St. Mary's County Times August 10, 2017 - Page 3

Thursday, August 10, 2017 Woman Uses Social Media to Alert Wildewood By Dick Myers Editor A woman in Wildewood was alarmed and decided to do something about it. A man allegedly knocked on her door and said he was from Southern Maryland Electric Co-op (SMECO) and needed to come inside to inspect her house. Feeling something wasn’t right, she didn’t let him in. As she quickly reported on Facebook, she looked outside and didn’t see any SMECO truck. She also saw the man walking around her house as if inspecting it. Her concerns posted on Facebook went viral, with many people reporting similar incidents and also reporting that two men were involved. Social media became an instant Community Watch for the Wilde- wood neighborhood. A SMECO employee then posted on Facebook that the men were probably from an alternate energy company try- ing to lure customers away from SMECO, which is a non-profi t, member-owned cooperative. The reports reached the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Offi ce, which issued the following press release: “In response to calls received from con- cerned citizens and recent social media posts, the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Of- fi ce investigated reports of suspicious per- sons in the Wildewood area claiming to be representatives of SMECO. “The St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Offi ce confi rmed the individuals are NOT affi li- ated with SMECO; they are alternate en- ergy suppliers of the companies Maryland Gas and Electric and U.S. Gas and Elec- tric. The companies may legitimately con- tact customers by phone, email or through door-to-door to offer their services. Cus- tomers should never feel obligated to pro- vide their account information.” SMECO added, “SMECO employees do not go door-to-door asking for access to customers’ homes to ‘look around.’ As part of our smart meter deployment, our technician will knock on your door to let you know there will be a short inter- ruption of service while the meter on the outside of the home is switched. Under no circumstances would one of our em- ployees or contractor employees need to be inspecting the inside of a customers’ home. SMECO has been made aware of the incident in Wildewood, and we are investigating. “If customers have questions, they are encouraged to call SMECO at 1-888-440- 3311. If customers believe they are in dan- ger, please contact the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Offi ce immediately by calling 9-1-1.” Delegate Criticizes Move to Increase Minimum Wage Delegate Matt Morgan (R: 29-A) In his weekly blog called “Tough Love Tuesday,” St. Mary’s County Del. Matt Morgan (R: 29A) blasted the movement to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. Here’s his post: “I believe that a healthy private business sector is essential to lifting Local News The County Times people out of poverty. Businesses that have the freedom to thrive and make a profi t will employ more people at bet- ter wages. If those who are pushing for a $15 per hour minimum wage really cared about helping people earn a liv- ing, they would make getting a job as easy as possible, not by pricing poten- tial wage earners out of the market. After all, what is a wage but a price? It is a price paid by an employer for the labor of his employee. “Just as we all take value in consid- eration as we spend our dollars, so do businesses. A recent study conducted by Montgomery County shows that the county will lose 47,000 jobs by 2022 if it mandates a $15 minimum wage. Seattle has already felt the effects of making it more costly for employers to offer jobs to job seekers. It isn’t hard to understand the economics behind this one, yet I suspect democrat candi- dates for Governor will be pushing for $15 minimum wage as a centerpiece to their platform. “This is a job killer that will hurt the lowest skilled and lowest wage earners by making it impossible for anyone to hire them.” 3 TEDx Coming to Leonardtown By Guy Leonard Staff Writer New faces and new ideas for change will be the focus of the county’s fi rst ever TEDx event, set for Sept. 9 at Leonard- town High School. TEDx, or Technology, Entertainment and Design independently organized events, are held all over the world as a fo- rum for people with new, innovative ideas to bring local change to their communities. “It’s a one-day conference,” said Alyssa Wilson, organizer of the event. “We’re go- ing to showcase a ton of local businesses and local minds.” TEDx wanted to bring a forum to St. Mary’s County because of the vibran- cy of the local business and volunteer community. “There’s so much of a base here for change,” Wilson said. There are nine speakers set for the event, giving talks on a range of topics from science and technology to the rights of the disabled. “Our passion is all about local business- es, local people,” Wilson said. “Those are the kinds of ideas that make a big differ- ence in the world.” About half of the speakers are local to St. Mary’s County, Wilson told The Coun- ty Times. “Others have some kind of roots in Maryland,” she said. The speakers include Adrienne Somer- ville, a NAVAIR Community Manage- ment program manager; Alison Righter, president of Wings for Val Foundation that aids women in their dream of becoming aviators; Amy Looney, vice president of the Travis Manion Foundation, Brian Jor- dan a local inventor who, through an ac- cident, became a digital amputee and used his disability to promulgate and manufac- ture prosthetics. Others include Troy Townsend, a chem- istry professor at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, Christine Bergmark of CLB Advising to talk about agriculture and food systems, Diego Mariscal of 2-Geth- er International to talk about technology education and access for the disabled and Matt Hall, pastor of Southpoint Church. 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