NO HOLIDAY ADOPTIONS
WESTMINSTER - The Humane Society of Carroll County is advising gift givers to think again if they are considering buying pets for children this Christmas.
The shelter for years has banned holiday adoptions, an increasingly widespread practice at both public and privately run animal shelters throughout the country.
A check of shelters around the Baltimore metropolitan area found moratoriums at most, although some allow people to choose a pet and pick it up later, or they allow adoptions of animals that are about 4 months old.
But not puppies and kittens.
"Children are getting lots of toys for Christmas, and a new puppy in that setting is just another toy. When you bring a new young animal into the house, children need to be taught and it needs to reinforced in a calm setting that this is absolutely not a toy, " Humane Society director Carolyn Ratliff said.
Tinsel and turkey bones, eggnog and electric lights, excited children and even the sap in the tree stand are all potentially fatal hazards for a baby animal, she said.
In addition, a lot of animals are returned after Christmas, she said.
ZONING COMMITTEE MEETS
WESTMINSTER -- The city's Zoning and Planning Commission will hear an update on plans for school facilities from Lester Surber, county supervisor of school facilities, at its meeting at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow in City Hall.
Commission members will also hear a request for legislation from the Carroll County Association of Realtors requiring residents to obtain a copy of the city zoning map when they purchase property within city limits.
Under the proposed legislation, purchasers must sign a document that they have seen the map or have waived that right.
A temporary banner and signage for the China Lion restaurant -- formerly the Jumbo Inn -- in Cranberry Mall will be discussed.
The final plat for the addition to the Smith property, 27 and 27 Westmoreland St., will also be presented to the commission.
COUNCIL IS REACHING OUT
Members of the Carroll County Children's Council plan to host forums on specific issues to create more public awareness and discussion.
Cindy Fisher, coordinator of a teen pregnancy-prevention program at Human Services Programs Inc., proposed a forum on after-school care for middle-school children.
The council consists of Fisher and several other representatives from agencies working with children. Other members include Chairwoman Linda Ebersole of the Head Start program; Emily Ferren and Sharon Stephan of Carroll County Public Library; Maxine Fritz of the Carroll County Department of Health; and Realtor James F.W. Talley, representing the community.
Members meet monthly to examine programs and services for youths and their families, coordinate services among agencies, develop new programs and review legislation that could affect children.
STATE CUTS AGING DEPT.
The Department of Aging is hoping a slight rise in federal dollars and more private donations will make up for a 5 percent cut in its state grants this year, said Director Jolene Sullivan.
Sullivan said the state cuts so far will not affect the quality and amount of services to seniors, but that another round of cuts before June is possible. The state cut represents $5,700, out of the department's total budget of $1.5 million made up of federal, state and county money, Sullivan said.
"We should be seeing an increase in federal dollars, but we haven't found out how much that will be," Sullivan said.
To make up for less money available to recognize volunteers with luncheons and assist them with travel and other expenses, Sullivan said the department will solicit private businesses for donations of money and goods. For example, she said, the department's goal is to whittle the bill for a volunteer-recognition luncheon this spring down to $100, compared to the actual cost of $1,000 last year.
Also, Sullivan said, a fare increase for the transportation the department provides has brought in $2,550 for November, compared to an average of $600 a month before the fares went up in October.
Sullivan said if the income continues at that rate, the department may be able to add more days of transportation service to the senior centers in the county. Most of the county's senior centers have cut back transportation by one or two days a week to avoid a deficit.
The department has a contract with Carroll Transit System, a private, non-profit transportation agency.
TOWN EYES ROAD PLAN
NEW WINDSOR -- A study undertaken by graduate students at George Washington University highlights the traffic problems most small towns encounter, said K. Marlene Conaway, chief of the Planning Bureau.
"State roads run through the town and the state refuses to do what's necessary to maintain the quality of life in those towns," said Conaway.