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In and Around Morningside-Skyline 
By Mary McHale 301-735-3451

Morningside celebrates its seniors with a Thanksgiving Luncheon

After last year’s virtual lunch, it was good to be back in person (and masked) this year at the Town Hall for the annual Seniors’ Luncheon.  Now, I don’t really live in Morningside, but every year I get an invitation.  That’s special.

Mayor Benn Cann opened the celebration with welcome and a prayer before inviting us to sit down to a delicious turkey dinner, replete with mashed potatoes & gravy, stuffing, cranberry sauce, string beans, rolls and beverages.  Dessert was a choice of assorted cakes and apple or pumpkin pie.  (I chose pumpkin pie.)

Servers were Karen Rooker, Regina Foster, Sharon Fowler, Mike Johnson and Councilman John Anthony.

There was an early drawing, by Mayor Cann, for prizes.  Winners were Bonnie Kamenicky, Helen Nichols, Mary Lampson—and me.

I enjoyed visiting with other guests, hoping to drum up news for this column.  I didn’t get any.

I left after lunch so I could work on the column (which I do every Thursday) but, as I was leaving, Morningside Police Sgt. Szmidt was calling the numbers for bingo.  I had given my bingo card to seatmate Marge Trembly and have just learned that it produced one of the wins.  They’re holding my prize for me.

Thank you, Morningside, for a delightful Thanksgiving.


Neighbors and other good people

Judy Nyers thanked me for Tom Stakem’s obit in last week’s column.  She wrote that her husband grew up across the street from the Stakems and that “the boys were all in Boy Scouts together.”

Naomi Gallegos, my granddaughter, passed her national board exam on Nov. 13 and is now a licensed histologist in the pathology lab at the University of North Carolina Hospital, Chapel Hill.

You might wonder what a histologist is.  I looked it up: A histologist prepares tissue samples for a pathologist to study.  As a histologist, you are specially trained to cut samples from organs or other pieces of tissue and stain them with materials such as dyes, which can aid in microscopic tissue analysis.


Town of Morningside 

I talked with Morningside Chief Wesley Stevenson at the Luncheon.  He was asked if Morningside has any problem with crime.  He said there was nothing special in the town, but in the surrounding area there have been several car-jackings.  Also, car thefts sometimes with children left inside.  He said you must lock your car, and if you can’t take your purse with you, lock it in the trunk.

Breakfast with Santa in Morningside is coming up on December 18.  I’ll soon have details.


Festival of Lights opening Nov. 26

The Winter Festival of Lights will shine bright this holiday season at Watkins Reginal Park with 3 miles of drive-through whimsical lights!  Dates are Nov. 26 to Jan. 2, nightly, 5 to 9:30.  

For your safety and the safety of our staff, they suggest you purchase tickets online at  Save Time! Save Money! Buy Online!  Cars pay $8 with online purchases or pay $10 admission at the gate.  Face coverings are required if interacting with personnel.

To avoid longer than usual wait times, they encourage the public to attend the Festival on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday evenings.  On Saturdays and Sundays, please arrive before 6 p.m.


Changing landscape

The U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree will be visiting Andrews on its way to the West Lawn of the Capitol.  Festivities during its visit will include food trucks, ornament making, games, music from the Air Force Band Brass Quartet, and banner-signing (to be hung with the tree).  Activities are limited to DoD ID holders.

Surratts-Clinton Library has opened a pop-up location at Davies Unitarian Universalist Congregation, 7400 Temple Hill Road, to provide books, computers, browsing, reference, material requests, WIFI, and returns.  Hours are Tuesday and Thursday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.  This service provides us with library service until the beautiful new Surratts-Clinton Branch opens in 2022.

CVS will close hundreds of drugstores over the next three years.  No word on whether it will involve our CVS stores.

A home at 4104 Skyline Drive, in Morningside, recently sold for $369,000.


Mary’s Covid-19 report: 11 more Marylanders die

Education officials in Maryland are rethinking the state’s mask mandate for schools, and how long it needs to continue.

However, there were 781 more Covid-19 cases on Wednesday, Nov. 17, bringing the Maryland total to a whopping 573,835.

And 11 more Marylanders died, bringing that total to 11,086.


Sharon Chalmers, taught reading, loved to discuss books

Sharon Ann Chalmers, 74, La Reine HS graduate, teacher at Thomas Stone, died Oct. 26.  She was the daughter of Catherine “Kitty” and Todd Stoffel. 

She graduated from Trinity College in Washington and taught English literature for 12 years at Cardinal Gibbons HS in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., before returning to the DC area.   She taught for 25 years at Thomas Stone High School in Waldorf.

She met her husband Walter Stoffel on a blind date, and they had 52 happy years together.  They enjoyed running and biking together.  Sharon raced in many 10Ks and completed a half-marathon.  

She’s survived by her husband Walt, and many in-laws and cousins.  Viewing and Mass were at St. John’s in Clinton.

Sharon loved books—her favorite, To Kill a Mockingbird.



Happy birthday to Stephanie White and Devin Kane Blade, Nov. 29; Karen Windsor, Alexis R. Paige, Ramona Britt, Patricia Branch and Kimberly White, Nov. 30; Mary Doyle, Susan McKay and Jon Foster, Dec. 1; John Anthony, Jr., Vonn Branch and Tyonda Simms-Taylor, Dec. 2.

Email me at with the date of your birthday or anniversary.

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By Audrey Johnson 301-922-5384


Last week Wednesday, November 10, 2021, Office of Alumni Engagement celebrated our Bowie State Alumni Educators with Shinzira Shomade (’16). BSU College of professional Studies Retention Specialist discussed how her research is aiding to increase student success.

Follow the virtual conversation on all social media platforms! Facebook:  @bsuoae, Twitter:  @BSUAlumniOffice, Instagram:  @Bowiealum.

Want to stay in the loop with BSU? Make sure you check your inbox every Saturday at 7 a.m. for the latest issue of BSU At a Glance. Highlighting BSU news, events, and alumni profiles. BSU At a Glance is a quick read to keep yourself up to date with your alma mater.


Bowie State Head Football Coach Damon Wilson (’00 & ’21) was voted CIAA Coach of the Year for the second straight session by league media and coaches. Wilson led Bowie State to a 9-1 regular season, including 9-0 against Division ll competition, and a third consecutive CIAA Northern Division crown with a 7-0 record in conference play. Wilson and Bowie State have been in the Division ll Top 25 all season, ranking as high as no. 8 nationally in one poll, and will play for their third straight poll, and played for their third straight CIAA championship November 13, 2021.

The 2022 CIAA Basketball tournament will be held February 22–26, 2022, at Royal Farms Arena in Baltimore. #TheLegacyLiveson. Stay connected. Website:, Facebook:  @BSUBulldogs, Twitter:  @BSU Sports Info, Instagram:  @BowieStateBulldogs.


If you have moved or changed your email or mailing address, please let us know. By keeping your information current, you will continue to receive BSU news and updates. Update your current information. For questions and support, send an email to the Advancement Services Office at or call 301-860-4301.


The Bowie State University College of Education presented the Fourth Annual James E. Proctor Jr. Forum on Education, Leadership & Innovation Wednesday, November 17, 2021, at 7 p.m. This lively discussion with fellow educators and supporters of the Bowie State University College of Education focused on the future of education post pandemic. The event was livestreamed. Area Superintendents headlined the 2021 Proctor Forum. The featured Panel Discussion was  Moving Forward after COVID-19.

Superintendent Darryl Williams, Baltimore County Public Schools, Interim Superintendent Monifa McKnight (’04) Montgomery County Public Schools and Superintendent Monica Goldson (’00) Prince George’s County Public Schools were on the panel.

From its very founding mission to educate the state’s newly emancipated citizens, Bowie State University continues to prepare teachers to meet the needs of today’s students.


Bowie State 2021 Winter Commencement will be held on Wednesday, December 22, 2021, at 10 a.m. in the AC Jordan Arena, Leonidas S. James Physical Complex. The live ceremony can be viewed online at

Global Leader and SHRM President Johnny C. Taylor, Jr. to address Bowie State University Graduates. About six hundred students to receive their degrees at Winter Commencement. Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., President and CEO of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) will address six hundred Bowie State University graduates at the winter Commencement. An honorary Doctor of Humane letters degree will also be awarded to Mr. Taylor.


Festival of Lights will be held nightly from 5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Friday, November 26, 2021–Sunday, January 2, 2022. Free admission November 29 & December 25 in appreciation to the residents of Prince George’s County for their year-round support of the Department of Parks and Recreation programs. Make a difference this season! Please bring canned goods for donation to local Food Banks.

WATKINS REGIONAL PARK: NEW ENTRANCE THIS YEAR. To enter:  Please enter along Route 202/Largo Road. (NO ENTRY ACCESS ON ROUTE 193. YOU WILL CONTINUE TO ROUTE 202). Entrance Location:  Across the street from Riverdale Baptist School, 1133 Largo Road, Upper Marlboro 20774. Phone:  301-699-2456; Maryland Relay 7-1-1 for customers who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have a speech disability.

Overview:  The Winter Festival of Lights will shine bright this holiday season with three miles of drive-through whimsical lights. Experience dazzling scenes that celebrate the magic of the holiday season from the comfort of your own car.

For your safety and the safety of our staff, please purchase tickets online at Save time, save money, buy online. Cars pay $8 with online purchases or $10 admission at the gate. Van/Limo pays $20, Bus pays $30. Face coverings are required if interacting with personnel.

To avoid longer than usual wait times, we encourage the public to attend the Festival on Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday evenings. On Saturdays and Sundays, please arrive before 6 p.m.

Happy Thanksgiving To All My Readers!


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