Local News

The 2022 Annual Report and "Year in Review" Video Now Available

Charles County is pleased to announce that the 2022 Annual Report and Year in Review video are available online for public viewing. The Annual Report and Year in Review video offers a comprehensive look back at 2022 and is organized by departments showcasing the county’s accomplishments and key milestones.


Commissioner President Reuben B. Collins, II, Esq. said, "The 2022 annual report is a snapshot into what steps the Board of Commissioners have taken to meet our goals and objectives.  I am proud of what the Board has been able to accomplish for our Charles County residents."


The Annual Report and video cover areas of education, health, public safety, and quality of life that were achieved in 2022, using local area photos and charts.


Visit www.CharlesCountyMD.gov/AnnualReport, to view or download a Portable Document Format (PDF) version of the annual report or to view the 2022 Year in Review video. Adobe Reader is required to view PDF files.


To request a copy of the report, email PressRoom@CharlesCountyMD.gov or 301-885-2779. DVD copies may be requested here. Citizens with special needs may contact the Maryland Relay Service at 711, or Relay Service TDD: 800-735-2258.

EPA To Award Over $1 Million In Grans To Support Water Quality At Beaches For Swimmers In Mid Atlantic

Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced over $1 million in grant funding to help protect public health in coastal and Great Lakes beach communities in the Mid-Atlantic Region. The funding is being awarded to Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia to assist with water quality monitoring and public notification programs for local beaches.

“So many of us have a rich tradition of spending our summers splashing, swimming, and playing at our favorite beach, which is why it’s so important for EPA to help our local partners protect the water at coastal and Great Lakes beaches,” said EPA Assistant Administrator for Water Radhika Fox. “These grants help Tribes, states, and territories fund programs to test water quality at beaches to ensure it’s clean for swimming and boating.”

Under the Beaches Environmental Assessment and Coastal Health (BEACH) Act, eligible states, territories, and tribes use the grant funds to monitor their beaches for bacteria, maintain and operate a public notification system to alert beachgoers, provide technical assistance to communities to assess pollution sources at specific beaches, and report annually to EPA on the results of monitoring and notification actions.

“With summer right around the corner, tens of millions of Americans are making plans to travel to our beautiful beaches in Delaware and around the country,” said Senator Carper (DE), Chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. “Fortunately, EPA is providing states and communities with the tools to ensure the safety of the water at our nation’s beaches, which are an integral part of our tourism economy and important ecosystems for wildlife and migratory birds.”

Since 2001, EPA has awarded nearly $216 million nationwide in BEACH Act grants to test beach waters for indicators of illness-causing bacteria and help with public notification and identification of the problem. This program is essential for protecting the public health of beachgoers across the country.

Contingent upon their meeting the eligibility requirements, EPA’s 2023 BEACH Act grant funding will be allocated to as follows: Delaware - $223,000; Maryland - $283,000; Pennsylvania - $235,000; and Virginia $291,000.

More information on BEACH Act grants.

Check the relevant Tribal, state, or territorial beach program website for closing or advisory information at a particular beach.


May 24th Charles County Commisioners Meeting Update

On Wednesday, May 24, the Board of County Commissioners announced the appointments of nine members and three alternates to the Charter Board. The Charter Board is tasked with drafting a charter for Charles County to change the present form of government from code home rule to charter government. The Board’s appointed members are:

  • Cheryl Botts (District 1)
  • Sarah Hammett (District 1)
  • Marjorie Chiles (District 2)
  • Mary Stokely (District 2)
  • Ramonda Davis (District 3)
  • Christopher Harrington (District 3)
  • Eileen Lynch-Britt (District 4)
  • Gregory Waring (District 4)
  • Dottery Butler-Washington (At-Large member)
  • William Smith (alternate member)
  • Michael White (alternate member)
  • James Crawford (alternate member)


The Charter Board will meet at least monthly beginning June 1, 2023, and the draft charter will be presented to the County Commissioners by June 1, 2024. The proposed charter will define the duties, powers, rules, procedures, and structure of local county government and the rights of its citizens. The proposed charter is being planned on a timeline that would place it on the ballot for approval by Charles County voters during the 2024 regular election. If a majority of the votes cast are in favor of its adoption, the form of government for Charles County will change from code home rule to charter on the date specified in the charter. 


Approval Items

Commissioners also approved:

  • budget transfer request of $62,000 to pay for the renewal of Zencity, an online community engagement platform that will be used to share essential project information, conduct surveys, and gather resident input on community priorities.
  • budget transfer request of $418,500 to pay for increased electricity costs for water and sewer operations.
  • Support for the use of up to $60,000 in contingency funds to administer the Healthy Families Southern Maryland program due to a potential gap in grant-funded services. This service gap may occur because of a change in the way that the state grant is being administered this year.
  • memorandum of understanding between Charles County Commissioners, the Charles County Sheriff, and the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 24.
  • The proposed amendment to the Commissioner Rules and Procedures.


Board and Commission Appointments:

  • Commissioner Collins and Commissioner Stewart to the Task Force to Study School Bus Operator contracts and Wages.
  • Reappoint Claude Humbert to the Board of Appeals.
  • Reappoint Benjamin Watkins to the Board of Appeals.



Commissioners issued the following proclamations:


Viewing option of the meeting and the Commissioner Listening Session: Click Here


Next Commissioners Session: June 13, 2023


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

Homicide in Mechanicsville Under Investigation

May 25, 2023


Two suspects were arrested and charged on Wednesday by St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office detectives in a homicide investigation in Mechanicsville.


On Wednesday, May 24, 2023, at 5:28 am, St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office deputies arrived at an apartment at the 29000 block of Three Notch Road in Mechanicsville for the report of a male suffering from a gunshot wound to the head. Patrol officers arrived and located the victim, Raymond Franklin Woods Jr., age 54 of Mechanicsville, deceased on a couch.


Detectives with the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigations Division continued the investigation, along with the Crime Lab Unit and a forensic investigator from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. The gunshot wound was determined to be a homicide.


As a result of the investigation, Marvin Orlando Johnson, age 38 of Mechanicsville, was charged with First-Degree Murder, Second-Degree Murder, Use of a Firearm in the Commission of a Crime of Violence, First-Degree Assault and Second-Degree Assault.



Additionally, Marlee Lynn Stokes, age 37 of Charlotte Hall, was charged with First-Degree Murder: Accessory After the Fact and Second-Degree Murder: Accessory After the Fact.



Both suspects are being held at the St. Mary’s County Detention and Rehabilitation Center in Leonardtown on a no-bond status.


Anyone with additional information about this incident is asked to call Detective Andrew Burgess at 301-475-4200, ext. 8041 or email andrew.burgess@stmaryscountymd.gov.

Police Ready For Highway Enforcement Through Memorial Day Weekend

(PIKESVILLE, Md.) — Maryland State Police will bolster enforcement efforts over the Memorial Day weekend to prevent dangerous driving behaviors and save lives as more motorists are expected to travel this holiday.

State troopers from 23 barracks, including members of the State Police Impaired Driving Reduction Effort Team, known as the SPIDRE team, will be focusing enforcement efforts on impaired driving, aggressive driving, speeding, distracted driving and other violations that contribute to highway tragedies, especially during the holiday weekend. Additional troopers will be working overtime assignments funded by highway safety grants from the Maryland Department of Transportation Highway Safety Office.

“As we prepare to kick off the summer travel season this Memorial Day weekend, we want motorists to arrive at their destinations safely,” Maryland State Police Superintendent Colonel Roland L. Butler, Jr. said. “We always ask that if you choose to drink, then please arrange for a designated driver or a safe ride home.”

Among the planned initiatives:

  • The Bel Air Barrack will focus efforts on Routes 1, 24, 40, and 155 in Harford County.

  • The Salisbury Barrack will conduct enforcement along Routes 50 and 13 corridors in Wicomico County.

  • The Annapolis Barrack will focus on DUI enforcement along Routes 50 and Interstate 97 in Anne Arundel County.

  • The Forestville Barrack will focus its efforts on Route 5 in Prince George’s County

  • The Rockville Barrack will concentrate its efforts on Interstate 495 in Montgomery County.

  • Golden Ring Barrack will concentrate on crash hotspots around Interstate 695 within Baltimore County.

  • Centreville Barrack will conduct operations on Routes 301, 20 and 50.

  • The Waterloo Barrack will work crash and DUI reduction efforts in and around high-crash areas within Howard County.
  • The Hagerstown Barrack will conduct saturation patrols on Interstates 70 and 81 in Washington County.

Maryland averaged 152 fatalities and 2,003 injuries due to impaired driving crashes annually between 2017 and 2021, according to the Maryland Department of Transportation Highway Safety Office. Many of these deaths and injuries were preventable.

If you are attending a Memorial Day gathering:

  • Designate a sober driver in advance and give that person your car keys.

  • If you’re planning on driving, avoid drinking.

  • Consider using public transportation. Call a taxi or use a ride-share service if you don’t have a sober driver.

  • Don’t let a friend drive if you think they are impaired.

  • If you see someone who you believe is driving impaired, then call the police.

  • Always buckle up.

  • Don’t drive distracted, text or use a cellphone that is not hands-free.

If you are hosting a Memorial Day gathering:

  • Remember, you can be held liable if someone you served alcohol to ends up in an impaired-driving crash.

  • Serve plenty of food and non-alcoholic beverages

  • Ensure sober drivers or alternative modes of transportation are set up in advance for guests who are planning to drink alcoholic beverages.

  • Have contact information for local taxi companies readily available.

  • Take the keys away from anyone who is thinking of driving impaired.

Mortgage Assistance Program Expansion Estimated to Help More Than 1,000 Additional Marylanders Stay in Their Homes

NEW CARROLLTON (May 25, 2023) — The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development has helped more than 11,000 homeowners behind on housing-related payments, including 6,000 who were facing foreclosure, stay in their homes since the Homeowner Assistance Fund program launched in March 2021. The Department has expanded the program to add an additional option for mortgage servicers to provide eligible homeowners with relief as interest rates have risen and affected the affordability of some loan modifications. The program now is able to fund up to six months of forward payments for eligible applicants, and is estimated to help more than 1,000 additional Marylanders. 

“The department has quickly adapted the Homeowner Assistance Program to extend its reach given new housing market conditions that didn’t exist when the program started,” said Jake Day, Secretary of the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development. “This assistance supports long-term, sustainable solutions for homeowners who are still dealing with the aftereffects of pandemic-related hardships.”

The Homeowner Assistance Fund offers legal assistance, loan modifications with payment of delinquent mortgages, grants to avoid displacement due to property taxes, association and water and sewer fees, and other housing related costs. So far, the program has provided more than $125 million to eligible homeowners, with an average of $17,100 of assistance for each household.

One such homeowner, a Bowie resident, was days away from foreclosure and shared their story on working with the Maryland Homeowner Assistance Fund. 

“If it were not for DHCD and its Homeowners Assistance Fund team, I would have lost my home to foreclosure,” the resident wrote to the Department. “I was in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy and fell behind on mortgage payments due to COVID-related income reduction. I had consultations with two lawyers and they both informed me that time was not on my side and to try to sell my house as quickly as possible so I could get some equity out of it, but they were even pessimistic about that. I'm a single parent and was very scared of how losing my home would impact my 12-year-old daughter. My home was about 7 days away from a foreclosure sale when HAF stepped in and processed my application. The foreclosure sale was canceled two days later and my loan was reinstated. HAF also paid for my water bill arrears! Shout out to HAF for having such amazing staff!”

No additional application is required to be considered for the new forward payment option, and the Department is also reviewing past applications to determine if those homeowners would be eligible for the forward payment option and reaching out to them to offer assistance. For more detailed information on eligibility and to apply for assistance, go to homeownerassistance.maryland.gov.

The HAF program was established by the American Rescue Plan Act enacted in 2021 to help homeowners experiencing financial hardship after January 21, 2020. The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Developm?ent was awarded a total of $248 million to administer through the program.

Calvert County Sheriff's Office Incident Report

During the week of May 15 – May 21, 2023, Calvert County Sheriff’s Office Deputies responded to 1,916 calls for service throughout the community.


Damaged Property: 23-35463

On May 19, 2023, DFC Idol was conducting a patrol check of Northern High School located at 2950 Chaneyville Road in Owings, and upon arrival, observed toilet paper all over the front of the school, trees, and windows. Windows around the school were covered in syrup, baking flower and had newspaper stuck to them. There were multiple signs and shipping containers that had been spray-painted. On the stadium field, lacrosse goals were set on flag poles and bleacher benches were on top of the goal posts. No physical damage was apparent. The estimated value of damaged property is unknown at this time.


Damaged Property: 23-35647


On May 19, 2023, DFC Kwitowski responded to the 400 block of Round Up Road in Lusby, for the report of property destruction. The complainant advised an unknown suspect (s) tampered with the victim’s air conditioning unit. The fence around the unit was partially dislodged and screws were observed on the ground nearby causing the fan to fall to the bottom of the A/C unit. The estimated value of damaged property is $8,700.00.


Property Destruction: 23-35907

On May 20, 2023, Deputy Daily responded to the 1500 block of Wilson Road in Huntingtown, for the report of property destruction. The complainant advised sometime between 6 -6:30 p.m. on May 20th, an unknown suspect(s) broke five barn windows belonging to the victim. The estimated valued of damaged property is $2,500.00.

Theft: 23-34313

On May 15, 2023, Deputy Contic responded to 155 Holiday Drive in Solomons, for the report of a theft. The complainant advised his 18ft black CAM Superline trailer had been stolen from the parking lot. The estimated value of stolen property is $4,945.00.


Theft: 23-34837

On May 16, 2023, DFC Grierson responded to Baia Costal Restaurant located at 8323 Bayside Road in Chesapeake Beach, for the report of a theft. Investigation revealed an unknown suspect described as a Hispanic male wearing a mask, backed a white Chevrolet work van up to the restaurant’s used cooking oil dumpster and stole used cooking oil. The estimated value of stolen property is $100.00.


Theft: 23-35397

On May 18, 2023, DFC Shoemaker responded to the 11200 block of Lakeview Drive in Dunkirk, for the report of a theft. The complainant advised his front and rear Maryland registration plates were stolen from his vehicle. The estimated value of stolen property is $250.00.



On May 16, 2023, Dep. R. Jones responded to the area of the Thomas Johnson Bridge in Solomons, for a traffic complaint. A traffic stop was initiated along Rt. 4 just south of St. Leonard Road in St. Leonard. Upon making contact with the driver, Keenan Anthony Berry, 27, and passenger, Shanika Lanae Green, 21 both of Lexington Park, a strong odor of marijuana was emitting from the vehicle. Further investigation revealed Berry’s driver’s license was revoked. A vehicle search yielded 12.2 grams of a white powdery/rock mix, (suspected Crack Cocaine), a digital scale covered with a white powdery residue, two resealable bags containing marijuana, 3 cellular phones and $697.00 in US currency. Both Berry and Green were transported to the Calvert County Detention Center where they were charged CDS: Possession with Intent to Distribute Narcotics and CDS: Possession-Not Cannabis.


On May 17, 2023, DFC Shoemaker responded to the McDonald’s located at 515 N. Solomons Island Road in Prince Frederick, for the report of a disorderly subject. Upon arrival, DFC Shoemaker observed Marvin Wayne Thomas, 56 of Prince Frederick, yelling aloud. Investigation revealed Thomas had been previously trespassed indefinitely from the establishment. Thomas was arrested and transported to the Calvert County Detention Center where he was charged with Trespassing: Private Property.

On May 17, 2023, Deputy Claggett was dispatched to the Dollar Tree located at 545 N. Solomons Island Road in Prince Frederick, for the reported trespassing. The complainant advised, Andrew Edward Hart, 63 of no fixed address, had been previously trespassed from the property indefinitely. Hart was placed into custody and transported to the Calvert County Detention Center where he was charged with Trespassing: Private Property.


On May 19, 2023, DFC Aranda and Deputy Dawson responded to the CVS Pharmacy located at 10095 Ward Road in Dunkirk, for the report of a suspicious activity inside a vehicle. Upon making contact with occupants of the suspected vehicle, Deputy Dawson observed the floor boards to be littered with cut and torn Brillow Pad fibers. Dep. Dawson observed a torn-up copper Brillow pad fell from the vehicle. Investigation revealed one of the occupants who originally provided a false name, was wanted on an open warrant through St. Mary’s County. Francis Xavier Curtis, 25 of Chaptico, was placed into custody. A search of Curtis’s person revealed a black tie off containing two rocks of crack cocaine (approximately 1.3 grams). Curtis was transported to the Calvert County Detention Center where he was charged with CDS: Possess-Not Cannabis, CDS: Possess Paraphernalia and Fraud - Per Identification Avoid Prosecution.


On May 17, 2023, Deputy Novick, responded to 80 Sherry Lane in Prince Frederick, for the check welfare of a subject in the parking lot possibly using controlled dangerous substances. Upon arrival, Deputy Novick and Cpl. Shrawder made contact with an occupant, who initially provided a false name. Further investigation revealed the occupant, Stephen Matthew Greenwell Jr., 34 of Shady Side, had two open warrants through Anne Arundel County for Assault and Escape. Greenwell was placed into custody and began to resist arrest while failing to comply with deputies’ orders. Greenwell was transported to the Calvert County Detention Center where he was served the open warrants and additionally charged with charged with False Statements to a Peace Officer and Resisting/Interfering with Arrest.


On May 16, 2023, DFC Aranda responded to the Walmart located at 10600 Town Center Blvd. in Dunkirk, for the report of a theft. The complainant advised a female entered the store and stole two robot vacuum machines and a coffee machine and left in a 2018 pink/purple Hyundai. DFC Aranda located a vehicle matching the description in Anne Arundel County. Investigation revealed the suspect, Brandi Marie Beckett, 40 of LaPlata, was operating the vehicle with stolen tags that she admitted stealing from a parked vehicle at the Dunkirk Walmart. Upon making contact with Beckett, DFC Aranda observed two wireless robot vacuums, a coffee maker, and a tent in the backseat in plain view consistent with the items the complainant initially reported stolen. With the assistance of an Anne Arundel County Police Officer, Beckett was placed into custody for the stolen registration plates. Further investigation revealed a glass pipe covered in a white powdery residue (crack pipe) was located inside the vehicle.  Beckett was apprehended and transported to the Calvert County Detention Center. During processing, a search of Beckett’s person was conducted and an additional pipe containing white residue was located. Beckett was charged with Theft Less Than $100, Possession of Contraband in a Place of Confinement, CDS: Possession-Not Cannabis, and CDS: Possession of Paraphernalia.



Anyone with information about these incidents is asked to call the Sheriff’s Office at (410) 535-2800 and reference the case number provided. Citizens may remain anonymous thru the ‘Submit a Tip’ feature on the Calvert County Sheriff’s Office mobile app. To download, visit https://apps.myocv.com/share/a39520678 . Tipsters may also email ccsotips@calvertcountymd.gov

Patrol Officer Recovers Loaded Firearm in Vehicle During Traffic Stop

Patrol Officer Recovers Loaded Firearm in Vehicle During Traffic Stop: On May 17 at 6:48 p.m., a patrol officer initiated a traffic stop in the 3200 block of Crain Highway in Waldorf for registration and insurance violations. Further investigation revealed a loaded handgun inside the vehicle. The driver, Jordan Malik Barnes, 27, of Forestville, was arrested and charged with illegal possession of a firearm due to previous convictions, transporting a loaded firearm in a vehicle, and other related charges. On May 18,  a judge ordered Barnes could be released from the Charles County Detention Center after paying 10 percent of a $2,000 bond. Officer Gordon is investigating.

Student in Possession of Suspected Cannabis at Middle School

Student Found to be in Possession of Cannabis at Middle School: On May 23 at 1:30 p.m., a school administrator at Benjamin Stoddert Middle School reported to a school resource officer that a student was in possession of suspected drugs. The school resource officer recovered a bag of suspected cannabis. The student was charged on a civil citation and also faces disciplinary consequences from the Charles County Public Schools. Parents are urged to talk with their children about the dangers of inhaling or ingesting dangerous substances. Anyone with information is asked to call Officer Watkins at 301-609-3282 ext. 0721.

School Resource Officer Investigating Assault at Elementary School

School Resource Officer Investigating Assault at Elementary School: On May 23 at 12 p.m., a school resource officer was notified about an assault that occurred at Gale Bailey Elementary School during which two students struck another student several times. The students stopped fighting as an administrator approached and the student was seen by a school nurse. In accordance with Maryland law, the students cannot be charged due to their age; however, the Charles County Department of Juvenile Services was notified. The students also face disciplinary consequences from the Charles County Public Schools. Anyone with information about this case is asked to call Cpl. Cooke at 301-609-3282 ext. 0479.

Elementary School Student Observed Smoking a Vaping Device in Gymnasium during Class

Elementary School Student Observed Smoking a Vaping Device in Gymnasium during Class: On May 24 at 11 a.m., a student at Indian Head Elementary School was observing smoking a vaping device in the gymnasium during class. The device was recovered and the student’s parents were contacted. The school resource officer has initiated an investigation and will notify the Charles County Department of Juvenile Services. Parents are urged to talk with their children about the dangers of inhaling or ingesting dangerous substances. Anyone with information is asked to call Cpl. Cook at 301-609-3282 ext. 0479.

Open Table Initiative Seeks Volunteers

PRINCE FREDERICK, Md. – May 24, 2023  – The Calvert County Family Network is seeking interested volunteers for the Open Table initiative. Open Table is a proven model that leverages relationships to transform communities. Through relationships and accessing social support networks, a group of volunteers can empower an individual or family in need to implement their own life plans and goals to develop the ideal life they envision for themselves and their children.

Calvert County is the first county in Maryland to launch Open Table, and this unique volunteer experience allows you to go beyond giving by investing in others and our community. Those interested in volunteering are encouraged to attend a virtual information session. To register for an informational session visit https://calvertcountymd.gov/3630/Open-Table-Volunteers-Needed. Multiple session dates are offered to accommodate community members. Individual sessions are available if interested volunteers are unable to attend any of the dates and times listed.

 For more information on becoming a volunteer, or to schedule an individual session,  contact Calvert County’s Open Table Coordinator, Jessica Roberson, at jessica.roberson@calvertcountymd.gov or 410-535-1600, ext. 8809 or visit www.calvertcountymd.gov/OpenTable.

The Calvert County Family Network is a Local Management Board (LMB). LMBs partner with local leaders, public and private agencies and businesses to build communities where all children, youth and families can thrive. For more information visit www.CalvertCountyMd.gov/CCFN.

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.

May 23rd St. Mary's County Commissioner Meeting Rollup

LEONARDTOWN, MD – The Commissioners of St. Mary's County (CSMC) began with a joint meeting with St. Mary’s County Metropolitan Commission on Tuesday, May 23, 2023.


They then held their regular business meeting, beginning with the invocation and pledge, followed by approval of the consent agenda.


The Commissioners then presented proclamations for Stoke Smart, National Emergency Services Week, and National Public Works Week.


Then public hearings were held for the Proposed Road Naming and Addressing Manual and the Sheriff’s Office Retirement Plan proposed 17th Amendment. The public comment period will be open on these hearings until 5 p.m. on Tuesday, May 30, 2023.


The Commissioners then met as the Board of Health.


Following the Board of Health meeting the Commissioners set rates and approved the FY2024 Operating and Capital Budget.


During County Administrator time, the Commissioners took the following action:

  • Approved the Department of Human Resources budget amendment to increase funding to the LOSAP trust and increase benefit payments.
  • Approved the Department of Recreation & Parks’ application to the Maryland Bikeways Program Funding and the purchase of 46961 Bradley Blvd, Lexington Park from Willows Run, LLP.


Please note that the CSMC will not meet next Tuesday, May 30, 2023. The next regular CSMC business meeting will be on Tuesday, June 6, 2023, at 9 a.m. CSMC decisions and related public documents are available on the county government website in BoardDocs. CSMC meetings can be viewed live Tuesday mornings on SMCG Channel 95 or as a replay Friday at 6:30 p.m. Meetings are also available for on-demand viewing on the St. Mary's County Government YouTube Channel.

Health Department Operations for the Memorial Day Holiday

The St. Mary’s County Health Department (SMCHD) will be closed on Monday, May 29, 2023 for the Memorial Day holiday. This includes the main office in Leonardtown and all satellite offices. Normal operations will resume on Tuesday, May 30, 2023.  

Learn more about SMCHD programs, services, and hours of operations at smchd.org

State Fire Marshal Offers Outdoor Safety Tips

With Memorial Day weekend right around the corner, families across Maryland will venture outside – either to the beach or the mountains – or maybe just to their backyard.

Increased outdoor activities also result in an increase of outdoor fire risks; therefore State Fire Marshal Brian S. Geraci is providing a few common-sense tips that will help Marylanders enjoy a safe holiday weekend and summer season.  “These tips will help reduce the chance of a tragedy that could ruin an otherwise fun-filled time of the year,” stated State Fire Marshal Brian S. Gerai

Outdoor Cooking Safety Tips for Gas Grills:

  • Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) cylinders should always be transported in the upright position on the floor of the vehicle with all windows open. Never transport cylinders in the trunk of a car.  Remove the cylinder from the vehicle as soon as possible.
  • Ensure all connections are tight. Check all connections with soapy water. The appearance of bubbles indicates leaks – retighten leaking connections.
  • Make sure grease is not allowed to drip onto the hose or gas cylinder.
  • Store the cylinder (including those attached to barbecues), outdoors in a shaded, cool area out of direct sunlight.
  • Read thoroughly and follow manufacturer’s instructions for gas grill use. Save the instructions!

Outdoor Cooking Safety Tips for Charcoal Grills:

  • Use only a small amount of charcoal starter fuel. A little goes a long way! Consider using charcoal that does not require starter fuel for ignition.
  • Once a fire has been started, never add starter fuel! Fire can easily follow the stream of fluid back to the container and possibly cause an explosion.
  • Use great caution in disposing of ashes. Ashes may contain live coals that can start a fire if not disposed of properly.  The safest method is to wet the ashes thoroughly with water before emptying the barbecue.

With any outdoor cooking equipment, never be tempted to use them inside – not even in a garage or on a porch or balcony says the State Fire Marshal.  “Charcoal grills produce carbon monoxide, an odorless, colorless, and poisonous gas which even in small quantities can cause injury or death. LPG cylinders that develop a leak indoors can be the cause of an explosion with devastating results.” said Geraci 

 With warmer weather, public fireworks displays attract thousands of spectators every year.  These licensed and inspected events afford Marylanders a safe and pleasurable way to celebrate.  Often times however, persons are tempted to use illegal fireworks or legal fireworks.  The following tips can help Marylanders enjoy fireworks – safely!

  • Plan to attend one of hundreds of licensed and inspected public fireworks displays held annually across Maryland.
  • Remember, the only fireworks allowed for personal use in Maryland are snap n’ pops, party poppers, black snakes, gold-labeled sparklers, and ground-based sparkling devices.
  • If allowing children to participate, they should only use legal fireworks with close adult supervision. Make sure to keep sparklers away from the body and loose fitting clothing.  Read and follow the instructions on the sparkler package!  Sparklers burn at approximately 1,200°F.
  • Never mix alcohol and fireworks. The combination could be deadly.
  • Fully extinguish remains of fireworks in water before disposal.
  • All fireworks are banned in Baltimore City, Prince George’s County, and Montgomery County. The town of Ocean City along with Howard County and Harford County has specifically prohibited Ground-based Sparkling Devices.

By following these simple safety tips, Marylanders can avoid injury and enjoy a wonderful holiday and summer season.  

Flag Day Celebration to be held on Governmental Center Lawn

LEONARDTOWN, MD – The Commissioners of St. Mary’s County (CSMC) are pleased to invite the entire community to attend the 2023 Flag Day Celebration on Wednesday, June 14, 2023, at 6 p.m. on the Governmental Center lawn in Leonardtown.


The event will feature:

·         A procession by various color guards and veteran groups from around St. Mary’s County.

·         A special Flag Day Service, presented by Elks Lodge 2092, highlighting the history of the American Flag.

·         Patriotic music, featuring the Father Andrew White, S.J. School chorus and the cast from Recreation & Parks 41st Annual Summerstock Production, School of Rock.

·         An official Flag Retirement Ceremony, led by American Legion Post 221, demonstrating the dignified and proper method of disposing of worn, torn, or tattered flags.

·         Free hand-held American Flags for attendees.

·         Refreshments provided by the 7th District Optimist Club.


Seating will be provided, but attendees are also welcome to bring blankets and chairs to enjoy the festivities from the comfort of the lawn. In the event of inclement weather, the ceremony will relocate to the inside of the Leonard Hall Recreation Center, adjacent to the lawn.


Citizens may drop off flags in need of retirement to the Chesapeake Building, located at 41770 Baldridge Street in Leonardtown. For more information, contact the Public Information Office at (301) 475-4200, ext. 1342 or via email to PIO@stmaryscountymd.gov.

State of Maryland Receives More Than $29 Million for Affordable Housing and Homelessness Prevention

Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) Secretary Jake Day today announced the department will administer nearly $24 million in federal funding to provide gap financing to projects statewide that will create dozens of affordable housing units. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) approved the state’s plan to administer $23,971,599 in HOME Investment Partnerships American Rescue Plan Program (HOME-ARP) funding provided through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, which appropriated $5 billion nationwide to provide housing, services, and shelter to individuals experiencing homelessness and other vulnerable populations. Maryland also received more than $5.4 million to produce affordable housing as part of HUD’s annual allocation from the national Housing Trust Fund.

“All Marylanders deserve the safety and stability of shelter. To end chronic homelessness in Maryland we must increase the supply of affordable housing to provide that shelter while connecting at-risk and low-income individuals and households with essential supportive services,” said Secretary Day. “This funding brings us closer to achieving Governor Moore's vision of a state that leaves no one behind. I thank Maryland’s congressional delegation and our federal partners at HUD for their support, and I commend the numerous local organizations and stakeholders that contributed their input and insight in drafting our now-approved allocation plan.”

Under program requirements, HOME-ARP funds must primarily benefit the homeless, those at-risk of homelessness, and other vulnerable populations. In drafting Maryland’s HOME-ARP plan DHCD engaged with more than 100 stakeholders through a series of one-on-one consultations, listening sessions, public hearings, and an online survey. These stakeholders included local Continuums of Care, homeless service providers, domestic violence service providers, veterans’ services groups, public housing agencies, nonprofits, and other public and private organizations that address fair housing, civil rights, and the needs of persons with disabilities. The department estimates that through HOME-ARP funding, approximately 12 projects statewide could receive gap financing, leveraging Low Income Housing Tax Credits, state Rental Housing Funds, Housing Trust Funds, and other financing sources to create approximately 70 affordable units.

The Housing Trust Fund provides grants to states and state-designated entities to create and preserve affordable housing for households designated by HUD as extremely low- or very low-income households. Each state must use at least 80 percent of each grant for rental housing; up to 10 percent for homeownership; and up to 10 percent for administration and planning. All rental units receiving Housing Trust Fund assistance will be required to be reserved as affordable units for 30 years.

For more information about state resources that support affordable rental housing, visit: https://dhcd.maryland.gov/HousingDevelopment.

Memorial Day Weekend Marks The Start Of The Summer

BALTIMORE, MD (May 22, 2023) – The Maryland Transportation Authority is highlighting the important roles that each motorist plays in safely navigating another summer travel season that gets underway this Memorial Day holiday. A commitment to safe driving practices will help protect yourself, your family and other travelers on our roadways. In addition, traveling off-peak will assist in reducing anticipated travel delays crossing the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. Drivers may also find time savings using the I-95 northern route via the Tydings Bridge when traveling from shore to shore. Memorial Day Week and Weekend Travel Higher volumes of traffic are expected at the Bay Bridge between Friday, May 26, and Monday, May 29.


Maryland Transportation Authority officials project that more than 325,000 vehicles will cross the bridge during that period. It should be noted that delays are to be expected at the bridge and along the US 50 corridor throughout the entire holiday travel period. Heavier eastbound traffic volumes are expected Thursday, May 25, through Saturday, May 27, with heavier westbound traffic volumes expected to build Sunday, May 28, and Monday, May 29.


Motorists should stay on US 50 on both sides of the bridge to keep local roadways open for first responders and residents. For 24/7 Bay Bridge traffic information call 1-877-BAYSPAN (1-877-229-7726) or visit Baybridge.com. For real-time updates on major incidents on Maryland toll roads follow twitter.com/TheMDTA on Twitter. -more- Page Two The best times to travel across the Bay Bridge this holiday period will be off-peak, including: • Thursday, May 25 – before 10 a.m. and after 9 p.m. • Friday, May 26 – before 8 a.m. and after 9 p.m. • Saturday, May 27 – before 8 a.m. and after 4 p.m. • Sunday, May 28 – before 11 a.m. and after 5 p.m. • Memorial Day Monday, May 29 – before 8 a.m. and after 10 p.m. Weather and traffic permitting, two-way operations will be implemented to help alleviate eastbound delays at the Bay Bridge.


Two-way operations may be limited based on westbound traffic volumes, as bridge officials strive to mitigate delays on both sides of the bridge. Two-way operations are prohibited during bridge wind warnings/restrictions, fog/limited visibility or times of precipitation, and may be prohibited during incidents. Bay Bridge Automated Lane Closure System Now Active on Both Sides of the Bridge The new Automated Lane Closure System at the Bay Bridge uses overhead lane-use control signals and full-color dynamic message signs, horizontal swing gates and illuminated pavement markers to alert and guide motorists when lanes are opening and closing to accommodate traffic operations.


Motorists must pay attention and adhere to overhead lane signals. Lane signals apply to travel lanes BEFORE, ON and AFTER the bridge wherever lane signals are present. • RED X: Means the lane is closed. You MUST NOT enter or travel in any lane over which a RED X signal is shown. • YELLOW X: Prepare to vacate the lane beneath the YELLOW X signal and move to a lane with a DOWNWARD GREEN ARROW. • DOWNWARD GREEN ARROW: Motorists can drive in the lane beneath the GREEN ARROW signal. Remember: Police enforcement is continuing for motorists failing to obey the lane-use control signals on the highway approaches and on the bridge. -more- Page Three Easiest Way to Pay Maryland Tolls Tolls in Maryland are collected through E-ZPass, Pay-By-Plate and Video Tolling. E-ZPass is the most costeffective way to travel toll roads in Maryland, saving drivers up to 77% versus the higher rates and also saving the additional paperwork that comes with Video Tolls. With Pay-By-Plate, tolls are automatically billed to the driver’s registered credit card as they use Maryland toll facilities, with no need for a transponder or pre-paid deposit. Pay-By-Plate rates are the same as former cash rates. Motorists who travel Maryland toll roads without E-ZPass or Pay-By-Plate – Video Tolling customers – can save 15% (maximum of $5 per transaction) by paying their Video Tolls before the notice is mailed. Learn more and enroll in E-ZPass or sign up for Pay-By-Plate at https://www.driveezmd.com/acct-types/. If using a rental vehicle over the holiday, you can add vehicle information temporarily to an E-ZPass or Pay-By-Plate account.


Otherwise, be sure to alert the rental car company before traveling a route that includes a toll facility. To ensure the lowest toll rate for your E-ZPass account, customers are reminded to: • keep vehicle and billing information up to date (e.g., check for expired credit cards, etc.); • maintain a positive balance; • properly mount your E-ZPass transponder prior to traveling a toll facility, and • E-ZPass users can utilize the new DriveEZMD app for managing their accounts. DriveEzMD Customer Service Centers will be closed Saturday, May 27, and Monday, May 29. Visit DriveEzMD.com or use the automated system at 1-888-321-6824 for 24/7 account maintenance or to make payments. Safety First for the Memorial Day Weekend Protect yourself, your family and other travelers this Memorial Day weekend by following these rules of the road: •


Remember that Maryland’s Move Over law applies to all stopped vehicles displaying any type of caution signals or warning lights. If you cannot safely move over into an available lane that’s not immediately adjacent to the stopped vehicle, slow down. • Allow for extra time to get to your destination. • Adhere to speed limits. Speeding gives you less time to react and increases the severity of a crash. • Don’t drive distracted. Any activity that takes your focus away from the road ahead is a distraction. • NEVER drive impaired by drugs or alcohol. Impaired driving endangers your life and the lives of others. • Look twice for motorcycles. For motorcycle riders, remember that in Maryland individuals may not operate or ride on a motorcycle unless they wear a helmet that is certified to meet U.S. Department of Transportation standards. • Commercial vehicles must travel across the Bay Bridge in the right lane. • Secure your load in vehicles and trailers before traveling. Items that can shift, slide or fall onto the roadway can lead to serious vehicle crashes, especially on roads with no shoulders like bridges. • Make sure your vehicle is road ready. If your vehicle breaks down, exit the roadway. If that isn’t possible, remain inside your vehicle and call #77 for assistance. Maryland Transportation Authority Police will remain vigilant and target dangerous drivers, seat belt violations and criminal activity throughout the holiday travel period. To report aggressive or dangerous driving on Maryland toll roads, call MDTA Police Dispatch at 410-537-7911. The Maryland Transportation Authority reminds motorists to follow all traffic laws and plan for your travels in advance. Let’s work together to make sure everyone arrives at their destinations safely, and show fellow drivers that a little courtesy can go a long way in helping achieve that goal.

Loveville Crash Under Investigation

May 22, 2023

On Friday, May 19, 2023, at 9:19 pm, St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office Patrol deputies were dispatched to a motor vehicle collision involving life-threatening injuries in the area of Point Lookout Road (Route 5) and Frederick Lane in Loveville. The St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office Collision Reconstruction Unit responded to continue the investigation.

Preliminary investigation determined that a 1998 Toyota Corolla, operated by Robert Edward Lee Jr., age 44 of Brandywine, was traveling northbound on Point Lookout Road, and for unknown reasons crossed the centerline of the road, striking a 2019 Jeep Cherokee, operated by Marcerra Nichole Jordan, age 36 of Leonardtown. Jordan was transported to a local hospital with suspected minor injuries. Lee was transported to Baltimore Shock Trauma for incapacitating injuries.

At this time, it is unknown if speed or impairment are a factor in the collision. Anyone who may have witnessed the collision or any events leading up to the collision, and has not already provided a statement, is asked to call Cpl. Rachael Roszell at 301-475-4200, ext. 78108 or email rachael.roszell@stmaryscountymd.gov.

Cardin Releases Report on the Catastrophic Impact of Budget Cuts on America's Small Businesses

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Chair of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, today released a report titled “Impacts of Budget Cuts and Brinkmanship on Small Businesses.” The report focuses on the challenges that small businesses will face if we default on our debt and what the effects of deep budget cuts will cause. It also examines how the Default on America Act, or the Limit, Save, Grow Act would severely curtail services, resources and incentives for current and future entrepreneurs and small business owners.


“This report shows that spending cuts would hurt our small businesses at a time when they need our support the most. Now is not the time to abandon them,” said Chair Cardin. “With the Republicans’ proposed budget cuts, small business owners would struggle to keep their doors open.  Already burdened with rebuilding from COVID-19, this would put them over the edge. We must come together for our great nation and local, vibrant corridors to find a solution that does not cripple the backbone of our economy – our small businesses.”


Excerpts from the report are below. A full copy can be found HERE.


  • “Cuts to the Small Business Administration would have a significant impact on small business owners, and especially veteran small business owners. The agency plays a crucial role in assisting veterans navigate the process of accessing capital, especially in the current economic climate.”
  • “If Entrepreneurial Development program funding levels were capped at FY2022 levels, this would be a cut of $29.9 million from FY2023 funding levels, and SBA would reach 125,000 fewer small businesses and entrepreneurs. If program funding levels were reduced by 22% from FY2023 levels, this would be a reduction of $70.4 million and 295,000 fewer small businesses would be served.”


  • “As is so often the case, minority and underserved small businesses would feel these effects the most. Minority and underserved communities tend to rely on entrepreneurship and small business ownership as a career path at a higher rate than others; it is a path of self-determination for those who may not have that option elsewhere. Underserved communities have very little safety net and often operate on very thin profit margins. Sustaining, much less recovering from, such significant losses caused by a default would be an uphill battle that spans years.”
  • “Republicans have joined Democrats to cleanly raise the debt limit several times in history. Since 1960, Congress has raised the debt limit 78 times — 49 times under Republican presidents and 29 times under Democratic presidents. The limit has been raised 20 times since 2001 alone and was raised by suspension 3 times under the Trump Administration.”
  • “In recent history, the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is a driving force in increasing our debt because of the tax cuts given to the wealthy and large corporations at the expense of everyday Americans and small businesses.”
  • ”Taken together, the 2001 Bush tax cuts and the bipartisan extensions it along with the 2017 Trump tax cuts have cost $10 trillion since their creation and are responsible for 57 percent of the increase in the debt to spending ratio since then.”

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