Schools Hold Forum

For Master Plan

St. Mary's County public schools officials will hold a public forum Wednesday on the update of the system's master plan. Residents can offer input on the plan from 5 to 6:30 p.m. at the Board of Education meeting room at the central administration building on Moakley Street in Leonardtown.

The five-year plan and regular updates to it are required by the Bridge to Excellence in Public Schools Act, passed by the Maryland General Assembly in 2002.

The law is intended to accelerate academic excellence for all students, to eliminate achievement gaps among students of different ethnic or racial groups, and to ensure that all students make adequate yearly progress.

R. Lorraine Fulton, deputy superintendent of schools, said residents' comments will help guide the update of the plan. A second public forum on a draft plan is planned for late September.

St. Mary's County Board of Education members will review the plan, and the version they approve will then be submitted to the Maryland State Department of Education for final approval by Oct. 14.

Woodcarving Course

To Be Held at Somers

The Charles County Department of Community Services will offer a course in basic woodcarving and finishing techniques this fall at the Somers Community Center in La Plata.

The class will meet 7-9 p.m. on Tuesdays from Sept. 27 through Nov. 15. This program is open to participants 16 and older. By the end of this class, they will have carved and finished several pieces.

The registration deadline is Sept. 26. The cost is $75 at registration, plus a supply fee of $10.

For more information about the class, or for directions, please call the Somers Community Center at 301-932-6679.

Information about this and other programs offered by the Department of Community Services is available at www.charlescounty.org or by calling the department at 301-934-9305 or 301-870-3388. People with special needs may contact the Maryland Relay Service at 711 or Relay Service TDD at 800-735-3358.

Free School Supplies

Available Tomorrow

St. Mary's County children can get a jump on back-to-school shopping tomorrow if they visit the Health Connections van.

Free backpacks, paper, pencils, pens and health career information will be available from 10 a.m. to noon and from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Wal-Mart in California and from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Lexington Park library.

The county Health Department is teaming with St. Mary's Hospital, St. Mary's Nursing Center, Chesapeake Potomac Home Health Agency and the St. Mary's County Department of Economic and Community Development to provide students with some of the school supplies they will need as well as to teach them about health careers available in Southern Maryland.

"The careers are here; we just need to let our young people know about them so that they can begin taking the right classes in school," Virginia Miller, personnel associate at the Health Department, said in a statement announcing the event.

For more information about the free backpacks and school supplies, call the St. Mary's County Health Department at 301-475-4330.

SMECO Plans to Host

Utility Career Fair Sept. 7

The Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative is planning a program for those interested in careers in the utility industry.

SMECO's first Lineman's Career Fair is scheduled from 4 to 7 p.m. Sept. 7 at the cooperative's Hughesville headquarters.

SMECO offers a five-year apprenticeship training program for new linemen. Trainees advance from Apprentice 1 to Journeyman Lineman during the program. Participants who complete the training earn 30 college credits toward an associate in arts degree from the College of Southern Maryland.

The rain date for the fair will be Sept. 15. For more information, SMECO's Job Line at 301-274-4376.

Golf Tournament to Benefit

Planned Youth Center

Registration remains open for the first Hope Community Foundation golf tournament to benefit Matt's Place.

The tournament, which will be held Friday at Indian Springs Country Club, is sponsored by the Hope Community, a nonprofit organization that provides resources and financial support for philanthropic projects. Matt's Place is a youth gym and teen activity center planned on the grounds of Chesapeake Church in Huntingtown.

Matt's Place is being built in memory of Matt Bertolaccini, who died in an accident last year at 13. Matt's friends and family are honoring his love for church and community by creating a place just for the youths of Calvert County.

For more information visit www.matts-place.org.

Golfers can register for the tournament through the Hope Community Web site at www.thehopecommunity.com or by calling 301-538-9431.

Humane Society Offers

Dog Obedience Class

The Humane Society of Charles County will conduct a six-week basic dog obedience class at its Waldorf facility, 71 Industrial Park Dr., beginning Sept. 7.

Class will meet each Wednesday from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Rain dates will be added to the end of the course.

The class is limited to 20 dogs and is designed to help provide owners with the knowledge needed to set up a basic training program for their pets.

Lessons will concentrate on following several commands -- such as come, sit, stay, down and heel.

Registration is required, and a $35 class fee must be paid before Sept. 7. Dogs must be at least 4 months old, and owners must provide proof of current rabies and distemper vaccines.

Participants will have to provide a choke chain collar, a six-foot leash (not chain) and a 20- to 25-foot rope or lead to use for the "come" command.

To register or obtain more information about the class, call 301-645-8181, stop by the Humane Society shelter or visit humanesocietycc.org.

'Fit for Life' 8K Run/Walk

Is Planned for Oct. 8

The St. Mary's County Department of Recreation, Parks and Community Services will sponsor an 8K run/walk as part of the "Fit for Life" Fall Festival on Oct. 8 at the Governmental Center in Leonardtown.

The run/walk will begin at 8 a.m. at the Leonard Hall Recreation Center, on Leonard Hall Drive, and proceed through historic downtown Leonardtown. Participants will receive a "Fit for Life" T-shirt. Drinks and snacks will be available after the run.

Awards will be given to winners in the following age groups: up to 12, 13-19, 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60-69, and 70 and older.

Registration is open now, but participants may register the morning of the event. The cost for advance registration is $20; the fee to register on the day of the event is $25.

Registration forms are available at www.co.saint-marys.md.us/recreate.

The festival will include information from health organizations and St. Mary's Hospital's Health Connections. Children's activities begin at 9 a.m. and will include pony rides, face painting, pumpkin painting and relay races for a gift certificate for a free holiday turkey.

All proceeds from the run/walk and the festival will go toward the department's scholarship program, which helps people in financial need participate in department-sponsored programs and activities.