Community Notes

November 21, 2007

Howard Transit offers free bus rides

In celebration of Howard Transit's 12 years of service and to thank customers for their support, County Executive Ken Ulman has designated Saturday and Sunday and Dec. 22 and 23 as Howard Transit Customer Appreciation Days, when patrons can ride Howard Transit buses for free.

More than 750,000 customers have boarded Howard Transit buses during 2007, according to a Howard County government news release.

Howard Transit was recently named "Best Fixed Route" bus system in Maryland by the Transportation Association of Maryland. The bus service was recognized for its service enhancements; commitment to the environment, demonstrated by the purchase of hybrid vehicles; purchase of low-floor buses for better access; and bus-stop improvements.

Residents are encouraged to park their automobiles and try Howard Transit during the holidays.

Information: 800-270-9553, or

Travel information available online

The State Highway Administration expects increased traffic during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend and urges travelers to log on to www. and click on "CHART" (Coordinated Highways Action Response Team program) in the "Live Traffic" window to access traffic, accident, weather and other information before traveling.

To help ease congestion, roadwork on SHA-maintained roads will be suspended today through Sunday.

Emergency-response units will patrol metropolitan interstates to help stranded motorists.

Police will enforce seat belt laws; children should be placed in proper child safety seats.

Motorists are urged to observed all posted speed limits, and never drink and drive.

Drivers with cellular phones can dial #77 or 911 to report suspected aggressive or drunken drivers.

Richardson award applicants sought

Soroptimist International of Howard County is seeking applicants for its Violet Richardson Award, recognizing girls ages 14 to 17 who volunteer in their schools or communities.

Applications, which are due by Dec. 1, are available from high school counselors or from Eileen Singleton: 410-461-5486 or

The winner of the local award will receive $250; an additional $250 will be donated to a charity of her choice. The winning application will also be entered into the Soroptimist South Atlantic Region competition, in which the winner and her chosen charity each receive $1,000.

Soroptimist is an international volunteer service organization for business and professional women. The organization works to improve the lives of women and girls in communities around the world.

Information: Karen Trennepohl, 410-750-9413.

Emergency planning to be seminar topic

CERN (Community Emergency Response Network) and the Neighbor-to-Neighbor Program of Howard County will present "Communication is the Key," a one-hour seminar designed to help older adults prepare for emergencies.

Participants will learn to create an emergency kit and tag home equipment in the event of lost power, water or heat. Discussion will focus on the importance of establishing a community or neighborhood network of support before an emergency or disaster occurs.

Seminars will be offered at:

10 a.m. Tuesday at Longwood House

10 a.m. Nov. 29 at the Bain Center

10 a.m. Dec. 4 at Glenwood Senior Center

1 p.m. Dec. 4 at East Columbia Senior Center

10 a.m. Dec. 6 at Guilford Gardens.

Information or registration: 410-313-5952.

Master gardener training offered

New and experienced gardeners are invited to register for the master gardener training program offered by the Maryland Cooperative Extension, Howard County office.

The training will cover topics related to sustainable gardening and the environmental impact of gardening practices.

Training is to be held from 9 a.m. to noon Mondays and Wednesdays, Jan. 28 to March 31, at the extension office in Ellicott City. The cost is $160.

Participants are expected to volunteer time to educate consumers. Anyone with a keen interest in gardening is welcome; those with skills or interests such as writing, graphs and computers are needed. The registration deadline is Nov. 30.

For information or for a registration packet: 410-313-2707.

Candidates sought for scholarship

The Columbia Association is seeking candidates for its annual Spirit of Columbia Scholarship Award, given each year to high school seniors who have shown extraordinary dedication to community service.

As many as six $2,500 scholarships will be awarded this year to graduating high school seniors who live on Columbia Association-assessed property or have a parent who works full time on assessed property. Candidates must have at least a C average and a demonstrated history of voluntary service to the Columbia community.

Applications are available at local high schools, Columbia community centers and Columbia Association headquarters (10221 Wincopin Circle). They can also be downloaded at www.columbiaassociation. org. Applications must be submitted by March 1.

Information: 410-715-3175.

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