Community Notes

COMMUNITY NOTES

May 14, 2006

Medicare sign-up help is available

The Senior Health Insurance Assistance Program of the Howard County Office on Aging is taking requests for appointments from people seeking help enrolling in Medicare Part D, the Medicare Prescription Drug Plan.

Representatives will be at the Bain Center to assist seniors until 8 p.m. tomorrow, the deadline to apply without incurring a penalty.

Low-income seniors can still apply after the deadline with no penalty; the next period of general open enrollment, for coverage in 2007, will be from Nov. 15 through Dec. 31. However, those who apply during that time - except people who now have prescription drug coverage and then lose it, those 65 and older who are working and those who become eligible for Medicare in the interim - will incur a small monthly penalty. People exempted from the penalty will have a grace period during which to apply without penalty.

Information: 410-313-7391. Or (800-633-4227), 24 hours until midnight Monday; TTY, 877-486-2048.

Opinions sought on shuttle changes

The Corridor Transportation Corp. will begin a 30-day period for public comment on potential fare increases that will affect Connect-A-Ride Service (CARS) and potential changes to its G and H routes. The G route connects Laurel and College Park; Columbia travelers can take the E from The Mall in Columbia to Laurel Mall to connect to the G. The H route connects Laurel to Greenbelt. The proposed fare increase and route changes are scheduled to take effect July 3.

A public meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. June 1 in the first-floor conference room at the CTC's headquarters, 312 Marshall Ave., Suite 104, Laurel.

The proposed increase would raise the base fare from $1.50 to $1.75; fares for people with disabilities and seniors will remain 75 cents. The new fare structure would include a 25-cent transfer fee with each transfer for those with disabilities and seniors, and a 50-cent transfer fee for others.

For information on the proposed changes or to request special accommodations (by May 25) for the public meeting: 800-270-9553.

Information: www.corridortransit.com.

Comments will be accepted at the meeting or can be sent by June 15 to CTC, 312 Marshall Ave., Suite 104, Laurel 20707. They can also be e-mailed to support@baltwashchamber. org.

Heart Association benefit scheduled

A benefit for the American Heart Association, "Portraits of the Heart: Heart Ball 2006," is planned from 6 p.m. to midnight Saturday at the Kossiakoff Center, 11100 Johns Hopkins Road, North Laurel.

Tickets, which are $175 a person, include a heart-healthy dinner. There will be dancing to the music of the Encore Band and silent and live auctions.

Information: 410-637-4512.

Listings sought for `Resource Guide'

The Howard County Department of Citizen Services' Office on Aging is updating its Resource Guide and is seeking community organizations and businesses that serve seniors, people with disabilities, caregivers or families for whom English is a second language that can qualify to receive free listings.

The application deadline is May 24. To determine eligibility: Barbara Harris, 410-313-6448.

Breast cancer screenings planned

Howard County General Hospital and the Howard County Health Department are cooperating in a campaign to raise awareness and promote screening for breast cancer that will coincide with the blossoming of the Kwanzan cherry trees planted by Howard County's Blossoms of Hope project.

The new venture includes mobile breast-examination clinics at libraries and low-cost ($50) mammograms at the hospital.

Free, half-day walk-in clinics will be held from 1:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. tomorrow at the east Columbia library, 6600 Cradlerock Way; 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday at the Elkridge library; and 1:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday at the central library.

To schedule an appointment for a mammogram: 410-740- 7900.

The Health Department also provides free mammograms to women who qualify: 410-313-4255.

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