Kittleman Kicks Off Walking Program to Promote Fitness at County Parks

Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman has launched a walking initiative, HoCoWalks, to demonstrate how simple it is to get started with a fitness program. “We want to encourage people to get out, get exercise and have fun doing it,” Kittleman said. “The most successful fitness activities — the ones people stick with — are the ones they enjoy.”

HoCoWalks routes will vary from one to two miles and have been selected for accessibility. Beginners can walk the route once; more advanced walkers can do routes multiple times. Several locations also will have options for shorter or longer walks. Each month the walk will take place in a different location within the county to encourage residents to explore new places for walking and fitness.

HoCoWalks is a joint effort of the Howard County Executive’s Office, the Department of Recreation & Parks and the Office of Community Sustainability, and was developed as a result of the county executive’s Healthy Lifestyle Work Group.

Each month, a new “guest walker” will kick off the walk at 9 a.m. Guest walkers over the next six months include Howard County Police Chief Gary Gardner, Fire Chief John Butler, Recreation & Parks Director John Byrd and the Oriole Bird. For more information, visit www.howardcountymd.gov/hocowalks or call 410-313-4451.

Kittleman Seeks Permanent Status for MLK, Transitioning Youth Commissions

Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman has filed legislation to create two permanent county commissions: the Martin Luther King, Jr. (MLK) Holiday Commission and the Commission for Transitioning Students with Disabilities. The legislation must now be approved by the Howard County Council.

Originally created by council resolution in 1985, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Commission has been reauthorized each year for the past 30 years by executive order. The Transition Council for Youth with Disabilities was created by executive order in 2013 and reauthorized by executive order in 2014.

“Both of these commissions do important work for the county, and requiring re-authorization every year makes no sense,” Kittleman said. “The MLK Commission has existed for three decades. It’s way past time to make it permanent. And the Transitioning Students Commission, while relatively new, performs such an important function for youth with disabilities that I believe strongly in giving it permanent status as well.”

According to the Howard County Code, boards and commissions established by executive order are meant to be temporary — typically not to exceed 18 months in term — and cease to exist at the expiration of the executive order. The council is scheduled to vote on the bills on July 8.

Cardin, Mikulski Announce More Than $730K in Funding for Homeless Vets

U.S. Sens. Ben Cardin and Barbara Mikulski (both D-Md.) announced $738,024 in funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to help find permanent housing for Maryland veterans experiencing homelessness. The rental assistance funding is provided through the HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) Program, which combines rental assistance from HUD with case management and clinical services provided by the VA. In total, seven agencies across the state will receive 89 vouchers to house homeless veterans.

“In the richest state in the richest country in the world, it is simply unacceptable that anyone, especially veterans, should experience homelessness,” said Cardin. “Congress has an obligation to provide for our men and women in uniform during and after their service is complete. By focusing on providing housing in addition to clinical services, these federal dollars will change the lives of Maryland veterans.”

“I believe the support we provide our military in the field must be matched by support for our veterans at home,” Mikulski said. “I recently met with homeless veterans in Baltimore. I heard first-hand the importance of having a roof over their heads as they work to get back on their feet. These federal funds will give Maryland veterans a helping hand, providing critical housing and support services they’ve earned and deserve. Because promises made must be promises kept.”

Paint It! Ellicott City Set for July 8–10

Artists will gather in Historic Ellicott City the weekend of July 8–10 to participate in Paint It! Ellicott City, an annual plein air painting event. The Howard County Arts Council (HCAC), Howard County Tourism, the Historic Ellicott City Partnership and Howard County Public Schools are presenting this paint-out weekend, culminating in an exhibit of 25 juried artists at the Howard County Center for the Arts.

The guest juror for the art event is Plein Air magazine Editor Stephen Doherty, who selected 25 artists for the juried exhibit: Lissa Abrams, Joanna Barnum, Beth Bathe, Jennifer Brakefield, Sid Branham, David Diaz, Raymond Ewing, Matt Fenton 4, Erin Gill, Randall Graham, Debra Howard, Caroline Jasper, Greg Johannesen, Barry Koplowitz, Michael Kotarba, Deborah Maklowski, Maria Marino, Alison Leigh Menke, Duane Sabiston, Ann Schaefer, John Slivjak, Charles Snell, Sharon Trumbull, Robert Vail and Tara Will.

The event begins with an Artist & VIP Welcome Reception at the Howard County Welcome Center on Thursday, July 7, from 6–7:30 p.m. Then, all day from July 8–10, artists will set up their easels throughout the Ellicott City historic district, striving to capture the scenic mill town and all its charms. Artists and art students from the community can also join in, painting alongside the juried artists as Open Paint-Out participants.

Paint It! Ellicott City will be on display with Montgomery Portrait Artists, a showcase of portraiture by the group’s five member artists. Both exhibits run from July 11 to Aug. 19. To learn more about these and other HCAC programs, visit hocoarts.org or call 410-313-ARTS (2787).

Partners In Care Seeking Drivers in West County

Partners In Care Maryland, a nonprofit that provides transportation and other services to help older adults in Anne Arundel County remain independent in their homes, is in need of volunteer drivers who live in the West County areas of Odenton, Fort Meade, Severn, Laurel, Jessup, Hanover and Harmans.

PIC’s signature Volunteer Driver program provides older adults — age 50 and above — with no cost, arm-in-arm transportation to area hospitals, medical/dental appointments, pharmacies, supermarkets, food pantries, banks, churches, hair salons and other destinations. It also enables area seniors to participate in social activities throughout the community.

Anyone interested in becoming a PIC Volunteer Driver is required to attend a brief orientation and training session. For more information on becoming a Volunteer Driver, call Partners In Care at 410-544-4800 or visit www.partnersincare.org.

Kittleman Announces Plan to Restrict the Use of Insecticides on Parkland

Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman announced that the Department of Recreation and Parks has initiated a new policy and procedure that restricts the use of neonicotinoids within the park system. Neonicotinoids are a class of insecticides related to nicotine that affect the central nervous system of insects. They are often used to combat grubs on turf, Japanese beetles on trees and aphids on flowers.

“Many of us have heard about the decreasing numbers of both honeybees and monarch butterflies,” Kittleman said. “While the [Environmental Protection Agency] continues to look at the potential negative impacts of neonicotinoids, the Department of Recreation and Parks has crafted a policy that is practical and sets forth guidelines for those instances when there is no other option but to use neonicotinoids. We hope that this new policy will encourage the entire community to use alternative means to control pests.”

Recent research suggests that pesticides that contain neonicotinoids negatively affect populations of pollinator species such as honeybees, native bees, butterflies and other insects.

“We use very few pesticides in our parks and under strict and specific application procedures regulated by the state,” said John Byrd, director. “There are alternatives to neonicotinoids that have no negative or unintended impacts to pollinators, so it just makes sense to do this.”

Kittleman Encourages Residents to Learn to Identify, Report Elder Abuse

Every year, an estimated 5 million older Americans are victims of physical, psychological or other forms of abuse and neglect. For every case reported to police, as many as 23 cases go unreported.

Elder abuse refers to the intentional or neglectful acts of a caregiver or trusted individual that lead to physical, mental or financial abuse or exploitation. Abuse can happen to anyone anywhere — in the home, a nursing home or even over the phone. To learn more about elder abuse and how to prevent it, visit the National Center for Elder Abuse website at www.ncea.aoa.gov or the Office on Aging at www.howardcountymd.gov/eldersafety, or contact the Office on Aging at 410-313-1234 (voice/relay).

CAC of Howard Accepting Construction Bids for New Food Bank

The Community Action Council (CAC) of Howard County is accepting bids for the renovation of and construction at the Howard County Food Bank, which is located at 9385-J Gerwig Lane, Columbia. Bid invitation, instructions and forms can be found at www.cac-hc.org.

The Howard County Food Bank serves more than 27,000 county residents and distributes close to 687,000 pounds of food annually. According to data collected by CAC, 7.1% of Howard County residents experience food insecurity and the poverty level in the county among children has risen from 5% to 10% during the past three years. Additionally, 100% of the 27,000 individuals who are served at the food bank have incomes that are at or below 150% of the Federal Poverty Level.

The new food bank will allow CAC to increase its capacity to serve Howard County residents that rely on it and will allow for a significant portion of the population who are in need yet not served to gain access. The new facility will include improved technology for tracking clients and supplies, have the ability to provide more food choices (frozen meats, fresh produce and healthy food offerings) and offer better outreach to communities within Howard County that are currently underserved.

The new site is expected to open in the fall of this year.

MakingChange Seeks AmeriCorps Volunteer

MakingChange, a nonprofit in Howard County that empowers individuals and families to achieve financial stability, is seeking a volunteer coordinator through the Volunteer Maryland AmeriCorps program. The position involves recruiting 55 volunteers to prepare taxes and serve as financial coaches and financial seminar presenters.

In addition, the Volunteer Maryland Coordinator will develop a full array of volunteer program materials for Making­Change, including a policies and procedures manual, volunteer applications, a volunteer recruitment plan, volunteer screening materials and a volunteer recognition plan.

The volunteer coordinator will serve 11 months as a member of AmeriCorps, often called the “Domestic Peace Corps.” The service year begins Sept. 14, and includes extensive training, a $13,250 living allowance and a $5,775 post-service education award. The program is a partnership between MakingChange and Volunteer Maryland, a program of the Governor’s Office.

To learn more, visit http://makingchangecenter.org/makingchange-seeks-americorps-volunteer. Applications must be received by July 8. For further information about MakingChange, visit makingchangecenter.org.

Third Annual Discover Downtown Columbia 5K/1-Miler Set for Oct. 2

The Downtown Columbia Partnership and Howard County Library System are hosting the third annual Discover Downtown Columbia 5K and 1-Mile Fun Run on Sunday, Oct. 2, starting at 9 a.m. at The Plaza at The Mall in Columbia.

The course takes runners past and through some of Downtown Columbia’s iconic landmarks including The Mall in Columbia, Merriweather Post Pavilion, Howard County Library System’s Central Branch, Toby’s Dinner Theatre, the former Rouse Company Building (now home to Whole Foods Market and Haven on the Lake spa), ending at the People Tree at the Downtown Lakefront.

Prizes will be awarded to the top three overall finishers (male/female) and top finisher (male/female) in each age category. Sponsors include Clyde’s, Columbia Association, the Howard Hughes Corp., Howard Community College, The Mall in Columbia, Merriweather Post Pavilion, Whole Foods Market and Racine MultiSports. Sponsorships are available by contacting Barb Nicklas, barbnicklas@gmail.com.

Registration fees are $35 until Aug. 31 and $40 beginning Sept. 1. The 1-Mile Fun Run is $10. Runners and walkers are welcome. Proceeds benefit the Downtown Columbia Partnership and Howard County Library System. Register at discoverdowntown5k.com.

BWI Marshall Opens New Playground

Officials at BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport announced that new playground equipment is open for use at the Thomas A. Dixon, Jr., Aircraft Observation Area. Located along Dorsey Road on the south side of BWI Marshall, the new playground equipment replaces an aging play structure that was removed in December 2015.

The Dixon aircraft observation park and the new playground offer recreational opportunities for visitors and communities near the airport. The park provides outstanding views of aircraft operations on one of the primary commercial runways at BWI Marshall, Runway 15R-33L. The park is part of the overall BWI Trail network, a 12.5-mile scenic path that encircles the airport. BWI Marshall was the first major U.S. airport to have a dedicated public trail.

Horizon Announces Speak(easy) Howard Campaign to Encourage End-of-Life Planning

The Horizon Foundation has launched Speak(easy) Howard, a new campaign that aims to change the way people in Howard County talk about, and plan for, the health care they want to receive in the future. Speak(easy) Howard will encourage residents to take two critical first steps in planning for end-of-life care: have a conversation about health care wishes with loved ones and identify a health care proxy who can communicate these wishes.

The campaign includes a community collaborative of nearly a dozen organizations. Collaborative participants (including faith groups, health care providers, community centers and others) will commit one year to learning and implementing best practices in end-of-life care planning. The collaborative will receive guidance and support from experts with The Conversation Project and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement.

In 2017, The Horizon Foundation will launch a countywide outreach and promotion campaign for Speak(easy) Howard to expand the collaborative’s efforts to all individuals in Howard County. An important goal is to increase the number of people who have designated their health care proxy, a trusted person who will make health care decisions if they are unable to communicate those decisions themselves.

Organizations interested in participating in the collaborative are invited to join. Contact Tiffany Callender, senior program officer, Horizon Foundation, at tcallender@thehorizonfoundation.org or 443-766-1220 for more information.