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22nd Annual Symphony of Lights Postponed Until 2016

Symphony of Lights, a 20-minute drive-through of more than 70 larger-than-life holiday light displays benefiting Howard County General Hospital, will be postponed until fall 2016 to allow for the redevelopment of Merriweather Park at Symphony Woods in Columbia.

Symphony of Lights, which attracts more than 100,000 visitors each year, offers a series of animated and stationary light displays. Throughout this next year, the 250,000 bulbs on the displays will be replaced with environmentally-friendly LED lights. Community members interested in supporting the refurbishment of the Symphony of Lights displays and the hospital this holiday season can sponsor a new LED light bulb for a donation of $10 at hcgh.org/brightenthelights.

“The displays, many of which are original and more than 20 years old, will be refurbished and updated so that when we return in 2016, Symphony of Lights will be brighter and better than ever,” said Sandy Harriman, vice president of development for Howard Hospital Foundation (HHF).

In lieu of the traditional light display this year, a video drive-through of the Symphony of Lights is available at hcgh.org/symphonyoflights. Those who have attended Symphony of Lights festivities in the past, including Dazzle Dash, military appreciation night, Twinkling Tots, Bike the Lights, Tail Lights, drive-throughs, group walk-throughs and Midnight at 7, are encouraged to share their photos and experiences at Facebook.com/symphonyoflightsfestivities. The Facebook page also will have plans for next year’s event.

HHF holds Symphony of Lights as a fundraising event for the hospital, with annual net proceeds totaling more than $300,000. During the past 21 years, the events have raised $7.5 million that has been used to support the Maternal Child Department, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Campus Development Plan and other areas of great need.

Humanim’s Human Services Achieve Highest Level of Accreditation

Humanim has been recognized by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) International for maintaining the highest level of quality in its disability services. CARF is an independent, nonprofit accreditor of health and human services.

Providers that meet CARF’s standards have demonstrated a commitment to being “among the best available,” according to CARF’s web site. Humanim has applied for and received the honor seven consecutive times, for a total of 21 years of continuous accreditation. “The process is voluntary,” said Judi Olinger, Humanim’s vice-president and corporate compliance officer. “We willingly go through the review because we are serious about making sure our clients receive the quality supports they deserve.”

Cybrary Launches Job Platform to Address Cybersecurity Talent Shortage

Cybrary, the world’s first and only no-cost cybersecurity massive open online course (MOOC) provider, has launched its Cyber Security Job Platform. This talent platform is designed to meet the demand for skilled cybersecurity professionals, which is growing four times faster than the overall information technology job market and 12 times faster than the total labor market. Currently there are more than a million open job postings for cybersecurity positions around the world.

Free to all job seekers, Greenbelt-based Cybrary’s new talent platform features jobs in three main categories: GRC/Information Assurance; Network and Application Security; and malware, threat and intel. Job seekers can upload and store up to five résumés for applying to positions. Employers and recruiters can post jobs and find professionals at all levels for a variety of titles, such as director of cybersecurity, risk management analysts, health care information security officer and threat analyst.

Brandli’s ‘Technicolor Life’ to Premiere at Rep Stage

Rep Stage, the regional theater-in-residence at Howard Community College (HCC), is continuing its 23rd season with Jami Brandli’s “Technicolor Life,” directed by Joseph Ritsch, Rep Stage’s co-producing artistic director.

The production has a limited run through Nov. 8 in the Smith Theatre of the Horowitz Visual and Performing Arts Center on the campus of HCC. For tickets and additional information, visit www.repstage.org or call the box office at 443-518-1500.

Holiday Craft Fair Set for Historic Oakland on Nov. 21

The Town Center Community Association will be holding its annual Holiday Craft Fair on Saturday, Nov. 21, 10 a.m.–3 p.m. This is a juried event featuring handmade crafts, gifts and food from 40-plus vendors. Admission is free.

Available will be handcrafted jewelry, scarves, pottery, soaps, fiber art, woodworking, petite cheesecakes, truffles, pastries and more. Historic Oakland is located at 5430 Vantage Point Road, Columbia. For more information, visit www.ColumbiaTownCenter.org or call 410-730-4744.

Howard’s Mobile Fuel Pod Supports Regular Ops, Emergency Response

Howard County has begun using a new fuel pod to support routine county operations at fuel sites that also can be mobilized during emergency responses. The pod is mounted on a skid that can be loaded onto a truck, allowing it to be portable and versatile for many situations where fuel is needed.

The 2,500-gallon fuel tank is divided into two sections (one 1,700 gallons and one 800 gallons) so both diesel and gasoline can be transported at the same time. Onboard standard fuel pumps allow the whole pod to function as a mobile gas station. It cost $64,800 and was acquired using federal Homeland Security Grant Program funds.

The pod is already being used at the Alpha Ridge Landfill to fuel Department of Public Works vehicles while the fuel station there is out of service for construction and maintenance. During an emergency, it could be moved to supply vehicles that are essential to response and recovery as well as to refill generators at critical facilities. The county has three “hook trucks” in its fleet that could be used to move the pod.

Director of Emergency Management Ryan Miller said, “We really saw the need to have backup fuel supplies during Superstorm Sandy in 2012. Since then, we’ve worked to fill that gap in our ability to respond. Many gas stations do not have backup power, but with the fuel pod we can keep equipment and operations running and have supplies where they are needed.”

Video of Howard County’s fuel pod can be found at https://youtu.be/KI9_crHkCj0.

hiSTORY Days Bring Stories of Patapsco Valley to Life

The Patapsco Heritage Greenway (PHG) will present the second annual Patapsco Valley Heritage Area hiSTORY Days from Nov. 6–14 at various Howard and Baltimore County locations. The nine-day lineup includes educational and entertaining presentations and events featuring stories about the heritage and culture of Maryland’s most dramatic river valley.

From a Main Street parade honoring veterans to the story of Victor Bloede’s historic dam, and from Friday the 13th tales about Patapsco spirits to the retelling of the tragic 1965 fire on Fels Lane, the valley’s stories will be brought to life. Financed in part with state funds from the Maryland Heritage Area Authority, the hiSTORY Days series is a joint effort among nonprofit partners in the Patapsco Valley to provide insight into the significance of its culture, history and environment.

All events are free with the exception of the Bottom of the Ninth reception on Nov. 6, the proceeds of which will benefit PHG’s efforts on behalf of the Patapsco Valley Heritage Area. For more information, e-mail mcc.phg@gmail.com or visit patapscoheritagegreenway.org.

Vets to ‘March’ Through History in Ellicott City

Marching Through History: A Tribute to Veterans will take place in Historic Ellicott City on Saturday, Nov. 7. The parade is sponsored by the Ellicott City Partnership in collaboration with Historic Ellicott City Inc.

The event will begin with a welcome and remarks at 8:45 a.m. by Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman near the historic Thomas Isaac Log Cabin preceding the parade, which begins at 9 a.m. The route will proceed east on Main Street, passing historic properties and following the original National Road, and will end at the intersection at Maryland Avenue, across from the B&O Railroad Museum.

Many historic sites will be open during the day after the parade, including the Thomas Isaac Log Cabin, the Firehouse Museum, the B & O Railroad Museum, Mount Ida and the Howard County Historical Society Museum. For more information, contact Debra Korb at 443-240-2060 and dkorb@ecpartnership.org.

Zaching Against Cancer, The Little Things Merge

The Zaching Against Cancer Foundation (ZACF) and The Little Things for Cancer (TLT4C) have merged, with the new partnership expected to expand the reach of both organizations to have a greater impact on those affected by cancer.

ZACF has provided funding for college cancer research internships, scholarships for young adults affected by cancer, and funds needed for research in hopes of finding a cure; The Little Things for Cancer has funded services for “the little things” for cancer patients that are often taken for granted.

The organizations will jointly engage in providing funding and infrastructure to provide resources, services, scholarships, research funding, internships and more to cancer patients and their caregivers. TLT4C will become a program of ZACF. Together, they expect to be able to generate more funding from combined fundraising, development and networking centers while utilizing combined data, volunteer bases and talents.

Arundel’s Schuh Presents Awards, Creates ADA Liaisons

The Anne Arundel County Commission on Disability Issues (CODI) held the 2015 Disability Awareness Day on Oct. 24, at Westfield Annapolis mall. At the event, County Executive Steve Schuh presented the 2015 DAD Award and an Executive Citation to Honoree Cisco Nochera. Businesses and individuals were also awarded with Executive Citations for their lifelong commitment to making a difference in the lives of individuals with disabilities.

To further Anne Arundel County’s role in awareness, County Executive Schuh created Executive Order 81 for all county departments to designate an ADA liaison. He announced and signed the order in the presence of CODI Chairman Joelle Ridgeway and the Director of the Department of Aging and Disabilities Pamela Jordan.

Liaisons will be trained by the ADA coordinator to familiarize themselves with history of the law and current requirements. For more information, contact the ADA coordinator’s office at 410-222-4383 or visit www.aacounty.org/Aging.

Local Nonprofit Hires First Executive Director

The Village In Howard, a membership nonprofit that supports local residents age 55-plus who choose to age in their own homes, has announced the hiring of its first executive director, Roberta Greenstein.

Greenstein has lived in Howard County for many years, has extensive human service experience and is committed to serving older adults. To contact Greenstein, call The Village office at 443-367-9043. For more information about The Village In Howard, visit www.thevillageinhoward.org.

GFAS Awards DEFHR Accredition Status

Days End Farm Horse Rescue (DEFHR), of Woodbine, has been awarded accredition status by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS) for the farm’s rigorous and peer-reviewed equine care standards. The standards have been confirmed by a site visit, and the farm has also demonstrated adherence to standards addressing the sustainability of the organization, ethical principles, finances, staffing, education outreach, security and safety, and other operational aspects.

“Days End Farm Horse Rescue is an exceptional organization committed to meeting the needs of at-risk horses most often seized by law enforcement from cruelty and neglect situations,” said Daryl Tropea, GFAS senior deputy director. “Although their expertise and success in rehabilitating critically ill horses sets the highest standard of excellence for equine welfare organizations, their extensive community education programs are also essential to their mission of helping all horses. In a perfect world, there would be no need for equine rescues; but, until that time, we are fortunate to have dedicated and committed organizations, such as Days End Farm Horse Rescue.”

Erin Ochoa, executive director for Days End Farm Horse Rescue, said, “We are pleased and honored to receive our accreditation through GFAS. Their recognition of our commitment to excellence and quality of care for our animals will help us continue our work in protecting horses and educating people. It is our hope that, through education, DEFHR can make strides in helping to improve the quality of life of horses throughout the world.”

HCAC Scholarship Application Available

The Howard County Arts Council’s (HCAC) 2016 Arts Scholarship Application is now available. The HCAC will award a minimum of $10,000 in scholarship funds to students entering college in the 2016–17 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.

Applications for the scholarship program must be submitted online and applicants will be notified of the committee’s decision in March 2016. In addition, prospective applicants should visit www.hcac.culturegrants.org to initiate the application process. Applications must be submitted electronically by Jan. 14, 2016. Contact the HCAC at 410-313-2787 or e-mail info@hocoarts.org for more information.

‘The Artful Spirit’ Running Until Dec. 24 at The Meeting House

The Meeting House Gallery will present “The Artful Spirit,” including works by Christina Bird-Walker, Winnie Coggins, Brenda Kidera, Joyce Ritter and Rhona Schonwald, until Dec. 24 at The Meeting House Gallery, in Columbia. Featured works encompass the mediums of photography, acrylic and oil painting, giclees, ceramics and quilts.

The gallery will also hold its Meet the Artist receptions on Sunday, Nov. 22, and Sunday, Dec. 6, from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. The venue is located at 5885 Robert Oliver Place, Columbia. Call 410-730-4090 or visit www.themeetinghouse.org for more information.

Bright Minds Foundation Grant Awards Support Classroom Projects

Seven Howard County public school teachers and staff received funding for innovative instructional projects this year through $11,902 in grants provided by the Bright Minds Foundation.

Bright Minds is an independent, nonprofit foundation that enhances educational opportunities for Howard County public school students through support for equity, innovation and lifelong learning. Each year, the foundation 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); information and communications technology; and global and civic awareness.

The grants will be used to fund projects to take place during the current school year. Full details and a list of the grant awards are available at http://brightmindsfoundation.org/history.php.

New, Re-Certified Howard County Green Schools Honored

Ten HCPSS schools were honored on Oct. 21 for earning certification or re-certification as Green Schools from the Maryland Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education (MAEOE) at the annual Howard County Green School Celebration held at the Robinson Nature Center.

Centennial High School is the newest HCPSS school to earn certification following a two-year, school-wide effort that includes infusing sustainability in curriculum and instruction, best management practices and community involvement in environmental education.

Re-certified elementary schools include Clemens Crossing, Pointers Run, St. Johns Lane, Talbot Springs and Waverly. Dunloggin and Mount View middle schools were also among the list of re-certified schools. Howard and Reservoir high schools round out the list of re-certified schools. The new certifications bring the total number of HCPSS Green Schools to 45.

ARI Recognized by Howard Commission on Disabilities

Accessible Resources for Independence Inc. (ARI), of Glen Burnie, was recently recognized by the Howard County Commission on Disability Issues with its Business Leadership Award. During a recent ceremony, ARI received other business leadership awards from Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman, Sen. Barbara Mikulski and Sen. Ben Cardin, all of whom recognized ARI for promoting the spirit and intent of the Americans with Disabilities Act in Howard County.

The Howard County Commission on Disability Issues presents the Business Leadership Award to organizations that “support individual choice in areas of education, employment, housing, social and/or recreational activities resulting in mainstream community participation.”

Book Giveaway Sponsored by Williams Asset Management

Gary Williams, president of Columbia-based Williams Asset Management, is sponsoring a contest for participants to win copies of his Amazon.com book, The Art of Retirement. The Art of Retirement Challenge runs until Nov. 23, with 10 books to be given away each week. Each week, a fun and informal trivia question will appear on www.williamsassetmanagement.com/contest, and participants will enter the contest by answering the question (and will be entered whether or not their answer is correct).

Winners will be announced each week until the end of the contest. Williams wrote The Art of Retirement to raise money for his favorite charities, and all profits from the sales are split among the Brigance Brigade Foundation, Augie’s Quest, The Y of Central Maryland and the Maryland SPCA. During the past two years, he has donated $7,000 to these organizations.

Vantage House Celebrates 25th Anniversary

Vantage House retirement community in Downtown Columbia transformed itself into a casino, piano bar and dinner club in celebration of its 25th anniversary. Beautiful flowers, lavish draping and strategic lighting added to the luster of the event.

Residents and their guests and elected officials gathered first in what is typically the community living room to hear proclamations recognizing the contributions of the residents to the larger community. County Executive Allan Kittleman and County Council Chair Mary Kay Sigaty made special mention of the community‘s contribution to new ways of imagining a different kind of aging. Board of Directors Chair Virginia Thomas was the MC, and Executive Director Meriann Ritacco honored long-time employees.

Howard Transportation Office Seeks Input for Laurel Connections Project

Howard County’s Office of Transportation will hold an open house on Tuesday, Nov. 17, from 7 to 8 p.m., at the North Laurel Community Center, 9411 Whiskey Bottom Road, Laurel, to gather feedback on the North Laurel Connections bicycle and pedestrian project.

The goal of this project is to develop preliminary designs for a series of on- and off-road facilities. They are designed to improve pedestrian and bicycling connections from the trailhead of the Patuxent Branch Trail at Savage Park to the North Laurel Community Center, continuing to the Laurel Race Track MARC Station and the Laurel MARC Station.

For more information about the North Laurel Connections Project, visit http://bikehoward.com/draftproject-description-draft/north-laurel-connections or contact David Cookson at 410-313-3842 or dcookson@howardcountymd.gov.

HCPSS Recognized as a District of Distinction

Howard County Public School System has been named a District of Distinction by District Administration. HCPSS was honored for the Elementary School Model instructional program.

Districts of Distinction is District Administration’s national recognition program honoring school districts that are leading the way with new ideas that work. The program recognizes established initiatives that are yielding quantifiable benefits and that could be replicated by other districts.

HCPSS was one of only 35 districts from across the country and the only Maryland school system to receive a Districts of Distinction honor this fall. The latest Districts of Distinction honorees are featured in the November 2015 edition of District Administration. The full list of winners is available at www.districtadministration.com/dod.

Matzohball 5K and Art Auction Raise Funds for Grassroots

The annual Matzohball 5K Run and 1 Mile Run/Walk, sponsored by Temple Isaiah and held at Centennial Park, attracted a field of enthusiastic runners who raised funds for Grassroots.

Earlier in the year, Temple Isaiah held an art auction and designated some of the proceeds to Grassroots. Temple representatives made a recent visit to Grassroots to deliver a check for $2,100. The group included, from left, Larry Davis, Grassroots Executive Director Andrea Ingram, Cheryl Kaufman and Barbara Lisle.