Who deserves the credit for clearing Calvert County roads of snow during this winter's series of storms?
Nearly a hundred government workers, according to the county's Employees Recognition Committee. That's how many were honored Tuesday in a ceremony at the county courthouse.
"They did great," said Robert Taylor Jr., the county's public works director.
Members of the county's "Snow Team" included employees from Public Works, Project Management, Water and Sewerage, Solid Waste, Fleet Maintenance, Highway Maintenance, Building and Grounds, and Parks and Recreation.
"This year was unique for the unusual, demanding and challenging snow events and the fact that some divisions were taxed more than others," according to a memo explaining this week's recognition. "The ERC hesitated to just honor one group or segment of the effort and [has] chosen to honor all the participants with this special roll call and acknowledgement of appreciation."
That list did not include private contractors, who helped clear the roads.
County officials said this week that snow removal this winter cost $470,000.
Cleanup of the Presidents' Day storm alone cost the county in excess of $200,000. County officials are hoping that some of their expenditures will be reimbursed by other funding sources, since Maryland was declared a disaster area because of the snow.
Saluting the Troops
Last fall, the billboard called attention to those involved in political campaigns. Last week, its message -- "A Grateful Community Salutes You!" -- was directed to those fighting a military campaign in Iraq.
The new sign -- 14 feet tall and 48 feet wide -- is the work of the Waldorf Jaycees.
"We work a lot with local ROTC," said Jaycee member Dick Gregory, who noted that more than 900 area students are involved in the program, "and we noticed that some of the recent graduates are involved in the war."
The Jaycees, he said, "were looking for a way to say thank you to the troops, without taking sides." Gregory and others noticed that the sign that had proclaimed Gary V. Hodge's candidacy for the Maryland House of Delegates last year was empty, so they called the Next Media phone number posted on the billboard.
When they reached Next Media, the outdoor advertising firm that owns the sign, they received a pleasant surprise.
"They were so enthusiastic about the project that they offered to give us the space at no cost, if we would pay for the cost of making and installing the sign," Gregory said.
The sign was already committed to another advertiser beginning next month, so the Jaycees' sign will be moving to another location, where Next Media will extend the same no-cost deal for the billboard space.
And there will soon be a smaller version of the salute available. The Jaycees have ordered 5,000 bumper stickers with the same image and message as that on the sign.
St. Mary's Roadwork Begins
The St. Mary's County Department of Public Works and Transportation (DPW&T) recently announced it will begin its annual pavement overlay programs (asphalt overlay, slurry seal/modified surface treatment) on Tuesday. The work continues into November.
This year, approximately 84 miles of roadway will be serviced.
Streets and roads that will be treated are listed on the Forms and Documents page of the St. Mary's County Web site at www.co.saint-marys.md.us/formsanddocuments.asp. Look under Public Works and Transportation and click on Asphalt Overlay Contract-2003, Modified Seal Contract-2003 or Surface Treatment-2003.
The listings also can be obtained by calling the public information office at 301-475-6653.
Murphy Joins Sarbanes's Staff
U.S. Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes (D-Md.) announced this week that Peter Murphy of Charles County is his new Southern Maryland representative.
Murphy, Sarbanes said, "brings with him and to our office a solid and distinguished background of volunteer, community and public service to the people of Southern Maryland."
Murphy has been a teacher in the Charles County public school system, a small-business owner, director of an education and vocational testing and counseling service, and a court mediator. He earned his bachelor's and master's degrees from American University and a degree in counseling from George Washington University.
Murphy lives in Bryans Road. He has served on the Charles County Planning Commission, the Area Council on Aging, the Charles County Foster Care Review Board and the board of Senior Services of Charles County Inc.
Murphy takes over for longtime Sarbanes Southern Maryland representative Ursula Culver, who retired on March 17 after 12 years in the job.