Firetruck makes a good sleigh for Santa in Elkridge

December 22, 2003

Gene Poligardo, who has played Santa for at least 10 years, rode the Elkridge Volunteer Fire Department's firetruck, with Mrs. Claus, collecting food for the needy Dec. 11-17.

"It makes my Christmas season when I put that Santa suit on," he said. "To me, it puts the whole spirit back into it [to] see not only the kids but the parents jumping up and down and very appreciative."

At each stop, Poligardo said, he and Mrs. Claus (Debbi Peddicord) got off the truck, talked to children and gave them candy canes.

"We did have one call we had to go out [on], to a little boy who was running a real high fever and was going into convulsions. And, we were right in the neighborhood and were able to help him out a little until the medics came," said Poligardo, who estimated he and Peddicord visited 6,000 to 7,000 children this year.

He plans to be at the firehouse tomorrow to help pack food baskets for needy families. Anything left over will go to the Elkridge Food Pantry.

Donations of food, cash, or checks made out to the Elkridge Volunteer Fire Department, c/o Christmas Food Drive, are being accepted. They can be taken anytime to the firehouse, 6275 Old Washington Road.

Also needed are canned green beans, sweet potatoes and other vegetables, sauerkraut, gravy and cranberry sauce, as well as turkeys, hams, desserts, butter and margarine, juices, stuffing mix and other boxed nonperishable items.

Information: Chief Joe Slavotinek, 410-640-9810, or the station, 410-313-4901, and leave a message.

- Fay Lande

Mount Hebron students to deliver food tomorrow

Students at Mount Hebron High School collected more than 40,000 canned goods during the annual canned food drive organized by the school's student government.

Money also was collected and will help provide food, which will be distributed tomorrow with the canned goods, to 100 Howard County families.

Military

Completes training: Marine Corps Pfc. Shawn M. Linthicum, son of Dale and Robin Linthicum of Ellicott City, recently graduated from the Avionics Technician Intermediate Level Course with Marine Aviation Training Support Group 21, Naval Air Training Command, Pensacola, Fla. During the 15-week course, the 2002 graduate of Mount Hebron High School studied advanced maintenance on radio transmitters, airborne search radar, navigation and fire control systems and other naval aviation electronics systems.

Completes training: Marine Corps Pfc. Mark C. Elliott, son of Darrell and Kornelia M. Elliott of Ellicott City, recently completed basic training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, S.C., and was promoted to his current rank. He is a 2003 graduate of River Hill High School.

Around town

Trees, wreaths: The Mount Hebron Viking Backers are selling evergreen trees and wreaths at the group's annual holiday tree and trim sale on the front lawn of Mount Hebron High School, 9440 Old Frederick Road, Ellicott City. Hours are 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. today, tomorrow and Wednesday. Proceeds from the sale will help support student activities. Fritz Lance, 410- 750-9403.

Talk about drugs: Centennial High School PTSA's Safe School Committee is planning a dialogue on drug abuse, "Intergenerational Insights: Crosstalk," at 7 p.m. Jan. 8. Students and faculty from the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy will meet with Centennial students and parents. 410-461-5274.

Public hearing: A public hearing on the installation of stadium lights at Centennial High School will be held at 7 p.m. Jan. 20 in the school auditorium. To sign up to testify, call 410-313- 2861 before Jan. 16. Letters also may be sent to Hearing Official on Stadium Lighting, c/o Centennial High School, 4300 Centennial Lane, Ellicott City 21042.

Bridge: Kiwanis-Wallas Recreation Center is offering a bridge program from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Fridays. Social bridge games also are available Fridays. Players can take a bag lunch for after the game. Coffee and tea will be provided. 410-313- 7279.

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