In a break from the practice of past elections, the employee organizations that represent Calvert County public school teachers and support staff members will not endorse any candidates running for the Board of Education this year.

Shannon Fitch, president of the Calvert Education Association, which represents classroom teachers, said none of the candidates asked for the endorsement of the unions, whose members are working without a contract this fall as labor negotiations remain deadlocked.

The organization considers such requests for support, but generally it has not initiated endorsements on its own. This year none of the candidates -- Jeffrey D. Borgholthaus and Frank T. Parish in District 1, incumbent Mary Garvey and James L. Parent in District 3, and incumbent Robert L. Gray, who is running unopposed in District 2 -- sought the group's backing.

"Why would you not want the endorsement of the teachers of the county?" Fitch said. "That doesn't bode well for the potential new members of our school board. It doesn't bode well for education in this county."

Clubs' Director Dies

Rhoda J.K. Campbell, executive director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southern Maryland, died Saturday evening after suffering a dissecting aortic aneurysm while volunteering at the St. Mary's County Oyster Festival.

After complaining of severe pain in her leg and hip, Campbell, 48, was taken by ambulance to St. Mary's Hospital, where she died.

Campbell lived in Lusby with her husband, Rodney Campbell, their daughter, Bethany, and Campbell's sister, Betty Knabe.

A funeral is planned for tomorrow morning in Elmer, N.J., her family home. The family has suggested that donations in memory of Campbell may be made to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southern Maryland, 12865 H.G. Trueman Rd., Suite 2B, Lusby, Md. 20657. Condolences sent to that address will be delivered to Campbell's family.

Officials at the local youth program are planning a celebration memorial service from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at the St. Mary's Boys & Girls Club. The club is in the old George Washington Carver Elementary School, now called the Carver Recreation Center, at 47382 Lincoln Ave. in Lexington Park.

Garden Doors Swing Open

It was open. Then shut. Now, in a reversal of legal fortunes, a Prince George's County Circuit Court judge has ruled that Kelly's Tree and Landscaping Nursery can reopen.

Last Thursday, Judge Michele D. Hotten issued an indefinite stay of a Sept. 16 ruling that said the Dunkirk garden nursery must remain closed until its owners, Kim and Kelly McConkey, build a house on the property.

A county law passed in October 2000 forbids tree and garden nurseries within most residential subdivisions unless the owner resides on the same property as the business. The McConkeys are building a house on the site of the nursery, but construction is not complete. Hotten's ruling allows the business to stay open even though the McConkeys do not live there yet.

"If they don't build their house, we're going to do something," said Calvert County Administrator James J. Allman. "But otherwise, we're not going to do anything."

The McConkeys said they took down their "Closed" sign the same day the judge issued her order. They hope the most recent ruling is the final chapter in a four-year battle with neighbors and the county over the status of the nursery.

"We're ecstatic," said Kim McConkey. "Finally, justice has prevailed."

Water Company Loses

The Chesapeake Ranch Water Co. also faced off against Calvert County in court last week -- but the water company didn't fare as well as the McConkeys.

Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge Joseph Kaplan rejected Chesapeake Ranch's request for an emergency order to block the county's construction of a two-mile water line and production well in Lusby.

The water company sued the county and the Maryland Department of the Environment last month, alleging that the county has not received proper environmental permits to expand water services in Lusby. County officials said the lawsuit has no merit.

The case will go to trial in the spring, said Stephen D. Ball, an attorney for Chesapeake Ranch Water Co.

Speakers at Summit

Economists Anirban Basu and Stephen Fuller and "futurist" Bob Root will speak at the seventh annual Charles County Economic Summit on Tuesday in Waldorf.

The event, sponsored by the Charles County Chamber of Commerce and the Charles County Economic Development Commission, is scheduled from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Greater Waldorf Jaycees Community Center at 3090 Crain Hwy.

The summit's theme this year is "Building on Success: Opportunities & Challenges."

Basu will provide an update on the local and regional economy. Fuller, a George Mason University professor, will update attendees on a study of target industries that he recently performed for the Economic Development Commission. Root will preview future business opportunities, according to an announcement from the chamber.

Those wishing to register or receive more information should contact the chamber at 301-932-6500 or 301-870-3089 or by e-mail at info@charlescountychamber.org.

Band Fetes 20th Year

The Southern Maryland Concert Band will celebrate its 20th anniversary this weekend with a performance in La Plata.

The 7:30 p.m. concert Saturday at the Charles County Government Building will feature marches, big band era standards and Broadway favorites. Admission is $7 for adults, $5 for students and seniors 62 and older, and free for children 5 and younger.

The Southern Maryland Concert Band was formed in 1984 as an all-volunteer, nonprofit, community-based ensemble of adult and student instrumentalists dedicated to performing quality concert band music.

Myrtle Park

Friends of Myrtle Point Park and the Sierra Club are sponsoring a cleanup day at the park from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday.

Participants should bring work gloves, water, bug repellent and lunch to eat after the cleanup. The work will include clearing trails of downed tree limbs, removing trash from marshes and repairing signs.

For more information, contact Bill Burruss at 301-373-8305 or by e-mail at billymilkweed@starpower.net

Rhoda J.K. Campbell, executive director of the Boys & Girls Clubs, died Saturday of an aneurysm.