The prospects for last Sunday morning looked good: beautiful spring weather, time to enjoy it, eating breakfast out -- when suddenly my husband, Dale, and I found ourselves in the middle of "Star Trek VI."

Men from Mars, or so it seemed, had landed on Ritchie Highway.

We were leaving Earleigh Heights Fire House after a delicious breakfast, courtesy of the Severna Park Kiwanis Club and its annual country brunch, when we noticed a large crowd gathered around several figures in "space suits."

The "aliens" wore oxygen tanks strapped to their backs, breathing apparatus attached to their faces, and over all, metallic suits held fast with wide strips of tape.

It was Lt. Robert A. Burke of the Earleigh Heights Fire Co. who set our minds at ease. Although the men appeared to be from another planet, they were actually firefighters dressed in hazardous-material gear.

Burke explained that we were witnessing the final exercise of a 36-hour classon the step-by-step HAZMAT decontamination procedure that is followed at the site of every real spill.

The 21 participants, representing eight county fire companies, had attended classes for the previous five weekends and were well-prepared for the procedure.

Three stations had been set up. At the first, any disposable, contaminated clothing would be removed and discarded and each team member was hosed down -- the first of three cleaning procedures.

When I looked at the gleaming, state-of-the-art HAZMAT truck with its trailer of additional equipment, I felt a renewed sense of gratitude for both the equipment and the highly trained men and women who provide such excellent protection for our community.

Why not express your appreciation with a check mailed to: Earleigh Heights Fire Company, P.O. Box 547, Severna Park, 21146.


When we lived in Virginia, my family used to drive to Maryland to go to a park. Throughout Anne Arundel County, there is a treasury of parks and outdoor activities.

* At 6:30 p.m. Friday, April 5, Ranger David DeVault will teach us how to make our yards more appealing to wildlife. He will discuss creating gardens that will attract butterflies, birds and other animals.

The audience will learn how a garden can be certified under the National Wildlife Federation's Backyard Wildlife Habitat Program and the Maryland Acres Program.

To reserve a seat at this free presentation, call 222-6230.

* Lights, camera, duck your head! Bring your camera to Quiet Waters Park for the 1 p.m. show Sunday, April 7, when birds of prey will be on exhibit.

Handlers Tom Blank and Mike Moreland will bring birds and speak about them. If weather permits, the birds will beflown.

Meet in the formal garden or, in case of rain, the Blue Heron Center.

For more details, call 222-1777.


Ever dream of diving beneath the surface of the ocean to observe the beauty and mystery of the deep?

The next best thing to being there will be a slide presentation Saturday, April 6, in Anne Arundel Community College's Pascal Center for the Performing Arts.

The fund-raiser for the college's Shark Riders Scuba Club features spectacular slides by Dr. Logan Holtgrewe of Severna Park and Gregory Brown of Woodbridge, Va.

Tickets are $3 in advance or $4 at the door and are available at the Student Association desk in the Student Services Center or by calling Greg Sothoron at 437-2407.


What tempts you the most? Is it a custom-decorated birthday cake you don't have to bake, a gourmet meal you don't have to cook, or a day on the bay for the whole family you don't have to plan?

All of these items and dozens more can beyours for the bidding beginning at 6 p.m. Sunday, April 7 at the Severna Park United Methodist Church's annual Talent-Service Auction.

The auction benefits the 1991 Appalachia Service Project in which some 50 volunteers from the church will travel to Hancock County, Tenn., and Jonesville, Va., to perform home repairs.

Come and enjoy dessert and fellowship and contribute to an important cause.

For further information, call the church at 987-4700.


Last call for sunny Florida citrus fruit. Archbishop Spalding High School is accepting orders for Valencia oranges and pink grapefruit to be picked up between 9 a.m. and noon Saturday, April 13.

The fruit is available in cartons of approximately 22 and 44 pounds.

Proceeds benefit the school. Orders should be placed by Monday, April 8.

Call the school at 969-9105 or 757-7344.


If you've never tasted a sweet, succulent Vidalia onion, you'll want to pay particular attention to the following announcement.

The Severn River Lions Club announces its inaugural sale of Vidalia onions Saturday, April 20, and orders mustbe placed before Sunday, April 14.

The onions will be sold for $10 for a 10-pound bag. All proceeds go to local charities.

To place your order, call 647-2155, 647-9573 or 647-3639 between 9 a.m. and 8p.m.


Now that the NCAA basketball tourney is wrapping up this weekend, it's time for Greater Severna Park's own wide world of sports.

On Saturday, April 21, Anne Arundel Community College will conduct its second-annual spring triathlon.

The three-pronged sporting event opens at 9 a.m. with a half-mile swim at the Daniel C. Olson Memorial Pool on the Arnold campus. An 8-mile bike race on to College Parkway is followed by a 5-kilometer run around the campus perimeter, ending at Siegert Field.

Prizes donated by Capitol Bicycle Center Inc. will be awarded to male and female winners and runners-up in two age categories (under 30 and over 30). Winners in the team category, two or three persons of any gender, will also receive prizes.

Entries are $5 for individuals and $10 for teams. T-shirts go to the first 80 entrants. Entry forms are available at the front desk of theStudent Services Center and at business firms supporting the triathlon, including Bike Doctor Inc. and Farmers National Bank.

Bike Doctor will provide free bike checks prior to the event at its Arnold location at 959 Ritchie Highway.

Information: 541-2756.

Phone: 647-1413

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