St. Mary's College of Maryland has again been named one of the top 100 liberal arts colleges in U.S. News & World Report's annual rankings, published this week.

St. Mary's is the highest-ranked liberal arts college in Maryland and is ranked No. 2 among public liberal arts colleges behind Virginia Military Institute.

The rankings are based on several criteria, including graduation and retention rates, faculty resources and peer assessment. The greatest weight -- 25 percent -- is placed on the peer assessment, which allows top academics at other liberal arts colleges to account for intangibles not easily translated into statistics, such as faculty dedication.

Maggie O'Brien, the college's president, credited the school's faculty members for "their hard work and unwavering dedication to the college's students" in a statement released by the college.

Larry Vote, the college's provost, applauded students for continuing to raise the school's reputation among peer institutions.

"Each year, our students are meeting and exceeding the high academic standards set by their professors," Vote said in a statement. "Additionally, more and more seniors are completing a St. Mary's Project, which is the capstone of study at SMCM. As more students take on this challenging eight-credit project, it increases the reputation of the college in the eyes of our peers."

Federal-Job-Hunt Course

The College of Southern Maryland's Prince Frederick campus is offering a new course on the application process for federal employment.

The class, Demystifying the Federal Job Search, will meet from 7 to 9 p.m. Sept. 6 and 13, Oct. 4 and 11, and Nov. 1 and 8.

Federal agencies use numerous online recruitment systems, all of which have different policies and ranking systems. Participants in the course will receive customized forms and other resources.

The course costs $138. Registration is available at www.csmd.edu/ContinuingEducation or at any College of Southern Maryland campus. For information, call 301-934-7521 or 301-870-3008, Ext. 7521.

Wine-Tasting Fundraiser

Civista Health Foundation's annual wine tasting is scheduled for 5 to 9 p.m. Sept. 24 at the historic Port Tobacco Courthouse.

The event is a fundraiser for the Civista Medical Center. Those who attend will be able to sample a variety of wines, attend seminars by connoisseurs, and participate in a silent auction and wine boutique.

The volunteer committee organizing the event hopes to raise $45,000. Proceeds will help fund an ultrasound imaging system for the medical center. Ultrasound is used in a variety of clinical settings, including obstetrics and gynecology, cardiology and cancer detection.

Tickets are $40 if bought by Sept. 10 and $50 after that. Reservations are encouraged. In announcing the event, the committee and the foundation noted that moderation is key to the enjoyment of the wines, but they are offering "designated driver" tickets for $30. Tickets and additional information are available from the Civista Health Foundation at 301-609-4132.

$80,000 From Concert

Calvert Marine Museum raised more than $80,000 from the recent sell-out concert by Crosby, Stills and Nash, BayWeekly.com reported.

The Aug. 14 performance was the final show in this year's Waterside Concert Series.

Museum director Doug Alves told Bay Weekly that the proceeds will pay for a new and bigger touch tank in the Discovery Room. The new tank will be horseshoe-shaped and will feature salt and freshwater areas stocked with Chesapeake Bay and river creatures.

Workforce Conference

The Southern Maryland Workforce and Economic Development Summit is scheduled for Sept. 14 at the Southern Maryland Higher Education Center in St. Mary's County.

The conference will be hosted by the Southern Maryland WorkSource, a service of the state labor department; the Southern Maryland Economic Development Association; and the Tri-County Council for Southern Maryland.

The conference will examine workforce and economic projections for Southern Maryland as well as offer workshops on a variety of issues.

Topics of the sessions planned, according to an announcement from the conference's sponsors, include business practices that affect employee retention, resources in Southern Maryland for providing and maintaining a well-trained workforce, and the relationship between business growth and community growth.

Gary Yakimov, senior partner with the Corporation for a Skilled Workforce, will present a detailed analysis of the Southern Maryland regional workforce.

Registration information is posted at www.somdworks.org.

From Channel 12 to 95

St. Mary's County residents who follow local government via cable television had to tune to a new channel this week.

GMP Cable announced that Channel 12 has moved to Channel 95, effective Tuesday.

The change does not affect programming, which will continue to be managed through the St. Mary's County government's Public Information Office.

Permits for Bear Hunt

Hunters have until Wednesday to apply for the black bear hunting season lottery, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources' Wildlife and Heritage Service said.

The hunt is scheduled for Oct. 24 to 29 and Dec. 5 to 10 in Garrett County and areas west of Evitts Creek in Allegany County. A DNR announcement said the season will be closed after 40 to 55 bears are taken.

DNR will issue 200 bear hunting permits through a random drawing. Of the permits, 120 will be issued for private land only, and the remaining 80 will be valid for private and public land.

Hunters may apply online and by telephone. Applications are being accepted at blackbear.dnr.state.md.us through Wednesday. Applications will also be accepted over the phone through tomorrow, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., at 888-579-6768.

Each applicant must pay a $15 nonrefundable fee and may only enter once. The drawing will be Sept. 2, and successful applicants will be notified shortly thereafter by mail. Also, applicants may check their status online using their confirmation number.

The hunt for black bears is scheduled for Oct. 24 to 29 and Dec. 5 to 10 in Garrett County and areas west of Evitts Creek in Allegany County.