CCCC, Hopkins Link for Engineering Degree

Charles County Community College and Johns Hopkins University have joined to offer a bachelor's degree program in engineering science.

Students in the program will be able to earn the first two years of required credits through CCCC at the La Plata or St. Mary's County campus, then complete the four-year degree through Johns Hopkins at the Southern Maryland Higher Education Center in California in St. Mary's.

The new program, which begins next fall, is a "response to the demand for access to more bachelor's degree programs close to home" for Southern Marylanders, according to a statement from the community college.

"This partnership with JHU is one more example of how CCCC can offer in-demand programs and local access to bachelor's degrees to the tri-county area," CCCC President Elaine Ryan said in the statement.

Additional information is available on the college's Web site at www.charles.cc.md.us or by calling 301-934-7766, 301-870-3008 or 301-884-8131, Ext. 7766.

Drought, Heat Increase Threat of Wildfires

The continuing drought and this week's soaring temperatures are causing the state Forest Service to pay increasing attention to the threat of brush and forest fires.

A statement from the Department of Natural Resources, which includes the Forest Service, said there is particular concern in Southern Maryland and on the Eastern Shore, where rain has been more scarce than in the northern and western regions of the state.

A four-acre blaze near Dorsey Park in Hollywood late last week required 75 firefighters from 10 volunteer companies before the wildfire was controlled, the DNR said.

Will Williams, education specialist with the Forest Service in Southern Maryland, noted that most such fires are caused by people. While no statewide fire bans are in effect, he said, state law specifies that all burning within 200 feet of brush or woodland must be done between 4 p.m. and midnight, when winds usually are more calm.

Williams suggested area residents should hold off on burning until there has been some rain.

Hospital Advocacy Group Names Chairman

Ruth Wolf of Calvert County has been named chairman of the Board of Trustees for the Association of Maryland Hospitals and Health Systems, an organization that serves as an advocate for hospitals before legislative and regulatory bodies.

Wolf, the first nurse to hold this position, served on the board of Calvert Memorial Hospital for 13 years and chaired the group from 1992 to 1995.

She founded Adult Day Care of Calvert County and has been active in the local hospice organization. She was appointed to the county Planning Commission in 1995.

Her 50-year nursing career began at an Army hospital in Tuscaloosa, Ala. She and her husband, Bob, live in St. Leonard.

Precautions to Avoid Lyme Disease Urged

The Calvert County Health Department is cautioning residents to take precautions to avoid contracting Lyme disease.

The disease is transmitted through tick bites. The most dramatic sign of possible infection is a "bull's-eye" rash at the site of the tick bite, according to a statement from the department. The rash normally occurs within several days. Other symptoms are fever, headache, fatigue, stiff neck, joint pain and swollen lymph glands.

Common measures to avoid ticks include using repellents, wearing loose clothing that covers arms and legs, and checking for ticks on the skin every few hours while hiking, camping or playing in the woods or tall grass.

There were 659 cases of Lyme disease reported statewide last year.

Waldorf Labor Office to Be Closed Two Days

The Waldorf office of the state Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation will be closed today and tomorrow while renovations are completed. The office will reopen Monday.

People who need to file claims for unemployment insurance may call 301-645-8710 while the office is closed. Employers and people seeking jobs through the state Job Service may call 1-800-765-8692.

The Waldorf office is at 175 Post Office Rd.