Rail Service Is Direct Line to Santa

The new Indian Head Central Railway has inaugurated a special "Santa Service" for the holiday season.

The new commercial railway, which operates on a refurbished U.S. Navy rail line that serves the Indian Head Naval Surface Warfare Center, began operating Nov. 27.

The holiday trains depart at 1 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays for an hour-long tour from the Naval Surface Warfare Center, located at the end of Route 210. Santa will be on board to visit with passengers. Each weekend features a special theme, including caroling with Santa, Santa's story time or a photo with St. Nick.

The Santa trains continue through Dec. 19. For ticket information, call 1-877-94-TRAIN.

For Hanukah, Services and Celebration

Beth Israel Synagogue in Lexington Park has scheduled several events this month.

There will be a children's Hanukah service on Friday at 7:30 p.m. at the synagogue, at Midway and Bunker Hill drives.

Junior congregation services are scheduled for Saturday at 9 a.m. The service is planned for grade-school children, but all are welcome to attend.

On Dec. 12, there will be a holiday celebration sale at Beth's Reruns, a thrift store in the Millison Plaza. Proceeds from the store benefit the synagogue.

For more information on these or other events, call the synagogue at 301-862-2021.

Get Help With Child Safety Seats

Child safety seat advocates in Southern Maryland will launch the region's first mobile fitting station Thursday at the Prince Frederick Volunteer Fire Department at Route 4 and Monitor Way.

The project is a joint effort of law enforcement, fire and rescue, medical and traffic safety agencies from around Southern Maryland.

On Thursday, after a 1 p.m. ribbon-cutting ceremony, local families will be able to have child safety seats checked and installed at the mobile station, essentially a trailer with storage space and a command center operated by technicians specially trained to fit the safety seats.

A 1998 study by the Maryland Safe Kids Coalition found that more than 87 percent of child safety seats around the state were installed incorrectly or not being used properly. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has reported that correctly installed and used safety seats can reduce the risk of death to a child in an auto crash by as much as 70 percent.

In connection with the safety effort, the Maryland State Police Prince Frederick Barrack is sponsoring a four-day child passenger training program this week, concluding with the launch of the mobile station.

Calvert Seeks Citizen Advisors on Child Abuse

The Calvert County Board of Commissioners is seeking applicants for the Local Citizens Review Panel, which is being established to monitor local efforts against child abuse and neglect.

Applicants must be residents and registered voters in the county. Applications are available at library branches and at the commissioners' office at the County Courthouse. The deadline for applying is Dec. 31.

The review panel is being established to meet federal guidelines. Members will assist and advise state officials on child abuse and neglect issues and help inform Calvert residents about child welfare matters.

The state law governing the panel requires representation from several citizen categories, including individuals with experience in the field, attorneys who represent children, health professionals, human services workers, parents and law enforcement officials.

Applications should be sent to the attention of Connie Clark in the commissioners' office at the Courthouse, 175 Main St., Prince Frederick, Md. 20678, or faxed to her at 410-535-5594.