A mild winter has left many of us with an early case of spring fever, but a sure sign that spring has arrived is the return of the Howard County farmers markets. The markets will begin their 2012 season this week, in five locations throughout the county. At each of these markets, local and regional farmers will provide the freshest fruits, vegetables, meats, dairy, eggs and baked goods for your health and enjoyment. Nothing tastes better then fruit or vegetables picked fresh at their peak!

By supporting Howard County's farmers markets you are supporting local agriculture in our community. Consumers have the opportunity to talk with the farmer and achieve a better understanding of how that farmer grows his or her food. These markets are unique in that each one is stocked by the producer so you are getting it right from the source.

The 2012 farmers markets will be located at the Glenwood Branch Library, Miller Branch Library, East Columbia Library, Howard County General Hosptial and Oakland Mills Village Center. For more information or market dates and times, go to http://www.howardcountyfarmersmarkets.com/.

Glenelg High School's popular Jazz Under the Stars is back for another spring performance. Now in its 14th year, the concert is presented by the Glenelg High School Jazz Ensemble, and will take place on Saturday, May 19. The evening begins at 5 p.m. with a catered picnic dinner at Chapel View Farm. Following dinner, settle down and enjoy a concert by the Glenelg Jazz Ensemble, in the beautiful country setting of western Howard County. This year, the evening will also feature the music of special guest artist Damon Foreman.


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Bring lawn chairs and blankets and join your family and friends for a fun evening of great food and entertainment. All procees will benefit the Glenelg Marching Unit. Tickets for dinner and the concert are $30 for adult and $17 for children 5-12 and free for those younger than 5. No tickets will be sold at the gate. The last day to purchase tickets is May 16, so go online to http://www.instantseats.com/index.cfmfuseaction=home.venue&venueid=115 to purchase your ticket. For additional information, email JazzUnderTheStars@glenelgbands.com.

The Howard County Solo and Ensemble Festival took place at Ellicott Mills Middle School in mid-April. The following local students proudly performed at the event. Representing the Triadelphia Ridge Elementary School Band were fifth-graders Sophia Yu, Andrew Meier, Taylor Currie, Erin Jeffery, Tatsuo Lerdboon, Jake Sutch and Henry Zhao. Triadelphia Ridge fourth-grade performers included Carly Angel, Tommy Ruddo, Noah Choe, Alena Shen, Walter Donoghue, Joseph Yang, Josh Goldberg, Andrew Zhang, Tatsuo Lerdboon Matt Gower, Tony Lazzari and Ashleigh Moses.

Many students from Bushy Park Elementary School also participated in the Festival. These included second-grader Amy Hwang, third-grader Madelyn Dwyer, fourth-graders Ava Dutrow, Rebecca Pasquino, Ella Glazier, Megan Writt, Gabby Steinberg, Henna Datta and Grace Hills and fifth-graders Jeffrey Read, Julian Peregoff, Charlotte Glazier, Victoria Wright, Julia Gonzalez, Anna Haney, Holly Vallone, Gabriella Cawley and Sarah Cipolla.

Congratulations to all of these young musicians for their great performances. Keep the music playing!

St. Andrew's Church is holding its annual gigantic benefit yard sale on Saturday, May 12 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 2892 Route 97 in Glenwood, between Union Chapel Road and the Post Office. The entire Parish Hall will be exploding with items. Come find your newest treasures.

Money raised from the yard sale will go toward the church's Youth Pilgrimage Trip in July. Questions about the sale should be directed to Lynne Quinn at 410-442-5445 or email lynnequinn@comcast.net.

At the same time as the yard sale, St. Andrews is also holding its popular and annual flower, herb and vegetable sale. The sale will take place Saturday and Sunday, May 12 and 13 from 9 a.m.to 1 p.m. each day. This is a great time to purchase annuals, cutting garden flowers, hanging pots, vegetables, herbs and Mother's Day planters! Funds from the flower sale will also go toward funding the Youth Pilgrimage Trip in July.

The Howard County Citizens Association will hold its 51st annual meeting on May 14 at 7p.m. at the Hawthorn Center, 6175 Sunny Spring in Columbia. The meeting will focus on hearing county resident concerns and suggestions to continue to improve the county in such areas as growth, traffic and transportation, timely emergency medical care, the new General Plan, expansion of Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance, downtown Columbia, and the right to referendum, etc.

Citizen input will be forwarded to County officials to get their feedback and to act where appropriate. Refreshments will be served.

For questions or comments please go to howardcountyhcca.org/contact-us/.

Looking for a fun summer experience without leaving home? Have you ever considered hosting an international student in your home? EF Language Travel is currently looking for stable, caring host families to host students from Spain, France, Russia and China this summer.

The students are here July 4-23 and July 25-Aug. 13. They range in age from 14 to 17. The students will spend weekdays at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County campus studying English and going on various field trips and outings.

Host families drop off students at 8:30 a.m. and pick them up at 5:30 p.m. Host families provide a bed and three meals a day for the students. Evenings and weekends are spent with their host families. Host families receive a stipend of $300 per student they host. Students have their own spending money and medical insurance.

Interested families should email april.snyder@ef.com or call 443-812-4914.