TFCU Recognized for Community Involvement by the Partnership

Tower Federal Credit Union has been named Member of the Year by the BWI Business Partnership. The Partnership recognized the financial institution’s deep roots in the community and its contributions to the area economy.

“When selecting the Member of the Year, we look for a company that has made an impact on this region; a company that has been a dedicated member of the BWI Business Partnership and a company who has helped move the Baltimore/Washington region forward,” said Greg Pecoraro, executive director of the Partnership. “Tower Federal Credit Union more than checks the box on all three counts.”

Tower is also involved in supporting a variety of causes in the community, notably The Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, a participating hospital in the Children’s Miracle Network. Since 1998, Tower has raised more than $715,000 for the Children’s Center.

Funding for Loan Program to Help Working Families Buy Homes Announced

Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman announced that $400,000 is now available in the county’s Settlement/Downpayment Loan Program (SDLP) to assist working families planning to buy homes in Howard County.

Eligible homebuyers can choose from five loan products, depending on their income and assets. They can borrow up to $40,000 at low interest rates, and loan repayment is deferred until resale, refinance or default. Incentives such as loan forgiveness are available under the Workforce Initiative Loan for households that work in Howard County.

“Saving the money to buy a home is often a major hurdle for working families,” said Kittleman. “This program helps those with good credit and income move one step closer to homeownership.”

SDLP loans can be used to purchase homes selling for up to $429,620. Borrowers must occupy the home as their primary residence. Last year, the program helped 44 families with down payment and closing costs for home purchases in Howard County.

Funds are offered on a first-come, first-served basis. Interested homebuyers should contact a participating first mortgage lender to begin the application process. For more information, and for lenders interested in becoming a participating lender in the program, contact Linda Phillips, the Department of Housing & Community Development SDLP administrator, at 410-313-6328 or lphillips@howardcountymd.gov; or visit the website www.howardcountymd.gov/Settlement-Down-Payment-Loan-Program.

Partnership First of Its Kind to Become a Bee City USA

Anne Arundel County Executive Steve Schuh, Annapolis Mayor Michael Pantelides and Highland Park Mayor William Sanders III have worked with their respective members of council and boards to have the region designated as a Bee City USA.

Bee City USA is a nonprofit national organization that fosters ongoing dialogue in urban areas to raise awareness of the role pollinators play in sustaining three-quarters of the world’s plant species and what people can do to provide them with healthy habitat. All groups involved in this partnership want the region to become more pollinator-friendly.

“This partnership allows us to focus on efforts to protect our pollinators and educate our citizens on their importance on our environment,” said Schuh. “The passage of the 2016 Maryland Pollinator Protection Act makes our state the first to ban consumers from purchasing pesticides that contain neonicotinoids. Given how our residents and agricultural businesses prioritize environmentally friendly practices, it makes perfect sense for Anne Arundel County to partner on this effort.”

This collaborative group plans on providing workshops to accomplish the following:

  • Designate a Pollinator Citizens Advisory Group to facilitate the Bee City USA Program
  • Encourage and coordinate local pollinator habitat and awareness activities
  • Provide local educational programs and inform residents on planting native, pesticide-free flowering trees, shrubs and perennials
  • Celebrate National Pollinator Week annually and publicly acknowledge the communities’ commitment to the Bee City USA Program with signage

Arundel to Institute New Yard Waste Collection Requirements

Anne Arundel County is beginning a six-month outreach effort to inform residents about new curbside yard waste collection requirements. Beginning Jan. 1, 2017, the Department of Public Works no longer will accept plastic bags as a container for grass clippings, leaves, Christmas trees and other yard waste materials set out for curbside collection.

After the new requirements are implemented, residents will have three choices when setting out yard waste for collection.

  • Bag it using compostable lawn and leaf paper bags, available at most home or hardware stores
  • Bin it in reusable containers marked with an “X”
  • Bundle it in collectable bundles

The practice of accepting yard waste in plastic bags has nearly eliminated the county’s recycling options. Refining the county’s program is necessary to address the litter problems and increased processing costs that result from the use of plastic bags. The new requirements follow composting industry trends and will increase the county’s available recycling outlets.

The county has incurred significant increases to its yard waste processing costs over the last three years, during which time all but one area composting facility have prohibited plastic bags or gone out of business.

Since 2015, the Department of Public Works has recycled yard waste by shipping materials collected in plastic bags 40 miles away to its lone remaining option in Carroll County. The private company, in Woodbine, charges a $12 per ton premium to handle yard waste delivered in plastic bags. Annually, the county collects approximately 30,000 tons of yard waste as part of its curbside collection program.

Aug. 8 Deadline to Register for Taping of MPT’s Chesapeake Collectibles

The registration deadline for participants in the Aug. 20–21 taping for season seven of Maryland Public Television’s (MPT) series “Chesapeake Collectibles,” is Monday, Aug. 8. Individuals can register to have personal items considered for evaluation in upcoming episodes. The production will be shot on location for a third year at the Turf Valley, in Ellicott City. Attendees are required to register in advance; walk-ins are not permitted. Two registration options are available for interested participants.

Season seven will premiere in January 2017. The series airs on Thursdays at 8 p.m. on MPT-HD and is rebroadcast on Saturdays at 10 p.m.; each episode also airs on MPT2-HD on Saturdays at 7 p.m. Details are available at chesapeakecollectibles.com.

Save the Date: Columbia BikeAbout Returns on Sept. 17

Columbia Association’s (CA) annual BikeAbout will be held Saturday, Sept. 17, with riders setting off from the Downtown Columbia Lakefront. The free, fun and informative tour presents Columbia’s history and showcases the connectivity of its pathway system.

Pre-registration is not required, but is encouraged, via ColumbiaAssociation.org/bikeabout. Columbia BikeAbout will begin at 9:30 a.m. with riders able to start up until 10 a.m. They are expected to complete the ride by 1 p.m.

This year’s route is 9 miles — with the option of adding a 1.5-mile spin around Lake Kittamaqundi. The course will wind through Town Center, Hickory Ridge, Harper’s Choice and Wilde Lake, with interpretive stops that include the past, present and future of Downtown Columbia and Howard Community College; Columbia’s commitment to preserving open space, including the creation of Wilde Lake; and the history of the 19th century historical buildings that border Wilde Lake.

To accommodate families with young children, a 1.5-mile ride is available around Lake Kittamaqundi on the pathway loop, offering an opportunity to learn about two elements of Columbia Town Center — the built environment and the enhanced natural landscape. For more information, call 410-715-3103 or go to ColumbiaArchives.org.

Patapsco Heritage Area Receives Largest Ever State, County Funding Commitments

The Patapsco Heritage Area has announced the receipt of $150,000 in state funding for watershed restoration and program management. Grants from the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority are being matched by contributions from Howard County and Baltimore County governments and represent the highest level of public commitments to the Patapsco Heritage Area since its certification in 2015.

The Patapsco Heritage Area received two of 52 matching grants awarded this month by the state Authority. One of the grants provides resources for the Alliance for the Chesapeake to plan for stream restoration efforts to address flooding in downtown Ellicott City; the second grant allows for overall management of the area’s functions.

For more information, visit www.patapsco.org or search Patapsco Valley Heritage Area on Facebook and go to @patapscoVHA on Twitter.

FMA’s Destination Fort Meade Guide Available

The Fort Meade Alliance’s (FMA) eighth edition of the Destination Fort Meade Guide is a comprehensive resource for new and transitioning workers and visitors to the region, as well as those folks who have lived and worked in the area for years. The guide provides important information about businesses, organizations and government agencies and showcases all that the Fort Meade region has to offer.

Free copies of the guide are available for placement and distribution in local business offices. Contact Letha Archibald at larchibald@ftmeadealliance.org or 410-850-4940 for information.

Residencies Needed for Head StART in ART

Visual and performing artists are needed for residencies for the Head StART in ART program for the 2016–17 school year. Residencies will take place at the Ellicott City Head Start Center or the Old Cedar Lane Head Start Center, in Columbia. Artists seeking a residency must have experience working with children; experience with pre-K is preferred. The performing artist residency will conclude with performances by the Head Start children.

The visual artist residency will conclude with the completion of an art project for display at the Head Start Center or individual projects for students to take home. Applications are available at hocoarts.org or at the Howard County Center for the Arts, 8510 High Ridge Road, Ellicott City, MD 21043. The deadline for proposals is Aug. 17.

HCAC Garners Arts Appropriation From Howard Government

In May 2016, the Howard County Council approved County Executive Allan Kittleman’s FY17 arts appropriation of $800,000 to the Howard County Arts Council (HCAC).

Of the $800,000, 75% will be used to support the council’s grant programs, including four programs that provide operating and project grants to Howard County arts organizations; Artist-in-Education grants to county schools through Parent Teacher Associations; grants to key Baltimore City arts and cultural organizations; and Outreach Howard grants to encourage Baltimore City grant recipients to provide programming in Howard County.

The arts appropriation also provides general operating funds to support the Arts Council and its other principal project, the 27,000-square-foot, multi-purpose Howard County Center for the Arts in Ellicott City. At the Center, the council sponsors year-round activities in the arts, including classes, visual art exhibits and performances in the community black box theater.  The center also provides studio space for 14 visual artists; office space for three resident arts groups; meeting space for six all-volunteer-run arts groups; and affordable rehearsal and performance space for 30-plus dance, music and theater groups. Nearly 40,000 people visit the center each year.

NFRC Hosts 12th Annual 5K For Families at the Columbia Lakefront

The Columbia-based National Family Resiliency Center (NFRC) is hosting its 12th annual 5K For Families event. It will begin at 8 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 24, at the Columbia Lakefront, near Clyde’s Restaurant and Whole Foods. All ages are invited to participate, with awards and trophies given out to winners in various age categories.

In addition to the 5K race and a 1-mile walk, the 5K For Families event will include face painting, games and other activities geared toward children and families including entertainment by B. Funk Dance Company; Drama Learning Center (“Frozen’s” Elsa and Anna will help lead a Frozen singalong) and more. Chances for Luxury Suite Ravens tickets valued at $2,000 will be available for raffle and winner announced mid-morning. The 5K will begin promptly at 8 a.m., followed by performances through 11 a.m.

For more information about the schedule and registering for the 5K race or 1K walk, visit www.facebook.com/events/634317923385686.

Therapeutic Riding Center Awarded $75K Challenge Grant for Indoor Therapy Arena

The Finish Line Youth Foundation, in Indianapolis, has awarded a $75,000 Challenge Grant to Therapeutic and Recreational Riding Center (TRRC), of Glenwood, matching each dollar raised by TRRC up to $75,000 towards the construction of a new, indoor, sensory-sensitive therapy arena.

Once completed, the structure will enable TRRC to serve a growing number of children and youth in Central Maryland with sensory processing disorders (SPDs) such as autism, Asperger’s, ADD, ADHD and others, providing specially-tailored therapeutic interventions in a space that minimizes distractions and environmental stimulation. The Finish Line Challenge grant will be awarded upon the completion of match, helping to secure $150,000 to support construction of the arena.

At 6,500 square feet, the indoor therapy arena will be smaller than TRRC’s 30,000-square-foot main arena, providing seclusion from busier environments. A sprinkler system will minimize dust for children who struggle with asthma and compromised lung function. An existing outdoor mounting ramp will be incorporated for access by wheelchairs and large heaters will allow for use year-round.

The grant kicks off TRRC’s “Raise the Roof” campaign to secure funding of the new arena. It will include a fundraising event on Oct. 16 from 4–7 p.m. on the TRRC property, featuring a performance by Wammie-award-winning singer/songwriter Patty Reese, food, drink, dancing and a silent auction. For more information, contact Helen Tuel at 410-489-5100 or email trrc01@aol.com.

Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay Announces Top Environmental Leaders

The Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay has announced its 2016 Environmental Leadership Award winners. Every year the alliance recognizes unique individuals who are making a significant difference in Chesapeake Bay restoration.

This year, which marks the alliance’s 45th anniversary year, Tom Schueler and Robert Whitescarver will receive the top honors at the Alliance’s annual Taste of the Chesapeake on Thursday, Sept. 15. Schueler has been selected as the 2016 Environmental Leadership Award winner and Whitescarver has been named the 2016 Watershed Champion of the Year.

The event will run from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Rooftop Conference Center of the Belcher Pavilion of the Anne Arundel Medical Center, in Annapolis. For tickets, call the alliance at 443-949-0575 or visit allianceforthebay.org.

HCPSS Lab Students Win at National Conference

Two teams of students from the Howard County Public School System’s (HCPSS) Applications and Research Laboratory (ARL) won bronze medals while taking part in the 51st SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference, in Louisville, Ky.

A team of four students — Adeola Abdulkadir (Howard High School), Meghan Counts (Marriotts Ridge High School), Anthony Okeh (Howard High School) and Preeya Subedi (Centennial High School) — representing each specialty within the ARL Academy of Health Professions, finished third among 20 states represented in the Health Knowledge Bowl.

The annual quiz competition consisted of questions pertaining to anatomy and physiology, medical ethics, professionalism, disease, diagnostic testing, pharmacology, medical abbreviations, medical math and more.

Jarod Liberty and Jordan Pearson (Reservoir High School), students in the ARL’s Visual Communications Academy-Animation and Interactive Media 2 Pathway, also won bronze in the Interactive Application and Game Development category for their video game “Ice Ops.”

The ARL student teams competed against 6,500 other student competitors from all 50 states, Puerto Rico, Guam and the Virgin Islands.

More Than $50K Presented to Hopkins Children’s Center at TFCU Golf Tournament

The 34th Annual Tower Classic Golf Tournament, hosted for the first time this year by the recently formed TowerCares Foundation, raised $31,000 to benefit The Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, Baltimore’s local Children’s Miracle Network Hospital.

The tournament took place at Renditions Golf Club, in Davidsonville. In addition, a check for $22,000 from Tower Federal Credit Union (TFCU) was presented to the Children’s Center at the event. The money was raised earlier in the spring by Tower employees and members during the credit union’s annual “Have a Heart” campaign.

The Tower Classic tournament proceeds were raised from players, sponsors, donations from the business community, and through CO-OP Financial Services’ Miracle Match program, a philanthropic matching program that encourages credit unions to create and participate in local Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals’ fundraisers. For information, visit towercaresfoundation.org.

24-Hour Fundraising Cycling Event Returns to Columbia

24 Hours of Booty is back in Columbia for its ninth year. The annual non-competitive bicycling event for people of all ages and abilities will take place at Columbia Gateway Business Park from Saturday, Aug. 20, at 2 p.m. to Sunday, Aug. 21 at 2 p.m.

The route, a closed and police-secured 2.1-mile loop, rolls through the green space at Columbia Gateway Business Park. Riders can ride “The Booty Loop” as much or as little as they want during the 24-hour period. Funds raised from the event will benefit The Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults and LIVESTRONG Foundation. The event is anticipated to raise more than $250,000 for cancer survivorship and navigation programs.

To participate in the Columbia event, each rider is required to pay a $45 registration fee and raise a minimum of $200 prior to the event. Participants can register as an individual or as part of a team. Those who raise $10,000 or more will receive a 24 Hours of Booty branded orange jersey. Registration is now open at www.24hoursofbooty.org/register.

Linwood Center Upgrades Adult Day Services Facility

Linwood Center has completed renovations on its Adult Day Services facility, located in Columbia. The renovations included repainting, reorganization, furniture replacement, technology enhancements, and the addition of two new program areas.

Linwood Center’s Adult Day Services provide adults affected by autism with opportunities to develop functional life skills, participate in simulated work activities and engage in self-care. The goal of this renovation project was to enrich the Adult Day Services program and ensure an environment where self-direction is emphasized and opportunities for success are abundant.

Highlights of the renovation include the reorganization of the Supported Employment Room and Computer Room to increase productivity; the addition of a sensory stimulation area in the Activity Room to provide multi-sensory learning experiences; and the installation of interactive gaming systems in the media room to encourage socialization. In addition, Linwood introduced two new program areas — an exercise/relaxation room with a variety of exercise machines and equipment and a Convenience Mini-Store where participants can both work and shop.

This makeover project was a community effort as Linwood staff, families, program participants and supporters came together to volunteer their time and provide both monetary and supply donations. After renovations were completed, Linwood hosted an Open House to unveil the upgraded facility and thank everyone involved in the project.

Leadership Essentials to Hold Two Info Events

Leadership Essentials, a six-month leadership program for young professionals in Central Maryland, will hold two informational events prior to the 2017 program launch this fall. Loyola University Maryland’s Sellinger School of Business and Management offers Leadership Essentials in collaboration with Leadership Howard County. The program combines skill-building, personalized coaching and community projects.

An information breakfast will be held on Tuesday, Aug. 23, from 8 to 9 a.m., at Loyola University Maryland’s graduate campus, 8890 McGaw Road, Room 230, Columbia; a happy hour will be held at The Ale House, 6480 Dobbin Center Way, Columbia, on Thursday, Sept. 15, from 5 to 7 p.m.

Both events provide an opportunity for professionals and organization representatives interested in Leadership Essentials to meet alumni and learn about the program. The application deadline is Oct. 3, and the program begins in December 2016. To R.S.V.P. to the events, email leadership@loyola.edu. To learn more or apply to Leadership Essentials, visit http://bit.ly/1MKDsNx.

CFHoCo Requests Philanthropist of the Year Nominations

The Community Foundation of Howard County (CFHoCo) is requesting nominations for its fifth annual Howard County Philanthropist of the Year awards. Nomination forms are available at www.cfhoco.org and due Aug. 15. The awards recognize an individual or family and a business or organization in Howard County each year that have shown leadership in philanthropy through giving and have changed the community for the better.

CFHoCo will recognize Philanthropist of the Year recipients at the foundation’s Annual Dinner and Celebration of Philanthropy Nov. 10 at Turf Valley, in Ellicott City.

Previous award recipients include in Vivian Bailey and The Corporate Partnership of Orchard Development and Armiger Management in 2015, Ed and Fern Hamel and Howard Bank in 2014, the Doetsch Family and Carney, Kelehan, Bresler, Bennett & Scherr LLP in 2013, and the Lundy family and Harkins Builders in 2012.

Contact the foundation at 410-730-7840 or grants@CFHoCo.org for more information.

ARL Team Wins National Competition

Four students from the Applications and Research Laboratory (ARL) — Howard County’s business and technology-focused high school — beat out nearly 4,000 student teams from across the country to win the National Personal Finance Challenge in Kansas City, Mo.

The Challenge pits student teams from schools around the country in a competition to demonstrate the financial skills they have mastered while participating in their school’s Millionaire’s Club.

The ARL student team, which was led by faculty adviser Maddy Halbach and including students Austin Adamczyk, Brooke Rankin, Johnathan Taylor and Matthew Poltorak, competed first in Maryland, then nationally, outperforming 3,979 teams in a qualifying round before progressing to claim victory over 23 teams in the finals.

As sponsor, SECU serves as the club’s primary financial institution and helps with mentoring and club support. For more information on the Millionaire’s Club financial freedom experience, visit www.cufound.org/millionaire or www.secumd.org.