Local News

Maryland Delegation Announces $2.9 Million for Local Foods in School Meal Programs

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen and Congressmen Steny H. Hoyer, C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, John Sarbanes, Kweisi Mfume, Jamie B. Raskin, David Trone and Glenn Ivey (all D-Md.) today announced $2.9 million in U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) funding for Maryland schools to purchase local foods and beverages for school meal programs.

 

The federal dollars come from the USDA’s Local Food for Schools Cooperative Agreement Program. Through the program, the Maryland Department of Education will buy local and nutritious foods from area farmers and processors to use in school lunches. Meals will vary depending on each school district’s regional specialties.   

 

“Maryland’s farmers and producers not only provide the food on our kitchen tables, but they also help drive our state’s economy,” said the lawmakers. “This program will help instill an early appreciation for our Maryland’s essential agriculture, while providing healthy options to fuel young minds.”

 

The Local Food for Schools Cooperative Agreement Program was authorized under the Commodity Credit Corporation Charter Act. The program will prioritize historically underserved producers and processers in Maryland.

 


Board Member Coulby Resigns From Charles County Board Of Ed - Vacancy To Be Filled

The Board of Education of Charles County today announced the resignation of Board Member Cindy Coulby. In sharing her resignation with the Board, Coulby cited personal reasons behind her decision to vacate her seat on the Board representing Charles County District 1.   

 

"While I am not able to continue serving on the Board, I wish my colleagues well in their endeavors. Together and collectively, I know they will keep the best interests of children in Charles County at the forefront of all decisions they will make over the next four years," Coulby said.  

 

According to Section 3-501 of the Education Article, Annotated Code of Maryland, elected members of the Board must select a qualified individual to fill any vacancy for the remainder of the term. State law also requires the individual to be a resident from the same county commissioner district of the vacating member.  

A qualified individual for the vacancy is a person who is a resident of Charles County District 1, registered Charles County voter and someone who is not subject to the authority of the Board. The term left vacant by Coulby extends through November 2026.  

According to State law, the Board must also complete the following:  

  • Conduct applicant interviews in a public meeting.  
  • Publish a list of applicant names for a vacancy at least two weeks before the interview of the first applicant occurs.  
  • Publish the date, location and time of all applicant interviews.  

The law does not require the Board to hold public discussions of applicants or make the final selection of the member to fill the vacancy of the elected member at a public meeting.   

Board Chairperson Michael Lukas said he looks forward to working with the Board to find a qualified and committed person to fill the vacancy.    

“On behalf of the Board of Education and my colleagues, I wish Mrs. Coulby well and appreciate her support of the school system, the Board and the children of Charles County,” Lukas said.  

The Board plans to discuss the application process for District 1 replacement candidates at its Feb. 14 executive session meeting. There is no timetable set in law, so the Board may develop its own for the interview and selection process.  

Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) will publish those details as the Board confirms its process and timeline.  


Public Safety Reminds Multi-line Telephone System Users to Ensure Phones Allow Direct Access to 911

The Calvert County Department of Public Safety, Emergency Communications Division, reminds residents and business owners to ensure that their multi-line telephone systems provide direct access to 911, without requiring an individual to dial any other numbers first, as required by state and federal law. Multi-line telephone systems are typically found in office buildings, campuses, hotels and other enterprises.

Dubbed “Kari’s Law,” the law is named in honor of Kari Hunt, who was murdered by her estranged husband in a Texas motel room in December 2013. Her 9-year-old daughter tried to call 911 four times, but was unable to reach emergency services because she did not know the motel phone required “9” to be dialed to reach an outside line. Gov. Larry Hogan enacted Kari’s Law in 2015 for the state of Maryland. The law was enacted by Congress in 2018.

Businesses and organizations using a multi-line telephone system should contact their provider to find out how their system is set up and to ask for direct dialing of 911 without having to dial a prefix or access code first. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules require any new system to be pre-configured to support direct dialing of 911; however these rules apply only to those that were manufactured, imported, offered for first sale or lease, or installed after Feb. 16, 2020.

For questions or more information, citizens may contact the Department of Public Safety, Emergency Communications Division, at 410-535-1600, ext. 2492.

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.


Public Invited to Provide Input on Concepts of New Parks

The Department of Recreation, Parks, and Tourism is in the development phase of three new parks in Charles County – Waldorf Park, Popes Creek Waterfront Park, and La Plata Farm Park. Citizens are invited to view the park plans and concepts developed by the Project Planning Task Force, department staff, and consultants and provide input at two upcoming community meetings.

 

The in-person meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 7, from 6 p.m.-8 p.m. at the Waldorf Senior and Recreational Center (90 Post Office Rd, Waldorf).

 

The virtual meeting will be held on Wednesday, Feb. 8, from 6 p.m.-8 p.m. via Zoom. Virtual attendees can register online at https://bit.ly/3R4ePAS. Attendees will receive a confirmation email with information on joining virtually.

To learn more about the three new parks in development and the Project Planning Task Force, visit www.CharlesCountyParks.com/about-us/development. For more information or questions, contact Sam Drury, Deputy Director, at 301-934-0137 or DruryS@CharlesCountyMD.gov.   Citizens with special needs may contact the Maryland Relay Service at 711, or Relay Service TDD at 800-735-2258. 


Detectives Identify and Arrest Suspect in Kidnapping Case

Detectives Identify and Arrest Suspect in Kidnapping Case / Suspect Also Linked to Attempted Robbery: On January 26 at approximately 11:10 p.m., Anne Arundel County Police notified the Charles County Sheriff’s Office they were with a woman who reported she had been kidnapped in Charles County earlier in the evening. Detectives from the CCSO coordinated with the Anne Arundel police and a preliminary investigation showed the victim was at the Exxon gas station at 3690 Crain Highway in Waldorf shortly after 9 p.m., when the suspect approached, implied he had a gun, and demanded she drive him to another area, away from the gas station. As the victim was driving, the suspect sexually assaulted her. The suspect directed the victim to drive to a convenience store in Calvert County where he exited the car. The victim was able to escape and fled the area in her car. She drove to a store in Anne Arundel County where she made contact with Anne Arundel County Police.  

CCSO detectives obtained a description of the suspect and pursued leads. Within 24 hours, investigators determined the suspect was the same person responsible for an attempted robbery at the Waldorf Target earlier in the evening, during which he threatened several employees. Through further investigation, detectives were able to positively identify the suspect. He was located and arrested on January 27 wearing the same clothes he wore during the robbery and kidnapping. Robert Alonzo Robinson, 53, of Upper Marlboro, was charged with robbery, carjacking, armed carjacking, first-degree assault, second-degree assault, kidnapping, and 4th degree sex offense. On January 30, a judge ordered Robinson be held without bond at the Charles County Detention Center. Anyone with information about either case is asked to call Detective Singh at 301-609-6471. Tipsters who want 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. The investigation is ongoing.


NAS Patuxent River Transitions to Health Protection Condition Alpha

PATUXENT RIVER NAVAL AIR STATION, MD – Naval Air Station Patuxent River announced Jan. 30 that the installation is now in Health Protection Condition (HPCON) Alpha. 

Commanders and public health personnel use HPCON levels to guide specific actions personnel can take in response to a health threat. While it’s always important to prevent the spread of germs, there are additional steps personnel and residents can take if COVID-19 transmission becomes more widespread in the community. Under HPCON Alpha, routine measures to prevent the spread of infection are advised in addition to the following: 

  • Routinely clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces 
  • Continued adherence to hand sanitation, 
  • Six-foot distancing between persons, as mission performance allows. 
  • Workplace occupancy must be kept at less than 100 percent capacity. 
  • Stay informed by routinely checking reliable sources of information such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and your local public health agencies. 

Masks are still required within medical facilities such as the Naval Health Clinic Patuxent River. Masks are not required elsewhere, but may be recommended due to personal health circumstances or based on personal preferences. 

 


Officer Locates Suspect in Connection with First-Degree Assault of Two Deliverymen

Officer Locates Suspect Wanted in Connection with First-Degree Assault of Two Delivery Men: On January 25 at 4:13 p.m., officers responded to the area of Pagnell Circle in Waldorf for the report of an armed suspect threatening two deliverymen. The victims reported they were making a delivery when one of the victims saw the suspect standing near a car with a gun in his hand. The suspect yelled something to the victim who then ran back to the delivery truck. The victims observed the armed man walking toward them and they locked themselves in the cargo portion of the delivery truck. The suspect got into the truck and began banging on the door with the gun in an attempt to gain entry. While the victims were calling 9-1-1, the suspect exited the truck and fled in a black Nissan Sentra. A short time later, PFC Rickard of the Charles County Sheriff’s Office located the Nissan Sentra in Prince George's County after the suspect had just been involved in a shooting. The suspect was apprehended by Prince George’s County Police. Through further investigation, the suspect, Christopher Carrington Durham, 22, of Waldorf, was positively identified as being the person involved in the assault of the deliverymen. PFC Skodzinski obtained an arrest warrant charging Durham with two counts of first-degree assault and second degree assault, violation of an extreme protective order, and other related charges. Durham is currently being detained at the Prince George’s County Jail. The investigation is ongoing.   


St. Mary's County Public Schools' Ethics Panel Vacancy

LEONARDTOWN, MD – The Superintendent of Schools, Dr. J. Scott Smith, is seeking applicants to serve on the St. Mary’s County Public Schools’ Ethics Panel. The Ethics Panel is a five-member body whose primary responsibility is to provide advisory opinions, conduct hearings on ethics complaints, and make recommendations to the Board of Education on matters relating to conflict of interest, financial disclosure, and lobbying disclosure.  Members must be residents of St. Mary’s County and may not be a member of the Board of Education, subject to the Board’s control, an employee of the Board, an employee of a business entity subject to the authority of the Board, or the spouse/partner of such individuals.  Members should have a genuine interest in the public school system and all children, indicate a willingness to devote the necessary time to function effectively on the Ethics Panel and be able to work effectively as team members, and reflect an ability to think and act objectively and independently and demonstrate an understanding of the responsibilities of the panel.

In selecting members of the panel, the board seeks to achieve balance with respect to gender, demographic makeup of the community, and educators/non-educators.  Panel members serve a three-year term, and they meet at a minimum, quarterly.  

If you would like to be considered, please submit a cover letter explaining your interest and your resume to:  St. Mary's County Public Schools Ethics Panel, 23160 Moakley Street, Suite 109, Leonardtown, MD 20650.  The deadline to apply is February 10, 2023.  


Charles County Government February Holiday Schedule

The County Administrator wishes to remind residents of changes to operating schedules for February: 

 

Monday, Feb. 20 (Presidents’ Day)

  • All Charles County Government offices and the Charles County Animal Care Center in Hughesville are closed.
  • The Nanjemoy Community Center, senior centers, and all school-based community centers will be closed.
  • Lackey, Donald M. Wade Aquatic Center, and North Point High indoor pools will be open from noon – 5 p.m.
  • Waldorf Senior and Recreational Center is open from 2:30 p.m. -9 p.m. for recreation activities only.

 

Operating status for other County affiliated agencies:

 

For questions about County Government holiday closures, contact the Public Information Office at 301-885-2779 or PressRoom@CharlesCountyMD.gov.  Citizens with special needs may contact the Maryland Relay Service at 711, or Relay Service TDD: 800-735-2258.


Commission on the Environment Seeks Nominations for the 2022 Sustainability Awards

LEONARDTOWN, MD – The St. Mary’s County Commission on the Environment (CoE) is seeking nominations for the 2022 Sustainability Awards, which recognize St. Mary’s County organizations and residents for outstanding efforts to improve our local environment.

Community members are encouraged to submit nominations for students or schools, restaurants, businesses, non-profits, farms or agricultural organizations, and even individuals or a household that has demonstrated environmental stewardship, resource conservation, innovative or best practices and/or pollution prevention.

Nomination forms are due by 5:00 p.m. on February 28, 2023. Nominations and requests for more information on the awards should be emailed to CoEStMarys@gmail.com.

For more information on the Commission on the Environment, please visit: stmaryscountymd.gov/coe.


Child Abuse Suspect who Violated Electronic Monitoring Located and Arrested

Child Abuse Suspect who Violated Electronic Monitoring Located and Arrested: On January 26, Officer Rickard of the CCSO Warrant Unit, with the assistance of the US Marshals Service Capital Area Regional Fugitive Task Force, located and arrested Janae Elizabeth Bishop, 31, formerly of Waldorf, who was wanted in connection with violating the conditions of electronic monitoring for previous physical child abuse charges. In April 2022, detectives assigned to the Charles County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigations Division charged Bishop with first-degree child abuse, assault, and other charges. In June 2022, a judge ordered Bishop could be released from the Charles County Detention Center on electronic monitoring while she awaited trial. On January 7, 2023, the courts were notified Bishop had violated the conditions of electronic monitoring and a warrant was issued. Bishop was located at an address in Landover, MD and she was transported back to Charles County. On January 27, a judge ordered Bishop to be held without bond.  


Fatal Crash in Park Hall Under Investigation

The St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a fatal crash that occurred in Park Hall on Friday evening.

On Jan. 27, 2023, at 8:24 pm, police and emergency medical services responded to the 18000 block of Point Lookout Road (Route 5) and Hermanville Road for a vehicle crash. Deputies from the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office arrived and located two vehicles in the roadway on fire with a person trapped.

Cesar Leonel Hernandez-Chacon, age 46 of Dameron, operating a 1998 Toyota Tacoma, was pronounced deceased at the scene as a result of his injuries. Kristen Stefanic-Peters, age 35 of Hollywood, operating a 2007 Ford F-150, was transported to an area hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

The St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office Crash Reconstruction Team responded to the scene and continued the investigation.

Preliminary investigation determined that the Ford F-150 was traveling south on Point Lookout Road in the southbound lane when it was struck head on by the Toyota Tacoma which was traveling north in the southbound lane of Point Lookout Road. The collision caused both vehicles to catch fire, which was extinguished by the Bay District Volunteer Fire Department.

At this time, speed and alcohol are believed to be contributing factors in the crash.

Anyone who witnessed the collision and has not yet provided a statement to law enforcement is asked to contact Cpl. Vincent Pontorno at 301-475-4200, ext. 72337 or email Vincent.pontorno@stmaryscountymd.gov.


CCSO And US Marshals Service Task Force Locate And Arrest Fugitive

CCSO Officer and US Marshals Service Capital Area Regional Task Force Locate and Arrest Fugitive: On January 23, PFC Rickard of the CCSO’s Warrant Unit, along with the US Marshals Service Capital Area Regional Task Force, located Brian McCane, Sr., 38, of Lusby, MD, who was wanted in connection with an assault that occurred last month. On December 25, the victim and two witnesses were arriving home on Abberly Place in Waldorf when they observed McCane, a former boyfriend, standing near the victim’s vehicle. McCane pulled a pistol from his waistband and pointed it at the victim. He then pointed it into the air and fired two rounds; no one was injured. McCane fled in a car. An arrest warrant was obtained and McCane was subsequently located in Fredericksburg, VA. He was arrested without incident and was extradited to Charles County where he was charged with first-degree assault, second-degree assault, and gun related charges. On January 24, a district court commissioner ordered McCane could be released from the Charles County Detention Center after paying 10 percent of a $10,000 bond, which he paid later that evening. Officer Frison is investigating.  


Recent Altercation at North Point High School Investigated

Recent Altercation at North Point High School Investigated: The Charles County Sheriff’s Office has been made aware of a video that recently surfaced on social media in which students from North Point High School were seen fighting and a school employee, who was trying to intervene, was injured. The fight occurred on January 19. The school resource officer was notified, initiated an investigation, and contacted the Charles County State’s Attorney’s Office. After further investigation, and in consultation with school administrators, the injured school employee, and the parents of all students involved, the case will be handled by the CCPS. Anyone with information is asked to call Sgt. Morgan at 301-609-3282 ext. 0583.     


NAS Patuxent River Announces New Gate Hours, Spike Strips Effective February 1, 2023

NAS Patuxent River will adjust its gate hours beginning Feb. 1, 2023.  

Pax River’s new gate hours are: 

Gate 1 – Open 24/7 

Gate 2 – Open 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. 

Gate 3 – Open 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. 

 

NAS Patuxent River will also lay spike strips on Cuddihy Road just beyond its intersection with Cedar Point Road at Gate 2 during morning rush hour beginning Feb. 1. 

 

“This is an increased security measure to prevent unauthorized access to the base,” said Lt. Charles Whittenton, NAS Patuxent River Security Officer. “The spikes will be marked by a barrier of cones during the morning rush; if you drive over the cones, you’ll hit the spikes.” 

 

Drivers are reminded that Gate 2’s sentries check IDs at the tension material-covered shelter just beyond the gate during morning rush hour (6 a.m. to 9 a.m.) to provide greater traffic flow into base during those hours, and that drivers should not proceed onto base without having their IDs checked by a sentry. 

 

For more information on NAS Patuxent River, follow on social media at www.facebook.com/NASPaxRiver and https://twitter.com/NASPaxRiverPAO . 


Leonardtown Man Sentenced to Prison for Sexual Abuse of a Minor

State’s Attorney Jaymi Sterling today announced that Defendant Phillip Jae Han Tayag, 21, of Leonardtown, MD, was sentenced to the Department of Corrections after being found guilty of sex abuse of a minor. The State’s Attorney’s Office requested the Defendant be sentenced to the maximum penalty of 25 years in prison. The Defendant was sentenced to 15 years in the Department of Corrections, suspend all but 10 years of active incarceration. He was further placed on five years of supervised probation. The Defendant must register for lifetime sex offender registration. Sterling thanked members of the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office for their investigation and Senior Assistant State’s Attorney Sarah Proctor who prosecuted this case on behalf of the citizens of the County. Sterling stated, “Crimes against children are the most heinous of all. My office will continue to defend victims and strenuously prosecute these cases.” Proctor added, “As the parents of the victim expressed to the court, this was a horrendous and unspeakable crime against a child who will carry the scars and trauma for life.” The Honorable Joseph Stanalonis presided over the case.


Reckless Endangerment in Lexington Park Under Investigation

Detectives with the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigations Division (CID) executed a series of search and seizure warrants, with the assistance of the agency’s Emergency Services Team. As a result, investigators located a loaded Cobray MK-11 assault pistol as well as a loaded Taurus G2C semi-automatic handgun, which are suspected of being utilized during the incident. These seizures resulted in the arrest of an 18-year-old male and 14-year-old male on multiple firearms-related charges.

Pernell NMN Maddox, age 18 of Lexington Park, was charged with Handgun in Vehicle; Loaded Handgun in Vehicle; Handgun on Person; Loaded Handgun on Person; Reckless Endangerment and Possession of a Firearm by a Minor.

A 14-year-old male from Lexington Park was also referred to the Maryland Department of Juvenile Services for the illegal possession of the aforementioned firearms during the incident.

Additionally, Maddox was served an outstanding warrant for his arrest, stemming from an unrelated incident wherein he has been charged with Armed Robbery; Robbery; Second-Degree Assault and Theft: Less than $100 by warrant from an incident in November in Lexington Park.

On Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2023, at 8:19 pm, a St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office Deputy reported hearing shots fired in the area of Hancock Road in Lexington Park, as well as multiple witnesses who reported shots being fired in the area. Upon investigation, multiple shell casings were located in the roadway of Hancock Road, and a residence on Midway Drive was struck by a projectile, but there were no reported injuries from the incident.

The St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigations Division responded and continued the investigation.

 

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call Cpl. Austin Schultz at 301-475-4200, ext. 71953 or email austin.schultz@stmaryscountymd.gov.

 

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


Officers Investigating Theft of Wheels - Crime Solvers Offering Cash Reward

Theft of Wheels / Crime Solvers Offering Cash Reward: Between January 24 - January 25, during the overnight hours, unknown suspect(s) removed the tires from a vehicle in the area of Sir Douglas Drive in Bryans Road. A similar theft occurred on Stream Vista Place in Waldorf and an attempted theft occurred in the parking lot of a business in Waldorf that was closed for the evening. The cars were processed for evidence. Officers are working on leads. Anyone with information is asked to call Officer Watson at 302-609-3282 ext. 0719. Tipsters who want 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. Charles County Crime Solvers is offering a cash reward of up to $1,000 for information leading to the arrest of the suspects(s).  


Maryland Agriculture Land Preservation Foundation Now Accepting Applications

LEONARDTOWN, MD – The Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation (MALPF) Program is now accepting applications for the Fiscal Year 2024 Easement Cycle.

Eligibility requirements include a minimum of 50 contiguous acres, land outside of the 10-year water and sewer plan for the county, and a minimum of 50% Class I, II or III soils. For more information on eligibility and the MALPF easement acquisition process, please visit: https://mda.maryland.gov/malpf/Pages/Fact-Sheets.aspx.

The mission of MALPF is:

  • to preserve productive farmland and woodland for the continued production of food and fiber for all of Maryland's citizens,
  • to curb the expansion of random urban development,
  • to help curb the spread of urban blight and deterioration,
  • to help protect agricultural land and woodland as open space,
  • to protect wildlife habitat, and
  • to enhance the environmental quality of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries.

MALPF purchases agricultural preservation easements that forever restrict development on prime farmland and woodland. The MALPF Program, launched in 1977 is one of the most successful programs of its kind in the country. The State of Maryland has preserved in perpetuity more agricultural land than any other state in the country; St. Mary’s County has preserved over 14,420 acres to date, using MALPF easements.

To apply, contact the Donna Sasscer, Mary’s County MALPF Program Administrator, with the Department of Economic Development at (240) 309-4021 or via email to: Donna.Sasscer@stmaryscountymd.govApplications must be received by the St. Mary’s County MALPF Administrator by May 15, 2023.  Once applications are received, they will be ranked by the St. Mary’s County Agriculture Land Preservation Advisory Board, using the state mandated Land Evaluation and Site Assessment system. The ranked applications will be submitted to the state for consideration.


Pinefield Water Tower Rehabilitation Project to Start Feb. 6

The Department of Public Works Utilities Division is scheduled to rehabilitate the Pinefield Water Tower on 1300 Tower Place in Waldorf starting Monday, Feb. 6, and will last approximately five months. The work does not require any disruptions to water service; however, properties close to the site may experience various levels of construction-related noise. The contractor is planning to work Mondays through Saturdays, weather permitting.

 

The tower rehabilitation allows the county to maintain a good water quality for the users and prolong the tower's lifespan. This restoration project includes interior and exterior painting, and upgrades to miscellaneous metal components.

 

For questions or concerns, call the Department of Public Works at 301-609-7400. Citizens with special needs may contact the Maryland Relay Service at 711 or Relay Service TDD: 800-735-2258.


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