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Here's how to be an activist protecting the Patapsco River Valley [Elkridge]

By Lisa Madera, lisamadera@verizon.net 410-796-8713

8:05 AM EDT, September 17, 2013

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The Patapsco Heritage Greenway Inc. is dedicated to preserving, protecting, interpreting and restoring the environment, history and culture of the Patapsco River Valley. If you are interested in becoming an environmental activist, here are a few of their upcoming projects.

You are invited to "Trash Out Smart Phone Application," presented by Jon Merryman, Saturday, Sept. 21, 9:30-10 am. Learn how to use your smart phone with a free application to mark places where cleanups are needed. This workshop is being presented in conjunction with a stream cleanup along Patapsco River off Hammonds Ferry Road in Linthicum.

On Tuesday, Sept. 24 (time TBA), the public is invited to "Envision the Valley," a forum seeking feedback to create a revitalized Patapsco Valley, at the Catonsville Branch Library, 1100 Frederick Road. For more information, email the PHG president@patapscoheritagegreenway.org.

Celebrate National Park Lands Day, Saturday, Sept. 28, 10 a.m.to 1 p.m., with a river cleanup and tree maintenance excursion along the Grist Mill Trail in Patapsco State Park. This project is being conducted in partnership with St. Johns Episcopal Church in the Orange Grove Area of Patapsco State Park at Avalon. The goal is to remove summer trash and spruce up previously planted trees along the trail.

The PHG will also offer a Stream Watcher Volunteer training session at the Arbutus Library Conference Room, 855 Sulphur Spring Road, Arbutus, Saturday, Sept. 28, 2 to 4 p.m. You can "adopt" a section of a stream or part of the Patapsco River, and learn how to spot key issues and how to address and/or report those concerns to the proper authorities. This training session is limited to 20 participants and registration is required.

You are also welcome to attend a public presentation of the Urban Land Institute's Final Report on how to protect the ecosystem of the Patapsco Valley Tuesday, Sept. 24, 7 p.m., at the Catonsville Library, 1100 Frederick Road, or Monday, Sept. 30, 7 p.m., at St. Augustine School, 5990 Old Washington Road, Elkridge. Registration and additional information for these events and more can be found at http://www.patapscoheritagegreenway.org.

The Elkridge Volunteer Fire Department's Junior Firefighters will sponsor a "Wacky Tacky" youth dance for ages 9-15 on Saturday, Sept. 21, 7-10 p.m., at the fire hall, 6275 Old Washington Road. Tickets are available at the door for $10 per person with a maximum of 200 tickets sold. Food and beverages, which include pizza, corn dogs, pretzels, nachos, candy, water and sodas, will also be for sale at the dance. The department does have a "no exceptions" policy on appropriate behavior and dress code for its youth dances, and also enforces a strict adult sign-in/sign-out procedure for attendance. For more information on the dance, call 410-761-6633 (and select option 5), or go to http://www.ElkridgeVFD.org.

You can gather information on healthy aging as the Howard County Office on Aging presents its 50+Expo 2013, Friday, Oct. 18, at Wilde Lake High School. There is no charge to attend this annual event.

Attendees will see almost 160 exhibitors; enjoy a free show by the nationally renowned political satirists, the Capitol Steps; and take advantage of free screenings. The Expo also offers healthy aging seminars, life-enriching workshops, flu and pneumonia vaccines, ideas and demonstrations for living green, and all day entertainment and food in the 50+ Café.

The keynote speaker is Majid Fotuhi MD, chief medical officer and principal, NeurExpand Brain Center. Dr. Fotuhi is an internationally recognized expert on memory and Alzheimer's disease. He is a Harvard and Johns Hopkins-trained neurologist and neuroscientist, and has devoted his career to finding ways of preventing Alzheimer's disease and dementia.

He will present "Boost Your Brain: How to Protect Your Memory for Life" at 10 a.m. in the Rouse Theatre at the EXPO. For more information about the 50+EXPO, call 410.313.5980 or go to http://www.howardcounthyaging.org/50plusexpo. Also, find the event on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/HoCo50PlusEXPO.

I received a courtesy reminder from a concerned neighbor, Ronald Appel: "Last week, during our daily walk, we noticed opened mail strewn along Bauman Drive. Upon closer inspection it seemed the envelopes had contained checks, which had been removed. From the return addresses, we contacted the various owners who all reside nearby on Hunt Club and Montgomery roads. The mail had been stolen from the residential mailboxes before the post office pick up. This is a huge concern, as thieves can remove the recipients name and place an alternate name on the check and even modify the amount. Please warn people they shouldn't place outgoing mail (especially containing checks) in a residential mailbox. Take the time to go to the post office or to an official blue United States Post Office box."

Thank you, Mr. Appel. I hope everyone heeds his advice. And, this isn't the first time we've seen this happen (or mentioned it here), but it's definitely worth repeating.