Community Notes


August 13, 2006

Grants to help pay utility bills

The Community Action Council has announced that grants of $65 will be awarded to seniors, ages 62 and older, and handicapped people to assist with the increased cost of utility bills. About 725 families are expected to benefit.

Funding for the grants is provided by Howard County government. The one-time grants are available, starting this month, to help with the cost of cooling in hot weather.

The council will automatically process grants for people receiving Maryland Energy Assistance Program aid during fiscal year 2006 -- July 1, 2005, through June 30, 2006.

Seniors and handicapped people who apply for MEAP assistance for the first time during the current grant year, which began July 1, will receive the supplemental grant when they are determined to be eligible for MEAP.

Information: 410-313-6440.

Cuts Against Cancer to be held Aug. 20

The 10th Cuts Against Cancer will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 20 at Rafet's Hairmasters International Salon in The Mall in Columbia.

Proceeds from the reduced- price services -- haircuts for $25 ($40 with blow dry), manicures, waxing and seated massages -- will go to the Claudia Mayer Cancer Resource and Image Center in Columbia.

A silent auction that features trips to Ocean City, New York and Turkey, food-and-wine merchants and local art also are planned.

Participants this year are Corporate Pit Stop,, George of New York, Hasan's Hair Studio, Looks Salon & Spa, Lord & Taylor, Lutfi's International Salon & Spa, Mason & Friends Hair Studio, Patrick's Hair Design & Day Spa, Tagi's Hair Design, Salon Francisco, Symmetry Hair Studio, Victoria & Albert and Rafet's.

Information: 410-730-5910.

Candidates forum to be rebroadcast

The League of Women Voters is rebroadcasting its public forum for candidates in contested primary election races for county executive and County Council on Gtv 70 at 12:30 p.m. today and tomorrow and 10 p.m. today.

League members were moderators for the forum, sponsored by the league's Education Fund.

A forum for state Senate and House of Delegates races will be held from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday; for state's attorney and Circuit Court judges, Aug. 22. These forums will be broadcast live from the George Howard Building.

Tuesday's forum will be rebroadcast at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday through Aug. 21; 8 p.m. Wednesday; 9 p.m. Aug. 18 and 10 p.m. Aug. 19 and 20.

A forum for Board of Education candidates will be held from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Aug. 29 in Room B37 at the Applications and Research Lab, 10920 Route 108, Ellicott City.

Information: Barbara Russell, 410-730-4024.

Community Yard Sale at YMCA on Aug. 26

The Howard County Family YMCA will hold its Community Yard Sale from 8 a.m. to noon Aug. 26 on the Y's front lawn, 4331 Montgomery Road, Ellicott City.

Vendors are needed.

Information: Dawn Crystal, 410-465-4334.

Library branches to extend hours

Howard County Library branches will extend their hours, beginning Aug. 28. The new hours will be 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.

The central library and the Miller branch library in Ellicott City will maintain regular Sunday hours during the summer; the east Columbia, Elkridge, Savage and Glenwood branches will be closed Sundays from the third week in June through Labor Day.

Information: www.hclibrary .org.

Blood donations fall to critical level

The Red Cross says blood donations have fallen to a critical level and the community blood supply is not adequate for the needs of hospitals.

All blood types are needed. But an inventory of blood types O and B is particularly needed. Type O blood can be used for more patients than any other type. Type B blood, prevalent in the region, according to the Red Cross, is needed for local patients.

In response, the Greater Chesapeake and Potomac Region of the Red Cross is urging eligible whole-blood donors to schedule an appointment to give blood. Each blood donation can help save up to three lives, the Red Cross says.

Donors must be in good health, at least 17 years old (16 with written parental consent) and weigh at least 110 pounds. They must not have received a tattoo within the past year and not have donated whole blood in the past 56 days.

Information or to schedule an appointment: 800-GIVE-LIFE.

Low-income taxpayers can get free help

Low-income taxpayers can receive free assistance in disputes with the Internal Revenue Service or in filing back taxes from the Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service.

Volunteers will help negotiate a payment plan, resolve disputes over the Earned Income Tax Credit and prepare back tax returns.

The service is available all year.

Information: 410-539-6800.

SPRING to hold its Weekend Away

SPRING (Senior Peer Resources, Individuals, Networks and Groups) will hold its 20th Weekend Away from Aug. 26 to 29 at Skycroft Conference Center in Middletown.

The theme will be "Possibilities: Doorways to Living Later in Life."

The retreat includes food, accommodations, music, mini dinner-theater experiences, discussions and a supportive environment. Optional workshops are planned on themes such as humor, health, reaching 100, using our gifts and sharing what we've always wanted to do.

The cost is $285 for double occupancy. A limited number of single rooms are available for $325. A $75 deposit is requested to hold reservations.

Participants can register at the Bain Center, 5470 Ruth Keeton Way, Columbia, or Ellicott City Senior Center, 9401 Frederick Road.

Information: Karen Hull, 410-313-7466.

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