New east Columbia columnist reports for duty


November 20, 2001|By Dana Klosner-Wehner | Dana Klosner-Wehner,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

MY 39TH birthday was a time of introspection, a time for change. Step one was finally learning to swim. An unbelievable class at Howard County Community College has me plunging into the deep end after only about five weeks of instruction.

Step two was to take the plunge into our community. I am delighted to introduce myself as the new community correspondent for east Columbia. It has been a long and winding road to this position, and I couldn't be more excited to report on this vibrant community.

I have been a reporter since 1989. I started in Los Angeles, covering community news at a weekly newspaper. After the birth of our first child, my husband and I moved to Monterey, Calif., where I became a free-lance feature writer for the daily community newspaper.

Four years ago, duty called again. My husband, Paul and I and our then-toddler son, Bryan, loaded up the truck and moved to Columbia. We didn't know anything about the area when we arrived, but the word on the playground was that Columbia was the place to be.

We couldn't be any happier with our decision to make Columbia our home. It is a wonderful, family-oriented community - a perfect combination of a small-town atmosphere with big-city opportunities. We immediately got involved in the Howard County Department of Parks and Recreation "Mommy and Me" programs. Our son "Twisted and Shouted" at the east Columbia library story times. Our neighbors were warm and welcoming.

Between my mothering duties, I kept up my free-lance career writing for the Washington Post. Two years ago, the birth of our second child, Sophie, put my journalism career on hold.

But on my 39th birthday, I saw an ad for free-lance writers for the Howard County section of The Sun. I told my son about it. He is now 6 years old and a happy kindergartner at Stevens Forest Elementary School. He said, "All right, Mom, back on the job."

I am looking forward to reporting on the exciting news and events of the organizations and individuals of the community that has made my family feel so at home. I know I couldn't have chosen a better place to be "back on the job."

A traditional dinner

"It was great! Fantastic!" said Eliot G. Striar, a west Columbia attorney who chaired the 12th Howard County Thanksgiving Dinner for Senior Citizens on Sunday at the Columbia Hilton Hotel.

The dinner, sponsored by Rotary Club of Columbia Patuxent Charitable Trust, fed more than 400 people, counting senior guests and students from the Hammond High School Interact Club who helped serve the meal, Striar said.

Rotary Club members prepared traditional Thanksgiving turkey, with mashed potatoes and yams, string beans, apple juice, coffee, assorted pies, rolls coffee and tea.

Two student pianists - Andrew and Tristan Caron - played classical and popular music for the 300 senior guests during the meal and the Howard High School Madrigal Singers entertained. The Hilton Hotel donated the use of its kitchen and ballroom.

The program began with a Pledge of Allegiance to the flag, which was brought in by a color guard from Cub Scout Pack 874, and "America the Beautiful" was sung by Micayla Diener, a young Howard County resident.

Leftover food will be sent to Grassroots Crisis Intervention Center.

Dine with Santa

Children and others will have an opportunity to tell Santa their wishes at the Kings Contrivance Community Association's "Lunch with Santa" from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Dec. 15 at Amherst House.

A pizza lunch and cookie dessert will be served.

The cost is $3.50 for residents - children and adults - and $4 for others. Tickets must be purchased in advance and go on sale Monday. Infants do not need a ticket.

Information: 410-381-9600.

The Oakland Mills Community Association will hold three seatings of "Breakfast with Santa" - at 9 a.m., 9:30 a.m. and 10 a.m. Dec. 8 at The Other Barn in Oakland Mills Village Center. After breakfast, children can make a Christmas ornament to take home.

Registration is required. The cost is $2 for lien-payers; $3 for others.

Information: 410-730-4610.

If you have community news to report, contact Dana Klosner-Wehner at 410-309-9715 or e-mail columbiaeast@aolcom.

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