Howard County digest

December 18, 2010

Ride home program

The "Guaranteed Ride Home" program is coming to Howard County. The program, funded by the Maryland Department of Transportation, guarantees a free ride home to commuters who regularly travel to work by mass transit, van pool, car pool, bicycle or walking. The program offers a free ride up to four times a year in a taxi or rental car, depending on location. To be eligible, commuters must register in advance and renew their registration annually. Registration and information: 800-745-7433 or commuterconnections.org.

Candlelight service

A Christmas Eve Candlelight Service will be held at 6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 24, at St. John Baptist Church, 9055 Tamar Drive in Columbia. Information: 410-992-6977 or stjohnbaptistchurch.org.

Winter classes

Registration is under way for the Howard County Arts Council's visual and performing arts winter programs at the Howard County Center for the Arts, 8510 High Ridge Road in Ellicott City. The council offers classes and workshops for children, teens and adults. Classes begin Jan. 25 and continue through March 26. For a brochure and information: 410-313-2787 or hocoarts.org.

New Year's Eve

The Mall in Columbia celebrates its 40th anniversary with a "Ball in the Mall" from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. New Year's Eve to benefit the Columbia Foundation. The event originated in 1972 to serve as a celebration for the town of Columbia's fifth birthday, and was last held in 1987 to mark its 20th anniversary. The evening includes dinner, dancing, an open bar, live music and a midnight champagne toast. Tickets are $100 per person and are available online at columbiafoundation.org. The mall is at 10300 Little Patuxent Parkway.

Volunteers

The Howard County Legacy Leadership Institute for the Environment is recruiting for its 2011 class, which begins Jan. 31. Program is designed for those 50 and older who want to gain skills and knowledge and leave a legacy through their volunteer work. Classes will be held twice a week for six weeks, followed by a mentored volunteer field placement of 150 hours from March to September. Classes are 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and will be held at the Wilde Lake Interfaith Center, Goddard Space Flight Center and the Howard County Conservancy. $50 fee required at time of enrollment. Information: 410-381-5279, 410-796-7232 or http://www.howardllie.com.

JROTC registration

Students can request an interview with the JROTC instructor and school administrator if the program is not offered at their designated high school and they want to enroll for the 2011-2012 school year. Parents should contact Atholton, Howard or Oakland Mills high schools to arrange an interview. Requests must be made by Jan. 21.

Essay contests

•"Images of Freedom" The Columbia Association is hosting its annual Images of Freedom poster contest in honor of Black History Month for Howard County middle and high school students. Participants are to interpret the theme, "Images of Freedom." Five entries will be selected for display on the sides of Howard County Transit buses throughout February. Entries should be mailed or delivered to Images of Freedom poster contest, Attention Kelly Cooper, Columbia Association, 10221 Wincopin Circle, Columbia 21044. Each entry must include name, age, school, home address, e-mail and phone number on a separate piece of paper. Deadline is 5 p.m. Jan. 5. Information: 410-715-3104.

•Women's History Month Howard County's Commission for Women invites students, public, private and home-schooled grades six to 12 to participate in its annual essay contest honoring Women's History Month in March. Theme is "Our History is Our Strength." Essays should be sent to women@howardcountymd.gov or mailed to the Commission for Women Student Essay contest, 6751 Columbia Gateway Drive, Suite 300, Columbia 21046. Deadline is Jan. 18. Information: 410-313-6400.

Recycling cans

•Habitat for Humanity and the Boy Scouts of America have placed a collection bin for aluminum cans at the entrance to the parking lot of Christ Memorial Presbyterian Church, 6410 Amherst Ave., in Allview Estates. Information: 410-997-4949.

•Students at Patuxent Valley Middle School have joined The Great American Can Roundup. A collection bin for aluminum cans is outside the school, and proceeds from recycling will be used to fund Green School projects and field trips. The school is at 9151 Vollmerhausen Road in Jessup.

Film series

The Columbia Jewish Congregation presents its annual film series beginning Jan. 22 with "A Matter of Size." All screenings will be at the Columbia Jewish Congregation, 5885 Robert Oliver Place, Room 200. Tickets are $30 for the four-film series, $24 for three, or $17 for two showings. Single tickets will also be available at the door for $9. Doors open at 7:30 p.m.; screenings begin at 8 p.m. Refreshments and post-film discussion included. Information: 410-381-4809, 410-997-0694 or SBloch@comcast.net.

Recycle old TVs

The Howard County Bureau of Environmental Services reminds residents to recycle analog TVs rather than throw them away. Options available:

The Alpha Ridge Landfill Resident's Convenience Area, 2350 Marriottsville Road, is open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Saturday and accepts TVs, computers, keyboards, printers, scanners, laptops, VCRs, radios and other electronics.

Best Buy's Customer Take-Back Program allows customers to bring in old TVs (32 inches or smaller) at no charge. Limited to two televisions per person per day. Console televisions are not accepted.

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