Laurel author Perry Koons is a retired Maryland art teacher who writes and illustrates children’s books. His newest, “Comet Saves the Day,” was released in October and is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Amid the confusion of holiday preparations, Comet is the hero of the story as he organizes the other reindeer and ensures a successful delivery of toys.


Perry is a lifelong Laurel resident, having graduated from Laurel High School. He also has a B.A. in art and an MFA in painting and drawing. He started writing books for his grandchildren and now hopes to reach a wider audience with Comet’s tale. Kudos to Perry Koons for his creative efforts!

State Sen. Jim Rosapepe and his team have issued reminders for residents in our area.

Open enrollment in Affordable Care Act is in effect through Dec. 15. Now is the time to gain information about your health care options to see which programs best meet your needs. You may enroll or change plans by going to marylandhealthconnection.gov, or calling 1-855-642-8572. Don’t miss this opportunity to register for your health care plan.

Another important deadline for residents is Dec. 31. Until then, Marylanders with delinquent uninsured auto fines may take advantage of FineFix which is Maryland’s uninsured auto fine forgiveness program. It offers eligible debtors the ability to reduce their debt by up to 80 percent. For more information, and to verify eligibility, go to FineFix.Maryland.gov.

On Sunday, Dec. 8, The Compassionate Friends an organization of bereaved parents, along with the Sudden Arrythmia Death Syndrome Foundation and other groups will sponsor the 22nd annual World Wide Candle Lighting Ceremony. Beginning at 7 p.m., we remember young lives lost too soon for whatever reason by participating in a group ceremony, or lighting a candle in your own windows.

The practice is believed to be the largest such remembrance ceremony on the globe. The 24-hour wave of light circles the globe in a gift to the bereaved and helps us remember the young family members gone before their time. Check tcf.org for details on gatherings in our area.

As a bereaved mother who lost our son Daniel at age 19 to sudden cardiac arrest, I can attest to the comfort these ceremonies offer. Daniel’s 36th birthday was on Nov. 22. I try to picture his life as a grown man, but know that he, along with others remembered in the candle lighting, have left a legacy of love, compassion and hope.

It is always important to be alert for our safety and security.

There have been incidents in our community lately involving telephone scams regarding utility bills that either have not been paid and will result in canceled service, or that the customer has overpaid the utility bill and is due a refund. These calls often show the caller ID of a person known to the recipient and are scams. Utility companies will not make those types of calls. In one, the caller cited a power company that is not the one the recipient uses.

Be on the alert and have a happy, healthy and safe Thanksgiving.