The Southern Maryland Family History Study Group will host its second annual Southern Maryland Genealogy and History Fair Day Conference from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 29, in the BI Building at the College of Southern Maryland, La Plata campus, at 8730 Mitchell Road in La Plata.

The event will feature 10 speakers presenting on a variety of subjects related to genealogy and the history of Anne Arundel, Calvert, Charles, Prince George's and St. Mary's counties. Local groups, organizations and societies related to genealogy and history will have tables. There will also be mini-family reunion tables, tours of the Friendship House and more.

The cost of the event per attendee is $25 per person. There is an additional $15 charge for the optional catered meal provided by the college, which will include a Danish or muffin, coffee and a boxed lunch. Attendees may also bring their own bag lunch.

No individual registrations will be taken at the door. To register or for more information, call Wanda Simmons at 301-752-5298 or email cbs6395@comcast.net.

Potomac cleanup removed nearly 377,000 pounds of trash

This past April, the Alice Ferguson Foundation and dozens of partners celebrated the 31st Annual Potomac River Watershed Cleanup. More than 300 trash cleanup events occurred throughout the Potomac River Watershed, including events in Maryland, Washington, D.C., Virginia and West Virginia.

According to a news release from the Alice Ferguson Foundation, site coordinators from 286 of the 318 registered cleanups around the watershed captured and reported their cleanup data, and for 2019 the cleanup collected 376,933 pounds of trash — 30,000 more pounds than the 2018 cleanups.

Cleanup volunteers contribute citizen science data that includes the total pounds of trash removed and a count of the common trash items they collect. That data is aggregated by the Alice Ferguson Foundation’s Trash Free Potomac Watershed Initiative and serves as a data point for advocates promoting waste-reduction legislation, including the plastic bag fees and the Styrofoam ban.

This year, the cleanup’s focus was on single-use beverage containers including plastic bottles, glass bottles and aluminum cans. According to the Container Recycling Institute, “more than 60 million plastic bottles end up in landfills and incinerators every day — a total of about 22 billion last year.” Volunteers participating in the Foundation's flagship Piscataway Park Cleanup on April 13 collected 71 bags full of single-use beverage containers with an estimated 50 single-use beverage containers in each bag — the majority of which were plastic water bottles.

The Potomac River provides the drinking water for 80% of the residents within the watershed. Rising global awareness of the immediate threat of plastic pollution has activated volunteers locally to be thinking and mobilizing to protect and maintain the beauty of our region’s waterways. Since 1989, the annual Potomac River Cleanup has engaged more than 150,000 volunteers to collect over 7 million pounds of trash and prevent it from entering the Potomac River.

Community leaders, nonprofits, regional stakeholders and volunteers will partner once again for a cleaner watershed at the 32nd Annual Potomac River Watershed Cleanup on April 18, 2020.

Registration now open for ‘Little Pirates’

Registration is now open for the popular “Little Pirates” program at Historic St. Mary’s City, at 18751 Hogaboom Lane in St. Mary’s City. The program, designed for children ages 3 to 6, is offered from 10 to 11 a.m. in two sessions, July 17 or 18. As a part of the morning, children will “become” a pirate, play games, go on a treasure hunt and storm Maryland Dove, a representation of a 17th century tall ship. Admission is $10 per child ($8 for Friends members) with one accompanying adult free. The fee includes full-day admission to the museum. Payment in full is required at time of registration, which will close on July 10.

For more information or registration, contact 240-895-4990 or email Info@HSMCdigsHistory.org.

Buy Local Challenge celebration is July 29

The Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission, a division of the Tri-County Council for Southern Maryland, has announced that the third annual Southern Maryland Buy Local Challenge Celebration will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. on Monday, July 29, at Spider Hall Farm in Prince Frederick.

The evening celebration will be set up farmer's market festival style on the grounds of the 362-acre working family farm, located directly off Route 231 in Calvert County. Spider Hall’s ice cream shop, Mrs. Moo’s Corner, will be open during the event as well.

The public is invited to experience the bounty of Maryland’s farms, food and fun, as well as the creative talents of local artists and craftsmen. Over 45 Maryland farm vendors will be participating selling farm-raised meats, cheese, produce, seafood, baked goods, jams and jellies, honey, ice cream, farm made soaps and scents, plus tastings and sales from Maryland’s wineries, distilleries and breweries.

Event highlights include food trucks with menus featuring locally sourced ingredients, a cooking demo, live music, carriage rides, pony rides, farm playground activities for the kids and a raffle with donated prizes from the participating vendors. Ticket holders also receive an insulated shopping bag to keep their purchases cool “from farm to fridge."

The Buy Local Challenge Celebration is a bookend event for the statewide Buy Local Challenge Week which takes place annually during the last full week of July. Jointly promoted by SMADC and Maryland Department of Agriculture, the BLC encourages consumers around the state to purchase Maryland agricultural products during Buy Local Week.

Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased in advance on the Event page at www.buylocalchallenge.com. Please note that the event is rain or shine.

Chesapeake license plate selected Best Plate of 2018

The Maryland Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Administration and the Chesapeake Bay Trust were recently honored by the Automobile License Plate Collector’s Association with its Best Plate of 2018 Award for the new Protect the Chesapeake license plate design. The award recognizes how license plates serve an important role in identifying vehicles and also provide a colorful snapshot of state geography and culture.

The 2018 Protect the Chesapeake license plate was unveiled in October and can be purchased through MDOT MVA and the Bay Trust websites. The award-winning design was the culmination of a process that engaged Maryland-based artists and incorporated input from thousands of Marylanders, resulting in more than 250 potential designs. TM Designs, a Frederick-based design firm and member of the Maryland State Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program, created the winning design. More than 30,000 of the plates have been sold, with proceeds benefiting the Chesapeake Bay Trust as it works to restore Maryland’s shorelines, provide environmental education for students and fund the beautification of local rivers and streams.

Funds raised through the sale of the Chesapeake Bay Plate help the Chesapeake Bay Trust provide about 400 grants per year to schools, faith-based organizations, civic associations, homeowners associations, watershed groups, environmental organizations and others. For more information on the Bay Trust, go to cbtrust.org/.

CyberTrip Advisor gives top tech travel tips

June means school’s out and family trips are in. 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/.

AG joins partnership to combat elder financial abuse

To assist Marylanders in identifying and combating fraud, especially against seniors and other vulnerable adults, the Office of the Attorney General participated in a statewide public awareness campaign during PROTECT Week (Protecting Older Americans from Financial Exploitation), June 10 to 15. Other partners of this campaign include AARP Maryland, Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Maryland, the Maryland Department of Aging, the Commissioner of Financial Regulation, the Office of the Comptroller and other consumer protection groups.

PROTECT Week events included anti-fraud workshops and opportunities to shred sensitive documents to keep them out of the hands of identity thieves.

In Maryland more than 54,000 cases of fraud were reported in 2018, according to the Federal Trade Commission, with losses totaling more than $18 million. An increasingly common scheme is the “grandparent” scam, in which callers pretend the victim’s relative is in jail and needs bail money wired. Other popular cons include “lottery scams,” in which victims are persuaded that they have won a contest and have to send money upfront to pay the taxes before receiving their winnings, and “tech support” scams, in which thieves seek to gain access to the victim’s personal computer through phone calls, emails or pop-up ads on the computer.

Reporting financial exploitation of elders can help put a stop to this kind of abuse. For additional information, contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at 410-528-8662.

Marine wildlife returning to Maryland waters

Marine wildlife — dolphins, manatees, sea turtles, whales and others — are making their seasonal return to both the Chesapeake Bay and its tidal tributaries, as well as the coastal bays. The Maryland Department of Natural Resources reminds anyone who has seen either a marine mammal or sea turtle in Maryland waters to report it to the state Marine Mammal and Sea Turtle Stranding program at 1-800-628-9944.

In addition to calling the hotline, anyone who finds a stranded marine mammal, alive or dead, should follow these steps if possible:

• Do not touch the animal.

• Record your location using latitude/longitude, street address, and/or description with landmarks.

• Estimate and record the length, size, color, noticeable body parts and movements (if alive).

• Take photos of the animal.

• Stand by the animal at a safe distance until stranding staff are able to reach you.

While the most common visitors are the bottlenose dolphin and loggerhead sea turtles, more than 25 other marine mammals and four species of sea turtles have been recorded in Maryland waters.

The department’s Marine Mammal and Sea Turtle Stranding program works in conjunction with the National Aquarium in responding to reports of marine animals throughout Maryland’s waters and coastlines.

Marine mammals are specifically protected by federal law, the Marine Mammal Protection Act. In addition, sea turtles and whales are both protected under the 1973 Endangered Species Act. It is illegal to harass, capture or collect these marine species, alive or dead, including their bones or any body parts.

School system earns workplace wellness award

Charles County Public Schools reached the bronze level in the Healthiest Maryland Businesses Wellness at Work awards. HMB is a statewide initiative through the Maryland Department of Health that supports and promotes wellness in the workplace, according to a press release.

“A healthy workforce is a productive one,” Superintendent Kimberly Hill said in the release. “By supporting healthy lifestyle choices and providing weight management and fitness options for employees, we believe the long-term effects will benefit CCPS and its staff.”

The CCPS wellness initiative includes an at-work Weight Watchers program for employees and their families, and emails highlighting health-related topics sent each month to employees with information about the flu, skin cancer, physical activity, sleep and other topics. Earlier in the year, four Webinar Wednesdays were offered covering topics such as diabetes awareness, raising healthy children, brain health and creating a work-life balance.

Healthy cooking classes taught by the culinary arts instructor at North Point High School are offered to CCPS employees on a first-come, first-served basis and immediately fill up with a waiting list. A produce stand was open during summer and fall at the Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building to allow employees and visitors an opportunity to purchase locally-grown produce. The stand reopened this month.

Fitness classes were offered in spring and fall 2018 with 223 participants in the fall and 244 in the spring — an increase of almost 10%. Classes were offered again in Spring 2019. The Keep Well Program partners with CCPS to provide discounted World Gym memberships to employees. Participation among CCPS employees and their families jumped by 15% in the 2018-19 school year from 310 participants to 356. Future plans include a CCPS 5K race slated to be held in the fall.

Award recipients will be recognized June 7 at the 10th annual Worksite Health and Wellness Symposium in Baltimore.