THUMBS UP: Not long after a family moved into one side of a fixed-up duplex in Westminster with a very favorable mortgage, the other side is available for those who qualify courtesy of Habitat for Humanity of Carroll County. “We are working diligently to provide housing that our Carroll County workforce can afford while building strength, stability and self-reliance,” Executive Director Bryan Lyburn said. Habitat is accepting applications for its next “build,” the rehabilitation of a home on S. Court Street in Westminster. Working individuals who meet the program qualifications — live in Carroll County and earn less than $56,940 per year for a family of four, among others — could be approved to become owners of the home. But as Lyburn noted, there’s a lot of work involved in the program. “This is a wonderful opportunity for a local family to become a Habitat home owner and earn a zero-percent interest mortgage from us,” he said. “They will participate in a home ownership education program, they will contribute over 250 hours of sweat equity and they will work on Saturday alongside our volunteers and members of the community to rehabilitate their home.” Those interested in applying or learning more should visit www.cchabitat.org/apply. Applications are due by Jan. 4. The property is the other half of a duplex that was the site of Habitat’s last build, now in the care of new homeowner Natasha Elizabeth and her 6-year-old son.

THUMBS UP: When Phil Hooks died in August, his former French horn students, friends and colleagues wanted to make sure the Holiday Horns concert he founded continued. So this year’s concert will celebrate his memory. The concert of holiday carols performed by a choir of more than 20 French horns will take place at Carroll Lutheran Village, 300 St Luke Circle, Westminster, at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 22, in Krug Chapel. It’s free and the public is encouraged to attend. His sons will be in attendance. The Holiday Horns began because Hooks and his wife, fellow music teacher Norma, formed such incredible relationships with their students, son Marc Hooks said, and the concert “was something fun they could do to give back to the community.” It connected former students and spread holiday cheer the weekend before Christmas, often with a concert at TownMall of Westminster for shoppers early in the day and then a repeat performance at BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport. The Rev. Sarah Dorrance, one of the concert organizers, is a former student who participated in some of the first Holiday Horns concerts. She said Carroll Lutheran welcomes the concert with excitement. “It’s a gift that Phil has given us,” she told us, “and we want to continue to give that gift.”

Advertisement

THUMBS UP: Catherine Ross launched the nonprofit Live Hope Laugh in 2010 with her daughter Alexis to support three families during the holidays, delivering donated gifts door to door. On Tuesday night, Live Hope Laugh and the Westminster Elks Lodge hosted A Night of Giving, a festive meal and celebration for families with children dealing with chronic diseases, with gift donations to families in need who may be struggling to balance medicine and making merry. This year, they served 10 times the number of families as they did in that first year, with some 30 benefiting. “Some of them have kids in and out of the hospital, which makes it virtually impossible for them to work,” Ross, Live Hope Laugh’s president, told us. “It’s a tough time of year.” But a little easier thanks to this Night of Giving. It was the third year the Elks hosted the event, according to lodge member Greg Ackerman. “It’s getting bigger and bigger every year,” he said. “You just feel that true Christmas spirit when you see youngsters like this. The kids are starting to get to know us and were starting to get to know them. It’s like a big family.”

THUMBS UP: Kudos to 18-year-old Kristen Landsman, a Westminster resident and a Carroll Community College freshman who is a visual arts major, for winning the college’s annual holiday card contest. Landsman’s design, which she created using a graphite pencil and an eraser, shows two children — viewed from an angle above — holding hands and making snow angels. Jessi Hardesty, discipline coordinator and professor of visual arts, said she’s had Landsman in drawing class all year and it’s been great to watch her skills progress. Hardesty said she enjoyed seeing Landsman use elements they’ve discussed in class in a personal project. It was the second art award Landsman has won recently, having won the 19th annual Holocaust Art & Writing Contest, a national contest, for a drawing she did her senior year at Delone Catholic High School. Landsman hopes to one day incorporate her talents into her family’s “business” — law enforcement. “I still want to be involved in that but exercise my artistic abilities by doing forensic work or doing composite sketches,” she told us.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement