When disputes over matters of public policy or personal preference get heated, it can seem as if the government officials involved in these friendly debates are not very friendly.

In Calvert County, where some exchanges before the elected commissioners are occasionally biting, two top officials have managed to remain close friends for nearly three decades.

By all accounts, Commissioner Gerald W. Clark (R-Lusby) and acting County Administrator Douglas A. Parran Jr. truly are bosom buddies.

"I've known Douglas off and on for 25 years," Clark said. "We're very good friends."

The pair, who are neighbors in Lusby, traveled together on a week-long trip to Alaska in August, a few weeks before Parran was selected as interim administrator.

"We went salmon fishing," Clark said. "We both like fishing a lot."

Chamber Board Candidates

Nine businesspeople are candidates for the Charles County Chamber of Commerce board of directors.

Chamber members will vote by mail for seven new directors, who will take office in January.

The candidates are:

* John Flatley, owner and operator of the Chick-fil-A restaurant in the St. Charles Towne Center mall.

* Connie Gragan, contracts administrator and office manager for Zekiah Technologies Inc. in La Plata.

* David Hruda, vice president of Somerset Development Co. in Bel Alton.

* Brenda Lowe, executive assistant to the chief executive officer of Maryland Bank & Trust Co. NA in Waldorf.

* Mark MacFarland, executive director of land development for American Community Properties Trust in St. Charles.

* Gregory Steve Proctor, president and chief executive of G.S. Proctor & Associates in La Plata.

* Diana Rucci, a loan officer for AccuBanc Mortgage in Waldorf.

* Christine Stefanides, president and chief executive of Civista Health Inc. in La Plata.

* Terry Wright, co-owner of Wright International Inc.

Ballots mailed this month were due back this week. A panel of former chamber presidents will count the ballots and announce the seven finalists in November.

Town Meeting

Charles County Commissioner Al Smith (R-Waldorf) will conduct a town meeting for the residents of Commissioner District 3 from 7 to 9 p.m. Nov. 1 at the Waldorf Jaycees Community Center.

The district includes northern Waldorf and parts of St. Charles.

After a brief welcome at the meeting, Smith will take questions or comments from the audience. There will be no agenda or recording of statements.

Anyone who needs special accommodations to attend should call public information officer Nina Voehl at 301-645-0580, 301-870-3000, or via the Maryland Relay Service TTY/TDD at 711 or 1-800-735-2258, or e-mail voehln@charlescounty.org.

Hurricane Relief

Maryland public school students raised more than $1.32 million to aid the victims of Hurricane Katrina.

In an announcement Monday at an elementary school in Jessup, State Superintendent of Schools Nancy S. Grasmick said the statewide fund drive, called Maryland Kids Care, was the largest response to a national disaster by the state's public schools and their students in memory.

Legislative Proposals Due

Tomorrow is the deadline for Charles County residents to submit legislative proposals or suggestions for revision of state law for consideration in the county commissioners' 2006 General Assembly legislative package.

Proposals should be sent in writing to: Legislative Request, Office of the County Attorney, PO Box 2150, La Plata, Md. 20646. Proposals that require action by the legislature will be included in a preliminary package that will be available for distribution Oct. 28 and then presented to the commissioners at a public hearing at 7 p.m. Nov. 7.

Anyone who submits a proposal will be asked to attend the hearing to provide a synopsis of the initiative and to answer questions from those in attendance.

For information, call the Office of the County Attorney at 301-645-0555.

An Extended Oyster Season

Maryland's oystermen will have a longer season this winter.

Oyster season typically starts in early November in Maryland. But this year it got underway Tuesday.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources officials anticipate high prices for oysters because oyster production along the Gulf Coast has been crippled by the recent hurricanes. So they decided last month to open the power dredging oyster season two weeks early this year. Virginia also opened its oyster season early.

Sharply reduced supply from states such as Louisiana -- which typically produces 40 percent of the nation's oysters -- is expected to drive up the price of Chesapeake Bay oysters. It could rise from about $30 a bushel last season to $40 this winter.

Gift for Scholarships

The College of Southern Maryland Leonardtown Campus Student Association recently gave $15,000 to the CSM Foundation to establish an endowed scholarship fund to benefit students attending the Leonardtown campus.

"The Leonardtown Student Association thinks this endowed scholarship is a wonderful opportunity to continuously give something back to the students of our campus for many years to come," David Russell, president of the association, said in a statement released by the college.

Russell presented the donation during a welcoming reception for the new dean of the Leonardtown campus, F.J. Talley.

Save the Bay, From Home

The Lower Potomac Tributary Team and Nanjemoy Vision are sponsoring a public workshop Tuesday focusing on information and tips for home improvements that can help protect the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries.

Presented by Tom Miller of the University of Maryland, the workshop will examine how ground and surface water interact and how individual actions on the land affect water quality. The discussion will address wells and septic systems, among other topics.

The workshop, which is free and open to the public, is scheduled from 7 to 9 p.m. at the 10th District Volunteer Fire Department, 7035 Poorhouse Rd., Pisgah (at Route 425 and Poorhouse Road).

New Hoyer Press Secretary

Rep. Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) announced last week that Tim Schlittner has joined his staff as his Maryland press secretary.

Most recently, Schlittner served as a deputy press secretary for Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.). In that post, he oversaw radio requests, worked with local publications and implemented Harman's e-newsletter program.

A graduate of Syracuse University with degrees in broadcast journalism and political science, Schlittner previously worked on the presidential campaign of Richard A. Gephardt (D) and with the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union.

Hoyer said Schlittner, a native of Tinton Falls, N.J., "brings a strong knowledge of communications and the invaluable experience of working with district media" to his new job.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.