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Ellicott City celebrates Benjamin Moore win

It's a story about paint. It's also about social media and more importantly, a community, said Howard County Executive Ken Ulman at a gathering among Main Street Ellicott City business owners last week at the Howard County Tourism and Promotion Welcome Center.

The event celebrated the town's victory as a finalist in the Benjamin Moore Main Street Matters Campaign.

Ellicott City was named one of 20 finalists in the contest, which ran for six weeks this summer. Over the course of the campaign, nearly half a million votes were cast online for Main Streets across North America, word spreading through social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

As a winner in the contest, Ellicott City will receive paint, stain and supplies so each façade, porch, railing and shutter on the Main Street businesses can get a universal face-lift. In the coming months, Ulman said, local Benjamin Moore representatives will consult with business owners and community members to get the painting done.

About 40 of those community members and business owners were on hand for the celebration — men and women who know first hand the morale boost a fresh coat of paint will give to the town.

County Councilwoman Courtney Watson, who represents Ellicott City, said, "We've had wonderful times and we've had very challenging times with floods, snow, the (CSX) train derailment. The community has always come together to support each other and support the town. This is the perfect opportunity for us to come together over something joyful."

—Sara Toth, Baltimore Sun Media Group

Software problems delay delivery of tax forms

An issue with software used to generate property tax forms delayed the delivery of 83,000 semi-annual bills in Howard County, county officials said.

Even with the delay, Howard County spokesman Mark Miller said July 9 that programmers hoped to get the bills in the mail by the end of the week. Miller said the discount deadline for property owners who receive their bill late will be extended until August. The extension will be adjusted based on when the bill is mailed.

Miller said 15,000 annual property tax bills were mailed July 9. The 70,000 to 75,000 property bills that are paid electronically through an escrow account will not be affected, he said. Miller noted that all property tax bills have been online since July 1. Property owners can view and pay their bills at http://bit.ly/10LqGGa.

—Amanda Yeager, Baltimore Sun Media Group

'Feastival' kicks off Farm-2-Table weeks

For the family-owned AIDA Bistro & Wine Bar, supporting local farmers by serving fresh, locally grown food is in the restaurant's DNA, said owner Joe Barbera.

AIDA Bistro & Wine Bar is one of six restaurants participating in the fourth annual Film "Feastival" at Clark's Elioak Farm on Tuesday, from 6 to 9 p.m. The event teams restaurants and local farmers to offer samples from their menus and to promote locally grown products.

Visitors also can view educational displays and movies that show how farmers work with restaurants and families to provide fresh and healthy options.

The event kicks off Howard County's Farm-2-Table Restaurant Weeks, July 17 to Aug. 5, when 19 county restaurants offer prix fixe specials comprised of local ingredients.

"It is a positive reinforcement for the community to become familiar with local farmers and to understand how important fruit and vegetables are to their diet." said Karen Basinger, extension educator for nutrient, health and wellness for Howard County.

New this year, the "Feastival" will include an event at the Howard County Library's Miller Branch. On July 17 from 3 to 4:30 p.m., the library will provide a free screening of Maryland Public Television's "The Maryland Harvest," followed by a panel discussion. From 2 to 6 p.m., the county's farmers market will be open in the library's parking lot.

Go to howardfilmfeastival.eventbrite.com to purchase tickets for the July 16 event at Clark's Elioak Farm. An optional $5 donation will go toward farmers' market coupons for families in need. To register for the July 17 Miller Library event, go to hclibrary.org. For a listing of Restaurant Weeks participants, go to http://www.visithowardcounty.com.

—Staff Reports

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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