Duncan wraps up 36 years with parole and probation
Friday, July 2, 2010
Agnes "Gill" Duncan completed 36 years of work this week with St. Mary's office of the state's division of parole and probation, and a career of meeting with probationers, visiting their homes and writing their life stories.
The "hundreds" of presentence investigation reports compiled by Duncan during the last eight years helped judges determine the right penalty for the convicted offenders before them, which may have made her the county's most prolific biographer.
"The judges tell me that," Duncan said Wednesday at the office in the Carter state office building in Leonardtown. "I truly believe in giving the judges enough information to make a good sentence."
The same report "follows the person" to provide information on what programs would help a prisoner in the state's department of corrections, Duncan said, and after the prisoner's release, the report can help a parole and probation agent steer them toward a better chance of success.
"That's why I write volumes," she said. "Because it's going to help somebody along the way."
Duncan, now 63, arrived to St. Mary's in 1972 when her father, a retired Navy captain, was a civil service worker at Patuxent River Naval Air Station. She previously served as a VISTA worker in the Caribbean, and pursued postgraduate studies and a brief stint as a substitute teacher before she became a probation agent in 1974. Then-Gov. Marvin Mandel had just ended the restriction of having male probation agents supervise male offenders, and female probation agents supervise only female offenders.
"We were then allowed to have mixed caseloads," Duncan said. "We broke a lot of ground that year. I was the first full-time [female agent] in St. Mary's County."
Duncan spent most of her first 25 years doing supervision work, witnessing and enduring the recidivism rate among released offenders, but through the team approach of a HotSpot program which involved visiting them in their communities from 1999 to 2002 encountered many success stories.
"It's a good feeling. People come up and say, If it wasn't for you … ,' [but] I tell them, "You did it,'" Duncan said. "We give them support, but in the end, it's up to the person."
Tennis events go on through summer
The third leg of the Southern Maryland Tennis Cup Series will be held this weekend, July 3 through July 5, as the St. Mary's College Open tournament.
Registration information is available online at www.southernmarylandtenniscup.org/.
In addition, the Southern Maryland USTA-sanctioned Juniors Tennis Tournament 2010 will be held July 21 to July 25 at St. Mary's College of Maryland. Register at www.tennislink.usta.com/tournaments. The tournament identification number is 302761310.
Additionally, St. Mary's College tennis clinics for beginners, intermediate and advanced junior players will be held for two weeks, from 6 to 8 p.m. July 26 to July 29 and from 6 to 8 p.m. Aug. 2 to Aug. 5.
For more information on all three events, call Derek Sabedra at 410-610-4300 or send e-mail to email@example.com.
Sotterley plans July 4 concert on its portico
Sotterley Plantation in Hollywood will host an Independence Day Celebration Concert from 1 to 4 p.m. this Sunday, July 4, on the portico, featuring the Chesapeake Orchestra Brass Quintet led by Jeffrey Silberschlag of St. Mary's College of Maryland.
Take a chance at winning prizes at the brown bag raffle and silent auction, including toys, wine, original artwork and prints and delights from local restaurants. There also will be activities for children.
Everyone with a military identification will be admitted free of charge. The general admission charge will be $10 per vehicle. Go online to www.sotterley.org.
Open house planned for savor' program
All St. Mary's restaurants are invited to attend the Loveville Produce Auction Open House at 9:30 a.m. next Wednesday, July 7, to see how easy it is to buy local produce for a restaurant, and to sign up for Savor St. Mary's Restaurant Week. From July 25 to Aug. 8, participating businesses will features dishes prepared at local restaurants using fresh ingredients from the area's farms, waterways and vineyards. Registration forms can be downloaded at www.savorstmarys.com. Call 301-475-4200, ext. 1404.
Greenwell offers camp scholarships
The Greenwell Foundation from Greenwell State Park in Hollywood is offering scholarships to children with disabilities to attend Camp Greenwell.
The scholarships are available through a grant from the National Inclusion Project which has partnered with the Greenwell Foundation to implement Let's ALL Play – Inclusion in Recreational Programs. The goal is to allow children with disabilities to enjoy a successful summer camp experience in an inclusive setting.
For more on the camp scholarships, call 301-373-9775. To learn more about the National Inclusion Project, go online to www.inclusionproject.org. To learn more about Greenwell Foundation and its programs, go online to www.greenwellfoundation.org.
Arts and culture website launched
A new website, at www.somdarts.com, allows free posting of any Southern Maryland arts-related programs or activities.
Therese Thiedeman, a Charles County resident, and other Southern Maryland colleagues saw a need for a centralized resource for arts organizations and their patrons. The website allows St. Mary's, Calvert and Charles artists to connect for practical reasons, such as borrowing props and costumes through arts classifieds, or to chat about arts-related issues on a blog.
Additionally, the site offers a list of Southern Maryland artists, organizations and businesses, along with a calendar of events, arts education opportunities and a map of arts venues.
Correctional officers help Special Olympics
St. Mary's Detention Center's correctional officers recently took third place in a Tug-Of-War for Special Olympics event in Jessup. As the fundraiser for Maryland Special Olympics, the competitive rope-pull featured an all-time high of more than 30 corrections teams from every region in Maryland. St. Mary's Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 7 donated a $250 entry fee for the St. Mary's correctional officers' participation.
Sotterley Plantation seeks volunteers
Sotterley Plantation in Hollywood is seeking volunteers to assist in welcoming guests and spending time with them at the national historic landmark, including in the museum shop and as interpreters. Interpreters lead guided tours from room to room in the historic mansion. Call 301-373-2280 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Maryland FarmLINK website launched
The Maryland FarmLINK website conceived by the Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission was created to bring farmers and relevant professionals together to educate and inform each other on the business of farming, to link buyers and sellers of farm land in Maryland and to find business partners, apprentices and mentors.
The website at www.marylandfarmlink.com can help current Maryland farmland remain in agricultural use by linking people selling or leasing farmland with potential buyers across the country searching for farmland.
The website also includes an open farm forum providing a venue for individuals to ask questions on farm-related topics including agri-tourism, a person-to-person function allowing members to contact each other and a property manager component, where farm owners can list land for sale or lease.
There is no cost to become a member. To join, users fill out a member profile, where they can list any areas of expertise and indicate if they are searching for a specific type of connection. They can also indicate if they are willing to mentor or answer specific questions. Call 301-274-1922, send a fax to 301-274-1924, send e-mail to email@example.com, or go online to www.smadc.com.
Jail offers good choices' for inmates
The Guiding Good Choices inmate program offered at the St. Mary's County Detention Center consists of a substance abuse prevention agenda that teaches parents of children the skills necessary to improve family communication and enhance family bonding.
The goal is to prevent substance abuse among young people by teaching their parents effective communication and family management skills before their children enter adolescence.
The jail's program, facilitated by Walt Biscoe, the county's substance abuse prevention coordinator, and Barbara Zeigler, a Walden behavior health addiction counselor, teaches inmates effective communication and anger management skills. Several inmates have participated in the program, with three earning certificates.