It's all constitutional

At last week’s public meeting, commissioners proclaimed Sept. 17-23, as Constitution Week in Charles County and expressed appreciation to representatives from the Daughters of the American Revolution, whose organization initiated the recognition nationally.

Residents in the La Plata community and surrounding areas will have the opportunity to receive free dental services at Neibauer Dental Care this Saturday, Sept. 21, according to a news release.

Drs. Min Kim, Marion Williams, Ammar Awadi and the team at Neibauer Dental Care will be improving the oral health of the community as part of Free Dentistry Day, a day dedicated to providing free dental care to the growing number of Americans without dental insurance. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, approximately 108 million Americans are living without dental insurance. There is increasing evidence that links oral health to overall health and well-being, according to the release.

During Free Dentistry Day, cleanings, fillings and extractions will be provided to patients between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Saturday at 124 Rosewick Road in La Plata. Patients will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information, call 301-934-4357 or visit www.FreeDentistryDay.org.

La Plata police collecting baby care supplies

The La Plata Police Department is collecting baby care items for those in our community who need a little help. Donations are being accepted now through Tuesday, Oct. 15, any time of day at the LPPD Headquarters at 101 La Grange Ave. in La Plata.

The following items are most needed: diapers (larger sizes preferred), wipes, specialty formulas (Similac sensitive, advanced, soy), toiletries (soap, wash, shampoo, rash cream, lotion), clothes (sizes newborn to 2T), blankets, bibs, bottles, pacifiers, rattles, etc. Larger items: new car seats, pac ‘n plays, high chairs, cribs, infant seats and strollers.

The donations will be distributed by the Catherine Foundation to the clients of its pregnancy resource centers located in Waldorf, La Plata and Nanjemoy. For more information about the Catherine Foundation, visit www.catherinefoundation.org.

Alliance accepting grant applications

Over the past 32 years, the Charles County Arts Alliance has awarded more than $800,000 in grant funding to nonprofit organizations and schools in Charles County to support activities in the performing, visual and literary arts.

The Community Arts Development and Arts in Education grant season is now open with the posting of applications on the alliance’s website at www.charlescountyarts.org/grants, and with hard-copies available through the CCAA Office. Application deadlines are Oct. 4 for the community grants and Oct. 31 for the education grants.

For more information, contact the CCAA office at 301-392-5900, or email info@charlescountyarts.org.

Flu vaccination clinics scheduled

The Charles County Department of Health is offering free community flu vaccination clinics for the 2019-2020 season, according to a health department news release. Flu vaccinations will be offered daily on a walk-in basis, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Evening community clinics are also scheduled in several schools throughout the county. Flu Mist nasal spray will be available this year.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a yearly flu vaccine as the first and most important step in protecting against flu viruses. Flu vaccination can reduce flu illnesses, doctors’ visits and missed work and school, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalizations. The CDC recommends that everyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu vaccine by the end of October, if possible.

Everyday preventive actions recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are:

• Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.

• Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.

• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.

• Try to avoid close contact with sick people.

• While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible.

• If you are sick with flu-like illness, CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities.

• Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs.

For more information, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at www.cdc.gov/flu/prevent/index.html or the American Academy of Pediatrics at www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/pages/Recommendations-for-Prevention-and-Control-of-Influenza-in-Children-2019-2020.aspx. For additional information about flu clinics, visit www.CharlesCountyHealth.org or call the Charles County Department of Health at 301-609-6900.

Influenza clinic vaccination schedule:

• Saturday, Oct. 5, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Benjamin Stoddert Middle School, 2040 St. Thomas Drive in Waldorf.

• Thursday, Oct. 17, 3 to 7 p.m. at La Plata High School, at 6035 Radio Station Road in La Plata.

• Tuesday, Oct. 29, 3 to 7 p.m. at Piccowaxen Middle School, at 12834 Rock Point Road in Newburg.

• Thursday, Nov. 7, 4 to 7 p.m. at Smallwood Middle School, at 4990 Indian Head Highway in Indian Head.

• Tuesday, Nov. 12, 3 to 7 p.m. at Westlake High School, at 3300 Middletown Road in Waldorf.

Patterson to hold bond bill hearing Oct. 15

Chairwoman of the Charles County Delegation, Del. Edith J. Patterson (D-Charles), has announced that the delegation will hear proposals from the public for the 2020 General Assembly Bond Initiatives, formerly known as bond bills.

The meeting will be held from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct.15 in Room A of the Waldorf West Branch Library, at 10405 O’Donnell Place in Waldorf.

Those wishing to present a bond request should access the Maryland General Assembly website at mgaleg.maryland.gov and type the words “Bond Initiative Request Form” on the search line to access the form and the guidelines. For further information, call Patterson’s office at 301-858-3247.

State arts council needs panelists

The Maryland State Arts Council is seeking panelists who have experience and expertise in the performing arts for the 2020 Independent Artist Awards.

The Independent Artist Awards recognize achievement by Maryland artists making work independent of an institution or organization. The awards are accompanied by unrestricted grants that encourage artistic growth and sustained practice. The 2020 Awards will award artists working primarily in the performing arts. Artistic categories rotate on a three-year cycle. Visual/media awards will be awarded in 2021 and literary arts awards will be awarded in 2022.

Panelists play a vital role in the Maryland State Arts Council’s Independent Artists Awards. Panelists will:

• Review and score each applicant’s submission based on a rubric.

• Attend one regional review meeting.

• Select panelists may also attend one state award review meeting during the winter of 2020.

The average commitment of hours varies based on the number of applicants per region. The majority of work happens on the panelists’ own time over the course of two to three months.

This year’s Independent Artist Awards will be focused on performance. Panelists are selected with a focus on diversity of experiences and location. Individuals chosen to serve as a panelist are not eligible to apply as an artist to the 2020 Independent Artist Awards.

To apply, visit www.msac.org/programs/independent-artist-awardand fill out the application by Oct. 16.

Selected panelists are appointed by the Maryland State Arts Council for a one-year term, which may be renewed. Panelists will receive a modest honorarium and travel reimbursement for serving.

One Maryland One Book author to visit CSM

One Maryland One Book author Mona Hanna-Attisha will visit five counties and Baltimore City November 2–5 to speak about her book, “What the Eyes Don’t See: A Story of Crisis, Resilience, and Hope in an American City,” according to a news release from Maryland Humanities. She will visit the College of Southern Maryland La Plata campus at 11 a.m. Monday, Nov. 4, in the Center for Business and Industry Building, at 8730 Mitchell Road in La Plata.

Hanna-Attisha, a pediatrician and researcher, helped expose and make known the lead in Flint, Michigan’s water. She will sign copies of her book, which will be available for purchase at that day. Seating for these free events is available on a first-come, first-served basis.

The book was chosen by a committee of librarians, educators, authors and bibliophiles in February from more than 231 titles suggested by readers across the state under the theme, “Nature.” In 2019, One Maryland One Book is part of Maryland Humanities’ Maryland H2O, which is a two-year initiative exploring the varied relationships with water through multiple programs.

More information about the book tour and about One Maryland One Book can be found online at www.mdhumanities.org/programs/one-maryland-one-book/.

Prepare for the next emergency

September is National Preparedness Month, the perfect time for people to get their household ready in case an emergency should occur. The American Red Cross prepares all year for disasters and urges everyone to “Be Red Cross Ready,” too.

“Disasters can happen anywhere, at any time, even in your home,” Scott R. Salemme, Greater Chesapeake Region American Red Cross CEO, said in a press release. “During National Preparedness Month, we ask you to take three action steps — get an emergency kit, make an emergency plan and be informed — so you and your loved ones can react quickly if an emergency occurs.”

The Red Cross urges everyone to take three important action steps to get prepared:

• Build a kit: Build an easy-to-carry emergency preparedness kit that you can use at home or take with you if you must evacuate. Include items such as water, non-perishable food, a flashlight and extra batteries, a battery-powered radio, first aid kit and medications.

• Make a plan: Talk with members of your household about what to do during emergencies. Plan what to do in case everyone is separated and choose two places to meet — one near your home in case of a sudden emergency such as a fire, and another outside your neighborhood, in case you cannot return home or are asked to evacuate.

• Be informed: Know what kinds of emergency situations may occur where you live, where you work, and where you go to school. Get trained in First Aid and CPR/AED so you’ll know what to do in an emergency if help is delayed. Don’t forget your pets, plan for them, too.

La Plata physical therapists receive board certification

University of Maryland Charles Regional Rehabilitation in La Plata has announced that two of their team members, physical therapists Amol Bakre and Lourdes Potestades, have received orthopaedic specialist certification.

According to UM Charles Regional Rebilitation’s blog, only 10% of physical therapists have achieved this designation, and are usually identified by the title “OCS” following their name.

“While any physical therapist can specialize in orthopaedics, becoming a board-certified specialist requires a rigorous certification process that spans over a decade of a therapist’s career.”

Requirements include completing 2,000 hours of physical therapy over 10 years, passing a 200-question certification test and committing to continuing education and ongoing professional development. Those with Orthopaedic Specialist Certification must recertify every 10 years.

So.Md. American Red Cross elects new board members

The Southern Maryland Chapter of the American Red Cross announced that Richard Tait of Arnold will serve as chairman of the chapter’s board of directors for a one-year term that began earlier this month. Tait and other board members were elected in proceedings at Anne Arundel Community College recently.

Tait is COO of Kaizen Approach Inc., a cybersecurity consulting firm, a University of Maryland University College graduate and a U.S. Navy veteran.

“I am truly honored to be elected the American Red Cross Board Chair of Southern Maryland,” Tait said. “I look forward to leading a dedicated team of volunteers in writing a new chapter for the Red Cross of Southern Maryland. Our long-term goal is to become a top performing chapter and be recognized as a diverse and inclusive board of choice for volunteers, donors, and employees, while offering the highest level of compassionate service to our clients.”

The highly visible role works cooperatively with the Southern Maryland Chapter’s executive director to ensure the American Red Cross’ goals and mission are achieved. The population served by the chapter ranges between 500,000 and one million that reside in Anne Arundel, Calvert, Charles and St. Mary’s counties.

The following were also elected as new members of the board of directors to serve a three-year term:

• Mary-Ann Burkhart, chief, Anne Arundel County State’s Attorney’s Office.

• Joshua Burnett, business owner.

• Ignacio Goya, pastor and director of Chesapeake Conference of the Seventh Day Adventist Church.

• Whitney Harmel, director of Strategic Partnerships at the Maryland Chamber of Commerce

• Jeremy Tucker, emergency room physician.

The board of directors is composed of representatives from many different community sectors. The group develops the vision for the chapter and determines the policies that guide decisions. The board also ensures that the local Red Cross unit is an effective steward of our donors’ contributions. Board members are selected based on their individual expertise as well as their commitment to the American Red Cross humanitarian mission.

Governor proclaims International Underground Railroad Month

Governor Larry Hogan (R) has proclaimed September as International Underground Railroad Month, which recognizes Maryland as the most powerful destination for authentic Underground Railroad history. It also commemorates all those involved in the Underground Railroad, including Maryland’s courageous Harriet Tubman, the brilliant orator Frederick Douglass, and thousands of freedom seekers.

“Maryland has the most documented successful escapes, and was heavily active in the Underground Railroad,” Hogan said. “Recognizing International Underground Railroad Month in Maryland honors the heroism of many brave men, women, and children who took a dangerous journey along the Underground Railroad and those who fought for their freedom.”

Visitors can explore the powerful history and stories of courage through interpretive materials, tours, attractions and guides as they visit Maryland’s Network to Freedom sites. The Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway provides visitors with the opportunity to walk in Tubman’s footsteps, while the “Following in His Footsteps: Maryland’s Frederick Douglass Driving Tour” traces Douglass’s story around the state.

Maryland, as a true epicenter of the Underground Railroad, was home to many of the Underground Railroad’s leaders. Throughout the state, partners have come together to tell the stories of Tubman and Douglass, as well as Henry Highland Garnet, Josiah Henson, the William Still family and J.W.C. Pennington.

Today marks the 181st anniversary of Frederick Douglass’s self-liberation from Baltimore’s President Street Station. Sept. 17 will mark the 170th anniversary of Harriet Tubman’s self-liberation from Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

For more information and to plan the journey along the Underground Railroad, visit visitmaryland.org/ugrr.

Hospice golf tourney is Oct. 11

The Hospice of Charles County Golf Tournament fundraiser is set for Friday, Oct. 11, and sponsorship opportunities are available.

Held at the Swan Point Yacht and Country Club, at 11550 Swan Point Road, the tournament will begin with a shotgun start at 9 a.m., with check-in and breakfast starting at 7:30. For those note hitting the links, the Sip & Swing is at 11 a.m. with golf lessons and a wine and food tasting at 11:45.

Awards include: Longest Drive, Best Dressed Foursome, Closest to the Pin, Best Decorated Cart, Captain’s Choice and Best Ball.

To pitch in as a sponsor or to register a foursome, call Gwen Russell at 301-861-5315, or go to donate.hospiceofcharlescounty.org.

Comptroller seeking nominations for Schaefer Award

Comptroller Peter Franchot (D) announced that his office is once again accepting nominations for the William Donald Schaefer Helping People Award. The deadline for submitting nominations is Monday, Sept. 30.

Established in 2012, the award honors the unparalleled legacy of public service left by former mayor, governor and comptroller William Donald Schaefer and is presented in each of Maryland’s 23 counties and Baltimore City to individuals and organizations with an unwavering commitment to helping people.

“Maryland is full of selfless individuals and remarkable groups that prioritize the lives of others, fulfilling unmet needs to improve vulnerable communities,” Franchot, who will personally present the award to each recipient beginning late this year, said in a press release. “Every year, I hear so many inspiring stories of people around our state doing amazing work that it’s become to difficult to pick just one winner in each jurisdiction.”

Award recipients will be selected on their demonstration of:

• Improving the community.

• Promptly responding to a citizen problem through effective government intervention.

• Directly aiding the most vulnerable populations.

• Establishing a public/private partnership to improve the lives of fellow Marylanders.

Nominations submitted in previous years but not selected may be resent. To submit a nomination, visit content.govdelivery.com/attachments/MDCOMP/2019/08/29/file_attachments/1275506/WDS Nomination Form 2019-20.pdf.

Print out and complete the form and either fax it to 410-974-2045 or attach it as a pdf and email abrody@comp.state.md.us. For more information or for questions about the award, call 410-260-6346.

USDA helps ag businesses lower energy costs

Acting assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Joel Baxley is encouraging farmers, rural small businesses and agricultural producers to apply for financing in a key U.S. Department of Agriculture program that provides loan guarantees to help rural small businesses lower their energy costs, according to a USDA news release.

USDA accepts applications for REAP funding year-round. Potential applicants should contact their state USDA Rural Development office for additional information.

REAP funding can be used for renewable energy systems such as anaerobic digesters, biomass, geothermal, hydropower, wind and solar. It also can be used to make energy efficiency improvements to heating, ventilation and cooling systems; insulation; and lighting and refrigeration. Below are some examples of USDA’s REAP investments.

Edgehill Farms, an ag tourism center in Oakland, Ky., received a $34,596 loan guarantee to install a 34.8-kilowatt photovoltaic array system on the roof of its ham processing facility. The system will generate approximately 45,000 kilowatt hours annually that will be sold directly to the local utility, earning $4,448 for the firm annually.

In Magnolia, N.C., Optima KV received a $6.5 million loan guarantee for an anaerobic digester that will help hog producers dispose of waste by converting it to energy. The project aggregates multiple biogas streams at a refinery. The resulting natural gas is then transported via pipeline to a power plant to generate electricity. The digester produces additional revenue for hog producers and a cleaner environment.

In April 2017, the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity was established to identify legislative, regulatory and policy changes that could promote agriculture and prosperity in rural communities. In January 2018, the task force’s findings included 31 recommendations to align the federal government with state, local and tribal governments to take advantage of opportunities that exist in rural America. Supporting the rural workforce was a cornerstone recommendation of the task force.

USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov.

Md. School for the Blind appoints new principal

The Maryland School for the Blind recently appointed Nicholas Pagani as its new principal of the General Academic Program, according to a press release from the school.

Pagani has been on the staff at the school for six years as a teacher of the visually impaired before being promoted to an assistant principal in 2015. He received a bachelor of science in special education from Northern University in Illinois in 2005 and a master’s degree in educational leadership and administration from Capella University in Minnesota in 2014.

In addition to holding teaching and administrative positions at MSB, Pagani has taught students who are blind or visually impaired, including those with multiple disabilities at the Colorado School for the Deaf and Blind and the Philip Rock Center and School and the Chicago Lighthouse for the Blind in Illinois. He and his family currently reside in Parkville.

The Maryland School for the Blind is a private, statewide resource center providing outreach, education and residential programs to children and youth from infancy to age 21 who are blind or visually impaired, including those with multiple disabilities. Annually, the school serves 65% of the 2,000 students identified in Maryland who are blind or visually impaired from all 24 Maryland jurisdictions through its on-campus and outreach programs.

For more information, contact Dotty Raynor at 410-319-5722, dottyr@mdschblind.org, or visit www.marylandschoolfortheblind.org.

CyberTrip Advisor gives top tech travel tips

Family trips are in with summer in full swing. In fact, nearly two-thirds of American families will head out of town this summer. Theme parks, cruises and international travel top the 2019 summer travel list. As everyone knows, no matter where you’re headed — a new or familiar location — being continuously connected is part of the plan. While having family fun is the goal, the National Cyber Security Alliance also urges travelers to be cyber safe while away from home by following some simple practices to help keep your devices safe and your vacation plans from going awry.

Misplacing or having devices stolen can put a damper on vacation plans. It can easily happen to anyone.

• Set up the “find my phone” feature on your devices. This will allow you to find, remotely wipe data and/or disable the device if it gets into the wrong hands.

• Make sure all devices are password protected. Use a passcode or security feature (like a finger swipe) to lock your phone or mobile device in case either are misplaced or stolen.

Get Wise About Public Wi-Fi: Using public Wi-Fi at the airport or hotel is very convenient, but wireless networks and hotspots are not secure. This means that anyone using the same Wi-Fi network could potentially see what you are doing on your laptop or smartphone while you are connected.

• Limit what you do on public Wi-Fi and avoid logging in to accounts that have sensitive information such as banking and email.

• Consider using a trusted virtual private network or a personal/mobile hotspot if you need a more secure connection.

• Set your device settings to ask permission before connecting to a Wi-Fi network.

Be in the know about how to secure your continuously connected life by signing up for NCSA’s newsletters at staysafeonline.org/email-signup/.