St. Mary's Co. Gov. News Briefs

Weekend Work Scheduled for Governor Thomas Johnson Bridge

On Sunday, March 2 the Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) will perform routine cleaning of the scuppers (parapet wall drains) on the Governor Thomas Johnson (MD 4) bridge over the Patuxent River.

The work will be performed between the hours of 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. and will require a single lane closure and flagging operation. Motorists are urged to allow extra time for their travel and proceed with caution through the work zone.

This work is weather-dependent. The rain/snow date is March 9.

Citizen Comments Sought for Draft Update of Patuxent River Policy Plan

Representatives from the Patuxent River Commission (PRC) presented and discussed the proposed 2015 Patuxent River Policy Plan update with members of the Board of County Commissioners on Tuesday. The representatives also talked about the process for adopting the plan.

One part of the process involves public review and comment of the latest draft of the policy plan (Draft 2.0). The draft has been posted to the PRC webpage at Comments and questions can be submitted via email to: with the subject line: "PRC Plan comments."

The Patuxent River's 937-square mile watershed encompasses one-tenth of Maryland's land area and includes portions of Anne Arundel, Calvert, Charles, Howard, Montgomery, Prince Georges and St. Mary's counties. The 2015 Policy Plan will serve as a framework for future efforts to improve the watershed and guide the work of the local governments within the Patuxent River watershed and Maryland state agencies and provide strategies to preserve the waterway and its watershed.

Comments received by February 28 will be addressed in the "Draft 3.0" document which will be posted by the PRC in March. Two public meetings have been scheduled by the PRC to receive comment on Draft 3.0 (locations and times listed below). Upon completion of the hearings, a final draft of the 2015 Patuxent River Policy Plan update will be prepared, adopted by the PRC and submitted for approval by local jurisdictions and the State legislature.

Tuesday, April 1 - 7 p.m.

Prince George's County
County Administration Building
14741 Governor Oden Bowie Drive
4th Floor Board Room
Upper Marlboro, MD

Thursday, April 10 - 6 p.m.

Laurel City Hall
8103 Sandy Spring Road
Laurel, MD

Residents Reminded of Voluntary Food Recall

The St. Mary’s County Health Department is reminding local businesses and residents of a voluntary food recall for cheeses made at Roos Foods of Kenton, DE. These products have the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Healthy individuals may also suffer the symptoms of high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea. Listeria infection can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women. Products were distributed in Maryland, Virginia and Washington D.C. through retail stores.

The products are packaged in flexible plastic bags and rigid plastic clam shell packages in 12 oz. and 16 oz. sizes under the brand names: Mexicana, Amigo, Santa Rosa De Lima, and Anita. The company has ceased the production and distribution of the products during the FDA investigation.

Customers should destroy all lots of the above listed products of the brand names Mexicana, Amigo, Santa Rosa De Lima and Anita. For any refund, please return recalled products to store.

For a complete list of the recalled products, please visit

Additional Training Date for Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) Set for St. Mary’s County

The Maryland Department of Agriculture has scheduled a second training date in St. Mary's County for farmers who want to participate in the Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) this year. Training will be held Monday, March 10, from 2:15 p.m. to 3:45 p.m. at the Charlotte Hall Library, 37600 New Market Road, Charlotte Hall. Training includes the Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (WIC and Seniors) and the Fruit and Vegetable Check (FVC) Program. This training is mandatory for farmers who want to accept checks from participants at authorized farmers’ markets. Farmers who were unable to attend the first training session on Feb. 14 due to inclement weather can register to attend this session.

Farmers who took this training in 2013 are certified for three years. Farmers who are new to these programs, or those who took training prior to 2013, must attend a session to participate in the program this market season. Training it is good for three years.

The session is free but participants must RSVP to attend by registering here:

Anyone having trouble registering, should contact Shelby Watson at shelby.watson (at)

New Asthma Control Program For St. Mary’s County Children

The St. Mary’s County Health Department launched a new Asthma Control Program intended to help children improve their asthma and decrease health care costs associated with uncontrolled asthma. The program will focus on children and adolescents 2 to 18 years old with uncontrolled asthma. Similar programs across the country have proven to be effective at improving health outcomes and quality of life.

“This is an important program not only for those children affected by this serious condition, but also for their families. We will be able to assess the home environment for potential asthma triggers and provide education to the families on coping with asthma in their home,” said the health department’s Asthma Control Program Director, Sandy Aubert, RN, MPH.

The Asthma Control Program will help:

-- Identify and reduce home exposure to environmental triggers of asthma

-- Provide asthma education and resources for families with children who are affected

-- Decrease asthma-related emergency department visits, hospitalizations, and unplanned visits to primary care offices

-- Decrease number of days children with asthma miss school

-- Decrease the number of days parents miss work because of their child’s asthma

A major component of the Health Department’s Asthma Control Program will be to conduct a home visit for families and provide suggestions on how asthma triggers can be easily reduced in the home setting.

Asthma is a chronic disorder of the airways characterized by wheezing, breathlessness, chest tightness, and coughing. Asthma symptoms can be triggered by various allergens and irritants, respiratory infections, second-hand smoke, and household triggers.

Children can be referred into the program by their health care provider, school nurse, hospital, or family. For those who qualify for a home visit, a summary report will be provided to the parents, primary healthcare provider for the child, and school nurse.

For more information about the Asthma Control Program and other resources to help with asthma control, visit

Health Department Employee Wins National Award

St. Mary’s County Health Department nurse Michele Burnette, R.N., is the national winner of the Foster Parent Award. This award is given by the Casey Family Programs, which is the nation's largest operating foundation focused entirely on foster care and improving the child welfare system.

The highly distinguished award recognizes Burnette’s hard work, dedication, and exceptional leadership to improve child welfare systems in America.

“As a mother of seven children, three who we’ve adopted from the foster care system, and as a foster parent to more than 40 children, it is my goal and the goal of the Casey Family Program to have every child grow up in a healthy, safe, and permanent family, and within a supportive community,” said Burnette. “It is important that we continue to focus on safely reducing the need for foster care and build hope for vulnerable children and families in our community.”

At the health department, Burnette oversees the Healthy Start Program, which provides education and nursing outreach to eligible pregnant women who are at high risk of pregnancy complications, and to infants and toddlers from birth to two years who are at highest risk for death or disability.

In 2000, Burnette started a Resource Parent Association in California, Md. that became a statewide association in 2005. In addition to serving on the board of the association she helped to begin, she has served on the National Foster Parent Association’s board of directors since 2008 and is currently the chairperson for the annual education conference for Resource Parents. Three years ago, Burnette developed the nation’s first non-traditional Parent Teacher Association for Resource Parents and has represented the National Foster Parent Association in congressional hearings. She also has authored several publications.

The award was presented to Burnette early January during the annual Casey Excellence for Children Awards ceremony in Seattle, Wash., and announced by the Casey Family Program late last week.

To view a video about Burnette’s journey, visit For more information about the Casey Family Program, visit

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