Tax assistance site
The county's first Volunteer Income Tax Assistance office has opened at the North Laurel Community Center, 9411 Whiskey Bottom Road, and will remain in operation throughout the tax season. Site offers free tax assistance preparation and free electronic filing to most taxpayers who earned up to $49,000 last year. Hours are 4 p.m.-8 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays, and 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturdays. For appointments and more information, call 410-313-0386 or go to howardcountymd.gov/vita.htm. This year's tax deadline is April 17.
The Howard County Office on Aging seeks senior singers to represent the county in the Maryland State Senior Idol Competition taking place on April 4. Auditions will be held from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 1, at the Bain Center, 5470 Ruth Keeton Way in Columbia and Thursday, Feb. 2, at the Ellicott City Senior Center, 9401 Frederick Road. For more information, call Vicki Stahly at 410-313-1421.
Training classes for new volunteers who would like to work at the Laurel Museum as guides or in the gift shop once a month from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Sundays or twice a month from 10 a.m. to noon or noon to 2 p.m. on Wednesday or Friday will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 29, and 10 a.m. Feb. 1 and Feb. 3 at 817 Main St. Information: 301-776-5229 or go to laurelhistoricalsociety.org.
Call for artists
The Bernice Kish Gallery at Slayton House is accepting applications for artists to exhibit in the galleries for the 2013 season. The Gallery Screening Committee will begin reviewing applications in the spring. Deadline for applications is June 1. For applications and more information, go to wildelake.org. Mail applications to gallery director Carole Black at Bernice Kish Gallery, Slayton House, 10400 Cross Fox Lane, Columbia, 21044; or send email to email@example.com.
The public school system's Office of Early Childhood Programs and the Transition to Kindergarten Workgroup will host a series of workshops for parents with children who will be 5 by Sept. 1 and will enter kindergarten in the fall. No registration is required; sessions are free and child care for children two and older will be provided at some locations.
•Monday, Jan. 23, 9:30 a.m.-10:30 a.m. at Wilde Lake High School, 5460 Trumpeter Road, Columbia (child care available).
•Wednesday, Jan. 25, 6:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m. at River Hill High School, 12101 Route 108, Clarksville.
•Wednesday, Feb. 1, 6:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m. at Marriotts Ridge High School, 12100 Route 99, Marriottsville.
•Monday, Feb. 6, 6:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m. at Hammond Middle School, 8110 Aladdin Drive, Laurel (child care available).
Parents need only to attend one session. Information: hcpss.org/schools/kindergarten.shtml.
Registration is under way for a practice SAT being held from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 11, at Vantage House, 5400 Vantage Point Road in Columbia. The American Association of University Women is sponsoring this event to promote higher education for middle- and high school students; the cost is $15 for the practice SAT and a follow-up strategy session from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, March 3. Princeton Review will conduct the sessions, with all proceeds going to the association's philanthropic funds. Refreshments will be served. Registration required. Register online at princetonreview.com/events or call 800-273-8439. Bring a check made out to AAUW Howard County on the morning of the test or mail it before Feb. 4 to Jennifer Ingram, 5570 Vantage Point Road, Unit 1, Columbia, 21044.
Vendor applications are being accepted for the annual GreenFest, to be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 14 at Howard Community College's Burrill Galleria, 10901 Little Patuxent Parkway in Columbia. Vendors and exhibitors with information on green products, ecological home cleaning and lawn care, alternative energy, water conservation and reuse, and tips for greening everyday activities are encouraged to apply. Other topics of interest include energy efficiency, green buildings, green consumer products, green landscaping, wildlife exploration, children's activities and information on local green organizations. Each exhibit space includes a 5-foot table and two chairs. Cost to nonprofits is $25 per space; $35 for others. An additional $10 late-application fee now also applies. Preference will be given to local businesses and organizations that promote environmentally friendly goods and services. Applications are available at hcgreenfest.org. Information and applications: Lindsay DeMarzo, 410-313-4374 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
National Alliance on Mental Illness of Howard County offers several support groups each month. Sessions include groups for family and friends of adults with a mental illness, groups for parents of school-age children with mental health issues, a group for young adults (18-30) living with a mental illness and a weekly group for adults of any age living with a mental illness. For times and locations, call 410-772-9300 or go to nami.org/sites/namihowardcounty.
A-OK (Assist Our Kids) Mentoring-Tutoring Inc. seeks adult volunteers to work in Howard County public schools and in after-school programs. Volunteers may work with individual students or small groups during and after school. Volunteers are asked to commit for one hour a week for a minimum of one school year. Among the schools the organization is associated with are Atholton, Bryant Woods, Cradlerock, Longfellow, Phelps Luck, Running Brook and Stevens Forest elementary schools, along with several new partner schools in North Laurel. Information: 410-730-6030 or 410-740-3850.
The Howard County Conservancy offers free guided hikes and talks on the second Saturday of the month. Visitors can enjoy an easy walk in the meadows and woods of the conservancy, 10520 Old Frederick Road in Woodstock. Information: 410-465-8877 or go to hcconservancy.org.
The Howard County Department of Recreation and Parks has received a $30,000 grant from the National Recreational Trails Program Fund. The grant will be used for the renovation of the Village of Owen Brown's pedestrian pathway system. Howard County will provide $30,000 in matching funds, along with any remaining funds needed. Renovations will consist of repaving the 3,909-foot pathway that serves the Owen Brown Community Center, Owen Brown Interfaith Center, Owen Brown Village Shopping Center, Cradlerock School, the Howard County Library's East Columbia branch, and the Southwick and Elkhorn housing communities. Completion is expected this summer. Information: 410-313-2022.
Kindred Spirits, a social club for people diagnosed with early memory loss or dementia, will meet from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesdays and Fridays in the 50+ Center at the Gary J. Arthur Community Center at Glenwood. Highlights include speakers, discussion of current events, yoga, meditation and art therapy. A daily fee of $26 includes snacks, lunch, coffee and tea. The program is sponsored by the Howard County Office on Aging and the Alzheimer's Association of Greater Maryland. Information: Judy Miller at 410-313-5441 or email@example.com.
Habitat for Humanity and the Boy Scouts of America have placed a collection bin for aluminum cans at the entrance to the parking lot of Christ Memorial Presbyterian Church, 6410 Amherst Ave., in Allview Estates. Information: 410-997-4949.
Recycle old TVs
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The Howard County Bureau of Environmental Services reminds residents to recycle electronic devices rather than throw them away. Dropoff locations include the Alpha Ridge Landfill Residents' Convenience Area, 2350 Marriottsville Road. The facility is open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Saturday and accepts TVs, computers, keyboards, printers, scanners, laptops, VCRs, radios and other electronics. Also, Best Buy's Customer Take-Back Program allows customers to bring in old TVs (32 inches or smaller) at no charge. Offer limited to two televisions per person per day. Console televisions are not accepted.
The Southeast Howard County Health Services Directory, a guide to resources near North Laurel and Savage, is available free at the North Laurel-Savage Multiservice Center, 9900 Washington Blvd. The directory includes listings of clinics, pharmacies, hospitals, general and family practices, dentists, obstetricians and gynecologists, transportation providers and crisis contacts. The guide also indicates whether Spanish and Korean are spoken at the facility, as well as the address, contact information and hours of operation. Hours and information: 410-880-5917.
Panel seeks members
The Secondary Language Arts Advisory Committee seeks new members. The committee consists of teachers, administrators, students, parents and other community members who advise, support and advocate for the improvement of educational programs. Meetings will take place four times during the school year at a central location. Information: 410-313-6620.
The Foreign-Born Information and Referral Network, 5999 Harpers Farm Road, Suite 200-E, Columbia, needs Spanish-speaking volunteers to greet clients, answer basic questions, make appointments and support the staff. Hours are 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. or 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday or Friday; other times may be considered. Information: 410-992-1923, ext. 14.