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Anne Arundel, City of Annapolis Enter Into Strategic Election Partnership

Annapolis Mayor Mike Pantelides and Anne Arundel County Executive Steve Schuh have announced a strategic partnership where the independent Anne Arundel County Board of Elections (BOE) will assist in the administrative processing of the 2017 city primary and general elections.

“This partnership is not only incredibly cost-effective for the city, but it offers proficiency in the process,” Pantelides said. “The county board of elections is a group of professionals that is staffed year-round for the sole purpose of conducting elections, compared to the city, which adds one temporary elections staff member every four years.”

The BOE will provide the voting infrastructure and personnel for the conduct of the elections, and will also work in conjunction with the city to provide the following.

  • Election judges to staff the polls and operate the voting infrastructure on Election Day
  • Voting system staff to prepare the voting infrastructure
  • Administrative staff to perform voter registration transactions; recruit, hire and train election judges; review absentee and provisional ballots at canvassing; and present recommended dispositions to the City Board of Supervisors of Elections
  • Canvassing staff to assist the city with the conduct of the Absentee Ballot and Provisional Ballot canvasses and assist the city with the conduct of any recount

The elections will be conducted in accordance with the city’s Election Code, and under the agreement, the ultimate decision-making authority granted under the city’s Election Code to the city’s Board of Supervisors of Elections will remain totally intact.

Name Change for Healthy Howard

Healthy Howard is now known as The Door to HealthCare. The Door to HealthCare provides personal support for choosing the right health insurance plan in Howard, Frederick, Carroll, St. Mary’s, Calvert and Charles counties.

The organization is located at 8930 Stanford Boulevard, Columbia, Md., 20145, and the phone number is 855-288-3667. For more information, visit www.doortohealthcare.org.

Howard County Receives State Grant to Fund ‘Heroin Coordinator’

Howard County has been awarded a $70,000 grant from the Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention (GOCCP) to create a new position focused on combating heroin and opioid addiction.

County Executive Allan Kittleman said the new position, made available as a result of the Governor’s Heroin Task Force report, will give the county another tool in its fight against this epidemic, which continues to claim increasing numbers of lives each year. The position is a collaborative effort among the executive’s office, police department and health department.

The coordinator, who will be an employee of the police department, will be responsible for gathering information for use by state and federal partners following a police response to a call in the field involving illegal opioid use. The coordinator also will provide analysis to help the county take a multi-disciplinary approach to combating heroin and illegal opioid use.

According to the HCPD’s Vice and Narcotics Division, between 2014 and 2015, heroin-related deaths doubled from eight to 16. The county had an additional 77 non-fatal heroin overdoses. In 2015, heroin-related drug overdose deaths accounted for 66% of total drug overdose deaths.

To date in 2016, there have been 20 overdose deaths; 10 of those have been confirmed to involve heroin. During the same time period, there have been 83 non-fatal heroin overdoses reported in Howard County.

Holiday Craft Fair Set for Historic Oakland

Oakland’s 12th annual juried Holiday Craft Fair will be held on Saturday, Nov. 19, from 10 a.m.–3 p.m. at Historic Oakland, 5430 Vantage Point Road, Columbia. The event will feature tastings while strolling through the manor; hand-crafted gifts will be available (all vendor tables are sold out).

Admission is free to the fair, which is being sponsored by the Town Center Community Association. Call 410-730-4744 for more information.

Applications Being Sought for BGE’s Emergency Response, Safety Grants

Baltimore Gas and Electric announced that applications for BGE Emergency Response and Safety Grants are now available and will be due by Oct. 31. The program, now in its fifth year, supports nonprofit emergency response and public safety organizations throughout BGE’s service area. To date, BGE has provided more than $1 million to 194 emergency response organizations that share BGE’s commitment to the safety of central Maryland residents.

BGE encourages eligible 501(c)(3) organizations that respond to the community’s needs during emergencies to apply for grants of up to $10,000 each. Grant applications are available online at bge.com/emergencyrespondersgrant.

BGE presented $325,000 to last year’s 65 grant recipients who were formally recognized at an event held at the Maryland Food Bank. In addition to supporting the emergency responder community in Maryland, BGE provides training for fire, police, 911 centers and emergency management organizations that routinely work around utility equipment.

Schuh Introduces Redesigned County Seal to County Council

Anne Arundel County Executive Steve Schuh has introduced legislation to the county council that would update the official county seal with a new design that features historically-accurate elements and would serve as a consistent image when conducting county business.

“We are very excited about the newly-designed county seal because it provides a professional image depicting Anne Arundel County as the best place to live, work and start a business in Maryland,” Schuh said. “After consulting with heraldry experts, we were able to incorporate new elements that are historically accurate and will make our citizens proud.”

Over the years, the design of the seal has evolved from the approved design in the County Code to the point that multiple versions have appeared on letterheads, online and on official signage. The county also lacks a high-resolution vector image that facilitates clear and vibrant reproduction.

The Maryland Archives was particularly helpful in researching the heraldry of the seal, and even produced a portrait of Lord Baltimore Charles Calvert with his coronet to use as a guide for the correct image. Some of the new elements include the felt top to the coronet, a tassel on top of the coronet and the felt ermine absent from the current seal. To see the new image, visit www.aacounty.org/news-and-events/news/county-executive-steve-schuh-introduces-redesigned-county-seal-to-county-council.

HCLS Premieres First Episode of HiJinx Podcast

Howard County Library System (HCLS) is expanding its customers’ educational experience with HiJinx, a new monthly podcast. The initiative strives to educate listeners about topics relative to upcoming HCLS events and curriculum in a conversational style that peaks interest and sparks curiosity.

Through their conversations with guests, podcast hosts Victoria Goodman and Dennis Wood will explore various facets of an overarching theme each month. The first episode, “Farm to Table: Can You Dig It?,” is designed to coincide with Howard County’s Farm-City Celebration.

Guests include Forrest Pritchard, a seventh-generation farmer and New York Times bestselling author. His new book, Growing Tomorrow, goes behind the scenes with 18 sustainable farmers from across the country in a farm-to-table journey told through stories, photos and recipes. Other guests include local farmer John Love, owner of Love Dove Farms in Woodbine and a regular vendor at the HCLS Miller Branch farmers market; and Joe and Mary Barbera, proprietors of Aida Bistro restaurant, where farm-to-table cuisine and eco-friendly practices are features of the menu.

In October, HiJinx will explore this year’s Choose Civility theme “Kindness Creates Community” with Episode 2: “The Karma of Kindness.” The podcast is available at hclibrary.org/HiJinx via iTunes and GooglePlay.

Little Patuxent Parkway Lane Additions Project to Begin

A Howard County construction project to add an eastbound deceleration lane and a westbound left turn lane are being constructed in the vicinity of 10741 Little Patuxent Parkway to assist with traffic flow from a new Howard Community College parking garage. The project is expected to be completed by mid-November.

Water Main Project to Extend Additional Service to APL

A Howard County construction project to extend additional public water service to the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) at 7490 Sanner Road, Laurel, is underway. The project will include the installation of approximately 900 linear feet of 12-inch water pipe along Johns Hopkins Road. Weather permitting, the project is expected to be completed by mid-December.

Temporary lane closures affecting Johns Hopkins Road, Sanner Road and Maple Lawn Boulevard can be expected weekdays between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. The APL Drive and South Campus West entrances to APL also will be impacted at times. Flagging operations will be in place to direct traffic as needed, and signs will be posted to alert motorists of the construction. For questions or concerns about Capital Project W-8306, contact Lisa Brightwell, Public Works Customer Service, at 410-313-3440 or email publicworks@howardcountymd.gov.

Columbia Musical Organizations Join Together

The Columbia Orchestra has joined forces with the Columbia Jazz Band. The Jazz Band is now under the Columbia Orchestra’s umbrella as a partner organization.

Since 1989, the Columbia Jazz Band has presented modern American Jazz at renowned venues such as Blues Alley Jazz in Georgetown, the Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival and the world-famous Montreux Jazz Festival in Montreux, Switzerland, as well as a variety of performances throughout the greater Baltimore-Washington area.

The Columbia Jazz Band will continue to present its popular jazz series in tandem with the Columbia Orchestra’s classical and chamber series. For more information, visit www.columbiaorchestra.org and www.thejazzband.com.

Suicide Prevention Smartphone App Available

Grassroots has teamed up with the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) to develop the first suicide assessment app in the country. The ubiquity of smartphones has made the app an easy-to-access technology in the effort to combat a rise in deaths by suicide.

Seth Knobel, Grassroots director of crisis intervention services, recently helped introduce the app at DHMH headquarters along with technology partner NextLogik. The app, Knobel said, allows a self-assessment by the user and provides “fast and easy access to save your own or someone else’s life.”

According to Brandon Johnson, DHMH’s director of suicide and violence prevention, suicide deaths in Maryland have risen to nearly 600 annually. Last year, the Grassroots crisis hotline handled more than 37,000 calls from individuals in distress, some of whom threatened to harm themselves.

The suicide prevention smartphone app is called “There Is Hope” and is targeted to someone struggling with taking his own life or for those concerned about suicidal thoughts in others. In addition to valuable information about warning signs, risk factors and tips on how to talk to someone who is suicidal, features include an immediate connection to crisis counselors at Grassroots who will deliver help and hope for preventing suicide.

The app is free for download on iTunes and Google Play. The app was created with funds from the Maryland Suicide Prevention and Early Intervention Network (MD-SPIN) Grant in Partnership with the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

‘Spirit of Fall’ Until Oct. 29 at The Meeting House

The Meeting House Gallery is presenting “Spirit of Fall,” including the works of Jim Auerbach, Donald Bucher, Wynston Edun, Jerzy Kajetanski and Rhona LK Schonwald. These works include photography, watercolor, pastels, acrylic and oil painting, relief prints, raku and ceramics. The show will run until Oct. 29.

The Meeting House Gallery is located in The Oakland Mills Interfaith Center, at 5885 Robert Oliver Place, Columbia, and is open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Admission to the gallery is free.

Dr. Hussein Celebrates 80th Birthday

Dr. Carlessia Hussein, chair of the Howard County Board of Health and retired director of the Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities in the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, celebrated her 80th birthday Sept. 1 with a fundraiser in Columbia for the Carlessia Hussein Minority Scholarship Fund. Established with the Community Foundation of Howard County, the fund supports black and Hispanic middle school boys in Howard County participating in community programs.

Scholarships cover the cost of tuition and related expenses for programs that encourage leadership, academic achievement and character development, expand problem-solving skills and engender a sense of community. Ten middle school boys received scholarships in May 2016, the first year of the program.

McCeney March Set for Oct. 22

On Saturday, Oct. 22, the Laurel Historical Society (LHS) will hold the first McCeney March through Historic Laurel. Held in memory of former LHS Board Chair and President Jim McCeney, who passed away this year, the event will raise funds for a scholarship for students interested in history and to benefit the LHS. He walked every day for many years, and the three-mile walk will include some of his favorite routes in Historic Laurel.

Sponsorship opportunities are also available for the event. The deadline for sponsors to be on T-shirts and booklets is Oct. 7; the walking tour booklet listing deadline is Oct. 15. Details and forms can be found at www.laurelhistoricalsociety.org.

Riding With the Heroes Attracts 308 Cyclists

The second annual Riding with the Heroes benefit for Grassroots and the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation (ICISF) attracted 308 motorcyclists with 90 passengers. Police, fire and emergency medical services personnel, current military and veterans and others participated. Proceeds of approximately $5,000 each were made to Grassroots and ICISF, and $1,000 was donated to Ellicott City flood victims.

Bob’s BMW provided a support vehicle, and fire and police personnel helped with the event, as did Junior Firefighters, Police Explorers and Police Auxiliary volunteers.

The event organizers were John Newnan and Maj. Ellsworth Jones, who is a member of the Grassroots board of directors. Plans are already being made for next year’s ride, which is slated for Aug. 27, 2017. For information, call 410-531-6006, or visit www.grassrootscrisis.org.

Kidera, Students Exhibit at Kish Gallery

The Bernice Kish Gallery at Slayton House, located at 10400 Cross Fox Lane, Columbia, will soon feature a group exhibit in the Lobby and Bill White Room galleries. Brenda Kidera and students will show their work in “Oil and Water” in an exhibit that will run from Oct. 20–Dec. 17.

Kidera and her students meet weekly to hone their skills in oil and watercolor. Many of these artists are professional in their own right; the 25-plus exhibiting artists also include Cindy Aaron, Janet Arsenault, Mary Jeanne Coles and Karen Schuster. There will be a reception to celebrate the event on Saturday, Oct. 22, from 3–5 p.m. The public is invited to attend. For more information, call 410-730-3987 or 301-596-4883.

The Lodge and Laurel Set for Oct. 13

Mayors, mill superintendents and many others who have played an important role in Laurel’s history have been members of Laurel Wreath Lodge No. 149 Ancient Free and Accepted Masons. The Lodge, located today at 209 Washington Boulevard, was founded in 1869, just prior to Laurel’s incorporation as a town.

On Thursday, Oct. 13, join Laurel Wreath Lodge No. 149 Historian, Past Master and Secretary Robert Hughes and Laurel Historical Society historians as they reveal stories and connections with the community. The program is part of the year-long series: “Behind the Bricks: Exploring Museums from the Inside Out,” in conjunction with the current exhibit: “Behind the Bricks: 20 Years of the Laurel Museum,” which runs through Dec. 18. For more information, visit www.laurelhistoricalsociety.org, email info@laurelhistoricalsociety.org or call 301-725-7975.

Department of Health Awards Opioid Misuse Prevention Grants to AAMC, Serenity Sistas

The Anne Arundel County Department of Health’s Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention and Education Services Program has awarded Opioid Misuse Prevention Program (OMPP) grants of $29,000 to Anne Arundel Medical Center (AAMC) and $7,000 to Serenity Sistas.

The purpose of OMPP is to reduce prescription opioid misuse and the number of overdose fatalities in the county. The Maryland Behavioral Health Administration provided funding for the grants. Funding will be used to develop an educational presentation for the public on how to properly store and monitor prescription medications. The grant will also fund the development and distribution of a guide for prescribers and pharmacists to help educate patients on the dangers of prescription opioid abuse.

“The Department of Health wants residents to know about the county’s many resources on opioid misuse prevention,” said County Health Officer Jinlene Chan, M.D. “The best way to reduce drug overdoses is to prevent addiction in the first place, and the department is pleased to provide grants that put area pharmacists and private health care providers on the forefront of drug misuse awareness and prevention for their patients.”

For more information about OMPP and opioid misuse prevention resources, call Prevention Specialist Caitlin Hall at 410-222-6724.