Community Notes

COMMUNITY NOTES

August 20, 2006

Classes to help smokers quit

In support of the new Howard County smoking ban, the Health Department's Tobacco Control Program will offer free smoking-cessation classes, open to anyone who lives or works in the county.

The eight-week program, which includes free medication, will be held from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesdays, starting Sept. 5; classes will also be offered from noon to 1 p.m. or 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesdays, starting Sept. 6. The program will be held at the Howard County Health Department, 7178 Columbia Gateway Drive, Columbia.

The registration deadline for September classes is Aug. 31.

Information or registration: 410-313-6268, or www.hchealth. org. Or 800-QUITNOW and www. smokingstopshere.com.

Sales-tax holiday to start Wednesday

Clothing and footwear sold in Maryland from Wednesday through Aug. 27 and priced at $100 or less per item will be exempt from the 5 percent sales tax.

The five-day sales tax holiday is intended to encourage back-to-school, summer-clearance and other shopping and to boost end-of-summer retail sales.

Information: http:--individuals.marylandtaxes.com/usetax/taxfree/faq.asp, or 410-260-7980.

Animal Planet Expo to be in Ellicott City

Animal Planet Expo is continuing its ninth summer tour with a stop at Centennial Park in Ellicott City from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. today.

Inspired by the television channel Animal Planet, which is owned and operated by the Discovery Channel, the show includes exotic animals, flying-disc dog shows, interactive animal trivia games, demonstrations and other events for animal lovers and children. Families are encouraged to take their pets.

Admission is free.

Information: 240-662-2930.

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 disabled 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.

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 disabled 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 being held today

The 10th Cuts Against Cancer is being held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. today 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.

A silent auction 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, envy.salon, 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 held Tuesday

The League of Women Voters will hold a forum for candidates for state's attorney and Circuit Court judges from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday.

The forum will be broadcast live from the George Howard Building. The forum will be rebroadcast next week on Gtv, Cable Channel 70.

Also being broadcast on Gtv is a candidates forum for state Senate and House of Delegates races held Aug. 15.

That forum will be rebroadcast at 12:30 p.m. today and tomorrow, and 10 p.m. today.

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.

Media Day is set for Wednesday

The Columbia Association's External Relations Committee will hold a Media Day Wednesday.

The event will start at 6:30 p.m. in the boardroom at association headquarters, Suite 100, 10221 Wincopin Circle.

The gathering, which is for representatives of local media outlets and the public, will focus on the new governance committee structure recently adopted by the Columbia Association's board of directors.

Also to be discussed is how the committee will function as part of the governing process.

Information: 410-715-3000.

United Way taking funding proposals

United Way of Central Maryland is accepting proposals from health and human service-related nonprofit organizations for funding programs addressing one of four designated impact areas: basic needs, family safety, school readiness and youth achieving potential.

Information: www.uwcm.org.

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