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A Double Celebration Of Maryland's Beginnings

From Staff Reports
Thursday, March 16, 2006

Maryland's birthday will be celebrated next week at both St. Mary's County sites that claim to be the birthplace of the state.

A wreath-laying at the St. Clement's Island historical marker, near where the first European settlers landed on March 25, 1634, will commemorate that event on March 25.

Celebrants will gather at the St. Clement's Island-Potomac River Museum in Coltons Point for the event, which begins at 11 a.m. and will include comments by the St. Mary's County commissioners and a keynote speech by Maryland Secretary of State Mary D. Kane. The wreath-laying ceremony will conclude the celebration.

A light lunch will be available after the program. To make reservations for the lunch or for more information about the program, contact program coordinator Kim Cullins at 301-769-2385 or by e-mail at kim_cullins@co.saint-marys.md.us .

Historic St. Mary's City, the site of Maryland's first colonial capital, will commemorate the colonists' landing with a day-long program March 26.

Special activities will begin at 10 a.m. with the second annual Kite Festival. Visitors are encouraged to bring and fly their kites.

The official Maryland Day program will begin at 1:30 p.m. in the historic Town Center. On the schedule are speeches, awards and the Ceremony of the Flags, in which children representing each Maryland jurisdiction present their county's colors.

Rep. Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) will speak, followed by Harvard-trained sociologist Gabrielle Tayac, who will deliver the keynote address. Tayac, a member of the Piscataway tribe, has published widely on American Indian issues. She is a curator for the National Museum of the American Indian. She will talk about the heritage of Southern Maryland's native people, and what happened to their communities after the colony was founded.

The Cross Bottony award will be presented to John Krugler, author of "English and Catholic: The Lords Baltimore in the Seventeenth Century"; and to Melvin Price, who retired in 2005 after 32 years on the staff of Historic St. Mary's City. Color guards from the St. Maries Citty Militia and Patuxent River Naval Air Station also will participate. The Great Mills High School Symphonic Band will provide patriotic music.

At 4 p.m., the St. Mary's College of Maryland Orchestra, members of the Chesapeake Orchestra and the St. Mary's County High School Orchestra Ensemble, featuring students from Chopticon, Great Mills and Leonardtown high schools, will perform Beethoven's Symphony No. 5 and Mozart's "Requiem." Jeffrey Silberschlag will direct the ensemble in the Athletic and Recreation Center at St. Mary's College.

There is no charge for the concert, and admission to Historic St. Mary's City exhibits -- the Maryland Dove, Town Center, the Woodland Indian Hamlet and the Godiah Spray Tobacco Plantation -- are waived on Maryland Day.

Extension for Drug Plan?

Rep. Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) is asking the Bush administration to extend the penalty-free enrollment period for the new Medicare prescription drug plan.

On Tuesday, in anticipation of President Bush's speech on his prescription drug plan scheduled yesterday in Silver Spring, Hoyer outlined his concerns with the May 15 deadline.

Originally designed to encourage enrollment, the May deadline and subsequent penalties, Hoyer said in a statement Tuesday, are looming over Medicare recipients as they struggle to make sense of a complex plan.

In a letter to the White House, Hoyer and 10 other members of the House Democratic leadership requested that the administration extend the deadline and waive any penalties for late signup until Dec. 31.

Under the new drug benefit, Maryland seniors can choose from 47 different plans offered by 19 different companies.

Hoyer's call for extending the deadline follows his discussions of the drug plan with senior citizens last Friday in La Plata. He hosted a town hall meeting at the Richard Clark Senior Center.

So far in the implementation of the program, Hoyer said in the statement, "over 20 states have declared public health emergencies and been forced to pick up the tab for tens of thousands of vulnerable seniors and people with disabilities who have been left without the medicines they desperately need."

Human Relations Awards

The St. Mary's County Human Relations Commission is sponsoring its 20th annual Human Relations Awareness Day Breakfast and Awards Presentation on April 8 at the Harry Lundenburg School of Seamanship.

This year's theme is "Human Relations and Our Global Community." The guest speaker will be Iris Carter Ford, professor of anthropology at St. Mary's College of Maryland. Doors will open at 8:30 a.m. and breakfast will be served at 9.

In selecting the candidates for its annual awards, the commission sought individuals who have been instrumental in providing community services and promoting human rights. Nominations were requested from the community. The award recipients for this year are Keith Fairfax, Don Cropp and Joe St. Clair, Molly Gates and the Shop With A Cop Program.

To make reservations for the breakfast, contact the St. Mary's County Division of Community Services at 301-475-4200, Ext. 1849. The cost is $12 a person.

Fete for Working Women

The Charles County Chamber of Commerce is seeking sponsors for its 37th annual Working Woman's Appreciation Day, scheduled on April 27 in Waldorf.

Working Woman's Appreciation Day gives chamber member businesses an opportunity to thank female employees for their contributions. The event features a luncheon, a fashion show, performances and a ceremony recognizing Charles County's Working Woman of the Year.

The chamber is seeking businesses that can donate door prizes -- such as flower arrangements, gift certificates or jewelry -- and up to 325 small items for participants to take home with them. The small items, such as pens, pencils and notepads, can carry the contributing company's logo, but must be actual items, not printed paper or cards.

The theme of this year's event is "Life's a Beach." It will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Greater Waldorf Jaycees Community Center, 3090 Crain Hwy.

To become a sponsor or for more information, call the chamber office at 301-932-6500 or 301-870-3089 or send an e-mail to info@charlescountychamber.org .

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