Local News

Traffic Operations Unit Investigating Fatal Collision Involving Child

Traffic Operations Unit Investigating Fatal Motor Vehicle Collision Involving Child: On September 16, at approximately 4:14 pm., patrol officers responded to the 6300 block of Grant Chapman Drive in La Plata for the report of a motor vehicle collision involving a child. Upon arrival, officers located a child who had been struck by a vehicle, driven by a family member, in the driveway of her residence. Reesa Sechrist, 9, of La Plata, was pronounced deceased on the scene. The investigation is still ongoing and no additional information can be released at this time. The Traffic Operations Unit is investigating.


SMECO Presents $488,252 Incentive Check To Charles County Government For Upgrading Buildings Lighting

LA PLATA, Md. — The Charles County Government is the latest to receive incentives for investing in energy-efficient equipment upgrades through Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative’s (SMECO) EmPOWER Maryland Business Solutions program.
 
On Sept. 15, 2021, SMECO presented Charles County Commissioner President Reuben B. Collins, II, Esq., with a big check totaling $488,252 for completing LED lighting upgrades in 31 county buildings. The upgrades have yielded savings of 1,932,098 kilowatt hours (kWh), which is enough energy savings to power 134 homes for a year. 
 
“I am pleased Charles County will receive a tangible benefit from our participation in SMECO’s Business Solutions Incentive Program, which affirms the County's commitment toward our climate change goals by reducing our carbon footprint by more than four thousand metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent per year,” said Charles County Commissioner President Reuben B. Collins, II, Esq. “The reduction in greenhouse gas emissions is equivalent to planting 3,290 acres of trees or removing 845 cars from the road on an annual basis." 
 
Commissioner Collins also recognized and thanked the County’s partners Noresco and SMECO for their contribution to this important project.
 
The upgrades are an example of the incentives for energy-efficient equipment upgrades available to commercial businesses across Southern Maryland. SMECO’s incentives help accelerate the payback period of a project—including the building of new facilities, renovating existing buildings, or replacing aging and inefficient equipment or systems—resulting in immediate savings. The program allows businesses to choose their own contractor and have incentives either paid directly or as a credit on their SMECO bill.
 
“Working with NORESCO to install energy-efficient lighting fixtures in 31 of its buildings this year, Charles County took an extraordinary step in reducing energy use and helping to ensure a sustainable future for Southern Maryland,” said Jennifer Raley, energy and technology programs manager at SMECO. 
 
Charles County has been a longtime participant in SMECO’s Business Solutions program. Other participants featured in our customer spotlights have included Calvert County Public Schools, University of Maryland Laboratory, and Miller Cabinetmakers. 
 
“We’re proud to present Charles County with $488,252 in incentives for making LED lighting upgrades through SMECO’s Business Solutions Program,” Raley said. “We hope other businesses across Southern Maryland will take advantage of this program to reduce energy costs and consumption, create jobs, and support our environment.”

Calvert County Earns National Accreditation in Parks and Recreation

The Calvert County Department of Parks & Recreation has joined the ranks of elite parks and recreation agencies across the country by earning accreditation through the Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies (CAPRA) and the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA).
 
CAPRA accreditation is the only national accreditation for park and recreation agencies and is a measure of an agency’s overall quality of operation, management and service to the community. This mark of distinction indicates that an agency has met rigorous standards related to the management and administration of lands, facilities, resources, programs, safety and services.
 
 “Achieving CAPRA accreditation is proof of Calvert County’s commitment to provide world-class parks, facilities and programs to our residents,” said Board of County Commissioners President Earl F. “Buddy” Hance. “This serves as validation that our Department of Parks & Recreation uses best practices in all operations and holds it accountable to meet the public’s needs. Congratulations to Director Shannon Nazzal and the entire Parks & Recreation team, who worked hard for this outstanding achievement.”
 
Calvert County is one of only five parks and recreation agencies in Maryland and 193 in the United States to hold CAPRA accreditation.
 
As part of the accreditation process, Calvert County Parks & Recreation demonstrated compliance with 154 recognized standards and document all policies and procedures.
 
Calvert County began the accreditation process in 2018. The process involves a formal application, self-assessments, a site visit that results in a written report and a hearing with the commission to grant accreditation. Once accredited, the agency must uphold the standards by submitting an annual report and is reviewed again in five years.
 
“The rigorous, three-year process took a tremendous effort from all Parks & Recreation staff members and this distinction marks them as the high-performing team I know them to be,” said Parks & Recreation Director Shannon Nazzal. “It has strengthened our team, helped identify efficiencies and heightened areas of accountability, which translates into higher quality service to our community. Residents can be confident that they are receiving the quality of services that they deserve.”
 
The CAPRA commission is comprised of representatives from NRPA, the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration, the National Association of County Park and Recreation Officials, the International City/County Management Association, the Academy for Leisure Sciences, the Armed Forces Recreation Network and the Council of State Executive Directors. For more information about CAPRA accreditation, visit www.nrpa.org/CAPRA.
 
The Calvert County Department of Parks & Recreation strives to enhance the health, economy and well-being of the Calvert County community through sustainable practices, leisure opportunities and environmental stewardship. For more information about Parks & Recreation facilities and programs, visit online at www.CalvertCountyMd.gov/ParksandRecreation.
 
For updates on Parks & Recreation services, park availability, field closures and more visit Parks & Recreation at www.Facebook.com/CalvertCountyParks and follow @CalvertCountyParksandRec on Instagram.
 
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.

Van Hollen Statement on White House's Announcement of Maryland's Participation in Afghan Placement and Assistance Program

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) released the following statement regarding the White House’s announcement that Baltimore and Silver Spring will serve as hubs for refugees through the Afghan Placement and Assistance Program: 

 

“Throughout 20 years of war and American troop presence in Afghanistan, many Afghans risked their lives and the lives of their loved ones to provide vital support to the United States and our allies. Now we have a duty to return that support and help remove those who face the very real and dangerous threat of reprisal attacks. I’m glad that Maryland will play an important role in helping many of these individuals and families through the Afghan Placement and Assistance Program, and I know our state will welcome these families with open arms. Already, many of our American soldiers who served in Afghanistan have backed and facilitated these efforts, as have non-governmental organizations and humanitarian relief groups throughout Maryland. I am committed to assisting these individuals in any way we can, and I stand ready to help this new program succeed.”


Cardin, Collins Lead Senate Praise of Direct Support Professionals for Their Frontline Health Care Work

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) are leading the Senate again in recognizing the dedication of frontline health care workers with a resolution commemorating September 12-18 as Direct Support Professionals Week. The resolution recognizes the dedication and vital role of direct support professionals (DSPs) in enhancing the lives of individuals with chronic illness, seniors, and those living with a disability. The coronavirus pandemic has created new challenges for ensuring the health and safety of older adults and individuals with disabilities; the Senate appreciates the contributions of DSPs in supporting these individuals and their families nationwide.

 

“At such a challenging time for health care across this country, we are fortunate to have millions of dedicated workers who are there to help patients with their activities of daily living,” said Senator Cardin. “We honor the women and men who make a difference in the lives of so many others and encourage other professionals to enter this critical field. We must ensure these hard-working individuals have the income and support they need and deserve.”

 

“Every day, direct support professionals work hard to provide those in need with critical support that leads to more independent living and a better quality of life,” said Senator Collins. “Our bipartisan resolution ensures that these professionals receive the recognition they deserve. I thank all direct support professionals for making such an incredible difference in the lives of so many seniors and those living with a disability.”

 

Direct support professionals are dedicated to improving the lives of vulnerable individuals with complex health conditions and work to help them participate in their communities to the fullest extent possible. The Senate resolution “finds that the successful implementation of public policies affecting individuals with disabilities in the United States can depend on the dedication of direct support professionals.”

 

In addition to Senators Cardin and Collins, the resolution marking Direct Support Professionals Recognition Week is cosponsored by Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Angus King (I-Maine), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Jackie Rosen (D-Nev.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).

 

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of direct support professionals is projected to grow by an average of 33 percent from 2020 to 2030, compared to an 8 percent average growth rate for all occupations during that period.


Charles County Superintendent Recommends Middle School Redistricting Proposal A

Superintendent of Schools Maria V. Navarro, Ed.D. presented her middle school redistricting recommendation to the Board of Education at its Sept. 14 meeting, suggesting Proposal A with no modifications.  

The middle school redistricting process is comprehensive and focuses on expanding the attendance zone at Benjamin Stoddert Middle School. Stoddert is undergoing a complete renovation and expansion that will increase the state rated capacity for students from 711 to 975.  

In a presentation to the Board, Assistant Superintendent of Supporting Services Michael Heim said the recommendation moves a smaller number of current Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) students and better balances growth in neighborhoods zoned for Stoddert and Milton M. Somers Middle School. These neighborhoods are in growth areas of St. Charles and La Plata. Proposal A moves 992 students and slightly shifts the enrollments at all eight middle schools.  

Navarro said she recommends Proposal A with no changes because it focuses on capacity needs at all middle schools.  

“We are making a redistricting solution based on capacity. I am recommending Proposal A because it has the least amount of student movement and maximizes the use of our facilities. We are also looking at areas where we will have high or expected growth and Proposal A puts us on a three to five-year roll out where our buildings are fully used. I respect the work of the committees and at this point in time, I am recommending Proposal A as presented,” Navarro said.    

The middle school redistricting takes effect August 2022 and coincides with the completion of the renovation of Stoddert.  

The Board will accept comments on the Superintendent’s proposal at two public hearings planned for later this month. The first hearing is 6:30 p.m., Monday, Sept. 27, in person at Westlake High School. The second hearing is 6 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 28, virtually through Zoom.  

Click here for the virtual hearing link. The passcode is 842223. Those interested in joining the virtual hearing will need an active Zoom account to participate.  

Community members are encouraged to attend the public hearings and provide comments to the Board about the superintendent’s recommendation. Comments can be shared electronically to redistrict@ccboe.com.  

A complete overview of redistricting, the proposals and interactive maps are posted on the CCPS redistricting website at https://www.ccboe.com/index.php/redistricting-middle-school-ql.  

About CCPS  


Identity Sought in Armed Robbery

Sept. 15, 2021:
 
The St. Mary's County Sheriff's Office is seeking the identity of the suspect involved in an armed robbery investigation. On Sunday, Sept. 12, 2021 at 5:52 am, the suspect, described as a black male wearing dark blue jeans and a black T-shirt with cut-off sleeves, entered the Sheetz convenience store at 20760 Old Great Mills Road in Great Mills. The suspect then told the cashier that he was armed and demanded money. The cashier complied and the suspect fled the store on foot.
 
Anyone with information about the identity of the suspect is asked to contact Detective Cpl. Taylore Nauman at 301-475-4200, ext. 78109 or email taylore.nauman@stmarysmd.com. Case # 47119-21
 
Citizens may remain anonymous and contact the St. Mary’s County Crime Solvers at 301-475-3333, or text a tip to “TIP239” plus their message to “CRIMES” (274637). Through the Crime Solvers Program tipsters are eligible for an award of up to $1,000 for information about a crime in St. Mary’s County that leads to an arrest or indictment.
 
For official news and information, follow the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office on Twitter @firstsheriff.
 
Download and Share the St. Mary's Sheriff's Office mobile app: https://apps.myocv.com/share/a48820650

Sept. 14th Charles County Commissioners Meeting Update

On Tuesday, Sept. 14, County Administrator Mark Belton, Department of Fiscal and Administrative Services, Department of Planning and Growth Management, Department of Human Resources, County Administrator’s Office, County Attorney’s Office, and Economic Development Department provided an update on Goal 2: Institutional Governance and Policy in the Commissioners Goals and Objectives. The presentation included the smart county concept, automated technology, information and data programming/cybersecurity, equitable program funding, streamline services and comprehensive zoning review, diversity and cultural competency, employee engagement, citizen engagement, and county branding. The presentation also provided updates on legislation, governance leadership, resource stewardship, and Buy Local/ Minority Business Enterprise.

 

Open Session Briefings  

 

  • Charles County Health Officer Dr. Dianna E. Abney and Department of Emergency Services Director Michelle Lilly provided an update on COVID-19 in Charles County. County Attorney Wes Adams proposed an amendment to the renewed local state of emergency and County Commissioners approved this amendment. There are a variety of vaccination clinics in the community, which include mobile pop-up clinics, schools, congregate living facilities, churches, and vaccines for the homebound. Residents can make their own vaccination appointments and walk-ins are accepted. For a list of county vaccination clinics, visit the Department of Health’s website. For a list of pharmacies and other vaccination clinics available, visit the State of Maryland’s website. University of Maryland Charles Regional Medical Center provided an update on current COVID-19 hospitalizations and staff COVID-19 testing and vaccinations. Chief of Media Services Jennifer Harris provided an update on the county’s communications efforts, which are focused on informing residents about the importance and availability of COVID-19 vaccinations. Charles County Public Schools Director of School Safety and Security Jason Stoddard provided an update on the schools’ COVID-19 contact tracing process and case statistics.
  • Department of Fiscal and Administrative Services Director Jenifer Ellin and Chief of Budget Jacob Dyer provided a presentation on the 2021 Bond Issue. The proposed bond size is $70 million.

 

Approval Items

Commissioners also approved:

Proclamations

 

Recognition

 

Appointments

  • Reappoint Linda Stansbury and Rachell Andrews-Mobley and appoint Miriam Jordan, Nancy Tucker, Lenny Proctor, Cheryl Robinson, Margaret Mason, and Kimberly Berger to the Area Council on Aging.
  • Reappoint Vesselina Stoytcheva to the Library Board of Trustees.
  • Reappoint Laurie Cangelosi, George Hawley, Marilyn Ragin, Olga Roberts and appoint Jeanette Rodriguez Boulware, and Jonathan Lee for the Commission for Veteran Affairs.
  • Appoint Katherine Heichler, Michael Wilson, Rebecca Michela, Mohamed Mughal, and Donald Zimmer as members to the Interfaith Commission.
  • Appoint Willie Stinson as District 4 member; David Amisva as the District 3 member; Dane Patterson as the District 2 member; and William Johnson as the at-large member to the Compensation Commission.

 

Public Hearing

County Commissioners also provided a virtual public hearing on Community Block Grant projects, Angels Watch and United Way of Charles County COVID Rental Assistance Program. The record is closed and the final report was provided.

 

County Commissioners and Charles County State Delegation provided a virtual public hearing on 2022 State Legislative Proposals. There were 32 proposed legislative proposals. There will be a follow-up work session on Tuesday, Sept. 28.

 

Next Commissioners Session: Sept. 21, 2021 (held virtually) 

 

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


Officers Recover Stolen Firearm after Suspect Flees During Attempted Traffic Stop

Officers Recover Stolen Firearm after Suspect Flees during Attempted Traffic Stop: On September 14 at 1:30 a.m., a patrol officer was in the area of Smallwood Drive at St. Charles Parkway when a computer check alerted him that the registration plate on a Nissan sedan that was being operated in front of him did not belong on that car and was actually registered to a Kia. The officer attempted to initiate a traffic stop, but the driver accelerated and fled. The driver continued fleeing and subsequently struck several curbs bringing his car to a stop near Pembrooke Square. The driver exited the car with a gun in his hand and threw it across a parking lot. He was apprehended without further incident and the gun, which was loaded, was safely recovered. The driver had a small amount of suspected marijuana and several suspected narcotic pills in his pocket. Further investigation revealed the firearm had been reported stolen during a breaking and entering that occurred last year. In addition, the vehicle the suspect was driving was unregistered. Sean Devon Strozier, 23, of Waldorf, was charged with possession of a stolen firearm, loaded handgun in a vehicle, possession of a controlled dangerous substance, and traffic violations. The investigation is continuing.  


Calvert County Sheriff's Office Incident Report

During the week of September 6 – September 12, deputies of the Calvert County Sheriff’s Office responded to 1,334 calls for service throughout the community. 
 
Damaged Property: 21-50437
On September 6, 2021, Deputy Aley received report of a vandalized police cruiser. The complainant advised unknown suspect(s) keyed inappropriate objects onto the back fender of the vehicle between Aug. 23 and Sept. 6, while the vehicle was parked in a back lot located at 30 Church Street in Prince Frederick, MD. The estimated cost of damaged property is $200.00.
 
Damaged Property: 21-51557
On September 12, 2021, DFC R. Shrawder responded to 14800 block of Patuxent Ave. in Solomons, MD for the report of damaged property. The complainant advised unknown suspect(s) removed the valve stems on his vehicle’s tires and let all the air out, resulting in four flat tires. The estimated value of damaged property is $1,000.00.
 
Theft: 21-50395
On September 6, 2021, Sgt. Morder responded to the 5000 block of Broomes Island Road in Port Republic, MD for report of a theft. Investigation revealed unknown suspect(s) had broken out the driver’s side window of a spare K9 vehicle and removed a spotlight from the cruiser that was parked at the Calvert County Canine Training Center sometime between Sept. 3 at 3 p.m. and Sept. 6 at 10:30 a.m. The estimated value of damaged property is $300.00 and total value of stolen property is $200.00.
 
Theft: 21-50980
 
On September 9, 2021, Deputy Durnbaugh responded to the 2600 block of Aspen Road in Port Republic, MD for report of a theft. The complainant advised sometime between 5 p.m. on Sept. 8 and 6:30 a.m. on Sept. 9, unknown suspect(s) stole a Deep Cycle Marine RV battery from behind the residence. The total value of stolen property is $50.00.
 
Theft: 21-51119
On September 9, 2021, Deputy Lee responded to Giant Whole Food grocery store located at 11740 Rousby Hall Road in Lusby, MD for the report of a suspicious individual. Upon making contact with management, it was learned an individual walked out of the store with a shopping cart full of items to include an unknown amount of imitation crab meat and an unknown amount of Dawn laundry detergent without making payment. The suspect began loading items into a white Nissan Altima bearing no registration and fled the area. The total value of stolen items is $43.19.
 
ARRESTS
 
On September 9, 2021, Deputy Wilder responded to 50 Alexander Lane in Solomons, MD for the complaint of a subject passed out, laying in a driveway. Deputy Wilder arrived on scene to discover the subject identified as Barret David Smith, 38 of Dunedin, FL, passed out in a driveway at the mentioned address next to a suitcase. Deputy Wilder had previously encountered Smith on four separate occasions earlier in the evening, as he was drinking alcohol outside a storefront and harassing customers at multiple establishments in the area. Due to Smith’s repetitive intoxicated state and unsafe behavior, Smith was arrested and transported to the Calvert County Detention Center where he was charged with Disorderly Conduct and Intoxicated Public Disturbance.
 
On September 11, 2021, Deputy Strong conducted a traffic stop near the intersection of Sandy Wash Circle and Crystal Rock Road in Lusby, MD for a vehicle with a headlight equipment malfunction. Upon making contact with the occupants, an odor of burnt marijuana was emitting from the vehicle. A search of the vehicle revealed one of the occupants, Shawna Cruz Dudzik, 40 of Lusby, MD, had an active warrant through the Calvert County Sheriff’s Office and was in possession of three and one half pills of Percocet with no prescription. Dudzik was transported to the Calvert County Detention Center and charged with CDS: Possession-Not Marijuana. 
 
On September 11, 2021, Deputy Grierson observed a black sports bike travelling northbound on Solomons Island Road in Lusby, MD at a high rate of speed. Deputy Grierson attempted to conduct a traffic stop on the street bike near the intersection of White Sands in Lusby, MD, with emergency lights and sirens activated. The operator of the bike failed to stop, weaving in and out of traffic, cutting off other vehicles, travelling at speeds over 100 MPH. As the deputy attempted to catch up to the street bike, the operator would accelerate and continued to weave in and out of traffic. Additional deputies with their lights and sirens activated conducted a rolling road block in an attempt to slow the street bike down and bring the bike to a stop. The street bike pulled onto the shoulder where Deputy Grierson ordered the operator to turn the bike off. The operator, Tracey Tyrone Moore, 38 of Lexington Park, MD was taken into custody and charged with Negligent Driving, Reckless Driving and other related traffic violations.
 
On September 13, 2021, Deputy Kwitowski responded to a residence in the 500 block of Stamper Ct. in Prince Frederick, MD for a report of trespassing.  Investigation revealed, Quentin Aaron Holland, 46 of Prince Frederick, MD, had been previously issued a ‘No Trespass Warning’ for the aforementioned address. Holland was placed under arrest and transported to the Calvert County Detention Center where he was charged with one count of Trespassing-Private Property.

New Masking Requirement Effective Immediately for All Maryland Public Schools

In support of continuing efforts to keep students and school staff safe and ensure schools remain open for in-person learning during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the Maryland State Board of Education, together with the Maryland State Department of Education, today received approval of a statewide masking requirement for all public schools.

 

Following public testimony today, the Administrative, Executive, and Legislative Review (AELR) Committee approved the emergency regulation, which will be in effect for 180 days.

 

The emergency regulation requires any person inside a public school facility to wear a face covering, with certain exemptions in place. Aligned with all available health guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Maryland Department of Health, the new regulation is necessary to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in Maryland public schools, prevent school closures, and limit the number of students required to quarantine out of the classroom.

 

“Our foremost priority as a Board is always the safety of everyone in our school buildings - we take the health and safety of students and school staff in every part of our State very seriously,” said Board President Clarence C. Crawford. “Circumstances require the need for a universal, statewide approach to masking in schools to keep our school communities safe and give every one of Maryland’s students the opportunity to learn in-person with as few interruptions as possible.”

 

“Masking inside schools helps protect our students, teachers and school staff as we continue to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic,” said State Superintendent of Schools Mohammed Choudhury. “It is critical that all school systems follow this emergency law, and immediately implement face covering requirements as one of several layered public health strategies to keep schools open and safe.”

 

Currently, nearly all, 22 of 24, local school systems require face coverings inside schools; local systems may establish and implement further masking policies and procedures in addition to the minimum requirements outlined in the emergency regulation. The new regulation will be enforced immediately.


Charles County High School In County Varsity Football Games Moved To Saturday

Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) is moving all in-county high school varsity football games scheduled for this Friday, Sept. 17, to 10 a.m., Saturday, Sept. 18. The schedule is below.  
 
La Plata High School vs. Patuxent High School (held at La Plata)  
Henry E. Lackey High School vs. Thomas Stone High School (held at Lackey)  
Maurice J. McDonough High School vs. Calvert High School (held at Stone/homecoming)  
North Point High School vs. Westlake High School (held at North Point)  
This change does not apply to the game scheduled between St. Charles High School and Leonardtown High School set for Sept. 17, 6 p.m. at Leonardtown.  
 
In addition to school staffs and administrators, CCPS works with the Charles County Sheriff’s Office to secure officers to provide support at high school football games. The officers work with school staffs during games to ensure the events are safe for all attendees. CCPS has not been able to secure adequate officer coverage for in-county games scheduled for Sept. 17.  
 
The schedule changes may cause schools to adjust junior varsity events set for Sept. 18. These changes only affect Sept. 17 games at this time.  

September 14th St. Mary's Commissioner Meeting Rollup

LEONARDTOWN, MD – The Commissioners of St. Mary's County held their regular business meeting Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2021, in the Chesapeake Building in Leonardtown.

The Commissioners recognized Forget-Me-Not Month and Hispanic Heritage Month with Proclamations and celebrated the American Legion Post 255 Baseball Team Mid-Atlantic Regional Champions with a Commendation.

John Richards, President of the St. Mary's County Fair Association, provided the annual brief for the upcoming St. Mary's County Fair. The fair will take place in Leonardtown at the fairgrounds, Sept. 23-26, 2021.

The Department of Land Use & Growth Management received approval for a request for a Public Hearing to amend the Comprehensive Water and Sewerage Plan, service area map III-4. A formal notice for the Public Hearing will be forthcoming.

The Commissioners approved the FY2022 Edward J Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Application, Project #US2222, through the Governor's Office of Crime Prevention, Youth and Victim Services, for $90,000 for the purchase of LexiPol/Cordico Shield Law Enforcement Wellness app in support of the Sheriff's Office Wellness/Mental Health and Crisis Intervention Initiative

The Commissioners approved a request from the Department of Emergency Services to lease tower space to NextEdge Networks LLC for communications equipment.

The Department of Human Resources received approval for a requested resolution to provide county employees with four (4) hours of paid administrative leave to take part in a volunteer activity of their choice from Sept. 11, 2021, through Oct. 10, 2021, as part of the Just Serve Day, formally known as the Day to Serve initiative.

The Department of Recreation & Parks was approved to submit the Program Open Space, Local Parks and Playgrounds Infrastructure Funding development applications for the ballfield improvement project, ADA improvement project, Lexington Manor Passive Park project, Chaptico Park restrooms project and the athletic court improvement project in the total amount of 1,500,000.

The Department of Finance submitted the CY2022 Commissioners Meeting Schedule and the FY2023 Budget Calendar for approval.

The Department of Finance also submitted a spending plan for the American Rescue Act Federal Grant to the Commissioners for allocation requests for expenditures related to COVID-19. Approved allocations for funding included Volunteer Fire Departments, Department of Public Works & Transportation, Information Technology, Department of Recreation & Parks, St. Mary's County Sheriff's Office and MetCom.

The Commissioners also approved a budget amendment request to fund a scholarship request for a county employee for Leadership Southern Maryland.

The Commissioners then convened as the St. Mary's County Board of Health to hear the biweekly COVID-19 update from Dr. Meenakshi Brewster, County Health Officer.

The next regularly scheduled Commissioner business meeting will be Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2021, at 9 a.m. Commissioner decisions and related public documents are available on the county government website in BoardDocsCommissioner 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.


Officers Recover Loaded Firearm After Responding to Dispute

Officers Recover Loaded Firearm After Responding to Dispute: On September 11 at 3:30 p.m., officers responded to the parking lot of a business in the 10100 block of Berry Road in Waldorf for the report of a dispute involving a group of people in which at least one person was holding a firearm. When officers arrived, they were able to quickly de-escalate the situation and recover a firearm that had been placed in the suspect’s car as officers pulled into the lot. A preliminary investigation revealed the suspect went to the business to confront an employee about a work-place issue involving his family member. A dispute occurred at which time the employee went to his car and the suspect and his affiliates followed. Once outside, the suspect produced a firearm and threatened the employee. Witnesses called the police. Gregory Eugene Lawrence, Jr., 46, of Brandywine, was arrested and charged with first-degree assault, second-degree assault, and carrying a loaded handgun among other charges. Officer Baxley is continuing the investigation.


Update: Detectives Obtain Arrest Warrant for Suspect in Assault / Shooting Case

Update: Officers located William Smothers earlier today, September 14,  and also recovered a firearm.

 

Detectives Obtain Arrest Warrant in Assault / Shooting Case: On September 10 at 3:09 p.m., officers responded to the 100 block of Jefferson Road in Waldorf for the report of a shooting involving people who were known to each other. Upon arrival, officers located an adult male with an injury from a gunshot, which was not life-threatening. He was transported to a hospital, treated, and released. Members of the Agency’s Emergency Services Team responded to the residence to try to locate the suspect, but after searching the house, it was determined the suspect had fled. Detectives subsequently obtained an arrest warrant for William Anthony Smothers, 38, of Waldorf. Officers with the Warrant Unit have been searching for Smothers but he has not yet been located. Anyone with information about Smothers’ whereabouts should call 301-932-2222. Tipsters wishing to remain anonymous may contact Charles County Crime Solvers by calling 1-866-411-TIPS. Tips can also be submitted online at www.charlescountycrimesolvers.com or by using the P3Intel mobile app.


Rain Barrel and Compost Workshops to be Held Oct. 16

The Department of Public Works is partnering with the Nanjemoy Creek Environmental Education Center and the University of Maryland Extension to host a rain barrel and compost workshop event. This event will be held on Saturday, Oct. 16, in the Public Works Facilities Building parking lot (10430 Audie Lane, La Plata). Workshops are 9 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. Register at www.CharlesCountyMD.gov/Outreach. Advanced registration is required. The registration deadline is Wednesday, Oct. 13.
 
Rain Barrel Workshop
 
Take home a rain barrel and learn proper in-home installation techniques, practical uses for rain barrels, and how to reduce the impact of runoff on local waterways.
Become eligible for a stormwater remediation fee credit. Residents within the Town of La Plata and the Town of Indian Head are not eligible to receive the Stormwater Remediation Fee Credit.
For more information, contact Jackie Takacs at 240-393-6508 or jtakacs@umd.edu or Stephanie Lowery at 301-932-3440.
 
 
Composting Workshop
 
In this hands-on workshop, participants will learn the basics of home composting. Registrants can receive a free plastic GEOBIN® or get instructions on making a wire bin at home.
For more information, call Meg Romero at 301-932-3599.
 
 
Citizens with special needs may contact the Maryland Relay Service at 711, or Relay Service TDD: 800-735-2258.

Maryland Congressional Delegation Applauds Biden Approval of Hazard Mitigation Resources to Support COVID-19 Recovery

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen and Congressmen Steny H. Hoyer, Dutch Ruppersberger, John P. Sarbanes, Kweisi Mfume, Andy Harris, M.D., Anthony G. Brown, Jamie B. Raskin and David Trone (all Md.) today applauded President Joe Biden for granting their request to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for federal disaster assistance through the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) that will strengthen emergency preparedness and mitigation efforts for future public health emergencies.

 

“This new amendment to Maryland’s COVID-19 disaster declaration will shore up necessary resources for our state to effectively respond to and prevent future pandemics and public health crises,” the lawmakers said. “We appreciate the Biden administration’s federal partnership with Maryland and will continue working to strengthen our public health infrastructure to keep our residents safe and healthy.”

 

This new approval by the Biden administration would amend the previous disaster declaration to expand eligibility, to now include all areas in Maryland, for federal assistance under HMGP. With this amendment, resources may be used to manage and prevent surge capacity in hospitals, strengthen education outreach efforts, bolster our supply chain, and more.

 

More information about HMGP can be found here.


Officers Apprehend Suspects in Carjacked Vehicle / Accidental Canine Bite

Officers Apprehend Suspects in Carjacked Vehicle / Accidental Canine Bite: On September 13, at 12:35 a.m., an officer patrolling the area of Crain Highway and Heritage Green Parkway observed a vehicle speed past him; one of the vehicle's front headlights was also out. The officer initiated a traffic stop, but the driver refused to pull over and fled north on Crain Highway. Officers subsequently deployed stop sticks and the car came to a stop after striking a sign in the 3000 block of Crain Highway. All of the occupants ran from the car and fled on foot. A computer check revealed the car was stolen during an armed carjacking in Virginia and the registration plate on the vehicle had been reported stolen in Charles County. Officers subsequently located all five suspects and placed them under arrest. A firearm was also located. After the suspects were arrested, a police canine handler—who was on the scene—was entering his car when, unbeknownst to him, his canine had gotten out of its rear cage and bit him. The dog then jumped out of the vehicle and the driver of the stolen car was bitten. The dog was secured and placed back in the handler’s SUV. The officer was treated for injuries he sustained and the driver of the stolen car was transported to a hospital where she was treated and released. Criminal charges for the driver have been submitted to a District Court Commissioner. Terelle Antwan James, 27, of Washington, D.C.; Jeremy Markel Hayes, 24, of Clinton; Gino Jacqueiz Williams, 20, of Washington, D.C.; and Andrew Jamal Shuff, 28, of Washington, D.C. were charged with unlawful taking of a motor vehicle. In addition, Williams and Shuff were charged with carrying a handgun in a vehicle, and Shuff was also charged with providing a false name. The Office of Professional Responsibility is investigating the accidental canine biting. The criminal investigation into the stolen car and recovered firearm is continuing.  


Youth Gun Violence Task Force

Sept. 13, 2021
 
The St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office Youth Gun Violence Task Force recently completed its three-month-long mission, executing more than 100 warrants, affecting dozens of arrests and seizing numerous illegal firearms from perpetrators.
 
The Youth Gun Violence Task Force continued efforts this summer that originally began in July 2020. Since June of this year, the reformed task force executed 105 search warrants, made 65 arrests and seized 19 guns in its work in St. Mary’s County.
 
The task force’s mission included a high visibility presence in at-risk neighborhoods to reduce the frequency of gun violence; interdiction enforcement to recover illegally possessed firearms from persons and vehicles; using covert investigative strategies to identify suspects involved in gun crimes; review and evaluation of both open and closed gun cases for intelligence and engagement with community members and organizations for information and support.
 
“Over the past three months, the task force worked tirelessly to investigate and arrest violent criminal offenders who terrorized our community with a callous disregard for the sanctity of life,” said Lt. Shawn Moses, Youth Gun Violence Task Force Coordinator. “The cumulative results produced by the task force undoubtedly serves as a testament to how the community and law enforcement can work together to investigate and deter violent crime,” he said.
 
“I am immensely proud of the extraordinary hard work conducted by the Youth Gun Violence Task Force this summer,” Sheriff Tim Cameron said. “Their efforts in removing illegal firearms and arresting those carrying them has made a significant improvement in the quality of life in the St. Mary’s County community. Our work is not done. Our agency and our partners will continue
 
to address these issues through community engagement, intervention efforts and prevention efforts,” he said.
 
“I would also like to sincerely thank our law enforcement and prosecution partners on the local, state and federal levels for all of their support for the task force,” the Sheriff said.
 
The work of the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office Youth Gun Violence Task Force was a collaborative effort with the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF); the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI); the US Attorney’s Office; the Maryland State Police (MSP) and the State’s Attorney’s Office for St. Mary’s County to ensure the safety and security of all residents, through the arrest and prosecution of those seeking to do harm onto others through gun violence.

Fatal Motorcycle Crash Under Investigation

Sept. 13, 2021:
 
On Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021 at 6:45 pm, St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office Deputies responded to the report of a single motor-vehicle crash in the area of Hollywood Road and Tin Top Hill Lane in Hollywood. Upon arrival, deputies found a single motorcycle had left the roadway. The male rider was located near the crashed motorcycle and CPR was in progress. The driver was pronounced deceased on the scene by EMS personnel a short time later. The St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office Collision Reconstruction Unit responded to continue the investigation.
 
Preliminary investigation determined that a 2019 Harley Davidson motorcycle, operated by Richard William Radvany, age 52 of Lusby, was traveling northbound on Hollywood Road when he passed a vehicle on the double yellow line of the highway. Radvany lost control of the motorcycle and left the roadway after re-entering the northbound lane. The motorcycle struck a mailbox and fence pole, ejecting Radvany.
 
At this time, speed appears to be a contributing factor in the crash. It is unknown at this time if alcohol is a factor.
 
Anyone who may have witnessed the collision or any events leading up to the crash and have not already provided a statement is asked to contact Cpl. Dale Reppel at 301-475-4200, ext. 78059 or email dale.reppel@stmarysmd.com.
 
For official news and information, follow the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office on Twitter @firstsheriff

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