There was a decidedly Slavic air at the Cove Point Lighthouse last week.

Executives from Russian gas giant Gazprom descended on the Calvert County landmark Friday to watch the company's first shipment of liquefied natural gas arrive.

Officials cheered as the Castillo de Vellalba, a tanker filled with 145,000 cubic meters of LNG, approached the Cove Point terminal, which is operated by Dominion Resources Inc. of Richmond.

Daniel Donovan, Dominion spokesman, said the Cove Point terminal was a natural fit for Gazprom.

"Russia has the largest natural gas reserves in the world, and Cove Point has access to the largest gas market in the world," he said. "It makes sense that things are happening here."

SMECO in the Spotlight

The Discovery Health Channel plans to feature employees of the Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative (SMECO) in a show about the dangers of lightning and electricity.

Medical expert "Dr. Know" and a production crew recently visited SMECO's Hughesville headquarters to videotape a "hot line demonstration." The demonstration simulates how kite strings and aluminum ladders can be dangerous when they come into contact with live power lines.

Mike Nygaard, system safety supervisor, staged the demonstration for Discovery Health; and J.R. Grow, job training and safety manager, narrated the action. Discovery Health will use the demonstration in an episode of "Dr. Know" in the first quarter of next year.

Emergency Preparedness

September is National Preparedness Month, and the St. Mary's County Health Department has announced a new countywide initiative to educate residents about how to prepare for emergencies in their homes, businesses and schools.

Hurricane Katrina and its impact on the Gulf Coast are powerful reminders of the unpredictable nature of hurricanes and the vulnerability of coastal regions, including the Chesapeake Bay, health officials said.

Erin Reiney, special projects coordinator for the education effort, has prepared a presentation that she will tailor to the needs of various audiences. Organizations that want to schedule a talk may call Reiney at 301-475-4330.

The initiative will officially launch with a joint display provided by the department and the American Red Cross on Sept. 22-25 at the St. Mary's County Fair in Leonardtown.

Other information about how to prepare for an emergency is available at these Web sites:

* St. Mary's County Health Department:

* U.S. Department of Homeland Security:

* American Red Cross:

Filing Deadline Extended

The Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation (MDAT) has extended the filing deadline for the Homeowners Tax Credit Program until Oct. 31. The change followed the adoption and revision of local supplemental credits in Charles, Anne Arundel, Frederick, Howard and Montgomery counties.

Charles County legislation to supplement the state program went into effect Aug. 4. The Charles program provides real property tax credits for homeowners with gross household incomes of $50,000 or less and residential property assessed at $300,000 or less. The current maximums for the MDAT program tax credits are assessed property valued at $150,000 or less and combined gross household incomes of about $30,000 or less.

To be considered for a property tax credit on July property tax bills, homeowners must file Form HTC-60 for 2005 and proof of income by the Oct. 31 deadline. Homeowners will receive a tax credit, a refund if the bill has been paid or a written explanation of ineligibility.

Application forms and instructions are available at the Charles County office of the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation, 101A Catalpa Dr., Suite 101A, in La Plata, or the Treasurer's Office in the Charles County Government Building.

For more information or to get assistance in filing an application, call the MDAT office in Charles County at 301-932-2440 or go to the MDAT Web site,

Cancer Society Bull Roast

Chaney Enterprises' 26th annual American Cancer Society Bull Roast will be held from 1 to 5 p.m. Oct. 8 at the Waldorf Elks Lodge, on Route 925.

The event, hosted by Chaney family members and employees, has raised $824,000 for the American Cancer Society over the past 25 years. This year's goal, organizers said, is to beat last year's $56,764 donation.

Tickets may be purchased at the door or by calling 301-932-5000. Tickets are $40 for adults, $20 for children ages 7 to 12, and free for children 6 and younger.

Transportation Hearing

The Charles County commissioners have scheduled a public hearing on the proposed fiscal 2007 transportation service plan for 11 a.m. Oct. 3 at the County Government Building in La Plata.

The county Department of Community Services is applying for funds from the Maryland Transit Administration and the Federal Transit Administration for VanGO, the county's intra-county transportation system.

Charles County is requesting about $2.2 million in federal and state operating funds through a variety of grants. Also proposed in the plan are changes to the Indian Head route and business routes.

County officials are seeking about $1.5 million in federal and state capital funds to pay for items including four public transit vehicles, a bus shelter, transfer-point pavilion construction, bus security and smart card technology. That sum would be matched by $162,500 in local funds.

Individuals or representatives of groups who want to speak must sign in. Speaker sign-up will begin at 10:30 a.m. and will end when the hearing begins. Each speaker will be allotted three minutes. The hearing will last no longer than two hours.

For more information, contact the Department of Community Services at 301-934-9305 or 301-870-3388, or via the Maryland Relay Service TTY/TDD at 711 or 800-735-2258.

Chemistry Instructor Honored

When St. Mary's College of Maryland's new academic building, Goodpaster Hall, opens in 2007, one of its chemistry labs will bear the name of Madeleine Kreitzer, a who taught at the college for nearly 20 years.

At a recent dinner held in her honor, Kreitzer, a former chemistry lab instructor, was surprised with the news that David Burdette, a 1976 graduate of St. Mary's, is donating funds to name the lab for Kreitzer and to support scholarships for chemistry majors. Burdette, owner of Chemicals Unlimited in Lutherville, was a student in Kreitzer's lab.

Health Officials Seek Input

St. Mary's County public health officials are seeking input from residents who lack transportation to medical appointments.

The health department is asking for informal letters and phone calls from county residents describing their medical transportation needs or those of their neighbors, clients or family members. Residents who write or call should include their names and addresses. The information provided will be used to support the grant request, health department officials said.

Correspondence can be mailed to William B. Icenhower, Public Health Officer, St. Mary's County Health Department, PO Box 316, Leonardtown, Md. 20650. Phone calls will be received by the health department reception desk at 301-475-4330.

At the Cove Point Lighthouse on Friday, Gazprom officials watched the arrival of the company's first LNG shipment.