washingtonpost.com
Calvert Bond Rating Adds Up to a Plus

By Christy Goodman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, May 1, 2008

Calvert County's financial advisers announced last week that the county had improved its bond rating with Standard and Poor's from a AA rating to a AA+.

The county maintained its bond rating with Fitch Ratings and Moody's Investors Service, which are AA+ and Aa2, respectively.

The higher bond rating immediately paid off with a lower interest rate of 3.69 percent on the more than $22 million bond sale the commissioners approved for capital projects last week.

"I think this is the lowest rate anyone has received in Maryland to date," Sam Ketterman, the county's financial adviser, told the commissioners.

Terry Shannon, county government's director of finance and budget, said the difference between a 4 percent and a 4.25 percent interest rate on the current bond package over 15 years would be about $533,000.

"That is important. The money we have to pay [in interest] is still taxpayer money," said Commissioners President Wilson H. Parran (D-Huntingtown).

First Librarian Honored

A new plaque will hang in Calvert Library Prince Frederick Branch to honor Mildred Hairston, the county's first librarian.

Hairston, a Calvert resident, served as a librarian from 1959 to 1984, years when the job included driving a bookmobile four days a week. In addition to the plaque, the Board of County Commissioners honored Hairston with a proclamation that highlighted her advocacy for senior citizens in the community.

Supporting Locals

The Charles County commissioners recently recognized Chick-fil-A and Beacon Printing for their support of the 2007 and 2008 Charles County Unity in OUR Community diversity forums.

Chick-fil-A of Waldorf supplied and distributed meals to all guests. Beacon Printing printed fliers, program booklets and signs.

Leonardtown Polling

Leonardtown residents will vote Tuesday for mayor and two members of the Town Council.

Anyone living in the corporate limits of Leonardtown who is already registered as a St. Mary's County voter is eligible to cast a ballot in the nonpartisan town election. Residents wishing to verify their voting status should call the Town Office at 301-475-9791.

Residents must go to the Town Office, in the Proffitt Building at 41660 Courthouse Dr., to vote. Polls will be open on Tuesday from noon to 7 p.m.

Seminar on Fire Sprinklers

A free seminar on fire sprinklers is scheduled Wednesday, from 1 to 3 p.m., at the J.T. Daugherty Conference Center in Lexington Park.

The program is designed for builders, homeowners, real estate agents and plumbers. Information on the St. Mary's County ordinance that requires sprinklers for all new single-family homes served by public water, with building permits issued after March 1, will be discussed.

Representatives from St. Mary's County government, the state fire marshal's office, Tyco Fire Products and Metropolitan Fire Protection will be available to answer questions.

A fire sprinkler activation demonstration will be presented by the Maryland Fire and Rescue Institute following the seminar. The seminar is free, but reservations are strongly encouraged. Call 888-442-8100 or e-mail ssnead@metfire.com.

Watershed Grant

Rep. Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) joined Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne and National Park Service Director Mary Bomar last week to award the Alice Ferguson Foundation a $200,000 grant for its Bridging the Watershed Initiative.

The initiative is a public-private education program that operates throughout the Potomac Watershed region. The funds were awarded through the National Park Service Centennial Challenge Initiative, part of the 100th anniversary celebration of the establishment of the service in 2016.

The Alice Ferguson Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving the environmental health and cultural heritage of the Potomac watershed. The foundation's Bridging the Watershed Initiative brings together high school teachers and students with Park Service staff to foster a better understanding of the environment, science and the national heritage.

Dunkirk Meeting

The Dunkirk Area Concerned Citizens Association is scheduled to conduct a general membership meeting today, at 7 p.m., at the Dunkirk Firehouse.

Valued Employees

Lisa Bachmann was honored as the St. Mary's County 2008 Distinguished Employee of the Year.

She is a fiscal specialist and has worked for the county since 2005.

Other nominees for this year's award were:

· Patricia Meyers, manager at Wicomico Golf Course.

· Janice Blackistone, fiscal specialist in the Land Use and Growth Management Department.

· Becky Trossbach, fiscal specialist in the Finance Department.

· Richard W. Russell, corporal in the Sheriff's Office.

Employees are nominated by supervisors or colleagues in their departments.

Health Service

The St. Mary's County Health Department recently honored 12 employees for their long-term service as Maryland state employees providing public health services to the county.

William B. Icenhower, St. Mary's health officer, called the employees' service of more than 10 years "a mark of their interest in and dedication toward public health, as well as, a measure of the camaraderie that exists at the health department."

Service awards went to:

· 10 years -- Paula Andreas, Jane Dodds, George Goodwin, Mona Smith and Yvette Thompson.

· 15 years -- Jack Lenderman and Rose Mary Longfield.

· 20 years -- Kim Engman and Mary Snavely.

· 25 years -- Vic Krasnokutsky, Cindy Spalding and Janet Williams.

Salute to Building Trades

Members of Southern Maryland's congressional delegation were in Charles County on Monday to deliver support for projects.

· Rep. Steny H. Hoyer (D) visited the College of Southern Maryland La Plata campus with a check for $286,899 in federal funds for the college's Partnership for the Advancement of Construction and Transportation Training program. The program offers courses and training for workers in the construction and transportation industries.

Much of the funding will be used for the development of new curriculum for the construction trades, including a new "boot camp" training model that prepares students for apprenticeships in carpentry, HVAC and electrical work. The 10-week program will provide alternative training, particularly for the under-employed and unemployed workforce in Southern Maryland, and will also be available for new high school graduates.

"The need for trained professionals in the trades is reaching alarming levels that threaten the well-being of Southern Maryland," CSM President Brad Gottfried said in a statement.

In recent years, Southern Maryland has been the fastest-growing region in the state. Workforce shortages in the residential and commercial building industries are reaching a critical point, Hoyer's office said.

· Also on Monday, Hoyer and Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin (D) joined representatives of the Trust for Public Land, the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association and the National Park Service in Piscataway National Park to announce the protection of an additional 73 acres of land directly across from George Washington's Mount Vernon estate.

The new park land adds to tracts already preserved to protect the historic view-shed along the Potomac River across from Mount Vernon.

Funds approved by Congress were allocated to the Park Service for the protection of the park land. The newly protected land comprises 63 acres that will be incorporated into Piscataway National Park and 10 acres that belong to private landowners Tim and Liz Cullen, who have agreed not to develop the land.

"Today Marylanders can celebrate and enjoy the addition of 73 acres to Piscataway Park," Cardin said in a statement. "Across the Potomac River, visitors to Mount Vernon also will benefit because this critical viewshed will be protected forever and will remain just as it was during George Washington's time."

The land will be managed as part of Piscataway Park, a unit of the National Park Service, consisting of approximately 5,000 acres along the Potomac River.

Aiding Female Veterans

Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.) joined as a co-sponsor last month in introducing the Women Veterans Health Improvement Act of 2008.

The measure is aimed at preparing the Department of Veterans Affairs for the unprecedented influx of female veterans of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan who will turn to the VA for care in coming years.

The bill addresses some of the unique health-care needs of female veterans by creating programs to improve care for military sexual trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder, increasing research on the current barriers to health care and expanding programs for women at all VA medical centers. Veterans officials estimate the number of women receiving care will double in the next five years.

View all comments that have been posted about this article.

© 2008 The Washington Post Company