Becoming an American citizen has long been a dream for Japanese-born Akiko Schoenberger. This week, that dream became reality.
Akiko met her husband, Clifford, 10 years ago while he was stationed in Japan with the military. After many months of wading through government red tape, (necessary when American military personnel desire to marry a foreign national), permission was finally granted.
When Clifford's tour of duty ended, Akiko returned to the United States with him. The couple now resides in Clary's Forest, and Akiko works in the Columbia offices of Aoki Corp.
On Monday, in a naturalization ceremony held at Camden Yards in Baltimore, Akiko joined with 4,000 others to offer her Oath ofAllegiance and officially became a citizen of the United States.
Hospice Services of Howard County is constantly in need of volunteer care-givers for its at-home care program.
According to spokeswoman Nancy Weber, the greatest need is for people who will be available during daytime and weekday hours.
"It's often difficult finding people who are available during the day," she says. "We're very pleased with our recent volunteer drive. We received commitments from 16 people, which is about the most we can handle in our training sessions. However, there have been times in the past when we've had only five or six volunteers to train."
The new volunteers will begin a 30-hour training program on Oct. 8.
Ms. Weber says the next volunteer recruitment drive will likely begin in January, with training classes in March. Volunteers should be committed to serving a minimum of four hours weekly, plus attending monthly support and educational meetings.
Those interested in becoming a hospice volunteer should contact the offices of the Hospice Services of Howard County at 730-5073, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Mondays through Fridays.
As if on cue, the first cool breezes of fall blew into Columbia this week, just as the remaining open outdoor pools prepare to close down for the season.
However, the good news for kids is that Splashdown is now open. They can look forward to sliding down the 720 feet of slippery, twisting fun on the water slide, make like Tarzan on the Jungle Rope, plus splash and dive in the recreation pool at the Columbia Swim Center in Wilde Lake.
Splashdown hours are: Fridays, 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.; and Saturdays and Sundays, 1 p.m. to 7 p.m.
When schools are scheduled to be out or closed for holidays, Splashdown will be open from noon to 4 p.m. and will offer a "Snack & Slide" package, which includes admission, a hot dog, soda and ice cream. Information: 730-7000.