Safety Group to Tour Senior Home

A group from the Project Impact summit opening in Washington this weekend is scheduled to visit a senior housing project in La Plata today.

The delegation will inspect the Washington Square Project, where 81 homes are being built with disaster-resistant features. The tour will demonstrate construction techniques, such as insulating concrete form walls, that are resistant to tornadoes, hurricanes and fire.

Project Impact, in which all three Southern Maryland counties are participants, is a nationwide initiative to help communities, homeowners and businesses take steps to prevent damage from natural disasters.

Gallery Offers Holiday Gifts

The North End Gallery, the only nonprofit community art gallery in St. Mary's County, is offering original artwork as unique, affordable holiday gifts.

Through the holiday season, the gallery at 41625 Fenwick St. in Leonardtown will be open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sundays and Christmas Eve.

Black History Contest Solicits Essays

Charles County Community College is hosting its annual Black History Month Essay Contest for Charles County students in the 11th and 12th grades. First prize is scholarship funds to attend CCCC, and second- and third-place winners will receive $25 gift certificates to the college's bookstore.

The deadline for entries is Feb. 4. Students must write an original essay of at least 500 words that answers one of the following questions:

* America is often referred to as a "Melting Pot" or a mosaic of many cultures and people. How are you affected by this diversity?

* Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream for America. He believed that equality and justice would eventually be enjoyed by all Americans, regardless of the color of skin. What is your dream for the future, and why is it necessary for us to have a dream or goals for our future?

* Most leaders in our community say that many of our social problems will be resolved by education. How will a college education benefit you?

* Choose from one of the following: Why is there a need to understand diversity? Or, how will a knowledge of diversity help you?

All entries must be typed, double-spaced, and free of major grammatical and syntactic errors. Essays will be judged on the content, clarity and coherence of the ideas expressed. Papers should have a title page listing the paper's title, the student's school, address and telephone number.

Entries can be submitted to CCCC, Black History Month Essay Contest, C/O Mary Boyd (DIV), P.O. Box 910, La Plata, Md. 20646-0910.

The essay contest is sponsored by CCCC's Diversity Office as part of Black History Month. For more information about the contest, call 1-800-933-9177, Ext. 7659, 301-934-2251 or 301-870-3008, Ext. 7659.

The community colleges in Charles, Calvert and St. Mary's will become the College of Southern Maryland in July 2000.

Tree Recycling Locations Announced

Charles County will provide 12 locations where residents will be able to recycle Christmas trees. The sites will be open Dec. 26 through Jan. 21.

Ornaments, plastic bags and stands should be removed from trees before recycling. The trees will be ground into mulch that is distributed free each spring.

The Waldorf-area recycling sites are:

* Charles County Landfill, on Billingsley Road East.

* St. Nicholas Drive, off Smallwood Drive at BJ's.

* Route 201 park and ride lot.

* Pinefield Park, on Pinefield Road.

* Calvary Gospel Church, on Route 228.

In La Plata, trees can be left at:

* Charles County Courthouse parking lot, off Washington Avenue.

* Radio Station Road, across from Laurel Springs Park.

Other sites around the county are:

* The recycling centers at Pisgah.

* Gilbert Run Park in Dentsville.

* Breeze Farm in Cobb Island.

* Old Bel Alton School, on Route 301;

* Ruth B. Swann Park, on Route 210 near Bryans Road.

Questions about the program or other recycling activities should be directed to the Department of Public Facilities at 301-932-3599 or 301-870-2778.

Mental Health Group Names Director

On Our Own of Charles County, a nonprofit association of mental health services consumers, recently named Michael A. James as its first executive director.

James will be responsible for maintaining the group's drop-in center in White Plains. He also will manage a variety of public education and consumer advocacy programs, according to a statement from the group.

Lillian Bowie, president of the agency's board, called the move a milestone for the three-year-old organization. On Our Own is part of a nationwide network of consumer-led groups promoting information sharing and mutual support in an effort to end the stigma frequently associated with mental illnesses.

Seminar Set on Electrical Inspections

A free seminar on the electrical inspection process will be presented Wednesday by the Charles County Department of Planning and Growth Management's permits administration office.

The program will begin at 9 a.m. in the commissioners' meeting room at the County Government Building in La Plata. The next seminar in the monthly series will address plumbing inspections and is scheduled Jan. 26.

For additional information, call Cheryl Wedding at 301-645-0681.

Fashion Show Raises Money for School

A recent holiday fashion show held to raise money for the improvement fund at St. Mary, Star of the Sea School in Indian Head netted more than $1,700, organizers said.

The inaugural event featured 33 students, siblings and parents modeling clothes provided by Kohl's Department Store at St. Charles Towne Center in Waldorf.

The money raised will be used to purchase equipment needed to keep pace with rising enrollment at the school.