Maryland Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) will act by mid-July to officially name Sue Kullen to succeed George W. Owings III in the House of Delegates, the governor's aides said this week.
Ehrlich has officially received Kullen's nomination from the Calvert County Democratic Central Committee, which endorsed the Port Republic Democrat last Thursday and sent its recommendation to Annapolis the next day.
Ehrlich has roughly two weeks to act on the endorsement, according to the governor's office. "We are still awaiting guidance," Henry Fawell, a spokesman for Ehrlich, said Tuesday.
Kullen, a consultant who works with disabled people and agencies serving them, won out over five other applicants for the legislative seat that was held by Owings until he resigned this spring to become director of the state Department of Veterans Affairs.
Jazz & Seafood Festival
The Friends of the St. Clement's Island and Piney Point Museums are tuning up for the fifth annual Potomac Jazz & Seafood Festival on July 10 on the lawn of the St. Clement's Island-Potomac River Museum in Coltons Point.
This riverside event in St. Mary's County features three jazz artists and an array of Southern Maryland seafood.
The festival begins at 4 p.m., when the Latin jazz group Afro Bop Alliance takes the stage. The seven-man ensemble hails from the Annapolis area and offers a combination of Caribbean rhythms and jazz sophistication.
At 6 p.m., the David Bach Consort of Baltimore will perform. The band is a recipient of a 2004 Maryland State Arts Council Artist Award and has been featured on BET's "Jazz Central," winning the BET Jazz Discovery Showcase.
Highlighting the show will be smooth jazz group Bona Fide, featuring Slim Man. The group, scheduled to perform at 8 p.m., debuted in 1999 with its nationally released CD "Royal Function." Bassist Tim Camponeschi (aka Slim Man) provides the vocals and creative drive for the group.
The music will be complemented by the offerings of Thompson's Seafood Catering, Lenny's Restaurant and Nook & Monks Restaurant, which will provide a selection of crab cakes, fried oysters, steamed shrimp, soft-shell crab sandwiches, wraps and desserts. Beverages will be available for purchase.
Organizers encourage those attending to bring a blanket or lawn chair to relax on the lawn overlooking the Potomac River.
Tickets are $30 in advance and $35 at the gate, and children 12 and under are free. Tickets may be purchased with a credit card by calling the St. Clement's Island Museum at 301-769-2222, or online through the St. Mary's County Museum Division Web site at www.stmarysmd.com/recreate/museums. Ticket prices do not include food but allow for free admission to the museum and water taxi service to St. Clement's Island, called the "birthplace of Maryland."
Bel Alton Groundbreaking
The Bel Alton Alumni Association and local officials gathered Saturday to break ground for the long-awaited community center at the old Bel Alton School south of La Plata. Bel Alton was Charles County's all-black high school during the segregation era.
The Bel Alton Alumni Association has been working for more than 10 years to transform the school into a center that will serve all ages and offer self-help and community development programs in a rural area that has the highest poverty and unemployment rate in the county.
Rep. Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) helped the group secure more than $1 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture so that the project could go forward this year.
Swimming Ban Lifted
Four miles of shoreline and beaches on the Virginia side of the Potomac River reopened to swimming Sunday after being shut down last week because of a blue-green algae bloom.
Colonial Beach Town Manager Brian Hooten lifted the swimming ban imposed after the bloom was noticed last Thursday. On Monday, the Associated Press reported, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality collected water samples to determine whether the beaches can remain open.
The river is a key draw for visitors to Colonial Beach during summer weekends. Last year, an estimated 20,000 people came to the town for its Fourth of July celebration. A link on the Potomac River Fisheries Commission's Web site identifies the source of the bloom as Microcystis aeruginosa, a freshwater species of algae. The river is salty at Colonial Beach and rarely experiences freshwater algae blooms, but Kirby A. Carpenter of the fisheries commission said a combination of winds and tides probably pushed the algae downstream.
High concentrations of the algae can give bathers skin rashes.
Creek Projects Funded
After a request from Hoyer, the U.S. House of Representatives has approved $85,000 to study the feasibility of improving the navigability of St. Jerome Creek and $250,000 for the construction of a stone revetment at Herring Creek and Tall Timbers.
This funding will allow the Army Corps of Engineers to begin exploring ways to improve the navigability and safety of St. Jerome Creek to provide expanded access for watermen, charter boats and recreational boaters. The funding will also support the corps' efforts to address the problem of shoreline erosion induced by the Herring Creek entrance jetties.
The money will pay for the engineering and design of a 350-foot free-standing stone revetment. This revetment is a cost-effective alternative to periodic beach nourishment (adding sand to an eroded beach).
CSM Tuition Increase
Beginning with the fall semester, tuition at the College of Southern Maryland will increase $2 per credit for residents of Calvert, Charles and St. Mary's counties.
Residents of those counties will pay $89 per credit, while other Maryland residents will pay $153 per credit and out-of-state residents will pay $194 per credit. The new rates represent a 2.3 percent increase over current charges, the school said.
"At a time when enrollment continues to climb and revenue is not keeping pace with expenses, community colleges across Maryland are trying to keep costs as low as possible while maintaining quality instruction and services for our students," college President Elaine Ryan said in a statement announcing the increases. "CSM is no different, and our goal is to continue meeting our open-access mission to our Southern Maryland community in the face of these tight budget times."
The college is supported by funding from the state, the three counties and tuition. Community college funding from the state has fallen behind the pace of enrollment increases, according to the Maryland Association of Community Colleges.
As tuition at four-year institutions has increased in recent years, enrollments have steadily risen at the state's community colleges, which have promoted themselves as cost-effective places for students to complete their first two years of work toward a bachelor's degree.