West Friendship: Happy wishes for Carol and Don Miles on celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary

Golden wishes to Carol and Don Miles who celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in October 2011. The Miles were married in Baltimore in October of 1961.

Last fall, the couple renewed their vows during a Mass at St. Michael's Catholic Church in Poplar Springs. Carol and Don were joined by their five children, two daughters-in-law and their two grandchildren, who are the lights of their lives.

Joining in the wonderful party were Ted Miles, Tim and Doree Miles, Stephen and Donna Miles, Patrick Miles, Colleen Miles, young grandchildren Lapo and Kebede Miles and a host of family and friends during a beautiful celebration of Carol and Don's golden anniversary.

Congratulations to these exceptional community members and longtime residents.

Roger Roark of West Friendship loves nature. Lately he has been thrilled with all the surprise sightings free for the taking. On Jan. 6, Roger and his wife were checking out a walking trail near the West Friendship Farm Museum when lo and behold, the Roarks spotted a bald eagle perched in a tree. According to Roger, it was back in November when he spotted a similar sight in Glenwood. For a nature photographer like Roger, these events were like pure gold.

News from Rebecca Miller, outgoing reporter for the Sunshine and Clovers 4- H Club. Rebecca has been a stalwart reporter for the past two years. Nary a month went by when I did not hear from her on club happenings, anecdotes about the club and its activities and a genial and positive approach to her reports which were right in line with the name of her club, "Sunshine."

On Jan. 17, the Sunshine 4-H held the installation of the 2012 roster of officers. The new slate of officers include Mariah Grosko, president; Karen Vanisko, vice-president; Ellly VanVranken, secretary; Dakota Spahr, treasurer; Maggie VanVranken, historian; Matthew Hulett, reporter; Jason and Allison Vanisko, social activities leaders; and Heather Spahr and Annie Miller, organization leaders.

During December, the incoming officers attended officer training sessions at the Glenwood Community Center. Currently the club officers and club members are hard at work completing their 4-H record books, an accumulation of the year's projects, community service and activities. These books are turned in to a judging committee during the Howard County Fair each August.

The Sunshine and Clovers are presently involved in a bicycle recycling program for "Smiles for Miles." The club members are collecting used bicycles and repairs are being made by a relative of one of the club members. The repaired and road ready bikes will be distributed to children in need.

The Sunshine 4-H always welcomes new members. The club meets at 6:30 p.m. on the second Wednesday of each month in the 4-H hall at the Howard County Fairgrounds. Next meeting is set for Feb. 8 at 6:30 p.m.

A huge thank-you to the volunteers of West Friendship's Station 3. During 2011, the volunteers responded to 1,202 fire calls and 1,378 emergency medical calls. These men and women serve us all on a daily basis and we are grateful.

Speaking of volunteer fire personnel, congratulations to Josh Peklo who has recently been named fire chief of the Davidson, N.C., Volunteer Fire Department. Josh began as a volunteer at West Friendship Volunteer Fire Department when he was a high school student. Josh is the technical director of the Davidson College theater department in the town of Davidson, N.C., where he resides with his wife, Marion, and three children Henry, Emma and Ophelia.

The West Friendship Elementary School PTA meeting is set for Tuesday, Feb. 7 at 9:30 a.m. in the Media Center. All are welcome.

Just a reminder. The Howard County Department of Recreation and Parks has announced its Deer Management Program for 2012. Several opportunities are available for citizens who like to help maintain a stable, balanced white-tailed deer population through a managed deer hunt. The managed hunts will include a combination of bow and shotgun hunting in Howard County parks.

The parks will be closed during the hunting hours of dawn until noon. A bow and shotgun hunt is set for Monday, Feb. 6 at the Alpha Ridge Park. For information on this program or to register, go to the Department of Recreation and Parks website at http://www.howardcountymd.gov/deermanagement.htm or call 410-313-1675.

Anyone who reads this column regularly has probably figured out by now that I am a great fan of reusing, recycling and re-purposing. Thus comes this repeat story of Groundhog Day.

When German settlers arrived in the United States in the 1700s, they brought a tradition known as Candlemas Day. Candlemas Day came at the mid-point between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. Superstition told that if the weather was nice on that day, the second half of Winter would be stormy and cold.

For the early Christians in Europe, it was the custom on Candlemas Day for clergy to bless candles and distribute them to the people in the dark of winter. A lighted candle was placed in each window of the home.

The weather continued to be important to the early Christians. If the sun came out Feb. 2, the day halfway between winter and spring, it meant six more weeks of wintry weather. In Europe, it was a hedgehog that was watched with hope that he'd not see his shadow. When settlers arrived in America, there were no hedgehogs to be found. So they adopted the groundhog as the new world's weather forecaster.

The groundhog was chosen because it wintered underground like the hedgehog and because the Native Americans in the region respected the animal greatly. They considered the groundhog to be a wise and sensible animal. Although Groundhog's Day is an American holiday, it has European roots.

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