St. Mary’s government offices to close for holiday

All St. Mary’s County government and St. Mary's County Metropolitan Commission administrative offices will be closed Monday, Feb. 18, in observance of Presidents Day. Administrative offices will reopen for normal business hours on Feb. 19.

The St. Andrew's Landfill, the six convenience centers and St. Mary’s Transit System will operate under normal hours on Monday, Feb. 18. However, the statewide specialized transportation assistance program will not provide services for the senior nutrition centers or SSTAP appointments.

All St. Mary’s County Library branches will be closed on Monday, Feb. 18. All three senior activity centers will be closed, and there will be no home-delivered meals delivered.

The St. Clement’s Island Museum and Piney Point Lighthouse Museum and Historic Park will be open from noon to 4 p.m. on Feb. 18.

Jones to depart from St. Mary’s government

Tony Jones, communications director for county government, has resigned his position effective March 1. He accepted a position with Loudoun County government in Virginia, serving in Loudoun’s new communications department, the department of transportation and capital infrastructure.

Jones was with St. Mary’s government since September 2011, initially being hired as a public information officer. He was promoted to communications director July 1, 2018.

Free document shredding event set

The county will conduct the seventh annual community document shredding event at the St. Andrew’s Landfill on Saturday, May 4, from 8 a.m. and noon.

This community event provides residents an opportunity to shred their confidential, private and important documents at no cost. The shredder truck is capable of holding approximately 12,000 pounds; this type of shredding ensures confidential material cannot be copied. All paper material shredded will be recycled.

Residents are asked to refrain from bringing materials which are not confidential in nature, such as newspapers and magazines (these can be taken to one of six convenience centers around the county). The shredder can handle simple staples, paper clips, spiral note books and thin metal prongs; however. it cannot accept three-ring binders. Limit the number of boxes to three standard bankers’ boxes per person. A total of 11,060 pounds (5.53 tons) of paper was collected from 286 vehicles at the event held last November.

For more, contact the St. Mary’s County Department of Public Works and Transportation at 301-475-4200, ext. 73550, or visit www.stmarysmd.com/dpw.

MALPF easement applications now available

The Maryland Agriculture Land Preservation Foundation is now accepting applications for the fiscal 2020 easement cycle. A landowner, who has a minimum of 50 contiguous acres, is not in the 10-year water and sewer plan for the county and has a minimum of 50 percent Class I, II, or III soils, can apply to sell an easement to MALPF.

All easement applications must be received by May 1. Once applications are received, they will be ranked by St. Mary’s County Agriculture Land Preservation Advisory Board using the state mandated land evaluation and site assessment system. The top ranked applications will be submitted to the state for easement consideration.

Applications can be obtained by calling the department of economic development, agriculture division, at 240-309-4021.

Hazardous waste collection day set for April 20

Residents seeking to clean out barns, basements, sheds, garages, storage areas and under kitchen sinks can properly discard of potentially toxic/dangerous materials at the St. Andrew’s Landfill during the spring hazardous waste collection day on Saturday, April 20, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

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. Since latex paint is not considered hazardous, it can be disposed with regular trash as long as the mixture is hardened by adding absorbents (cat litter, sand, sawdust, or paint-drying crystals) prior to disposal.

Items not be accepted include ammunition, asbestos, explosive materials, medical waste, pharmaceuticals, radioactive materials, and picric acid. For more information, call 301-475-4200, ext. *3517, or visit www.stmarysmd.com/dpw/recycling-solid-waste/

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.

Interested volunteers should contact Monika Williams, home-delivered meals program coordinator, at 301-45-4200, ext. 71060, or at Monika.Williams@stmarysmd.com.

Loffler art class works on display at library

Art students from the Loffler Senior Activity Center have been selected for the latest art installation at the Lexington Park Library Art Gallery. Their work will be on display throughout the month of February.

To choose pieces for the exhibit at the Lexington Park library, each student was asked to bring in three of their favorite works, which were narrowed down to a single piece.

The gallery, which opened in 2014, is used to showcase local artists and community pieces. Shows at the Lexington Park library last between a month and six weeks.

The senior center artwork will be on display at the library through the month of February. For more information about art classes at the Loffler center, call 301-475-4200, ext. 71658. For a full schedule of events, including classes offered at the Northern and Garvey senior activity centers, visit www.stmarysmd.com/aging.

Offshore lighthouse exhibit set to open museum

A new exhibit titled “Offshore Lighthouses of the Potomac River” debuts at the Piney Point Lighthouse Museum and Historic Park this month. The temporary will run until January next year, and includes three interpretive panels with information regarding all 14 lighthouses on the Potomac River. This exhibit is part of an educational program under the supervision of the Chesapeake Chapter of the United States Lighthouse Society and is on loan to St. Mary's County's museum division.

The goal of the program is to educate the public about the history of the lighthouses offshore on the Chesapeake Bay and Potomac River, both existing and those no longer standing.

For more information, call the museum at 301-994-1471. For hours of operation, programs, admission prices and more, visit the St. Mary’s County Museum Division’s Facebook pages at www.facebook.com/SCIMuseum or www.facebook.com/1836Light.

Public comment sought on Lexington Manor master plan

The Recreation and Parks Citizen Advisory Board’s meeting originally scheduled for Feb. 7 has been rescheduled for Thursday, Feb. 21, at 6 p.m. The meeting will take place in the commissioners meeting room inside the Chesapeake Building, at 41770 Baldridge St. in Leonardtown.

Citizens are invited to attend the meeting and provide public comment regarding a master plan project for the Lexington Manor Property, located on Coral Drive, adjacent to Lancaster Park.

The landscape architect firm Lardner Klein & Associates has been selected to design and develop the plan. An overview of the project will be presented by Lardner Klein staff prior to the meeting being opened for public comment.

For more information, contact Arthur Shepherd, recreation and parks director, at arthur.shepherd@stmarysmd.com or call 301-475-4200, ext. 71812.

Carbon monoxide safety during cold weather

The coldest air of the season will arrive this week with bitter cold and wind chills which could plunge to below zero. The St. Mary’s County Department of Emergency Services reminds citizens of the importance of having a carbon monoxide detector.

Fuel-powered devices can provide wonderful benefits to families when used properly. But they also underscore an important necessity in the home: the need for a carbon monoxide alarm. Carbon monoxide poisoning can result from faulty furnaces or other heating appliances, portable generators, water heaters, clothes dryers, or cars left running in garages. At its worst, carbon monoxide can cause severe side effects or even death. Carbon monoxide is a gas you cannot see, taste or smell.

Installing carbon monoxide alarms:

• Make sure your home has a carbon monoxide alarm. If you don’t have one, go out and get one.

• As with smoke alarms, make sure you have a carbon monoxide alarm on every level of your home, especially near sleeping areas and keep them at least 15 feet away from fuel-burning appliances.

• You won’t know you have a carbon monoxide leak without a working alarm. So test alarms regularly and replace them every five to seven years depending on the manufacturer’s label.

Understand how carbon monoxide can be harmful:

• Don’t use a grill, generator or camping stove inside your home, garage or near a window.

• If you need to warm a vehicle, remove it from the garage immediately after starting it.

• Don’t leave a car, SUV or motorcycle engine running inside a garage, even if the doors are open.

• Never use your oven or stovetop to heat your home.

• On the outside of your home, make sure vents for the dryer, furnace, stove and fireplace are clear of snow and other debris.

Leave the house if the alarm sounds:

• If the alarm goes off, immediately move outdoors. Account for everyone inside your home.

• Call 911 or the fire department. Remain outside until emergency personnel arrive to assist you.

Visit prepare.stmarysmd.com for more information on preparedness.

Citizens urged to check on elderly

It’s important to keep warm to stay as healthy as possible during the cold winter months. If you have an elderly or vulnerable friend or neighbor, look out for them to make sure they are safe, warm and well, according to a release from county government.

In addition to cold weather, ice and snow, the winter season can bring health problems and injury to senior citizens. That’s why it’s important for relatives and friends to check in with their older adult family members, friends and neighbors. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

Falls are a concern for seniors. Putting road salt, cat litter or sand on sidewalks, steps and driveways will make these areas as slip-free as possible. Older adults, especially those with heart disease or high blood pressure should leave snow shoveling to others.

Cold temperatures make senior citizens susceptible to hypothermia, a dangerous drop in body temperature. Older adults tend to produce less body heat than younger people and it’s hard for them to tell when the temperature is too low.

If going outdoors is necessary, dress in layers to stay warm. It’s a good idea to check on elderly loved ones regularly or, if you live out of town, make arrangements for neighbors to check in and provide their number to call in an emergency.

TAYLOR DEVILLE