Hotspot program offers money to combat crime in Long Reach

NEIGHBORS

January 06, 1998|By Natalie Harvey | Natalie Harvey,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

HAVE YOU heard about a "Hotspot Community"? At 7: 30 p.m. Thursday, , a meeting will be held at Long Reach High School, where Howard County Police Officer Lisa Bridgeforth will explain in detail how Hotspot affects you, your family and neighbors.

Hotspot is a statewide initiative to systematically help high-crime and at-risk neighborhoods reclaim their streets from violence, drugs and fear.

Did I hear "Not in Columbia?"

Yes, because in Columbia -- as in any area whose population has tripled in 30 years -- crime has increased.

Long Reach is among 35 communities that will receive a share of $10.5 million in state and federal funding over three years, an average of $100,000 per community per year.

The Governor's Office of Crime Control & Prevention will provide funding based on each community's needs and its plan of action.

Hotspot will be part of a network of state programs -- including Americorps Serve and Learn, the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program of the Office of Children, Youth and Families and the Department of Public Safety's Community Service Grant Program.

Also, targeted assistance will be available from the State Police, Parole and Probation, Juvenile Justice, Health and Mental Hygiene, Alcohol and Drug Abuse, Housing and Community Development, Business and Economic Development, Education, Commission on Service, Human Resources and Labor, Licensing and Regulation -- an impressive list of agencies.

Hotspot will be offered in areas designated as "Smart Growth" communities, such as the Village of Long Reach, which have been selected through the Governor's Office of Crime Control.

The meeting at Long Reach is to help residents understand the part played by each of the agencies in helping their community.

Bridgeforth, lead local coordinator for Howard County, has a satellite office at 8899 Flowerstock Row, Apt. 101, in the Village of Long Reach.

She will work with the community to obtain help from state and federal agencies, in addition to the help made available by agencies involved in Hotspot.

The success of the program will depend on community participation.

Residents can make a difference by taking part in after-school programs, citizens' patrol groups, community reclamation projects for public spaces, crime prevention activities for youth and -- perhaps most important of all -- cooperating with local law enforcement agencies.

Working closely with Bridgeforth are Shirley Owens, Juvenile Justice Division; Henry Boyd, Federal Probation; St. Joseph Parks, Parole Division; and Sarah Johnson, a paralegal.

Information: 410-313-7455.

Citizens needed

Volunteers are needed to serve on Howard County advisory boards and commissions.

Some are actively involved with the Hotspot program.

Citizens are needed for the Adult Public Guardianship Board, Equal Business Opportunity Commission, Consumer Affairs VTC Advisory Board, Howard County Cemetery Board, Social Services Board, Mental Health Advisory Board, Howard County Mental Health Authority, and Housing and Community Development Board.

A brief resume and letter may be sent to the Executive Office, c/o Gail Bates, 3430 Courthouse Drive, Ellicott City 21043.

Thanks, neighbor

On a personal note, this columnist would like to thank David Martin of Laurel, a young man who came to her aid last week.

A vehicle forced my car off Contee Road, and two tires were ruined.

While I was inquiring at a nearby business about emergency service, Martin volunteered to change the tires and even used the emergency tire from his vehicle.

Refusing any payment, Martin said he hoped someone would help him in an emergency.

Thank you, David Martin for your help -- as well as for restoring my faith in the goodness of others.

For home-schoolers

Home-schoolers are gaining recognition as an established group parents and students in Columbia and Howard County.

Theresa Shaw of the east Columbia library has scheduled a session of the program, "The Big Freeze," especially for home-schooling students, at 1: 30 p.m. Jan. 15.

The program for 5- to 8-year-olds explores the power and magic of water and ice.

It will be repeated at 4 p.m.

Information: 410-313-7700.

Rebecca Bafford, director of Columbia Art Center, has scheduled several classes this winter for the convenience of home-schooled students.

A sculpture workshop -- to teach 6- to 10-year-olds how to construct and decorate imaginary papier-mache animals -- begins at 10 a.m. Jan. 16.

A course for the same age group, called "Creative Activities," begins Feb. 20.

The courses will be held at the art center in Long Reach Shopping Center.

Information: Liz Henzey at 410-730-0075.

Pub Date: 1/06/98

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