News of interest to Calvert, Charles and St. Mary's counties that appeared in the daily Post, May 9 to 15

Sunday | 9

Millions in Back Taxes Owed

Last year's filing for bankruptcy protection by the Mirant Corp., the Atlanta-based energy company that owns power plants in the Washington region and supplies power to Pepco, has left several local governments scrambling to make up the about $34 million Mirant owes them in back taxes. Charles County has been hit the hardest. The company is its largest taxpayer and owes Charles $14 million in taxes and other fees. As one county commissioner put it: "When our No. 1 taxpayer has a problem, we have a problem." Mirant, which owns the Morgantown generating station in Charles, says it will pay up when it emerges from bankruptcy proceedings.

Thursday | 13

Governor Celebrates Cicadas

Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) issued a proclamation celebrating the emergence of the 17-year cicadas, noting that they "proudly display the official colors of the Free State, with their beautiful yellow/orange wings, black bodies, and stunning red eyes."

Friday | 14

Snakehead Found in Potomac

An angler in Charles County landed a northern snakehead fish in the Potomac River at the boat ramp near Marshall Hall. The 12-inch fish was caught almost directly across the river from where another was hooked from a Virginia creek last week.

Friday | 14

Defense Department Open House

The 46th annual Defense Department Joint Services Open House began Friday at Andrews Air Force Base. The event features the Navy's Blue Angels and the Canadian Forces' Snowbirds aerial teams.

Saturday | 15

Alarm Over Potomac Snakeheads

The discovery of two northern snakeheads in the Potomac River in the past week has alarmed scientists and fishermen, who say the predatory fish could eventually kill off fish native to the river. If the fish from China, which can breathe air and wiggle over land, is spawning in the Potomac, it could undermine the food supply of the river's larger fish, such as largemouth and striped bass, said environmental officials. "It certainly could have detrimental impacts on the populations of several other species," said Steve Minkkinen, the project leader at the Maryland Fisheries Resources office of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. "There's no effective fish management method we could use there."