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Join the conservancy for a colonial-era holiday party [Elkridge]

This holiday season, there are plenty of events happening to keep you in good spirits, give you an opportunity to give back and learn more about the issues facing you.

The Howard County Conservancy invites you to its Belmont location to enjoy colonial holiday decorations, period reenactments, music, food and drink on Dec. 7 from 3 to 6 p.m. at the Manor House. All proceeds from the event will be dedicated to the educational programs at the Conservancy Branch at Belmont, which enrich the Elkridge community and its fellows.

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Following in the tradition of education, the Howard County Library System is hosting its Salute to Veterans events during the month of November. In addition to classes designed to commemorate the centennial of World War I, the library system plans to raise awareness for both veterans and active military personnel.

A pictorial salute honoring local veterans and active military will be featured on monitors at all branches, and various children's classes will provide opportunities for children and their family members to create thank you messages to service men and women for distribution by Operation Welcome Home Maryland.

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Also, if you'd like to take part in helping active military personnel, you can participate in the Ladies Auxiliary of the Ellicott City Yingling-Ridgely VFW Post 7472's annual Holiday Care Package drive. All donations of the following items will be distributed to deployed troops and local veterans in need: shampoo/conditioner (hotel size items are good), feminine care items, tooth paste/tooth brushes, lip balm, mouthwash, dental floss, gloves, scarves, knitted hats (all in dark colors), greeting/holiday cards, playing cards, games, sewing kits, pencils/pens as well as writing paper and envelopes.

For a complete list of events and book recommendations for the Salute to Veterans campaign, go to http://www.hclibrary.org/SaluteToVeterans.

According to the University of Maryland: "An increasing number of American citizens and legal residents are expected to enroll or re-enroll in health insurance plans this fall during open enrollment. Research shows the vast majority of people in the U.S. are uncomfortable, overwhelmed and intimidated when it comes to making decisions about health insurance coverage."

To remedy this situation, the Howard County Extension of the University of Maryland is hosting Smart Choice Health Insurance, "a comprehensive, research-based, unbiased curriculum designed to equip people with the tools they need to make a smart health insurance decision for themselves and their families."

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For a schedule of workshops, go to: extension.umd.edu/insure/consumer-resources. If you can not attend a workshop but would like to learn more, you can download the workbook for the sessions at extension.umd.edu/insure.

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