Community Notes

COMMUNITY NOTES

March 29, 2006

Nominees sought for Robbins awards

Nominations are invited for the Association of Community Services' Audrey Robbins Humanitarian Awards, honoring the work of human services organizations and volunteers, teams and staff members who render extraordinary services to the community.

The awards are named for Audrey Robbins, a former director of the Howard County Department of Social Services, in recognition of her dedication to those in need and to the community. Individuals and teams of employees and volunteers will be honored.

Nomination forms are due by April 14. For instructions and nomination form: www.acs hoco.org. Nominations can be e-mailed to info@acshoco.org, faxed to 410-379-1308 (410- 796-7824 to confirm), or mailed to the Association of Community Services, 6620 Amberton Drive, Elkridge 21075. The awards will be presented at the annual Audrey Robbins Humanitarian Awards luncheon May 17.

Session to focus on hearing loss

A new SPRING support group for those who are hard of hearing or believe they may be suffering hearing loss will meet from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. today at Ellicott City Senior Center, 9401 Frederick Road, Ellicott City.

The session will focus on "Hearing Loss: Understanding the Problem," and is part of a six-week program provided by the University of Maryland Department of Speech and Hearing.

The cost is $30 for the program; the first session is free. Registration is required.

SPRING is an acronym for Senior Peer Resources, Individuals, Networks and Groups.

Information: 410-313-7466.

Fundraiser tomorrow for Mayer center

"Stepping Into Spring," a fundraiser for the Claudia Mayer Cancer Resource & Image Center, will be held from 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. tomorrow at the Fretz Corp., 9204 Berger Road, Suite H, Columbia, a luxury kitchen showroom.

Dinner, entertainment and cooking demonstrations are planned. Food will be catered by Outback Steakhouse. Desserts are by Tersiguel's French Country Restaurant, and a margarita bar will be provided by Tequila Corazon de Agave.

Tickets are $60 a person.

The center, a service of Howard County General Hospital, offers a fully equipped beauty salon with free consultations and a free library to those affected by cancer and their families.

Information: 410-740-7840.

Grant provides summer camp funds

The Developmental Disabilities Administration has awarded funds to the Arc of Howard County to help provide an experience of summer camp to adults and children with developmental disabilities who are living with a family member.

Camps eligible to apply for funds can be local or out of the area, day or overnight, designed for people with special needs or for the general population.

Information or to request an application: 410-730-0638, ext. 309.

Families urged to seek energy aid

The Community Action Council of Howard County urges low-income families who have not applied for energy assistance through the Maryland Energy Assistance Program since July 1 to do so before May 26. Applications will not be accepted after May 31.

The council urges people to apply for assistance as soon as possible because of an expected increase of 50 percent to 80 percent in the cost of electricity after deregulation in July. Those who have not paid their winter fuel bills are encouraged to do so now.

Single people with annual incomes of less than $14,355, families of two with less than $19,245, families of three with less than $24,135 and families of four with less than $29,025 can qualify for assistance. Families with high medical bills can qualify even if their incomes exceed these limits.

Residents may apply at the Community Action Council, on the second floor of the Gateway Building, 6751 Columbia Gateway Drive, Columbia. Hours are 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, with hours extended until 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays. No appointment is necessary. Application also can be made by mail.

Help to pay for heating costs and electricity is available from a variety of programs.

Information or to request an application: 410-313-6440.

Etiquette program set for children

Ambassador Protocol of Columbia is offering a new two-hour etiquette program for children and teens. "Old Fashioned Manners in Today's World" will be held at Patapsco Female Institute Historic Park, 3691 Sarahs Lane, Ellicott City. The classes are co-sponsored by Friends of the Patapsco Female Institute.

A two-hour program for children in grades four through eight will be offered from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. April 22 and 23 and June 10 and 24. The cost is $30.

Information: Joan or John Scornaienchi, 410-465-8500.

County offers help to needy taxpayers

The Howard County Tax Counseling Program is offering free tax preparation services to senior citizens and low- to middle-income taxpayers at the Bain Center and other Howard County locations.

Volunteers prepare each tax return in about an hour. Tax returns with complex financial transactions or self-employment expenses in excess of $5,000 are not eligible.

The program is jointly sponsored by the Internal Revenue Service, which provides materials and software, and the AARP.

Appointments are available between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. weekdays. To schedule an appointment: 410-313-7387. Take tax records and the previous year's returns to the appointment.

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