The St. Mary's County fiscal 2005 budget is a done deal, but Sheriff David D. Zylak (D) had a few words to add. "I think it's terrible," he said last week.
The Board of County Commissioners approved three new deputies for the sheriff's force but added the requirement that Zylak not reassign high-school resource officers to other duties. The commissioners also stipulated that future funding requests be proportional with increases in population, crime and the overall county budget. "I had no idea something like that was coming," Zylak said.
"I appreciate the fact that they put three new deputies on the table," he said. "They are certainly needed. But to add the caveat and the stipulations that they added to it -- no discussion, no opportunity for me to sit at the table and discuss any of this stuff."
Some commissioners were frustrated by the size of Zylak's budget request, which they said was out of line with spending proposals by other county agencies. For his part, Zylak was frustrated that some commissioners challenged the priorities he set for the department even as they fully funded the Board of Education's request.
Zylak said he has talked individually with the commissioners, but he added he has asked for a year for a group retreat. "At Greenwell State Park in Hollywood, there's a nice little cottage there, private; it would accommodate us very well," the sheriff said.
Maybe next year.
When asked what the 2006 budget process would be like, he just laughed. "I wish I had a crystal ball and could figure that one out," he said.
More Funds to Contractor
The Calvert County Board of Commissioners authorized more than $100,000 in additional county funds to be paid to a contractor repairing damage from Hurricane Isabel at Breezy Point Park.
The extra money will go to Edwin A. and John O. Crandell Inc. of West River in Anne Arundel County. The firm will be paid $447,164 for work that is partially covered by Federal Emergency Management Agency disaster relief.
"The funding for this work comes from a combination of FEMA funds and a loan from the Board of Commissioners to be repaid from the operation of Breezy Point Park," Robert Taylor, the county's director of public works, wrote in a memo to the commissioners.
The contractor had been hired to improve the park before the hurricane hit in September, county officials said.
Together, improvements to the park and the hurricane repairs will cost $688,220, according to a previous report to the commissioners. Officials expect FEMA to reimburse the county $324,284, about 75 percent of the portion of the costs attributable to hurricane repairs.
Officials have closed the beach and campground at Breezy Point Park for this year because of damage from Isabel.
To help cover the remaining costs, the commissioners previously approved a 15-year, no-interest loan to the county Parks and Recreation Department. Money from the county operating budget will cover any balance.
Calvert County has received almost $600,000 in federal disaster relief to help cover the costs of responding to Hurricane Isabel, according to county figures.
Skipjack in Folklife Festival
The skipjack Joy Parks, a new St. Mary' County Museum Division acquisition, is about to set a course like no other in her history, museum officials announced Tuesday.
At the invitation of the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, the Joy Parks will participate in the 2004 Smithsonian Folklife Festival program "Water Ways: Charting a Future for Mid-Atlantic Maritime Communities." The festival opens June 23 on the Mall in Washington.
This year's Folklife Festival will share the story of the historical and ongoing connection with the waterways of the mid-Atlantic, the importance of this history and the preservation of the coastal environment. The story will be told through a focus on maritime workers and artisans from Long Island, N.Y., to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. They will demonstrate their skills, relate their life stories, and celebrate their heritage and traditions with the thousands of visitors who attend the festival.
The Joy Parks will be the centerpiece for the "Boat Building" exhibition, one of the theme areas of the festival. Skipjack captains and ship restoration experts will relate and interpret the history of these work boats.
The Joy Parks is part of a collection of historic vessels now on permanent loan to the St. Mary's County Museum Division from the Paul Hall Center for Maritime Training and Education (also known as Harry Lundeberg School of Seamanship) in Piney Point. The skipjack was built in 1936 and measures 67 feet in length, 151/2 feet in width. It weighs about 17 tons.
"It is an honor to be invited to be a part of the Smithsonian's Folklife Festival," museum division director Debra Pence said in the announcement. "I sincerely hope that this year's Folklife Festival will bring to light the beauty and uniqueness of the Chesapeake Bay and, in particular, Southern Maryland's wonderful maritime history and culture."
The Joy Parks is scheduled to be moved Monday from Piney Point to the Mall. Cove Point Marine Services of Deale will raise the skipjack from its cradle, load it on a hydraulic trailer and make the 75-mile journey. The move is being supported through a grant from the Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network, many volunteer hours from staff and students at the Paul Hall Center, and the backing and expertise of Cove Point Marine Services.
Once the skipjack is in place on the Mall, visitors will be able to see educational demonstrations and restoration efforts such as the creation of a 65-foot mast and treatment of the hull by experienced volunteers and professionals.
The Smithsonian Folklife Festival takes place June 23-27 and June 30-July 4. The hours are 11 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Concerts, dance parties and other special activities continue until 9 p.m. All events are free.
The St. Mary's County Museum Division is part of St. Mary's County Department of Recreation, Parks and Community Services.
Reagan Death Halts Event
Saturday's death of former president Ronald Reagan has brought most political and congressional activity to a halt in Washington this week.
Rep. Steny H. Hoyer, the House Democratic whip, has postponed one of the major events in his campaign for another term to represent Southern Maryland on Capitol Hill. Hoyer's 24th annual Bull Roast, which had been scheduled for tomorrow evening at the Newton White Mansion in Mitchellville, will be rescheduled, Hoyer's campaign announced.
The change was made, the campaign announcement said, out of respect for the former president. President Bush has declared tomorrow a National Day of Mourning. A state funeral service for Reagan is scheduled tomorrow morning at the National Cathedral in Washington.
Charles Chamber to Move
The Charles County Chamber of Commerce announced this week that it will relocate its office from Route 301 in La Plata to the county seat's downtown later this year.
The organization -- Southern Maryland's oldest and largest private business group -- is raising $100,000 to fund the move.
"This has been more than three years in the planning, but it is long overdue. Finally, the chamber will have new, modern office space to help us better accommodate the tremendous growth we are experiencing," Brad Howard, the chamber's president, said in a statement announcing the planned move.
The chamber will purchase an office condominium in a building under construction on Centennial Street. The Facchina Group of Cos. is developing the site, which is across the street from the company's new headquarters building.
"Centennial Street is the new premier business address in Charles County. We are thrilled to be there, in the heart of the county seat," Howard said.
The chamber is seeking sponsors to help pay for the move and to support a conference room at the new location.
The chamber, founded in 1956, has been at its existing location for many years. The building, a former residence, has roughly 5,000 square feet of space.
The new office will be about twice as large. It will also have a conference room large enough for the chamber's monthly board of directors meeting. Those meetings now take place on the College of Southern Maryland's La Plata campus.
The organization began planning its move in 2002.
More information about the plans is available by calling the chamber office at 301-932-6500 or 301-870-3089 or by e-mail at email@example.com. Information is also posted on the chamber's Web site, www.cccc-md.org.
Audiences at Chautauqua 2004 next month will have a chance to step back in time and meet three of America's environmental pioneers.
"The American Environment: Voices and Choices," this year's Chautauqua, will present performances at two locations: McDonough High School, July 5, and the College of Southern Maryland, La Plata Campus, for all remaining performances, July 6-8.
Chautauqua brings scholar-actors and the local community together in a tent under the evening skies to experience moments of American history and to talk about the characters and ideas of the times being portrayed.
This year will feature portrayals of Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th president of the United States, on July 5.
Other performances are of Henry David Thoreau, 19th-century writer, philosopher and naturalist, July 6; the Rev. Andrew White, Jesuit priest and Maryland colonist, July 7; and Rachel Carson, 20th-century writer, scientist and ecologist, July 8.
Teddy Roosevelt will be performed by Doug Mishler. Roosevelt's achievements while president included many contributions to conservation. He provided for almost 230 million acres under federal protection, designating 150 national forests, five national parks, the first 51 federal bird reservations, 18 national monuments, four national game preserves and 21 reclamation projects.
Kevin Radaker will portray Thoreau, most remembered for his 1854 work, "Walden, or, Life in the Woods." His book chronicles his experiences and reflections on transcendentalism during his two years of near-seclusion while living at Walden Pond.
White will be portrayed by local actor and historian Wes Stone.
Doris Dwyer will play Rachel Carson. During her 15-year federal career, Carson wrote radio scripts for the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries and pamphlets on natural resources and conservation.
Already a naturalist and author, she confronted the government and agriculture on the widespread use of synthetic chemical pesticides, such as DDT, and their effect on the ecosystem in her 1962 book, "Silent Spring."
Partners with the college for Chautauqua 2004 include Parent Line newspaper, Charles County Department Parks and Recreation, the Wicomico Scenic Commission, the Maryland Independent newspaper and the Calvert Marine Museum.
McDonough High School is at 7165 Marshall Corner Rd. in Pomfret. The college is at 8730 Mitchell Rd. in La Plata.
The College of Southern Maryland is one of six community colleges in Maryland selected to host the event. Chautauqua is a revival of the popular and influential arts and humanities movement in Upstate New York. In Maryland, the Chautauqua tradition dates to 1891. It has been an annual celebration at CSM since 2000.
All performances are free. For information, call the CSM box office at 301-934-7828, 301-870-3008 or 301-884-8131, Ext. 7828, or visit www.csmd.edu/FineArts/, or call CSM's TDD phone number, 301-934-7788.
Charles Business Outlook
Business leaders who operate companies in Charles County are satisfied with their location and optimistic about the future, according to a recent survey conducted for the Charles County Economic Development Commission (CCEDC).
The survey is part of the larger, ongoing "Target Industry Study" conducted by the Center for Regional Analysis at George Mason University.
A Web-based survey of businesses in Charles County was implemented to assess the local business environment and expectations of local business leaders. The survey took place from mid-March through late April.
Of the 110 surveys completed, over two-thirds of the respondents were the owners or chief executives of their companies. An additional 13 percent were senior managers.
Regarding business performance and outlook, 71 percent of respondents said they had experienced revenue growth in the past two years, with almost half -- 44.9 percent -- reporting growth of over 10 percent.
Of those responding, 26.5 percent expected revenue to remain the same for 2004, while 64.3 percent expected revenue growth this year. The long-term outlook of those answering the survey was optimistic, with 87.7 percent of their businesses expecting revenue growth in the next three to five years.
As was expected by economic development officials, the top reason that respondents gave for locating their businesses in Charles County was that they lived here. Access to markets and lower operating costs were the second and third most-cited reasons. Being part of the Washington area was a business benefit in the eyes of 61.6 percent of those responding.
Satisfaction with their Charles County location was high. Seventy-seven percent responded that they were either very satisfied or somewhat satisfied with doing business in Charles; 81.8 percent were satisfied with their current locations in the county.