St. Mary's Co. Gov. News Briefs

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Museum to feature exhibit on medical bottles from the 1800s as well as an exhibit about a replica oyster buy boat

The St. Mary's County Museum Division is pleased to announce two new temporary exhibits entitled "Medical Bottles and Others of the 1800s" and the "Samuel Bailey Oyster Buy Boat Replica," which will be available at the Piney Point Lighthouse Museum & Historic Park until September 23, 2019 and September 30, 2019, respectively.

The first exhibit features an array of medical bottles and the descriptions of the "medicines" provided by individuals like Lydia Pinkham, Dr. Jacob Fahrney and others used to treat their patients during the 1800s.

The second exhibit displays a replica of the Samuel Bailey Oyster Buy Boat, a local boat that would buy just-caught oysters from oyster tongers and transport them to distributors. Built by Ralph and Kim Lawrence, this model was constructed by hand using original tools.

The exhibits are available to visitors of the museum, which operates daily, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For more information regarding these exhibits, please call the Piney Point Lighthouse Museum at 301-994-1471. For hours of operation, programs, admission prices and more, visit or on Twitter at @PineyPtLHMuseum.

St. Mary's County Parks and Museums Tobacco Free Starting September 1

All St. Mary's County Parks and Museums will adopt a tobacco free policy effective September 1, 2019. This policy includes smoking, vaping and any and all other nicotine products and applies to all who visit St. Mary's County Parks. This policy does not apply to Wicomico Golf Shores Property.

The two-phase tobacco free resolution adopted by the Commissioners of St. Mary's County bans the use of tobacco products at parks and museums in September and on all county owned or leased buildings and properties beginning January 1st.

Additional details and resources regarding the tobacco free policy, including a link to free smoking cessation classes offered through the St. Mary's County Health Department, are available online:

St. Clement's Island Museum and Piney Point Lighthouse Museum to Join Sites Nationwide in Tolling Bells in Remembrance of Those Who Were First Brought to English Colonies 400 Years ago

The bells at St. Clement's Island Museum and Piney Point Lighthouse Museum, historic sites overseen by the St. Mary's County Museum Division, will participate in a nationwide bell-ringing commemoration Sunday, August 25, 2019 at 3 p.m. to honor those who were among the first enslaved Africans to arrive in the English colonies in the New World 400 years ago.

The bells at each museum site, along with bells across the United States, will ring to remember the first enslaved Africans who landed in the English New World at Point Comfort, VA, in 1619. The bells will ring for four minutes, one minute for every 100 years.

7th District Optimist Club Presents the 52nd Annual Blessing of the Fleet at the St. Clement's Island Museum

The 7th District Optimist Club is proud to present the 52nd Annual Blessing of the Fleet, Saturday and Sunday, October 5-6, 2019, at the St. Clement's Island Museum in Colton's Point, MD.

Held the first weekend of October for more than 50 years, the Blessing of the Fleet has become one of the most anticipated family events of the year. This significant occasion celebrates St. Mary's County's ties to the Chesapeake Bay watershed and the watermen who work its waters. This year's event, featuring a revamped format, will showcase fun for all ages.

Activities include tours of St. Clements Island, Blackistone Lighthouse & St. Clement's Island Museum, live performances by popular music acts, free boat excursions, Southern Maryland food, art and craft vendors, boat blessing ceremony, Sunday parade, evening concert, activities on the Island, children's activities, fireworks and more. This year's live performances are by local talent Robbie Boothe and headliner Nathan Osmond and the Cabana Dogs.

Gates are open from noon until 9 p.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is $10 for adults; children 12 & under are free. To stay up to date on the festivities, please visit

If you are an artist, craft person or non-profit organization and would like to have space at the event, please contact Jayne Walsh at to register.

ABOUT THE 7TH DISTRICT OPTIMIST CLUB: The 7th District Optimist Club, the host organization of Blessing of the Fleet, is made up of members of the local community dedicated to reaching out and helping the youth and the community in and around St. Mary's County's 7th District. The Club uses proceeds from the many yearly events and fundraisers, like the Blessing of the Fleet, to provide funding for countless youth events and causes throughout the county, as well as to area elderly programs and local fire and rescue squads. For more information regarding the 7th District Optimist Club and its mission of community service, please visit

MetCom Reports Progress on Water Storage Tower Construction

The Metropolitan Commission (MetCom) provides public water and sewer services to St. Mary's County operating 17 elevated water storage towers, 37 ground storage towers, and 28 water supply and distribution systems, including 67 wells which annually supply approximately 1.4 billion gallons of water. In addition, MetCom owns and/or operates 7 wastewater treatment facilities treating a combined daily average of 1.5 billion gallons of wastewater.

The new Charlotte Hall elevated Water Storage Tower (WST) near the Maryland Transit Administration Park and Ride Facility on MD Route 6 serves the Charlotte Hall Town Center area. The Water Appropriations and Use Permit was obtained from the Water Management Administration and MDE's Certification of Potability for the well was received on January 15, 2019. Water quality testing for the storage tank has been completed and the facility has been placed into full operation. This particular tower will provide 400,000 gallons of storage and includes a 250 gallon per minute (gpm) well. The new facility will ensure adequate fire suppression (as the only available water for fire protection is owned by the Charlotte Hall Veterans Home), address storage lost due to a damaged ground storage tank and provide water storage for domestic use. The approved capital construction budget was $3.107M and was funded through a low interest loan from the Department of Housing and Community Development. The project was made successful through the efforts of MetCom staff, contractor (Caldwell Tanks, Inc.) and Designer (WR&A).

George Erichsen, MetCom's Executive Director stated, "We are pleased to have the Charlotte Hall water tower on line, and we are now pressing forward on the construction of what will be the largest MetCom water tower" (see rendering at right). A much larger, two million gallon composite water storage tank in the Hickory Hills community (located behind the new Nissan dealership on MD 235) will replace the existing 500,000 gallon facility, built in 1992. The new facility has an approved budget of $6.297M for the storage tank and $0.997M for the new 700 gpm well which replaces the 1982 well and draws water from the Patapsco, not Aquia Aquifer. A new well house, pump controls, disinfection/metering/telemetry equipment, a stand by diesel generator and demolition of the existing tower are included in the contract. Bids were opened on July 10, 2019 and the MetCom Board approved the recommendation for award on August 8, 2019. Construction is anticipated to be completed 710 calendar days following the formal Notice To Proceed. This project will help stabilize water system pressures throughout Lexington Park as well as improve water storage deficiencies to meet the current water demands of the community. This project is funded through a low interest loan from the Department of Housing and Community Development. The project has come to fruition due to the efforts of MetCom staff and project designer, WR&A.

To learn more about planned projects, please visit and select Capital Improvement Projects under the Engineering tab.

Healthy St. Mary's Partnership Announces Tobacco 21 Town Hall

A new state law goes into effect on October 1 which raises the minimum age to purchase and use tobacco and electronic vapor products from 18 to 21 years of age. The Tobacco Free Living (TFL) Action Team of the Healthy St. Mary's Partnership will host a town hall on the new Tobacco 21 law on Thursday, September 26, 2019 from 5:00 p.m.–7:00 p.m. at the St. Mary's County Fairgrounds.

"In 2016, 27% of high school students in St. Mary's reported that they were currently using tobacco products," said Caitlin Kirkpatrick, Tobacco Control Program Coordinator for the St. Mary's County Health Department and TFL Co-Chair. "We hope that the community will attend this event to learn more about this new law and how it may help reduce the number of youth who are currently using tobacco products."

The TFL Action Team is pleased to announce a lineup of distinguished panelists for this event, including:

— Laura Hale, American Heart Association

— Kathy Hoke, Legal Resource Center at the University of Maryland Carey School of Law

— Sergeant Stephen Myers, St. Mary's County Sheriff's Office

— Monika Lee, MD, MedStar Medical Group at St. Clement's

For more information and to register, visit: Tickets are not required for admission, but registration is requested to ensure adequate seating for participants.

Health Department Awarded Over $1.5 Million in Grant Funding for Septic Replacement Systems

The Bay Restoration Fund (BRF) was signed into law in 2004 to help improve water quality in the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries by reducing harmful nutrients, such as nitrogen and phosphorus. The St. Mary's County Health Department's (SMCHD) Clear Water® Program administers the BRF locally—providing funding for nitrogen-reducing septic systems and public sewer connections to help reduce these harmful nutrients. Since its launch in 2010, the Clear Water® Program at SMCHD has awarded over $10 million in grant funding for septic system upgrades to St. Mary's County property owners.

SMCHD's Clear Water® Program received $1,641,000 in grant funding this year—the 2nd highest in the state of Maryland—and is seeking applicants. All property owners in St. Mary's County are eligible to apply for grant funding to assist with installation costs for nitrogen-reducing units and public sewer connection costs. Grant awards will be made based on the availability of funds, the priority level of the project and the property owner's total income.

"The Clear Water® Program offers residents the opportunity to save money on installation costs for new septic systems while also doing their part to improve the water quality of the Chesapeake Bay," said Heather Moritz, Environmental Health Deputy Director at SMCHD.

For more information about the Clear Water® Program, or to download an application, visit:

St. Mary's County Government Operations for Labor Day

In observance of Labor Day, Monday, September 2, 2019, St. Mary's County Government announces the following closures:

All administrative offices will be closed.

The St. Andrews Landfill and six (6) Convenience Centers will be closed

The St. Mary's Transit System and the Specialized Statewide Transportation Assistance Program (SSTAP) will be closed on Monday, September 2, 2019.

The Garvey, Loffler and Northern Senior Activities Centers will be closed Labor Day.

All St. Mary's County Libraries will be closed Monday, September 2, 2019.

The Piney Point Lighthouse Museum and St. Clements Island Museum will both be open Monday, September 2, 2019, from 10am–5pm.

All offices and services will operate under normal hours Tuesday, September 3, 2019.

For additional information please visit

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