Support 'Sleep-Out'

To Help the Homeless

The Three Oaks Homeless Shelter in Lexington Park houses homeless families in local hotel rooms until more permanent accommodations can be found. The fund for this much-needed community service is inadequate, and often near the end of the fiscal year, there is no money left to house families in need.

There will be a "Sleep-Out" on Friday at St. Mary's College to raise funds for the Three Oaks family fund and to commemorate National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week. This event is sponsored by For Goodness' Sake of St. Mary's College and by Progressive Southern Maryland.

The event will begin at 4 p.m. at the St. Mary's College Admissions Field. The program includes speakers, a candlelight ceremony, dinner, a cardboard house-building contest with prizes, live music, a bonfire and hot cocoa. The scheduled program will end at 10 p.m., with many people staying overnight.

Individuals, families, school, church and civic groups are welcome. Funds will be raised by sponsoring students and other participants to "sleep out" and by direct donations. Checks may be made to St. Mary's College, and all proceeds will benefit the Three Oaks Shelter.

Please wear warm clothing! In case of rain, the event will be held indoors. If you intend to sleep out, please bring the appropriate equipment.

Please support these students -- they have done a fabulous job of raising awareness of the plight of the homeless in our community. For further information, or to be a sponsor, please call Joan at 240-895-4425.

Alison Taylor

Leonardtown

Country Market

Creates Community Calvert County's latest effort to celebrate its rural heritage has been its support for the Calvert Country Market. Opened to great fanfare in late June, the market has given the Prince Frederick Shopping Center a new lease on life.

The market is open on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday and -- despite one statement to the contrary -- will be open through December for all your Christmas shopping needs.

The purpose of my letter, however, is not to advertise the market, but to share what this project has meant to me. My job with county government involves many different projects, from moving barns to planning sidewalks to finding ballfields -- but nothing has given me the level of satisfaction that helping the fledgling market does. Wednesdays are my market days and I eagerly look forward to slipping out of work on time and going around the block to see my new friends.

Every Wednesday when I walk in, Dick, the gourd man, greets me with a big smile. It feels like coming home. Wednesday is now officially seafood night at my house. Scott has fresh fish, crabs, oysters -- all wonderful. I buy mussels for my son and other special treats from the sea.

From Tim, I get the most amazing kale, ripe tomatoes that he has somehow sheltered from the frost, and bok choy grown in Kevin's back yard. Larry has introduced me to apples that I never heard of before, and for $2 he fills my bag to overflowing. Susan offers fresh bread, cookies to die for, fruit pies -- all the best I have ever tasted. Paula has sweet potatoes, garlic, green beans and more.

Until the frost, I could even get a bouquet of brilliant flowers to grace my table from John and Roxana at Wise Acres Farm. Suzy sells me her homemade soaps and lotions that look too professional to have come out of her kitchen -- but they did.

I am conjuring up Christmas gifts that actually come from the place where I live. And every week I try to buy one new thing and am never disappointed.

This is one place where I joyfully spend my money. I love talking to the "producers," as they call themselves. They are friends and they have become part of my community. I feel like a stockholder in something precious and important -- it is a clear and present stake in who and what we are. Join us. You won't regret it.

The Calvert Country Market will be open through Dec. 22. Following renovation, it will reopen in April 2003.

Sherrod Sturrock

Owings

Injured Child's Family

Appreciates Support

As we approach the four-year anniversary of our son Jack's injuries, we would like to thank all of those involved in getting us to where we are today. First of all, we would like to thank the Charles County Emergency Unit that was dispatched to help our son the day his 911 call was made.

Thank you to the entire team that helped to save him that day as well as the flight team that rushed him to Children's Hospital in D.C.

A very special thank you goes to the ER team at Children's and especially to Philip Cogen, the pediatric neurosurgeon who performed emergency brain surgery on Jack and saved his life that fateful day.

Although they may never see this letter, we would still like to thank all of the doctors and staff at Children's Hospital, Kluge Children's Rehabilitative Hospital, UVA Medical Center, Wilmer Eye Institute, Kennedy Krieger Institute and Johns Hopkins Hospital for their overwhelming kindness and professionalism.

We would also like to thank and commend the Charles County sheriff's office for handling this case in a manner only achieved by dedicated and proficient officers of the law. Thanks also go to the Office of the State's Attorney for having the experience, skill, integrity and professionalism to handle this case.

Our recognition would not be complete if we didn't take the time to thank the hundreds of our son's supporters in his fight(s) for life and for justice. Many are friends and acquaintances but many we have never met. We cherish the cards, pictures, stuffed animals and letters that were sent to Jack in the hospital and since he has been home, as well as the numerous phone calls and visits. The outpouring of love and support for Jack and all of us has been overwhelming. Please know that all of you give us strength and hope and we will never forget your support and guidance. You help us focus on the importance of life and optimism.

Robyn and John Sprague

La Plata

Middleton Thanks

Voters for Reelection On Tuesday, I was again blessed by the Charles County voters in selecting me to be their senator in the Maryland General Assembly. While this will be my third term, election campaigns are still a truly humbling experience. Individuals never win elections on their own; it is the work of many. I want to thank my family, friends and supporters throughout the community who devoted time and effort to support my campaign. Most importantly, I want to thank the voters of Charles County who, with their votes, gave me their confidence.

Now that the campaign is over, hard work lies ahead in Annapolis. We must upgrade our transportation system in Southern Maryland, solve our budget challenges, and improve education and health care.

I will work cooperatively with our new governor, the legislature and our citizens to address these very pressing issues. As I have in the last eight years, I will always lend a sympathetic ear for those in Charles County looking for help from their state senator.

Thanks again to the voters. I will never forget why I am there -- to fight for the people and communities of Charles County.

Thomas M. Middleton

Waldorf

The Best Man,

O'Donnell, Wins

I'd like to commend those in Calvert and St. Mary's counties who stuck by their convictions and reelected Tony O'Donnell as our delegate from District 29C.

We were bombarded with misinformation, misleading ads, deceptive phone calls and some plain old dirty politics mixed in. The entire Maryland Democratic leadership, partisan union leaders and liberal special interest groups played a significant role in trying to dupe the voters, but still we saw through all the rhetoric and chose the best man.

The opposition and his special interests spent a ton of money in Southern Maryland to buy the District 29C seat, only to find out you can't buy an election when you have a well-informed electorate and a man of integrity to face.

Brian D. Lee

Lusby

One Man's Opinion of

South Calvert Is Clear

I would like to thank Mr. [John Douglas] Parran for responding to my letter to the editor [Extra, Oct. 6 and 13]. Let's assume for a brief moment his facts are correct. I will quote his description of south Calvert County residents.

"We have private communities located in southern Calvert . . . If a couple, or quite often a single parent, with several school-age children is paying three or four thousand dollars a year in combined property and county income taxes, and each student costs an average of $6,000 a year to educate, not to mention all of the other costs of providing government services, how is it that private community residents are not getting their fair share?"

Let me get this straight. If south Calvert residents in private communities are "quite often" single parents with several school-aged children paying less taxes than the value of the county service they receive, then they are getting their fair share.

This argument has to logically conclude that if more taxes are paid by non-southern Calvert County residents, they deserve more services to get their fair share.

Thank you, Mr. Parran, for validating my letter and explaining at least one county commissioner's opinion of southern Calvert County residents.

Maureen P. Lotzmann

William J. Lotzmann Jr.

Lusby