The Maryland Youth Symphony concert conducted by Angelo Gatto set for Jan. 13 at 3 p.m. in the Fine and Performing Arts Theatre of CCBC Catonsville includes some of our very talented musicians.

Lauren Bae and Drew Davis play cello. Alexis Datta and Rina Kim play oboe. You'll find Justin Yi of Clarksville and Kayla Krammes of Highland in the violin section. Alicia Ouyang of Dayton plays flute.

The program includes works by Beethoven, Borodin, Bizet and Soulahti. Tickets are $12 for general admission or $8 for seniors and students. To learn more, go to http://www.myso.info.org or call 410-442-5645.

This is the year of painless fundraisers for local schools with lots of dining out opportunities. Clarksville Middle School PTA will benefit from your purchases at Ledo's on Jan. 15 from 4 to 10 p.m. You can choose to dine in or carry out. Be sure to mention the school.


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The Senior Health Insurance Assistance Program of Howard County is offering two seminars on Jan 16.

"Long Term Living: Covering the Cost" will be presented at the Kiwanis Wallis Recreation Center at 11 a.m. There is no fee to learn ways to cover the costs of long-term care, but you are asked to register by calling 410-313-7391.

"Medicare 101—What You Can Expect from Medicare" will be offered at the Bain Center at 7 p.m. This program covers Medicare Parts A, B and D. Register by calling 410-313-7391.

Students from Pointers Run Elementary and Clarksville Middle School will appear in "The Sound of Music" at Toby's Dinner Theater.

There is a half price offer for friends and family for the matinee on Jan. 20. Call the box office and reserve seats to enjoy the buffet, sundae bar and a wonderful classic show for a song.

Would you like to eat more and weigh less?

Well, here is the continuing saga of life in Nicaragua.

Last Tuesday, I stayed at Hotel Dalinky writing the column and helping in the kitchen while clinics and construction got under way in Tola.

While I was enjoying air conditioning, Kyleen Snider, Chris Long and daughters Abby and Sara were at the school where improvised clinics functioned with no a/c. Worse yet, Robb Long, Steve Folsom and one of my roommates Ellen Murdick were with the group at the construction site.

Jackie Bergland did an excellent job with vacation Bible school for children at Rivas Central Church. Steve Folsom of Dayton lays block all day and relaxes the group by playing guitar as we await supper. George Abraham is a volunteer dentist extracting teeth day after day. George on his harmonica joins Steve in providing music for the group and we all sing.

On Thursday, I spent most of my time pouring concrete with Sara Long. who had moved over to the construction team. She's a great worker.

On Friday I was working with Robb Long. He's an excellent block layer.

On Sunday, a group of us attended a church in Rivas where Heather Wahlen preached on the story of Ruth. After lunch, the medical/dental teams held clinics in the barrios.

On Sunday, Abby Long had joined the construction crew. Carol McHenry came to translate and the project seemed to go more smoothly. Kyleen Snider is sick with a low fever and sore throat.

If you love July 4th, you would love New Year's Eve in Nicaragua. Father Time of the old year does not exit quietly. They create the old man from paper and vast quantities of firecrackers. At midnight you set him on fire and there are explosions you could hardly believe. Some firecrackers are as large as my forearm.

Unfortunately, Ellen and I needed to get up to help fix breakfast at 4:30 a.m. on New Year's Day.

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