The grounds of the Catonsville Y are looking better each and every day Junior Girl Scout Troop 331 is hard at work planting flowers, bulbs, and bushes. Jill Black, troop leader, is proud of her hard-working scouts, which include Savannah Black, Emily Dagirmanjian, Maddie Chiveral, Autumn Gibbs, Megan McDonnell, Monica Mercurio, Arial Rivera, Julianne Schallmo, and Jennifer Taylor. (Submitted photo / April 6, 2012)

Jill Black, troop leader for Junior Girl Scout Troop 331 at St. Augustine Church, is excited to share some news about her young charges. Troop 331 is currently hard at work on a project to earn the Bronze Award, the highest honor in Junior Girl Scouts, landscaping and mulching trails at the Catonsville YMCA.

Following the center's recent expansion, the grounds were in dire need of a makeover, which presented a perfect fit for the troop's bronze challenge. These industrious young ladies launched the project on March 9, planting flowers, bulbs and bushes and mulching garden beds, walkways and trails leading to a nearby creek.

Their anticipated completion date, barring unforeseen weather issues or snags, is April 26. The staff and members of the Catonsville Y are especially pleased with the beautification of the grounds and have offered rave reviews through each phase of the girl's collaborative efforts.

Black is proud of her hard-working scouts, which include Savannah Black, Emily Dagirmanjian, Maddie Chiveral, Autumn Gibbs, Megan McDonnell, Monica Mercurio, Arial Rivera, Julianne Schallmo and Jennifer Taylor. Congratulations, girls!

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For a totally different kind of celebration, don't miss the Howard High School's National Art Honor Society's "Javapalooza" event on Friday, April 13, 7-9 p.m., in the school's senior courtyard. It is a night for fun, friends, food, and music from some of the Howard's most talented musicians… and all for less than $5.

The 2011 event featured several bands, tie-dye making, and some spectacular homemade baked goods and 2012 is gearing up to be even better. The proceeds from Javapalooza benefit other events held by NAHS, such as purchasing clay for Empty Bowls, which, in turn benefits Grassroots Crisis Center, Howard County's only 24-hour homeless and crisis center. This is one of those quintessential examples where the "pay it forward" philosophy truly shines.

‎"Last year, Empty Bowls and Javapalooza really showcased both the artistic and musical talent of the school," NAHS President Jeff Manzione said. "They have proven time and time again that Howard students and faculty are always ready to give back to the community."

Manzione, and other senior officers Claire Tomaszewski, Jakie Andrews, Meghan Uhl and Kellee Roeder and all the NAHS members invite you to Howard's Javapalooza for a fantastic time.

Don't miss the grand opening celebration of Elkridge's very own delectable Edible Arrangements. Store manager Stasia O'Donnell invites you to stop by the "edible open house" and enjoy free samples of their treats on Saturday, April 14 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at 6010 Meadowridge Center Drive, Suite B, Elkridge. For a visual "taste" of these delicious fruit displays, go to

The Elkridge Elementary School students will be pounding their hooves this weekend in the second annual Elkster 5K race, taking place on Sunday, April 15 at 9 a.m. at the school, 7075 Montgomery Road, Elkridge. The event benefits the PTA family programs and race proceeds will help cover the cost of hosting assemblies and educational presentations.

If you would like to volunteer on race day, email the Elkridge Elementary PTA at For additional information, or to make a donation, email Jeanne DeBoy at

The Friends of Patapsco Valley Heritage Greenway stream cleanup off Pebble Creek Drive (near the Timbers at Troy Golf Course off Deborah Jean Drive) takes place this Saturday, April 14 from 9 a.m. to noon.

Tropical Storm Lee deposited a fair amount of natural debris around this small creek, which creates flood conditions along the surrounding stream banks when it rains.

Volunteers will also help remove the unsightly trash that has been washed into the stream from nearby storm drains. For more information, email PHG Stream captain Gary Brown at or PHG Executive Director Betsy McMillion at

Don't miss the group's 13th annual Garlic Mustard Challenge, on May 6 from 1 to 4:30 p.m. in the Orange Grove Area of Patapsco State Park. This event primarily centers on a garlic mustard-pulling contest, but the PHG has made a regular celebration out of this yearly battle with the invasive garlic mustard, and the event will feature a chef contest, old-fashioned games, music by Elkridge's own Sam "The Muleman" Miller, a watershed scavenger hunt, environmental exhibits and more.

The undefeated champion garlic mustard puller, Brian Schnexnayder, is not only the reigning title-holder of the prestigious "Most Pounds of Garlic Mustard Per Person" Award, but also an expert bubble gum blower! The bubble gum blowing contest is just one of the many fun old-fashioned games you'll experience at the annual celebration following the pull. Trying to unseat Schnexnayder of just one of his titles might just be worth the effort to participate.

If you'd like to get involved with this fun event, volunteers are still needed for both the committee and the challenge itself. A good planning committee and plenty of teamwork will help ensure yet another successful "pull" for 2012. Volunteer coordinators are needed for all areas, including set up, registration, cleanup, games, cooking and poster contests, refreshments, scavenger hunt, cleanup, etc. College student volunteers can earn up to nine student service hours by participating at the GMC. If you are interested, please email Betsy McMillion at

The 2012 kick-off dinner for the Elkridge Assembly Rooms Pot Luck Dinners will be held on April 23 at 6:30 p.m. (In May, this monthly event will return to its normal third-Monday-of-the-month schedule). At 7:30 p.m., the potluck dinner will feature the music of Ronn McFarlane, virtuoso lutenist.

McFarlane appeared in 2011 to rave reviews and has agreed to a repeat showing. Joining him for this performance will be Mindy Rosenfeld, internationally recognized flutist, piper and harpist. Bring a dish to share that will serve at least eight, kick back, and relax with good company, delicious food, and amazing music at the Elkridge Assembly Room hall on Lawyers Hill Road in Elkridge.

For more information, email Patrick Larkin at