Thursday, October 4, 2007 • St. Mary’s County, Maryland
E US EY POINT LIGHTHO
PRSTD STD US Postage Paid Permit No. 145 Waldorf, MD
Established 2006 • Volume 2 • Issue 40 • FREE
Health Fees Bumped; Flu Vaccine to Elementary Students
By Adam Ross Staff Writer The county’s environmental health fees increased six percent last week, the first price overhaul in 10 years by the St. Mary’s Health Department. Two years ago, a limited fee increase for environmental health was approved by the St. Mary’s Board of Commissioners in response to Maryland’s loosening of price caps on restaurant applications, well permits and burning permits. However, last week’s action - approved by the St. Mary’s Board of County Commissioners sitting as the St. Mary’s Board of Health – was the largest increase since early 1998. All of environmental health’s fees are affected, except well fees, which are still capped by the state. There was no public comment to the health department or commissioners, while in 2005 both entities experienced mild resistance. As part of the St. Mary’s County Health Department, the Environmental Health Division provides the county with well permits, burning permits, public school permits, private pool permits, food service permits, temporary food permits, site plan approval services and septic system inspections, to name a few. The prices range from $20 to $275 See Health Fees page A-7
Commissioners Stop Residential Development in OPB and APZ-2
By Adam Ross Staff Writer The St. Mary’s Board of County Commissioners continued to steer the course Tuesday toward protecting Patuxent River Naval Air Station from encroachment at all costs. In a unanimous decision, the board forbid further residential development within an Office Business Park (OBP) and zone two of the Accident Potential Zone (APZ). Any property or subdivision with plans submitted before April 10 will be grandfathered in and allowed to proceed with development, including Essex Woods, a 400-lot subdivision located in Lexington Park, and the Forrest Park re-subdivision. A decision on how much residential development to allow in the county’s four OPB zones located throughout the county has been debated in many respects over the last four years. The closest OPB to Pax River is south of the base between Willows Road and Route 235. At a public hearing on June 25, property owners with homes either in the OPB or APZ-2 said the amendments could adversely affect property values, and were based on outdated noise assessments done over eight years ago. Commissioner Daniel H. Raley (D-Great Mills) said Tuesday he’s seen some of the nastiest e-mails over his tenure regarding the issues See Developoment page A-10
Photo by Guy Leonard
A roadside memorial sits at the site of the motorcycle crash that killed Sean Foley Somerville the night of Sept. 29. The stuffed animals and crucifixes were placed there by Somerville’s wife, daughters and friends.
Motorcyclist Killed On Route 235
By Guy Leonard Staff Writer Investigators with the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office are still trying to piece together exactly what happened when Sean Foley Somerville lost control of his motorcycle and died as a result of a crash the night of Sept. 29 in Hollywood. According to the latest sheriff’s reports Somerville was riding his motorcycle southbound on Route 235 when he hit an embankment and died on the scene. Initial reports state that speed and driver error contributed to the crash but alcohol did not seem to be a factor. Foley, 26, was the father of three daughters. Elizabeth Somerville, his wife since 2004, said that his family is still trying to deal with the tragic loss, but they had many fond memories of him. “He was fun loving,” Elizabeth Somerville said. “He always wanted to do things with his family… he never had a sad day that I could remember. “He was the happiest person you could meet.” Family and friends of Somerville have laid gifts and memorials at the crash site on the intersection of Woodpecker Lane and Route 235 and even held a candle light vigil in his honor Sept. 30. “That was the most people I’d ever seen in my life,” Somerville’s wife told The County Times. “Without family and friends I know I couldn’t get through this.” According to memorials left on-line at the Brinsfield-Echols Funeral Home Web site, Somerville had just been to Captain Leonard’s Seafood Restaurant in Mechanicsville before his fatal wreck. The on-line condolensces left by the staff at the restaurant said that Somerville was a favorite customer. See Motorcycle Crash page A-5
Public Hurricane Continues to Plague Museums Schools’ Implements Unexpected Grant
By Adam Ross Staff Writer By Adam Ross Staff Writer When the public schools’ superintendent, Michael J. Martirano, asked county government this year for funding to keep open after school programs at Park Holly and Green Holly Elementary Schools, he had little idea help was already on the way. The St. Mary’s Board of County Commissioners chipped in $125,000 to the cause, enhancing and maintaining Boys and Girls Club after school activities for both schools. Last week, the Maryland State Department of Education unexpectedly dropped another $200,000 into Martirano’s lap. He never saw it coming. “This is something that is viewed as rare, an anomaly, and your staff has been more than willing to work with us,” Martirano told the commissioners last week at their weekly public meeting. The 21st century grant is a joint federal and state endeavor started in the 2003-2004 school year. The grant was originally allocated for $640,000 a year for three years, serving Lexington Park Elementary, George Washington Carver Elementary, Spring Ridge Middle School, Park Hall and Green Holly. Last year, the grant dropped to $318,750. The commissioners allocated $125,000 to make up some ground, and followed suit this year when the grant dropped even further to $281,250. Then, beyond explanation to Mark G. Smith, St. Mary’s public schools’ coordinator See Grant page A-8 Long after the wrath of 2003’s devastating hurricane, Isabel, which crept up the Atlantic Coast like a thief in the night, St. Mary’s museum division continues to pick up the broken pieces. In October of 2003, just after Isabel made landfall, museum attendance plummeted to 1,743 visitors - a staggering 6,050 drop from a year earlier. Isabel’s wounds turned to scars in 2004. Attendance levels have recovered some, but not to pre-Isabel levels. While 2003 is little more than a distant memory, it weighs on staff that are continually rebuilding and replacing ravaged
Photo Courtesy of Kim Cullins
infrastructure. Isabel’s impact remains omnipresent. “I hate to harp on Hurricane Isabel,” said Steve Dunlap, secretary of the museum division’s board of trustees, “but we are still seeing problems with her.” Rebuilding the division’s destroyed infrastructure continues to tug on the patience and pockets of the museum’s administration. Battered and flooded, the Piney Point Light House Museum, once located in an old coast guard garage, had to be moved to higher ground. The museum division wasn’t used to moving backward, but Piney Point’s relocation had exactly that connation – exhibits needed rebuilding, and guest services had to be See Museums page A-8
The Piney Point Lighthouse and keeper’s quarters shown above are submerged in water after Hurricane Isabel moved through in 2003. The high water mark inside the museum was about 3-feet high.
Op.-Ed .......... Page A - 4 Obituaries..... Page A - 9 Community... Page B - 4 Police ............ Page B - 7 Games........... Page B - 8 Classifieds..... Page B - 9
Cemetery Thefts In Charles County Hit Home In St. Mary’s
By Guy Leonard Staff Writer When Grace Shumaker went to visit the grave of her granddaughter at Trinity Memorial Gardens in Waldorf Sept. 23, she noticed something wasn’t quite right. Both she and her friend who came to visit her own mother’s grave saw it almost immediately when they entered the cemetery. As they looked over some 25 graves in just one section, Shumaker, of California, said, they saw that someone had taken the bronze vases at each grave plaque and left the flowers in the hole where the vases once stood. At Shumaker’s granddaughter’s grave the thieves didn’t take the vase, but they did take a medallion left by a friend and a solar powered light that was also made of metal. Britiany Mercer, 17, was killed in tragic May car accident in Waldorf. Her family said she was a free spirit who loved life and was engaged in all kinds of activities at her school and with her community. The theft at her grave shook her family deeply, Shumaker said. “We still can’t believe this child’s gone,” Shumaker said. “It’s hard dealing with this [the theft] now that this has happened.” Mercer, who had received national See Cemetery page A-7
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Section A -
The County Times
Thursday, October 4, 007
Detectives Still Seeking Lexington Park Bank Robbery Suspect
By Guy Leonard Staff Writer Investigators with the St. Mary’s County Bureau of Criminal Investigations (BCI) are still on the hunt for the suspect they believe robbed the Maryland Bank and Trust in Lexington Park Sept. 24. Police issued a warrant for Antonia Warren Gantt, 40, of St. Leonard in Calvert County last week, but did not find him at his home address. “He’s hiding,” said Lt. Rick Burris, commander of BCI. “I’m sure he knows we’re looking for him.” Burris warned anyone who may have information on Gantt’s whereabouts should exercise caution in reporting him to authorities. “Do not approach him, just contact us if you know where he is,” Burris said. “We’ll find him, it’s just a matter of where and when.” Gantt has a conviction for robbery in St. Mary’s from back in 1990, as well as convictions for attempted escape, document forgery and second-degree assault in other jurisdictions. Sheriff Timothy Cameron told The County Times that shortly after the robbery investigators were able to identify Gantt as their probable suspect through a series of tips from local businesses and the community. “[They] were significant in helping us identify him [Gantt] as soon as possible,” Cameron said. Burris said that BCI detectives are following up whatever information they get on Gantt. His connections here in the county, in Maryland and in other states means that there were many potential hiding places, Burris said. “Our search is very broad for him at this point,” Burris said. “We’re everyday following up new leads, but information coming in has been sporadic.” According to investigators’ reports, Gantt allegedly entered the Maryland Bank and Trust at about 1:48 p.m. Sept. 24, walked up to the teller and demanded money after claiming to have a gun. Gantt is alleged to have taken an undisclosed amount of money and fled on foot around the back of the bank on Shangri-La Drive across Great Mills Road. No one was hurt as a result of the bank robbery but an ambulance and paramedic were called in treat an employee of the bank suffering from chest pains in the aftermath of the incident. The robbery in Lexington Park is the second such crime in as many months in St. Mary’s, the first being the armed robbery of the Bank of America branch office in Mechanicsville August 17. Police in Montgomery County captured two suspects in an alleged botched armed bank robbery in Rockville August 27 that BCI investigators have also charged for the Mechanicsville robbery. Valeriy V. Kouznetsov, 23, and David Concepcion, 33, both of Rockville, are in custody in Montgomery County and must go through the adjudication process there first before being prosecuted Detectives from the Bureau of for their alleged crimes here Criminal Investigations are looking for Antonio Warren Gantt, 40, of in St. Mary’s.
St. Leonard as their suspect in the Maryland Bank and Trust robbery in Lexington Park Sept. 24.
Man Takes Assault Plea, Avoids Attempted Murder Trial
By Guy Leonard Staff Writer Damion Somerville, 31, accused of striking another man in the back of the head during an argument last year in Lexington Park, took an Alford plea to first-degree assault Monday morning before Circuit Court Judge Karen Abrams. If the case had gone to trial, as it was scheduled to this week, Somerville would have faced charges of attempted first-and second-degree murder, firstand-second-degree assault and reckless endangerment. Because of the plea agreement, Somerville avoids the possibility of serving a life sentence for an attempted murder conviction. Under the deal with the court, Somerville was sentenced to 20 years in prison, which was further suspended to eight years, according to court documents, with three years of supervised probation. As part of his probation, Somerville will be required to successfully complete a substance abuse program. Somerville’s attorney, public defender John Getz, said that by his client taking the Alford plea, he basically acknowledged that the state could produce witnesses identifying Somerville as the man who struck the victim, Dennis Hutcherson. “He maintained he wasn’t there [at the time of the incident], but he took the Alford plea,” Getz said. The defendant was accused of using a wooden plank to strike Hutcherson in the head when Hutcherson, who was allegedly intoxicated at the time of the incident last year, began taunting a female member of the group Somerville was with, State’s Attorney Richard Fritz told The County Times. In retaliation for the alleged harassment, Fritz said, Somerville struck Hutcherson in the head, badly wounding him. “It’s about as simple as that,” Fritz said in an interview Friday. “[Somerville] saw a two-by-four, picked it up and hit him in the back of the head.” Hutcherson, his victim, is currently housed at St. Mary’s Nursing Center, where he is under constant care, Fritz said, due to the damage caused by Somerville’s strike. “It’ll take substantial rehabilitation for him to have any kind of a meaningful life,” Fritz said. Somerville had been incarcerated in the St. Mary’s County Detention Center since April 19 of this year, according to Circuit Court Documents, but the indictment against him came down from the court November of last year. The offense occurred last July, court documents read, and the time he has already spent in prison counts towards his eight-year sentence. “The reason it took so long [to come to trial] was that nobody could find Somerville,” Fritz said. Somerville also took an Alford plea in 2004 on charges that he was in possession of narcotics and intended to distribute them. According to Circuit Court documents, he was sentenced to 150 days of incarceration for the drug case plea.
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Thursday, October 4, 2007
The County Times
Section A -
Charges For Bus Driver In Gas Pump Wreck Unlikely
By Guy Leonard Staff Writer The driver of a empty county school bus that crashed into a gas pump last week at a convenience store after jumping a curb while making a left hand turn from Route 235 onto Chancellors Run Road will probably not face charges, according to Lt. Edward Willenborg, commander of the Special Operations Division of the county sheriff’s office. Officials with the county school system said that, according to the police report they had, that the accelerator became stuck, which contributed to the accident. “We’re still investigating at this time,” said Jeffrey Thompson, director of the Department of Transportation for the school system. Price was transported to St. Mary’s Hospital for treatment but the injuries did not appear to be serious, no one else was injured in the crash, Willenborg said. According to Willenborg, the school bus jumped the concrete median on Chancellors Run Road as it continued to veer left from the northbound lanes of Route 235, continued across three traffic lanes and drove over an embankment at the Sheetz gas station across from Hickory Hills shopping center. The bus then struck down one of the gas pumping stations, he said. In the aftermath of the accident scene at about 9:30 a.m. that morning firefighters from Bay District Volunteer Fire Department were working to clean up the debris from the crash, though no gasoline was spilled from the pump. The bus came to rest at the pump, sustained damage to its front end and had to be towed out via heavy lifting wrecker. According to accident data from the county sheriff’s office show a significant amount of accidents at the general intersection of Chancellors Run and Route 235. Willenborg said that in the past six months, from April through September, there were a total of 21 automobile accidents at the intersection, three involved injuries while 18 involved property damage only. Some residents have voiced concern about safety at the Chancellors Run portion of the intersection, where motorists in the left most lane can make a sharp U-turn back onto the roads opposite running lanes. Traffic coming from southbound Route 235 making a right hand turn onto Chancellors Run have a yield sign there, but U-turns are not prohibited from the Chancellors Run side of traffic. Residents have com-
Bay District Volunteer Fire Department firefighters help cleanup the mess left by a school bus that crashed into a gas pump at the Sheetz convenience store on Chancellors Run Road last week.
Photo by Guy Leonard
plained that they believe the current traffic pattern is unsafe. “Obviously U-turns can be an issue,” Willenborg said. “If they were to post a [sign prohibiting U-turns] there and [motorists] were to heed it would be a safer intersection.”
Charles Gischlar, a spokesman for the State Highway Administration said that the intersection was under constant review for accidents like all other traffic intersections. Two years ago there was concern that U-turns at the intersection would be a problem
but have not turned out to be excessively so. “It is occurring, but it’s not the overwhelming traffic pattern there,” Gischlar said. “There’s no crash data to support a U-turn restriction… but if a pattern emerges we will review it and if there’s anything we can do we’ll do it.”
Performance Group Coming To Great Mills High School
“Red, Hot …& Blue,” a dance and song troop from Branson, Mo., one of nation’s entertainment centers, will take to the stage at Great Mills High School, Oct. 6 at 8p.m. The group specializes in performances of all kinds of musical styles from Ragtime to Rock and Roll and more. The group has also performed for more than seven years aboard the Holland American Cruise Lines and more recently performed at the Sands Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey. “Red, Hot…&Blue” is being presented by the General Federation Woman’s Club of St. Mary’s County as part of their 2007 Performing Arts Series. Call 301-475-3225 for ticket purchase information. Ticket price is $25 and $15 for students.
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Section A -
The County Times
Thursday, October , 2007
Editorial & Opinion
Drugs: Public Enemy Number One
The time has come for our community to take a stand. Over the past year we have seen the negative effect illegal narcotics and alcohol abuse can have on our community. We believe that it is time for St. Mary’s County community leaders to pull all resources together in order to rid our county of illegal drugs. The blessings of St. Mary’s County easily overshadow the problems that exist in our community. We certainly have seen our community evolve into a great place to live, work, and raise a family. But as we look to the future, the problem of illegal drugs poses the greatest threat to the quality of life we enjoy, and even a greater threat to the quality of life our children will enjoy. Since being elected Sheriff, Tim Cameron has promised to place greater emphasis on this problem. Sheriff Cameron seems to be on the right track, making several administrative changes, and re-tooling the Vice/Narcotics operations, which had been practically disbanded under the previous Sheriff, into a new division with more resources and a new Commander. This is all a good start, but just that, only a start. The new Commander must understand that results are what really matter. Even more important, he needs to understand what kind of results will ultimately matter most. A few raids on low income addicts in Lexington Park makes for good headlines, yet is only a small step in ridding drugs from our Andrew is originally from Silver Spring, Maryland. He attended Mount St. Mary’s College where he was a reporter for the school newspaper and host of his own sports radio talk show on the schools radio station. Joining our staff right out of college, Andrew relocated to St. Mary’s County. His hard work and professional approach has been a valuable resource to the ongoing success of The County Times. Andrew will be greatly missed; we wish him much success in the future. community. From the northern end to the southern end of St. Mary’s County, illegal drugs can be found in our community everyday. Identifying and eliminating the source of these drugs is really the most important task facing the Vice/Narcotics Division. However, this is not just the Sheriff’s problem to solve. Having the resources and commitment from the community to get the job done requires all our elected officials and community leaders to be dedicated to the task. Very seldom do we hear our legislators or commissioners talking about the drug problem, and even less often do we see them offering new ideas and initiatives to combat the real source of the problem, the drug dealers. It is time for someone to step forward and provide the leadership that will pull all the communities resources together. A sense of urgency will only come when our community leaders take action, not just short-term action, but take up the cause over the long term. A sense of energy focused on the cause from a senator or delegate could go a long way towards ridding our community of drugs. A common cause among law enforcement, courts, the legislature as well as our schools, businesses, churches, and other community groups needs leadership in order for them to come together to solve this problem. Now is the time for that kind of leadership.
A Fond Farewell
The County Times is celebrating its 12th month of publications. The first year has been extraordinarily successful thanks to our growing circulation and our over 11,500 readers each week. The success of our paper is attributed to the outstanding staff that works everyday to make The County Times the best source of news, sports, and community events in Southern Maryland. Today we are saddened to say goodbye to one of the members of The County Times team that has worked hard from the first publication to this, his last, Andrew Knowlton. Andrew has been our Sports Reporter, and has earned a reputation as one of the best in Southern Maryland.
To the Editor:
On Sept. 15, the St. Mary’s County Juvenile Drug Court held a graduation. This was a very appropriate time for celebration. Nationally, September has been identified as “Recovery Month”. Efforts were underway in communities around the country to highlight the benefits of drug and alcohol treatment and that “recovery” was possible. On this splendid September afternoon, many families, young and old alike gathered at the Hall of Fame Building at Chancellor’s Run Park. There was fun and food to be had. Local dignitaries such as Commissioner’s Thomas Mattingly and Kenny Dement were present to lend their support. Once the fun and food were over, we proceeded to focus our attention on the young men and women participants in the program. Some were there to witness and support the accomplishment of nine that had completed the journey known as Juvenile Drug Court. For some the journey lasted but eight months, for others as long as nineteen months. Regardless of the length of time, each was sitting there with their family, with a clear mind, drug free
To The Editor:
Home Fire Sprinklers, Etc. Liberty & Property Rights Lost
To the Editor
Excuse my bluntness, but I didn’t vote for these County Commissioners to tell me that I must have a fire sprinkler system in my home, period. And I don’t need some yahoo from Leonardtown reaching in my back pocket again or robbing me of the few liberties and property rights we still have. Do you? If the Commissioner from Leonardtown feels home fire sprinkler systems are so darn good, I have a few suggestions: Let HIM put one in HIS house, not MINE. While he’s at it, maybe he should find a few companies that install and maintain home fire sprinkler systems in St. Mary’s County (there are none?), or better yet, maybe he should sell them himself, rather than forcing them down the throats of the public. If the idea of mandatory home fire sprinkler systems were so good, perhaps the Maryland legislature or the United States Congress should pass laws requiring them? Evidently someone somewhere doesn’t think it’s the best thing since sliced bread. Pretty soon, someone from Leonardtown will be taxing us to install mandatory sidewalks throughout St. Mary’s County because someone might stumble in the dirt and hurt themselves (and, please, I have nothing against sidewalks!). Years ago I read a passage from what I believe was the Idaho constitution. It pretty much said that government should leave its citizens alone and respect their rights … and if a person wanted to go out in the woods and holler or get lost or get attacked by a bear, it was his right … and that government should just leave him alone. I have great regard and fondness for those folks in Idaho. Sometimes I wish that the Commissioner from Leonardtown would just go to Idaho and holler in the woods. Maybe a bear would come along. Or, maybe he would just get lost. Thoughts like this come along when I think of the mandatory trash tax we now pay … no new landfill yet? Or, especially, the idea of Charter government in St. Mary’s with yahoos like the one from Leonardtown in charge? Makes me cringe! Dennis Jack Hubscher Hollywood MD
body and with a sense of purpose. Several graduates talked about their college plans, others about family obligations and one parent noted that with graduation their child was no longer under the program’s supervision, but when the graduate was asked what they were going to do that night, they stated “rent a movie and stay home.” These comments from the graduates may seem ordinary to most, but for many of the teenagers who enter this program, it is anything but ordinary. Most of these kids don’t function within the normal realm of pro-social, antidrug thoughts and behavior. For them, drug and alcohol use and behaviors that bring them into the juvenile justice system had been the norm far too often. Guest Speaker, Dr. Michael Martirano, school superintendent, in his remarks, used words the graduates had used themselves such as “choice” and “change” when he pointedly reflected on the battles they fought and the journey they had taken. He assured them that temptation will be waiting for them as they continue down life’s path. He also reminded them the responsibility is theirs to make the right decisions. After the ceremony, as I
was stood with Juvenile Drug Court Judge Michael Stamm, a parent approached and told us that when his daughter had entered the program she was really “messed up on drugs”. But on this day as she is graduating, he wanted to say that the program “had given him his daughter back”. There are some things that statistics and data just can’t capture to demonstrate the worthiness of having programs such as this one exist. The eyes and words of this father on this day capture the benefit of such programs. I would like to thank Recreation and Parks for the use of the facilities, Cheeseburger in Paradise for the food and beverages, the State delegation for the wonderful citations, the advisory board members who were able to attend, the program team members who showed up early and stayed late to make it happen, but especially for the nine graduates who hung in through good times and bad, and were honored on this day for their valiant effort at a “Recovery” of their lives. Pete Cucinotta, Leonardtown Juvenile Drug Court Program Coordinator
To the Editor
My name is Alexandra Mattis and I am a citizen of St. Mary’s County. I am writing to you about a problem with obtaining permits. In order to undergo any kind of construction, a person must obtain a legal permit. To obtain a permit it must be submitted and approved by the Land and Growth Management as well as the Health Department. These departments are not as forthcoming as they could be. Many people have a hard time obtaining permits including my own mother. Lisa Norris, owner of extreme Heat Tanning Salon, is a citizen of St. Mary’s County who had her own problems obtaining a permit. Lisa Norris wanted to expand the salon by adding a few hair styling stations. In November 2006, she called the Land Use and Growth Management office about obtaining the permit. They specifically told her that the construction could not be done due to water usage amount. She continually asked what could be done and both the Land Use and Growth Management
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office and the Health Department told her there was nothing to be done. Lisa finally contacted Del. Johnny Wood, who also tried contacting both offices to see what Lisa could do. After he finally got to the problem, Del. Wood advised Lisa to put in a water meter to check the water usage amount. The water meter was checked for a month and proved that the water usage was not 500 gallons a day like the two offices said it was, but actually about 200 gallons a day. Lisa contacted County Commissioner Larry Jarboe, who told her to contact a certain person at Land Use and Growth Management. That person was able to get the water meter officially checked. Unfortunately, they now told Lisa it had to be read for three to six months. This entire experience could have been solved immediately if only Land Use and Growth Management and the Health Department were straightforward with Lisa as to what the problem was and what she could do. This is only one occasion where a person had a problems obtaining a permit. It is not only business own-
ers who have to get permits, but any person wishing to build or rebuild on their property. Land Use and Growth Management and the Health Department should be more helpful to those trying to obtain a permit. If they would only take the time to tell a person what the problem is, that person may actually get their permit. Their lack of help is hurting businesses wishing to expand as well as delaying other permits. The people of St. Mary’s County should put pressure on Land Use and Growth Management and the Health Department to be more effective towards people applying for permits. Thank you for taking the time to read my letter. Alexandra Mattis Mechanicsville
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Thursday, October 4, 2007
The County Times
challenges. “I’m very proud of them,” Walker said, adding that the program would help “demystify and destigmatize mental illness.” “It’s a forum that’ll only get larger as we go forward with it,” Walker said. “I think the support for this will grow.” Both Spring and Young said that just because they have a mental illness, which is a biologically-based disorder in the brain, it doesn’t mean they can’t function like other members of society. Spring is close to graduation college with a degree, while Young, a self-proclaimed “domestic diva” with a dry sense of humor, has her own craft business. They both hope to write books about their experiences and have them published so others can learn from them. Some of the most important keys to their recovery have been acceptance of their situation and proper medica-
Section A -
tion as well as support from family and friends as well as faith. “I keep God as the center of my life,” Young said. “One of my big successes is accepting me for me.” Spring said that his recovery from mental illness is still dependent on his making good personal choices in his life that are positive; those include attitudes, habits and even friends. Anything negative, he said, he has to “kick it to the curb.” “They’re gone, they have to be,” Spring said. “They’ll just bring me down. “All the choices I make in my life will bear weight on my mental health.” Spring had words of encouragement for people who are dealing with a mental illness, that they can learn to successfully cope. “We’re doing it,” Spring said of he and Young. “You can do it to.”
Mentally Ill Talk About How They Cope With Their Challenges
By Guy Leonard Staff Writer Thomas Spring, 38, of Lexington Park knew there was something wrong with him around high school. He was out of class more days than he was in class and by the time graduation rolled around he was at the very bottom of a class of 176, including those who had dropped out. He experienced extreme highs of mania and lows of depression but wasn’t diagnosed properly with a mental illness until 2003, after several unsuccessful stints in the military and a suicide attempt in the mid-90s. The mental crash he had in 2002 virtually broke him. “I was scared, I was out of control… it cost me my career and it cost me my marriage,” Spring, now a contractor, said. “I crashed again in 2003 and I was finally diagnosed properly… that was my road to recovery.” Suzette Young, 50, also of Lexington Park, thought she had a heart attack three years ago but when she went to a doctor they said she was just too healthy; there had to be another reason for her falling ill. She was later diagnosed with a mental illness that brought on depression, anxiety and heavy amounts of stress. She said she’d been dealing with these feelings all her life. “I’ve always been an overachiever on the outside, but I was struggling with a lot of things internally,” Young said. “I thought anxiety, depression and insomnia were all just a part of life.” Young eventually found a psychotherapist who helped her learn how to cope with her problems, get medication and get on with her life. “I’m not crazy as society would have me believe,” Young said. The stories Spring and Young told were part of the first ever effort by the Southern Maryland chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) to have people who suffer from a mental disability talk about how they cope to the public as part of the “In Our Own Voice” program. The program is designed to help others who may be coping with a mental illness, or know someone who is, understand the issues these people face and how they dealt with their diagnoses and treatment. The first meeting was held Monday night at the Charlotte Hall Library, with about 20 people attending. Some of them were dealing with mental illnesses of their own. Connie Walker, head of the NAMI Southern Maryland Chapter, praised Spring and Young for their courage in talking about their life’s
Continued from page A- Elizabeth Somerville said that she knew her future husband while he was still in high school and became friends with him in 2002 when he was in prison serving time for a manslaughter case in which Sean Somerville was accused of killing a Great Mills High School basketball player. Somerville was originally charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of Darryl Ronnell Mackall in the aftermath of an apparent confrontation between he and Mackall November 21 of 1999 but later pleaded guilty to the lesser charge. Elizabeth Somerville said that between his incarceration and communing with her in prison via letters and occasional visits, Sean Somerville had a change of heart and began to turn his life around for the better when he was released in 2004. “It was his second chance,” Elizabeth Somerville said tearfully, “I know people make mistakes, but he tried so hard. “We were like best friends, we loved each other.” Things were looking good for the couple, she said, as they had just bought a home in May of 2006 in Hollywood and her husband was starting his own automobile detailing business. “It was his dream,” Elizabeth Somerville said. Her late husband had a great fondness for cars she said, and had seven vehicles with custom rims.
He was also an avid football and basketball fan with a love of the New York Giants and the San Antonio Spurs sports teams. Sean Somerville’s three daughters, Kalandra, Kamryn and Seantel are aged 10 years, 20 months and three months respectively. Visitation for the family of Sean Foley Somerville will be held Oct. 5 at Grace Tabernacle of Prayer in Clements from 5p.m. to 8p.m. Prayers will also be held that day at 7:30p.m. The church is located at 24516 Budds Creek Road and funeral services will be held there the following day at 10 a.m. Sean Somerville will be buried at Charles Memorial Gardens, 26325 Point Lookout Road, in Leonardtown following the funeral service.
“The Choice” by Nicholas Sparks
c.2007, Grand Central Publishing $24.99 / $28.99 Canada272 pages
Review By Terri Schlichenmeyer “But you promised!” Ever get that howl from a child who doesn’t get her way? As much as you hate to admit it, your mother was right: promises were made to be broken. But what if the promise was made to your spouse and it mattered more than life itself? In the new novel “The Choice” by Nicholas Sparks, making the promise was easy for Travis Parker. Choosing to ignore it was harder. Was a little peace and quiet too much to ask? Gabby Holland wondered, as she stood on the deck of her newly-purchased house and listened to the ruckus coming from next door. She moved here to be closer to her longtime boyfriend, Kevin, and the location seemed perfect, but this was too much. Not that she minded her neighbor’s choice of music, but he didn’t have to have it so loud, did he? Anyhow, that wasn’t the point. The real problem was that Gabby’s beautiful collie, Molly, was pregnant and it was his fault. Maybe it was time to take action. Gabby set off for the house next door. When his energetic dog bumped into his angry new neighbor and knocked her down, Travis Parker was apologetic but he, too, was stricken. Travis had his share of girlfriends but no one ever seriously thought he’d ever settle down. Travis himself never thought about it, either. Not, anyway, until Gabby marched across his lawn and straight into his heart. But that was a long time ago. It was before the two of them fell in love in one unbelievable weekend. It was before Gabby chose to break up with Kevin to marry Travis. It was before the birth of Christine and then Lisa, two years later. And it was before Gabby made Travis promise something that he simply can’t do now. How does one choose to hope for love when all other options are bleak? The better question is: how does someone who believes in love resist this sweet, romantic novel? Generally, when recommending a book by author Nicholas Sparks, I tell readers to buy a box of tissues on the way home because he likes to jerk tears. “The Choice”, though, is a little different. Yes, it’s emotional, but unlike so many other Sparks books, it’s not a nine-hanky novel. Instead, this story unfolds very slowly, as Sparks tells readers exactly what happened to his characters in their past. This gives us a full understanding as to why Travis ultimately does what he does. On the other hand, I was a little taken aback by the rapidity of Travis and Gabby’s romance and the quickerthan-quick way that Sparks wrapped up the ending of his book. In the end, I thought the story line went almost too slow in some places and way too fast in others. Still, “The Choice” is perfect for a fall weekend on the deck and won’t disappoint Nicholas Sparks fans one bit. If you’re looking for a speedy weekend read, this one is a pretty good choice.
28967 Route 5 South
301-884-2513 Fax: 301-884-5382
The DeluxeBed by Tempur-Pedic™ Therapy and comfort, perfectly balanced.
St. Mary's City St. Mary’s City
DATE Fri. Oct. 5 Sat. Oct. 6 Sun. Oct. 7 Mon. Oct. 8 Tue. Oct. 9 Wed. Oct. 10 Thu. Oct. 11 HIGH 10/5 10:37 p.m. 10/6 11:36 p.m. 12:27 a.m. 1:13 a.m. 1:56 a.m. 2:36 a.m. LOCATION Breton Bay Bushwood Wharf Colton's Point Point Lookout Piney Point Wicomico Beach Solomons Island LOW 4:07 a.m. 5:03 a.m. 5:55 a.m. 6:41 a.m. 7:23 a.m. 8:01 a.m. 8:35 a.m. HIGH "-90 min." "-74 min." "-3 min." "-100 min." "-44 min." "+5 min." "+59 min." HIGH 10:10 a.m. 11:10 a.m. 12:03 p.m. 12:51 p.m. 1:35 p.m. 2:14 p.m. 2:50 p.m. LOW "-35 min." "-23 min." "-40 min." "-41 min." "-72 min." "+63 min." "+3 min." LOW 4:14 p.m. 5:16 p.m. 6:12 p.m. 7:03 p.m. 7:50 p.m. 8:34 p.m. 9:15 p.m.
Section A -
The County Times
Thursday, October 4, 2007
Immunizations Are Not Just for Kids
Most people remember being a kid and making trips to the doctor’s office for routine checkups. More often than not such trips were nothing to look forward to. A big reason for this was immunizations - a painful rite of passage that all children had to endure at one time or another. But as much as immunizations, or shots, might be looked at as a means of protecting children from disease, adults should recognize the necessity of continuing to get their immunizations as well. While certain immunizations need only be admin-
children. In fact, most school boards mandate this shot be administered before a child can enroll. Still, not everyone has necessarily gotten the shot, which is typically administered to toddlers who are between 12 and 15 istered once, according to the months old and then again Agency for Healthcare Re- to children at age 11. search and Quality (AHRQ) Getting a measlesadults need to stay on top of mumps-rubella shot is esthings with respect to the folpecially important for womlowing shots. en, as failure to do so can • Measles-Mumps-Ru- lead to birth defects if that bella Shot. Most people get woman ever becomes pregthis shot when they’re young nant and contracts rubella. In addition to having traditional check-ups to monitor things such as blood A pregnant woman in her
pressure, adults need to stay on top of their vaccinations as well.
Flu Shots will be given at these times & McKay’s Locations
first trimester who contracts rubella can make her fetus susceptible to congenital rubella syndrome (CRS), which can result in defects such as deafness, mental retardation and malformation of the heart, among other things. Still, rubella has largely been eradicated in most developed countries, where many people get their necessary vaccinations while still a child. • Tetanus-Diphtheria Shot. A tetanus shot is another vaccination most people associate strictly with childhood. But tetanus shots should be received once every 10 years, regardless of age. Thanks to tetanus vaccinations being so widespread, the disease is rare in more developed countries. However, according to the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID), tetanus, also referred to as lockjaw, can be contracted by people who fail to get vaccinated. Tetanus can negatively affect the central nervous system and while many associate the disease with stepping on rusty nails, tetanus bacteria can enter the body through cuts as small as a pinprick or scratch. • Flu Shots. Recent flu shot shortages made many people think they need a flu shot. That’s not necessarily the case. According to AHRQ, people under age 50 generally do not need flu vaccinations. However, that isn’t to say all people under age 50 shouldn’t get a flu shot. Those who feel as though they suffer from the flu each flu season would be wise to get a flu shot. Also, people under age 50 who suffer from lung, kidney or heart disease or diabetes or cancer might need to get a flu shot. Healthcare workers as well as HIV or AIDS patients are also advised to get annual flu shots. • Pneumonia Shot. Pneumonia shots are typically most appropriate for people age 65 and older, and should be received by all people once they reach age 65. However, similar to flu shots, people suffering from other ailments where your immune system is weakened, such as HIV or AIDS, should get pneumonia shots regardless of age. Lung, heart or kidney disease patients also should get a pneumonia shot. • Hepatitis B Shot. Hepatitis B shots are certainly not something the general population needs to be concerned about. However, they are especially important for anyone who has engaged in sexual intercourse with more than one partner or someone infected with hepatitis B or a sexually transmitted disease. In addition, anyone who has injected street drugs should get a hepatitis B shot. Also, anyone whose job entails regular contact with blood should receive a hepatitis B shot. Due to the potentially deadly nature of hepatitis B, which can cause liver failure, scarring of the liver or liver cancer, and the success of proper treatment (most people with limited infection can fight off the disease within a few months and develop an immunity to last the rest of their lives), the importance of getting a hepatitis B shot is paramount to anyone who fits the aforementioned criteria.
lotte har C Hall 1/07 10/1 pm -2 8am
Great Mills 10/15/ 3pm - 07 7 pm
eonardtown L 10/25/07 10am - 2pm
Wildewood 10/22/07 3pm - 7pm
For adults 18 yrs. & older
Thursday, October 4, 2007
The County Times
are all kinds of sports leagues for both indoor and outdoor sports. You can hunt or join a sporting club to target shoot for fun or competition. How about gardening or shooting hoops in your neighborhood? You can spend hours and hours visiting the farmer’s markets and local farms that have orchards and corn mazes. We have art galleries, museums, and historical sites to visit. There are all kinds of festivals and fairs and celebrations. You can dine at a wide variety interesting places and eat a wide variety of foods. We have small, local shops and big box stores and things in between. There are craft shows and basket bingos and regular bingo, too. There are community theater groups mounting plays and musicals. There are concerts on the college lawn and the courthouse squares. The high schools also mount plays and musicals and there are high school sports to watch. Every weekend there is some type of fundraising event to benefit local and national charities and civic and community organizations. These fundraisers include everything from breakfasts and dinners to basket bingo, craft shows, tours and concerts. You can enjoy yourself and help a worthy cause. Speaking of worthy causes, you could volunteer. Every church
Section A - 7
has some kind of outreach to help people and there are lots of civic, community and school organizations who are always looking for volunteers. Why not give them a couple of hours a week or a month? There is certainly something to fit your talents and interests, whatever they may be. There are all kinds of clubs and groups for all kinds of interests. Photography, different kinds of dance, writing – it’s all out there. Parks and Recreation offers classes and trips and things. The colleges offer classes for adult and extended learning. There are senior centers offering meals and classes and gatherings for seniors in different parts of the county. We have a local airport so you could learn to fly. And if all this still isn’t enough for you, we’re about an hour away from the Nation’s Capital. Or Annapolis. Or Virginia’s beautiful Northern Neck. So don’t sit there whining that there’s nothing to do. Pick something and go do it. If you don’t enjoy it, pick something different. For goodness sake, get out and enjoy yourself a little bit – it’s not just possible in Southern Maryland, it’s a given! You can email me at countr [email protected]
Ramblings of a Country Girl
Photo by Adam Ross
Nothing To Do?!
Terri Bartz Bowles I was chatting with a friend the other day and he expressed wonder at the number of folks who whine that there’s nothing to do here. By ‘here’, of course, they mean St. Mary’s County, or perhaps Southern Maryland in general. Either way, they are absolutely wrong and off-course. Like my friend said, all you need to do is open the weekend section of the newspaper and you’ll find a wide variety of happenings listed every week. If you can’t find something to do, then you’re not looking. Or you just like to whine. Or you’re a sad person because nothing in the world is of interest to you. We live on a peninsula; we’re surrounded on three sides by water plus we have lakes and ponds. The possibilities just involving water activities are pretty extensive. You can go saltwater fishing, either off a pier or on a boat. Don’t have a boat? There are lots of charter boats around and you can choose the type of fishing you want to do and have a professional help you. There’s also freshwater fishing. You can go kayaking, canoeing or sailing. There’s crabbing or just going to the beach. There are state and county parks so you can hike or use the sports fields. There
OAK PARK, Ill. (AP) - If you need a hug, you won’t get it at Percy Julian Middle School. Principal Victoria Sharts banned hugging among the suburban Chicago school’s 860 students anywhere inside the building. She said students were forming “hug lines” that made them late for classes and crowded the hallways. “Hugging is really more appropriate for airports or for family reunions than passing and seeing each other every few minutes in the halls,” Sharts said. Another reason to institute the no-hugging policy was that some hugs could be too long and too close, she said. “There is another side to the issue when a hug is either unwanted or becomes inappropriate as judged by one of the students involved,” Sharts wrote in a statement to parents. “On occasion, we do deal with those incidents. The goal is always to promote safe and orderly hallways where everybody can get by, be safe, and be on time.” BERLIN (Reuters) - A German man who had been drinking heavily at Munich’s Oktoberfest beer festival got stuck in a chimney for 12 hours while trying to climb into a friend’s apartment, police said Friday. After finding his friend was not at home, the 27-year-old climbed on to the roof of a neighboring building at about 2 a.m., Thursday and headed for what he thought was a gap in the wall between the two houses. He found himself sliding almost 30 meters (98 feet) head first into a chimney, a spokesman for Munich police said. An 82-year-old janitor from the hotel next door eventually heard the man’s calls for help and he was rescued at around 2 p.m. by fire brigade officers who knocked a hole into the side of the chimney to liberate him, the spokesman said. He had managed to turn around and had removed his clothes to try to help him squeeze back up. “Miraculously, he was only slightly injured in the fall, sustaining just grazes and bruising,” police said. The man was taken by helicopter to the hospital, where he is being treated for hypothermia, they added. SAO PAULO, Brazil (AP) - A 51-year-old surrogate mother for her daughter has given birth to her own twin grandchildren in northeastern Brazil, the delivery hospital said. Rosinete Palmeira Serrao, a government health worker, gave birth to twin boys by Caesarean section on Thursday at the Santa Joana Hospital in the city of Recife, the hospital said in a statement on its Web site. Hospital officials were not available for comment on Sunday, but press reports said the grandmother and twins were discharged on Saturday in excellent health. The Caesarean section was performed about two weeks ahead of time because Serrao was having trouble sleeping, the statement said. Serrao decided to serve as a surrogate mother after four years of failed attempts at pregnancy by her 27-year-old daughter, Claudia Michelle de Brito. Brazilian law stipulates that only close relatives can serve as surrogate mothers. De Brito is an only child and none of her cousins volunteered, so Serrao agreed to receive four embryos from her daughter. BLOOMSBURG, Pa. (AP) - Marriage proposals have been displayed on billboards, announced on scoreboards and even written into newspaper crossword puzzles. Kevin Weaver’s engagement to Karen Slusser got off to a smashing start — he painted his proposal on a car and drove it in a demolition derby. “Every woman I know says she wants to announce it to the world when she gets engaged. I figured I’d announce it for her and make it well noted,” said Weaver, 34, of Danville. Slusser, 47, of Mifflinville, knew Weaver was entering the derby. She saw him paint the car white and light blue, then top it with a stuffed bunny to advertise her rabbit-breeding business. But this past week, Weaver moved the car to a friend’s garage, saying he needed to keep it out of the rain. While it was hidden inside, he painted “Karen Slusser will u marry me?” from the hood along the driver’s side and up the trunk. He also attached a large stuffed ring — with fabric diamond — to the bunny’s paws. When the car appeared in the derby arena Saturday, Slusser read the message and her family cheered. Weaver finished third, then met Slusser at the gate to the drivers’ pit and asked for her answer. “Yes!” she said with a laugh. And with that, Weaver handed her a real diamond ring.
Continued from page A- recognition for her participation in a national teen pageant, was still receiving offers from various agencies for modeling work, Shumaker said. “She just got [a modeling job offer] the other day in the mail,” Mercer’s grandmother said. The shadow of Mercer’s demise made it harder to deal with the grave theft, she said. But Shumaker and her family are not alone, because along with the 25 or so grave thefts she and her friend noticed that day, Charles County Sheriff’s Office investigators say that there were more than 100 such thefts throughout the cemetery. Thieves were targeting the vases, the solar light and the medallion, investigators believe, for their value as precious metals. Maj. Joe Montminy, spokesman for the Charles County Sheriff’s Office, said there have been similar thefts in Prince George’s County, Frederick County and even as far north as southern Pennsylvania. The theft investigation is continuing, Montminy said, with detectives trying to find out where the precious metal went once it was stolen. This could be difficult, Montminy said, because state law does not require scrap metal dealers to record who sold any metals to them or where they came from. Any scrap metal dealers who come in contact with someone trying to sell these
vases are asked to call the Charles County Sheriff’s Office with information. The sheriff’s office is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and indictment of the suspects in the case. “It’s really disturbing to the community,” Montminy said. “[But] it’s not just a Charles County problem.” St. Mary’s County seems to have been spared any cemetery thefts according to police here. Lt. Rick Burris, commander of the Bureau of Criminal Investigations, said they have received no reports of thefts from gravesites. Ronald Abbit, spokesman for Trinity Memorial Gardens, declined to comment on the thefts at the cemetery, save to say that cemetery staff was cooperating with investigators. “We are doing that,” Ab-
bit said. “Saying anything else would compromise the investigation.” Sue Fitzgerald, of Hughesville, who accompanied Shumaker to Trinity Memorial Gardens, said her own mother’s gravesite was unmolested, and that thieves stole intermittently throughout the section her mother was interred in. “They’d skip a couple [of gravesites] and then take some off of others,” Fitzgerald said. “It’s sad.” Shumaker continued to cope with the shock of the theft at her granddaughter’s gravesite. “I can’t understand it… people go in there and it’s their final resting place and they can’t even rest,” Shumaker said. “People just need to leave them alone.”
Continued from page A- on those services, the costliest being a “high priority food service permit.” Leslie Payne, a spokesperson for the health department, said residents were afforded every opportunity to speak for or against the increase, including a public hearing, which was followed by a public record held open for 10 days. Additionally, the public was made aware of the proposed ordinance in local papers, at public libraries and through the county’s public information office for a period of two weeks before the hearing, Payne wrote in an e-mail to The County Times. The health department first brought the increase forward during a June 12 meeting with the commissioners. Daryl Calvano, acting director of environmental health, said the six percent was based on the department’s evaluation of inflation rates. County Health Officer Dr. William B. Icenhower said in June that the health department “would like to increase some environmental fees to keep ourselves afloat financially.” The commissioners approved the increase unanimously Sept. 20 with very little discussion. The fee schedule will take effect Oct. 1, however all applications submitted prior to the effective date will be charged the previous fees. “Everything that is in house now is subject to the
fees we currently have,” Calvano said to the commissioners. “This proposal will not affect anything in house, but will affect anything from the effective date forward including food service fees that are billed annually.” The motion was made by ComFEE SCHEDULE Effective October 1, 2007 missioner Kenneth Dement (R-CallaST. MARY'S COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENT way) and seconded OFFICE OF ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH by Commissioner Daniel H. Raley (D-Great Mills). Soils Evaluation (Perc Test) $212.00 Me a nw h i l e , Septic System Inspection $106.00 Icenhower announced Sept. 25 Record Plat Approval that recently re(Sewage Reserve Area/Per Lot) $106.00 ceived grant money would allow the Site Plan Approval $80.00 health department to immunize all Well Permits $160.00 (Capped by elementary school State Law) students with a flu Water Sample $58.00 mist. Unlike preBurning Permits $21.00 vious years, the county has had litTrash Truck Inspection $21.00 tle difficulty finding the vaccine, Private Pool Permit $21.00 just securing the Public Pool Permit $106.00 funds to purchase it. Parents must Addition Permit/Existing Dwelling $21.00 give permission for a student to be Septic Installer License $106.00 immunized, which will likely comFood Service Permit: High Risk $292.00 mence in schools Moderate Risk $159.00 in the month of Low Risk $106.00 November. Flu season is from OcTemporary Food Permit $42.00 tober to May, however, Payne said Food Service Plan Review (New) $212.00 students would not have had their imFood Service Plan Review (Remodel) $106.00
munizations earlier even if funding had been secured. “Generally the health department is ordering and getting vaccine still,” Payne added. “So vaccine is just coming in now.” Icenhower said the vaccinations should reduce absenteeism in school because most flu viruses start in young children and spread easily.
“This is just another good sign of good work on your part,” said Raley. “It’s going to result in a good thing for St. Mary’s.” The health department is also offering a vaccine clinic on Oct. 26. People will be asked for a $15 dollar donation, however Payne said.
Section A -
The County Times
Thursday, October 4, 2007
Navair Working On More Durable Aircraft Wire And Strippers
Amy Kaper Staff Writer The NAVAIR Wiring Systems Branch (AIR 188.8.131.52) is now reaching out to small businesses in search of new, more durable wire insulation and improved wire strippers for maintenance professionals to use in repairing the Navy’s aircraft fleet. NAVAIR is in need of stronger wire insulation that will not become brittle with aging and prolonged exposure to extreme temperature fluctuations. According to Naval Safety Center statistics, in an average year, the Navy has 78 aircraft that are not mission capable because of wiring problems, including chafed wire. More durable wire insulation will be less prone to wire chafing and provide a greater degree of resistance to chemical degradation, arc tracking and maintenance induced failures. “In tandem with developing this new insulation, we realize that if it’s going to be very durable and resistant to being cut, the current wire strippers may not be able to cut through it cleanly,” said Brian Vetter, Wiring Systems Branch, Science and Technology lead engineer. “So we also went out with an alternate wire stripper small business innovation research (SBIR) proposal. We’re looking for a single handle that can be compatible with wire gauges from about 26 to 14 gauges and to only have one cut head.” The SBIR program is a highly competitive, three-phased award system and is the primary vehicle through which NAVAIR funds small companies to perform innovative research and development projects. There are many benefits that go along with the SBIR program. It stimulates technological innovation, fosters and encourages minority and disadvantaged business participation, increases private sector commercialization innovations and transitions SBIR technology into Naval aviation systems helping to keep the war fighters on the cutting edge. This SBIR wire insulation and stripper projects are focused on helping the Aviation Electronics Technicians and Aviation Electrician’s Mates of the Navy have the minimal amount of tools to carry, but the right ones to do the job correctly. Currently the Navy and Marine Corps maintenance professional carries a suitcase filled with approximately 11 different wire strippers because of the many different types of wire insulation that may be encountered. Some platforms also resort to providing up to five blade set types that must be interchanged on a single handle depending on wire type due to space limitation of the tool sets for shipboard application. Vetter and his team at the Wiring Systems Branch are exploring the common two predominant technologies: mechanical and infrared laser based wire strippers. Vetter said that NAVAIR has downselected three companies and are currently in phase one of the project. During phase one, companies have to demonstrate the scientific or technical merit and feasibility of their idea. Phase two the companies expand their results and pursue further development. The end deliverable of the phase two effort will be a prototype wire stripper that Excerpts of this article is ready for field evaluation. Phase three involves transi- were taken from a written tioning the prototype design to statement by Jim Jenkins, a mass producible tool ready Wiring Systems Branch. for fleet use which will then undergo operational test and evaluation. The tool will also undergo qualification testing, something new for the wire strippers used by the Navy. “In tandem we’ve already started on developing an SAE specification for wire strippers,” Vetter said. “We’ve never had a spec, therefore we’ve never qualified a wire stripper so we don’t know what their life span is, how long it takes for them to go bad. Theirs is no validation for when you start getting a bad strip. There’s no verification other than the technician eyeballing it, recognizes it as bad and says ‘I need to change my blades out.’” NAVAIR would like to see the specification for a new wire stripper standardized so that eventually a better cheaper product can be had for the warfighter.
Even in the programs’ students who fall behind aca- of Southern Maryland. The peak funding years enroll- demically,” Smith said. rest is filtered into costumes, In fact, in the program’s video equipment, bus transment was limited to just 100 students per school. Waiting beginning years strict guide- portation, and a Lego robotics Continued from page A- lists compiled and students lines had to be met in order team. Commissioner Daniel H. of special programs, the state were likely turned away un- for participation. However, delivered $200,000 in 21st less they had an invitation because the boys and girls Raley praised Martirano and century funding, 8 months from teachers and adminis- clubs are inherently charged his staff for having improved after the money had been al- trators who hand picked those with increasing membership, communication with the comlocated to programs in Charles County, Baltimore County, Howard County, Baltimore City, Caroline County and Worcester County. Smith’s best explanation for the late present from MSDE was that other programs might have failed to turn in their purchase orders before the Sept. 30 deadline. R e g a r d l e s s , next year gets even tighter with just $187,000 coming from MSDE, and Gov. Martin O’Malley is talking education cuts to shore up a $117 million budget shortfall. The commissioners Photo Courtesy of SMCPS might not have an Students at Lexington Park Elementary School show off their hats at a holiday part in December of 2006. extra $125,000 this time around, but to keep the programs going, they with less developed reading the programs became more missioner board. In the past, open to all students, Smith a perceived communication and math skills. might have to. “The school system fo- said. glitch between the two enti“It’s up to the county to The grant is essentially ties resulted in the commisfind the money to keep [the cuses on the academic piece programs] going after next and boys and girls clubs focus divided in half. One hundred sioners cutting $193,000 from year,” Smith added. “Next on enrichment, but we use and seven thousand dollars the public schools’ budget. this as an opportunity to help goes to Boys and Girls Clubs year is the last year.”
Continued from page A- relocated. The actual work on the Piney Point Lighthouse Museum is expected to continue on into 2008. The museum division’s master plan was reeling after 2003 too, leaving updates and additions to infrastructure in limbo. Today, those projects are being completed, but many are at least two years behind, according to Dunlap. “We had to condemn the building we had been using at Piney Point for eight years,” said Debra Pence, the county’s museum division manager. “We have relocated the museum facility, and have been working on capital projects of literally gutting buildings.” What may have once been plans to update Piney Point shifted to recovery. However, as the museum continues a push forward, its renewed energy has proven fruitful. The attendance figures of today shadow past injustices, and were used as a focal point during the museum board of trustees’ annual report to the St. Mary’s Board of County Commissioners last week. The years 2005 and 2006 have been particularly kind to the museum board, with attendance figures at 18,311 and 22,801 respectively. The forecast appears even brighter this year, with figures at 18,512 just 8 months in. “We’ve been tracing and tracking [attendance] very closely, in particular when you take out weather related cancellations,” Pence said. “We’ve been showing a steady increase, which is thrilling to us.” The museum board of trustees characterized the attendance rise to the commissioners as a “major increase over the last four years.” However, the percentage of visitors who have paid to enter a county museum is still unknown. The museum division uses a couple of different factors when determining its attendance count, including fundraisers and free events, and counting machines located on the grounds of each museum. Piney Point in particular has a counting machine located at its pier, which records all passer bys, even those just checking out the view and not paying to go inside. Most of the museum sites are located on public parks, which the community can access free of charge, Pence said. Revenues show an increase from $29,626 in 2006 to $31,141 for fiscal year 2007, however this year’s revenue numbers won’t be finalized until next month, according to Jeannette Cudmore, deputy finance director for St. Mary’s County. The modest revenue gain doesn’t much reflect the growth in attendance. Commissioner Thomas A. Mattingly Sr. (D-Leonardtown) said he wasn’t disturbed that the museum’s board of directors didn’t attribute some of the attendance increase to non-monetary factors. “All of those museums or historical sites represent the total number of people that go through their doors, whether paying customer, school class, or whatever,” Mattingly said. Piney Point and St. Clements Island Museum also strive to have four open houses a year to welcome families and individuals who cannot afford to purchase tickets. Each museum charges $3 per entry. Meanwhile, it is unclear what sort of impact the upcoming Maryland budget will have on the museum sites. Early indications point to cuts, at least at the state level, where a $117 million shortfall is projected. “I presume there will be some kind of modification to our budget…If we are asked to cut services we will do our best to at least maintain the hours of service we’ve worked up to,” Pence said. Last year, the museum board had a bottom line budget of $550,000, according to figures provided by Pence, giving it enough to add a fulltime staffer to Piney Point along with seasonal staff. “It’s taken so long to get this far, but I’m a realist,” said Pence of her expectations of the budget cycle. Any assumptions on what will or will not take place with the budget are “premature” to Mattingly, but he expects the county to continue its support for museum services. “I have been a strong advocate of the museums, and don’t have any intentions of cutting their budget,” Mattingly added, “unless it’s across the board at the state level.” That however, remains to be seen.
Old Jail Museum
Emily Finch Contributing Writer Leonardtown was founded in 1708, well after a court system and jail had been established in the area. In fact, records indicate that the first “courthouse” was in presentday Newtowne at the house of local John Hammond. During the late seventeenth century, court hearings and trials were held at various houses in that same area. As far as a jail goes, however, no records indicate an official building until the establishment of Leonardtown. A simple, woodenframed courthouse was built in the early 1700’s, shortly after present-day Leonardtown was named the county seat. Being wooden, howev er, it lasted less than 25 years. It was replaced in 1736 with a brick building, which burnt down in 1831. There are records of laws in St. Mary’s County in the late 17th and early 18th centuries, but little evidence of them being strictly enforced. If someone was caught breaking common law, they were tried within about two to four days and, if convicted, were charged court costs and $2. No one was punished to jail time, even after the building was erected. John Quigley built the first jail for the area in 1676, but when Leonardtown was established as county seat, a jail was needed much closer to the official courthouse. It was not until 1858 that a jail was built in Leonardtown. This jail sits on the grounds of the St. Mary’s County courthouse and is now commonly called “The Old Jail.” This one-story jailhouse was all the hoosegow that the county needed at the time. Few people were sentenced to jail time, and crime was relatively low. In 1876, however, the county commissioners saw the need for expansion in the jailhouse. They awarded F.D. Adams of Mechanicsville the contract to modernize the existing jail. This “modernization” meant constructing a 2-story, 20 x 36 foot building from stone and brick. The job was completed in October 1876. The bottom floor, made of stone, housed the jailer and his family. It consisted of three rooms, one for the bedroom, one for the living room and one for the dining room and kitchen. The top floor, made of brick, was three cells. Prisoners were grouped according to race and gender. Black males were placed in the larger cell, white males in another, and women, both black and white, in the smallest cell in the southwest corner. With the construction of the Patuxent River Naval Air Station in 1941, both population and crime rate rose tremendously. “The Old Jail” was now too small and could not serve the county adequately as its only jail. This called for the construction of a new jail behind the courthouse, completed in 1950. The Old Jail is now maintained by the St. Mary’s County Historical Society as their Information Center. They have also turned the cozy jail into a museum. Downstairs, the old jailers apartment, is now a visitors center displaying original, old documents with signifi-
cant Southern Maryland history. The upstairs portion of the jail maintains the old cells and a re-creation of the office Dr. P.J. Bean, who practiced law fro 66 years in Leonardtown until the mid-1980’s. In front of the Old Jail sits two historical artifacts: a cannon and a stone. The cannon was brought to Maryland in 1634 on the Ark. It previously sat at St. Mary’s City, which it defended for many years before coming to Leonardtown. The stone is from the lore story of Moll Dyer, a witch from the area. According to tradition Moll Dyer used witchcraft on citizens of the area, who decided she had to be gotten rid of. She escaped when the townspeople came to burn her house down and was found the next morning frozen to a large stone, having died of hypothermia. The stone, which now sits in in downtown Leonardtown, bore the imprint of her hand. The Old Jail Museum beside the St. Mary’s County Courthouse is open to the public for visiting and tours. Tours take place Wednesday through Friday from noon to 2 p.m.. For more information on tours and the Old Jail Museum call 301-475-2467.
Thursday, October 4, 2007
The County Times
Section A -
William Thomas Deagle, 81
William Thomas “Bill” Deagle, 81, of Tall Timbers, Md., died Sept. 25, 2007 at St. Mary’s Nursing Center. Born Sept. 29, 1925 on St. George’s Island, Md., he was the son of the late William Henry and Vivian Deagle. He was the loving husband of Janice Marie Deagle whom he married on July 12, 1961 in Hollywood Church of the Nazarene. He is survived by his children; Lee Deagle of Tall Timbers, Md., and Joyce Adams of Cobb Island, Md., his brother, Charles Deagle of Tall Timbers, Md., and his granddaughters; Caitlyn and Constance Oliver and Ashley and Kailey Adams. A lifelong resident of St. Mary’s County, Bill graduated from Great Mills High School, “Class of 1942.” His lifelong career was as a boat builder at Deagle’s Boatyard. A Time of Remembrance and Gathering will be held on Sunday, Oct. 7, 2007 from 2 – 4 p.m. at 45106 Deagle’s Boat Yard Raod, Tall Timbers, MD 20690. Arrangements provided by the Mattingley-Gardiner Funeral Home, P.A. Born Jan. 14, 1914 in New York, N.Y., she was the daughter of the late Joseph and Catherine Corso. Mary lived a long and fulthe hostesses for the monthly birthday and donuts celebrations. She was a member of the Red Hat Society. Mary was an avid reader; completing several books a week up to the week she died. She also enjoyed crocheting for family and friends and was famous for her afghans and “loopy dolls.” Although her immediate family consisted of a single child and three grandchildren, many came to know Mary as “Mom” or “Grandma” in that she fulfilled that role as a surrogate for so many others. In addition to her daughter and son-in-law, Clarice and Bill Leonard of Avenue, Md., she is survived by her grandchildren, Michael Leonard of Washington, D.C., and Jessica Leonard of Ithaca, New York. In addition to her parents and husband, she is preceded in death by her eldest grandchild, John Leonard, who died in April of this year. The family received friends Wednesday, October 3, 2007 from 5-8 p.m. in the Brinsfield Funeral Home Chapel, Leonardtown, Md. Prayers were recited at 7 p.m. A Mass of Christian Burial will be Thursday, Oct. 4, 2007 at 10 a.m. in St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, Morganza, Md. Father Keith Woods will be the celebrant. Interment will be Friday, Oct. 5, 2007 at 2 p.m. in Long Island National Cemetery, Farmingdale, N.Y. Memorial contributions may be made to the John William Leonard Memorial Scholarship Fund, c/o Bank of America, 28250 Three Notch RD, Mechanicsville, MD 20659. Arrangements by the Brinsfield Funeral Home, P.A. in Leonardtown, MD.
Gladys Loraine Fuller, 3
Gladys Loraine Fuller, 93, of Leonardtown, Md., died Sept. 22, 2007 at her residence. For funeral arrangements please call the Brinsfield Funeral Home, P.A., Leonardtown, MD at 301-475-5588. Condolences to the family may be left at www.brinsfieldfuneral.com. A full obituary will appear at a later date.
service. Interment will follow in Charles Memorial Gardens, Leonardtown, Md. Arrangements by the Brinsfield Funeral Home, P.A. in Leonardtown, Md. Condolences to the family may be left at www.brinsfieldfuneral.com. A full obituary will appear at a later date.
Laura B. Wynn, 5
Mary R. DiStefano, 3
Mary R. DiStefano, 93, of Leonardtown, Md., died peacefully Sept. 30, 2007 in Washington Hospital Center, Washington, D.C. with her family at her bedside.
filling life. She was a devoted daughter, wife, mother and grandmother. She grew up on land that is now Kennedy International Airport. She married her husband, Anthony DiStefano in 1936. Among her many accomplishments, she was a past-President of the American Legion Women’s Auxiliary in Brooklyn, N.Y. She became widowed in 1955 and then raised her only child, Clarice, single-handedly, working many years as a seamstress in a coat factory in Brooklyn. After living in the New York metropolitan area all her life, Mary moved to Cedar Lane Apartments in Leonardtown where she spent the last 10 years. She was very active in the social life there, serving as one of
Sean Foley Somerville, 26
Somerville, 26, of Hollywood, Md., died Sept. 29, 2007 in Hollywood, Md. Born Feb. 17, 1981 in Leonardtown, Md., he was the son of James Foley Somerville, Jr. and Debra Anita (Carter) Somerville of Mechanicsville, Md. He was the husband of Elizabeth G. Somerville of Hollywood, Md. The family will receive friends Friday, Oct. 5, 2007 from 5-8 p.m. in Gospel Tabernacle of Prayer, Clements, Md. Prayers will be recited at 7:30 p.m. A Funeral Service will be conducted on Saturday, Oct.6, 2007 at 10 a.m. in the church. Reverend Leroy McDuffie will conduct the
Laura B. “Bea” Wynn, 95, of California, Md., died Sept. 26, 2007 at St. Mary’s Nursing Center. Mrs. Wynn was a homemaker and enjoyed reading, card games, and taking care of her family. Born on Jan. 14, 1912 in Silver Hill, Md., she was the daughter of the late James Walter and Mary Theresa Swann Latimer. In addition to
her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband: Joseph A. Wynn, Sr., daughters: Janet Beatrice Wynn and Joyce Ann McDermott, and brother Randolph Latimer. She is survived by daughter: Carolyn T. Cooper; son-inlaw: Sidney Wayne Cooper of Pomfret, Md.; sons: Joseph A. Wynn, Jr. of Pensacola, Fla., and Charles A. “Al” Wynn of St. Augustine, Fla., brother: James Walter Latimer, Jr. of Catonsville, Md.; six grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. The family will receive friends on Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2007 from 5 - 8 p.m. in the Mattingley-Gardiner Funeral Home, with Prayers being said at 7 p.m. A Funeral Service will be held on Thursday, Oct. 4, 2007 at 12 p.m. in the Mattingley-Gardiner Funeral Home Chapel with Fr. Ray Schmidt officiating. Interment will follow in St. John’s Cemetery. Pallbearers will be: Jimmy McDermott, Eric Moats, Al Wynn, Joseph Wynn, James Latimer, III, Timothy Latimer and Jim Weller. Honorary Pallbearers will be: Richard Latimer, Wayne Cooper, James H. McDermott and Ron Kraynick. Contributions may be made to: Department of Aging, c/o Meals on Wheels Program, P.O. Box 653, Leonardtown, MD 20650. Arrangements provided by the MattingleyGardiner Funeral Home, P.A.
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Section A - 10
The County Times
reduced the cost of our advertising to our neighbors and friends that have been advertising with us or who would like to advertise with us. Also, I expect to increase the distribution to 12,000. In one year, to increase the distribution to 12,000 [from 11,000], I think is phenomenal. So that’s what we’re going to provide to our readers. Also, one of the primary reasons for this celebration is that I’m so proud of the staff here. Just about all of them were here when we started. There is a sad footnote, unfortunately, and that is that
Thursday, October 4, 2007
I’m losing one of, what I believe, is one of our best reporters, and that’s nothing to celebrate. Knowlton: Andrew Would you like to explain how the advertising will be reduced? James McKay: We have cut the cost of smaller ads to by 25 percent. Half page ads are reduced by 33 percent, and full-page ads are reduced by 50 percent. That’s a substantial amount. And our advertising rates are already cheaper than some of the other publications in the county. We are also reducing the cost of inserts that would be in the County Times to $ 25 for 1,000 copies. Andrew Knowlton: Any other comments? James McKay: I’m particularly celebrating the fact that I have an outstanding staff. I have an awful lot to celebrate and I’d like the county to celebrate with us and participate in what we’ve done, and I hope it’s been helpful to the readers in the county.
Interview With the Publisher
Celebrating His 88th Birthday and 12 Months of Publication
Andrew Knowlton: The County Times is having a special celebration in the month of October, why is this such a special time of the year? James McKay: Well, October marks the twelfth month of publication here at the County Times. We started in November of 2006 and furthermore, my 88th birthday is this month. So I decided that I wanted to do something for our readers that was maybe somewhat of a celebration. What are the special deals be offering this month? Andrew Knowlton: that the County Times will James McKay: We’ve
Join In On Our October Celebration!
Continued from page A- at hand. “But we will vote for what is best for St. Mary’s County, and Pax River is important to St. Mary’s County,” Raley said in response to the tenuous debate. “Although this process is very long, the end result in this particular vote will be best for St. Mary’s.” John B. Norris III, an attorney from California, suggested in June that the county wait on a decision until the Navy completes a Joint Land Use Study (JLUS). Land Use and Growth Management conceded in its post public hearing staff report that additional amendments to the comprehensive zoning ordinance would likely be needed following the completion of the JLUS, but countered that sufficient findings had justified proceeding. Forms of encroachment are urban growth, airborne noise, frequency spectrum, lighting pollution, threatened endangered species and maritime transportation issues. Further, Capt. Glen Ives, commanding officer of Pax River, noted in an April 23 letter to the commissioners that encroachment is “considered to any action, either planned, or executed, that inhibits, cur-
tails, or possesses the potential to impede the performance of Navy activities. The number one encroachment challenge for the Naval Air Station Patuxent River complex is urban development, which is steadily growing toward the boundaries of the Naval Air Station and Outlying Filed Webster.” By failing to mitigate encroachment, St. Mary’s County risks losing all or part of Pax River to another Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC). The Naval Air Station Oceana, a fixture in Virginia Beach, Va. since 1940 is facing almost certain closure from encroachment. To protect St. Mary’s economic engine from a similar fate, the commissioners have followed three of five recommendations from the Southern Maryland Naval Alliance, and are in conversation of shoring up the other two. The alliance’s recommendations consisted of establishing twice yearly meetings and strengthening communication, both of which were addressed in the Memorandum of Understanding agreement with the Navy and the commissioners, to move residential housing away form the base, implementing a buffer zone to protect from noise
contour lies, developing an AICUZ overlay zone around Webster Field, and analyzing the merits of a JLUS. Before Tuesday’s historic decision, the county had last imposed regulations in 1977 to protect Pax River, and to keep dense development out from underneath aircraft noise and accident zones. Alan Hewitt, a licensed realtor and member of the Legislative Affairs Committee of the Southern Maryland Association of Realtors said in the June public hearing that no studies have taken place on the future noise levels of the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program. The JSF is 10,000 pounds heavier than the F-18 fighter jet, which the 1999 noise contour lines are based on - noise growth has been considered imminent. Commissioner Lawrence Jarboe (R-Golden Beach) had not said in weeks prior if he would support the two amendments, but hinted to some reservations. Jarboe was concerned that pushing base housing farther away would limit the base’s alternative transportation options if a national energy crisis were to overtake the U.S. On Tuesday, Jarboe sat quietly in his seat, chose not to comment, and voted in favor of implementing both residential restrictions.
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