St. Mary's Co. Gov. News Briefs - Southern Maryland Headline News

St. Mary's Co. Gov. News Briefs

Human Relations Commission Meeting Change

Today's meeting of the Human Relations Commission has rescheduled to Thursday, May 22.

The meeting will take place from 4 - 6 p.m. that date and will be held in the Division of Human Services conference room inside the Potomac Building in Leonardtown.

Economic Development Commission to Hold First Meeting

The newly organized St. Mary's County Economic Development Commission (EDC) will hold its first meeting on Thursday, May 15 at 6:30 p.m. in the commissioners meeting room inside the Chesapeake Building, located at 41770 Baldridge Street (on the Governmental Center campus) in Leonardtown.

At the meeting members will discuss the EDC's role and mission and receive information from County Attorney George Sparling on the Public Information and Open Meetings Acts. An agenda for the meeting will be posted on the County's website.

For more information about the Economic Development Commission, contact Robin Finnacom, acting director, St. Mary's County Department of Economic & Community Development at 301-475-4200, ext. 1407.

Annual Stuff The Bus Food Drive Now Underway

At its May 6, 2014 meeting, the Board of County Commissioners endorsed County Government's 8th annual Stuff-The-Bus event. As a part of National Transportation Week, the St. Mary's County Department of Public Works & Transportation and the Department of Aging & Human Services will join forces to help fill the shelves of local food pantries.

'Stuff-the-Bus' Food Drive events are intended to bring attention to the importance of donating non-perishable food items year round as a means of preparing an emergency food supply for our most vulnerable citizens who could be especially hard hit if a man made or natural disaster should occur in our area.

A St. Mary's County Transit System (STS) bus will be parked outside the Leonardtown McKay's, Charlotte Hall Food Lion, and California Target (in the First Colony Shopping Center) from 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. on Saturday May 17, 2014.

Having a year round, well stocked food supply in our community's food pantries is a good idea for a number of reasons, according to the St. Mary's County Health Department. Generous giving is a hallmark of our citizens and, keeping in mind that pantries are an important source of food during the recovery phase of a disaster, gives citizens another reason to donate regularly. George Erichsen, St. Mary's County Director of Public Works & Transportation says "Our goal is to collect at least 2,000 pounds of non-perishable food items, but we would really like to see the citizens help us break our 2,960 pound collection record this year."

Any non-perishable food item will be accepted. However, suggested items for donation include canned fruits/vegetables (such as peas, corn, green beans and potatoes), pasta, sauces, dried beans, coffee, tea, bottled water, canned meats (such as tuna), canned or dried soups, cookies, crackers, and peanut butter.

All County residents are encouraged to take part in this important community event. County employees will also participate in the collection of non-perishable items through Friday May 16 at collection points located at several governmental locations. These would include the Chesapeake

Building - BOCC/County Administrator (receptionist window); Potomac Building - Office of Human Services; Patuxent Building - Land Use and Growth Management & Recreation & Parks, Office of the Sheriff - inside the Patuxent Building; Department of Public Safety; Garvey Senior Center and other county government buildings and facilities.

For more information about the Stuff-the-Bus Food Drive, please contact the Division of Human Services at 301-475-4200, ext. 1684.

St. Mary's County and National Weather Service Announce Joint Project to Improve Tidal Flood Warnings for Communities Along the Potomac River

St. Mary's County residents along the Potomac River will have improved tidal flood warnings, thanks to a new river gauge and collaboration between the St. Mary's County Department of Emergency Services and Technology and the National Weather Service's (NWS) Baltimore/Washington Weather Forecast Office.

"St. Mary's County citizens benefit from the very strong collaborative relationship between the Emergency Services & Technology Department and the National Weather Service," said Bob Kelly, Director of Emergency Services & Technology. "The more information we have helps us to better prepare for and respond to events that occur in our county."

Last year, St. Mary's County installed a tide gauge to measure tidal heights near St. Georges Island, and began providing this information to the NWS. Additionally, the NWS, through its SKYWARN weather spotter program, started monitoring actual impacts occurring on and near the island during unusually high tides. This collaboration has helped experts better understand the substantial impact that occurs in this low-lying area when the tide reaches various levels.

When NWS forecasters believe certain tide levels will be exceeded, Coastal Flood Advisories (for minor flooding) and Coastal Flood Warnings (for moderate or greater flooding) will be issued. An advisory means primarily nuisance flooding of yards or driveways is expected or occurring. A warning means significant flooding that could affect life, property, and ability to travel is expected.

"We encourage residents and property owners to have multiple ways to receive coastal flood advisories and warnings, whether on a mobile device, through local media, or NOAA Weather Radio," said Jason Elliott, Senior Service Hydrologist, Baltimore/Washington Weather Forecast Office. "Providing individuals with actionable information to help them protect life and property is key to NOAA's effort to build a Weather-Ready Nation."

Other areas of the county can also be affected by flooding of tidal streams, freshwater streams, or just heavy rainfall. The NWS and St. Mary's County have been working together to assess and catalog these impacts. Residents who witness flooding are encouraged to report it to the county or National Weather Service. These reports will enhance knowledge of flooding throughout the county.

The National Weather Service's Baltimore/Washington Forecast Office, located in Sterling, Va., is the primary source of weather and water data, forecasts and warnings for about 10 million people in the District of Columbia, 13 Maryland counties, 23 Virginia counties, and eight West Virginia counties. Visit and join the NWS on Facebook and Twitter.

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