"Beware The Ides of March." No need for foreboding. While Julius Caesar was famously warned to beware, we in West Friendship are thrilled to know that spring is on the way. Members of the Howard County Bird Club will meet for a spring field trip at Centennial Park Sunday, March 18 at 8 a.m.

The bird enthusiasts will enjoy an easy walk around the lake on the paved path with the purpose of observing waterfowl. If you would like to join the bird watchers, call leader Joe Byrnes at 410-730-5329 or email Joe at LBRoller@verizon.net. The bird watching walk is expected to last about two to three hours. Participants will meet at the west end parking lot on Centennial Lane.

While we are on the subject of spring birds. This time of year is just right for observing the beauty of the birds in our region according to Kate Tufts, who is an avowed bird enthusiast. Now is a great time for kids in the community to show off their artistic prowess by entering the Howard County Bird Club's third annual Student Birding Art Contest. The art contest is open to Howard County students ages 9-13.

Prizes include backpack containing a pair of Eagle Optics binoculars and field guides. If you would like to draw or paint your favorite Maryland bird, then visit the club website at http://www.howardbirds.org and follow the cues to the contest rules and entry forms. Entries will be accepted until May 31, 2012.


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Spring fever. Spring training. "It happens every Spring." That's baseball. I know it's the eve of spring when my husband heads to Florida to watch his beloved New York Yankees during spring training.

Morse Solomon knows and loves the great American game, too. Morse is busy getting his coed softball league lineup. The ballplayers ages 19 and up are part of the Cindy LaRue coed, corecreational league. Right now the slow pitch, non competitive softball team are looking for more members for the team. Couples, women, you name it are sought to add to the roster of this fun softball loving gang.

The games are played on Sunday afternoons at the Wilde Lake Middle School fields in Columbia. Games are held April through August. No athletic skill is required but the desire to have fun in a relaxed social setting is a requirement. According to Morse, no one gets benched in this league. Everyone plays.

Interested? Registration fee is $20. For information or to register, call Morse at 410-461-6712 or email mbsolomon@verizon.net.

Brain Benders. That was the order of the day at West Friendship Elementary March 9 when the students were treated to an assembly presented by the folks at the Maryland Science Center. Science phenomena from "walking through a piece of paper" to learning that humans are " stronger than air" were part of the mind boggling demonstrations that were presented to the assembled students. The students at West Friendship Elementary have enjoyed myriad worthwhile programs this year compliments of the active Parent Teachers Association.

Mark your calendar for March 14 when the River Hill High School musical "Footloose" will let loose at the high school auditorium. The show opens on March 14 at 7 p.m. and will continue with 7 p.m. performances on March 15, 16 and 17 and a 2 p.m. matinee performance on March 18. Tickets are $12 at the door.

Questions? Email Pam Land at pland@hcpss.org. Need advance tickets which sell for $11? Go to http://www.seatyourself.biz/rhhs.

And mark your calendar once again for another great classic musical which is being performed at Marriotts Ridge High School March 22-24 at 7 p.m. and March 25 at 3 p.m. "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying" is set to hit the stage at Marriotts Ridge High next weekend.

The Columbia Pro Cantare presents "Remembrances" Sunday, March 18 at 3 p.m. at the First Evangelical Lutheran Church, 3604 Chatham Road, in Ellicott City. Debussy, Hayden, Delius and more are on the program of beautiful classical choral works. For tickets or information, call 301-854-0107 or 410-799-9321 or go to the website at http://www.procantare.org.

Mark your calendar for a special event at the Howard County Historical Society March 25 at 2 p.m. Author Jehanne Wake, who has written a book titled, "Sisters of Fortune," will sign copies of her historical work which centers on the Caton sisters who were the granddaughters of Charles Carroll of Carrollton. Refreshments will be served during this event. The Historical Society is at 8328 Court Ave. in historic Ellicott City.

This is the weekend when the Howard County Fairgrounds becomes a sea of tractors, trucks, farm, lawn and garden equipment. The annual Gregory's Auction Spring Equipment Sale is set for Saturday, March 17 beginning at 9 a.m. The auction will go on for most of the day, with several auctioneers selling all manner of equipment. For a listing of some of the sale items, go to the website at http://www.gregorysauctions.com.

Just a reminder. For those in need of food assistance, the Glenelg United Methodist Church food pantry will be open Saturday, March 17 from 9 to 10 a.m. Glenelg United Methodist is at 13900 Burntwoods Road, in Glenelg.

Questions? Call 410-489-7260.

The Antique Farm Machinery Club of West Friendship will hold a meeting Monday, March 19 at 7:30 p.m. in the dining hall at the Howard County Fairgrounds. New members are always welcome to join in the club meeting and discussion.

Don't forget to keep the Sunshine and Clovers 4-H Club in mind when spring cleaning finds you culling the basement, barn, garage or garden shed. The local 4-H kids have aligned with the great grandfather of two of the club members in a bicycle collection project.

Dakota and Raelyn Spahr's great grandfather, Ernest Schrider, of Berkley Springs, W.Va., has agreed to repair and reclaim any bicycles the club membership collects. Schrider will deliver the refurbished bikes to kids in need in the Appalachian area. New and used bikes are great as are any old bike parts and new helmets.

The 4-H club members will accept the bikes at the Howard County fairgrounds March 31 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Signs posted as " Miles of Smiles" will direct donors to the designated collection area.