This summer's annual chautauqua program at the College of Southern Maryland in La Plata will explore "War and Democracy: Personal Journeys" as seen through the lives of four historic figures.

Performances in Chautauqua 2005, which is sponsored by the Maryland Humanities Council, begin at 7 p.m. July 11-14 on the La Plata campus, the college said in an announcement.

Historians will portray Life magazine photojournalist Margaret Bourke-White on July 11; Benjamin O. Davis Jr., a Tuskegee airman and the first black general in the Air Force, on July 12; President Abraham Lincoln, who shepherded the country through the Civil War, on July 13; and author and visionary George Orwell, whose classics "1984" and "Animal Farm" remain standards of modern literature, on July 14.

Each evening's presentation will open with a musical performance. On July 11 and 12, Jim Watson will present patriotic music of the 20th century. David and Ginger Hildebrand will perform Early American songs on July 13 and 14.

As an introduction to the figures portrayed in Chautauqua 2005, members of the College of Southern Maryland faculty will lead three book discussions this month. Professor Ron Brown will review and lead discussions on "The Good War," by Studs Terkel, at 2 p.m. June 26 at La Plata Brewhouse Coffees in La Plata. Professor Richard Bilsker will review and lead discussions of "1984" at 7 p.m. June 29 at Nooks and Monks Restaurant in Leonardtown. Closing the discussion series will be professor Patrick Allen, who will review and lead discussions on "Black Knights: The Story of the Tuskegee Airmen" at 4 p.m. July 10 at Citrus Cafe in Bryans Road.

To celebrate Bourke-White, the college will conduct a photography contest through June 23. The contest asks amateur photographers ages 16 and older to capture images of peace and/or conflict within everyday life using a photojournalistic approach. For contest prizes, rules and information, visit www.csmd.edu/finearts and select the chautauqua link.

Chautauqua began in 1874 as a training course for Sunday schoolteachers and in 1904 toured as part of the lyceum movement that brought lecturers and entertainers to towns across the country. Since 2000, CSM has been one of five community colleges hosting this summertime event, which is free and suitable for all ages.

Nominations for Directors

The Board Nominating Committee for the Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative announced last week the candidates chosen to run for the five seats up for election on the utility's board of directors.

Those nominated are:

* Calvert County -- John W. Williams Jr.

* Charles County -- John H. Bloom Jr.

* St. Mary's County -- G. Purnell Frederick Sr., Joseph V. Stone Jr. and George "Mike" Thompson.

* Prince George's County -- Daniel W. Dyer.

All but Thompson and Dyer are incumbents.

Any 15 or more members may join together to make other nominations by petition before July 1. SMECO's customer-members will elect five directors to serve three-year terms and will vote for one board seat for Calvert County, one seat for Charles County, one seat for Prince George's County, and two seats for St. Mary's County.

Members may vote in person at the members annual meeting Aug. 31 at the cooperative's headquarters in Hughesville. Customers who qualify may also vote by absentee ballot. Applications for absentee ballots will be available from Monday to Aug. 15 at any of the utility's offices, by calling 301-274-4480, or via the cooperative's Web site, www.smeco.com. Completed ballots must be returned by Aug. 30.

St. Mary's River Watershed

The St. Mary's River Watershed Association has scheduled an organizational meeting for new members at 6:30 p.m. June 13 at the Lexington Park Library.

For the past two years, the association has been working to protect the St. Mary's River Watershed in ways that are targeted to also help the greater community. The group uses watershed data collected by the St. Mary's River Project at St. Mary's College of Maryland.

The Watershed Association is establishing its status as a nonprofit organization. It is planning backyard conservation workshops, an exhibit at the library, a Web site, membership drives and public events. Anyone interested is encouraged to attend the organizational meeting. Additional information is available at 240-895-0359 or smwatershed@yahoo.com.

The mission of the St. Mary's River Watershed Association, according to a statement from the group, is to protect and improve the well-being of the St. Mary's River Watershed through the collaborative efforts of economic, academic, environmental, social, cultural and political stakeholders in the community.

The 73.8-square-mile watershed encompasses almost a quarter of St. Mary's County's 296 square miles. More than 100 miles of streams in 16 subwatersheds drain into the St. Mary's River before the river becomes tidal at Tippity Witchity Island. Other small streams give their fresh water directly to the tidal estuary.

Nearly half of the population of St. Mary's County -- 46,000 people -- lives within the watershed.

Academy Appointments

Ten Southern Maryland students were among 18 offered appointments to the U.S. military service academies by Rep. Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.), whose congressional district contains Calvert, Charles and St. Mary's counties as well as parts of Prince George's and Anne Arundel counties.

The local students are:

* Air Force Academy -- Matthew Lohr of Thomas Stone High School and Debra Starkey of La Plata High School.

* Merchant Marine Academy -- Jeffrey Jurin of Northern High School.

* Naval Academy -- Jason Beaudwin of Leonardtown High School, Patrick Clague of Northern High School, Joshua Matthews of La Plata High School, Richard Moore of Northern High School and David Palko of La Plata High School.

* West Point -- Robert Christie of Chopticon High School and Patrick Jeffrey of Thomas Stone High School.

Civista Health Directors

The board of directors of Civista Health recently elected three new members. They are James Burke, Jan Costinett and Sara Middleton; each will serve a three-year term.

Burke is a commercial loan officer with Mercantile Southern Maryland Bank in La Plata. Costinett is a branch manager with Global Human Resources/Staffing Corp., and Middleton is retired and actively involved in numerous civic organizations.