By Donna Elizabeth Boetig
Lately, has good news has been playing peek-a-boo? A little naughty, a tad teasing, always promising to smile broadly-tomorrow. Well, wait no longer. Here, right now, are little gems, nuggets of news from Southern Maryland life that will make you happy to be here. Enjoy, and spread the cheer:
o We're part of a World Tour: Calvert County will host a major powerboat race this year when the Solomons Offshore Grand Prix debuts this Fall. Up to 50 race teams and nearly 15,000 fans over the weekend are expected on this stop of the world championship tour-providing a super tourism boost for our area. For details: http://www.ecalvert.com.
o Kind Neighbors: In a year when donations in general were down, Charles County Public School increased their pledges to $95,639, up more than $5,000 from the previous year.
o Community professionals helped Charles county senior students practice interviewing skills and sharpen their resumes and mission statements.
o Getting personal, there were no shaves, but plenty of free haircuts recently at Dr. Samuel A. Mudd
Elementary Schools thanks to three barbers from the Bryans Road Barber Shop who set up a makeshift salon at the school.
o Your home is still your castle: Homes are selling in Southern Maryland. In the last three months of 2009, the inventory of homes for sale in our three counties decreased. And with low interest rates and tax credits for both first time and move-up home buyers extending into 2010, the good news should continue into the summer. Homeowners can feel good, too, if not celebrant, about their investment. While home values statewide decreased 19.7 percent, here the drop was almost half, 10 percent.
o Business is thriving especially in the technology sector and government contracting. Charles County Chamber of Commerce has increased its membership by 10 percent this year, thanks to small business owners marketing aggressively.
o Way- to- Go Schools: Calvert County's Northern Middle School in Owings was named one of six Maryland Blue Ribbon Schools because of its students' high performance in reading and math. The school met rigorous standards developed by the Maryland State Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Education.
o Kudos to St. Mary's College of Maryland for being named 37th by Kiplinger magazine's annual ranking of the 100 Best Value public colleges and universities in the nation. The rankings are based on both academic and economic factors.
o A safe, secure feeling: It's priceless. While we should always be cautious, reports of violent crimes falling nearly 10 percent in St. Mary's County in the first half of 2009, compared to the same period the year before, is a thumbs-up.
o Fresh from the farm: Congratulations to John A. Prouty and family of Calvert County who were recently inducted into Maryland's Agricultural Hall of Fame. Governor Martin O'Malley praised the family's "significant achievements to advance agriculture, support their communities, preserve farmland, protect the environment and encourage young people to get involved in farming." For nearly a century, Willow Oak Farm in Huntingtown produced tobacco, corn, wheat and barley. In 1998, Prouty replaced tobacco with cut flowers and vegetables. He practices extensive conservation on his farm along the Patuxent River.
o St. Mary's Soil Conservation District was recently honored, too, as the Smart Green and Growing Outstanding Soil Conservation District of the Year for its support to the community and agricultural industry through education, outreach and technical help.
o The Buy Local movement here is a win-win: Consumers are enjoying the finest farm fruits and vegetables and farmers are reaping higher profits. By the way, corn yield last fall was the best in several years, even after a wet spring. Local farmers' markets and auctions also put a smile on our growers' faces.
o Sip those healthy, local grapes:
The Southern Maryland Grape Growers Cooperative will be raising a glass of their splendid wines this spring to celebrate its new Port of Leonardtown Winery. What a joyous way to promote our area's emerging wine industry as well as support agriculture and tourism. Port of Leonardtown will join five other wineries in Southern Maryland. A seventh winery in St. Mary's County will open later this year in Ridge.
o Always wanted to learn to fly?
Hop in one of four real cockpits at the Patuxent River Naval Air Museum in St. Mary's County, such as the F-4 Phantom used to train pilots in the Vietnam War, and actually learn to fly. (This is not a computer game.) Using simulators you can even compete with friends in combat. Recommended for ages 10 and older. Fee for 30 minutes of instruction is $10. To reserve: 301-866-0027.
o Some of the best things in Southern Maryland are free: Check out our Calendar of Events beginning on page 69 for concerts, hikes, movies-even burgers, hot dogs and sodas- plus lots more, free for your enjoyment. ?
Good News to share? We'd love to hear it: SOMDThisisLiving@aol.com.