'National Night Out' Returns to Charles

More than 80 Charles County neighborhoods will celebrate "National Night Out" on Monday. The event is sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch programs and is designed to foster positive relationships between police and the communities they serve.

The county has received national recognition for its past observance of the night, which promotes efforts to prevent crime and drug use, according to a news release from the sheriff's office. Participating residents can relax at a block party, sign up for Neighborhood Watch or simply turn on a porch light.

For information, call the sheriff's office at 301-932-3519.

St. Mary's to Recycle Mixed Paper

St. Mary's County residents will be able to recycle mixed paper products--such as computer paper, letterhead, envelopes and notepads--starting tomorrow, according to the county's Department of Public Works.

These paper products can be dropped off at six local convenience stores at no cost. Paper clips and staples may be left attached, but the recycling centers cannot accept carbon paper, books, paper towels or food wrappers.

Recycling could reduce the county's waste disposal costs. For information, call Public Works at 301-863-8400.

Human Services Board Seeks Members

The Charles County Board of Commissioners is seeking seven county residents to serve on the Human Services Partnership Board. The Partnership will consolidate the state-mandated functions of the County Core Service Agency (CSA) and the Local Management Board (LMB) into a unified agency to administer, manage and deliver human services programs.

The partnership, to be appointed by the county commissioners, will include 15 members--eight public sector representatives and seven private sector representatives. The private sector representatives will include a citizen-at-large and two citizen or consumer representatives of each of the following: mental health needs, children and families; and mental health and children, youth and family provider groups.

Residents interested in serving on the partnership must submit a letter of interest and a brief resume by mail, fax or e-mail to Shirley M. Gore, Clerk to the County Commissioners, by Friday. The address is P.O. Box B, La Plata, MD 20646; the fax number is (301) 645-0560; and Gore's e-mail address is gores@govt.co.charles.md.us. For more information, e-mail Gore or call her at (301) 645-0544 or (301) 870-3000, or the Maryland TDD at 7-1-1.

Hazardous Wastes to Be Collected

Charles County's next household hazardous waste collection will take place on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Charles County Sanitary Landfill on Billingsley Road East, between Piney Church Road and Route 5.

Items accepted free of charge include pesticides, herbicides, fertilizer, gasoline, motor oil, antifreeze, paint, cleaning supplies, pool chemicals and batteries. Materials should be kept in their original containers whenever possible and brought to the collection site in cardboard boxes.

Household hazardous waste collection is held on the first Saturday of each month through December.

For information, call the Charles County Department of Public Facilities at (301) 932-3599 or (301) 870-2778, or the landfill information service at (301) 932-5656.

Arts Council Offers Grants

The St. Mary's County Arts Council will fund art and community organizations in the production and presentation of art and cultural events in St. Mary's County. The deadline for submissions is Oct. 1.

Funding for the grants comes from the Maryland State Arts Council. To be eligible, an organization must have been in existence for one year and be a nonprofit organization. The St. Mary's County Art Council awards grants twice yearly.

Funding decisions are based on the artistic merit and feasibility of a project.

Applications may be picked up at the Department of Recreation and Parks office in Leonardtown. For information or to receive an application in the mail, call (301) 475-6868.

Safety Class Set for Babysitters

St. Mary's Hospital is offering a Safe Sitter Program for teenagers. The program will teach young people basic First Aid, rescue breathing, care for a choking child and more.

The class will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily, from Aug. 7 to 14.

Spaces are limited. For information or to register, call (301) 475-6019.

Orchestra Schedules Auditions

The Chamber Orchestra of Southern Maryland in Concert (COSMIC) is currently auditioning community musicians for the orchestra's 1999-2000 season.

Rehearsals for the orchestra's Oct. 29 concert begin Sept. 7 at 7:30 p.m. in the Loffler Senior Center on Chancellors Run Road in California. Rehearsals will be held regularly on Tuesdays thereafter.

COSMIC is the region's only chamber orchestra. It is made up of local professionals, semi-professionals, talented amateurs and a small number of gifted students.

For information on auditions or the upcoming season, call COSMIC Board President Laura Theofilis at (301) 994-0221 or Board Secretary Lynn Keates at (301) 373-5277.

Charles Landfill Extends Hours

Service hours have been extended at the Charles County landfill, composting facility and recycling centers, according to county commissioners. New hours for the landfill and composting area, both located on Billingsley Road East in Waldorf, are from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Trash disposal at the landfill costs $57 a ton. Yard waste can be dumped free of charge at the composting facility.

Hours also were extended for the Gilbert Run Recycling Center in Dentsville and the Breeze Farm Recycling Center in Cobb Island. Both are now open on Wednesdays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

School Starts Peer Mediation

Leonardtown High School in St. Mary's County will bolster its mentoring efforts and start a peer education program with a $10,000 grant it received from the state Department of Education.

The peer education program will allow students involved in disputes to find a compromise through the help of student mediators. Students will gain listening, critical thinking and problem-solving skills, guidance counselor Kristin Hurley said in a statement.

Twenty students were selected for the new program and spent a July weekend in training at St. Mary's College. The program's next meeting will be at 9 a.m. Wednesday in the Leonardtown High School media center.