Patuxent Research Refuge plans programs

June 25, 2006

Patuxent Research Refuge has scheduled a series of programs at the North Tract:

An "Exploring Nature Hike" for ages 11 to 13 will be held from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. tomorrow. A naturalist will lead the hike.

"Butterflies: Nature's Festival of Colors," a program for ages 10 and older about the role of butterflies in the ecosystem, will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. July 8. Field guides are recommended for the 2 1/2 -mile guided hike. Take water and dress for the outdoors.

A "Wildflower Wander" for ages 16 and older is scheduled from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. July 9. A field guide, water and magnifying glass are recommended.

A night hike for all ages will be held from 8 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. July 15. Participants will look and listen for owls, frogs and other nocturnal animals on the guided walk.

The programs are free, but registration is required. The North Tract is on Route 198, between the Baltimore-Washington Parkway and Route 32, near Laurel.

Information or to register: 301-497-5887.

Laser tag tourney to begin Saturday

Eight teams of players will compete at an international laser tag marathon Saturday through July 4 at XP LaserSport in Laurel.

The site was selected to be host for five of the eight events in the tournament, which is expected to draw players from Europe, Canada and the United States.

The Armageddon Laser Tag Tournament of Champions is in its seventh year. Teams wear computerized vests fitted with LEDs (light-emitting diodes). Players fire laser beams to tag opposing players in mazes filled with fog and lighted with black lights. The competition will include a new outdoor laser tag event.

The tournament begins at noon Saturday with a barbecue at Patapsco Valley State Park, off Baltimore National Pike in Ellicott City.

Admission is free for observers. Information or a schedule of events: Marc Mueller, 301-437-9085.

Around Town

Bluegrass -- Savage Bluegrass will perform at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Oliver's, 531 Main St. in Laurel. 301-490-9200.

Movie -- The Savage library branch, 9525 Durness Lane, will show the movie Raiders of the Lost Ark at 7 p.m. Wednesday. Registration is required. 410-880-5980.

Summer concerts -- The volunteers of the South Laurel Recreation Council will sponsor the 28th Montpelier Summer Concert Series on the grounds of Montpelier Mansion on Route 197 at Muirkirk Road in Laurel. The free two-hour performances will be held Friday, and July 14, 21, 28 and Aug. 11. The Bill Mott Band will perform Friday. Parking is free; handicapped parking is available near the Montpelier Drive and Muirkirk Road entrances, off Route 197, a quarter-mile west of Baltimore-Washington Parkway. 301-776-2805.

For families -- Family and Children's Services is expanding its services at Whiskey Bottom Shopping Center in North Laurel with the goal of creating a "one-stop shop" of services for individuals and families in need of counseling or other assistance. The organization opened its North Laurel office two years ago. Among the nonprofit organizations to join Family and Children's Services in North Laurel will be Grassroots Crisis Intervention Center, the Domestic Violence Center, FIRN (a Howard County nonprofit organization providing services to immigrants) and the Community Action Council. Family and Children's Services offers counseling, employee assistance, in-home services for elderly and disabled people, and a "Healthy Families" program for first-time parents. The agency accepts third-party insurance and charges uninsured clients on a sliding scale.

The Community Action Council, available from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesdays, offers help with eviction prevention, energy assistance and crisis intervention, and maintains a food bank. Walk-ins are welcome. Information or to schedule an appointment: 301-498-7509 or 410-313-6440.

Kristin Lilly, FIRN's information and referral counselor, will be in North Laurel from noon to 6 p.m. Wednesdays. She is fluent in Spanish and can assist with medical bills, applying for a tax identification number (ITIN), legal referrals, birth certificates, housing, passports and other needs. Walk-in clients are welcome. 301-498-7509, Ext. 228, or 410-992-1923, Ext. 12.

The Domestic Violence Center is available from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Thursdays. Walk-ins are welcome. 301-498-7509 or 410-997-2272.

Grassroots counselor Dianne DeSantis is available from noon to 6 p.m. Wednesdays to help with crisis resolution. 301-498-7509, Ext. 302, or call the 24-hour hot line, 410-531-6677.

The Family and Children's Services office, 9105 All Saints Road in Whiskey Bottom Shopping Center, is open Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Information: 301-398-7509.

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