Community Notes


May 30, 2008

Relay for Life scheduled for June 6 and 7

Howard County's Relay for Life, an annual event that honors cancer survivors and raises money for the American Cancer Society, will be held June 6 and 7 at Hammond High School in Columbia.

This year's theme is "Celebrate. Remember. Fight Back."

Teams collect pledges, camp out and take turns walking or running around the track all night. Opening ceremonies are to start at 6:30 p.m. June 6, followed by a Survivors' Lap, when cancer survivors walk around the track, cheered by families and friends. Children to age 14 participate in a Kids' Walk from 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. June 6; those who raise at least $35 will receive a relay T-shirt.

Candles in sand-filled paper bags are lit to honor survivors and those who died of cancer in a Luminary Ceremony that is set to begin at dusk.

A silent auction is planned for June 6, and Melissa Simmens, a Columbia marathon runner, will run for 12 consecutive hours and speak at a Fight Back Closing Ceremony at 7:30 a.m. June 7.

A new Extreme Relayer Club encourages its members to commit to run for 20 minutes each hour and raise at least $500. This year's relay will also add "themed laps" through the night: an Island Beach Party (dress for the beach and participate in games) from midnight to 1 a.m.; Let's Beat Cancer Fiesta Party from 1 a.m. to 2 a.m.; Pajama Party (wear pajamas and watch movies) from 2 a.m. to 4 a.m.; and Remembrance, when participants are invited to bring banners, signs and pictures, from 4 a.m. to 6 a.m. "Fight Back Super Hero" laps are to start at 6 a.m.

During its first 12 years, the event has raised more than $3 million for the American Cancer Society.

Information: Meaghan Kordusky, 410-313-6592 or visit

Retirement options are session's focus

"Choose Your Future: The Best Is Yet to Be," a daylong conference for retired people and those considering retirement, will examine options and opportunities.

The conference, sponsored by SPRING, is to be held from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. tomorrow at the Bain Center, 5470 Ruth Keeton Way, Columbia. SPRING is an acronym for Senior Peer Resources: Individuals, Networks & Groups.

Phyllis Madachy, Howard County deputy chief administrative officer and former administrator for the Office on Aging, will speak. Morning and afternoon sessions will include "Portals to Community Involvement," "Creating Your Own Possibilities," "Eliminating the 'Shoulds,'" and "Tools to Recapture the Dreams of Earlier Life."

There is a small fee. Registration is requested, but tickets are also available at the door. Registration is required by noon today to reserve a lunch. Information: Elaine Widom, 410-313-7283.

Buy a birdhouse and decorate it

The Columbia Festival of the Arts, in partnership with the Howard County Woodworkers Guild, is selling birdhouses for artists to decorate. Guild members have made 101 birdhouses, designed to house small native birds, for the festival's artists' project.

The birdhouse kits, with instructions, can be purchased for $25 at Columbia Festival of the Arts offices, Suite 280, 5575 Sterrett Place, Columbia. The decorated houses will be shown at the festival's LakeFest on June 13-15 and will be available for sale after June 14. A 25 percent commission will be charged to defer processing costs.

Information: 410-715-3044, or e-mail

Membership aid available for pools

Financial assistance is available to qualified families for summer membership in Columbia Association's outdoor pools. In partnership with the family of the late Ann Scherr, the Columbia Foundation has established a fund offering grants to individuals and families qualified to pay the reduced rates offered by the Columbia Association.

Families are eligible for the Ann Scherr Fund if their income is 50 percent less than the association's reduced-income guidelines. An individual must earn less than $21,525 to qualify for the grant; $23,035 for a person 65 or older and handicapped. A family of two can earn $24,600; a family of four, $30,750.

Information or to apply: 410-730-1801.

Car inspections for senior citizens

The Howard County Police Department will hold a "Car Fit" inspection for senior citizens to help ensure that seniors are driving cars that fit their safety needs.

Inspections will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday on the west side of Centennial Park, off Centennial Lane, in Ellicott City.

Information or to schedule a car inspection: 410-313-2207.

Send the kids to summer camp

Ken Mays of Mays & Associates, a Howard County marketing, graphic design and Web site development company, is participating in the Muscular Dystrophy Association's campaign to raise money for its summer camp program for children afflicted by the disease.

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