Swimming Restrictions Lifted

St. Mary's County health officials gave their clearance for swimming and water skiing in Breton Bay last week, five days after they had warned residents to stay out of the water after an overflow at the Leonardtown sewage treatment plant.

Laboratory tests of water samples taken Monday by the state Department of the Environment showed bacterial levels back to normal in the bay.

Local officials from the Metropolitan Commission, the Health Department, Emergency Management and Leonardtown are developing a response plan to notify residents if a similar overflow problem occurs again.

Thunderstorms and day-long showers Aug. 25 dropped more than seven inches of rain in the Leonardtown area, leading to untreated sewage flowing from two large lagoons into Town Run and from there into Breton Bay.

Home Depot Opens First Area Store

The Home Depot home improvement retail chain opened its first Southern Maryland store Thursday in Waldorf.

The company marked the grand opening with a $1,500 donation to Habitat for Humanity of Southern Maryland.

The 115,000-square-foot store, which has an additional 18,000 square feet devoted to a garden center, will employ about 165 people, with three-fourths of them hired locally, according to a company statement.

With the opening of the Waldorf store, Home Depot has 19 stores in Maryland and 859 nationwide.

Orchestra Heralds New Season

The Chamber Orchestra of Southern Maryland in Concert (COSMIC) has announced its 1999-2000 season, as well as personnel, concert and ticket information.

COSMIC has invited Chris Gosper back for another season as music director and conductor. The season will begin just in time for Halloween, with an Oct. 29 opening night concert, featuring favorites "Night on Bald Mountain" by Mussorgsky and "Peer Gynt" by Grieg.

The Patuxent Presbyterian Church, on Route 4 and Kingston Creek Road in California, will be the site of three performances this season, starting with the Oct. 29 concert.

The Dec. 12 holiday performance will be a departure from past concerts. COSMIC will share the stage with local choirs in presenting "Christmas with COSMIC." The concert, at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in Lexington Park, will end with the sing-along sounds of Handel's "Messiah."

The annual COSMIC for Kids Concert will be Feb. 20 in the new Great Mills High School auditorium. It will feature six young piano soloists in the "Charlie Brown Suite for Piano."

The April 8 concert returns to Patuxent Presbyterian Church for an evening of "COSMIC in Space," featuring music from the "Star Trek" series by Goldsmith and "Jupiter from the Planets" by Holst. The May 20 concert at the Patuxent Presbyterian Church will bring to a close the season with Schubert's Symphony No. 7 ("The Great") and piano soloist Larry Crawford.

COSMIC continues to audition musicians in the region for a few remaining orchestra positions for the upcoming season. COSMIC is the Southern Maryland community's only chamber orchestra. Its members are local adult professionals, semi-professionals and amateurs, as well as a few students. Rehearsals begin at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Loffler Activity Center, on Chancellor's Run Road in California, and every Tuesday thereafter.

Season ticket subscriptions, which include all five concerts, are on sale for $30 for an individual and $60 for a family. For the first time, COSMIC has $25 discounted single tickets for the season available for seniors older than 60, students, people with disabilities and enlisted personnel (E-1 through E-4).

For more information on auditions or season tickets, call Laura Theofilis at 301-994-0221 or Lynn Keates at 301-373-5277.

Open Burning Restrictions End

Open burning restrictions were lifted Thursday throughout Southern Maryland after a reduction in fire danger levels because of recent rainfall.

But Maryland Department of Natural Resources Forest Service officials continued to urge caution in planning or burning any open-air fires.

Agency officials also reminded area residents that there are some burning regulations in effect throughout the year, regardless of rain or drought conditions. Those include: burning within 200 feet of tall grass, brush and woodland must be conducted between 4 p.m. and midnight; no burning on windy days; all necessary permits must be obtained; there must be a fire break around the burn site cleared down to mineral soil; and adequate personnel, tools and equipment must stay on the scene until the last spark is out.

The One That Didn't Get Away

Buddy Fuller, 17, of Mechanicsville, recently reeled in a new Maryland record for the largest Spanish mackerel.

The St. Mary's County fisherman's record-setting catch weighed 8.45 pounds and measured 32.5 inches.

Fuller caught the fish on a small, gold Huntington Drone spoon from the charter boat "Lisa S" out of Schieble's Fishing Center in St. Inigoes on Aug. 16 while trolling near the Target Ship on the Chesapeake Bay, between Point Lookout and Smith Island.

The previous state record for a Spanish mackerel was 6.5 pounds, caught last September by Thomas Boyle off Breezy Point in Calvert County.

Maryland Department of Natural Resources fisheries biologist Brian O'Roark certified Fuller's new record with an official weigh-in Aug. 24. He said that the fish was initially weighed on noncertified scales and that the delay in getting the official weight probably meant the fish lost 8 to 12 ounces of its catch weight.

Road Resurfacing Scheduled

The Charles County Department of Public Facilities roads division will begin resurfacing several roads this week. The work will continue through October.

Neighborhoods involved include Pinefield in Waldorf; Carrington, Bannister, Wakefield and Hampshire in St. Charles; and North Indian Head Estates and Strawberry Hills in Bryans Road.

The work will be done between 6:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. on weekdays. Residents are asked not to park on streets and roads when the sealant is being applied.

Additional information is available at 301-932-3450 or 301-870-2278.