St. Mary’s girl and dog take turn in national spotlight
Nearly three years of training, and five wins in regional shows, garnered Katharine Donis of St. Mary’s and Mousse, a French bulldog, an invitation to a national dog show earlier this month in Florida.
Mousse, whose full name of Tres Chic x Diamond Ridge Major Tom now is preceded by the title of “champion” for those earlier victories in Maryland and surrounding states, was bound for the dog show life pretty much from birth.
“We bought him for that purpose,” the 11-year-old Leonardtown resident said last week. “We wanted to show him when we got him,” from a breeder in Georgia when he was 12 weeks old.
Since then, the girl and dog have been going to one-hour classes for eight weeks in the spring and fall hosted by the Southern Maryland Kennel Club. She said they learned a great deal about each other’s personality.
“I had to get used to how he would work with me,” she said, “and [how] I would have to work with him.”
The pair scored the five required wins in her age group, against as many as six or seven other contestants, in junior competitions held in Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania and New Jersey before they were invited to the American Kennel Club National Championship held this month in Orlando. All 159 junior contestants, age 9 to 18, competed against each other, in groups of 20.
“I kind of felt a little scared [and] nervous. I’ve never been to that big of a show,” Donis said. “Once I get into that ring, I don’t get as nervous.”
She and Mousse didn’t make it into the next round, but they’re ready to do it again.
“He’s pretty chill about every show that we go to,” she said, adding that she’ll “keep going to competitions, hopefully winning them, and getting invited again to give it another shot.”
Melanie Donis, the young contestant’s mother, said, “At 11 years of age, being asked to go is a pretty big accomplishment.”
Oyster reefs get funding
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources reported last week that the state’s board of public works has approved the agency’s investment of more than $3 million in oyster recovery and restoration activities in Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries.
One contract will construct and restore oyster reefs in direct support of the 2014 Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement that calls on Maryland to restore native oyster habitat and populations in five tributaries, including upper St. Mary’s River.
Bluegrass band to play
Lonesome River Band will perform at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 13, at American Legion Post 238, located at the intersection of state routes 231 and 381 in Hughesville.
The remainder of the series will include Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out, performing on Sunday, Feb. 10, and an appearance by Joe Mullins & the Radio Ramblers on Sunday, March 10.
Food will be available for sale before each show for a separate price. Guests are encouraged to bring nonperishable food items for the Helping Hands Food Bank in Southern Maryland.
Tickets can be purchased at the door for all shows. For more information, including on advance ticket sales, go online to www.americanlegionbluegrass.com, or call 301-737-3004.
Sign up by Jan. 14 for ag marketing course
The Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission is offering a college level agriculture class for the region, through an established partnership with the University of Maryland’s Institute of Applied Agriculture.
The Agricultural Marketing course will be available for the spring 2019 semester, online and through three in-person classes to be held at the commission’s facilities in Hughesville, and one in Washington.
“The goal of the classes is to provide accessible college level agriculture education for farmers, students, and working adults who don’t want to travel too far from home, and also expose them to the diversity of career and business opportunities in agriculture,” according to a release from Shelby Watson-Hampton, the commission’s director.
The course will examine principles of market demand that are used to develop a consumer oriented market strategy for the agricultural business. Topics will include market structures, target marketing, market segmentation, niche marketing and direct marketing. Market concepts unique to agricultural products also will be covered. Additionally, one mandatory field-trip day will be arranged for Southern Maryland students to visit the Dupont Circle Farmers Market in Washington.
The three 6 to 8 p.m. in-person classes to be held at the commission’s office in Hughesville will take place on Wednesday, Jan. 30, Wednesday, March 13, and Wednesday, May 15. The class at the Dupont Circle Farmers Market, located at 1500 20th St. NW, will be held from 10 a.m. to noon on Sunday, April 14.
To enroll in the Ag Class Partnership and register for the course, complete a UMD IAA registration process and mail it no later than Jan. 14. Once a student has enrolled, commission scholarships will be available, in amounts of $500 to be awarded on a firstcome, first-served basis to students from Southern Maryland who are enrolled in INAG 103: Agricultural Marketing.
To read the full details and access the application form, go online to www.smadc.com, and to the website’s links at Ag. Continuing Education and Education/Outreach.
In addition, the agricultural commission and College of Southern Maryland have teamed up to offer a one-day workshop titled Introduction to Agricultural Careers, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 23, at the college’s campus in La Plata.
Scholarships are available from the commission, and will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis to students from Southern Maryland who show proof of enrollment. Workshop registration is open now, and closes on Feb. 22 at 5 p.m. Go online to smadc.com to review the criteria.
Frosh issues warning on extortion by email
Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh (D) recently issued a warning to the state’s residents of an increase in reports of extortion scams, in which thieves are using email to threaten victims into paying a ransom to prevent certain personal information from being circulated online.
“In this world of greater and greater connectivity, scammers are preying on fears that our safety, security, and privacy are at risk inside our own homes,” according to the attorney general’s release, noting that through “what is being called the “Internet ofThings,” many of our devices, including webcams, watches, smart TVs, smartphones, and even home utilities are connected to each other and to the internet. It’s true that this connectivity makes those devices at risk for hacking and violations of privacy when it comes to what data the devices are collecting and storing. However, the chances that these devices are being used to secretly ‘spy’ on your activities within your home are slim.” Scammers are using the unfounded fears to try and extort money from individuals, the release states, usually through an email, by threatening to release “embarrassing” videos or photos to the victim’s email contacts.
If an extortion attempt is received via email, the agency’s release recommends changing the email account’s password immediately, and to not use any password that was used previously. Do not click on any links in the email; just delete it. If possible, block that sender from sending additional emails to the account.
“You are definitely not the only victim,” the release states, “and by reporting your experience, you can help put these criminals out of business.”
Katharine Donis of Leonardtown has trained with Mousse, a French bulldog, for almost three years.