The Howard County Arts Council has announced the availability of the Black Box Theatre for rental. It is a 98-seat multipurpose performance space and is equipped with professional sound and lighting equipment, nearby dressing rooms, padded seats, black stage curtains and a sprung dance floor. A performance grand piano is also available for rental through a separate agreement with the Howard County Music Teachers Association. All renters of the theater are required to carry a commercial liability insurance policy of $1 million. Other requirements and rental request forms and rates can be found at hocoarts.org. Rental request forms should be mailed to Room Rentals at the Howard County Arts Council, 8510 High Ridge Road, Ellicott City, 21043.
The Department of Recreation and Parks has opened its newly renovated boat-launching ramp and fishing pier at Centennial Park. Located on the south side of the park, the ramp and pier improvements include an enlarged pier and an ADA-compliant walkway. The start of this year's boating season, which normally begins March 1, was pushed back to April 22 because of the construction project. As a result, the cost of an annual boat permit has been reduced from $35 to $30. Permit is good for the entire season, which ends Nov. 30. Information: 410-313-7271 or howardcountymd.gov/rap.
The Howard County Department of Recreation and Parks has received a $30,000 grant from the National Recreational Trails Program Fund. The grant will be used for the renovation of the Village of Owen Brown's pedestrian pathway system.
The project, scheduled to begin in October, will allow the restoration of the deteriorating East Columbia pathway with a new overlay of asphalt. Howard County will provide $30,000 in matching funds, along with any remaining funds needed.
Renovations will consist of repaving the 3,909-foot pathway that serves the Owen Brown Community Center, Owen Brown Interfaith Center, Owen Brown Village Shopping Center, Cradlerock School, the Howard County Library's East Columbia branch, and the Southwick and Elkhorn housing communities. Anticipated completion date is the summer of 2012.
Yard waste collection
Howard County's Bureau of Environmental Services will resume weekly yard waste collections through Jan. 20, 2012. Yard waste will be picked up weekly during regular recycling days and should be placed outside by 6 a.m. Allowable yard waste items include grass, leaves, hedge clippings/light brush, small limbs or branches less than 4 inches in diameter and 4 feet in length, dry seed pods, straw, hay and bamboo. Residents are encouraged to use paper bags or reusable containers. To obtain a free paper yard waste bag (limit two bags per family), go to the Bureau of Environmental Services at 6751 Columbia Gateway Drive, Suite 514 in Columbia, or the Alpha Ridge Landfill at 2350 Marriottsville Road in Marriottsville.
For a complete list of what yard waste is and is not accepted, or for more information, go to howardcountymd.gov/dpw/recycling.htm.
Kindred Spirits, a social club for people diagnosed with early memory loss or dementia, will meet from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesdays and Fridays in the 50+ Center at the Gary J. Arthur Community Center at Glenwood. Highlights include speakers, discussion of current events, yoga, meditation and art therapy. Daily fee of $26 includes snacks, lunch, coffee and tea. Information: Judy Miller at 410-313-5441 or email@example.com. The program is sponsored by the Howard County Office on Aging and the Alzheimer's Association of Greater Maryland.
Habitat for Humanity and the Boy Scouts of America have placed a collection bin for aluminum cans at the entrance to the parking lot of Christ Memorial Presbyterian Church, 6410 Amherst Ave., in Allview Estates. Information: 410-997-4949.
Recycle old TVs
The Howard County Bureau of Environmental Services reminds residents to recycle analog TVs rather than throw them away. Options available:
The Alpha Ridge Landfill Resident's Convenience Area, 2350 Marriottsville Road, is open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Saturday and accepts TVs, computers, keyboards, printers, scanners, laptops, VCRs, radios and other electronics.
Best Buy's Customer Take-Back Program allows customers to bring in old TVs (32 inches or smaller) at no charge. Limited to two televisions per person per day. Console televisions are not accepted.