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

St. Mary's Co. Gov. News Briefs

Cougars Elite Cheerleading Concludes Winning Season

The Cougars Elite Cheerleading (CEC) Program recently completed their fifth year as a local representative in the national cheerleading circuit. CEC, which consisted of four teams (Sparkle Katz, PRIDE, FIERCE and PROWL), is sponsored by St. Mary's County Recreation and Parks in an effort to provide the all-star competitive cheerleading experience at a recreational price.

CEC recently ended their season by participating at the US Finals on May 8 in Virginia Beach. The US Finals is an end-of-year series of seven events aimed at growing champions in all divisions and levels of cheer and dance, giving teams a chance to see where they rank against other teams in their respective divisions nationwide and around the world.

Three Cougar teams placed in the top three of their divisions, with their senior level 3 team PROWL, earning first place overall. The win earned PROWL a top 5 NATIONAL and INTERNATIONAL ranking. Yearlong successes in numerous competitions earned national rankings for the entire CEC program, with placements in the top 10 for the entire program.

Ribbon Cutting Planned to Open New Fields at Fifth District Park

The public is invited to join the Commissioners of St. Mary's County and Department of Recreation and Parks staff for a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony to officially open three new athletic fields adjacent to Fifth District Park and the Lettie M. Dent Elementary School in Charlotte Hall.

"We hope citizens will join us at the park for the ceremony on Tuesday, June 9, 2014 at 1:30 P.M." said Brian Loewe, Director of Recreation and Parks. "The new facilities will go a long way in meeting the field needs of the youth sports community in the northern end of the County."

A shortage of practice fields in the Charlotte Hall area has been documented over the past several years. The three new fields, and the new paved pathway from existing parking at Fifth District Park, will provide much needed facilities and practice areas for youth football, lacrosse and soccer.

The project is an example of another successful partnership between the County and the St. Mary's County Public Schools. A portion of the project was constructed on land leased from the Board of Education at Lettie M. Dent Elementary School.

The approximate project cost was $645,000. The Commissioners of St. Mary's County provided the money to cover design and construction.

The park is located at 37880 New Market Turner Road, Mechanicsville, Maryland. Questions or comments regarding this project or ceremony should be directed to the St. Mary's County Department of Recreation and Parks at (301) 475-4200 ext. 1811.

Amateur Radio "Field Day" will Demonstrate Science, Skill, and Service

Members of the St. Mary's County Amateur Radio Association will take part in the national Amateur Radio Field Day exercise, June 27 - 28, 2015 at the Hollywood Volunteer Fire Department.

Since 1933, ham radio operators across North America have established temporary ham radio stations in public locations during Field Day to showcase the science and skill of Amateur Radio. This event is open to the public and all are encouraged to attend, especially between 2-8 p.m. on June 27 when activities will be set up especially for the public. The event is family-friendly and will feature a Get-On-The-Air (GOTA) station with a Ham Coach who will help you make your own radio contacts! Please do not bring pets (except for registered service animals.)

For over 100 years, Amateur Radio - sometimes called ham radio - has allowed people from all walks of life to experiment with electronics and communications techniques, as well as provide a free public service to their communities during a disaster, all without needing a cell phone or the Internet. Field Day demonstrates ham radio's ability to work reliably under any conditions from almost any location and create an independent communications network. Over 45,000 people from thousands of locations participated in Field Day in 2014.

"It's easy for anyone to pick up a computer or smartphone, connect to the Internet and communicate, with no knowledge of how the devices function or connect to each other," said Sean Kutzko of the American Radio Relay League, the national association for Amateur Radio. "But if there's an interruption of service or you're out of range of a cell tower, you have no way to communicate. Ham radio functions completely independent of the Internet or cell phone infrastructure, can interface with tablets or smartphones, and can be set up almost anywhere in minutes. That's the beauty of Amateur Radio during a communications outage."

Ham Radio can be a huge asset to any community during disasters if the standard communication infrastructure goes down. Amateur Radio is STEM in action!

Anyone may become a licensed Amateur Radio operator. There are over 725,000 licensed hams in the United States, as young as 5 and as old as 100. And with clubs such as the St. Mary's County

Amateur Radio Association, it's easy for anybody to get involved right here in southern Maryland.

For more information contact Chris Ordiway, SMCARA Public Information Officer, at

St. Mary’s County Library Director Announces Retirement

The St. Mary’s County Board of Library Trustees has begun a search for a new Director as Kathleen Reif has announced her plans to retire. Ms. Reif will remain through September 4, 2015 to ensure a smooth and successful transition for her successor. The Board of Library Trustees has hired Bradbury Associates/Gossage Sager Associates to conduct the search for a new Director. The consultants will visit the St. Mary’s County library branches to meet with the library staff and other key stakeholders, meet with the Board and Search Committee, tour the library, and tour the community in mid-June.

Joan Springer, President of the Board of Library Trustees stated “It is going to be a tremendous job finding someone who will qualify for the Directors position. The St. Mary' County library system has been a front runner in library services throughout Maryland and this is due to Kathleen's contribution to the growth and advancement of library services.”

Ms. Reif joined the St. Mary’s County Library as Director in 2003. Prior to taking the helm at St. Mary’s County Library, Ms. Reif was the Director of the Wicomico County Free Library from 1995 to 2003, the Marketing and Program Coordinator at the Baltimore County Public Library from 1986 to 1995, and a Children’s Librarian and Branch Manager at Harford County Library from 1975 to 1985. Ms. Reif earned her Master of Library Science in 1975 from the University of Maryland and a Master of Administrative Science from Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore. In 2013, the American Library Association awarded her with the Sullivan Award for Public Library Administrators Supporting Services to Children.

Ms. Reif said “I have enjoyed a 40 year career of providing public library services in 4 different Maryland counties and I can say, without a doubt, that the St. Mary’s County Library staff are some of the most professional and committed I have ever had the pleasure to work with. It is because of them that our libraries are so dynamic and busy. The next Library Director will be very fortunate to have them by her/his side!”

Ms. Springer continued “Kathleen's skill and efficiency in managing the complete operation of the library, its staff and its budgeted resources, have been apparent throughout the years she has been Director. She empowers the staff to make decisions and she has accomplished many innovative aspects including the new technical innovations of library service. Kathleen's favorite quote is: "the world is moved along not only by mighty shoves of its hero's but also by the aggregate of tiny pushes by each honest worker.””

St. Mary’s County Library Deputy Director Attends Public Library Association Leadership Academy

The St. Mary’s County Board of Library Trustees congratulates Mary Anne Bowman, Deputy Director for attending the 2015 Public Library Association Leadership Academy. Ms. Bowman was one of 35 selected from more than 100 applicants to complete the program and was the only one from Maryland.

The Public Library Association Leadership Academy for public librarians is designed to empower participants with the knowledge necessary to be innovative and successful leaders of change. The program focuses on developing the skills needed to work with communities to enhance the position of the library and improve the effectiveness of library activities and programs.

Ms. Bowman said “The Public Library Association’s Leadership Academy was a great opportunity for me. I came back to St. Mary’s County Library with a newly energized passion for libraries and a network of colleagues to bounce ideas off of across the country. I definitely feel this experience will help me be a better, more authentic leader in our library.”

Kathleen Reif, Director, St. Mary’s County Library said “The fact that Mary Anne was accepted into this national library leadership academy is testimony to the quality of our library staff. It is very rewarding to see our staff develop into local and national leaders in the profession.”

The Public Library Association (PLA), with more than 9,000 members, was founded in 1944. PLA is a member-driven organization that exists to provide a diverse program of communication, publication, advocacy, continuing education, and programming for its members and others interested in the advancement of public library service.

Leonardtown Wastewater Treatment Plant Enhanced Nutrient Removal Upgrade

The Maryland Board of Public Works on May 13 approved a $12 million Water Quality State Revolving Loan Fund loan and an $8,486,527 Bay Restoration Fund grant to the Commissioners of Leonardtown (total funding of $20,486,527). The grant will help fund the design and construction of the Enhanced Nutrient Removal (ENR) upgrade at the 680,000 gallons per day Leonardtown Wastewater Treatment Plant. After the upgrade, the facility will reduce its nitrogen discharge by 62.5 percent and its phosphorus discharge by 85 percent, significantly reducing the amount of nutrients discharged to Breton Bay, the Potomac River and ultimately the Chesapeake Bay. Excessive amounts of nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus lead to lowered levels of oxygen needed to support aquatic life in waterways, including the Chesapeake Bay. Enhanced Nutrient Removal upgrades of the state’s major wastewater treatment plants are a critical component of Maryland’s Phase II Watershed Implementation Plan.

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