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Special Olympics Howard County Runners Go Underwater

Recently, 11 athletes from Special Olympics Howard County’s cross country team ran under the Inner Harbor as part of the annual Fort McHenry Tunnel 5K Run. Emerging from northbound tunnel bore No. 4, the runners finished strong to music and honks from surprised truckers.

The first Howard County athlete, Mark Worley, ran the course in 21 minutes, 18 seconds. Nicholas Howard, who crossed the finish line right behind Worley, won second place in the 20–29 male age group. The team, known as “Quick Feet,” raised $580 for Special Olympics Maryland.

“What’s amazing is that this race was the first time a few of these cross country athletes had ever run a 5K,” said Ann Worley, the team manager.

Art Maryland Opens at HCCA

Art Maryland 2016, a biennial, juried multimedia exhibit, is open at the Howard County Center for the Arts (HCCA). The exhibit features work selected from nearly 400 entries submitted by 135 artists working in a variety of styles and mediums.

Art Maryland 2016 will be on display through Dec. 9. A reception will be held on Friday, Nov. 4, from 6–8 p.m., and will include remarks and the presentation of more than $1,700 in juror’s awards by Bedford. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday, 10 a.m.–8 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.–4 p.m.; and Sunday, 12–4 p.m. To learn more, call 410-313-ARTS (2787) or visit www.hocoarts.org.

Schuh Announces Forest Preservation Partnership With the Bay Trust

Anne Arundel County Executive Steve Schuh has announced an unprecedented $1 million investment in forest protection for Anne Arundel County. The county will partner with the Chesapeake Bay Trust, and will use existing Forest Conservation Act funds for the grant program; it will provide cash incentives to landowners who allow conservation easements on forested properties adjoining other protected private lands or county and state parkland.

Forest Conservation Act funds come from fee-in-lieu payments paid by developers for trees that are cut down in the development process and not replanted onsite. The county is proposing incentive funds of $5,000 per acre for properties that meet several eligibility criteria.

  • A minimum of 10 acres
  • Within one-half mile of other protected lands
  • Currently forested or suitable for tree planting
  • Subject to a professional Forest Management Plan, and
  • Placed under permanent conservation easement with a qualified land trust with development rights retired

Landowners may also qualify for additional income tax deductions, reductions in property tax and lower estate taxes. Landowners will continue to own, manage and enjoy the land under the restrictions outlined in the easement. The incentive payment and tax reductions compensate the landowner for both forest management expenses and the value lost from relinquishing development rights.

Grant requests must come from a nonprofit sponsor and are awarded on a competitive basis through review by a committee of experts.

Wohl’s ‘American Hero’ to Open at Rep Stage

Rep Stage, the regional theater in residence at Howard Community College (HCC), will continue its 24th season with Bess Wohl’s “American Hero,” directed by Suzanne Beal. At a toasted sub franchise in the local mall, three up-and-coming “sandwich artists” — a teenager, a single mom and a downsized refugee from corporate banking — are perfecting the mustard-to-cheese ratio, according to the company manual. When their shot at the American dream is interrupted by a series of strange events, they become unlikely allies in a post-recession world. “American Hero” is a supersized dark comedy about life, liberty and the pursuit of sandwiches.

“American Hero” will have a limited run through Nov. 20 in the Studio Theatre of the Horowitz Visual and Performing Arts Center, located on the campus of HCC, 10901 Little Patuxent Parkway, Columbia. There will be post-show discussions on Nov. 6, 11 and 18. A pre-show lecture will be held prior to the 2 p.m. performance on Nov. 19.

For tickets and additional information, visit www.repstage.org or call the box office at 443-518-1500.

CF of Howard County to Recognize Philanthropists at Annual Dinner

The Community Foundation of Howard County (CFHoCo) will recognize Howard County philanthropists at its annual dinner, A Celebration of Philanthropy, on Thursday, Nov. 10, from 6 to 9 p.m., at Turf Valley, Ellicott City.

The CFHoCo will present the fifth annual Philanthropist of the Year awards to Dr. Fred Lewis, Sr., and Mary Agnes Lewis and to Security Development Corp. Residents of Howard County since 1954, they have supported the local faith community, local arts and historic preservation in the county as well as institutions including Howard County General Hospital, Howard Community College and St. Louis Parish in Clarksville, among other major organizations in the county.

Fred Lewis established a veterinary practice when he arrived in Howard County and has been active in central Maryland’s veterinary community ever since. Mary Agnes Lewis is a teacher who helped establish Howard County’s first kindergarten program and has coordinated St. Louis Parish’s meal preparation and donation program for 35 years.

CA Offering Student Exchange Trips to France, Spain Next Summer

Parents and teens interested in learning about the annual summer Sister Cities High School exchange program with Columbia’s sister cities in France and Spain are invited to attend one of five informational sessions hosted by Columbia Association (CA).

The sessions will take place on these dates.

  • Thursday, Nov. 10
  • Wednesday, Nov. 30
  • Thursday, Dec. 8
  • Tuesday, Jan. 10
  • Wednesday, Jan. 25

All sessions are scheduled to be held from 7 to 8 p.m. at CA Headquarters, 6310 Hillside Court, located off Stevens Forest Road, near the county vehicle emissions inspection station. Each session will include teen and parent alumni, as well as Laura Smit (program manager for CA’s International Exchange and Multicultural Programs), all of whom will speak and answer questions about the month-long program.

Teen participants spend approximately two weeks of cultural and linguistic immersion during the summer in one of Columbia’s European sister cities: Cergy-Pontoise, in France; or Tres Cantos, in Spain. During this time, they are hosted by the family of a French or Spanish student. After returning to the United States, students will then host their French/Spanish counterparts for another two weeks.

The application deadline is Feb. 17. Applications will be online in mid-November at ColumbiaAssociation.org/teenexchange. For more information, contact Laura Smit at 410-715-3162 or International@ColumbiaAssociation.org.

Kittleman Seeks Member for Howard’s Commission on Disability Issues

Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman is currently seeking applicants who are interested in serving on the Commission on Disability Issues. The commission is composed of 15 voting members who serve five-year terms each, and includes people with disabilities, service providers, family members of people with disabilities and the community-at-large.

The deadline to apply is Wednesday, Nov. 16, at 5 p.m. Applicants should send a résumé and brief letter explaining why they want to serve on the board to David Lee, either by email to dklee@howardcountymd.gov, or by mail to Howard County Government, Office of the County Executive, Attn: David Lee, 3430 Court House Drive, Ellicott City, Md. 21043.

For more information, visit www.howardcountymd.gov/CDI or call 410-313-6431 or mhenry@howardcountymd.gov.

Apply for CA Scholarships for Community Service Efforts

Applications are now being accepted for the 2017 Maggie J. Brown Spirit of Columbia Scholarship Award. Up to six $2,500 scholarships will be awarded to graduating seniors from local high schools who exhibit exceptional efforts in providing community service to benefit Columbia residents and those in the Columbia area.

Applicants must be graduating in May/June 2017 from an accredited public, private or parochial high school, or be home-schooled in accordance with COMAR 13A.10.01. The students must have a cumulative grade point average of 2.0 or better. Applications are available online at ColumbiaAssociation.org/scholarship. Completed applications must be submitted by March 15, 2017. For more information, call 410-715-3161 or email SpiritofColumbia@ColumbiaAssociation.org.

BGE Recognized at Annual Governor’s Service Awards

BGE was recognized for its commitment to Central Maryland communities at the 33rd Annual Governor’s Service Awards. The Maryland Governor’s Commission on Service and Volunteerism presented BGE with a citation for volunteerism and philanthropy as the company marks 200 years of service to the region.

In 2016, BGE is contributing nearly $5 million to nonprofit organizations throughout its service area. Employees also volunteer more than 22,000 hours annually, with nearly 200 community organizations. BGE’s parent company, Exelon, also maintains a longstanding tradition to community service. Last year employees across the company recorded nearly 129,000 hours of volunteer service — an Exelon record.

VHS Launches Inaugural Give 5 Drive Ride

Veteran Health Services (VHS) is going full throttle with its efforts for American veterans and their families. A nonprofit, VHS is joining with the WarFighters Motorcycle Club for its inaugural Give 5 Drive Ride on Saturday, Nov. 5, the week before the national observation of Veterans Day.

The ride embarks from the WarFighters headquarters, 154 Lafayette Ave., Laurel, and will travel more than 20 miles to the Baltimore War Memorial, while stopping by the Baltimore Veterans Affairs Hospital en route. “We intend for this to be an annual event,” said VHS President, CEO and Founder Stephen Goldberg, M.D.

The Give 5 Drive Ride is an outreach of Veteran Health Services’ nationwide “Give 5 Drive.” The social media and crowdfunding initiative seeks to elicit donations of $5 from millions of supporters, with the assurance that 100% of all proceeds will be used to fund its development, launch and clinical operations, while laying the foundation for future VHS locations, and that its executives will never receive performance bonuses.

Suicide rates for veterans have climbed to record highs in recent years. More than 1.8 million veterans are suffering from substance abuse; 300,000 who served in Iraq and Afghanistan are enduring post-traumatic stress disorder or major depression; and an average of 20 commit suicide every day. VHS aims to eliminate these statistics by offering mental and behavioral health, substance abuse and trauma-related care to veterans and their families.

Kittleman Seeks Member for Howard County’s Cable Advisory Committee

Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman is currently seeking applicants who are interested in serving a five-year term on the Cable Advisory Committee.  The committee provides recommendations to the executive and the county council on matters related to cable television.

Applicants should send a résumé and brief letter explaining why they want to serve on the board to David Lee either by email to dklee@howardcountymd.gov or by mail to: Howard County Government, Office of the County Executive, Attn: David Lee, 3430 Court House Drive, Ellicott City, MD 21043. The deadline to apply is Tuesday, Nov. 15, at 5 p.m.

For more information, visit www.howardcountymd.gov/Departments/Technology-and-Communication-Services/Cable-Administration/CableAdvisoryCommittee or call 410-313-3318.

2017 ManneqART Sculptural Artworks Calendar Available

Twelve months of the Best of ManneqART 2016, a new calendar, includes professional photos of the 2016 ManneqART Competition entries from amazing sculptural artists from around the U.S. and abroad.

Now in its fourth year, ManneqART is a growing arts and education nonprofit with a mission to inspire creativity, teach problem solving skills and reward excellence in the creation of sculptural art. It sponsors a national sculptural arts competition that welcomes students, world class artists and all skill levels in between. $10,000 in artist awards are given every year. For more information, call 301-778-0616 or email manneqart@gmail.com.

Rep Stage Honored With Award From Women Playwrights

The International Centre for Women Playwrights has honored Rep Stage with its 50/50 Applause Award, which is given to theaters that produce 50% or more plays by women playwrights in their 2015–16 season. Rep Stage, the regional theater in residence at Howard Community College, only produced work by women playwrights during the 2015–16 season, including participating in the D.C. Women’s Voices Theater Festival.

Rep Stage is among 107 theaters around the world to receive the 50/50 Applause Award. It’s 2015–16 season included “The Baltimore Waltz,” by Paula Vogel, directed by Suzanne Beal; “Technicolor Life” by Jami Brandli, directed by Joseph Ritsch; “Antigone Project: A Play in Five Parts” by Karen Hartman, Tanya Barfield, Caridad Svitch, Lynn Nottage and Chiori Miyagawa, directed by Joseph Ritsch; and “Hunting and Gathering” by Brooke Berman, directed by Kasi Campbell.

CFA to Return in June

The Columbia Festival of the Arts (CFA) will return to the Columbia Lakefront with the free weekend of activities for the community from June 16–18, 2017, next to Clyde’s on the Lake Stage.

The Glenelg Jazz Ensemble will perform at 5:45 p.m., Sunday, June 18. It has performed at such prestigious international festivals as the Montreux International Jazz Festival (Switzerland), the North Sea Jazz Festival (Holland) the Jazz a Vienne (France) and World Jazz Festival (Germany).

UMD Students Tackle New Park, Public Art and Logo for Odenton Town Center

Students from the University of Maryland have been tasked with designing a new park, public art display and logo for Odenton Town Center.

The projects are part of the county’s participation in the Partnership for Action Learning in Sustainability (PALS) program. Students and faculty complete projects assigned by county government that are similar to consultant studies and reports. This year, the students will work on 27 different projects, including designing a trail connection, a market study for Tipton Airport and a master plan for Arlington Echo Outdoor Education Center.

The team of students is led by landscape architecture instructor Dennis Nola. They will present an overview of their work at a public meeting on Thursday, Nov. 3, from 6–8 p.m. at the Western District Police Station located at 8273 Telegraph Road in Odenton. The final report and recommendations will be presented in December.

Kirsh’s Fruit, Vegetable Sculptures on Display

Jan Kirsh’s “Pear,” which is on display at the George Howard Building; and “Patricia’s Carrots,” which is on display at Howard County Center for the Arts, were chosen as two of the sculptures for ARTsites 2016, among 55 sculptures submitted.

Kirsh said she was inspired to create the Pear for its elegant and timeless form. “I imagine the piece lending a calm beauty,” she said, “a motherly figure to impart wisdom, serenity and beauty to those that experience her.”

Howard DPW to Host Public Meeting on Stevens Forest/Farewell Roads Project

Howard County’s Department of Public Works (DPW) will hold a public meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 9, at 7:45 p.m., at The Other Barn, 5851 Robert Oliver Place in Columbia, to discuss improvement options for the intersection at Stevens Forest and Farewell roads. Options include installation of a roundabout or improvements to medians and turn bays.

While there will be no formal presentation, the proposed concept plans will be available to view, and DPW staff members will be on hand to explain the proposed plans, answer any questions and gather public comments.

Those unable to attend the meeting who would like to view the proposed plans and/or have questions should contact Buck Bohmer of the DPW’s Traffic Engineering Division at 410-313-5748 or bubohmer@howardcountymd.gov; for questions or more information about Capital Project T-7100, contact Lisa Brightwell, DPW customer service, at 410-313-3440 or publicworks@howardcountymd.gov.

Bright Minds Issues 2016–17 Awards

The Howard County-based Bright Minds Foundation has awarded 18 public school teachers and staff with funding for innovative instructional projects totaling nearly $25,000. The independent, nonprofit organization seeks to enhance educational opportunities for public school students through support for equity, innovation and lifelong learning.

Each year, Bright Minds awards grants ranging from $500–$2,000 to teachers and staff for projects that build students’ skills in categories that include health and wellness; financial, economic, business and entrepreneurship; fine arts; science, technology, engineering and math (STEM); and others. Since its inception, Bright Minds has invested nearly $120,000 in enrichment programs for classrooms throughout the county.

Kittleman Seeks Members for Howard’s Property Tax Assessment Appeal Board

Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman is currently seeking applicants interested in serving on the Howard County Property Tax Assessment Appeal Board. The board consists of three members and one alternate who serve five-year terms, and review appeals from county residents who disagree with their property value assessed by the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation. The board is currently seeking to fill a member and the alternate position.

Applicants should send a résumé and a brief letter explaining why they want to serve on the board to David Lee either by email to dklee@howardcountymd.gov or by mail to Howard County Government, Office of the County Executive, Attn: David Lee, 3430 Court House Drive, Ellicott City, MD 21043. The deadline to apply is Tuesday, Nov. 22, at 5 p.m.

HCAC Scholarship Application Available

The Howard County Arts Council’s (HCAC) 2017 Arts Scholarship Application is now available. The HCAC will award a minimum of $10,000 in scholarship funds to students entering college in the 2017–18 academic year. Scholarships must be used for enrollment in an accredited college program for a degree in the arts. Awards will be made in the minimum amount of $1,000 and may be used for tuition and fees only.

Applicants will be notified of the committee’s decision in March 2017; applications for the program must be submitted online. Prospective applicants should visit hcac.culturegrants.org to initiate the application process. Applications must be submitted electronically by Jan. 18, 2017. Call 410-313-2787 or email info@hocoarts.org for more information.

HCDrugFree Takes Back More Than 700 Pounds of Meds

HC DrugFree collected 718 pounds of meds just at HC DrugFree’s location at Drug Take Back Day on Saturday, Oct. 22. The take included 27 white bins filled with meds only and 13 red bins with sharps only (needles, syringes and Epipens). In recent years, the HC DrugFree and the Howard County Police Department have collected more than 2,000 pounds of unused or expired medications, thus getting them out of the house in a safe, environmentally-friendly way.

The United States is experiencing an epidemic of addiction, overdose and death due to abuse of prescription drugs, particularly opioid painkillers. According to the recently released 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 6.4 million Americans age 12 and over — 2.4% of the population — abuse prescription drugs; that’s more than abuse cocaine, heroin, hallucinogens and methamphetamine combined.

Drug overdoses are now the leading cause of injury-related death in the United States, eclipsing deaths from motor vehicle crashes or firearms. The majority of prescription drug abusers report that they obtain their drugs from friends and family, including from the home medicine cabinet.