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

St. Mary's Co. Gov. News Briefs

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Unlimited Edge Gymnastics Scores High at Harvestfest Invitational

On November 18 and 19, Unlimited Edge, Recreation and Parks' competitive gymnastics team, competed in their first meet of the season at the Harvestfest Invitational in Churchville, Maryland. The meet brought together over 200 gymnasts, representing 9 competitive teams throughout the DC/MD/VA area. Of those gymnasts, 6 athletes represented Unlimited Edge Gymnastics, most of who were competing in their first ever USA Gymnastics meet. Despite being one of the smaller groups participating, Unlimited Edge gymnasts were able to come out at or near the top in several categories.

11 year old Kira Young of Lusby, the only optional level athlete representing Unlimited Edge at the meet, came out on top in her age group. She placed 1st on bars with a score of 9.300 and finished 2nd overall with an all-around score of 35.900. 7 year old Camdon Kiraly of Lexington Park received 2nd place on bars, 3rd place on vault and tied for 2nd place on floor. This resulted in an all-around score of 34.450, good for 3rd overall in her age group. 10 year old Abby Wilson of Hollywood placed 2nd in her age group on beam with a score of 8.700.

Coaches Erin Bray and Adam Goska were thrilled with the performance of the gymnasts. With their first meet under their belts, Unlimited Edge gymnasts and coaches are looking forward to their next competitive meet, the Top Flight Invitational, scheduled for December 2 and 3 in Ellicott City, Maryland.

For more information about the gymnastics program, please call the Gymnastics Center at 301-862-1462 or visit

Recreation & Parks Board Changes Location of December Meeting; January meeting canceled

The St. Mary's County Recreation and Parks Board meeting, scheduled for Thursday, December 7, will be held at the Hollywood Recreation Center, located at 24400 Mervell Dean Road, in Hollywood. The meeting will begin at 5:30 p.m.

The Board's January 4, 2018 meeting has been canceled. Their next regularly scheduled meeting will be February 1, 2018.

Recreation and Parks Board meetings are generally held on the first Thursday of each month, at 5:30 p.m., in the commissioners meeting room inside the Chesapeake Building in Leonardtown, unless otherwise noted.

For more information, please contact the St. Mary's County Department of Recreation and Parks at 301-475-4200, ext. *1811.

Event Scheduled for Survivors of Suicide Loss

Survivors of Suicide Loss Day is an international event for people affected by suicide loss to provide comfort and gain understanding through shared stories of healing and hope. This year, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) is partnering with the Healthy St. Mary's Partnership to host a free Survivor Day event at the St. Mary's County Health Department on Saturday, November 18, from 1:00—5:00 p.m.

For many survivors of suicide loss, attending a Survivor Day event offers a chance for recovery, to reclaim hope, and forge bonds that can last a lifetime. It doesn't matter how long ago the loss, all adults ages 18 years and older are welcome to attend.

The St. Mary's County Survivor Day event, hosted by AFSP Out of the Darkness (Southern Maryland), the St. Mary's County Health Department, and the Healthy St. Mary's Partnership, will provide large group conversation as well as breakout sessions to participants in the company of empathetic individuals who share a similar experience. Snacks will be provided.

To learn more about this event or to register, please visit

Department of Social Services' Ella May Russell to Retire

Served the agency in various capacities for 53 years

Ella May Russell, the longtime director of the St. Mary's County Department of Social Services, will retire from her post on December 1. She has been employed with the agency since October 1964 and has served in a various capacities over the years.

Between 1964 and 1985, Mrs. Russell served as a Social Work Assistant where she provided casework services in foster care, adoption, single parent services and protective services for children. In 1985, she was appointed as acting director of the agency and promoted to director in 1986.

Throughout the course of her career Mrs. Russell has had several special assignments, including program development in domestic violence services, homeless services and shelters, mental health services, coordinator of an Elderly study, resulting in new services in the county, affordable housing, Health Share for uninsured or underinsured population of St. Mary's County, community based services and integrated employment services. In 1996, she co-chaired the Welfare Reform Block Grant Committee which developed and designed the State's Welfare Reform Program. Under her leadership, she successfully negotiated an agreement to have the St. Mary's Transit System (STS) extend bus service to Sundays along the Wildewood to Lexington Park route.

Mrs. Russell played an integral role in the design and development of State of Maryland's Welfare Reform. She continues to serve on committees and boards locally, including the St. Mary's County Local Management Board, Mental Health and Human Services Committee and Community Health Advisory Board and at the state level, the Maryland Association of Social Services Directors, the Family Investment Administration Steering Committee and Women's Network Advisory.

Ella May has received numerous accolades for her work throughout the years. In 2013 she received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the St. Mary's County Commission for Women. In 2010, St. Mary's Ryken High School honored her and her husband as Pillars of the Community.

"Learning new things and meeting new challenges are the things I will always remember about my work with the Department of Social Services," said Russell. "Working with people and getting them to where they need to be has always been the goal. I like to believe we have been able to accomplish this through the years."

Russell plans to focus on overlooked chores at home during her retirement and enjoy more time with her family.

"Ella May Russell has been a staple here in St. Mary's County for decades," said Commissioner President Randy Guy. "Her work with social services is legendary locally and across the state. I join with my fellow commissioners in thanking her for many years of service to the citizens of St. Mary's County. She will be missed."

Therese Wolf will be Interim Director while recruitment is underway. She is currently the Director of Charles County Department of Social Services. She was appointed Director on November 6, 2013.

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