Christmas Bazaar is right around the corner at St. Michael's Catholic Church

St. Michael's Catholic Church will be holding its Christmas Bazaar Nov. 12 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. There will be two floors of gift items for sale, including a children's room, white elephant room, parish room, Tupperware, Tastefully Simple, Longaberger baskets, Cookie Lee Jewelry, Pampered Chef, and Snyders Pretzels. Plants and homemade jellies, jams and pickles will also be available for sale, as well as a bake table. Lunch will also be available for purchase.

This is the time of year when there are craft shows and bazaars everywhere. The Bazaar of the Churches will be held Nov. 19 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Lisbon Fire Hall on Route 94, south of Route 144. Participating churches include; Lisbon United Methodist, Shepherd of the Glen Lutheran and St Paul's Episcopal.

Gift items, crafts, homemade candies, baked goods, and cheese balls will be available for sale. There will also be a silent auction, and the Fire Department's Ladies Auxiliary will be selling lunch.

I would like to think that people are just so desperate for money that they the only way they can get money is to scam trusting people. Of course, that is no excuse for stealing for hardworking people. And with our area having been through an earthquake, hurricane and tropical storm this year, home improvement and home remodeling scams are on the rise.

Howard County Executive Ken Ulman is warning residents to be on the alert for people offering to repair driveways, do home improvements or handyman work. The county has received several reports of unlicensed contractors who gave an estimate and after the work was done, bumped the price up by thousands of dollars

These scam artists will typically just appear on your door step, especially those of seniors, and will either work without a contract or just write one up on the spot. Home improvement contractors are required to be licensed. That includes tree trimming and removal services. To check a contractor out, call 410-230-6309 or for tree trimming, call 410-260-3233.

If you do need to hire a home improvement contractor, keep in mind that in our state, you are only required to pay one-third of the contract price up front and no more. You also have a three-day cancelation opportunity that should be written into your contract. The county urges anyone who feels threatened by these door-to-door solicitors to call the police immediately.

I worked for Medicare for 37 years before retiring last year. Over the years, there were many times when I would just shake my head because I never understood why everything about Medicare had to be so complicated; but it is.

The State Health Insurance Assistance Program is conducting workshops through our area focusing on gaps in Medicare coverage. They will be providing information on Medicare Supplemental Policies (Medigap), Medicare Advantage Plans (Part C), and answering questions concerning Medicare. We are now in the open enrollment period for Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage (Part D), which ends Dec. 7.

You can make an appointment to meet with a SHIP Counselor who will help you research find a Part D plan that meets your prescription needs. To schedule an appointment, call 410-313-7392.

The next few workshops are scheduled for:

• Tuesday, Nov. 8, 9 a.m.-noon, at the Gary J. Arthur Community Center, in Glenwood;

• Nov. 17, 5-8 p.m., at the Bain Center, in Columbia; and

• Nov. 18, 9 a.m.-3 p.m., at the Ellicott City Senior Center.

Local Realtor Pat Hiban has made his mark in the real estate market and it looks as if he's set his sights on the publishing world as well.

His first book, "6 Steps to 7 Figures," made the New York Times Bestseller List recently and is currently No. 6 on the list of the nation's top-selling books.

Hiban's book is based on his common sense approach to setting and reaching goals, both professionally and personally. Pat's book is not only a learning guide to achieving success, but a story about a kid who struggled through school with learning disabilities only to reach a point in his life where he made $5 million in real estate commissions. He is also one of a handful of people to earn the designation as a Billion Dollar Agent, having sold properties that exceed $1 billion in value.

He has spent more than 25 years in the real estate market as a an agent and investor and continues to sell homes and invest in real estate. He also takes time off to spend with his family in Clarksville or check items off his bucket list, such as reaching the summit of Africa's Mt. Kilimanjaro.

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