Elkridge: Spring means time for cleaning up the Patapsco River Valley

Ahhhh, yes, the joys of spring cleaning… inside and out! This spring, the Friends of Patapsco Valley and Heritage Greenway, Inc. has 24 cleanups planned throughout the Patapsco River Valley. In the past seven years, the group has conducted 183 cleanups, removing more than 264 tons of trash and debris, with the help and assistance of 6,335 volunteers. All this is possible because of the dedicated team of trained stream captains who help execute these events.

Please plan to attend the stream captain training session Saturday, March 24 from 2 to 3:30 p.m. at the Catonsville Library Meeting Room (basement level), 1100 Frederick Road, in Catonsville. If possible, register by Friday, March 23 at http://www.patapscoheritagegreenway.org/eventcal.html.

Trainees will also participate in an actual cleanup at a later date with a stream captain mentor for on-the-job training. In exchange for the free training, participants are expected to participate in at least four PHG-sponsored cleanups. For more information, please email patapscofriend@gmail.com.

It may be spring, but there is still plenty of exciting ice to enjoy! Don't miss Elkridge's own Soo Jeon in the role of Belle in the theater-on-ice production of "Beauty and the Beast," Saturday and Sunday, March 24 and 25 at the Gardens Ice House in Laurel. The eighth annual Spring Ice Show will present "Beauty and the Beast" at 1 and 3:30 p.m., both days, at the Gardens Ice House Patrick Arena, 13800 Old Gunpowder Road, in Laurel.

Tickets are on sale at the arena; $10 for general admission, with a limited number of special reserved seats available for $15. General admission tickets are available online for $11 at http://www.seatyourself.biz/gardensfsc. Groups of 10 or more may purchase general admission tickets for $8 per person by emailing gfsctickets@gmail.com. Children younger than 3 will be admitted free.

The full cast includes local skaters from age 3 and older with skill levels ranging from beginner to advanced, creating a visually exciting theatrical experience. The show is an entertaining way to experience the magic and artistry of figure skating. Many of the skaters compete in the U.S. Figure Skating system including national level artistic, theater on ice, and synchronized skating competitions.

You can give the gift of life at this weekend's St. Vincent de Paul Society of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church Blood Drive in Ellicott City. The drive is being held Sunday, March 25 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., in Harrison Hall on the church grounds. Our Lady Of Perpetual Help is at 4795 Illchester Road, in Ellicott City. Walk-ins are accepted; appointments are appreciated. To schedule an appointment, call Lori Merl at 410-455-9440.

The National Art Honor Society at Howard High School hosts its annual Empty Bowls dinner benefit for Grassroots Crisis Intervention Center March 29, from 5 to 8 p.m., in the school cafeteria.

For $10 admission, attendees choose an "empty bowl" created by Howard High students and teachers and select from different kinds of soup donated by teachers and parents. All of the proceeds from the event go to Grassroots, Howard County's only 24-hour crisis center and homeless shelter.

"I'm always pleased how "Empty Bowls" turns out," art teacher and event organizer Molly Brennan said. "The coolest thing about this is not only do participants, be they students or teachers or others who help make the bowls, get the satisfaction of making something artistic and functional, there's tangible evidence that making art can be philanthropic and do good."

Grassroots is staffed by professional crisis counselors who answer 24-hour hotlines, see walk-ins in need of immediate counseling assistance, operate the mobile crisis team which responds to community emergencies, and manage the county's emergency shelter for homeless men, women and families.

In addition, Grassroots manages the Cold Weather Shelter Program, housed in the area's faith communities, for people who are unable to find emergency shelter when Grassroots is full, as well as the Route One Day Center. Howard High School is located at 8700 Old Annapolis Road (Route 108), Ellicott City. The Empty Bowls fundraiser is open to the public. For information, call 410-313-2867.

Attention all high school seniors: you only have one more month to apply for this local scholarship opportunity. The Elkridge Adult Athletic Association, a proud Elkridge community organization for more than 30 years, is accepting applications from area high school seniors for their 2012 Scholarship Awards until April 22.

More information about the EAAA Scholarship and the application process can be found on the EAAA Facebook page, or by calling Jeff Lockard at 410-796-8088 or emailing him at jeff.w.lockard@gmail.com.

You still have time to become a golf diva! Nancy Grabowski and the "Divas" are excited to, once again, hit the links with their Divas Ladies League at The Timbers at Troy. They will have an organizational meeting at March 29 at 9 a.m. at the Timbers clubhouse, 6100 Marshalee Drive.

This is a Thursday morning 18-hole league, and is open to anyone 21 or older with an established handicap. They are looking for new members and, in this league, you'll enjoy the challenge of a weekly tournament; there is a membership requirement to join the Timbers Players Club.

Go to http://www.timbersgolf.com and go to the Players Club to find out all about it, or just stop by the golf course. "Diva Season" will launch April 12 with a 9 a.m. start on the tee times.

For more information, email Grabowski at nlg2design@msn.com, or call her at 410-440-2526; or email LaVerne Brown at lvebrown@verizon.net. Have fun!

If you're looking to add to your wardrobe but need to stay on a tight budget, check out the Harwood Park United Methodist Church Thrift Shop. This local little gem of bargain shopping features high-quality, well cared for, and gently-used clothing, shoes, bags, small household and home décor items. Almost everything in the store is priced under $5 and features items for men, women and children.

The shop is opened on the first and third Saturdays of each month from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. Donations are also accepted on the days the shop is open for business. When you go, the entrance is on the side of the church at 6635 Highlands Ave. — just look for the Thrift Shop entrance sign.

For more information, or to inquire about making donations, call Jill Lloyd at 443-285-1369.

Please keep in touch and let me know what you'd like to share in this space. I'd love to post your news and events, any special occasion, anniversaries, birthdays, births, graduations, wedding bells, etc. This is your space, Elkridge and Hanover, so share your news. Thanks and have a stellar week!

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