Ban on Burning

A statewide ban on any type of outdoor burning has been ordered by the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and Maryland Governor Parris N. Glendening (D).

St. Mary's County will not permit any outdoor burning until drought conditions improve. Leaf composting and mulching are suggested as alternatives .

For questions in St. Mary's County, call the Environmental Health Office at 301-475-4321.

'Pet-Friendly' Car Tags

"Pet friendly" license plates are now being offered by the Maryland Vehicle Administration.

For a fee of $50, Maryland residents can replace their current license plates with the "pet friendly" plates that feature a logo of a Chesapeake Bay retriever and a cat, with the slogan "Spay and Neuter." Half of the fee will go to the animal protection agency of the motorist's choice.

The plates will help pay for spay and neuter programs in Maryland.

To buy a plate, contact the MVA or a local animal shelter, humane society or animal welfare league. For more information, call the MVA at 800-492-4575.

Program to Aid Farmers

The Maryland Department of Agriculture is offering a free silage testing program to drought-impacted farmers. The MDA will test for nitrates in forage and aflatoxin in corn.

Farmers should bring samples to the Maryland Cooperative Extension Service in their county. In St. Mary's County, the Cooperative Extension Office is located in Room 54 of the Marek Building on Peabody Street in Leonardtown.

Samples should be placed in a clear plastic bag and labeled with identification. Refrigerate the sample as soon as possible and keep it cold while in transport.

Testing will be performed by the MDA's State Chemist office.

Singing Group Seeks Tenors, Baritones

St. Maries Musica, a southern Maryland singing group, is looking for interested men who sing tenor or baritone. The group has 21 members who perform traditional madrigal music, major choral works and contemporary pieces. The group also gives costumed performances each Christmas season for the State House Madrigal Dinners in St. Mary's County and has sung at the The White House and Kennedy Center.

Most Musica singers have extensive singing and performing backgrounds. To join Musica, prepare one solo number and expect to perform a group music reading piece in front of the audition committee. For more information on the group, call Barb Lorton at 301-373-8181.