Congratulations to the members of West Friendship Volunteer Fire Department who enjoyed a lovely evening at the Circle D Farm during the department's 67th annual awards anquet.
Members of Station 3 expressed gratitude to the firefighters of Sykesville Freedom District Volunteer Fire Department who filled in so that Station 3 members could enjoy an evening of well deserved relaxation.
Long time volunteers John Mills, Carl Buell and Alan Ridgely all were awarded service pins.
Recipients of outstanding service awards included:
Top ambulance responders — Lt. Erik Steciak, Bambi Nelms, Nicole Tugwell, Renee Lottes and Theresa Thompson.
Top fire responders — Sgt. Scott Christiansen, Deputy Chief Gary Unverzagt, Jimmy Baker, Lt. Erik Steciak and Chief Mickey Day.
Career Officer of the Year was Cpt. Richard Weber.
Chuck Stillings was named Career Firefighter of the Year.
The Charles H. Ridgely Award for the outstanding administrative member was awarded to Diana Coll.
Duty Crew Member of the Year was Carl Buell.
The "Tuesday Night" crew was awarded the Duty Crew of the Year Award.
The William T. Dorsey Rookie of the Year Award was given to Jeff Rizzo.
Assistant Chief Mark Miller was awarded the Earl Molesworth Award for Outstanding Life Member.
The Luke T. Hoffman Training Award went to Lt. Erik Steciak.
The Glenwood Lions Club Firefighter of the Year Award went to Geoff Failla.
Lt.Mike Collins was named as Officer of the Year.
Congratulations to these brave and hard working individuals. These are the very people who protect our community on a daily basis. Thank you.
How lucky are we to live in an area with so many local activities within arms reach? Holiday celebrations have begun at the Shrine of St. Anthony. The Franciscan Friars invite the community to join with them and with the youth ministry from St. Louis Catholic Church Sunday and Monday, Dec. 11 and 12 at 7:30 p.m. for a Greccio.
The friars will celebrate with a live nativity fashioned in the manner of the one created by St. Francis of Assisi in the town of Greccio, Italy. Christmas carols, prayers, and a living nativity will take place outdoors in the red barn on the property at 12290 Folly Quarter Road.
Refreshments will be served to those who attend. Families are welcome and encouraged to join in this re-creation of St. Francis' Bethlehem scene as he did in Italy in 1223.
Another outdoor service is planned by the parishioners of St. James United Methodist Church. Community members are invited to join church members for a 20-minute outdoor service in which "The Christmas Story" will be staged live by church members and a few barnyard friends as well. Two performances are scheduled for Dec. 17 at 7 and 8 p.m.
Brother Gerry Seipp's fabulous train garden in the Manor House at the Shrine of St. Anthony on Folly Quarter Road is open to the public Sunday, Dec. 11 from 1 to 3 p.m.
Fanciful figures, dozens of working trains and magically lit ceramic buildings framed by the magnificent glittery tree in the historic Manor House foyer make for a festive event. The train garden open house will continue Sundays 1-3 p.m. through January with the exception of Christmas Day and New Year's Day.
Mark your calendar for Dec. 13 at 7 p.m. when the choral students of West Friendship Elementary will perform in concert at the school. The students raised their voices for their fellow students during a school day concert Dec. 12.
West Friendship students have been involved in a worthwhile collection effort during December. The students filled more than 45 stockings loaded with toddler cups, infant hats, socks and wash cloths, baby rattles, baby bibs and more. All of these items are to be delivered to representatives of the Johns Hopkins Children's Hospital neonatal intensive care unit.
If you would like to support West Friendship Elementary, you can do so by purchasing your Christmas tree from Harbin's Farm tree outlet at the corner of Route 99 and Bethany Lane. Harbin's Farm will donate a portion of tree sales to the West Friendship Elementary PTA. Just make sure and mention West Friendship Elementary when you purchase your tree, garland or greens.
If you visit historic Ellicott City during the holidays make sure to check out all the fabulous Christmas windows provided by the shops along Main Street.
Rick Schwedes, of Cottage Antiques, always created a splendid nostalgic splash with elves, celluloid decorations, tinsel, garland and vintage toys, but this year, his fellow employees are taking on the task as Rick has had some health problems this year. Vote for your favorite window by posting a ballot at the tourism office at 8627 Main St.
If you've never stopped by The Pink Cabbage Shop, now is the time. Marcie Barnard and the team of "cabbagers" have decked the place out in holiday splendor. There is nary a nook or cranny which is not brimming with holiday dazzle.
When I dropped by the two-story shop at 11707 Frederick Road Nov. 26, the day proclaimed nationally as Small Business Saturday, the place was stocked to the rafters with home crafted and vintage items from stocking stuffers to one of a kind "must-haves."
A stop at The Pink Cabbage is always a dazzling treat. The women who run this shop know how to have fun and all in a shop loaded with warmth and ambience. Cookies and cider and nifty items you didn't even realize you needed or wanted. The shop is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Don't forget to bring a new toy for Toys for Tots. If you do, the "cabbagers" will display their collective gratitude with a 15-percent discount on one item of regularly priced merchandise.
Speaking of Toys for Tots, I do mention it quite often at this time of year, simply because it is in people's nature to want to give and this is probably the most fun giving of any. By the time representatives from the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation came for a third and final pick up at Curves in Glenelg, the amount of playthings had numbered close to 300.
If you would like to pitch in with an unwrapped gift for a child, then bring your donation to Eyre Tour and Travel, in Glenelg, by Friday, Dec. 9. Don't forget that the Pink Cabbage Shop at Triadelphia Road and Route 144 and the front office of Glenelg High School, via the Key Club, are organizations also acting as local host venues for Toys for Tots.
This beloved and long traditional holiday giving effort begun by the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve in 1947, is alive and well. The first toy donated back in 1947 was a Raggedy Ann doll handcrafted by the wife of Toys for Tots founder Col. Bill Hendricks.
Bring your new toys and games to the Toys for Tots depot boxes by Dec. 9.
Never been to the West Friendship Farm Museum? Now's the chance and in particular when the Hebb House portion of the museum is decked out in holiday splendor. The Howard County Living Farm Heritage Museum's Hebb House will be the setting for a holiday open house Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 10 and 11, noon-4 p.m.
This is an excellent opportunity to view the local farm museum, a dream that has come true for the members of the Howard County Antique Farm Machine Club. Virginia and John Frank and all the committees have worked tirelessly for several years now to see the fruition of this local museum which is dedicated to life in simpler times.
There is no admission fee, though donations are gratefully accepted. The open house will feature a train garden, antique displays, live music and refreshments. Virginia Frank notes that the motif will be one of holiday seasons from years past.
Hebb House is at 12985 Frederick Road (Route 144), just across the street from the Howard County fairgrounds. Questions? Call 410-531-2569 or go to the club website at http://www.farmheritage.org.
It's home for the holidays at Greenbridge Pottery where new designs in clay and ceramics and homemade herbal soaps stock the shelves in Dayton. The holiday season hums with the musical strains of Greenbridge's favorite April Vega on harp Saturday, Dec.10, noon-2 p.m.
Hot mulled cider and refreshments are always on the buffet. The December weekend schedule at Greenbridge Pottery will include musical guests and refreshments, in addition to the signature pottery and ceramics of Rebecca Moy, through to the end of the year.
Questions? Call Greenbridge at 410-531-5920 or go to the colorful Web site at http://www.greenbridgepottery.com for the full lineup of winter festivities. The pottery barns are open most weekends, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.