Wow ... can you believe that we are halfway through February already? And, it's been such a mild winter that my jonquils are already 4 inches out of the ground. I guess they're just as eager for spring as any of us. However, the word from "Puxatawney Phil" Feb. 2 was six more weeks of winter, so we'll just have to see if he's right.

I love all the seasons for what they gifts they bring and winter is no exception. Personally, I love snow and would appreciate some real winter weather here in Howard County. But don't misunderstand me — I don't want a remake of 2011 (no more Elkridge epicenter, thank you), but a nice snowfall is truly stunning. It slows things down a bit in our busy lives and I'm amazed with the quiet hush as it settles the earth. Until we see what Mother Nature has in store for us, here are some things happening around Elkridge that you should know about.

Saturday, Feb. 18 is the date for the seventh annual bull and oyster roast of the St. Augustine Church Knights of Columbus, Council #11618. The Knights always does a great job with this event. The food is provided by Old World Delicatessen and they put out a great spread of oysters on the half shell, oyster stew, pit beef, ham and turkey, pork BBQ, roasted chicken, Italian sausage and an assortment of side dishes and other goodies. Beer on tap, wine and sodas, coffee, tea and dessert round out the food and beverage offerings.

The event will be held from 7:30 to 11:30 p.m. and will feature music by a local disc jockey, game wheels, door prizes and 50/50 drawings. Tickets are $40 a person; tables will be reserved for parties of eight or more. To purchase tickets, call Jim Zerr at 443-386-6776 or Andy Williams at 410- 461-1637.


Submit a Letter to the Editor for the Laurel Leader, Columbia Flier and Howard County Times

The Elkridge Volunteer Fire Department Junior Firefighters Valentine-themed touth dance for ages 9-15 will be held Saturday, Feb. 18 from 7 to 10 p.m. at the fire hall. Tickets are available at the door for $10 per person with a maximum of 200 tickets sold.

Food and beverages, which include pizza, corn dogs, pretzels, nachos, candy, water and sodas, will also be for sale at the dance. The department does have a "no exceptions" policy on appropriate behavior and dress code for its youth dances, and also enforces a strict adult sign-in/sign-out procedure for attendance.

For more information on the dance, call 410-761-6633 (and select option 5), or go to http://www.ElkridgeVFD.org.

As the season of Lent arrives Wednesday, Feb. 22 (Ash Wednesday), you are cordially invited to Harwood Park United Methodist Church for its Shrove Tuesday pancake supper. The dinner will be held Tuesday, Feb. 21 from 5 to 7 p.m. at the church, 6635 Highlands Ave., in Harwood Park. The menu will feature pancakes, sausage, potato casserole, sausage gravy, fruit, coffee, and punch. Dinner is offered at no charge to guests; however, free will donations are accepted and appreciated.

Just about everyone appreciates a great bargain, and that's precisely why Harwood Park United Methodist urges you to experience their recently opened thrift shop. They recently celebrated the grand opening of this little gem of bargain shopping, which features high-quality, gently-used clothing, shoes, bags, small household and home décor items.

Almost everything in the store is priced less than $5 and carries items for men, women and children. The shop is opened on the first and third Saturday of each month from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. Donations are also accepted on the days the shop is open for business. When you go, the entrance is on the side of the church at 6635 Highlands Ave. — just look for the Thrift Shop entrance sign.

For more information, or to inquire about making donations, call Jill Lloyd at 443-285-1369.

If you possibly can, please participate in the Elkridge Volunteer Fire Department Blood Drive scheduled for Feb. 23, from 3 to 8 p.m. at the fire hall, 6275 Old Washington Road, Elkridge. Walk-ins are always welcome; appointments are appreciated. For more information, or to schedule an appointment, call the Red Cross at 800-REDCROSS, or visit http://www.redcrossblood.org. Please specify that you are calling on behalf of the EVFD drive on Feb. 23rd. The EVFD appreciates each and every gift of life donation.

It's that time of year again, when the Elkridge Adult Athletic Association, a proud Elkridge community association for more than 30 years, have announced that they are accepting applications from area high school seniors for its 2012 scholarship awards.

Applications will be accepted until April 22. More information about the EAAA Scholarship and the application process can be found on the EAAA Facebook page, or by calling Jeff Lockard at 410-796-8088 or emailing jeff.w.lockard@gmail.com.

You know spring can't be too far away when Kate Tufts of the Howard County Bird Club sends out the club's annual art contest notice. According to their press release, "At this writing, the daffodils are trying to peek through the ground and the birds are carrying nesting materials to their proposed sites. This is a terrific time to start thinking about the birds and their beauty. This is also a great opportunity for Howard County students between the ages of nine and thirteen to show off their artistic prowess by entering the third annual Student Birding Art Contest. Draw or paint your favorite Maryland bird and submit your entry for a chance to win a backpack containing a pair of Eagle Optics binoculars and field guides. For more details, check out the club's web site at: http://www.howardbirds.org. Good luck all budding artists."

Please keep in touch and let me know what you'd like to share in this space. I'd love to post your news and events, any special occasion, anniversaries, birthdays, births, graduations, wedding bells, etc. This is your space, Elkridge, so share your news.

As we continue through the month of February, reach out to those around you in some gesture of love and compassion. In the words of Maya Angelou, "People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." Thanks and have a stellar week!