College of Southern Maryland President Elaine Ryan, who led the school during its transition into a regional community college, plans to retire when her contract expires in June.

Ryan, the college's third president, told employees in an e-mail Monday that her decision to leave after 34 years on campus comes with "mixed feelings."

"For the seven years I've served as president, the faculty, staff and students of CSM have made me proud every day."

During her tenure, the college consolidated separate schools in Calvert, Charles and St. Mary's counties into Maryland's fifth-largest community college.

Ryan, who is 55, oversaw construction and renovations on all three campuses, including a new 75-acre complex in Prince Frederick. Enrollment has increased by 25 percent since 1998.

Through partnerships with four-year schools such as the University of Maryland, Ryan has encouraged College of Southern Maryland graduates to capitalize on their community college credits to earn less expensive bachelor's degrees. She has worked with the local business community to ensure that the college is offering relevant courses and training.

Ryan grew up in Southern Maryland and graduated from St. Mary's College of Maryland. She began her career with Charles County Community College in 1971 as the library's reader services coordinator and later became director and then dean of learning resources. Before taking the helm as president in 1998, she was executive vice president and dean of college services.

There is no word on what Ryan might do next, said Karen Smith Hupp, the college's community relations manager.

Until then, Ryan told colleagues, "I'm looking forward to a very active year and will be relying on your continued strong commitment to meeting the needs of our students and our community."

Heard but not Seen

There's no doubt that Charles County Commissioner Edith J. Patterson (D-Pomfret) heard the protests of Bryans Road residents who attended Monday's meeting. But she apparently could not see them -- at least not initially.

As Patterson spoke from the dais, explaining why she was prepared to vote for new rules for development at Indian Head Highway and Route 227, angry residents waved signs with slogans such as "Delay the vote" and "Keep Bryans Road rural."

Patterson is thoroughly familiar with the issues. She lives nearby and has convened formal and informal discussions with residents.

But after Monday's meeting, Patterson said somewhat sheepishly that although she knew audience members were holding up something, she wasn't quite sure what: "I didn't have my glasses on; I couldn't read the signs."

Not to worry. Patterson later picked up a stack left in the hearing room.

Erosion at Myrtle Point

After news reports about the erosion and sediment runoff from the Woods at Myrtle Point, a new St. Mary's County development near California, state Sen. Roy P. Dyson (D-St. Mary's) wrote to the chairman of the Chesapeake Bay Critical Area Commission to complain.

"First of all, I am sure you will share my disgust, that according to the [Washington] Post report, the Maryland Department of the Environment has been to this particular development 25 times since June 2004," Dyson wrote to chairman Martin Madden on July 12. "This is an outrage."

Dyson, senate chairman of the General Assembly's Joint Committee on the Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays Critical Area, said he would have his committee look into the erosion issues at Myrtle Point. The project, expected to have 392 homes on 286 acres, has angered nearby residents, who say sediment washing from cleared hills is polluting Mill Creek, a tributary of the Patuxent River.

"I just recently attended two 'wade-ins' into the Patuxent and Potomac Rivers. . . . We all talk at these events how much we want to 'Save the Bay.' But what are we really doing to solve the problem?" Dyson wrote. "That's what I intend to do with this meeting and I am inviting you to join me because I know you care as deeply as I do about the damage being done to our critical areas."

Disability Medal to Hoyer

The National Council on Disability awarded Rep. Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) the George Bush Medal for the Empowerment of People with Disabilities on Monday night during the group's 15th anniversary observance of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Former president George H.W. Bush presented the award to Hoyer, who was the lead sponsor of the ADA in the House when it passed in 1990.

In a statement released Tuesday, Hoyer said:

"Fifteen years ago today -- the day President George H.W. Bush signed the bipartisan Americans With Disabilities Act into law -- was one of my proudest moments in public service. . . . Over the last 15 years, there is no doubt that the physical landscape has changed for people with disabilities. Ramps, curb cuts, Braille signs, captioned televisions and chair lifts are just a few examples. . . . Today, we must renew our commitment to the principles and spirit of the ADA, and recognize that our work is not done."

The George Bush Medal Committee was established by the disability community in 1992 and is intended to reinforce the nation's commitment to keeping the promise of the ADA to all Americans and to encourage the spirit of ADA throughout the world.

The National Council on Disability is an independent federal agency that makes recommendations to the president and Congress on disability policy issues and represents people with disabilities on policy matters.

Book on Chesapeake

Historic St. Mary's City recently released its latest publication, "Watery Highways: Trade and Travel in the Colonial Chesapeake."

The 52-page four-color book tells the story of the many ways that the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries influenced English settlement in the bay region. Cultures, goods, traditions and technology flowed along the bay and its tributaries. The waterways linked the Old and New Worlds -- Native American and European colonists, African villages and labor-hungry colonies.

Joe Greeley, Historic St. Mary's City waterfront site supervisor, wrote the book. Greeley sailed as a child and has studied maritime history and nautical archaeology. He also has worked and volunteered on several historic vessels.

The publication was produced with support from the Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network, a unit of the National Park Service that focuses on bay awareness. "Watery Highways" is available at the Historic St. Mary's City Shop at Farthing's Ordinary, 240-895-2088, and other bookstores for $9.95.

New Health Administrator

Tracy Kubinec joined the St. Mary's County Health Department this month as the agency's new deputy health officer. Kubinec replaces department administrator Mary Wood, who retired in June.

Kubinec is responsible for the daily administrative operation of the Health Department, which is in Leonardtown. She will direct fiscal services, human resources, network systems, the Medical Assistance Transportation Program, the medical and vital records unit, and the office of public information, according to an announcement from the department.

Excavation

Visitors to Historic St. Mary's City this weekend will have a chance to unearth history at one of the nation's best-preserved colonial sites.

For Tidewater Archaeology Weekend, on Saturday and Sunday, the public is invited to work alongside professional archaeologists. This year, the focus is on the remains of Garrett Vansweringen's colonial inn in the heart of Maryland's first capital.

Vansweringen, a Dutch immigrant, was one of Maryland's first entrepreneurs, according to information provided by Historic St. Mary's City. He was an innkeeper, brewer and probably a baker. He may have provided medical services, too.

His inn was a popular meeting place for legislators in the colonial capital. Today, archaeologists are finding evidence of Vansweringen's successful businesses and his customers. Weekend "archaeologists" will help excavate and identify artifacts.

Tours of the archaeology laboratory are scheduled throughout the day. A variety of ceramics, pipes and glass recovered in previous excavations at the Vansweringen site will be displayed with other material from the Historic St. Mary's City archaeological collections.

Special activities, scheduled from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., are included in museum admission ($7.50, adults; $6, seniors and students; $3.50 ages 6-12) along with entrance to all museum exhibits, including a representative 17th-century tall ship, the Godiah Spray Plantation, the State House of 1676, the Woodland Indian Hamlet and the Exhibit Hall, where visitors can see more artifacts from the Vansweringen site. A full schedule is available at www.stmaryscity.org.

Telephone Scheme

Lt. Brian P. Cedar, commander of the Maryland State Police barrack in Leonardtown, warned area residents this month not to respond to e-mails, phone calls or Web pages that direct recipients to call telephone numbers beginning with area codes 809, 284 and 876.

The 809 area code is in the British Virgin Islands. The police warning said it can be used as a "Pay Per Call" prefix, similar to 900 numbers in the United States. Callers to such 809 numbers, however, are charged $2,425 per minute if calling from the United States, Cedar warned.

U.S. regulations, which require notification of charges and rates for 900 numbers, do not apply to similar services based elsewhere. The 284 area code is also in the British Virgin Islands, and 876 is in Jamaica. Both of the latter two codes formerly were part of the 809 area.

ELAINE RYAN