It's time to think about great outdoors

NEIGHBORS

April 15, 1994|By LOURDES SULLIVAN

Here we are, once again in the Maryland Monsoon season. It's rained much of the week. Yech! I have beautiful flowers out, visible only to birds. I can't find my rain gear, so I'm either housebound or wet.

There must be something to recombinant gene theory, because I swear I've got cat genes: I loathe getting wet and I adore sushi.

In addition, the cats I know all lead lives of quiet delectation. They are showered with kitty treats, cleaned up after, petted and combed. Best of all, no one expects anything in return.

Cats are expected to be aloof, to run away for a few days, to be irrational and untrainable. What a life!

No dog could ever get away with such behavior. I don't know who catdom's public relations firm is, but I'd like to hire them for myself.

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One of the nicer things about living in Howard County is the amount of open space for hiking and for wildlife. Sometimes I feel like I live in the country, instead of a mile from I-95.

But all that lovely open and park space has its hazards.

The local raccoons, squirrels and rabbits carry rabies. They can infect your pets. Rabies is incurable in animals, but there is a vaccine available.

For people, being bitten by an animal suspected of carrying rabies means a long series of painful shots. So, in addition to being careful about getting too close to wildlife, have your pets vaccinated.

The Howard County Health Department is offering very cheap rabies vaccines for dogs and cats, Wednesday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at two locations: the Animal Control facility, at 8576 Davis Road in Columbia and the Clarksville Fire Department, at Routes 108 and 32.

The animal must be more than 3 months of age. You also must bring written proof of prior vaccinations. Call (410) 313-2642 for more information.

For $4 you can protect your pet, your loved ones and your community from rabies.

Vaccinate your pets.

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The master gardeners have arrived!

From April to September, master gardeners will offer free plant clinics at the Savage Library.

Master gardeners are volunteers trained by the Howard County Cooperative Extension Service of the University of Maryland who then share their knowledge with the community.

Bring them your most perplexing plant questions, and they will answer knowledgeably.

Find out the difference between herbaceous and perennial plants, why it's hard to grow grass in this area, which plants attract songbirds, how to improve your soil, where to send soil for testing, what is eating your rose bushes and other horticultural puzzlers.

All this is available free (perhaps my favorite English word) on Saturdays, from 10 a.m. to noon, except on holiday weekends (you're on your own Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Labor Day weekends. Don't garden then, barbecue instead.)

For more information about this program, call the Howard County Cooperative Extension Program at (410) 313-2707.

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I imagine that you have to have a certain composure, a certain ego strength, to become a politician.

You have to believe both that your views are right, which is easy for most of us, and that you personally can make your vision reality. I guess that why most of us who are not politicians like to see one looking a little less sure of himself, a little less dignified than in the usual photo ops.

Think about Dukakis in a tank, Governor Schaefer in a swimsuit, and Calvin Coolidge in Indian regalia. Most politicians are good sports about dressing oddly, especially if it's for a good reason.

Well, it's County Executive Charles Ecker's turn to change his usual attire. He's going to present the staff of the Forest Ridge Recreation Center an award from the Maryland Recreation and Parks Association on Saturday, April 23.

The center's new roller hockey league has won the 1993 award for most innovative program. The roller hockey leagues usually play on Saturdays at the center from 9:30 a.m to 1 p.m. in the center's parking lot.

They'll play on the 23rd, and Dr. Ecker will present the award sometime in the middle of the morning.

Then, he's going to suit up for a game, complete with in-line skates, knee and elbow pads and helmet. Come on out to cheer the league members and the recreation staff on their achievement. And see a well-respected executive dressed like a roller hockey player.

*

Monday, the Bollman Bridge Elementary PTA will welcome Marilyn Allen and Gwen Eldridge from Maryland National Bank.

The two will speak on the topic "How to prepare for your child's college education."

The meeting begins at 7 p.m. at the school's cafetorium. Please call Mary Metzler for details about this important topic at (301) 490-8955.

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Parents of students who will be entering Patuxent Valley Middle School are encouraged to serve on the PVMS Parent Teachers Association Executive Board.

During the middle school years, students learn to take on more responsibility for their work, have more teachers in the course of the day, have longer-term assignments, and take more classes.

The students and teachers still seek the active cooperation of parents in the school's life. Call Claire Hafets for more information at 381-8991.

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