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Maryland State Treasurer Nancy Kopp Stepping Down

Maryland State Treasurer Nancy K. Kopp announced today her plans to resign by the end of this year. The second longest serving Maryland State Treasurer, and second woman to serve in the role, Treasurer Kopp was first elected in February 2002, and subsequently re-elected to five full four-year terms. Treasurer Kopp announced her intention in a letter sent today to members of the Maryland General Assembly. Following 50 years of public service, Treasurer Kopp hopes to spend more time with her husband, children, and grandchildren and travel extensively. “Serving as Maryland’s Treasurer has been a great privilege, as well as a terrific challenge. I have cherished the opportunity to serve and believe that, working together, we have made a real contribution to the benefit of our state and fellow citizens. Maryland is strong; a model of good, prudent fiscal management and investment,” said Treasurer Kopp. “We have invested in our collective future — in public education, great universities, a sound human and physical infrastructure, and in the many other ways in which we work to assure strong communities and decent lives for all Marylanders.” As State Treasurer, Nancy Kopp has served as the State’s chief representative dealing with bond rating agencies and banking firms, responsible for receiving, depositing, investing, and distributing State funds, as well as anticipating the monetary needs of the State. During her tenure, Treasurer Kopp has overseen the restructuring of the Office’s banking and investment functions, leading to enhanced technology and streamlined operations, in which hundreds of millions of transactions are reconciled to the penny daily. In 2002, Treasurer Kopp initiated the first modern Maryland bond refunding program, resulting in direct savings to taxpayers of more than $461 million over 20 years. This prudent management of debt and investment has helped Maryland sustain the coveted AAA bond rating, including during the turbulent times of the Great Recession and continuing COVID-19 pandemic. As a Constitutional Officer, the Treasurer leads several key State Boards and financial planning committees, including Maryland’s Capital Debt Affordability Committee, Commission on State Debt, Board of Trustees of the Maryland State Retirement and Pension Systems and the Maryland 529 College Savings Board. Unique among the Treasurer’s responsibilities is her position on the Board of Public Works with Maryland’s Governor and Comptroller, which oversees a substantial portion of the procurement contracts of the State, as well as her membership on the Maryland Climate Change Commission and Maryland Environmental Service Board of Directors. Prior to her election as State Treasurer, Nancy Kopp represented the Bethesda area in the Maryland House of Delegates for 27 years, where she served on the House Appropriations Committee, and as Deputy Majority Leader and Speaker Pro Tem. During her legislative career, Treasurer Kopp was named by her colleagues as the most effective woman legislator and one of the ten most effective members of the House of Delegates. Maryland State law requires the Senate President and House Speaker to appoint a committee to review candidates for the opening. The process will begin in the coming weeks. 


St. Mary's Commission for Women Seeks Community Input

LEONARDTOWN, MD - October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month; statistics indicate that one in four women have experienced violence in an intimate relationship. Therefore, the St. Mary’s County Commission for Women has made addressing Domestic Violence issues a primary focus.
 
Domestic Violence has long been considered a private matter - not anyone else’s business. It is our business: our neighbors, our families, our schools, our churches and our places of employment. It affects the wealthy and poor alike, regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation or gender; and it affects not only adults but also children. Domestic violence impacts our entire community.
 
 
 
In 2017, the Maryland Commission for Women held a listening tour to determine what issues most concern the women of our state. Domestic Violence was the number one issue identified. In St. Mary’s County, it was also the number one issue of concern.
 
 
 
Since statistics tell us that women between 18 and 24 are the most vulnerable, we continue to work diligently to help young people learn the warning signs. For the past several years, the Commission for Women has partnered with the public schools to educate our youth about developing healthy relationships that they can carry into adulthood. We’re currently collaborating with the County Health Department’s Violence, Injury and Trauma Task Force (VITAT) to inform youth and their parents about the warning signs and dangers of unhealthy relationships.
 
 
 
A Commission for Women member serves on the Family Violence Coordinating Council, a group of the many agencies that provide service to victims in the county. This affiliation allows us to stay informed of current needs, resources and statistics in our county.
 
This complex issue requires and deserves a multifaceted approach. We’re asking community members, victims, or friends to share their experiences and concerns with us. Let us know what resources or services would make your journey out of abuse easier and safer.
 
 
 
You may share your ideas in multiple ways. Contact a Commission for Women member by:
 
Phone 301-475-4200, ext.1680, and leave a message. Your call will be returned.
Send an email to: commissionforwomen@stmarysmd.com.
Contact us at www.facebook.com/StMarysCountyCommissionforWomen/.
Mail to St. Mary’s County Commission for Women, P.O. Box 659, Leonardtown, MD 20650.
 
 
If you or your loved one is in an abusive situation and you need immediate help, contact The Southern Maryland Center for Family Advocacy at 301-373-4141 or call 911.

Maryland Citizens Redistricting Commission Approves Final Proposed Draft Maps

BALTIMORE, MD – The Maryland Citizens Redistricting Commission (Citizens Commission), a balanced commission created by Governor Larry Hogan to draw fair and representative legislative and congressional district maps for the 2022 elections, will continue its third round of virtual meetings on Wednesday, October 20 at 6:00 p.m. Marylanders are encouraged to join and participate in the public meeting.

Following the October 13 meeting, the commissioners approved their final proposed draft delegate map, which is now posted along with their final draft senate and congressional maps at redistricting.maryland.gov.

During Round 3, the Citizens Commission is presenting the final drafts of its maps to the public for input. Round 3 meetings allow Marylanders to comment and discuss the final proposed draft  legislative and congressional maps drawn by the Citizens Commission. These maps were created following 32 public meetings that have occurred since May 5 and take into account nearly 80 maps submitted by the public.

The Citizens Commission continues to encourage the public to create and submit their own maps, comment on the draft maps via email redistricting.commission@maryland.gov

For information about how to provide testimony at the public meeting, please click here. The meeting, which includes closed captioning and live Spanish translation, will conclude upon the completion of testimony from the last speaker or discussion by the Citizens Commission.

The user-friendly map portal is open and Marylanders are able to submit additional maps based on the Citizens Commission’s updated legislative and congressional maps as the Citizens Commission continues their work to submit final proposed maps to Governor Hogan.

This is the third and final round of public meetings – the first round was a listening tour to discuss redistricting in general; the second round involved the discussion of proposed Citizens Commission redistricting maps as well as citizen submitted redistricting maps; and the third round will allow for discussion and testimony of further developed legislative and congressional district maps. Round three public meetings are being held at 6 p.m. each Wednesday evening in October.

WHO: Maryland Citizens Redistricting Commission

WHAT: Virtual Meeting with Maryland Citizens Redistricting Commission
(See agenda)

WHEN: Wednesday, October 20 at 6:00 p.m. until all speakers are complete

HOW TO JOIN THE MEETING OR SUBMIT TESTIMONY IN ADVANCE OF OR DURING THE VIRTUAL MEETING: To register for the meeting, sign up to give live testimony from your computer, tablet, or smartphone, or to simply watch the meeting, click here. The meeting will be streamed in both English and Spanish. You can also dial in by calling (301) 715-8592 and entering the webinar ID 881 0841 4417. You can also submit your comments electronically or send a redistricting question to redistricting.commission@maryland.gov.


Maryland State Department of Education's Plan for ARP Funds to Support K-12 Schools and Students Approved

The Maryland State Department of Education announced that it will continue its work to accelerate student achievement and support social and emotional health with the U.S. Department of Education (Department)’s approval of the State’s American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ARP ESSER) plan and disbursement of  remaining ARP ESSER funds.

The U.S. Department of Education allocated an approximate $1.95 billion in ARP ESSER funds to Maryland and local school systems to meet the urgent needs of schools and students in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Given our strong return to full-time, in-person instruction, these funds are critical in maintaining safe and meaningful learning environments for every Maryland student,” said Maryland Governor Larry Hogan. “With our students back in the classroom, the remainder of these ARP ESSER funds will provide the needed resources for our schools to not only recover from the pandemic, but come back stronger.”

“Our mission to build a bright future for every student requires us to go bold as education leaders. The approval of Maryland’s American Rescue Plan enables us to do just that. With this federal distribution we can truly be innovative in our approach to accelerating student achievement, supporting mental, social, and emotional health, and addressing disrupted education,” said State Superintendent of Schools Mohammed Choudhury. “We are seizing this moment to ensure that every Maryland student has access to excellent educational opportunities and strong outcomes. We will not accept a return to normal, because normal was not good enough, especially for those who have been historically underserved.”

The ARP ESSER required State and Local School Systems to incorporate wide-ranging community input in the development of strategic plans for supporting students, schools, and school communities most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Each state was required to submit a state plan which promoted comprehensive planning by states and LSSs for the effective use of ARP ESSER funds to reopen schools safely beginning in spring 2021; support sustained access to in-person instruction throughout the spring, summer, and into next school year; and to address the academic, social, emotional, and mental health needs of students.

Maryland’s plan addresses:

  • Accelerating student re-engagement: MSDE is focusing on the return to in-person instruction for all students in the 2021-2022 school year along with necessary supports, especially in the areas of technology and broadband access and outreach, to ensure that students and parents and families remain engaged. MSDE will implement acceleration strategies that support students by providing more time in class, more dedicated attention in class, and exposure to grade-level learning. Most school systems are using a tiered approach to support all students, offering varying levels of support to students based on identified need.
     
  • Supporting mental and social-emotional health: MSDE is emphasizing the mental health and social-emotional learning (SEL) needs of students, particularly among underserved students most affected by remote learning. MSDE will invest $10 million of the ARP ESSER funds for regional Maryland School Mental Health Response Program teams, and $3.2 million to address adverse childhood experiences.
     
  • Addressing the impact of disrupted instruction: MSDE will implement evidence-based strategies to lessen the impact of disrupted instruction on student learning that has occurred over the past 15 months, and support local school systems as they do the same.
     
  • Students most impacted: The MSDE Task Force on Achieving Academic Equity and Excellence for Black Boys (AAEEBB) has developed several evidence-based recommendations to address the inequities experienced by Black boys across the state. Grant funding will be allocated to districts to implement the recommendations of the task force’s report, focusing on: 1) social-emotional and behavioral supports; 2) recruitment and training of effective teachers and administrators; and 3) curricula and instruction. Examples of evidence-based recommendations include: de-escalation and intervention training for all school staff, providing financial incentives to recruit and retain diverse teachers and administrators, and coordinating structured mentoring programs.

Maryland’s ARP ESSER Plan is available here: http://marylandpublicschools.org/about/Documents/ARP-ESSER/ARP_ESSER_StatePlan.pdf

The American Rescue Plan (ARP) Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds are available to states and local school systems through September 30, 2024.


Maryland Congressional Delegation Announces More Than $3.6 Million for Chesapeake Bay Watershed Restoration Projects

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen and Congressmen Steny H. Hoyer, Dutch Ruppersberger, John Sarbanes, Kweisi Mfume, Anthony G. Brown, Jamie B. Raskin and David Trone (all D-Md.) today announced $3,683,392 in federal funding to support habitat restoration, habitat management, planning and implementation of projects in Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay watershed. Maryland received more than one-third of the $10 million in new investments announced throughout the six watershed states and the District of Columbia.

 

"The healthier the Chesapeake Bay, the healthier our communities," said the lawmakers. "This funding is an important step in maintaining and revitalizing one of our region’s most valuable natural resources. We must continue to work together as a community to reduce pollution and restore habitat in the Chesapeake Bay and local waters that support a strong economy and a balanced ecosystem.”

 

Funding comes National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), in partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency through the Chesapeake Bay Program Office. These federal resources will be leveraged for local restoration projects, including restoring habitats, improving waterways, cleaning up and restoring polluted rivers, strengthening wildlife species and implementing water quality improvement practices across the watershed.  Awardees include:

 

  • $1,131,439 for Habitat Restoration. Awardees include:

 

  • $2,377,098 for Habitat Management. Awardees include:

 

  • $174,855 for Planning, Research and Monitoring. Awardees include:

 

Additional information about the Grants to Restore the Chesapeake Bay Watershed can be found here


Cardin, Van Hollen Push to Keep Major Investments in Affordable Housing in Build Back Better Package

WASHINGTON – As Maryland and many other states across the U.S. confront an unprecedented housing affordability crisis, U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen (Both D-Md.) are working closely with their colleagues to ensure that comprehensive housing investments stay in President Biden’s Build Back Better plan. In a letter to President Joe Biden, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Cardin, Van Hollen and more than 30 senators called for making affordable housing an urgent issue for the Build Back Better Budget. 

 

Also signing the letter are: Senators Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Rev. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Ben Ray Lujan (D-N.M.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Catherine Cortez-Masto (D-Nev.), Angus King (I-Maine), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Jon Ossoff (D-Ga.), and Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.).

 

“The Build Back Better plan is a rare opportunity to deliver critical investments that we have failed to make for far too long,” the senators wrote. “Housing challenges are different in every community, and we need different tools to address the growing problems they face. But with comprehensive investments, we can create, preserve, and improve millions of homes so that we bring down the cost of housing and improve its condition. And an investment in safe, affordable housing is central to the success of proposed investments in education, health, and our local economies. At the same time, investments in sustainable, energy-efficient housing can lower families’ bills, make our homes and communities more resilient to climate-driven disasters, and reduce our impact on the planet—all while creating good paying jobs.”

 

The senators noted that housing is the most expensive item in most families’ budget, and that more than 10 million families spend more than half their income on housing each month. As the Build Back Better plan moves through Congress in the coming weeks, this moment represents a unique opportunity to reverse these trends and improve the day-to-day economic realities for millions of families across America.

 

The full text of the letter follows.

 

###

 

Dear Mr. President, Speaker Pelosi, and Majority Leader Schumer:

 

We write to express the urgent need to invest in housing within legislation to enact President Biden’s Build Back Better plan.

 

Housing is the most expensive part of most families’ budget. Nearly a quarter of renters – 10.5 million families – spend more than half their income on housing each month, and too many families who want to own their own home are locked out of the market. Nearly 19 million people live in a food desert, and 35 million homes have at least one health or safety hazard, including more than 4 million homes with young children that have lead paint hazards. Others require renovation to help an elderly family member or a person with a disability to remain in their home. And still more families do not have adequate housing at all. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic began, more than 580,000 people, including children and seniors, had no safe place to stay on any given night, and more than 3.7 million evictions were filed during the course of a year.

 

The Build Back Better plan is a rare opportunity to deliver critical investments that we have failed to make for far too long. Housing challenges are different in every community, and we need different tools to address the growing problems they face. But with comprehensive investments, we can create, preserve, and improve millions of homes so that we bring down the cost of housing and improve its condition. And an investment in safe, affordable housing is central to the success of proposed investments in education, health, and our local economies. At the same time, investments in sustainable, energy-efficient housing can lower families’ bills, make our homes and communities more resilient to climate-driven disasters, and reduce our impact on the planet – all while creating good paying jobs. 

 

Last month, the House Financial Services Committee advanced legislation to provide investments to expand affordable rental housing, help families access homeownership, remove lead paint and other health hazards from homes, repair public and assisted rural housing, address climate change, and invest in neighborhoods. Build Back Better legislation must include these kinds of comprehensive investments in rental housing, affordable homeownership, and community needs in urban, rural, and Tribal areas.

 

To invest in American families, we must invest in the homes and the communities where those families live. As we work to create a Build Back Better package, we must make investments in housing opportunity a central pillar of the plan because, as Evicted author Matthew Desmond wrote last week, “the success of all other opportunity-expanding initiatives depends on it.”

 

The COVID-19 crisis revealed the depth of our country’s affordable housing crisis at the same time that it revealed how important our homes are to our health, our well-being, and our lives. We must take this opportunity to build back better by addressing housing needs in communities across the nation.

 

Sincerely,


Department of Recreation & Parks Seeking Public Input for Land Preservation, Parks and Recreation Plan

LEONARDTOWN, MD - St. Mary's County, Recreation and Parks Department is developing an updated Land Preservation, Parks and Recreation Plan (LPPRP). Residents, business owners, special interest groups, and other interested parties should attend and participate in a Public Forum on this topic, Thursday, Oct. 28, 2021, at Wicomico Shores Golf Course.

The LPPRP will examine existing parks, recreational facilities, programs and services; and determine the community's current and future needs. The plan will prioritize the needs and desires for upgrading and improving parks, recreational facilities, amenities, programs and services.

In addition to the Public Forum, there is a needs assessment survey available. The results will help determine priorities for St. Mary's County recreational facilities and activities as identified by residents. Additionally, assessments for use patterns, existing barriers to usage and identified potential partnerships will be examined. The results of the survey and the Public Forum will help provide ways to best support the community's recreational needs. Public input is crucial, and all are invited to participate in the survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/St-Marys-LPPRP-Survey

St. Mary's County has hired GreenPlay, LLC, a nationally known parks and recreation management consulting firm to oversee the plan. If you have any questions regarding either the LPPRP or survey, please contact Christy Bishop, project manager, 301-475-4200, ext. 1811. 

 


Missing Person-Lavonte King

The St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office is seeking the whereabouts of Lavonte Devow King, age 30 of Lexington Park. King is described as a black male, 6’1” and weighs 155 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes.

 

 

Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Lavonte Devow King is asked to contact Detective Trevor Teague at (301) 475-4200 extension 78128 or by email at Trevor.Teague@stmarysmd.com.

 

Citizens may remain anonymous and contact Crime Solvers at (301) 475-3333, or text a tip to “TIP239” plus their message to “CRIMES” (274637). Through the Crime Solvers Program tipsters are eligible for an award of up to $1,000 for information about a crime in St. Mary’s County that leads to an arrest or indictment.

 

For official news and information, follow the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office on Twitter @firstsheriff.

 

Download and Share the St. Mary's Sheriff's Office mobile app: https://apps.myocv.com/share/a48820650


National Weather Service SKYWARN® Class

LEONARDTOWN, MD - The Department of Emergency Services will be hosting an online SKYWARN® – Basics training Monday, Nov. 8, 2021, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

If you are interested in weather and would like to help the local National Weather Service (NWS) office by providing data on the atmosphere that we observe from radar, satellites, and various reporting stations, consider attending the SKYWARN® program Basic course.

This course is a prerequisite for all other courses. Basics I is a good general overview of what it means to be a spotter and the basics of the different weather phenomena that impact the mid-Atlantic. Upon completion of the course, you will be registered in the program by the NWS and will receive a spotter code from the NWS within six weeks. Training in Basics I includes: 

§  The Basic Organization of the National Weather Service

§  The Role and Importance of the SKYWARN® Spotter

§  Reporting of Hazardous Weather

§  NWS Products and the Watch/Warning/Advisory system

§  Thunderstorm, Flooding, Tropical and Winter Weather Threats

§  The Role of Amateur Short-wave (HAM) Radio in the Spotter Program 

 

This SKYWARN® Spotter Class is offered free of charge by the combined effort of the National Weather Service Office in Sterling, VA, and the Department of Emergency Services. This will be a National Weather Service meteorologist led online webinar class and preregistration is required. To register for this online Basics I training go to:

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/skywarn-basics-st-marys-county-md-tickets-191143644787.

For more information, please call 301-475-4200, ext. 2124, or email: ema@stmarysmd.com.


Calvert County Sheriff's Office Incident Report

During the week of October 4 – October 10, deputies of the Calvert County Sheriff’s Office responded to 1,120 calls for service throughout the community.

 

Vehicle Tampering: 21-56570

On October 6, 2021, Deputy Murphy responded to a residence in the 600 block of Clubhouse Drive in Lusby, MD for report of a vehicle tampering. The complainant advised the vehicle’s open hood notification was lit on her dashboard and the only latch for the hood was inside the vehicle. The vehicle owner did not have any issues on Oct. 4 when last driven. There was no evidence of damage or theft.

 

Motor Vehicle Theft: 21-56187

On October 4, 2021, Deputy Aranda responded to 7400 block of Briscoe Turn Road in Owings, MD for the report of a motor vehicle theft. The complainant advised his 2015 Mercedes-Benz was stolen from his driveway sometime between 8 p.m. on Oct. 3 and 8 a.m. on Oct. 4.

 

 

Motor Vehicle Theft: 21-56179

 

On October 4, 2021, Senior Deputy Flynt responded to the 2100 block of Lower Marlboro Road in Owings, MD for the reported stolen vehicle. The complainant advised sometime between 12:01 a.m. and 4 a.m., unknown suspect(s) stole a red 2021 Mazda CX-30 out of the driveway. The complainant’s purse (containing $900 USD and three credit cards) was inside the unlocked vehicle at the time of the theft and also stolen. The vehicle was later located in SE Washington D.C. through the Mazda app; however, the purse and all contents were missing. 

 

 

 

Theft: 21-56718

On October 7, 2021, DFC Wood responded to the 900 block of Skinners Turn Road in Owings, MD for the report of a theft. The complainant advised unknown suspect(s) cut the catalytic converter off of his 2004 Coach Motor Home. The estimated value of stolen property is $500.00.

 

 

Damaged Property: 21-57112

 

On October 9, 2021, DFC R. Shrawder responded to 4000 block of Cortona Dr. in Port Republic, MD for the report of damaged property. The complainant advised the cords to a Halloween decoration in his basement were cut (valued at $200) and two pool ball pockets on his pool table had been damaged (valued at $500). The total value of damaged property is $700.00.

 

ARRESTS

On October 5,20201, DFC N. Buckler responded to the 9000 block of Chesapeake Ave in North Beach for report of a disorderly subject. DFC Buckler observed an intoxicated male, John Willis Fairley, age 54 of Arlington, VA, sitting in a flower pot outside a nearby apartment. Upon making contact with Fairley, a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage was emitting from his person. Fairley had red glassy eyes and was having trouble speaking and could not answer basic questions. EMS arrived on scene to assess Fairley’s condition and Fairley became disorderly yelling curse words and attempted to assault an EMT. Fairley was placed into custody and transported to the Calvert County Detention Center where he was charged with Public Intoxication.

 

On October 8, 2021, Senior Deputy Flynt responded to the Safeway grocery store located at 80 West Dares Beach Road in Prince Frederick, MD for the reported burglary/shoplifter. Contact was made with the complainant who advised an unknown female entered the store thru an unsecured door while the store was closed. The suspect, identified as Stephanie Bermejo, 29 of Suitland, MD, advised she was an employee of the store. Bermejo proceeded to remove a soft drink from one of the drink coolers, passing all points of sale and walked off into the restroom. Deputy Flynt made contact with Bermejo and confirmed she was not a store employee. Bermejo was placed under arrest for Second-Degree Burglary and Theft Less Than $100.

 


COVID-19 Vaccine Requirement/Weekly Screen Expands To Additional Extracurricular Activities For Grades 7-12

Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) has expanded COVID-19 screening requirements to students in Grades 7-12 who participate in CCPS-sponsored extracurricular activities. The expansion is effective immediately for high school students who participate in school marching bands.  

Starting Monday, Oct. 25, students in Grades 7-12 who participate in specific extracurricular activities must provide proof of having been fully COVID-19 vaccinated (completion of the vaccine series, plus 14 days) or participate in the free CCPS COVID-19 weekly screening program. This is the same requirement already in place for CCPS high school student athletes.  

Parents will need to complete a brief one-time registration process for their child to enroll in the screening program. As groups and clubs are beginning to organize and schedule out-of-county trips and competitions, parents should enroll their child as soon as possible if they are in Grades 7-12 and participate in the extracurricular activities listed below. Registration processing takes up to three business days. Click here to register.  

The requirement is effective Oct. 25 and applies to the following extracurricular activities for CCPS students in Grades 7-12.  

  • Band, chorus and orchestra programs (not scheduled classes)  
  • JROTC  
  • Theater and musical productions, drama clubs  
  • Students participating in student government association (SGA)  
  • Students participating in the Charles County Association of Student Councils (CCASC)  
  • Destination Imagination (DI)  
  • Mathematics, Engineering and Science Achievement (MESA)  
  • Key Clubs  
  • Math teams and Math Counts  
  • Mock Trial teams  
  • Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) and Just Say No clubs  
  • Model United Nations  
  • K-Kids clubs  
  • Builders clubs  
  • Robotics clubs and teams  
  • SkillsUSA clubs  
  • Environmental clubs  
  • Best Buddies program  

 

The requirement applies to the above-listed groups as CCPS has determined students in these groups participate or practice regularly in close proximity with each other for extended periods of time, and may also travel for competitions and club-based events. It also supports CCPS in providing continuous opportunities for students to participate in clubs and activities in a safe way.  

This requirement does not apply to any elementary school level activities, or for students in Grade 6. Students in this age range are not currently eligible for COVID-19 vaccinations.  

Students in Grades 7-12 who are part of an extracurricular activity group listed and do not provide proof of a full COVID-19 vaccination or fail to participate in the weekly screening program will not be allowed to participate with the team or group after Oct. 25. Activity and club sponsors will confidentially collect vaccination records from participating students, and have access to a list of students enrolled in the screening program.   

Additionally, Grade 7-12 students in activities that may require limited travel, such as Educators Rising, It’s Academic, the Student Page program, and Spelling Bee will be required to submit two negative COVID-19 tests (if not vaccinated) for two consecutive weeks prior to the travel date in order to participate.  

The screening program is free, and parents only need to register their child once. Middle school students are tested during lunch, and high school students are tested during the school day or after school. The screening includes a nasal swab PCR test, which is done by staff with the Maryland Department of Health contracted provider 20/20 GeneSystems.  

Testing schedule  

Staff and all other CCPS students are also eligible for the free weekly COVID-19 screening, regardless of participation in athletics or extracurricular activities. The following list outlines the screening schedule for all schools and centers.  

Monday  

  • Henry E. Lackey, La Plata, North Point and Westlake high schools, General Smallwood Middle School, Dr. Samuel A. Mudd, Mary B. Neal, Malcolm and Billingsley elementary schools.  

Tuesday  

  • Maurice J. McDonough, St. Charles and Thomas Stone high schools, Milton M. Somers Middle School, Dr. James Craik, Gale-Bailey, Dr. Thomas L. Higdon, Indian Head, J.C. Parks and Mary H. Matula elementary schools.  

Wednesday  

  • Henry E. Lackey, La Plata, North Point and Westlake high schools, Theodore G. Davis Middle School, C. Paul Barnhart, Walter J. Mitchell, Mt. Hope/Nanjemoy and T.C. Martin elementary schools.  

Thursday  

  • Maurice J. McDonough, St. Charles and Thomas Stone high schools, Piccowaxen and John Hanson middle schools, Berry, Arthur Middleton and J.P. Ryon elementary schools.  

Friday  

  • F.B. Gwynn Educational Center, Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building, Robert D. Stethem Educational Center, Mattawoman, Matthew Henson and Benjamin Stoddert middle schools, Dr. Gustavus Brown, Eva Turner, Daniel of St. Thomas Jenifer, William A. Diggs and William B. Wade elementary schools.  

 

Free COVID-19 testing with the health department  

The Charles County Department of Health also offers free testing three times a week and pre-registration is not required. The schedule is below.  

  • Mondays, Village Green in Indian Head, 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.  
  • Tuesdays, Jaycee Hall in Waldorf, 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.  
  • Fridays, New Life Church in White Plains, 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.  

Man Convicted Of Vehicular Homicide

State’s Attorney Richard D. Fritz announces the conviction of Joseph Marvin Swann for killing Ian Tahtinen in a fiery crash on December 20, 2020. He was convicted of thirteen charges, including vehicular homicide while intoxicated by alcohol, vehicular manslaughter, resisting arrest and second-degree assault on four St. Mary’s County deputies.

 

The collision occurred when Swann drove his car north on Rte. 5 in Charlotte Hall at 116 mph. He struck Tahtinen’s car in the rear causing it to explode and continue burning until first responders eventually were able to extinguish it. During fire-fighting and investigative efforts, Swann left the scene. After refusing to return to the scene, Swann fought the four deputies, striking, kicking, and spitting on them.

 

Maryland State Police testing revealed that his blood level was .19, over twice the legal limit of .08. Swann has two prior convictions for fleeing and eluding, one for driving under the influence of alcohol and eight prior assault convictions.

 

Mr. Fritz thanks Laura A. Caspar and Joseph Boyd for their hard work in prosecuting this case.


Officers Recover Loaded Firearm on Person

Officers Recover Loaded Firearm on Person: On October 8 at 11:11 a.m., officers initiated a traffic stop in the area of Gallery Place. Upon approaching the car, officers detected a strong odor of marijuana. The driver and passenger exited the car at which time officers observed a handgun in the passenger’s waistband. The gun, a fully loaded 9mm with 11 rounds, was safely recovered. It was determined the passenger did not have a permit to carry the gun. Further, officers recovered 21 grams of suspected marijuana, a scale, and prescription narcotics. The passenger, D’Andre Bernard Curtis, 21, of Waldorf, was arrested and charged with illegally transporting a loaded firearm in a vehicle and illegally carrying a loaded firearm. On October 12, a judge released Curtis from the Charles County Detention Center on personal recognizance. The investigation is continuing and additional charges are pending.   


Historic Marker to 1887 St. Mary's County Lynching Victim to be Unveiled in Ceremony

LEONARDTOWN, MD - The St. Mary’s County Recreation and Parks Museum Division, in partnership with the Equal Justice Initiative, will host a historic marker unveiling ceremony of justice and equity at 4 p.m. at the Old Jail Museum in Leonardtown. The public is invited to attend this event Monday, Nov. 1, 2021, Maryland Emancipation Day, when

In 1887, Benjamin Hance, a young African American man, was arrested on May 27 in Leonardtown and taken to the Old Jail. A mob broke in on the night of June 17, held the jailkeeper at gunpoint, and removed Mr. Hance from his cell after breaking down the door. They carried him to a site just out of town (now occupied by the Port of Leonardtown Winery and park) and proceeded to hang him from a witch hazel tree. An ensuing inquiry into the lynching failed to identify or convict members of the alleged mob of any crimes, and the case was subsequently dismissed, justice having not been rendered.

 

To bring light to this injustice and promote healing and justice for the future, the St. Mary’s County Museum Division has been partnering with the Big Conversation Partnership on Dismantling Racism in Southern Maryland and the Equal Justice Initiative on the Community Remembrance Project. In November 2019, the Division and partners held a Soil Collection Ceremony at the location where Hance was said to have died. Following the Soil Collection Ceremony, the partner groups sent one jar of soil to the National Memorial for Peace & Justice in Montgomery, Alabama. A second jar is now on display and an exhibit at the Old Jail Museum in Leonardtown, in the very cell where Hance was held. Admission is free to the museum, where visitors can come daily and learn more.

 

The next step in the remembrance of Mr. Hance is to establish a historical marker about his story, which will be erected on the grounds of the Old Jail Museum and unveiled to the public Nov. 1, 2021. The marker will be two-sided and traditional blue with yellow letters. One side will tell Mr. Hance’s story; the other will be a statement about racial justice. A reception will follow the ceremony.


Karen Stone, Manager of the St. Mary’s County Museum Division, explains the importance of the day: “Mr. Hance’s story is not an easy one to hear. But we do these things to remember, respect, and honor a man who should not have lost his life in the way he did. Mr. Hance deserved justice; he deserved a trial; he deserved what he never got. By bringing light to this difficult story, we memorialize Mr. Hance and all those who suffered similar fates with hope for a better future.”

 

For more information regarding the progress of this project, please visit Facebook.com/TheOldJailMuseum or contact Ms. Stone at 301-769-3235.

 

About the St. Mary’s County Museum Division

The St. Mary’s County Museum Division was established by the Commissioners of St. Mary’s County to collect, preserve, research and interpret the historic sites and artifacts which illustrate the natural and cultural histories of St. Mary’s County and the Potomac River. These sites include St. Clement’s Island Museum, Piney Point Lighthouse Museum, the Old Jail Museum and the Drayden African American Schoolhouse. With this as its charter, the Museum Division serves as a resource, liaison and community advocate for all St. Mary’s County public and private cultural assets.

 

Identity Needed for Theft and Fraud Suspect (Photos)

Oct.13, 2021:

 

The St. Mary's County Sheriff's Office is seeking the identity of the person pictured in a theft and fraud investigation. On Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021 at noon, the suspect took the victim's wallet from a shopping cart at the Harris Teeter store in California. The suspect then used the victim's credit cards to make purchases in St. Mary's, Charles and Prince George's counties and Washington DC. The suspect was seen driving a 2005-2007 gold Honda Odyssey. Anyone with information about the identity of the suspect or this incident is asked to call Deputy Benjamin Luffey at 301-475-4200, ext. 72335 or email benjamin.luffey@stmarysmd.com. Case # 48376-21

 

 

Citizens may remain anonymous and contact the St. Mary’s County Crime Solvers at 301-475-3333, or text a tip to “TIP239” plus their message to “CRIMES” (274637). Through the Crime Solvers Program tipsters are eligible for an award of up to $1,000 for information about a crime in St. Mary’s County that leads to an arrest or indictment.

 

For official news and information, follow the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office on Twitter @firstsheriff.

 

Download and Share the St. Mary's Sheriff's Office mobile app: https://apps.myocv.com/share/a48820650


Atypical Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) Activity

The St. Mary’s County Health Department is issuing this local public health advisory about unusually increased respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) activity across the state of Maryland. RSV is a common respiratory virus that usually causes mild, cold-like symptoms and most people recover on their own within a week or two. However, RSV can be serious, especially for infants, young children and older adults. RSV can lead to lung inflammation and infection, and cause difficulty breathing.
 
People infected with RSV usually show symptoms within 4-6 days after infection. Symptoms of RSV usually include:

  • Runny nose
  • Decrease in appetite 
  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Fever
  • Wheezing

These symptoms may appear in stages. Young infants in particular may show symptoms of increased irritability, decreased activity and breathing difficulties. 
 
“The current and expected strain on area hospitals and our health care system due to COVID-19, flu, and RSV makes it even more important for people to take precautions to help prevent the spread of these infectious viruses,” said Dr. Meena Brewster, St. Mary’s County Health Officer. “Please make sure you and your age-eligible children are vaccinated for COVID-19 and seasonal flu. Speak to your healthcare clinician if you are concerned about you or your child having COVID-19, flu, or RSV. Testing and treatment are available for all three of these viruses. Protect yourself and others by getting vaccinated, masking, washing hands frequently, and staying home when you are feeling sick.”
 
People at highest risk for severe RSV disease include:

  • Premature infants
  • Young children with congenital (from birth) heart or chronic lung disease
  • Young children with weakened immune systems due to a medical condition or medical treatment
  • Adults with compromised immune systems
  • Older adults, especially those with underlying heart or lung disease

The best way to prevent RSV is by avoiding close contact with sick people, washing hands often, and cleaning frequently touched surfaces such as doorknobs and mobile devices. 

For more information about RSV, visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at cdc.gov/rsv/index.html.   

 
 
 

Shooting in Great Mills Under Investigation

UPDATE: On Friday, Oct. 8, 2021, Deandre Marquise Robinson, age 30 of Bowie, was arrested and charged in connection with the shooting that occurred on Thursday, Sept. 30, 2021. Robinson was charged with the following:

 

Attempted First and Second-Degree Murder

Assault First and Second Degree

Firearm Use/Felony-Violent Crime

Handgun on Person

 

Robinson remains incarcerated at the St. Mary’s County Detention and Rehabilitation Center in Leonardtown, on a no-bond status.

 

Original Release: On Thursday, Sept. 30, 2021, at approximately 12:44 a.m. deputies from the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office responded to the 45700 block of Horsehead Road in Great Mills, for the reported shots fired. Deputies arrived on scene and located a male victim, age 33 of Lexington Park, suffering from multiple gunshot wounds. The victim was transported by helicopter to an area trauma center for treatment.

 

Detectives from the Criminal Investigations Division (CID) and crime lab personnel responded to the scene and continued the investigation.

 

Anyone with information on this incident is asked to contact Detective Edward Vogt at (301) 475-4200 extension 78145 or by email at Edward.Vogt@stmarysmd.com.

 

Citizens may remain anonymous and contact Crime Solvers at (301) 475-3333, or text a tip to “TIP239” plus their message to “CRIMES” (274637). Through the Crime Solvers Program tipsters are eligible for an award of up to $1,000 for information about a crime in St. Mary’s County that leads to an arrest or indictment.

 

For official news and information, follow the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office on Twitter @firstsheriff.


Calvert County Updates COVID-19 Vaccination Guidance

 The Calvert County Health Department has updated guidance on eligibility requirements for residents who wish to register for a booster or third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Under new guidance, all citizens ages 16 or older, who have received either the initial Pfizer or Moderna vaccinations, are eligible to receive a booster dose. At least four months must have passed since the second dose of the initial vaccine to be eligible for a booster. Previous guidance only allowed individuals ages 50 or older, and those who are immunocompromised to receive the booster shot.

Citizens who originally received the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccination must have a note from their personal physician or nurse practitioner recommending a booster dose. Limited supply of the J&J vaccine is available. Citizens should talk to a healthcare provider about the possibility of receiving a Pfizer or Moderna booster if the J&J vaccine is unavailable.

Citizens are reminded that the Calvert County Government has reopened an information call center to assist eligible residents who wish to register for a booster or third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine through the Calvert County Health Department. For questions or assistance scheduling an appointment, residents may call 410-535-0218, Monday, Wednesday or Friday between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.

It is strongly recommended that citizens working in one of the following fields take advantage of the increased protection of a booster dose:

·         Nursing home and assisted living staff

·         Healthcare workers

·         First responders

·         People who work or live in congregate residential facilities

·         Public transit and school bus drivers

·         Teachers/classroom staff and daycare staff

To view the schedule of upcoming vaccine clinics, including mobile clinics, and to schedule an appointment online, residents may visit CalvertCountyCovid19.com/vaccination. Many health care providers, hospitals and pharmacies also offer COVID-19 vaccine clinics; search for all vaccine providers near you at Coronavirus.Maryland.gov/pages/vaccine.

Individuals must bring proof of prior vaccination to their appointment to receive a booster or third dose. Citizens may view and print copies of their immunization record through the Maryland MyIR website at https://md.myir.net.

For health questions regarding COVID-19 and vaccination, residents should call their primary care providers.

Visit Calvert County’s COVID-19 virtual resource center at www.CalvertCountyMd.gov/Coronavirus for updates and resources. Find information on Calvert County Government services online at www.CalvertCountyMd.gov. Stay up to date with Calvert County Government on Facebook at www.facebook.com/CalvertCountyMd and YouTube at www.youtube.com/CalvertCountyGov.


Fatal Collision in Mechanicsville Under Investigation

On October 9, 2021, at approximately 8:00 a.m. deputies from the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office responded to the 27000 block of Three Notch Road in Mechanicsville, for the reported serious motor vehicle collision. Deputies arrived on scene and located a 2017 Chevrolet Silverado truck with two occupants, that had collided into a commercial building. The operator of the truck, William Gregory Baker, age 40 of Mechanicsville, and passenger Nina Marie DiGregorio, age 39 of Leonardtown, were pronounced deceased at the scene. Members of the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office Collision Reconstruction Unit responded to the scene and continued the investigation.

 

Preliminary investigation determined Baker was traveling southbound on Old Village Road when he failed to negotiate a turn in the roadway, crossed the centerline, struck a guardrail, and continued into the building.

 

Speed has been determined as a factor in the collision. The investigation is ongoing and anyone with information is asked to contact Deputy First Class Shawn Shelko at (301) 475-4200 extension 78147 or by email at Shawn.Shelko@stmarysmd.com.

 

Citizens may remain anonymous and contact Crime Solvers at (301) 475-3333, or text a tip to “TIP239” plus their message to “CRIMES” (274637). Through the Crime Solvers Program tipsters are eligible for an award of up to $1,000 for information about a crime in St. Mary’s County that leads to an arrest or indictment.

 

For official news and information, follow the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office on Twitter @firstsheriff.

 

Download and Share the St. Mary's Sheriff's Office mobile app: https://apps.myocv.com/share/a48820650


Lexington Park Man Arrested for CDS Distribution

On October 7, 2021, detectives from the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office Vice/Narcotics Division, along with assistance from the Emergency Services Team (EST) and the Lexington Park COPs Unit, executed a search and seizure warrant in the 21900 block of Spring Valley Drive in Lexington Park. Lekuarius Clifford Plater, age 39 of Lexington Park, was located at the residence in possession of a quantity of suspected cocaine and fentanyl packaged in sufficient quantity to indicate distribution.

 

Plater was arrested and charged with three counts of CDS: Possession With Intent to Distribute Narcotics and CDS: Possession-Not Marijuana.

 

For official news and information, follow the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office on Twitter @firstsheriff.

 

Download and Share the St. Mary's Sheriff's Office mobile app: https://apps.myocv.com/share/a48820650


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