Community Notes

COMMUNITY NOTES

June 01, 2008

Free classes provided for citizenship test

Local foreign-born residents interested in becoming naturalized citizens are invited to attend free classes offered by FIRN Inc. to prepare for the federal government's new citizenship test. FIRN is a nonprofit organization providing resources and help to the foreign-born.

The test will be taken by applicants starting Oct. 1, and will emphasize fundamental concepts of American democracy and the rights and responsibilities of citizenship, according to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service. The new test includes a revised English reading and writing section and 100 new history and government questions.

Classes for the current test format and the new test format begin Thursday at the FIRN office, 5999 Harpers Farm Road, Suite 200, in Columbia. Participants receive eligibility pre-screening, N-400 application assistance and small group tutorials. The six-week series of classes is free, but there is a $40 fee for materials.

Information: 410-992-1923.

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.

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

Relay for Life held at Hammond High

Howard County's Relay for Life, an annual event that honors cancer survivors and raises money for the American Cancer Society, will be held Friday and Saturday 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. Friday, 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. Friday; 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 Friday, 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. Saturday.

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. Saturday.

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 www.howardrfl.com.

Workshop held for emergency plans

CERN and the Neighbor-to-Neighbor Program of Howard County will offer a workshop to help older adults prepare for unexpected emergencies. The free workshop, "Establishing a Family Emergency Plan," will be from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. Tuesday at the Glenwood Senior Center; 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Thursday at the Guilford Senior Center; and 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. June 17 at the Bain Center.

Discussion will include topics such as communication strategies, sheltering in place and establishing a neighborhood network of support before an emergency happens.

Information or to register: 410-313-5952.

Nominees sought for county awards

The Community Action Council of Howard County MD Inc. is seeking nominations for awards for county residents and organizations for their community service.

One person will be recognized with the Rev. John W. Holland Humanitarian Award, and two organizations will receive community service awards. The honors recognize service to the needy in the county, following the example of the Rev. John Holland, who was on the council's board for 17 years.

Nominations must be submitted by Tuesday.

Information: Deepak Chadha, 410-313-6440

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