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

St. Mary's Co. Gov. News Briefs


Clear Water® Program Completes Fourth Successful Year in St. Mary's County

Property owners in need of a Nitrogen-Reducing Advanced Treatment Unit (ATU) for their septic systems have been successfully assisted by the St. Mary’s County Health Department’s Clear Water® program for a fourth consecutive year. Established in July 2010, the Clear Water® program has awarded more than $6 million dollars in grant funding to residential property owners, businesses, and nonprofit organizations in St. Mary’s County with septic systems located both within and outside of the 1,000 foot critical area buffer.

St. Mary’s County Health Department’s Clear Water® program locally administers the statewide Bay Restoration Fund (BRF). This effort is designed to reduce the amount of nitrogen discharged by a septic system into the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries by offering property owners funding to install an ATU.

“The Clear Water program is a great example of a process that works to assist our residents and property owners as well as our environment,” said Heather Moritz, Environmental Health Specialist at the St. Mary’s County Health Department. “We have processed over 1,000 applications since the beginning of the program and have awarded funding in a reasonable time frame with respect to eligibility criteria and seasonal considerations.”

“The Bay Restoration Fund helped us get a septic system that works well for us and, hopefully, helps the environment at the same time,” stated a local homeowner. “It was extremely easy to work with the health department. Their program staff were highly professional and met our needs in a timely manner. Everything was clearly explained and easy to handle.”

The success of the program was enhanced with the expansion of the eligibility requirements in July 2013. Currently, eligibility for grant funding includes the following:

-- Property owners with a total income of $300,000 or less are eligible for 100% grant funding.

-- Property owners with a total income greater than $300,000 are eligible for 50% grant funding.

-- Nonprofit organizations are eligible for 100% grant funding.

-- Commercial Projects, Estates and Trusts are eligible for 50% grant funding.

-- Units installed for new construction are also eligible for grant funding.

The expanded eligibility has increased the number of applicants, and a wait list has been established to assist all who are interested in the program. “The wait list system has been beneficial, with the majority of wait list applicants being awarded funding,” said Moritz. “We encourage everyone who is interested to apply.”

Information and applications for the Clear Water® program can be found on the health department’s website at www.smchd.org or by contacting Heather Moritz at 301-475-4321, or by email at heather.moritz@maryland.gov

EGGstravaganza at the Annual Easter Egg Festival

Get a jump start on Easter on Saturday, March 28 at the 32nd annual Easter Egg Festival. The St. Mary's County Department of Recreation & Parks will host the event for the second year at the St. Mary's County Fairgrounds. The event takes place between 12 p.m. and 4 p.m., rain or shine, and is open to the entire St. Mary's County community.

The Easter Egg Festival has become a unique holiday event in the Southern Maryland and features egg hunts, photos with the Easter Bunny, amusement rides, live entertainment, free arts and crafts, an egg decorating contest, face painting, and goods and services for sale by local area vendors.

For a $5 fee attendees can take part in the egg hunt, have their photo taken with Mr. or Mrs. Bunny, participate in recreational activities, and enjoy free face painting and crafts. Photography will be provided by Lifetouch photography. Kids can also meet the Superheroes and participate in a BMX course or tennis demonstration.

Additional fees apply for amusement rides and various food vendors on site. Advance tickets are available at the Recreation & Parks main office Monday - Friday 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Raffle tickets can also be purchased ahead of time at a special promotion for 2 for the price of 1.

Space is still available for local vendors. Recreation and Parks is also seeking donations and sponsorships. Please call for details. Southern Maryland Oil will serve as this year's title sponsor.

Proceeds from the Easter Egg Festival are used to fund the Recreation & Parks Scholarship Program, which provides qualified individual applicants the opportunity to participate in an activity at a 50% prorated amount of the registration fee.

For more information please visit www.stmarysmd.com/recreate/easter or call 301-475-4200 ext. 1800.

Feral Cat Tests Positive for Rabies in Breton Bay Neighborhood

The St. Mary’s County Health Department reports that a feral cat captured in a Breton Bay subdivision has tested positive for rabies. The test results were confirmed by the State’s laboratory at the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene in Baltimore. Residents are asked to report any animal exposures involving people to the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office at 301-475-8008. Suspected animal bites to pets or livestock should be reported to St. Mary’s County Animal Control at 301-475-8018.

Rabies is a preventable viral disease most often transmitted through the bite of a rabid animal. The health department investigates reports of animal bites and, based on the outcome of the investigation, provides post-exposure treatment to people who are at risk for contracting the disease.

“As a general reminder, we are advising all county residents to check their pets’ vaccine records and reminding pet owners that responsible pet ownership includes keeping pets indoors, using a leash or having a fenced yard,” stated Ann Rose, health department rabies control program director. “Because of our rural setting, it is important that our residents remember that rabies exists in St. Mary’s County, and encounters with feral or wild animals is inevitable.”

The following precautions will protect your pets and family members from the threat of rabies:

-- Be sure your pet has up-to-date rabies shots. Maryland law requires that all cats, dogs and ferrets four-months and older have current rabies shots. Low-cost rabies clinics are provided by the health department and St. Mary’s Animal Welfare League (SMAWL) during March – November. The next rabies clinic is scheduled for Monday, March 9 from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. at the St. Mary’s County Fairgrounds

-- Keep pets in your home or yard and walk them on a leash. County law requires that all dogs four-months and older be licensed.

-- Never approach or touch animals unknown to you.

-- Do not feed pets outdoors. Pet food and other food sources such as unsecured garbage cans may attract unwanted and unhealthy animals into your yard.

For more information about rabies and the rabies vaccination clinics, visit the health department’s website at www.smchd.org.

Summer Camp Registration is Now Open

With the long winter slowly drawing to a close now's the time to plan for summer fun for your family! The St. Mary's County Department of Recreation and Parks is now accepting registrations for 2015 Summer Camps both online and in person.

Recreation and Parks offers a variety of summer camps; over 30 camps are available for children ages 3 to 20.

Summer Fun Day Camps begin the week of June 22 and run for one week sessions through August 14. All Summer Fun Day Camps are $135.00 unless specified; $170.00 and $200.00. Fun Camps operate Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Camp Keepers (extended care) is available from 6:30 - 8:30 a.m. and 4 - 6 p.m. for $15.00 per session (am or pm) per week. Summer Fun Day Camp locations include the Hollywood, Carver, and Margaret Brent Recreation Centers, Elms Beach and Chancellors Run Regional Park.

Two Therapeutic Camps, New Horizons and Camp Inspire are being offered at Green Holly Elementary school, Monday through Thursday. Camp Inspire is a 4-week camp designed specifically for children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). New Horizons is a 6-week fun filled adventure for children with various disabilities.

Sports Camp opportunities begin on June 22 and continue until July 23. There are 13 different sports camps to choose from for ages 5 and up; camp times, location, and price varies depending on the camp. Full payment is due at time of registration.

Recreation and Parks is offering Camp Limbo for the three days between the last day of school and the first day of camp; June 17 - 19. Camp Limbo will operate 6:30 a.m. - 6 p.m. for $30.00 per day at the Carver Recreation Center.

Registration can be made online at www.stmarysmd.com/recreate, at the Recreation & Parks office in Leonardtown or mailed to P.O. Box 653 Leonardtown, MD 20650.

For more information call 301-475-4200 ext. 1800 or 1801.

Commission for People with Disabilities to Present Annual Awards Program

The St. Mary's County Commission for People with Disabilities will hold its annual Awards program this summer. The program celebrates contributions made by individuals and businesses in our community, and to raise awareness regarding persons with disabilities. Nominations for this year's awards are now open.

Award categories include, Volunteer, Notable Employer, Care Partner Award, Innovative Program, Vicki Brown Award (2 awards presented) Student Award - a person of any age enrolled as a student in any capacity and Adult Award - a person 18 years of age or older. Descriptions and applications are available on the Commission for People with Disabilities website at http://www.stmarysmd.com/voluntr/DisabilityAwardsProgram.asp

Awards will be presented at a Commissioners of St. Mary's County business meeting in July. This year's ceremony will commemorate the 25th anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Deadline for application submissions is June 1.

Applications can be submitted to Christina Bishop, Department of Recreation and Parks, 23150 Leonard Hall Drive, Leonardtown, MD 20650.

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