Local News

County Administrator Announces Retirement

LEONARDTOWN, MD – County Administrator Dr. Rebecca Bolton Bridgett has announced her retirement from St. Mary’s County Government, effective Feb. 1, 2022. Dr. Bridgett has served as County Administrator since her appointment in 2013 by the Commissioners.

During her tenure as County Administrator, Dr. Bridgett worked closely with the Commissioners to adhere to and advance their primary missions of investment in public safety, education and public infrastructure. Key projects included overseeing a $29,618,924 project to renovate and upgrade the Adult Detention and Rehabilitation Center and budget approval and design of multiple District Stations for the Sheriff’s Office. Other accomplishments included overseeing the planning and building of many county-owned facilities, including the design-award-winning Leonardtown Library and Garvey Senior Activity Center, Animal Shelter, and several agricultural facilities, including the Barns at New Market and the Regional Agricultural Center.

Dr. Bridgett also maintained county government services during the COVID-19 pandemic, guiding 11 departments and hundreds of employees into successful and productive virtual working environments while providing uninterrupted county services and operations. Dr. Bridgett also developed the St. Mary’s County Roadmap to Recovery, guiding businesses to restore operations during the pandemic.

Under Dr. Bridgett’s leadership, St. Mary’s County Government operated with sound financial principles, annually maintaining a balanced budget, including the Commissioner approved FY2022 budget of $288,664,540. Simultaneously, the county increased bond ratings from Fitch Ratings, Moody’s Investors Service, and S & P Global.

Dr. Bridgett led an employee-friendly workplace. Over three years, county employees received competitive raises through the Commissioner-approved and county administrator-led phase-in of a compensation study which provided merit increases, cost of living increases, and stipends for those at the top of their grade. She remained keenly aware of compensation parity for County partners, as well – a priority for the Commissioners.

In 2016, Dr. Bridgett initiated the Citizens Academy, a strategic overview of county department operations, programs, and services. The annual nine-week academy has continued to provide participants with an understanding of how their government operates.

“During my career at St. Mary’s County Government, I have had the honor of serving our community and working with the brightest and most resourceful leaders who have an equal passion for public service. Together with the Commissioners, I believe we have shaped a vibrant government that accurately reflects the character and heritage of St. Mary’s County. It has been my distinct pleasure to serve as County Administrator, and I will forever cherish the partnerships and friendships this position has afforded me,” said Dr. Bridgett.

Commissioner President Randy Guy said, “Dr. Bridgett is one of the most creative leaders I have ever known. Her ability to assess a situation and build a team of problem-solving people has made St. Mary’s County Government strong. Her resiliency is a key factor in the success we’ve seen during the pandemic. It was no small feat to transition county operations to serve our residents through virtual settings and then carefully transition back to more in-person processes. Her rigorous determination to “keep the train moving” is inspirational. Dr. Bridgett will be deeply missed, and we wish her good health and much happiness in the future.”

The Commissioners will recognize Dr. Bridgett with a public reception Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2022, at 8:30 a.m. in the Chesapeake Building in Leonardtown and a formal retirement ceremony during their business meeting at 9 a.m. The Commissioner Meeting will be live on SMCH Ch. 95 and the St. Mary’s County Government YouTube Channel.

Catherine Pratson, Director of Human Resources, and David Weiskopf, County Attorney, will continue to act as Co-County Administrators during this transition.

For more information, please contact the Public Information Office at 301-475-4200, ext. 1342.


Charles County Government February Holiday Schedule

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

 

Monday, Feb. 21 (Presidents’ Day)

  • All Charles County Government offices and the Tri-County Animal Shelter in Hughesville will be 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 1 p.m. – 6 p.m.
  • Waldorf Senior and Recreational Center is closed for all activities.

 

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.

 


Triple Fatal In Charles Co. Under Investigation

(LA PLATA, MD) – Maryland State Police are continuing an investigation into a traffic crash last night in Charles County that killed three people. 

The first deceased is identified as Patrick Bowie, Jr., 44, of La Plata Md.  He was the driver and only occupant of a silver 2006 Chrysler Pacifica. Emergency medical service personnel pronounced him deceased on the scene.

The second deceased is identified as Tineka Palmer, 33, of Indian Head, Md.  She was the driver of a black 2014 Chevrolet Impala. Emergency medical service personnel pronounced her deceased on the scene.

The third deceased is identified as Tyron Carroll, 33, of Indian Head, Maryland. He was the passenger in the Chevrolet Impala and was pronounced deceased on scene by emergency medical service personnel.

Shortly before 8:00 p.m. last night, troopers from the La Plata Barrack were dispatched to a traffic crash reported on Rt. 255/Hawthorne Road at Ripley Way in La Plata, Maryland.  Upon arrival, troopers found two vehicles were involved.  Fire and emergency medical services personnel also responded to the scene. 

Due to the severity of the crash and injuries, the Maryland State Police Crash Team responded to conduct the investigation.  The preliminary investigation indicates the vehicles were involved in a head on collision.

The cause and contributing factors involved in this crash remain under investigation.  All possible causes are being considered. 

The area of Route 225/Hawthorne Road at Ripley Way was reopened shortly before midnight last night. Anyone who may have witnessed the crash is urged to contact police at 301-392-1231. The investigation is continuing.


COVID-19 At-Home Test Kits Available to St. Mary's County Residents

The St. Mary’s County Health Department (SMCHD) will be distributing free COVID-19 take-home rapid antigen test kits to St. Mary’s County residents at the Hollywood Volunteer Fire Department drive-thru, by appointment only on the following dates and times:

  • Monday, January 24, 2022 from 8:00 am - 3:30 p.m. 
  • Wednesday, January 26, 2022 from 8:00 am - 6:00 p.m. 
  • Friday, January 28, 2022 from 8:00 am - 3:30 p.m.

 Appointments can be made for take-home test kit pickup at smchd.org/covid-19-testing (appointments will be regularly scheduled/available on this website moving forward, as supply allows). 
 
Appointments are limited by available supply and will be required in advance. St. Mary’s County residency will be verified on site, please bring government-issued identification with St. Mary’s County address identified. Please do not arrive prior to your appointment time or if you do not have an appointment. All persons receiving tests must be both present in the vehicle and accounted for in the appointment process.
 
Community members are asked to report positive results from their at-home test kits and access guidance on what to do to prevent spread of COVID-19 at smchd.org/covid-19-quarantine-isolation.
 
“COVID-19 testing is a key strategy for reducing the spread of COVID-19 in our community,” said Dr. Meena Brewster, St. Mary’s County Health Officer. “We are so thankful to the Commissioners of St. Mary’s County for their support in expanding access to at-home tests for our residents.”
 
For local COVID-19 updates, information, and data, please visit smchd.org/coronavirus or call SMCHD at (301) 475-4330.  


Detectives Make Arrest in Lusby Reckless Endangerment Case

On Friday, January 21, 2022, deputies from the Calvert County Sheriff’s Office Patrol Bureau responded to the Appeal Convenience Center located at 200 Sweetwater Lane in Lusby, MD for the report of shots being fired.

Preliminary investigation revealed the suspect Patrick Allan Portzen, 39 of Lusby MD, became involved in a verbal argument with an employee. Portzen threatened the employee and left in a vehicle. While exiting the Appeal Convenience Center, Portzen fired two shots. He was last observed traveling northbound on Rt. 4.

Deputies located the suspect vehicle and made contact with the Portzen at a residence in the 300 block of Skyview Drive in the White Sands neighborhood in Lusby, MD.  Portzen was taken into custody without incident. No injuries were reported.

Portzen was transported to the Calvert County Detention Center where he was charged with First-Degree Assault and Reckless Endangerment.

Anyone with information about this incident, is asked to please contact Detective J. Buck @ Joshua.Buck@calvertcountymd.gov.


Shooting in Lexington Park Under Investigation

On January 22, 2022, at 8:07 a.m. deputies from the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office responded to the 20900 block of Coronet Place in Lexington Park, for the reported shooting. Deputies located the 51-year-old male victim from Lexington Park, suffering from a gunshot wound to his left arm and left leg. Detectives and crime lab personnel from the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigations Division responded to the scene and continued the investigation. The victim advised he was shot by an unknown female operating a blue vehicle. The victim was transported to an area trauma center for treatment and later released.

 

During the course of the investigation, Savannah Georgina Crown, age 32 of Delaware, was developed as a suspect. Further investigation determined Crown has a blue Hyundai registered to her and she had registered at a hotel in Lexington Park on January 21, 2022 and left the hotel during the early morning hours of January 22, 2022. Crown observed the victim in his vehicle at the neighborhood mailboxes, at which time she shot the victim and the victim’s vehicle. Crown then drove back to the state of Delaware, where a vehicle pursuit ensued and ultimately ended in Easton, Maryland, when Crown stopped her vehicle in the roadway and shot herself. Crown was transported to an area trauma center, where she remains for treatment.

 

A warrant has been obtained for Crown for the following charges:

 

Attempted First Degree Murder

Assault First Degree

Reckless Endangerment

Reckless Endangerment from Car

Firearm Use-Felony Violent Crime

Loaded Handgun on Person

Loaded Handgun in Vehicle

 

Anyone with information on this incident is asked to contact Trevor Teague at (301) 475-4200 extension 78128 or by email at Trevor.Teague@stmarysmd.com.

 


Update on Management of COVID-19 at Detention Center

Update on Covid-19 at Charles County Detention Center: On January 10, Sheriff Troy Berry issued a press release regarding the management of COVID-19 at the Charles County Detention Center (CCDC) during the nation’s largest spike in the virus ever. “In past months, there has been a campaign of misinformation being shared on social media regarding COVID-19 at the detention center.  Hearing misinformation was circulating, I issued a press release informing our community of how the challenges being faced nationally were being addressed in the CCDC”: https://www.ccso.us/news/press-releases/2022/01/detention-center-managing-covid-19-cases-within-facility.

“Recently, the misinformation relating to COVID-19 in the detention center has resurfaced. I want to be abundantly clear. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Charles County Detention Center has taken every precaution necessary to keep inmates and staff safe. They developed strategic plans and contingencies to manage the threat of COVID-19,” said Sheriff Berry.

At a time the entire world experienced an increase of COVID-19 cases, the detention center identified inmates and staff members who tested positive, in late December 2021. Once detected, the on-site medical care staff (Prime Care Medical) and CCDC’s employees put into action their contingency plan.

In accordance with the protocol set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), inmates who tested positive were placed in isolation–much like what the CDC recommends to people outside of a detention center. In addition, inmates and staff continue to wear masks, social distance, and they are offered the COVID-19 vaccine and booster. 

“Please know the CCDC continues to work directly with the Charles County Health Department, the Charles County District and Circuit Courts and Prime Care Medical regarding the status of inmates. The strategic plans and contingencies implemented by staff have proven successful in stopping the spread of the virus in our facility. Working in collaboration with our partnering agencies will continue to ensure we exceed industry standards and embrace the recommended procedures to best maintain a safe and secure environment,” said Sheriff Berry.

 

The CCDC will continue working with health care providers and the Charles County Health Department to manage those affected and ensure best practices are followed to address any future exposures.


Fatal Motor Vehicle Crash on St. Charles Parkway Under Investigation

Fatal Motor Vehicle Crash on St. Charles Parkway Under Investigation: On January 20, shortly after 8 p.m., a Charles County Sheriff’s officer attempted to initiate a traffic stop on a Toyota Camry in the area of St. Charles Parkway near St. Ignatius Drive. The driver pulled into a nearby parking lot but failed to stop.  The driver accelerated through the parking lot of a business and at one point abruptly stopped and then quickly put his car in reverse, accelerating backward toward the officer’s car. The driver then went forward and began driving on St. Charles Parkway at a very high rate of speed. The officer followed the driver northbound on St. Charles Parkway but temporarily lost sight of the car as it darted in front of another vehicle near a curve in the road. The officer then noticed debris from a crash in the roadway and initially thought it was unrelated; however, as he went to assist he observed it was the vehicle that had fled. The driver ran from the car. A female passenger was located on the ground near the car and with life-threatening injuries. Officers and emergency medical workers attempted life-saving measures, including CPR, but the woman was pronounced deceased. The woman, who is not being identified pending notification to the next of kin, is in her early 50’s.

Numerous officers conducted a coordinated search for the driver with the assistance of a tracking K-9 and helicopter. After several minutes, officers located the driver in a nearby neighborhood and he was taken into custody. He had a minor injury from the crash and was transported to a hospital.

In accordance with Maryland law, the Office of the Attorney General’s Independent Investigations Division (IID) and the Maryland State Police (MSP) was contacted and responded to the scene to lead the investigation.

The driver of the car was identified as Joseph Eugene Penn, 41, of Suitland, MD. Investigators learned Penn had an open warrant through Charles County Circuit Court for failure to appear on a felony theft case and an active civil warrant. It was also learned narcotics might have been a contributing factor in the crash. Additional criminal charges for Penn are being reviewed in consultation with the Charles County State’s Attorney’s Office.

Investigators are trying to identify the occupants of two vehicles that were in the area who may have witnessed the crash and are asking anyone with additional information about this incident to call the Office of the Attorney General’s Independent Investigations Division at 410-576-7070.  The investigation is ongoing.


Wanted Individual: Amanda Renea Wedding

The St. Mary's County Sheriff's Office is seeking the whereabouts of Amanda Renea Wedding, age 36 of Lexington Park, for Second-Degree Escape from the St. Mary's County Detention and Rehabilitation Center in Leonardtown. Wedding failed to enter a court-ordered inpatient treatment program.

Wedding is a white female, 5'9" tall, weighing 140 pounds with brown hair and brown eyes.

 

Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Wedding is asked to contact Detective Cpl. James Bare at 301-475-4200, ext. 8118 or at james.bare@stmarysmd.com.

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.


Cove Point Park Tennis Courts to Close Jan. 24 for Lighting Retrofit Upgrades

PRINCE FREDERICK, Md. – Jan. 21, 2022 – The Calvert County Department of Parks & Recreation advises citizens that the tennis courts located at Cove Point Park will be temporarily closed beginning on or around Monday, Jan. 24, for lighting retrofit upgrades. Work is expected to complete Friday, Feb. 4, weather permitting. Access to the rest of the park remains open during this time.

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 @CalvertCountyParks 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.


School Resource Officers Investigating False Report of Shooting

School Resource Officers Investigating False Report of ShootingOn January 19, at 11:47 a.m., a call was placed to 9-1-1 stating there was “a shooting at a school,” but the name of the school was not provided by the caller. School Resource Officers and patrol officers were immediately contacted and were able to quickly determine that a shooting had not occurred at any of the schools. Investigation showed the call was made in the area of John Hanson Middle School and further information revealed the call was made by a student at the school. School resource officers, along with school administrators and school security staff, will continue an investigation and the case will be reviewed by the Charles County State’s Attorney’s Office. The Charles County Sheriff’s Office is committed to the safety and well-being of students and staff. Parents are urged to talk with their children about the dangers of making false reports and the consequences of doing so. The investigation is ongoing.


Death Investigation on Raphael Drive in Pomfret

Death Investigation on Raphael Drive: On January 19 at 6 p.m., officers responded to a single-family home in the 5500 block of Raphael Drive in Pomfret after receiving a call from a neighbor who indicated he went to check on the resident, whom he had not seen since the day before, and observed the resident lying on the floor and unconscious. Fireboard/EMS arrived and forced entry through the front door of the residence. The man, 49, was pronounced deceased. Inside the house, more than 100 venomous and non-venomous snakes of different varieties were discovered in tanks situated on racks. Charles County Sheriff’s detectives are conducting an investigation into the death of the man. There were no obvious signs of foul play and the decedent was transported to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Baltimore for an autopsy. Charles County Animal Control is coordinating rescue efforts relating to the reptiles with assistance from reptile experts from North Carolina and Virginia. All media questions relating to the snakes may be directed to Ms. Jennifer Harris, Spokesperson for the Charles County Government, at 240-435-0169. The investigation is ongoing.


Wanted Individual-Karen Granville

The St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office is seeking the whereabouts of Karen Anne Granville, age 32 of Mechanicsville. Granville is wanted for the charge escape for removing her GPS tracking device while on pretrial supervision. Granville’s original charges were violation of probation/robbery and theft. Granville is a white female, 5’1” and weighs 135 pounds, with blonde hair and blue eyes.

 

 

Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Karen Anne Granville is asked to contact Detective Tyler Payne at (301) 475-4200 extension 78010 or by email at Tyler.Payne@stmarysmd.com.

 

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

 

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

 

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


Missing Persons Sought

The St. Mary’s County Sheriff's Office is seeking the whereabouts of Anna Garcia Guillen, age 19, and Dunia Yulissa Garcia Guillen, age 17, of Mechanicsville. Both girls were last seen in December at their residence. Anna Guillen is 5’6”, weighs 140 pounds, and has black hair and brown eyes. Dunia Gillen is 5’6”, weighs 130 pounds, and has black hair and brown eyes.

 

 

The two were last known to be traveling together, possibly out of state.

 

Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Anna Garcia Guillen and Dunia Yulissa Garcia Guillen is asked to contact Detective First Class Daniel Sidorowicz at (301) 475-4200 extension 78043 or by email daniel.sidorowicz@stmarysmd.com.

 

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

 

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

 

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


Increased Traffic Enforcement along Route 235 this Month

Jan. 20, 2022:

 

For the remainder of January 2022, motorists can expect to see increased traffic enforcement by St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office deputies along Three Notch Road/Route 235 in the California/Lexington Park area. Three Notch Road is the busiest highway in St. Mary’s County with more than 50,000 vehicles traveling on it every day.

 

Sheriff’s Office deputies will be patrolling for speeding, aggressive driving, seatbelt compliance, drivers evading traffic signals and drivers illegally using their cellphones.

 

Deputies will also be enforcing Maryland’s Move Over law, which requires drivers to slow down and change lanes to give emergency responders, tow trucks and other service vehicles adequate room to operate safely on the side of the road.

 

Traffic fines are steep for violations. Motorists are advised to pay attention to their driving and others around them this month and every month.

 

“Drivers on Route 235 and St. Mary’s County highways need to reduce their speed, put their phones down and pay attention to traffic conditions to ensure that we all get to our destinations safely,” Sheriff Tim Cameron said.

 

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


Calvert County Sheriff's Office

During the week of January 10, 2022 – January 16, 2022, deputies of the Calvert County Sheriff’s Office responded to 1,031 calls for service throughout the community.

 

Destruction of Property: 22-01745

On January 13, 2022, Deputy Ashely responded to the 6000 block of Locust Road in St. Leonard, MD for a report of property destruction. The complainant advised sometime between 6 p.m. on Jan. 11 and 4 p.m. on Jan. 12, unknown suspect(s) put a screw in the victim’s rear tire. The value of damaged property is $300.00.

 

Destruction of Property: 22-01928

On January 14, 2022, Deputy Aley responded to the 3700 block of Hunting Creek Road in Huntingtown, MD for the reported property destruction. Contact was made with the complainant who advised unknown suspect(s) put an explosive device in the mailbox causing damage to the interior of the box. Deputy Aley was advised by USPS that a mailbox on the same street had similar damage. The estimated value of damaged property is $100.00.

 

Destruction of Property: 22-02243

On January 16, 2022, Deputy Gough responded to the 400 block of Round Up Road in Lusby, MD for the report of property destruction. The complainant advised sometime between 2 p.m. on Jan. 15 and 8:30 a.m. on Jan. 16, unknown suspect(s) completely shattered and smashed the windshield of a truck parked in the driveway of the residence using a large rock from the homeowner’s flower bed. The value of damaged property is $500.00.

 

Theft: 22-01659

On January 12, 2022, Deputy Hudson responded to the 500 block of Stern Circle in Lusby, MD for the report of a theft. The complainant advised he ordered a package and received notification of the delivery. The complainant went to retrieve the package and the package was nowhere to be found. The value of stolen property is $249.94.

 

Theft: 22-01947

On January 14, 2022, Deputy Contic responded to report of a theft at 225 Town Square Drive in Lusby, MD. The complainant advised he parked a trailer at the mentioned address on Jan. 13 and when he returned to the address on Jan. 14, the trailer had been stolen. The value of stolen property is unknown at this time.

 

ARRESTS

On January 15, 2022, Deputy T. Bowen responded to the 12800 block of Rousby Hall Road in Lusby, MD for report of a motor vehicle crash involving two vehicles. Contact was made with one of the drivers who advised a vehicle was travelling southbound in the northbound lane, struck the victim and attempted to leave the accident scene. Deputy Bowen made contact with the driver of the striking vehicle, Daniel Wayne Grover, Sr., 39 of Lusby, MD who was observed to be stumbling and had slurred speech. It was determined Grover was operating a motor vehicle under the influence of a controlled dangerous substance. Grover was transported to the Calvert County Detention Center. A search of Grover’s person revealed a paper fold with suspected heroin. Grover was charged with CDS: Possession-Not Marijuana, Possession of Contraband in a Place of Confinement, along with other traffic related citations.

 

On January 10, 2022, Deputy Bowen responded to the 700 of N. Solomons Island Road in Prince Frederick, MD for the check welfare of an individual who had fallen and was unresponsive. Contact was made with Larry Randolph Robison, 44 of Chesapeake Beach, MD. Robison was conscious, but had a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage emitting from his breath. EMS arrived on scene for Robison to be checked out, but he refused treatment. Robison stood up and fell to the ground again due to his intoxicated state. Robison was advised to go to the hospital to get checked out, but continually refused. A search of Robison’s person revealed a small amount of marijuana and a smoking device “bowl”. Robison began acting in a disorderly manner by pushing deputies on scene, using profanities, and making threats. Robison was advised he was being placed under arrest and continued to resist. Robison was transported to the Calvert County Detention Center where he was charged with Second-Degree Assault, Disorderly Conduct and Resisting Arrest.

 

On January 14, 2022, Sgt. Naecker responded to the Calvert County Circuit Courthouse for the report of a disorderly female. Per court deputies, Dawn Marie Keen, 42 of Port Republic, MD was advised masks were required while inside the courthouse per an administrative order issued Dec. 27, 2021 by Chief Judge Joseph M. Getty of the MD Court of Appeals in light of Omicron Variant of the COVID-19 Emergency. The provision states that ALL individuals entering the Circuit Courthouse of Calvert County shall wear face masks indoors regardless of vaccination status or other related health measures. Keen refused to wear a mask and was asked to leave the building, but refused to do so. Keen was advised multiple times of the policy, but refused to leave. Keen was placed under arrest and transported to the Calvert County Detention Center where she was charged with Disorderly Conduct and Trespassing of a Government House. 


Calvert County Circuit Courthouse Extends Phase III Through March 6

Due to the continued surge in Maryland of COVID-19 cases as a result of the Omicron variant, and consistent with the guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Maryland Department of Health (MDH) and local health agencies, the Maryland Judiciary has extended Phase III emergency operations. On Jan. 14, 2022, Chief Judge Joseph M. Getty of the Court of Appeals for Maryland issued an extension through March 6, 2022, of the Interim Administrative Order of Dec. 27, 2021 Restricting Statewide Operations in Light of Omicron Variant of the COVID-19 Emergency. The interim operational plan took effect Dec. 29, 2021, and will now continue through Sunday, March 6, 2022, pending further order.  Additionally, all jury trials scheduled through March 4, 2022, shall be suspended.  The resumption of jury trials will be on March 7, 2022. 

Accordingly, Administrative Order dated Dec. 29, 2021, issued by Mark S. Chandlee, Administrative Judge for the Circuit Court for Calvert County, remains in full force and effect.   That Order requiring the Calvert County Sheriff’s Office to restrict access and screen individuals entering the Courthouse located at 175 Main St. in Prince Frederick, and is authorized to continue to conduct thermal temperature checks of all individuals entering the Courthouse; ensure proper implementation of the screening protocol and receipt of responses to screening questions propounded by entrants; inquire about the purpose of an individual’s visit to the Courthouse; limit the number of individuals entering the Courthouse at any given time to ensure the health and safety of all individuals in the Courthouse, and DENY entry to any individual whose screening results require refusal of entry to the Courthouse for the health and safety of all individuals in the Courthouse. Any individual denied entry with an affirmative response to the screening inquiry in consultation with the Administrative Judge will be provided with information regarding alternative means to address the purpose of that person’s intended visit to the court. All individuals entering the Circuit Court for Calvert County shall wear face masks indoors regardless of vaccination status or other related health measures. 

The courthouse will continue restrictions to limit the concentration of individuals and allow social distancing, consistent with state and federal guidance. The new administrative orders can be viewed on the Maryland Judiciary website at https://mdcourts.gov/coronavirusorders and the Circuit Court for Calvert County website at http://circuitcourt.co.cal.md.us.

Further, Judge Chandlee has determined that all currently scheduled matters, excluding jury trials, in the Calvert County Circuit Court will remain as scheduled. All jury trials, however, will be suspended until the Judiciary is able to reenter Phase V of its reopening plan. 

Accordingly, civil and criminal trials currently scheduled to commence between Dec. 29, 2021, and March 4, 2022, shall be converted to status conferences. All hearings will be heard in person at the Calvert County Circuit Courthouse. Any party/litigant and/or attorney appearing in a matter scheduled on or after Dec. 29, 2021 through March 4, 2022, may file an appropriate motion in writing to advise the Court of any issue that may prevent a party, attorney, and/or witness from appearing in person for their scheduled hearing or make a request to appear remotely for their scheduled hearing. The Circuit Court will rule on any requests for conversions to remote hearings and continuances on a case-by-case basis.

 

Court offices are fully staffed. Court personnel will be available to the public by telephone between the hours of 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Maryland Electronic Court (MDEC) continues to be available for electronic filing and is required to be used for all MDEC counties. The courts shall be open to the public, and no appointment shall be necessary (although preferred) for access. 

Any questions or concerns relative to cases or proceedings should be directed to:

·         Circuit Court: 410-535-1600

·         District Court: 443-550-6700

Calvert County Government continues to take precautionary measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 and limit the number of people infected. Residents, employees and media are encouraged to monitor Calvert County’s virtual resource center for updates and information resources: www.CalvertCountyMd.gov/Coronavirus.

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.


Parks & Recreation to Hold Virtual Public Meeting for Land Preservation, Parks & Recreation Plan

The Calvert County Department of Parks & Recreation will hold a virtual public meeting to present the findings of its Land Preservation, Parks and Recreation Plan (LPPRP) input survey. The meeting will be held through Zoom Monday, Jan. 31, 2022, at 7 p.m. Interested citizens can visit online to access the meeting link. Registration is not required.  

The Calvert County LPPRP opened a survey to the public in December 2021 to gather feedback on the conservation and development of outdoor recreation opportunities in Calvert County over the next five years. The upcoming meeting will provide citizens a chance to review and discuss the results of the survey. More information on the project is available at www.CalvertCountyMd.gov/LPPRP.

Citizens who are unable to attend can view a recording of the meeting on the Calvert County Government website at www.CalvertCountyMd.gov/Videos and Calvert County Government YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/CalvertCountyGov.

For updates on Parks & Recreation services, park availability, field closures and more visit Parks & Recreation at www.Facebook.com/CalvertCountyParks.

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.


Charles County Sheriff Troy Berry Establishes Youth Advisory Council

Charles County, MD…Charles County Sheriff Troy D. Berry, in partnership with Charles County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Maria Navarro, recently met with members of a newly formed Youth Advisory Council established as part of Sheriff Berry’s initiatives to continue to build relationships with communities while enhancing trust among its members. “I felt it was critical to form a Council of students who could talk openly with me or any of our school resource officers about any questions or concerns they have with safety, security, and policing,” said Sheriff Berry. “Since being elected Sheriff, one of my top priorities was to establish a strong connection with our youth and I have continued to keep that promise year after year, despite the pandemic. Whether we meet in person or via a virtual conference call, I want students to understand that they have a voice with us and we want to hear them,” said Sheriff Berry. Dr. Navarro fully supported the idea and joined in on the meeting as a way to hear directly from students. "The Council not only provides Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) students with opportunities for community engagement, but also the ability to take active roles in sharing feedback, concerns and questions from among their peer groups," Navarro said.  

 

The Council, comprised of members of the Charles County Public Schools’ Student Government Associations (SGA) and other interested youth, was coordinated by Lt. Ken Klezia, commander of the Sheriff’s Office School Resource Section, and Mr. Gary Winsett, a teacher at Thomas Stone High School and SGA supervisor. While the first meeting was held at Thomas Stone High School, the meetings will be rotated to all high schools in the county and the group will meet once a month. Participants do not need to belong to any organizations; however, they must have an interest in solving problems with sustainable resolutions. “We are dedicated to making a positive difference in the lives of the people we serve. We are committed to enhancing our relationships with our communities and we look forward to having meaningful discussions with students,” said Sheriff Berry.     

 

The Charles County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) was accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. (CALEA) in 2001 and has since earned the highest rating of Excellence. Established in 1658, the CCSO is one of the oldest law enforcement agencies in the United States. For more information, visit www.ccso.us.

 

Charles County Crime Solvers offers rewards of up to $1,000 for information that leads to the arrest or indictment of a person responsible for a crime in Charles County. All individuals who provide tips through Crime Solvers will remain anonymous. Anyone with information about an unsolved crime or the location of a fugitive 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, which can be found in the Android Store and Apple store by searching P3tips. For more information about the P3 program, click on this link: www.p3intel.com. 


USDA Launches Pilot Program to Deploy Renewable Energy Infrastructure to People in Rural Towns

WASHINGTON, D.C., Jan. 19, 2022 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that the Department is making up to $10 million available to help people living in rural towns develop community renewable energy projects that will help them cut their energy costs and contribute to the nationwide effort to reduce pollution that contributes to climate change. These funds will be targeted to help people who live in communities that have been historically underinvested and disinvested.

 

USDA is making the funds available through the new Rural Energy Pilot Program to help the people of rural America build back better, stronger and more equitably than ever before. Through this program, USDA is supporting the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to making environmental justice a part of every agency’s mission to address the disproportionate health, environmental, economic and climate impacts on disadvantaged communities.

 

“Under the leadership of President Biden and Vice President Harris, USDA is providing grant assistance for people who live in particularly underserved rural towns to help them cut their household energy costs and address climate change at the local level,” Vilsack said. “As we continue to rebuild the nation’s infrastructure, USDA is targeting resources and investments to help meet our nation’s energy needs and combat climate change. The new program we’re announcing today will pilot the viability of community-scale renewable energy investments to mitigate the energy-burdened circumstances of particularly disadvantaged rural communities. This assistance will help to keep people in their hometowns by supporting good-paying jobs, business opportunities, and a more affordable cost of living.”

 

Background:

 

USDA will make up to $10 million in grants available to particularly underserved rural communities. The funds can be used to deploy community-scale renewable energy technologies and innovations to reduce climate pollution and increase resilience to the impacts of climate change. These technologies include solar, wind, geothermal, micro-hydroelectric and biomass/bioenergy. Up to 20% of awarded funds may also be used for community energy planning, capacity building, technical assistance, energy efficiency and weatherization.

 

USDA is offering priority points to projects that advance key priorities under the Biden-Harris Administration to help communities recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, advance equity and combat climate change. These extra points will increase the likelihood of funding for projects seeking to address these critical challenges in rural America.

 

Details on an upcoming informational webinar is forthcoming and will be posted to the Rural Energy Pilot Program webpage.

 

Prospective applicants must inform the Agency by submitting a required Letter of Intent prior to submission of a complete application. The letters must be submitted via electronic upload into a secure cloud vault, by 11:59 p.m. EST on April 19, 2022.

 

Application guides and submission information are available on the program website, under the To Apply tab, www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/energy-programs/rural-energy-pilot-program.

 

For additional information, see page 2747 of the Jan. 19 Federal Register (PDF, 278 KB).

 

Under the Biden-Harris Administration, Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities, create jobs and improve the quality of life for millions of Americans in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural, tribal and high-poverty areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov. If you’d like to subscribe to USDA Rural Development updates, visit our GovDelivery subscriber page.

 

USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. Under the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate-smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov.


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