Local News

St. Mary's Commissioners Public Forum Postponed

LEONARDTOWN, MD – The Commissioners of St. Mary’s County announce a revision to their April public schedule. The Public Forum, initially scheduled for April 20, 2021, has been postponed until Tuesday, May 25, 2021, at 6:30 p.m. in the Commissioner's meeting room inside the Chesapeake Building 41770 Baldridge Street, in Leonardtown.

 

Public Forums provide residents an opportunity to speak directly to the Commissioners on topics of their choosing. Residents may offer appreciation, questions or suggestions in a mutually respectful format. Additional details on the rescheduled Public Forum will be announced at a later date.

 

The Commissioners of St. Mary’s County FY2022 Proposed Budget Public Hearing remains unchanged and will occur as originally scheduled Tuesday, April 27, at 6:30 p.m. in the Commissioners Meeting Room, Chesapeake Building 41770 Baldridge Street, in Leonardtown.


Wanted: Leon Anthony Barnes

The St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office is seeking the whereabouts of Leon Anthony Barnes, 46 of Lexington Park, for Second-Degree Escape from the St. Mary’s County Detention and Rehabilitation Center in Leonardtown. Barnes violated the terms of his pretrial release by allowing his monitoring device to expire this week.

 

 

Anyone with information about Barnes’ whereabouts is asked to contact Detective Corporal Austin Schultz at 301-475-4200, ext. 71953 or email austin.schultz@stmarysmd.com.

Citizens may remain anonymous and contact 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


Fiscal 2022 Budget Proposed at April 14 Commissioners Meeting

On Wednesday, April 14, County Administrator Mark Belton presented the county’s proposed fiscal 2022 budget of $449,512,800, an increase of 3.7 percent over last year. The proposed budget maintains the current property tax rate; enhances core services; invests in criminal justice and public safety priorities; provides funding for planning, transportation, and transit services; and funds community public health outreach initiatives.

 

The proposed budget includes investments to expand access to programs and services, including:

A six-month pilot program offering free service to riders on VanGO once capacity restrictions are lifted, a first among all Maryland jurisdictions designed to eliminate barriers for residents to travel to essential destinations including work, shopping, and educational facilities.
A new zoning administrator position to support implementation of updates to the zoning ordinance and sustainability coordinator, which will support climate resiliency initiatives within the Department of Planning and Growth Management.
Four new, contractual positions for community outreach workers within the Charles County Department of Health.
A new position and restroom facilities at Mallows Bay to prepare for expanded tourism to the park.
New investments in criminal justice, including six additional attorneys for the State’s Attorney’s Office, funding for a pre-trial services program, and a coordinator to support the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council.
“I am excited that the proposed fiscal 2022 budget reflects investment in Commissioner priorities,” said County Administrator Mark Belton. “These priorities positively impact our residents, which include improvements and continued efforts in economic development, institutional governance and policy, environment, education, and quality of life.”

 

The General Fund budget funds the ongoing costs of government, and includes:

$3.97 million increase for Charles County Public Schools, which exceeds maintenance of effort funding and increases per pupil spending by 4.2 percent. The total allocation, which also includes funding for the Charles County Public Library and College of Southern Maryland, is $214.5 million, or 47.8 percent, of the General Fund budget.
$2.89 million increase for the Charles County Sheriff’s Office, to fund two new school resources officers, a systems administrator, and a new mental health liaison position. The total allocation is $99.25 million, or 22.1 percent of the General Fund budget.
$3.03 million increase for County Government operations. The total allocation is $70.67 million, or 15.7 percent, of the General Fund budget. The additional funding will support the VanGO pilot program, six new positions, the full year impact of a new emergency medical services crew in Waldorf that was approved for fiscal 2021, and a new resident communications software for the County Commissioners.
$6.19 million increase for other local government functions, including six new positions in the State’s Attorney’s Office, four community outreach staff for the Charles County Department of Health, and funding towards the “Commissioners Care” scholarship program for the College of Southern Maryland. It also includes investments in pre-trial services and support for the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council.
Capital project funding highlights include accelerated design work for a new middle school; continued support of modernizing our county schools; a retrofit of the current La Plata Library once the new La Plata Library is constructed; two new synthetic turf fields; increased funding for drainage improvement projects; funding for phase three of the Western Parkway; and transportation improvements for Route 301 southbound lanes and traffic signals, Pinefield Road/Maryland Route 5 intersection, and the Billingsley/Bensville Road intersection. 

“On behalf of the Board of Commissioners, I look forward to continuing to review the proposed fiscal 2022 budget,” said Commissioner President Reuben B. Collins, II, Esq. “During this process, the Board is diligently examining the new and current initiatives, programs, and services to ensure our Charles County community’s needs are met this upcoming year.”

 

During the meeting, the Department of Fiscal and Administrative Services staff presented detailed information about additions to the general fund, operating budgets for enterprise funds, and proposed infrastructure investments in the capital improvement program. A virtual public hearing is scheduled on Tuesday, April 27 at 6 p.m. to receive comments on the proposed general fund and capital operating budgets and the constant yield tax rate. More information is available at www.CharlesCountyMD.gov.


Calvert Library Staff Member Positive for COVID

A member of Calvert Library Prince Frederick staff has tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. The staff member worked in the public space on Monday, April 12, from 10am to 2pm. 

 

The staff member worked with the public following library COVID-protocol and had no contact with customers greater than 15 minutes, maintained 6 feet of social distance, washed/sanitized their hands regularly and wore a mask covering their nose and face at all times while working with customers.  Risk should be minimal to any library customers but please follow Health Department guidance or your physician’s recommendations if you visited the library during the affected time period.

 

Staff members who were not yet fully vaccinated and had close contact with the team member in the days prior to the positive test are quarantining per CDC guidelines.  They are able to work from home providing phone and email reference, virtual programming planning and execution, training, etc.

 

Please know that the safety of our staff and the public we serve is our top priority. We will continue to take the proper precautions to promote social distancing and keep our workplaces and equipment clean and sanitized. Remember to wash your hands frequently with soap and water, avoid touching your face, wear a cloth face covering over your nose and mouth when in public spaces and make sure to practice social distancing by staying at least 6 feet away from others.  If you are feeling ill, please stay home.

 

We will continue to work together through this difficult time, and we will continue to keep you informed of any new information over the course of this pandemic.

 

For more information call 410-535-0291.


Maryland Citizens Redistricting Commission Announces Members

Annapolis, MD – The co-chairs of the Maryland Citizens Redistricting Commission (Commission) today announced the remaining six members. In January, Governor Hogan issued an executive order establishing the nine member Commission, which is charged with drawing fair and representative legislative and congressional maps for the 2022 elections that are compact and respect natural and subdivision boundaries to the extent practicable, and without accounting for political parties. Throughout his time in office, the governor has led the charge for redistricting reform in Maryland and nationwide.
 
The three co-chairs, announced earlier this year, are:
 
Dr. Kathleen Hetherington - President, Howard Community College
Walter Olson - Senior Fellow, Cato Institute’s Robert A. Levy Center for Constitutional Studies
Judge Alexander Williams, Jr., - Retired Judge, U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland
The six additional members were selected from the hundreds of applications that were submitted, and consist of two Republicans, two Democrats, and two individuals not affiliated with either of the two major political parties. The six additional members of the Commission are:
 
Kimberly Rose Cummings (R)
Mary G. Clawson (R)
Cheryl R. Brooks (D)
William Tipper Thomas, III (D)
Jay V. Amin (I)
Jonathan Fusfield (I)
The governor’s executive order charges the Commission with producing fair maps for both state legislative and congressional districts that comply with a set of criteria, including:
 
Compliance with the U.S. Constitution and Voting Rights Act of 1965, and compliance with applicable judicial direction, rulings, judgments, and orders;
Respect for natural boundaries and geographic integrity and continuity of political subdivisions, to the extent practicable; 
Geographic compactness, to the extent practicable; and
Does not take into account citizens’ party affiliation or the address of an incumbent office holder or a candidate for office
The historic Commission will conduct regional meetings to allow citizens to offer comment on the boundaries of congressional and legislative districts, along with multiple public meetings, prior to the drawing of the maps. 
 
“The response we received from Marylanders applying to be part of this process was truly remarkable,” said commission co-chair Walter Olson. “We thank all of those who applied and urge everyone to stay engaged in the redistricting process as the Commission moves forward.” 
 
For additional information, go to redistricting.maryland.gov.

Free Digital COVID-19 Vaccine Card for St. Mary's County Residents

LEONARDTOWN, MD (April 15, 2021) – St. Mary’s County Health Department and PinPoint US, LLC are partnering to offer free digital COVID-19 vaccine cards for St. Mary's County residents. The VaccineCheck service will generate a personalized digital version of a CDC vaccine card after verifying COVID-19 vaccine history through Maryland's statewide immunization registry. Residents can also use the service to upload images of their paper CDC vaccine card for safe digital record-keeping accessible through their smartphone or computer. Data uploads and verification of vaccine history are conducted using the HIPAA-compliant PinPoint platform.
 
"We could not be more excited about the partnership with St. Mary's County Health Department, the first local health department to implement the VaccineCheck program in the country," says Mr. Chris Nickerson, PinPoint Managing Partner. "The VaccineCheck program will create an authenticated digital copy of vaccination cards for all St. Mary's County residents after their records have been verified with the Maryland State Immunization Registry, enabling ease of access county-wide." 
 
"This innovative and user-friendly service offers St. Mary's County residents a convenient way to carry with them an electronic version of their CDC vaccine card," says Dr. Meena Brewster, St. Mary’s County Health Officer. "In addition, residents who have lost their paper record can now access an authenticated digital version to verify their vaccination status. We are so grateful for the ingenuity of the PinPoint team and their partnership in making this service available for free to St. Mary’s County residents."
 
St. Mary's County residents can access the VaccineCheck service at www.smchd.org/covid-19-vaccine
 
For local COVID-19 updates, information and data, please visit www.smchd.org/coronavirus or call the St. Mary’s County Health Department at 301-475-4330. 

CCPS Moves To Phase 4 Of Its Reopening Plan April 19

Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) begins Phase 4 of its reopening plan on Monday, April 19. Under Phase 4, more than 5,800 additional students return to their schools for in-person learning. Phase 4 includes students in prekindergarten through Grade 12 and a rotating schedule of two days of in-person instruction each week.  
 
Phase 4 schedule  
 
The following is the rotating schedule for Phase 4 students. Any student eligible to return to school under Phase 3 now falls under the Phase 4 schedule if they are returning to school for in-person learning.  
 
A-K last names: Students with last names starting with A to K attend school in person on Monday and Tuesday. Wednesday is an asynchronous day for all students. Students in this group attend classes virtually on Thursday and Friday.  
 
L-Z last names: Students with last names starting with L to Z attend school in person on Thursday and Friday. Wednesday is an asynchronous day for all students. Students in this group attend classes virtually on Monday and Tuesday.   
 
Any student attending in-person classes under Phase 2 continues instruction at their home school/center four days per week. Wednesdays remain asynchronous days for all students for the remainder of the 2020-21 school year.  
 
Class schedules for students on Monday, April 19, and Thursday, April 22, may be adjusted. Classes for virtual students may begin up to two hours late on April 19 and April 22. Schools may adjust schedules to accommodate for in-person arrival, transitions to classrooms and a review of safety protocols. Any schedule changes for students next week will be sent directly to parents from teachers and/or school principals.  
 
Transportation information for students – information now in School Locator system  
 
Transportation information for Phase 4 students will not be posted in ParentVue and StudentVue. This is a change from the start of Phase 2. Transportation information, including bus number, bus stop location and estimated pick-up and drop-off times, will be available in School Locator by 6 p.m., Wednesday, April 14.   
 
School Locator is linked to the CCPS website at https://infosharecharles.tripsparkhost.com/. Parents will need to enter their home address into School Locator to locate their child’s bus information. All Phase 2 parents should check the School Locator to confirm their child’s transportation arrangements as they may have changed. Directions on how to use School Locator are posted at https://www.ccboe.com/index.php/school-locator2.  
 
CCPS has an online transportation help portal for parents on its website. The portal is located at https://www.ccboe.com/transportation/?page_id=182. Parents with bus stop concerns should access the portal to create a help ticket. If transportation information is not listed in School Locator for a particular address, parents should complete a bus stop concern form located on the CCPS transportation portal here. Users should scroll down to the bottom of the page to create a help form.  
 
Parents with bus stop concerns or who need to make changes to their child’s pick-up or drop-off locations for daycare needs (within their assigned school zone) should complete a bus change request form located on the CCPS transportation portal here. Users should scroll down to the bottom of the page to create a help form.  
 
Bus information for all students – whether returning to school in person or remaining virtual for the remainder of the school year – is loaded into School Locator.  
 
Transportation for students with special needs remains unchanged with the start of Phase 4. These routes are not listed in School Locator. CCPS transportation staff will notify parents directly with bus changes for students with special needs.   
 
On the majority of CCPS buses, students will sit one per seat. Some routes may require a student to sit with another child. Transportation staff will monitor bus loads and adjust as needed. Any student riding a bus to and from school is required to wear a face mask at all times. Parents and students should practice social distancing at school bus stops. At times, school bus windows may be lowered to allow for additional ventilation.  
 
Important return-to-school information for parents of Phase 2-4 students  
 
School hours remain the same. Hours are listed on Pages 32-33 of the CCPS Parent Handbook/Calendar.  
Students and staff must wear masks at school except while eating meals.  
Parents should complete the health screening each morning before sending their child to school. The guidelines are posted here on the CCPS website.  
Any student who shows two or more COVID-19 symptoms will be sent to the school nurse for evaluation. Parents may be offered a COVID-19 test for their child.  
Parents will have 60 minutes to pick up a sick child from school. The school nurse or staff member will release a sick child to a parent/guardian outside of the school building.  
Food and Nutrition Services staff will serve breakfast and lunch daily. Meals are free for all children for the remainder of the school year. Students will be offered a take-home bag with a snack and dinner.  
Students can bring a bagged lunch to school.  
Parents who need to visit their child’s school for any reason should call the school and ask about visitation procedures.  
Students should bring their technology, including a laptop or tablet, to school each day. Parents should review the CCPS technology bring your own device rules if their child brings a personal device to school. The rules are posted here on the CCPS website.  
Transportation information will be loaded into School Locator by 6 p.m., Wednesday, April 14.  
CCPS has its reopening plan on the school system website at https://www.ccboe.com/index.php/road-to-reopening.  

SMCHD Pauses Use of Johnson & Johnson Vaccine for COVID-19

The St. Mary’s County Health Department (SMCHD) has paused the administration of Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) COVID-19 vaccines based on recommendations from the Maryland Department of Health, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
 
Therefore, SMCHD will not be administering the Janssen vaccine as initially planned for the Community COVID-19 Vaccination Event scheduled at Great Mills High School on April 17 and 18. Patients that have scheduled an appointment for this clinic have been contacted directly and offered the Pfizer vaccine. New clinic registration links for remaining Pfizer appointments at these clinics have been posted at www.smchd.org/covid-19-vaccine.
 
The full statement from the CDC and FDA can be read here. Those who have received the Janssen vaccination and have developed a severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain, or shortness of breath within three weeks after receiving the vaccination should contact their health care provider.  
 
Community COVID-19 Vaccination Event
 
A special two-day COVID-19 vaccination event will be held at Great Mills High School on Saturday, April 17, 2021, and Sunday, April 18, 2021. Individual appointments are required, community members age 16 years or older may register at: www.smchd.org/covid-19-vaccine (as appointments are available). The COVID-19 vaccine will be provided free of charge to the patient, however, individuals should bring their ID/driver's license and health insurance card (uninsured individuals also welcome) to their appointment time. Those with appointments should park, walk-up, and follow directional signage onsite.  
 
For local COVID-19 updates, information and data, please visit www.smchd.org/coronavirus or call the St. Mary’s County Health Department at (301) 475-4330.

Student In Leonardtown Shooting From Leonardtown High School

LEONARDTOWN, MD – On April 13, 2021, at approximately 1:30 p.m., St. Mary’s County Public Schools was informed of an officer-involved shooting in Leonardtown.  It was later reported that the shooting resulted in the death of a 16-year-old male, identified as Peyton Alexander Ham, a sophomore at Leonardtown High School.
 
Superintendent Dr. J. Scott Smith asked for a moment of silence for Peyton at the Board of Education meeting this morning and followed later with this statement, “Our school community is deeply saddened to learn of the death of Leonardtown High School student, Peyton Ham. Our school and community mourn his untimely death.  We send our deepest condolences during this very difficult time to his family, our school community, and all those who knew him.”
 
Additional counselors and mental health support staff have been provided to the school to assist. 
 
The Maryland State Police is conducting an investigation of the incident.  Questions should be directed to the Maryland State Police, Office of Media Communications via email at msp.media@maryland.gov.

Investigation Into Trooper-Involved Fatal Shooting Continuing - Photos Of Weapons Released

(LEONARDTOWN, MD) – Maryland State Police Homicide Unit investigators today continued their investigation into Tuesday’s trooper-involved fatal shooting in St. Mary’s County and have released a photo of the knife and a stock photo of the gun recovered at the scene.  
 
 
 
State Police investigators continued to interview individuals, locate additional witness and search for evidence today.  Anyone who witnessed the shooting yesterday or who has any information related to this investigation is urged to contact Maryland State Police at the Leonardtown Barrack at 301-475-8955.  
 
Below is a picture of the knife found at the scene and a stock photo of the type of gun believed to have been pointed at the state trooper by the teenager when he confronted the trooper yesterday in a driveway in the 23000-block of Hollywood Road, Leonardtown, Md.  
 
The investigation is continuing.  
 

Child Predator Sentenced to 43 Years in Prison

LA PLATA, MD—Tony Covington, State’s Attorney for Charles County, announced that on Wednesday, April 14, 2021, Charles County Circuit Court Judge Donine M. Carrington Martin sentenced Christopher Anthony Goldbeck, 47 of Waldorf, to 43 years in prison for Second Degree Rape and Sexual Abuse of a Minor. Upon release, the defendant will be on supervised probation for a period of five years.   

On October 23, 2020, Goldbeck entered a guilty plea to the above-mentioned charges.  

On August 27, 2019, the juvenile victim’s father contacted officers at the Charles County Sheriff’s Office and reported that Goldbeck sexually assaulted his daughter. A subsequent interview was arranged with the victim, who reported that she was repeatedly assaulted by Goldbeck during the summer of 2018 in the 900 block of Barrington Drive in Waldorf. The victim was 10 years old when the incidents took place.  

The victim reported that Goldbeck sodomized her, forced her to watch pornography, and forced her to perform oral sex on him.  An examination performed on the victim revealed she suffered physical scarring as a result of the assaults.  

During the course of the investigation, Goldbeck admitted to sexually assaulting the victim.   

At sentencing, Assistant State’s Attorney Tiffany L. Campbell asked that the defendant be sentenced to life in prison, saying “This child looked to the adults in her life to protect her and keep her safe. The defendant did the exact opposite. [The victim] will have to deal with this for the rest of her life; the defendant should be incarcerated for the rest of his life.”  


 

Count 1 – Second Degree Rape  

Life with all but 25 years suspended  
 

Count 2 – Sexual Abuse of a Minor  

25 years with all but 18 years suspended  
Consecutive to Count 1  


April 13 and 14 Charles County Commissioners Meeting Update

The  Department of Emergency Services Director Michelle Lilly and Health Officer Dianna E. Abney provided the Board of County Commissioners with an update on the COVID-19 public health emergency. COVID-19 vaccinations are being are now available for eligible individuals in age 16 and older. The Department of Health is providing this information on their website and a recorded hotline message, at 301-609-6710.

 

The mass vaccination site in Southern Maryland is open at the Regency Furniture Stadium and Maryland residents who are eligible can register for a vaccination at the site and other locations in the county online. The State of Maryland has a call center number for those who need assistance registering one of the state mass vaccination sites or need help locating a vaccination site. The state call center number is 855-MDGOVAX (855-634-6829), available 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. Those who are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms should get tested through their medical provider, urgent care center, or local pharmacy. The University of Maryland Charles Regional Medical Center provided an update on the hospital operations.

 

Charles County Public Schools Director of School Safety and Security Jason Stoddard provided an update on social distancing in classrooms and in-person instruction which has begun in correlation with the reopening plan. Chief of Media Services Jennifer Harris provided an update on the county’s communications efforts, which are focused on informing residents about the upcoming COVID-19 vaccinations and answers to their frequently asked questions. 

 

Open Session Briefings  

Department of Planning and Growth Management provided a presentation on the Water/Sewer Service Category Amendments for the spring 2021 cycle. County Commissioners provided approval for a virtual public hearing on Tuesday, May 4 at 6 p.m. More details to be available on the county’s website.
Charitable Trust Chair Vivian Mills provided an annual update on the Charitable Trust, including their efforts to adapt for nonprofit needs during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Trust approved 28 grants and served 38,898 people during the year.
 

Legislative Update 

Associate County Attorney Danielle Mitchell and GS Proctor and Associates, Inc. representatives discussed final disposition of the 2021 legislative bills considered by the Maryland General Assembly, including House Bill 1018/ Senate Bill 833, House Bill 1024/ Senate Bill 939, Senate Bill 749/House Bill 1060, House Bill 1061/Senate Bill 832, Senate Bill 750/ House Bill 1072, House Bill 1081/Senate Bill 751, House Bill 655, and House Bill 414/Senate Bill 81. GS Proctor, Inc. will provide an in-depth review of the 2021 session on April 20, 2021.

 

Work Sessions

On Tuesday, April 13, the County Commissioners participated in a Follow-up Work Session on the Bill 2021-01 Zoning Text Amendment 20-156 Agricultural Related Uses. The County Commissioners adopted the bill with the proposed amendment from the Rural Planning and Zoning Task Force.  The County Commissioners also participated in a Budget Work Session on Governmental Capital Improvement Project Review.

 

On Wednesday, April 14, the County Commissioners participated in a Fiscal 2022 Budget Work Session on the review of proposed County Administrator’s General Budget of $449,512,800, Governmental Capital Improvement Project Review, and Enterprise Fund Recap.

 

Approval Items

Commissioners also approved:

A budget amendment increase of $86,700 for more-than-anticipated plan reviews and inspections performed and completed due to the uncertainty of the COVID pandemic.
A budget transfer request of $83,000 to pay for more-than-anticipated inspections performed and completed due to the uncertainty of the COVID pandemic.
A budget transfer request of $120,000 to complement the well drilling of the Waldorf Well #17.
A budget transfer request of $181,000 for purchase two light-duty, fixed-route buses and rehabilitation of paratransit buses.
A memorandum of understanding between Charles County Government and the Sheriff of Charles County and Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 24.
A letter of support for The Friends of Maxwell Hall to apply to the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority for a grant for a project that will combine landscape studies and citizen engagement to boldly challenge and expand our current understanding of Maxwell Hall and how it fits into the historic community of the Middle Patuxent.
A letter of support for the Local Farm Enterprise Food Aggregation Grant Fund Pilot Program.
Proclamation

Autism Awareness Month
Child Abuse Prevention Month
Fair Housing Month
Archaeology Month
Plant a Tree in Charles County Month
National Animal Control Officer Appreciation Week
National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week
Public Hearing

The County Commissioners held a public hearing on local Legislative Proposals, which included a proposal to amend Zoning Ordinance Code 1.05.200 a to establish an alternative in Charles County to allow minority-owned businesses to gain access to the marijuana industry and a proposal to ban American Pit Bull Terriers in Charles County.

Next Commissioners Session: April 20, 2021 (held virtually) 

 

Citizens with special needs may contact the Maryland Relay Service at 711, or Relay Service TDD: 800-735-2258. 


Trooper Involved Fatal Shooting In St. Mary's County

(LEONARDTOWN, MD) – Maryland State Police are continuing an investigation into a trooper-involved fatal shooting that occurred Tuesday afternoon in St. Mary’s County.  
 
The deceased individual is identified as Peyton Ham, 16, of Leonardtown, Md.  He was transported from the scene to MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital where he was pronounced deceased. 
 
The trooper involved is a uniformed patrol trooper assigned to the Leonardtown Barrack.  He has been a Maryland state trooper for two years and seven months.  
 
According to the preliminary investigation, just before 1:30 p.m. today, two separate 911 calls were received at the Maryland State Police Leonardtown Barrack.  The first call was from a male who gave a phone number instead of an address.  He reported to the dispatcher that there was a guy acting suspicious who he thinks has a gun.  The dispatcher asked for his location, but the call was disconnected. 
 
Two minutes later, a second 911 call is received from a male who gives a street address in the 23000-block of Hollywood Road, just down the street from the barrack.  The caller said a guy was acting suspicious and he thinks he has a gun.  He hangs up and does not give a name. 
 
The preliminary investigation indicates that within minutes, a uniformed Maryland state trooper arrived at the location and confronted a male in the driveway.  The male, later identified as Peyton Ham, was armed with a gun and a knife.  A witness told investigators they saw the individual in the driveway in what the witness described as a shooting stance, pointing a gun at the trooper.  The trooper fired at Ham, wounding him. 
 
A second witness told investigators that after the trooper fired the first time, they saw the male pull out a knife and try to get up.  The trooper ordered him to drop the knife, before he fired again.   
 
The trooper reported the shooting and called for EMS.  Aid was rendered to Ham by troopers and sheriff’s deputies until EMS arrived.
 
The Maryland State Police Homicide Unit was on the scene and conducted a criminal investigation.  This is procedure in all trooper-involved shootings.  Investigators are continuing to interview witnesses at this time.
 
Maryland State Police crime scene technicians responded and are processing the scene.  A gun was recovered at the scene.  It has been determined to be an airsoft gun that is a close representation of an actual handgun.  A knife was also recovered at the scene.  An autopsy of the deceased will be conducted at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Baltimore.  
 
The trooper involved was not injured.  He has been placed on administrative leave pending the ongoing investigation. This is procedure in trooper-involved shootings.  
 
Upon completion of the criminal investigation, it will be presented to the St. Mary’s County State’s Attorney’s Office for review.  The St. Mary’s County deputy state’s attorney responded to the scene and has been briefed by investigators
 
In addition, the Maryland State Police Internal Affairs Division will be conducting an administrative investigation.  This is also procedure. 
 
The investigation is continuing. 

Leonardtown Man Arrested for Sex Offense

In March of 2021, the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office initiated an investigation into allegations of sexual abuse involving a minor that occurred in the late 1990s. The suspect was identified as Allen Briscoe Weiland, age 59 of Leonardtown. During the course of the investigation evidence was obtained supporting the allegations.
 
The investigation was presented to the Grand Jury for St. Mary’s County and an indictment issued for Weiland’s arrest. On April 9, 2021, Weiland was arrested and charged with the following:
 
Sex Offense Second Degree (two counts)
 
Sex Offense Third Degree (two counts)
 
Anyone with information regarding Allen Weiland, or this case 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

Charles County Correctional Officer Suspended Upon Indictment of Felony Charges

Charles County Correctional Officer Suspended After being Indicted on Felony Charges in King George, VA:  In August of 2020, the Charles County Sheriff’s Office initiated an investigation into a corrections officer who worked at the Charles County Detention Center. Based on the nature of the allegations, CFC Richard Dean, a 14-year-veteran was suspended immediately. The investigation revealed the incident occurred in Virginia and the investigation was turned over to the King George County Sheriff’s Office. On April 9, Dean was indicted by a King George County, Virginia grand jury on charges of aggravated sexual battery and indecent act with a child. In accordance with Agency policy and Maryland law, Dean has been suspended without pay. For questions relating to the investigation, please contact the King George County Sheriff’s Office at 540-775-8598.


April 13th St. Mary's County Commissioner Meeting Rollup

LEONARDTOWN, MD – The Commissioners of St. Mary's County held their regular business meeting Tuesday, April 13, 2021, in the Chesapeake Building in Leonardtown.

 

The Commissioners recognized Week of the Young Child, Flood Safety Awareness Month, National Animal Care and Control Appreciation Week and National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week with Proclamations.

 

The Commissioners then adjourned and reconvened as the St. Mary's County Board of Health to hear COVID-19 updates from the County Health Officer, Dr. Meenakshi Brewster. Dr. Brewster provided updates to the Commissioners on current St. Mary's County COVID-19 statistics and upcoming vaccination clinics. Dr. Brewster also briefed the Board of Health that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine distribution in St. Mary's County is being paused following an announcement made April 13, 2021, by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The CDC and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are reviewing data involving six reported U.S. cases of a rare and severe type of blood clot in individuals after receiving the J&J vaccine. 


The Commissioners approved a Public Hearing request from the Department of Finance on a Supplemental Appropriation Ordinance. The Public Hearing will be held May 4, 2021, and a formal notice will be distributed.

 

The Commissioners also approved a Public Hearing request from the County Attorney on the St. Mary's County Public Ethics Ordinance Proposed Revisions as submitted by the St. Mary's County Ethics Commission. The Public Hearing will be held May 4, 2021, and a formal notice will be distributed.

 

County Attorney David Weiskopf gave his final 2021 proposed legislation brief to the Commissioners as the 2021 Maryland General Assembly wrapped up Monday, April 12, 2021. The Commissioners were updated on the status of proposed bills that could have an effect on St. Mary's County.

 

Bob Kelly, Chief Information Officer for St. Mary's County, updated the Commissioners on the final totals for the Broadband for Unserved Students (BUS) Grant. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, 330 St. Mary's County residential addresses were provided access to wired broadband bringing 98% of St. Mary's County Public School Students Addresses to a "Serviceable" status of wired broadband.

 

The Commissioners approved a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Circuit Court and Town of Leonardtown regarding the Courthouse property; and the Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP) MOU with the Circuit Court.  

 

The Commissioners approved a request by County Attorney David Weiskopf for a settlement agreement with Windward Land Development, LLC. The agreement will provide for the continuation of the St. Mary's County Regional Airport project improvements.

 

The Commissioners approved the last two agenda items from the Department of Finance: a budget amendment request to increase the Department of Agriculture's FY2021 budget for the gypsy moth pest management survey and a CARES Grant Funding update.

 

The next regularly scheduled business meeting of the Commissioners of St. Mary's County is Tuesday, April 20, 2021. Commissioner decisions and related public documents are available on the county government website in BoardDocs. St. Mary's County Commissioner Meetings may be viewed live Tuesday mornings on SMCG Channel 95 or as a replay Friday nights at 6:30 p.m. Meetings are also available for on-demand viewing on the St. Mary's County Government YouTube Channel.


Charles County Pauses Use of J&J Vaccine for COVID-19

The Charles County Department of Health is pausing the administration of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines on the recommendation of the Maryland Department of Health, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

 

As of April 12, there have been six cases reported out of more than 6.8 million doses of Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine administered. This is less than one case in 1,000,000 doses given.  The full statement from the CDC and FDA can be read here. Those who have received the J&J vaccination and have developed a severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain, or shortness of breath within three weeks after receiving the vaccination should contact their health care provider.

 

There have been no similar side effects with Moderna or Pfizer vaccine.  The Charles County Department of Health will continue to provide Moderna vaccines as scheduled.

 

“COVID-19 infection is still high in Charles County and in the State of Maryland,” said Charles County Health Officer Dianna E. Abney, M.D.  “As we continue to see infections, hospitalizations, and deaths from COVID-19, I encourage residents to continue to get vaccinated.  Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are safe and effective.”

 

For information on vaccine availability throughout the State of Maryland at mass vaccinations, retail pharmacies, and other local clinics, visit covidvax.maryland.gov or call 1-855-MDGOVAX. Citizens with special needs may contact the Maryland Relay Service at 711, or Relay Service TDD: 800-735-2258.


Identity Needed for Motor Vehicle B&E Suspect (Photos)

April 13, 2020:
 
The St. Mary's County Sheriff's Office is seeking the identity of the person pictured in motor vehicle breaking and entering investigation. On Monday, April 5, 2021 at 6:15 pm, the suspect entered the victim's car while it was parked at the California Walmart and removed cash from the vehicle. The suspect was last seen getting into a white SUV assisted by an unknown person. Anyone with information about the identity of the suspect or this incident is asked to call Deputy Travis Wimberly at 301-475-4200, ext. 71956 or email travis.wimberly@stmarysmd.com. Case # 18317-21
 
 
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

CCPS Confirms Graduation Dates and Plans for Full Opening in the Fall

Calvert County Public Schools (CCPS) is moving forward with plans to close the 2020-2021 school year with celebratory graduation ceremonies and to open the 2021-2022 school year with virtual and in-person options for families.
High school graduations will be held on June 2 and 3 as originally planned. Calvert High School and Northern High School will graduate on June 2. Huntingtown High School and Patuxent High School will graduate on June 3. Principals, assistant principals, and class sponsors in each high school met with the senior class council to discuss ideas and design a survey that was emailed to all seniors to elicit their input about the ceremonies. Details, including the locations, will be shared with families as soon as information is available.
June 2 and 3 will not be early dismissals and will instead follow the schedule of the typical instructional day. June 2 will, however, be a full day of asynchronous learning for Calvert High and Northern High students, and June 3 will be asynchronous for Huntingtown High and Patuxent High. 
For high school students only, June 4 will be an in-person instructional day for Cohort A. Cohort B and fully virtual high school students will participate in synchronous instruction that day. 
Calvert County Public Schools has committed to a full in-person opening for the 2021-2022 school year. The system does not plan to implement a hybrid model with concurrent instruction. Like other school districts across the state, CCPS is exploring the possibility of opening a fully virtual school for students in Grades 3-12 whose families choose this option. Dr. Daniel D. Curry, Superintendent, said, “We want our students back in school full time, and we believe we can do that safely. We do, though, recognize that some families will want a virtual option, either for health concerns or because their children have been more successful online. Stay tuned for more information.”
Family information nights about the virtual school will be held via Microsoft Teams on April 27 and May 4 at 6:00 p.m. Links to the meetings will be posted on the school system website, www.calvertnet.k12.md.us.

NAS Patuxent River to Hold Virtual Restoration Advisory Board Meeting April 28

PATUXENT RIVER NAVAL AIR STATION, MD – Residents and other interested parties in the vicinity of NAS Patuxent River and Webster Outlying Field are invited to attend a virtual Restoration Advisory Board meeting for an update on the Navy’s Site Inspection of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) April 28, 2021 from 6-7 p.m. on Microsoft Teams. The Navy has developed a protective policy to assess certain PFAS on and in the vicinity of installations which have known or potential releases of these compounds into the environment; these are compounds frequently found in fire-fighting foam (aqueous film forming foam (AFFF)) and various industrial and consumer products.
 
 
The meeting format will include a brief on the Site Inspection results and a question and answer session with representatives from the Navy, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the Maryland Department of Environment. The Navy is seeking questions from the public about PFAS and the Pax River and Webster Field Site Inspections prior to the meeting via email at pax_rab@navy.mil . Emailed questions will be accepted until Friday, April 16, and meeting participants will also have the opportunity to submit questions via Microsoft Teams during the meeting.
 
 
 
The public can join the live virtual meeting by clicking the hyperlink Microsoft Teams: Virtual RAB Meeting-PFAS Update or copy and pasting the following url into their browser:   https://teams.microsoft.com/l/meetup-join/19:meeting_NWZjMTBmOGQtNmQwNC00NzEzLWJmNmItYmMwZDc1Mjc2OGZk@thread.v2/0?context={"Tid":"37247798-f42c-42fd-8a37-d49c7128d36b","Oid":"a2dea0c3-d10a-4c4f-93cd-980183f9d581","IsBroadcastMeeting":true}&btype=a&role=a .
 
 
 
For additional information regarding the meeting, including the Site Inspecting brief, visit the public web site at https://go.usa.gov/xnBga and www.secnav.navy.mil/eie/pages/pfc-pfas.aspx

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