Community Notes


August 27, 2006

Blood donors urgently sought

Red Cross says blood donations have fallen to a state of near depletion and community blood supply cannot meet the needs of hospitals. All blood types are needed.

Eligible donors are encouraged to call 800-GIVE-LIFE to schedule a donation immediately. 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 in Maryland) 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.

Meeting planned to discuss deer hunt

The Howard County Department of Recreation and Parks will hold an informational meeting on the status of its managed deer hunt program at 7 p.m. Sept. 5 at the department's headquarters, 7120 Oakland Mills Road, Columbia.

An overview of the program, management activities for the coming season and the ecological necessity for herd reduction will be discussed.

Fewer hunt dates are planned, but Howard County has received permission from the Maryland State Department of Natural Resources to add Schooley Mill Park and reinstate High Ridge Park to the list of parks hunted in the program. High Ridge Park was removed from the list after the 2003 hunt because of construction of new facilities in the park.

Hunts are also planned in the Middle Patuxent Environmental Area and Blandair Park near Columbia, the David Force Park in Ellicott City and Alpha Ridge Park near Woodstock. Hunting hours are dawn to 1 p.m.; the parks will be closed to other uses during the hunt.

The hunt at Blandair Park will be archery only; at Schooley Mill Park, shotgun only. Bow hunting will be allowed at other parks in areas not conducive to gun hunting.

Information: 410-313-4700.

Candidates forum to be rebroadcast

The League of Women Voters' forum for candidates for state's attorney and Circuit Court judges, held last week, will be rebroadcast on Gtv, cable Channel 70.

A forum for Board of Education candidates will be held from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday in Room B37 at the Applications and Research Lab, 10920 Route 108, Ellicott City. It will be rebroadcast on Cable channel 72.

Information: Barbara Russell, 410-730-4024.

Library branches to extend hours

Howard County Public Library branches will extend their hours beginning tomorrow.

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.

Exemption OKs gifts from IRAs to charity

Barbara Lawson, president and chief executive officer of the Columbia Foundation, Columbia's community foundation, encourages prospective donors to take advantage of an exemption recently signed into law allowing tax-free donations to be made from IRAs or Roth IRAs directly to charities.

Owners of traditional and Roth IRAs age 70 1/2 or older can make the tax-free donation this year and next, unless Congress extends the window of opportunity beyond 2007.

The Columbia Foundation has awarded nearly $8 million in grants to Howard County nonprofit organizations. The money comes primarily from income generated by the foundation's endowment, supported by more than 170 funds established by local businesses, families and individuals.

Information: 410-730-7840, or

Applebee's joins cancer fundraiser

Ninety-seven Applebee's restaurants in Maryland, the District of Columbia, Pennsylvania, Virginia and New Jersey are selling $5 paper lemons and glasses of lemonade this month to help raise money for Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation, a nonprofit organization that raises money for research on childhood cancer.

The company raised $166,000 last year; participating restaurants hope to raise more than $200,000 this year.

Alexandra "Alex" Scott, a cancer patient whose family lives in Pennsylvania, sold lemonade at a stand on her lawn each year for four years to raise money to find a cure for childhood cancer. She died Aug. 1, 2004, at age 8.

Information: www.alexs

Classes set 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 Thursday.

Information or registration: 410-313-6268, or www.hchealth. org; 800-QUIT-NOW or www.

Today is final day for tax-free shopping

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

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

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