside temperatures rise, the risk of children dying from vehicular heatstroke increases,” Stephen Walker, director of emergency services, said. “One child dies from heatstroke nearly every 10 days in the United States from being left in a car or crawling into an unlocked vehicle. What is most tragic is that every single one of these deaths could have been prevented.”

The Department of Emergency Services urges all parents and caregivers to do these three things:

1. Never leave a child in a vehicle unattended.

2. Make it a habit to look in the back seat every time you exit the car.

3. Always lock the car and put the keys out of reach.

If you are a bystander and see a child in a hot vehicle, make sure the child is okay and responsive. If not, call 911 immediately.

If the child appears to be okay, attempt to locate the parents or have the facility’s security or management page the car owner over its speaker system.

If there is someone with you, one person should actively search for the parent while the other waits at the car.

If the child is not responsive or appears to be in distress, attempt to get into the car to assist the child—even if that means breaking a window—many states have “Good Samaritan” laws that protect people from lawsuits for getting involved to help a person in an emergency.

Know the warning signs of heatstroke, which include red, hot, and moist or dry skin; no sweating; a strong rapid pulse or a slow weak pulse; nausea; confusion; or acting strangely. If a child exhibits any of these signs after being in a hot vehicle, quickly spray the child with cool water or with a garden hose—never put a child in an ice bath. Call 911 or your local emergency number immediately.

A child’s body temperature can rise up to five times faster than an adult’s, and heatstroke can occur in outside temperatures as low as 57 degrees. On an 80-degree day, a car can reach deadly levels in just 10 minutes.

Summer reading program for all ages at county libraries

The St. Mary’s County Library invites all ages to participate in “A Universe of Stories” summer reading program through Aug. 17. Everyone is welcome to complete challenges to be entered to win Amazon gift cards.

Complete five activities to finish the first challenge and come into any St. Mary’s library branch to pick up a free, glow-in-the-dark T-shirt (sizes from baby onesies all the way up to adult XXXXL). Complete the second, third and fourth challenges to receive a free book of your choosing. Each finished challenge will get you an entry into the library’s end-of-summer Amazon gift card drawings.

Twenty activities give variety and allow you to choose how stimulating to make the summer reading program. Activities can be repeated and are appropriate for all ages. Examples of activities include: read a nonfiction book, listen to an audiobook, attend a library event, read a book that is part of a series and read a graphic novel or comic book.

The library is once again using the Beanstack app to track summer reading, available for both Android and Apple devices. If you do not have access to a device, ask for a paper game board at the library.

Schoolhouse admission free some weekends

The St. Mary’s County Museum Division, in partnership with the Unified Committee for Afro-American Contributions, will be offering special Open Houses for visitors and the community at the Drayden African American Schoolhouse in Drayden periodically throughout the year. The schoolhouse is one of the nation’s best-preserved one-room African American schoolhouses, and its story represents a significant part of St. Mary’s history.

The open houses are on the first Saturday of the month and other select special days, April through October. The schoolhouse will be open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sept. 7 and Oct. 5. Volunteers will be available on site during the open houses to share stories about the schoolhouse’s history.

For more information about the Drayden African American Schoolhouse Open Houses, programs, admission prices and more, visit the Facebook page www.facebook.com/DraydenSchool or call 301-994-1471.

Department of agriculture sponsors pesticide container summer recycling program

The Maryland Department of Agriculture is sponsoring its summer collection program for high density polyethylene pesticide containers for farmers, pesticide applicators, and others who wish to dispose of plastic pesticide containers properly. This program allows for county, state and federal agencies to work collaboratively for environmental protection.

The nearest location to St. Mary’s County that accepts nonlocal pesticide containers is the Frederick County Landfill. Collection dates are scheduled for Aug. 20 and Sept. 17 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day. The pesticide container recycling program is free and open to all agricultural producers and pesticide applicators.

MDA inspectors will supervise the collection to ensure only triple rinsed or pressure rinsed, clean, plastic HDPE pesticide containers are collected. Specific guidelines and the inspection checklist for the empty pesticide containers and the recycling program itself can be viewed here.

For further information, contact the Maryland Department of Agriculture, pesticide regulation section at 410-841-5710 or visit their website at www.mda.maryland.gov.

St. Mary’s government to offer Citizens Academy

If you’ve ever wondered how or why a county department does what it does, you can gain knowledge of the inner workings of local government at the 2019 St. Mary’s County Government Citizens Academy.

The academy, which will meet on seven Tuesday evenings, between Sept.10 and Oct. 29 from 6 to 9 p.m. at various county owned locations. It is open to St. Mary’s County residents, 18 years of age and older and limited to 25 applicants. The purpose of the academy is to provide an overview of County programs and services. Participants will gain a better understanding of County government operations and will receive a certificate upon completion.

Citizens interested in learning more about the academy, or taking part, can go to www.stmarysmd.com/pio/citizensacademy/ to download a brochure and application. Deadline to apply is Aug. 23.

Be prepared for hurricane season

The 2019 hurricane season officially began June 1, and will go until November 30. The hurricane research team at Colorado State University is forecasting 13 named storms for the 2019 season.

St. Mary’s County Department of Emergency Services reminds everyone, staying safe during hurricane season starts with a simple step: have a plan. Prepare for hurricanes by using a simple guide at Ready.gov. Plans should be worked out for all family members. For those animal lovers out there, you need a plan as well.

Plans include figuring out how to determine whether it’s safe to hunker down at home during a storm or if you will need to evacuate. If so, there is likely a specific route you should take in the event of evacuations, as many roads may be closed. If you must leave your home, you also need to determine accommodations during the storm.

Predetermining an emergency meeting place and protocol can be helpful. Sometimes local cellphone lines are overloaded during a storm, so consider texting. Another alternative is to have a central out-of-state contact who can relay messages between family members.

The following hurricane names could come into play during the 2019 Atlantic hurricane season (including the North Atlantic, Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico) according to the World Meteorological Organization: Andrea, Barry, Chantal, Dorian, Erin, Ferdinand, Gabrielle, Humberto, Imelda, Jerry, Karen, Lorenzo, Melissa, Nestor, Olga, Pablo, Rebekah, Sebastien, Tanya, Van and Wendy.

To learn about being prepared for disasters and hazards, visit prepare.stmarysmd.com.

St. Mary’s farmers markets open for season

All St. Mary’s farmers markets have opened for business.

The California Farmers Market will be open on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. until Nov. 16. The location is 22801 Three Notch Road in California, the BAE parking lot.

The Home Grown Farm Market is open on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. until Dec. 21. The location is 21078 Three Notch Road in Lexington Park.

The North County Farmers Market is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday. The market will be open with varying hours through November. The location is 37600 New Market Road in Charlotte Hall, near the Charlotte Hall Library.

Produce vendors sought for St. Mary’s government center

St. Mary’s County is looking for local produce vendors interested in providing fresh grown produce and locating intermittently during business hours on the St. Mary’s governmental campus in Leonardtown. This also includes offering produce sales and options for subscription services like community supported agriculture. Vendors that accept WIC FMNP/SFMNP and FVC are preferred.

Interested farmer’s produce stand operators/farmers can call the department of human resources at 301-475-4200, ext. 71100. Only actively licensed vendors who carry sufficient auto liability, product liability, and general liability insurance coverages will be considered.

Applications sought for instructors at Great Mills Pool

Recreation and parks is seeking certified water safety instructors for swim lessons for the Great Mills pool.

To apply, applicants can obtain an application at the recreation and parks main office in Leonardtown at 23150 Leonard Hall Drive, at the pool next to Great Mills High School, or go online to St. Mary’s recreation and parks and click on www.stmarysmd.com/docs/rpjobopenings.pdf then click on application for employment. For more information, call 301-866-6560.

Volunteers sought for home-delivered meals program

St. Mary’s home-delivered meals program is seeking volunteers to serve in the Lexington Park area and the southernmost parts of the county. Drivers would pick up meals at the Loffler Senior Activity Center and pack into coolers provided to maintain a safe temperature. Volunteers are assigned to an established route and the deliver meals to homebound seniors on a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly basis. To volunteer, persons must be 21 or older, have a valid driver’s license and reliable access to a vehicle. Meals are delivered most Mondays through Fridays, 11:15 a.m. through 1:30 p.m. Mileage reimbursement or income tax deductions are available for volunteers. Contact Monika Williams at 301-45-4200, ext. 71060, or at Monika.Williams@stmarysmd.com.

Taylor DeVille