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Columbia Town Center Rotary to Host Valentine’s Gala

The Columbia Town Center Rotary Club is gearing up for its next major fundraiser, the annual Valentine’s Gala, which will be held at the Sheraton Columbia Town Center Hotel on Feb. 7, from 6:30 until 11:30 p.m. This event offers the community an elegant evening of dining and dancing to celebrate this romantic holiday.

The gala will feature music by the award-winning NightLife band and a silent auction, as well as dancing and culinary delights throughout the evening. The cost per ticket is $100; special rates on hotel accommodations are available from the Sheraton. Proceeds from this event will be used to support the club’s portfolio of local charities, education endowments and community service projects.

For more information about the Columbia Town Center Rotary Club and the gala, visit www.ctcrotary.org or contact David Rodriguez at 410-531-9470.

Loyola’s Sellinger School Holds Grad Information Sessions

Loyola University Maryland’s Sellinger School of Business and Management will hold information sessions for prospective students interested in Sellinger’s graduate business programs.

The sessions will take place in February and March. The first, Meet the Program Managers, will take place on Tuesday, Feb. 17, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.; the second, All Graduate Business Programs, will be presented on Saturday, March 7, from 10 to 11 a.m. The location for both offerings will be Loyola’s Columbia Graduate Center, 8890 McGaw Road, Room 272, Columbia. Attendance to a session will waive the $60 program application fee. To register or learn more, visit www.loyola.edu/sellinger.

Class to Offer Insight Into Negro Education in Early Howard County

Howard County Library System (HCLS) joins the Columbia, Maryland, Alumnae Chapter of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority to offer the community a look into the conflict, challenges and change that occurred locally during the 11-year era of public school desegregation.

On Saturday, Feb. 14, from 2 to 3:30 p.m., Patrick O’Guinn, Sr., professor of criminal justice and computer forensics at Howard Community College, will examine early Negro education in Howard County Public Schools at HCLS’s Central Branch, which is located at 10375 Little Patuxent Parkway, Columbia. Attendees will learn about the dynamics of the time between 1954 and 1965 and how the lives of schoolchildren, their families and the local community were affected.

Howard County Seeks Nominees for Volunteer of the Year

Nomination forms are available for the 2015 “Volunteer of the Year” awards program. Sponsored by Howard County government, the Howard County Council and the Volunteer Center Serving Howard County, this program recognizes individuals (youth and adults), nonprofit organizations or governmental agencies, and for-profit organizations or community groups that have demonstrated commitment and dedication to the community. The deadline for nominations is Friday, Feb. 27.

Award winners will have an engraved brick installed in the “Pathway to Excellence” at the county’s Troy Park at Elkridge. Still in the design stage, the pathway will feature bricks etched with the winners’ names and award. The pathway is part of Phase 2 of the park’s design and is expected to be completed in 2016.

Nomination forms are available via www.howardcountymd.gov/voy.htm. Completed nomination forms may be filled out online and submitted via e-mail to voy@howardcountymd.gov; mailed to: Howard County Volunteer of the Year, Attn: Alexandra Bresani, Office of Public Information, 3430 Court House Drive, Ellicott City, MD 21043; or faxed to 410-313-3390. For questions and more information, call 410-313-2023 or e-mail voy@howardcountymd.gov.

Artists’ Gallery Celebrates ‘The Beauty of Wood’ Through Feb. 27

The Artists’ Gallery Wood Collective members, Chuck Aaron, Ron Brown, Dave McCann and Jim Oliver, will exhibit various forms of wooden objects for the gallery’s February show, “The Beauty of Wood.” All of the work highlights the beauty of wood with fine finishes, interesting color and appealing form. The show will run through Feb. 27 at the gallery, which is located at 10227 Wincopin Circle, Columbia.

The Artists’ Gallery is a member-owned gallery representing media that include oils, watercolor, collage, acrylic, pastels, charcoal, traditional photography, hand-colored photography, digital photography, stained glass, and clay and wooden objets d’art. For more information, call 410-740-8249 during gallery hours or visit www.artistsgallerycolumbia.com.

CFHoCo Accepting Mini-Grant Applications

The Community Foundation of Howard County, which raises, manages and distributes funds to support Howard County nonprofits, is accepting applications from nonprofits for mini-grants up to $2,000. Applications are available at www.cfhoco.org and due by Feb. 28.

Mini-grants fund pilot projects, organizational improvements and equipment purchases for organizations that deliver services to Howard County residents in the areas of human service, arts and culture, education, environment and community affairs.

The Community Foundation of Howard County awards mini-grants three times a year to meet time-sensitive needs. This is the first round of mini-grants this year, with two more rounds planned in May and August of 2015. The foundation allocated a total of $20,000 for the program this year. For more information, visit www.cfhoco.org, e-mail grants@cfhoco.org or call 410-730-7840.

MakingChange to Host Money Matters Fair

MakingChange, a nonprofit which develops and delivers financial education programs, will host the Money Matters Fair on Saturday, March 14, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The event will include free activities for the family and will focus on such issues as living within your means, college funding options, preparing for retirement and caring for aging parents. Pro bono financial planners will be available for consultation.

Activities for children ages 12–18 and their parents will include the popular Y-Fi (Youth Finance) interactive financial simulation designed to show how career, education and spending choices impact success. The event simulation is inspired by portions of Junior Achievement’s (JA) nationally acclaimed JA Finance Park program, and was previously included in Y-Fi events held by MakingChange.

The event will be held at Long Reach High School, 6101 Old Dobbin Road, Columbia. Registration is requested but not required at MoneyMattersFair.EventBrite.com.

NKF-MD to Hold Free Screening on World Kidney Day

To celebrate World Kidney Day and to encourage people to learn their risks for developing kidney disease, the National Kidney Foundation of Maryland (NKF-MD) will hold a free KEY (Kidneys: Evaluate Yours) health screening in Annapolis.

The screening will take place Thursday, Mar. 12, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the Comptroller of Maryland Treasury Building- 1st Floor Assembly Room, 80 Calvert Street, Annapolis.

Lasting about 20 minutes, the screening includes blood pressure and weight checks, as well as counseling with a doctor and dietician. Additionally, blood tests may be given to those needing to have their blood sugar and kidney function checked. For more information, call NKF-MD at 443-322-0375 or visit www.kidneymd.org.

Mini-Course in Creating Columbia Set for Feb. 9, 16

The public is invited to the two remaining free mini-courses, which are part of the “Creating Columbia” series. They are being offered by the Columbia Archives and presented by Columbia historian Barbara Kellner at Slayton House in the Village of Wilde Lake.

It was big news when the plan for Columbia was presented 50 years ago. The period that led up to it had included a year of hard work, but what followed was an even more hectic schedule. “Creating Columbia: A Mini-Course” looks at the period from November 1964 to May 1965, covering the formal Columbia plan, the initial reaction to it and the feverish work that followed in order to fine tune the plan, cement relationships within Howard County and ensure that the plan would be accepted, then green-lighted for development.

The last two sections of the three-part program are set for this month. They are Inspiration and Perspiration, Monday, Feb. 9, 2–3:30 p.m.; and Columbia Gets the Go-Ahead, Feb. 16, Monday, 2–3:30 p.m. Slayton House is located at 10400 Cross Fox Lane in Wilde Lake Village Center.

Casey Cares Foundation Looks to Double in Size

The Casey Cares Foundation, which provides special programs to critically ill children and their families throughout the mid-Atlantic, has announced that its offices are doubling in size. Headquartered in Baltimore, the nonprofit is calling upon the Baltimore community to help fill its expanded space by donating office supplies and furniture. It plans to officially open its expanded office doors this month.

Established more than 15 years ago, the foundation’s programs have grown 25% every year. 2014 was another year of incredible growth, as it provided more than 8,000 activities to more than 14,000 participants.

“We have never had to deny the application of a qualified family because of lack of resources. As we continue to accept more applications to join our programs from families in need, the additional office space will allow us to utilize more volunteers who will help us to continue to provide ongoing support for these deserving families,” said Casey Baynes, founder and executive director of Casey Cares.

HCAC Calls for Artists, Sites for ARTsites 2015

The Howard County Arts Council (HCAC) has announced ARTsites 2015, a multi-site public art initiative, and is looking for artists with large-scale sculpture that is fit for year-long outdoor display, as well as publicly-accessible outdoor areas in Howard County.

ARTsites 2015 will take place at up to 13 sites throughout Howard County from August 2015–July 2016. Sites and artwork will be selected from submissions by a panel of arts and public art professionals. The goal of the event is to make art more accessible to the entire community.

All community, commercial and public sites in Howard County are eligible to apply. Complete guidelines and submission information are available via www.hocoarts.org, at the Howard County Center for the Arts or by calling 410-313-2787. The deadline for all submissions is Feb. 27.

Vendors Wanted for Howard County’s GreenFest

Vendor applications are now being accepted for Howard County’s annual GreenFest, to be held on Saturday, April 18, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., at Howard Community College’s Burrill Galleria, 10901 Little Patuxent Parkway, Columbia. Last year’s event drew more than 3,000 attendees and featured nearly 90 commercial and nonprofit vendors with information about how to live a more ecologically-sound lifestyle.

While this year’s theme is “Living With Wildlife,” GreenFest is open to all vendors and exhibitors that highlight environmentally conscious products, services, activities and opportunities for community involvement.

The vendor and sponsorship application is available at www.hcgreenfest.org. For more information, call the county’s Department of Public Works at 410-313-6433 or e-mail awilcom@howardcountymd.gov.

Members Sought for Howard’s Commission for Veterans, Military Families

Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman is seeking individuals to serve on the Commission for Veterans and Military Families. The commission is composed of 13 members: nine veterans; two who are immediate family members of a veteran or person engaged in active-duty service, National Guard or Reserve at time of appointment; and two who work or volunteer for organizations that serve veterans or their families.

To be eligible for consideration, candidates must be Howard County residents, 18 years of age or older, have an interest in veteran and military family affairs and be able to attend the commission’s meetings, which are held monthly from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Gateway Building, 6751 Columbia Gateway Drive, Columbia. The deadline to apply is Friday, Feb. 13.

For more information about the Commission for Veterans and Military Families, contact Lisa Terry with the Howard County Office of Military Affairs at 410-313-0821.

40th Audrey Robbins Humanitarian Awards Set for April 10

The 40th annual Audrey Robbins Humanitarian Awards will be held at the Ten Oaks Ballroom, in Clarksville, on April 10.

Being honored will be the Volunteer of the Year, Volunteer Team of the Year, Employee of the Year, Employee Team of the Year and Business of the Year. For more information, call 410-715-9545 or visit http://acshoco.org.

SOHC to Hold Inspiration Walk on April 18

Special Olympics Howard County will hold its annual Inspiration Walk on Saturday, April 18, at Centennial Park. Registration will begin at 8 a.m. Honorary co-chairmen County Executive Allan Kittleman and State Sen. Guy Guzzone will kick off the event at 9:15 a.m.

Proceeds from the walk will provide funding for local sports training and athletic competition in 19 sports for more than 600 Howard County children and adults with intellectual disabilities. Walkers can register and set up a donations page at www.firstgiving.com/somdhc/howard-county-inspiration-walk-2015.

FMA Industry Day Set for March 19

The Fort Meade Alliance’s (FMA) Meade Business Connect will host Industry Day at the Hilton BWI Airport on March 19. The event will provide unprecedented access to top Fort Meade tenants, government contractors and FMA 5-Star member companies.

Industry Day will feature a keynote speaker and a panel discussion with officials from government agencies forecasting the next 18 to 24 months. Representatives of U.S. CyberCommand, the National Security Agency and the Defense Information Systems Agency have been invited to participate.

The event sells out each year, with more than 200 small business leaders attending. With questions, contact the FMA at 410-850-4940 or director@ftmeadealliance.org.

Maryland Science Center, Robinson Nature Center Help Families Discover Stars

The Maryland Science Center (MSC) and Howard County Department of Recreation & Parks’ Robinson Nature Center are collaborating to provide two final opportunities for Maryland residents to discover the stars through a unique, family-friendly experience called Scope Out the Night Sky.

The program, supported by the Howard County Arts Council through a grant from Howard County Government, provides an immersive astronomy experience for families that may have never fully experienced the wonder of the sky in their own backyards.

During the program, families enjoy a planetarium presentation, followed by a full-dome movie about the ancient astronomer Galileo and his telescope. Families get to handle real meteorites and to view celestial objects through the lenses of several high-powered telescopes, manned by astronomers from the MSC and members of the Howard Astronomical League.

The last opportunity to participate in the program is on March 7 from 6 to 9 p.m. The program is held at the Robinson Nature Center located at 6692 Cedar Lane in Columbia and the cost per family is $24. To register for the program or for more information, call 410-313-0400. To find out more about the center, visit www.howardcountymd.gov/Robinsonnaturecenter.htm.

Employers Needed for AACC Job Fair

Employers planning to hire workers this spring or summer should sign up now to have a booth at Anne Arundel Community College’s (AACC) Spring Job Fair from noon–4 p.m., April 16, in the David S. Jenkins Gymnasium on the Arnold campus at 101 College Parkway.

The fair is open to jobseekers in the Maryland-Washington, D.C., Metro area and typically draws at least 750 jobseekers, including career-changers and recent or soon-to-be college graduates. The early deadline for registering is Feb. 15 with a $325 cost for a booth. After that date, the cost jumps to $450.

To register, visit www.aacc.edu/careers/employmentservices/jobfair.cfm for more information and a link to the registration page. For additional questions, e-mail CTRC@aacc.edu, or call 410-777-2770 or 410-777-2512.

Vendors Sought for Howard County’s Seventh Annual WomenFest

Do you offer products/services that promote health, wellness, fashion and beauty, and are designed to inspire women to live a more balanced, healthy and fulfilled life? If so, then be sure to apply for a spot at this year’s Department of Citizen Services’ WomenFest. Back for its seventh consecutive year, this signature wellness event for women will be held on Saturday, April 25, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Gary J. Arthur Community Center, located at 2400 Route 97 in Cooksville. Admission and parking are free.

Coordinated by the Department’s Office on Aging, last year’s WomenFest attracted 600 participants and more than 100 vendors and exhibitors. This year’s event will feature an interactive day with free health screenings and engaging seminars and workshops on topics including self-defense, painting on canvas, heart health, financial wellness and keeping relationships strong.

This year’s keynote address — “Build Your Healthy Tomorrow, Today!” — will be presented by Lynne Brick, president of Brick Bodies Fitness Services.

Vendor and exhibitor applications, sponsorship opportunities and full event details are available online at www.howardcountyaging.org/WomenFest. For more information about WomenFest, visit www.howardcountyaging.org/WomenFest, follow the Department’s Facebook page (www.facebook.com/HoCoCitizen) or contact Courtney Barkley at 410-313-5957 or cbarkley@howardcountymd.gov.

Get Tix for HCAC’S 18th Annual Celebration of the Arts

Tickets are now available for a Howard County signature arts event. Presented by Howard Bank, the Celebration of the Arts in Howard County will be held on Saturday, March 28, at the Peter and Elizabeth Horowitz Visual and Performing Arts Center, Howard Community College, Columbia.

Tickets are $100 and $50 at www.hocoarts.org/celebration_of_the_arts.php, by phone at 410-313-ARTS (2787) or at Howard County Arts Council (HCAC), located 8510 High Ridge Road, Ellicott City, MD 21043.

The evening begins with a reception from 6–8 p.m. featuring a silent auction of artwork by local artists, culinary delicacies provided by local restaurants and live musical performances. At 8 p.m. the celebration continues with the presentation of the Rising Star Competition and the 2014 Howie Awards. The $100 tickets include the reception, silent auction and reserved seats in the Smith Theatre; $50 tickets include the reception, silent auction and general seating in the studio theatre for the simulcast.

As the HCAC’s main source of individual and corporate funding, the Celebration helps to support the council’s grants and education programs. It is also an important showcase for local performing and visual artists. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.hocoarts.org or call 410-313-ARTS (2787).

MakingChange Provides Free Income Tax Preparation

MakingChange, a Howard County nonprofit organization that develops and delivers financial education programs, is hosting a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) site at the Multiservice Center in North Laurel.

The Howard County site, like other VITA sites across the country, offers free tax assistance preparation and filing to most taxpayers who earned up to $53,000 in 2014. The taxpayer’s eligibility for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) also will be determined.

“The VITA site saves families the cost of tax preparation while also ensuring that they receive the tax credits for which they are eligible,” said MakingChange Executive Director Mike Couch.

The VITA site is located at the Multiservice Center, 9900 Washington Boulevard (Route 1), Laurel. Appointments can be scheduled at http://bit.ly/makingchangevita or call 410-880-5917. Alternatively, taxpayers who made less than $60,000 can file their own federal and state tax returns for free at www.myfreetaxes.com. This year’s tax deadline is April 15.

The Arc Awarded Seal of Excellence by Standards of Excellence Institute

The Arc of Howard County has been awarded the Standards of Excellence Institute’s Seal of Excellence for successfully completing a rigorous accreditation program, including analysis by other nonprofit professional leaders. Examined were mission; strategy and evaluation; leadership; legal compliance and ethics; finance and operations; resource development; and public awareness, engagement and advocacy.

The Standards of Excellence Institute is an initiative of Maryland Nonprofits, which started the certification program in 1998. The Arc of Howard County previously received certification in 2008. Accreditation is for five years.

“We are honored to have been certified by the Standards of Excellence Institute,” said Carol A. Beatty, executive director of The Arc of Howard County. “We are proud of our board, staff and volunteers and their commitment to achieving full community life for children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.”

Since its inception in 1961, The Arc of Howard County has become one of the county’s largest employers, with more than 300 staff members and hundreds of volunteers working to achieve full community life for children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. It provides a range of residential, employment and family support services. For further information, visit www.archoward.org.