2 Holiday Home Tours Scheduled

Historic home and holiday decorating enthusiasts will have a chance to indulge both interests this weekend on two separate home tours in Southern Maryland.

On Saturday, the Patuxent River Officers Spouses Club will hold a holiday tour of historic homes, as well as of new houses decorated for the holidays. The tour is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. at the Cedar Point Officers Club. Participants receive a map booklet with directions to each house on the tour, and they may tour one or all of them.

Tickets are $15, and proceeds go to the club's scholarship fund. More information is available from Kelly Small, president of the spouses club, at 301-737-1978.

On Sunday, Health Share of St. Mary's is sponsoring its fifth annual Holiday Home Tour from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The nine homes on the tour include a mix of historic and new houses, all decorated for the holidays.

Individual homes may be toured for $5 each. Tickets for all nine are available for $35 at branches of First National Bank of St. Mary's or the Gift Shop at St. Mary's Hospital. Tickets will be available at any of the homes on the day of the tour. Additional information is available at 301-862-3005 or 301-862-9616.

All proceeds will benefit Health Share, a nonprofit group that provides health care to people who do not qualify for medical assistance programs but who do not have adequate health insurance.

College Play Explores Race Relations

"Crossroads: On Common Ground," a grass-roots theatrical production exploring race relations, will be performed through Sunday at St. Mary's College.

The show, which opened last night, features music, dance, poetry and drama. After Saturday night's performance, Robbie McCauley, a writer, director and specialist in interracial communication, will lead a discussion about the play's significance for Southern Maryland.

"Crossroads" draws entirely from the life experiences of its racially diverse cast of 13 St. Mary's College students, two local children and the play's co-director, Andre Perry, coordinator of multicultural affairs at the college.

Merideth Taylor, co-director and associate professor of dramatic arts, said in a statement that the production "offers a unique opportunity for audiences to enter into an enlightening dialogue about racial issues affecting all of us right here in Southern Maryland."

Making a Splash for Special Olympics

The first Maryland State Police St. Mary's Splash for Special Olympics is scheduled for 2 p.m. Sunday at Elms Beach Park, south of Lexington Park.

Col. David B. Mitchell, state police superintendent, and St. Mary's Sheriff Richard J. Voorhaar will lead "splashers" into the Chesapeake Bay.

Registration begins at noon, and, for a minimum of $50 in pledges to the fund-raiser, participants will receive a sweat shirt and a lunch from Outback Steakhouse.

The goal of the event is to raise money to support year-round sports programs for developmentally disabled children and adults in Southern Maryland, according to an announcement from sponsors. The splash is being organized by volunteers from the State Police; the sheriffs' offices in Calvert, Charles and St. Mary's counties; the Natural Resources Police; the St. Mary's Recreation and Parks Department; the Anne Arundel County police; and the Coast Guard.

Participants can register Sunday or pre-register by calling 800-541-7544. Swimsuits or costumes are the only permitted "splash attire." Wet suits are not permitted, although shoes are recommended.

Two other winter water fund-raisers are planned. The Maryland State Police Polar Bear Plunge is scheduled for Jan. 22 at Sandy Point State Park, and the State Police Deep Creek Dunk is planned for Feb. 26 at Deep Creek Lake.

Calvert Official Gains Certification

James Shepherd of the Calvert County Department of Economic Development has been certified an economic development finance professional by the National Development Council.

Shepherd, whose background is in small business management, assists Calvert businesses through the county development agency, the department said.

The certification was awarded after Shepherd completed a four-course program in financial issues related to economic development.

The New York-based National Development Council is a private, nonprofit corporation that has provided training for approximately 20,000 people working in economic development since it was established in 1972.

Bay Program Opens Web Site

The Chesapeake Bay Program has launched a new Web site featuring Bay-related information. The site at www.chesapeakebay.net includes interactive features and access to the Chesapeake Information Management System.

In addition to environmental information, the new site boasts an interactive Bay atlas, a Critter of the Month spotlighting wildlife living in the bay and a State of the Chesapeake Bay report.

The Bay Program is a regional partnership involved in restoration of the Chesapeake Bay since 1983. Members are Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, the District of Columbia, the Chesapeake Bay Commission and the federal Environmental Protection Agency.