Ryken Milestone

The chairman of the board of directors of St. Mary's Ryken High School in Leonardtown, Brother William P. Drinan, announced last week that the board has named Mary Joy Hurlburt to assume the presidency of the school Nov. 1.

Hurlburt is principal of Ryken. She was selected without an extensive search process.

She will succeed the Rev. Paul S. Tipton, who is stepping down from the presidency Oct. 31.

"Because of the great confidence it has in Mrs. Hurlburt," Drinan said in an announcement released by the school, "the board determined to by-pass the usual search process and to make the appointment" at a special meeting this month.

Hurlburt as been associated with St. Mary's Ryken for more than 20 years as a faculty member and administrator. Her selection marks two milestones: Hurlburt is the first woman to be appointed president of St. Mary's Ryken as well as the first woman to be named chief administrator of a Xaverian-sponsored school.

She received her undergraduate degree from Ladycliff College in New York and her master's from the College of Notre Dame of Maryland.

Rabies Alert in St. Mary's

Recent rabies cases in St. Mary's County have prompted Health Department officials to warn residents about the potential threat rabies poses to county residents who have not had their pets' rabies shots updated.

This month, a raccoon tested positive for rabies after it was killed in a nighttime animal fight heard by residents in the Scotland Beach neighborhood near Point Lookout. The other animal involved in the fight has not been found or identified.

The Health Department contacted several residents of the neighborhood to alert them to the potential risk to unleashed pets.

In a statement issued by the department, sanitarian supervisor Ann Rose said the disease is not isolated to one area or neighborhood.

"As a general message," she said, "we are advising all county residents to check their animals' vaccine records and [are] reminding pet owners that responsible control of pets includes keeping pets indoors, using a leash or having a fenced yard."

The St. Mary's Animal Welfare League holds monthly rabies vaccine clinics from March through November at the St. Mary's County Fairgrounds in Leonardtown. The next clinic is scheduled from 6 to 8 p.m. Aug. 8. The cost is $10 per shot. For more information call the Animal Welfare League at 301-373-5659.

Charles Gets Recycling Aid

Charles County received a $2,500 state grant last week to support construction of a rain shelter for the site where used oil and antifreeze are collected at Ruth B. Swann Park near Bryans Road.

The grant was awarded through the Maryland Environmental Service, which manages the used-oil/antifreeze recycling program throughout the state.

The Swann Park rain shelter is a heavy-duty metal box that encloses three tanks for used oil and two holding tanks for used antifreeze, as well as the piping system. The total construction cost was about $7,000, said Steve Pearson, recycling supervisor for the solid waste division of the Charles County Department of Public Facilities. The facility was completed early this spring.

Similar rain shelters have been built at the Pisgah Recycling Center on Route 425 and the County Landfill in Waldorf.

The county now recycles more than 60,000 gallons of used oil and 3,700 gallons of used antifreeze annually, according to a statement released by the county commissioners.

College Announces Grants

The College of Southern Maryland has recently been awarded several federal and state grants totaling nearly $117,000, the school announced.

The college has received a federal grant for $14,558 through the Maryland Association of Community Colleges (MACC) to support efforts to enhance its nursing faculty. The grant will support mentoring, coaching and nurturing programs for nurse practitioners as new full-time and adjunct faculty through a "Grow Our Own Nurse Faculty" project.

Additionally, CSM's nursing department has received a $5,150 federal grant through MACC for a mobile computing project. The grant will enable students to be exposed to the emerging use of personal digital assistant technology to improve workplace productivity in community-based nursing environments such as hospices, home health care and in schools.

The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has renewed its Anti-Tobacco Coalition grant to the college for an additional year. The $12,000 grant renewal will fund the school's ongoing anti-tobacco program for students and the community. Educational Talent Search, which is at the La Plata campus, will play a key role in implementing the project's objectives.

The Maryland Higher Education Commission has renewed its College Preparation Intervention Program grant to the college for $40,008. The grant supports the college's GEAR UP Program, which provides credit-free classes to improve skills levels of high school seniors for placement in college-level classes.

The National Park Service has awarded $6,861 to the college's Southern Maryland Studies Center to identify and obtain life histories of slaves from Southern Maryland who enlisted in the Union Army at Camp Stanton in Benedict during the Civil War.

SMECO Safety Offer

The Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative warned residents not to move their home electricity meters on their own.

Residents who need meters moved to make home improvements should call SMECO at 888-440-3311. The utility will move meters free of charge to protect the safety of cooperative members.

Meters are an integral part of the distribution system, the SMECO warning said. Removing a meter base from its secure position can cause serious injury and jeopardize the stability of the installation through arcs of electricity, explosions or fire. A meter base should never be pried or loosened from its secure location.