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Thursday, March 20, 2008 • St. Mary’s County, Maryland
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Time For Gaming Machines May Be Running Out By Guy Leonard Staff Writer
Foreign Nationals Arrested For Illegally Operating Vessel On Chesapeake Bay Five crewmembers of a Maltese-flagged cargo ship have been charged with improperly operating their vessel because of alleged as they were departing the Chesapeake Bay near Calvert County according to U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod Rosenstein’s office. Wojciech Kowalski, 63, of Poland, the master of the M/V Ocean Victory, Yevgen Bystrov, 39, of Ukraine, the ship’s second officer, Sergey Prokofyev, 37, a Russian ablebodied seaman, and Volodym Voychenko, 45, and Yuriy Shelkunov, 29 both of the Ukraine made their initial appearance in federal court Monday. According to information from Rosenstein’s office, several crewmembers left the helm of the ship unattended but returned to the wheelhouse upon demands of Maryland captains who were on board assisting ship’s operations. One crewman, Voychenko, allegedly held a knife on one of the Maryland captains after he shoved the captain twice. U.S. Coast Guard personnel were called in to assist the Maryland captains. Kowalski has been charged with failing to ensure the wheelhouse was constantly manned and that the crew posted was competent to perform their duties and making false statements to Coast Guard officials about one of his crew brandishing a knife. The other defendants are charged with operating the vessel while intoxicated. The vessel was anchored at the mouth of the Patuxent River as the investigation continued.
Federal Funds Secured for STEM Program St. Mary’s County Public Schools is the beneficiary of $487,000 in federal funds secured by U.S. Congressman Steny Hoyer (D-MD) through an Omnibus Appropriations bill recently passed by Congress. Congressman Hoyer will visit the SMCPS Middle School STEM Academy at Spring Ridge Middle School on Tuesday, March 25, 2008, at 1:15 p.m. to make a formal presentation. These funds will be used to support the St. Mary’s County Public Schools Science Technology Engineering Mathematics (STEM) Academies that currently exist at Lexington Park Elementary School, Spring Ridge Middle School, and Great Mills High School.
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Sheriff Timothy K. Cameron said the legality of electronic gaming devices currently in local restaurants and bars in St. Mary’s County is still under investigation, but the inquest will not last long. Cameron told The County Times that owners of establishments hosting the gaming machines – which resemble slot machines – should receive a letter by the end of the week notifying them whether the machines are legal based on an opinion passed down by the State Attorney General’s office early last week. “That’s the plan right now,” Cameron said in a telephone interview late Monday, adding that “there’s no grace period” in dealing with the machines if they are found to be operatSee Gaming page A-
Photo by Guy Leonard
Brass Rail owner Charles Gatton demonstrates the operation of an electronic gaming machine to a Southern Maryland Information Center intelligence officer during last week’s information gathering operation on gambling devices operating in the county.
Convicted Killer Sentenced To Life In Prison By Guy Leonard Staff Writer Circuit Court Judge C. Clarke Raley sentenced 20-year-old Johntonna Young to life without parole for the killing of an aircraft mechanic in February of 2007 in Lexington Park, the county’s only homicide last year. Young was convicted in September of killing Kenneth James Wal-
ter, 24, by shooting him twice in the head when the victim came out to his running automobile on a winter morning and found Young in the backseat of his car, apparently attempting to steal certain items. Young, according to court testimony at his trial, used a Glock 19 9mm handgun that had been stolen in an armed robbery of The Tackle Box just days before. The victim’s parents Cynthia and Guy Walter both delivered impassioned pleas to the court asking for the maximum penalty for their son’s killer. See Life page A-
Anglers Chip In To Improve The Chesapeake Bay By Guy Leonard Staff Writer Local fishermen who love the sport are concerned that the resource they enjoy, the waterways of Southern Maryland and the aquatic life they support, is dwindling and that their children will not be able to enjoy hooking fish the same way. But they aren’t about to let the precious resource just slip away. They plan on using a not-so-secret weapon — the oyster — to make a difference. The Patuxent River Chapter of the Coastal Conservation Association (CCA) started a waterway restoration project March 18 in which they placed 25,000 oysters in St. Thomas Creek in the hope they will contribute to the See Oysters page A- Photo by Andrea Shiell
Volunteers pack oysters into nets at St. Thomas Creek on Tuesday as part of the Coastal Conservation Association’s new waterway restoration project.
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The County Times
Section A -
Thursday, March 20, 2008 to and cap off. “I can tell you it sounded like a jet engine.” The leak was contained shortly after 2p.m. that day, according to information released by the county. The smell of gas was strong all the way down to the Greenview Knolls community and caused the county public school system to hold all the children inside Greenview Knolls Elementary School on Military Lane. Brad Clements, chief operating officer for the public schools, said the day went on as normal for the 533 or so students at the school, though outside recess and other privileges were suspended. The school’s heating, air conditioning and ventilation system were adjusted to keep potentially noxious fumes out of the building. “We kept students inside… we weren’t bringing in fresh air at the time,” Clemens said. “We were re-circulating the air in the building.” Students were dismissed at their normal time, Clemens said, and watches for gas fumes at nearby Esperanza Middle School and Green Holly Elementary School turned up negative.
Gas Leak Shuts Down Buck Hewitt Road By Guy Leonard Staff Writer When Stephen Shiell left his home on Oriole Drive in the Victoria’s Grant subdivision Friday to go to work he was met with a foul smelling surprise. “As I approached Buck Hewitt Road, the smell of gas was very strong; enough to make you cough,” Shiell told The County Times of the natural gas leak that closed down Buck Hewitt road for several hours last week. “It was obviously a massive gas leak.” As he continued his drive down the road near the Lexington Park Volunteer Rescue Squad “the smell became almost overpowering,” Shiell said, adding that he saw a hole in the ground on a road being built off of Buck Hewitt. It was there he saw what he believed to be the gas leak. “It was obvious, debris and everything was flying out of it,” Shiell said. “But when I passed that point the smell stopped.” The gas leak caused the county Department
of Public Safety to start a reverse 911 call out to residents of Buck Hewitt Road to stay inside their homes but also to extinguish any sources of potential ignition that could have caused the leaking gas to catch fire. That included not using phones, according to county officials. David Zylak, director of the Department of Public Safety, said the main concern was over old rotary phones that might cause a spark because of their older technology. “We asked people to not use their phones, which in retrospect turned out to not be necessary because of the newer [telephone] technology,” Zylak said. The gas main was cut by a backhoe while doing construction work for a new house, Zylak said. Shiell said he was unaware of any of the “shelter in place” warnings as he had already gone to work. He said he saw the leaking hole somewhere between 9:30 and 10 a.m. that morning. “I think I was there as it happened or shortly thereafter,” Shiell said.
Wayne Johnson, chief of the Bay District Volunteer Fire Department, which helped block the road, explained the thinking behind the reverse 911 call. “There were shifting winds,” Johnson said. “The purpose [of the reverse 911] was to get people to shut their windows and avoid a gas buildup.” Firefighters and Maryland State Troopers blocked off both ends of Buck Hewitt Road, from Route 235 to Chancellor’s Run Road, and did not allow anyone in or out while the gas leak had yet to be contained. Units from Bay Disrict and Hollywood fire departments were on the scene as well as two ambulances from Lexington Park Volunteer Rescue Squad. Hazardous materials units from Patuxent River Naval Air Station and the county also rolled in to secure the area so Washington Gas Co. could seal the leaking main. “It was a six-inch gas main pumping at about 55 pounds per square inch,” said Bay District Assistant Chief Joe Gould, who was on the scene. “It’s not something you can just walk up
Wreckage Unveiled As Reminder Andrea Shiell Staff Writer Customers driving into the Loveville Motor Vehicle Administration will now pass a real eyesore to renew their licenses. On Thursday morning, The MVA, in coordination with Allstate Insurance and
Brandywine Motors, unveiled a kind of public service announcement in the form of a wrecked 1990s Hyundai Elantra with deployed airbags and a crushed front bumper, parked in the small stretch of grass in the front parking lot. This is the first time local offices have carried out such a plan. At the unveiling, office
manager Herb Butler described the wreckage as a reminder to drive responsibly, particularly for young drivers. He said he had observed parents coming into the office with their teens for provisional licenses, and both being “extremely excited…many celebrated the event.” Butler and others wanted to inject a little reality into that particular rite of passage. “The teen driver should be congratulated on a job well done,” said Butler. “However, the issuance of a provisional license is not cause for parents to stop supervised driving practice with their teen.” Young drivers represent eight percent of licensed drivers in Southern Maryland, but they represent 29 percent of the at-fault drivers involved in crashes in Calvert County, 24.6 percent in Charles County, and 27 percent in St. Mary’s County, ranking them among the worst drivers in the state of Maryland, where overall young drivers represent 17 percent of the at-fault drivers involved in crashes. A further breakdown of available statistics shows that in St. Mary’s County, 31 percent of aggressive driver crashes are caused by young drivers, along with 29 percent of inattentive driver crashes, and 14.9 percent of impaired driver crashes.
Speed, passengers and other distractions; inexperience; and not wearing restraints are significant factors in young driver crashes, and Butler made a point of reminding those at the unveiling that 60 hours of behind the wheel practice with parents and guardians is still required, and that parents have options when it comes to keeping their youngsters compliant. “At Loveville, when we process these licenses, we are reminding the parents of teens under 18 that they have an absolute right to withdraw their consent for these teens and this will result in the immediate suspension of the license,” said Butler. Some would like to see this message taken a step further, including wrecked cars at every high school in the county as a daily reminder to young drivers to exercise caution and act responsibly. Bob Mika, a St. Mary’s County resident as well as an employee for E-surance, said he had seen too many tragedies as a result of carelessness on the part of young drivers, and he will be speaking to the Board of Education as part of a campaign to get wrecked cars parked on the front lawn of every high school in the county. “I expect some people won’t like the idea,” he said, “but it’s better to look at that than to look at your teenager
getting buried…I want to make it happen before prom season.” Deputy Sheriff D.T. Ross, who has been working to supply car crash videos for classrooms, was also at the unveiling, and commented that “this is just a fender bender here.” Ross added that though this would make a statement, it
With the rash of teenagers killed in car accidents over the last year, officials are urging stronger messages to get this point across. “This message made public today will hopefully serve as a reminder to parents and teen drivers…of the serious and often heartbreaking outcomes
Photo by Andrea Shiell In the wake of statistics showing young drivers disproportionately at fault in car accidents in Southern Maryland, MVA officials unveiled a wrecked car on Thursday to serve as a reminder to young drivers and their parents to use caution.
could probably be made stronger with a more serious crash. She said some schools in other states were in the habit of parking wreckages from fatal crashes on their front lawns. According to the National Highway Traffic Administration, 42,642 people died in automobile accidents in 2006, out of a total of 5.9 million accidents nationwide. It is estimated that 16 and 17 year-olds are four times more likely to be involved in car crashes than adults, and that they are three times more likely to die in one.
which can result from poor, negligent or improper teen driving behavior,” said Butler. Ross’s colleague, a Leonardtown High School senior named Chris Kalnasey, videotaped the unveiling as part of his television course at the Forrest Technology Center. He said he agreed with the idea of including wreckage at the high schools, adding that he felt teenagers could use the reminder. “Some teens think that they’re still invincible,” Kalnasey said. “I think that if they see this, they’ll think twice.”
One Alternative Education Program To Replace Another Andrea Shiell Staff Writer
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Drivers may not even be aware as they are passing White Oak Secondary Center on Great Mills Road that they are passing one of the county’s premier pathways for alternative education. The inconspicuous white building does not have the trappings of the larger high schools in the area, which boast large parking lots and football fields, but this building houses about 50 students who have been placed
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there in the county’s hopes of arresting their academic and social problems. But the White Oak Secondary Center will be closing at the end of this school year to make way for another pathway, the Fairlead Academy. As a result of internal program reviews and as an outgrowth of St. Mary’s County Public Schools Task Force to Eliminate the Achievement Gap, the Middle School Task Force, and most recently the High School Task Force, a decision has been made to close the existing program at White Oak Secondary Center at the end of this school year. “We are merely acting on the recommendations of those task forces,” explained Theo Cramer, Director of Academic Support. Students from that program will return to their home schools next fall, and individual transition meetings will occur for
each student currently attending White Oak. Fairlead Academy will open in its place in August 2008, and it will be housed in the same facility as White Oak, but whereas the current program serves 50 students from grades seven to twelve, Fairfield Academy will serve 60 ninth grade students. “The difference is going to be the focus,” said Cramer. “I think before it tried to meet too many needs for too many students.” Chief Academic Officer Linda Dudderar described the existing program the same way. “I think what has evolved there perhaps is asking one program to do too much for too many.” Candidates for the program are those with lower MSA scores who may benefit from focused reading and math interventions. “What we are really looking at are students who haven’t achieved in
middle school,” said Dudderar, explaining that students who are struggling as they go into ninth grade are more likely to drop out later. “According to the research we think we can get more accomplished focusing on the transition from eighth to ninth grade,” said Cramer. The students at Fairlead will have access to a personalized education program, working in teams in 90-minute instructional learning blocks, in classes with no more than ten students. Sixty students will be invited to participate during the 2008-2009 school year, with parent information sessions taking place after spring break. Parents of current eligible eighth graders will be receiving information about the sessions. “We’re very excited about this,” said Cramer. “I think we’re going to be able to better meet the needs of these students.”
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The County Times
Thursday, March 20, 2008
Section A -
Man Sentenced To Five Years For Armed Robbery By Guy Leonard Staff Writer A Lexington Park man who took part in an Independence Day home invasion last year in search of marijuana and money while using a handgun was sentenced to five years in prison Tuesday by Circuit Court Judge Michael J. Stamm. Trey D. Barnes, 21, plead guilty to an armed robbery charge back in November and
agreed to provide information to the State’s Attorney’s Office regarding the crime and about his accomplice Derrick R. Medley, 23, of Great Mills. Medley was convicted of three counts of burglary and three counts of first-degree assault after a two-day trial in the home invasion case on Medley’s Neck Road. According to police reports and the state’s attorney’s office, both Barnes and Medley went to the boarding
house July 4 of 2007 with intent of robbing one of the residents living there of drugs and money. Prosecutors say that Medley and Barnes broke into several rooms, held residents at gunpoint and demanded to know where the one holding the marijuana and money was. A struggle ensued with their intended victim, according to court testimony, and Barnes fired a shot down a
hallway during the melee. Both fled after the shot was fired and held a gun in the face of the boarding house owner warning him to get back, court testimony stated. Because of his cooperation, Barnes sentence was brought down to five years from an original 10 years for the armed robbery plea. “You’re going to lose five years of your life, but your decision to help the state saved you some time,” Stamm told
while still in the 10th grade. “I won’t do that if you don’t have a GED,” Stamm said. Barnes showed contrition in court for his crime. “I’d like to apologize… for what I did,” Barnes said. “I take all the responsibility for it.” Medley, Barnes accomplice, is still awaiting sentencing after his February conviction.
Barnes. “If you walk the walk [of criminal behavior] you know where you’ll end up.” Barnes also agreed to testify against Medley at his trial but was never called. Stamm also gave Barnes credit for the 258 days he served in the county detention facility and told him that he would consider early probation as long as Barnes was able to finish his high school equivalency. Barnes said he left school
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The County Times
Section A -
Thursday, March 20, 2008
Editorial & Opinion County Commissioners Want Pictures of Your Property The St. Mary’s County Board of Commissioners recently hired a contractor from outside the State of Maryland to enter upon your private property and take photographs of your property. The Commissioners do not plan to notify you when these individuals will show up at your home, and the individuals do not plan to inform you that they are there and why they are on your property. The Commissioners will however give these out of state individuals a St. Mary’s County Government Identification badge. The purpose of these photographs will be to put pictures of your property, your home, and other buildings on your property on the county’s computer system. You can currently find photos of your property on the County’s web site by locating GIS (geographic information system) and Zoning Maps. These photos are taken by satellite and do not show details such as doors, windows, etc. The County wants to be able to show your home in much greater detail and without your permission, will enter upon your property and take pictures of your home and upload these photo’s to the County’s GIS System. The Commissioners give several reasons for do-
ing this, but offer improved emergency services as their strongest argument. The world of technology has changed the way we all live. People’s lives are more public than ever thanks to the Internet. Many good things have come as a result of changes in technology and the increase in information available to the public as a result. While things change, as Americans we must ask ourselves just how much of our rights and privacy we are willing to give up for the sake of technology. Furthermore, just how much of our privacy does government, or anyone else have a right to expose? And what’s worse, the Commissioners use your hard earned money to expose the privacy of your home to the world. This is big-brother government acting in the worst way. First, what if the person taking pictures on your property is not actually the contractor hired by County government, but rather unscrupulous persons wanting information for other purposes? How would you know the difference?
To the Editor: Dear Editor: In response to a recent letter “Want Gas With Your Corn,” I will agree that the U.S. is oil-addicted. Based on inflation rates, we have only recently exceeded the cost of gas compared to (pre-embargo) 1970s prices. We don’t “need” oil; we have enough. We just need to use less. I reduced my family’s energy use 35% in the past year. I made sacrifices; I am trying to do more. I attended the Sustainable Building Forum at St. Mary’s Airport last weekend. Ideas and possibilities were everywhere! If we learn to conserve, we won’t have to drill in ecologically-fragile areas. Cutting swaths of forest or other pristine areas, or what is left of them, is unacceptable. The fact that these areas are not in my back yard doesn’t mean they are not important to me. As for the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), I have no idea where “35 years worth” of oil will come from. According to Wikipedia.org, “America’s own oil requirements” would be met for – according to (Bush installed, drilling proponent, former head of the U.S. Dept. of the Interior) Gale Norton – only 525 days; reduce that to 215 days by lower estimates from more in-depth studies. Side notes: (1) In Dec 2005, Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) attached an ANWR drilling amendment to the annual defense appropriations bill; it was later removed and the bill passed. Recently, Stevens’ son was implicated by the FBI in bribery schemes with Alaska’s largest oil field service company, VECO. At least two other Alaskan Congressmen are under investigation for oil-related scandal. (2) 30,000 Alaskan residents have a multi-billion dollar lawsuit pending against Exxon for the 1989Exxon Valdez oil spill. Exxon made $40 Billion (yes, that’s a ‘b’) last year and $39 Billion in 2006. While their stockholders have not voted to take responsibility for Exxon’s negligence, but I’m sure they appreciate Exxon’s Federal subsidies that boost annual earnings. Those criticizing the environmentalist lob-
by should know that the energy lobby generously funds their own cause. From 2002-2007, 35 U.S. Senators averaged $161,382 from the energy lobby when voting for their cause; the 58 voting against them received only $56,942. The top five House recipients (all Republicans) reeled in $3.67 million. In the House, from 1989-2006, pro-energy lobby Reps averaged $109,277 each. Contributions from the oil and gas industry to the top five Senate recipients (4 were Republicans) totaled $2.45 million. I truly doubt the “Radical environmentalist lobbyists” harvested more funding from the likes of solar panel and wind turbine manufacturers. I thank God no new refineries have been built in almost 40 years. I have driven past these areas and I also thank God I don’t live near one. Until a refinery can be built that isn’t contaminating groundwater for the residents within a large radius, maybe “American ingenuity” could design a refinery that does not result in a Superfund site. That has not happened yet, and the Superfund has dropped to almost zero under the current administration. While God may have placed oil beneath our great country, I consider it a test of our collective self-control: our ability to resist temptation. We are slowly failing that test. The current administration supports ethanol, which would raise “the price of your dinner...” Ethanol, as currently produced in he U.S., uses 34% MORE energy than it saves. If only I had invested in corn futures! So it will cause us to pay more at the pump as well. My dinner’s price will never be increased by wind power, solar power, or other renewable energy (many types are currently available and quickly deployable), and my air will not be contaminated by those, either. With conservation and these alternatives, our air quality improves, global warming is slowed, and we protect and preserve our unique national treasures.
Respectfully, David Kanter Hughesville, Md
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Secondly, unless there is an emergency, what gives the Commissioners the authority to enter upon your property without your permission? At the very least, you should be notified when to expect these contractors to be at your property. Thirdly, shouldn’t you have a say as to whether or not you want government to have pictures of your property? And more important, shouldn’t you decide where this information may be used? Fourth, has anyone in the County Commissioners office taken notice of the extraordinarily difficult economic times and hardships that taxpayers are experiencing. The prior Board of Commissioners cut taxes 7 times in four years. This Board raised taxes their first year, and now in the mist or preparing the budget for the upcoming fiscal year which starts July 1, are not even talking about tax relief in any form, just more and more spending. These programs that invade the privacy and violate the private property rights of the taxpayers, while costing taxpayers millions of dollars are wrong. Sheriff Cameron is an independent elected official who is sworn to protect the citizens of St. Mary’s County, even if it means protecting the citizens from other elected officials. As such, Cameron and his deputies should stand ready to arrest anyone knowingly entering upon private property without the owner’s permission, including agents of the County Commissioners.
Chesapeake Bay Running Club Thanks Booz Allen Hamilton, Wyle Laboratories, The Good On behalf of the Chesa- Earth Natural Foods Compeake Bay Running Club, pany, Tommy Deagle Hand we’d like to thank the various Carved Wooden Decoys, Cecommunity organizations and dar Cove Marina, Camp Mersponsors that made the 4th ryelande, Carlson Wagonlit Lower Potomac River Mara- Travel, Connor Bell, D2 Engithon another success. Since neering LLC, and United Site the race debuted in 2005, it has Services of Maryland, Inc. gained a reputation as a top- Course support was provided tier athletic event that show- by the following volunteers cases the beauty and com- who spent a cold and windy munity spirit of St. Mary’s morning staffing aid stations, County. The race benefits providing communications, two organizations dedicated and ensuring the safety of our to preserving the Chesapeake runners along the 26.2-mile Bay and its history, The Piney course: St. Mary’s County Point Lighthouse Museum Amateur Radio Association, and Chesapeake Bay Field Pax Velo, the American Red Lab. Since 2005 the Lower Cross/Southern Maryland Potomac River Marathon Chapter, Boys and Girls Clubs has raised over $25,000 for of Southern Maryland, 2nd these worthy organizations. District Volunteer Fire Dept. The event would not have and Rescue Squad, St. Mary’s been possible without the gen- County Sheriff’s Dept., MA1 erosity of our sponsors: Mi- Ron Swope and his group of chelob Ultra/Guy Distribut- sailors from Patuxent NAS, ing, Eagan, McAllister As- and the staff, family and sociates, Inc., J.F. Taylor, Inc., friends of the Chesapeake Dear Editor:
Bay Field Lab and Piney Point Lighthouse Museum. The Lower Potomac River Marathon, which has hosted runners from thirty-seven states, the District of Columbia, Canada, Japan, England, and South Africa, owes much of its popularity to its gracious hosts since 2005, the Paul Hall Center for Maritime Training and Education. Visiting runners consistently praise Howard Thompson and his staff for their warm hospitality and sumptuouspost-raceluncheon. We also thank the residents of St. George Island, Piney Point, Valley Lee and Callaway, and the businesses along the course for their neighborliness and consideration for our athletes. The Chesapeake Bay Running Club extends hearty gratitude to all who ensure the continued success of our popular and worthwhile event. Liza Recto Race Director
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The County Times
Thursday, March 20, 2008
Ramblings of a Country Girl
Well-Behaved Women Terri Bartz Bowles I saw a bumper stick the other day that was quite intriguing to me. It said “Wellbehaved women rarely make history”. I was with some co-workers and most every-
one chuckled. A few agreed and some of the guys just sort of lifted their eyebrows in a “whatever” kind of way. I’ve been pondering that little saying, though. Surely a woman came up with it, not the sort of thing a man would probably
think was a compliment. We women like things like that, we shore ourselves up with thoughts like that. Women hold onto little mantras, we hear a lot about the male ego but women need their egos boosted, too. And it’s good
Business Leaders Become Principals for a Day Andrea Shiell Staff Writer Robert Hor got up to share his experiences with the rest of the Principal for a Day participants during a reception held last Thursday. Business leaders from across the county – and some neighboring counties – congregated to sip punch and relax as they discussed their different experiences acting as school principals in St. Mary’s County. Hor explained how his situation was different than many of the others who had participated this year. “I used to teach for St. Mary’s County Public Schools,” he said, adding that his wife still teaches at Esperanza Middle School in Lexington Park. “Every day I get to hear what it’s like, and every day she tells me I’ve forgotten how it is.” Though Hor had been hesitant to admit
that he had indeed forgotten a great deal, he admitted that his experiences that day had reopened his sense of involvement with the community at large, an observation echoed by many in the room. Opening up those channels of involvement was the purpose of the exercise, for which participants attended orientations before spending their day shadowing school principals, taking on a variety of educational tasks. “We want people in the community who have some spears of influence to understand our schools,” said Bill Scarafia of the St. Mary’s County Chamber of Commerce. Scarafia participated in the first run of the event two years ago. “I didn’t think it was fair to expect people to commit to this if I wasn’t committed to it,” Scarafia said. His commitment paid off, as he was able to help recruit 22 participants for this year’s event.
Section A -
when women can boost each other’s egos. Exactly how ‘not well-behaved’ does one need to be to make history? And what kind of history? I suppose there are two ways to look at this. Behavior that polite and conventional society may think is not good but actually isn’t harmful, it’s only different. Or behavior that is off-thebeam for normal, polite society and actually hurts others. And there’s always a gray area of behaviors in between. And it’s all relative, isn’t it? What’s unacceptable to you may be no big deal to me. And if trailblazers didn’t shake things up once in a while, where would we be? Look at the changes in attitude in society. Something that was shocking just a generation or two ago, now is no big deal. Some of those things perhaps should be a big deal but others make you wonder – what was society thinking? And what kind of history are we talking about? Positive things that make a difference to the future of the human race? Small things
that make one lifetime a little better or happier? Or huge, sweeping changes that shake up commonly held ideas and make resounding changes? Or huge, sweeping changes to one life that little affect the world at large but make all the difference to one person? Or a few people? Or it could be awful things that make the world worse or do damage, again either to one person or hundreds of people? Maybe I’m just thinking about it too much. Surely some little part of everyone wants to contribute to society in some form. Some people want to be famous, some just want to live their lives and be reasonably happy. Some of us pursue happiness, others wait for happiness to happen to them. And some poor souls are just never happy. I have a difficult time feeling sorry for such people, though, because I always think if you don’t like your life, then change it! And some people are content to form happiness for others. The footprint they leave is a trail in the lives of other peo-
“I just didn’t want people to call me and groan, saying ‘what have you gotten me into?’” he added. But nobody seemed to be groaning about their experiences on Thursday. “The overwhelming impression that I got…is that the school is amazingly well managed,” said Sonia Wagner, Executive Director for the College Access Network, a non-profit company that helps students apply for college classes. She had spent her day at Leonardtown High School. “It ran so smoothly,” she exclaimed, “though I took away four hats, three cell phones, and four IPODs.” “This is no different than running a business,” said Gene Townsend, who had spent his day at Green Holly Elementary. “But their job is harder!” “I think from start to finish, I never stopped saying wow,” said Colleen Blundell, who spent her day at Greenview Knolls. “As a business leader, I just want to know how we can help.” School Superintendent Michael Martirano conceded that the goal of the exercise was to strengthen partnerships between the school
ple, they are little concerned for themselves. And I would venture to say that some people who defy convention and accepted behavior and make change for future generations are sometimes quite unhappy in their lifetime. Their lives may well be filled with strife and the true import of their actions is not felt until well after their deaths. So, I continue to ponder this little bumper sticker. I wonder about the owner of the vehicle sporting it. Does she consider herself well-behaved? Or am I marching far down a path that this little bumper sticker never intended? Maybe it’s just supposed to be light-hearted and give people a chuckle. I don’t really believe that although I’m sure there are some who do. What behavior should one bend and what are the ramifications of it? And does one arrive at an answer before it’s too late to act on it? Just something to cogitate on. You can email the Country Girl at email@example.com
and business communities, some of which have given rise to successful tutoring and mentor programs. “One thing that was suggested to me was that in the off years, maybe principals could go to the business worksites,” said Martirano, adding that he felt that a mutual role swapping might be good for everyone involved in the program. The Principal for a Day program launched two years ago, and only takes place every other year. Keith Fairfax raved about his experiences learning about cognitive education at Park Hall Elementary School. “I believe that some of the old broken down engineers like myself need to hear about things like cognitive education,” he said. “I really enjoyed my day…it exceeded my expectations.” As the reception wound down and awards were given, Scarafia and Martirano both beamed. “I hope that this program…will make it a community school system rather than a school system in the community,” said Scarafia, smiling.
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Section A -
Odd News Conspicuous Caper Toronto police announced last month that they had arrested a man who had stolen a backhoe, intending to drive it into a car wash so that he could get to the facility’s coin machine. A man driving a snowplow called the police while he was in pursuit of the thief, having driven off his snowplowing route to apprehend the driver of the backhoe.
For the Kids A new cartoon character was introduced on the Hamas-controlled television channel Al-Aksa on February 8th , the third in a series of animal mascots campaigning for resistance against Israelis. According to a February dispatch in London’s Daily Mail, the latest character joins “Farfur,” a Mickey Mouse look-alike who, according to the storyline, was assassinated by Israeli soldiers, and “Nahul,” a bumblebee who was killed when denied medical treatment after an Israeli attack. The latest character is “Assud,” a Bugs Bunny look-alike who does not say, “What’s up, Doc?” but rather, “I will eat Jews.”
Flakey Sale Someone has offered more than $500 on eBay for a flake of breakfast cereal that resembles the state of Illinois. Emily McIntire, a 15 year-old high school sophomore from Chesapeake, Virginia, found the flake while grabbing fistfuls of cereal on her way to school. Her parents suggested she sell it for fun. “At the moment it’s residing in a fine jewelry box with a lot of cotton wrapped around it to keep it safe,” said her sister Melissa. The McIntire sisters will pay to ship the item, and plan to use the proceeds from their lucrative sale to buy more cereal.
Just When You Expect a Reward… Rather than being rewarded for stopping an out-of-control school bus in Seaside, California, 15 year-old Marina High School student Amanda Rouse was instead given Saturday detention because she was not supposed to be on the bus in the first place. Rouse said that she fell ill on the way to school, and she asked the bus driver
The County Times to take her back to the bus yard. She ended up on a bus with 40 elementary school students, where the bus driver fell out of her seat and hit her head after making a turn, sending the bus flying into traffic. Rouse jumped up and applied the brakes, stopping the vehicle after striking two parked cars, and no one was injured. Rouse was given detention for not calling in sick. “She is in trouble because she made the wrong decision,” said Rouse’s grandmother, Sally Correll. “But I can’t help but believe that she was where God wanted her to be.”
Thursday, March 20, 2008
Life Continued from page A-
who’s graduated to murder.” Both State’s Attorney Richard Fritz and Young’s attorney Public Defender Sean Moran agreed that Young’s lengthy juvenile record was a warning that the juvenile justice system had failed to rehabilitate him. “Unfortunately they failed him [Young] and the state of Maryland and Kenneth James Walter in this case,” Moran said to Raley, asking for the possibility of parole for his client. Moran also said that Young came from an abusive, broken home, suffered from learning disabilities and traded prescription medication for marijuana and alcohol to self medicate and deal with his circumstances. Young had been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder as well as being bi-polar while still in elementary school, Moran said. This, plus his lack of education, led to his client “having little chance of succeeding in the community.” Fritz, however, argued that the senseless nature of the killing necessitated Young’s being sentenced to life with out the possibility of parole. He said some homicides
“I’m here in Maryland where I should be visiting my son,” said Cynthia Walter tearfully from the witness stand. “But instead I’m in this court room looking for justice.” Cynthia Walter described her son as a well-loved veteran who had made friends literally A librarian in Lindsey, California was across the globe from his serfired after reporting that a man was using vice in the U.S. Navy. She said that the famone of the public computers to view child pornography. Brenda Blisterfeld contacted ily had held two memorials her supervisor and asked her advice after for her son because of all the she saw the man looking at pictures of na- people he left behind and both ked boys on one of the library’s computers. were filled. “He had his whole life She was instructed to tell him to stop or he would be banned from the library, but ahead of him,” she said of her she was told not to call the police. Blister- dead son. “Kenny was not in feld called the police anyway to report the the wrong place at the wrong incident, and was abruptly fired. County time… his life was taken by librarian Brian Lewis said there were solid Johntonna Young.” Guy Walter called Young business reasons for Blisterfeld’s firing, a “coward” from the witness but he would not go into detail. stand for “laying in wait” to shoot his son. The Longest Bathroom When he left the witness stand he looked directly at Break Ever Young and told him: “You are A man in Ness City, Kansas may be nothing.” “The citizens of Lexingcharged with mistreatment of a dependant adult for letting his girlfriend sit on ton Park and St. Mary’s Counthe toilet too long. A 36 year-old antique ty need to be protected from store employee named Kory McFarren Young,” the victim’s father told police that his girlfriend of 16 years, said. “He’s a career criminal 35 year-old Pam Babcock, had a phobia about leaving the bathroom. He said that he had tried to coax her out of the second bathroom of their mobile home every day for two years, but that she had refused to Continued from page A- come out, at which point he brought her health of the Chesapeake Bay. food, water, and clean clothes every day. “Oysters are probably the most imporHe claimed that his only crime had been tant animal in the bay,” said Richard Pelz not calling for help sooner. Ness County of Circle C Oyster Ranch in Ridge, which Sheriff Brian Whipple said that there was is helping CCA with the oyster-seeding an awful smell in the house, “obviously project. “Pretty much everything else decoming from where she was at.” Police pends on it.” discovered Babcock on the toilet, where Pelz, who has for about the past 20 they estimate she had been perched conyears grown oysters himself, said that one tinuously for the last thirty days, and that three-inch oyster can filter about 50 to 55 she had developed sores on which the toigallons of water a day and that with diminlet seat became stuck. Authorities had to ishing oyster populations the silt from eroremove the entire toilet seat in order to get sion and development are left to build up, Babcock out of the home for medical treatdamaging the bay and the life in it. ment. “The unfortunate thing is this truly Tributaries to the bay like the Patuxent is a case of two people, in my opinion, River are also in poor health, he said. with diminished mental capacity,” said “It’s not [in good shape] and it needs to Whipple. be,” Pelz said. James Cotugno, who lives on St. Jerome’s Creek in Dameron, got involved with the local CCA chapter because his love of fishing opened his eyes to the worsening conditions the local waterways appear to suffering. “The water quality is absolutely reduced,” Cotugno said. “The creeks are silted with mud because the oysters aren’t there doing what they’re designed to do naturally. “It’s the missing link to bringing life back into the bay.” Scott McGuire, president of the local CCA chapter, said the St. Thomas Creek
involving people engaging in risky or even criminal relationships and circumstances could be partially understood. Not so the murder of the victim, Fritz said. “What is not understandable is the random, senseless killing of people walking down the street in the normal course of their lives,” Fritz told the court. “This is one of the most cold-blooded, executiontype murders I’ve seen in 30 years. “This case points to the total failure of the juvenile justice system. This case should signal something to those in that system.” Young declined to say anything during his sentencing hearing when asked offered the chance by Raley. Young’s family watched, mostly in silence as Raley pronounced his sentence. Because of the jury’s guilty verdict, Raley said, as well as the statements made by the victim’s parents he “without hesitation and from the belief that no other sentence could be rendered in this case” sentenced Young to life in prison without parole as well as to a 20-year consecutive sentence for the use of a handgun in the commission of a felony.
oyster project is just one of a series of projects designed to get local residents and fishermen to help restore the bay and local waterways through their own volunteer efforts. The second phase of the plan will be to recruit volunteers in the Hellen Creek community in Calvert County to seed oysters there, while the third phase will be to produce research materials that will teach others how to seed their own oysters. McGuire said the Circle C Oyster Ranch was invaluable in helping them get started. “This is our first oyster project,” McGuire said. “We realized we could do it ourselves but we needed training. “The biggest benefit we get is the training.” The oysters seeded in the St. Thomas Creek will stay there for two years as they grow and mature, McGuire said, and then will be taken to a permanent sanctuary in the Patuxent River. “That’s the plan; to get people growing oysters to benefit the water quality in the streams, then move it to the main river to strengthen the spawning stock,” McGuire said. Pelz said that anglers like those McGuire and Cotugno represent are those who have the most to gain or lose from the health of the local waterways and the bay. “People in sport fishing are getting the idea this is a way they can help,” Pelz said. “It’s bringing along people who have a vested interest in improving things.”
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The County Times
Thursday, March 20, 2008
Section A -
Obituaries Lola Potter Clarke L o l a P o t t e r Clarke, of Wo o d i n ville, Wash., died March 15. L o l a is survived by her beloved brother, Edsel Potter; her sisters: Jean Whittemore, JoAnn Schlusemeyer, and Elvy Hovarter; children Tom Newbourne and Nancy Pejovich; stepson: Robert Clarke stepdaughter:Thorne Clarke; mother-in law of Linda Newbourne, Lou Pejovich and Barbara Clarke; Loving grandmother of Tamara Rieger, Craig Hinton, Scott Hinton, Carrie Hinton, Christen Sardano and Kim Smith and proud great-grandmother of Drew Rieger, Karly Rieger, William Hinton, Phoebe Hinton, Sydney Sardano, and Sabrina Scott. She was born Nov. 28 in Dahlgren, Va. Raised as one of seven children born to Vinnie and Carrie Potter, Lola treasured her friends and family. She traveled and enjoyed her life as a Navy wife as well as a career woman working at the Pentagon. Lola loved to dance, golf, decorate, sail, knit, sew, solve crossword puzzles and gourmet cooking. Learning was her passion, and she was not be satisfied with just learning – she became an expert at everything she took on!!! She will be dearly missed and always loved. The family will receive friends Thursday, March 20 from 9 – 10 a.m. in the Mattingley-Gardiner Funeral Home, where a Funeral Service will be held at 10 a.m. with Deacon George L’Heureux officiating. Interment will follow at Immaculate Heart of Mary Cemetery, Lexington Park. Arrangements provided by the Mattingley-Gardiner Funeral Home, P.A.
Robert F.”Cookie” Cook, 68 Rober t F.”Cookie” Cook, 68 of Ridge died in his residence March 14. F o r merly from Wa s h i n g ton, D.C., where he was a teenager, he moved to St. Mary’s County with his preceding guardian, John K. Erly. Mr. Cook lived a fulfilling life being once married and having two grown children and two grandchildren. Retiring from the State of Maryland after 25 years, he was an active member of the Ridge Volunteer Rescue Squad. He leaves behind two children, Robert A. Cook and Kimberly E. Cook and their mother Marie A. Cook. He also leaves behind two grandchildren, and the children of Robert A. Cook and daughter-in-law Laura L. Cook, Justin A. Cook and Miranda L. Cook, his extended family, sister of Marie A. Cook: Janice L. Cooke and her husband Bob along with their daughter and the niece of Robert F. Cook, Pamela L. Drechsler. Pamela’s husband, Bob Drechsler and their two children, Todd and Megan Drechsler; Childhood friend and family, Maurice Erly and his wife Patricia and their three sons, Jay, Brian and Steven Erly. The family received friends in the MattingleyGardiner Funeral Home, P.A. Wednesday, March 19 from 2 – 3 p.m., where a memorial service was held at 3 p.m. with Deacon George L’Heureux officiating. Interment was private. Memorial contributions may be made to the Ridge
Volunteer Rescue, P.O. Box 456, Ridge, MD 20680 and/ or the American Heart Association, 415 N. Charles Street, Baltimore, MD 21201-4101. Arrangements provided by the Mattingley-Gardiner Funeral Home, P.A.
Lt. Colonel Thomas Harrison Ewell, Sr. USAF (ret.), 91 Lt. Colonel Thomas Harrison Ewell, Sr. USAF (ret.), 91, of Hollywood, Md. died March 15 in his residence. Born Feb. 23, 1917 in Compton Md., he was the son of the late Guy Stanley Ewell, Sr. and Eunice Marie Ewell. A veteran World War II pilot, Harrison retired from his duties in the Air Force in 1961. He continued a career in Civil Service until fully retiring to his St. Mary’s County home in 1982. He is survived by his daughter Judith Marie Ewell, his son Thomas H. Ewell, Jr. and wife Louise Gail of Hollywood; his granddaughter Adrienne M. Casteen and husband Michael of Pisgah Forest, N.C., his granddaughter Kimberley D. Ewell of Hollywood; his great-grandson Logan B. Casteen; his brothers Guy Stanley Ewell, Jr. of Hollywood, Leonard E. Ewell of Clearwater Fla., and Allen E. Ewell of Hollywood; his sisters Esther Della Collins of N.C., and Eunice M. Fairchild of Silver Springs Md. Harrison was preceded in death by his wife Lillian Louise and his brother Daniel A. Ewell. The family will receive friends from 5 – 7 p.m. Monday, March 24 at the Brinsfield Funeral Home in Leonardtown. A Funeral Service will be conducted at 7 p.m. in the funeral home chapel. Pastor Dale Skurla will conduct the service. Internment will be at Arlington National Cemetery the following week at 3 p.m. Tuesday, April 1. Memorial contributions may be made to the American Diabetes Association, Washington DC-MD Office, 1025 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20036-4104.
Johnie Albert Hines, 77 J o h nie Albert Hines, 77, of Lexington Park died March 16 in his Residence. Bor n Jan. 3, 1931, in LaGrange, Georgia, he was the son of the late Roy Dewey Hines and Hattie Burgess Hines. He served 23 years in U.S. Navy, retiring as a Chief Petty Officer, followed by 17 years of service at Grumman Corporation as a structural engineer. Johnie loved to play bingo and was a talented furniture maker. He is survived by his wife, Violet Mary Hines of Lexington Park; and his children, Gerald Skalby of Canada, Daniel Skalby of Lusby, Md., Robin Little of California, Md., Roy Hines of Lexington Park, Teresa Pace of California, Md., and Peggy Hines of Austin, Texas.; stepchildren, Debbie Gonzalez of Clinton, Md., and Eddie Keister of Lexington Park; Nine grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. Relatives and friends are invited to Mr. Hines’ Life Celebration at the Brinsfield Funeral Home, P.A., Leonardtown Friday, March 21 from 5 – 8 p.m. Interment will be private.
Eleanor “Faye” McLaughlin, 46 Eleanor “Faye” McLaug hlin, 46, of Leonardtown, and for merly of Maddox, Md., died March 13, 2008 in Washington Hospital Center. Born Aug. 25, 1961 in Leonardtown she was the daughter of the late Lewis Lorenza and Alice Elizabeth Gragan Hill. She was the loving wife of William Thomas McLaughlin, Sr. whom she married July 19, 1985 in Leonardtown. She is survived by her son William Thomas McLaughlin Jr. of Bushwood, and her stepchildren Crystal Downs, Linda Tippett and Douglas McLaughlin as well as two grandchildren Jessie and Hannah Kolbe. She is also survived by her siblings; Alice and Betty Hill of Maddox, Md., Phil Hill of Oraville, Md., Miriam Cryer of Fla., Debbie Nelson of Clements, Janet Hunt of Tex and Kenny Hill of Helen. She was preceded in death by her brothers Roger and Donald Hill. The family received friends Monday, March 17 from 5 – 8 p.m. in the Mattingley-Gardiner Funeral Home Chapel, Leonardtown, where prayers were said at 7 p.m. A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated Tuesday, March 18 at 10 a.m. in Our Lady of the Wayside Catholic Church, Chaptico with Fr. Timothy Baer officiating. Interment followed in Charles Memorial Gardens, Leonardtown. Pallbearers were Rodney Hill, Dave Hill, Johnnie Wathen, Stevie Nelson, Robert Hill and Bruce Knott. Arrangements provided by the Mattingley-Gardiner Funeral Home, P.A.
Gerard (Jerry) James Rolape, 65 G e rard (Jerry) James Rolape, 65, of Bushwood, died March 8 in St. Mary’s Hospital in Leonardtown, after a long illness. He was born June 12, 1942, in Fort Wayne, Ind. the youngest of six children of the late Blanche Gadbois Rolape and Ralph Rolape Sr. He joined the Army in 1960 and became a member of the Signal Corps. In 1966, he married Ruth Elizabeth Laughlin-Heath of Santa Rosa, Calif. Ruth died from an illness in 1984. Jerry married Mary Ida Beitzell of Bushwood, in Holy Angels Catholic Church in 1986. While in the Army, Jerry was assigned tours in Okinawa, Japan, Sinop, Turkey and Asmara, Ethiopia among other places. During the Vietnam War Era, he was stationed in South East Asia where he traveled with small groups incountry to Laos and Cambodia meeting with local tribal leaders and getting their permission to install Department of Defense (DoD) communications antennas. Stateside, he was assigned to bases in California, New Jersey and finally, Arlington, Va. Jerry joined the Defense Intelligence Agency doing work similar to his Army experiences. He would often leave one coast and travel around the world visiting DoD communications installations and several (sometimes many) months later, return to the States on the opposite coast. Wherever he traveled, Jerry used his spare time to visit art and history museums and explore the cultures of the countries he visited. By the first Gulf War, Jerry had
risen to the position of the DoD Special Intelligence Networks Communications Manager. Jerry loved electronics and his job allowed him to work with systems as basic as “HAM” Radio to the most sophisticated data and voice systems in the world. Jerry retired March 2, 1996 after completing 36 years of federal service. He received numerous awards including: Three Recommendations of Outstanding Performance, Two Quality Salary Increases, Sustained Superior Performance, Defense Unit Citation Awards for service during Desert Storm and for service during the U.N. crisis in Somalia, Defense Intelligence Agency Certificates of Appreciation and numerous Letters of Appreciation from commands where work and service was performed while on Temporary Duty Status. Upon his retirement to St. Mary’s County, Jerry continued to pursue his hobbies with Large Scale Garden Railroads and Computers. He loved nature, hiking, astronomy and abstract and surrealist art. He and his wife Mary Ida created a wild life habitat on the Beitzell family farm - which gave him the excuse to buy and run tractors and farm equipment while pretending to “work” on the habitat. Despite concerted attempts by the Beitzell family, Jerry never became a true fisherman - his idea of a fishing trip was to jump in the boat, cruise to Cobb Island and eat oysters and rockfish at Captain John’s. Jerry is survived by his wife, Mary Ida Rolape, his stepson, Gail Heath and his wife Kay Heath and grand-child Jennifer Heath all of Sterling Va., his sister Aileen Franz and her husband Herman Franz of Decatur, Ind., his sister Rosemary Iacona and her husband Louis Iacona of Pinopolis, S.C. and his brother Ralph Rolape Jr. and his wife Dianna Rolape of Herrin, Ill. He is also survived by his mother in-law, Frances Beitzell of Bushwood, and inlaws Charles “Chuck” Beitzell and his wife Rose Beitzell of Bushwood, Eileen Beitzell of Leonardtown and Mable Bailey and her husband, Thomas Bailey of Bushwood and more than 40 nieces and nephews. He will be greatly missed by all. A memorial service is planned for late April at his home in Bushwood.
Robert “Dickie” Richard Ryce, Sr., 64 Robert “Dickie” Richard Ryce, Sr., 64, of Mechanicsville, died March 11, 2008 in George Wa s h i n g -
ton University Hospital. Born Sept. 30, 1943 in Leonardtown, he was the son of the late Levin Oliver and Mary Louise Ryce. He was the loving husband of Dorothy “Dottie” Victoria Ryce whom he married Aug. 1, 1964 in Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, Mechanicsville. He is survived by his children: Ricky Ryce and his wife Elise and Tammy Carpenter and her husband Ken all of Mechanicsville; sister: Peggy Derrick and her husband Pete of Wilmington, N.C. and four grandchildren: Amanda Ryce, Cadence Ryce, Wayne Carpenter and Cal Carpenter all of Mechanicsville. Mr. Ryce was a lifelong St. Mary’s County resident where he graduated from Margaret Brent High School in the Class of 1962. He was an electrician for Ryce Electric of Mechanicsville for 43 years until his retirement on July 25, 2003. Dickie was a member of the St. Mary’s County Softball League; he enjoyed watching Redskins games, fishing, woodworking and spending time with his grandchildren. The family received friends Sunday, March 16 from 2 – 5 p.m. in the Mattingley-Gardiner Funeral Home, where Prayers were said at 3 p.m. A Funeral Service was held Monday, March 17 at 10 a.m. in Mt. Zion United Methodist Church of Laurel Grove, 27108 Mount Zion Church Road, Mechanicsville, MD 20659 with Rev. Ann Strickler officiating. Interment will follow in Charles Memorial Gardens, Leonardtown. Pallbearers were Robbie Cooper, Stan Guy, Duffy Owens, Timmy Carpenter, Daryl Burch and Mike Anderson. Honorary Pallbearers were his grandchildren Amanda Ryce, Cadence Ryce, Wayne Carpenter and Cal Carpenter. Contributions may be made to: Mt. Zion United Methodist Church of Laurel Grove, 27108 Mount Zion Church Road, Mechanicsville, MD 20659 and/or Mechanicsville Volunteer Rescue Squad, P.O. Box 15, Mechanicsville, MD 20659. Arrangements provided by the Mattingley-Gardiner Funeral Home, P.A.
vices for Saco-Lowell, Inc., a textile machinery company. He received his Bachelor of Sciences Degree in Mechanical Engineering at Iowa State University. Mr. Sopousek is survived by his daughter, Jan Brandstetter, of Mechanicsville, a granddaughter, Sheila Greer of Hughesville and a great granddaughter, Tabitha Greer of Hughesville. In addition to his parents and spouse, he is preceded in death by a granddaughter, Lisa Marie Brandstetter. A Memorial Service was held Friday, March 14 at 10:30 a.m. in the Asbury-Solomons Health Care Center, Solomons. Inurnment will be private. Contributions may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association, P.O. Box 1889, LaPlata, MD 20646. Condolences to the family may be made at www. brinsfieldfuneral.com. Arrangements by the Brinsfield Funeral Home, P.A., Leonardtown.
Madison Renae Thompson, 4 Months Madison Renae Thompson, 4 Months old, of California died March 14 in St. Mary’s Hospital, Leonardtown. Born Nov. 10, 2007 in Baltimore, Md., she was the daughter of Shawn Patrick Thompson, Sr. and Christina Rae Bowen of California. She is survived by a sister, Myressa R. Thompson, four brothers, Thomas W. Bowen, Austin T. Bowen, Shawn P. Thompson, Jr. and Alex C. Thompson all of California, a maternal great grandmother Betty Courchen of Mechanicsville, maternal grandparents, Charles and Karen Leach of Lusby, Md. and many aunts and uncles. The family received friends Tuesday, March 18 from 6 – 8 p.m. in the Brinsfield Funeral Home, P.A. in Leonardtown. A Graveside Service was conducted at 1 p.m. Wednesday, March 19 in Charles Memorial Gardens, Leonardtown. Deacon George L’Heureux will conduct the service.
John M. Sopousek, 86 John M. Sopousek, 86, of Solomons died March 10 in Asbury-Solomons Health Care Center, Solomons. Born April 10, 1921 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, he was the son of the late Milver Sopousek and Irene L. Janacek Sopousek. Mr. Sopousek married the late Doris Anne Lebel Aug. 5, 1946 in Bamberg, Germany. Mr. Sopousek served in the U.S. Army from 1944 until 1951. He was later Vice President of Marketing Ser-
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Section A -
Gaming Continued from page A- ing illegally. Deputy Cindy Allen, spokeswoman for the sheriff, said business owners could find deputies taking the machines out of their establishments if they refuse to comply with the law. “They’re expected to comply with the law or enforcement action could take place, up to
The County Times and including seizure of the machines,” Allen said. “We’re making arrangements for a storage facility… we’re hoping that they’ll either give machines back or do what they need to do to get into compliance.” The opinion handed down from Attorney General Douglas Gansler’s office March 10 stated that some electronic gaming machines could be illegal based on several facets of law. Allen said compliance checks showed that several establishment owners operating the machines were not in compliance with one facet of the law or on as many as five.
Photo by Guy Leonard
An investigator with the Maryland State Police checks out gaming machines at the Brass Rail March 13.
Commissioners Make Additional Cuts To Budget By Guy Leonard Staff Writer The St. Mary’s County Board of County Commissioners ended their last of three budget work sessions Monday, making about $2.2 million in additional cuts to the county’s operating budget to meet with expected revenues. Many of those cuts, about $1.7 million, came out of the budget request of Sheriff Timothy K. Cameron which some of the commissioners said was over and above the $27.8 million they were willing to fund. Cameron’s budget request was $32.2 million, adjusted for compensation and benefits, according to Chief Financial Officer Elaine Kramer. Commissioners said they would fund two additional deputy and two correctional officer positions but fell short of supporting Cameron’s recruiting goal of 25 additional positions throughout the agency. The commissioners did choose to support on improvement to the sheriff’s retirement plan, however that would allow accrual of retirement benefits of two-and-a-half percent of salary a year after 2008 above the current two percent. “We’re just trying to get it to fit into the revenues available,” said Commissioner Thomas Mattingly (D-Leonardtown). Commissioner Lawrence Jarboe (RGolden Beach) said that despite the cuts made to Cameron’s budget request, the office was still getting an increase in its piece of the budgetary pie. “Even so he’s getting the lion’s share of the increase percentage wise in county government, he and the Board of Education,” Jarboe said. “He still ended up $500,000 over baseline.” County Administrator John Savich said that the total cuts to make up the $3.15 million shortfall as of March 17 came from across the board, though much of it was cut from Cameron’s request. “Virtually every agency lost something,” Savich said. “The commissioners tried to balance the needs of the community and still keep it [operating expenses] affordable.” The commissioners are expected to adopt the final draft of the budget at their March 25
meeting; it will then go to public hearing starting April 22. Kramer said the final budget figure for fiscal 2009 would be about $194 million. In the past three weeks of budget work sessions the commissioners cut about $7.1 million from the total budget, she said. Along with cutting the request of the sheriff, and nearly every county agency, the commissioners also decided not to fund any reclassifications of county employees working at higher responsibilities than their current pay rates as well as conversions of several long-time part time employees to full-time status. Kramer said that about $500,000 was taken from various departments in total and another $100,000 was withheld by commissioners that might have gone to non-county government groups ranging from Walden/Sierra to the Big Brothers, Big Sisters program. Jarboe said that the increase in the fire and rescue tax rate requested by n i zat ions three volunteer orgawas also reflected in the budget. He said that the commissioners should return to the budget and attempt to make further cuts in less critical services to compensate for both the tax rate increase and the increase in the rate of property assessments for county residents. Jarboe said he would like to see as much as $750,000 to $1 million in additional cuts if possible. “We need to go back and look at non-essential savings, at whether there are some things the county should be funding and maybe make consolidations,” Jarboe said.
Thursday, March 20, 2008
Those included whether the type of machine was legal, whether the machine was being operated for the benefit of a local charity or qualified organization or how the proceeds from the machines were being disbursed. Violations were found starting March 13, when sheriff’s deputies, state police investigators and officers from the Maryland Comptroller’s Office began their investigation into the more than 300 machines situated in nearly 30 locations across the county, Allen said. Investigators worked throughout the weekend to compile a list of which businesses where in compliance. Cameron said there were 16 establishments still operating the machines last Thursday when the compliance checks started, but about eight either did not have them or had done away with them. Bob Sorrells, owner of Fred’s Liquors in Charlotte Hall, said he would comply with the orders of law enforcement but he would wait to see what the week brought. “We’ll hang onto them until we here from the sheriff,” Sorrells said of the machines. “All my customers keep [asking] why St. Mary’s and not Anne Arundel or Calvert County? “But we try not to answer much.” Sorrells was referring to the same kind of
machines that have been allowed by law to operate for several years now, but are under siege by a bill supported by Senate President Thomas V. “Mike” Miller (D-Chesapeake Beach). That bill would eliminate all electronic gaming machines in the state by July 1, save in Anne Arundel and Calvert counties, which would have a grace period. “There’s too much favoritism being played here,” said Marcello Costa of Impact Games, which owns many of the machines being operated here in St. Mary’s. “Now we’re [St. Mary’s] the black sheep of the pull-tab dispenser saga. “We don’t get a break.” Costa said the three manufacturers that operated the machines in Maryland do not produce the machine cited as legal in the Attorney General’s opinion, but the ones being used are authentic pull-tab machines and not slot machines. The machines had predetermined winners in them in a preset order, Costa said, and did not generate winners inside the mechanism. They also had been put through laboratory tests to show that they were fair. The machine deemed legal in Chesapeake Amusement v. Riddle in 2001 by the Court of Special Appeals was “like a dinosaur in a machine museum somewhere,” Costa said. “The machines have evolved.”
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Volunteers at the St. Thomas Creek oyster launch sported their own mascot on Tuesday, a dog named Mozart.
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