Charles Reimbursed for Aid

Charles County officials announced Thursday that federal funding triggered by a recent presidential emergency declaration should enable the county to recoup the cost of providing services to Hurricane Katrina victims who are living in the county.

In Charles, assistance to evacuees is being coordinated through a clearinghouse established in the county Department of Social Services.

"We have served approximately 100 individuals through our programs or referred them to other state or county agencies for assistance," department Director Rebecca Bridgett said in a statement.

The clearinghouse is tracking the Katrina victims in the community "to assure that they are receiving the services they need or will require in the future," Bridgett said.

The Charles County Disaster Relief Fund, which the county commissioners recently reactivated to assist Katrina victims in Charles, has a balance of about $34,000. With aid requests slowing a lot, Bridgett said, "the donations that are coming in at this time are keeping pace with the expenses for Katrina victims that are not covered through other programs provided by public and private agencies on the federal, state and local levels."

As a result, the county commissioners decided to postpone an Oct. 19 fundraiser planned in cooperation with the Chamber of Commerce and the Waldorf Jaycees at the Waldorf Jaycees Community Center.

"Since unexpected federal funds have been made available to assist us with Katrina victims, we did not want to overburden our businesses, organizations and citizens who offer their support of the community when we call upon them," Commissioner Candice Quinn Kelly (R-La Plata) said in the announcement.

However, donations to the fund are still encouraged. All contributions are tax-deductible and may be sent to: Charles County Disaster Relief Fund, Charles County Government Building, Attn: Department of Fiscal Services, PO Box 2150, La Plata, Md. 20646. Administrative costs are absorbed by the county government.

SMECO Repairing Gulf Coast Lines

The Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative continues to assist Gulf Coast residents left without power by the recent hurricanes. Sixteen SMECO workers left Thursday for southwest Louisiana. They will help repair electric lines belonging to the Jefferson Davis Electric Cooperative, which sustained heavy damage from Hurricane Rita.

This is the third group of SMECO line workers that has volunteered to help restore power along the Gulf Coast this year. Two other groups went to Mississippi last month to repair damage caused by Hurricane Katrina.

The SMECO workers in the latest group are Shane Alderson, Willie Braxton, Jason Danielson, Joe Day, Andrew DeAtley, Jason Dunning, Larry Hayden, Scott Horn, Tony Norris, Mike Nygaard, Sonny Riley, Al Selig, Philip Swales, Rick Swinburn, Robert Toye and Joe Trossbach.

Realtors Group to Stage Benefit

The Southern Maryland Association of Realtors is sponsoring a fundraiser to benefit Hurricane Katrina relief efforts from 6:30 to 11 p.m. Friday at the Jaycees Community Center in Waldorf.

A ticket that will admit two people costs $100. The event will feature an open bar and drawings for cash and other prizes.

To register, call Gerry Bohannon, 301-751-8974; Diana Rucci, 301-742-8969; or Chris Guldi, 301-632-5454.

Firehouse to Host Aid Fundraiser

"Mardi Gras Madness in October," a fundraiser to benefit Hurricane Katrina relief efforts, will be held from 7 p.m. Saturday to 1 a.m. Sunday at the Mechanicsville Volunteer Fire Department social hall.

The event will include music, a live auction and a silent auction. Tickets are $15 a person or $25 a couple. All proceeds will be donated to the American Red Cross.

The benefit's co-sponsors include the Mechanicsville Volunteer Fire Department, the Chesapeake Country Cruisers, disc jockeys Geneva & Jon and Heritage Printing & Graphics Inc., with the support of other local merchants.

The social hall is at 28165 Hills Club Rd. in Mechanicsville.

For advance tickets, call 301-769-3817.