The bankruptcy-induced collapse of Hechinger Co.'s home-improvement centers means the loss of 101 jobs at the chain's Waldorf store.

The tally comes from a Sept. 9 letter to the Charles County government from Jeffrey M. Schagren, a corporate counsel for Hechinger.

"We are certain such terminations will be permanent," Schagren wrote.

The 88-year-old local chain, which has been struggling to meet well-financed competition, decided last week to shut all of its stores by Christmas. The Waldorf store was its only Southern Maryland outlet.

There were nearly 11,000 retail workers in Charles County in 1998, according to state statistics.

Public Hearing on Land Swap

Calvert County commissioners have set a date for a public hearing on the controversial land swap proposed by Chesapeake Beach Mayor Gerald Donovan in connection with a plan to upgrade and expand a recreational complex in the center of town.

Residents can air their views on the mayor's written proposal at 7 p.m. Oct. 5 at the Northeast Community Center in Chesapeake Beach, said Commissioner David F. Hale (R-Owings). County officials have been playing tug of war with Donovan over Kellam Field, a three-acre parcel of county land in the heart of the town's recreational district, which includes the Chesapeake Beach Water Park off Route 261. After repeated requests from commissioners, Donovan put his proposal in writing last week but did not spell out plans for a 60,000-square-foot plot of undeveloped land next to the water park.

Some homeowners worry that the land will be used to expand the water park, which they say would increase traffic, congestion and noise. But the mayor insists that the plot's use has not been determined yet.

Under Donovan's proposal, some facilities on the existing Kellam Field would be relocated just east of the current site, with the town paying for a new ballpark with better lighting, an electronic scoreboard and other improvements totaling $595,000. If the land swap is approved, all the changes could be in place by December 2000, Donovan wrote.

Board Wants Legislative Input

Calling all ideas for new laws.

Charles County commissioners are inviting citizens to submit proposals for legislation they would like to see passed by the General Assembly in its forthcoming session.

Written proposals should be sent by Oct. 8, the commissioners said.

The county government has only limited powers. In order to change many local laws and regulations, it needs legislative approval from Annapolis.

For example, the county won approval last year for a change in how it regulates the mining industry. The new procedure gives elected commissioners a role in a process previously dominated by appointed officials.

A commission to study whether Charles County should seek a form of government with more power began meeting this week.

Board Approves School Goals

Parents of Charles County public school students can open their parent handbooks and read a list of requirements formulated by the school system's Minority Achievement Advisory Committee to close the achievement gap between white and minority students.

But the county's Board of Education never approved the requirements, which were formulated last year, and on Tuesday board member Donald M. Wade requested the long-delayed approval he thought the requirements deserved.

"I move that the board approve the goals that are just sitting there, that we ignore," Wade said. The requirements include recruiting more minority teachers, providing sensitivity training for all school employees to address cultural diversity and providing an intensive reading program for all students.

When the vote came along, all but one of the board members voted to approve the requirements. Margaret Young abstained, saying that she was not prepared to vote on the issue because it was not scheduled for a vote on the meeting's agenda. "I have a difficult time voting on something I was not prepared to vote on," she said.

Furthermore, "some of my constituencies have raised concerns about some of these [requirements] listed here," she said.

Young also abstained when another member asked the board to approve the five-year financial plan that Superintendent James E. Richmond presented to county commissioners last month because it, too, was not scheduled for a vote.

The superintendent's plan calls for more than 100 additional teachers and new schools. Speaking before the county commissioners about his plan, Richmond said that he put it together a long time ago and that "there hasn't been one endorsement as a board" yet.

Everyone but Young endorsed Richmond's plan on Tuesday.

Staff writer Nancy Trejos contributed to this report.