THIS HOLIDAY SEASON has been happier for a number of our less fortunate neighbors, thanks to food drives sponsored by two west Columbia villages.
Anne Darrin, village manager for Dorsey's Search, estimates that she delivered the equivalent of four laundry baskets of food to Grassroots Crisis Intervention Center.
The food was left by village residents under the Giving Tree in Linden Hall.
Residents also contributed wrapped toys and mittens for clients of Grassroots.
Darrin noted that this year's food drive got a head start in October, with more than 150 cans of food donated by children who attended the village's Halloween party.
Darrin also made up six baskets of food that she delivered to needy Howard County families for Thanksgiving and Christmas.
"Delivering the baskets is something I get a lot of pleasure out of doing," she said. "It puts me in the holiday spirit."
The Harper's Choice Community Association held a food drive in addition to collecting canned goods as admission to its Hanukkah and Christmas parties.
Village manager Wendy Tzuker said the donations could have filled three large grocery carts.
The donations were given to FISH of Howard County, a volunteer organization that provides short-term assistance to families.
The sixth annual Central Maryland Basketball Tournament will run Friday and Saturday at Atholton High School, 6520 Freetown Road.
Pat Saunderson, Atholton's athletic director, is coordinating the event.
He is being assisted by the school's Boosters Club, headed by Cheryl and Tracy Williams.
Boys teams from Atholton, Wilde Lake, Colonel Magruder and Sherwood high schools will compete.
Atholton's team, coached by Jim Albert, has been county champion for the past three years.
Also competing will be girls teams from Atholton, Damascus, Gaithersburg and Pallotti high schools.
Atholton's team has a new coach this year, Paul Seadler.
Four games will be held on Friday, starting at 2 p.m.
The girls championship game is scheduled for 4 p.m. Saturday, followed by an awards ceremony at 5: 30 p.m.
The boys championship game will be held at 6 p.m., with awards at 7: 30 p.m.
Admission is $3 for one day, $5 for both days.
Using a police radar gun, six River Hill residents monitored rush-hour traffic in their village on two weekday mornings last month.
The residents were the first in the county to be trained for S.M.A.R.T. (Speed Monitoring and Awareness Radar Team)
Aiming the gun at speeding neighbors were Kayle Simon, Susan Levi-Goerlich, Cabell Greenwood, Kathy Wilson, Andy Silber and Mary Silber.
Four volunteers from the Village of Hickory Ridge also have received S.M.A.R.T. training, and are planning to monitor traffic in their area, beginning next month.
Volunteers from Harper's Choice have also been trained.
The River Hill residents, who focused on Summer Sunrise and Great Star Drive, found that more than 70 percent of drivers on Summer Sunrise were at least 5 mph over the 30 mph limit, with some vehicles traveling more than 50 mph.
On Great Star Drive, slightly less than half the drivers were speeding.
Simon, a member of the village board, said many of the speeders are village residents, but noted that the vehicles going the fastest were contractors' trucks coming into the community.
The S.M.A.R.T. program is designed to gather information and ++ educate drivers. Citizens are not authorized to stop vehicles or give tickets.
A sign attached to the radar equipment flashes drivers' speeds as they pass.
The figures gathered by the residents have been sent to the Howard County police traffic enforcement section.
The village board is planning to meet with a traffic representative to discuss solutions to the speeding problem.
Simon said she is looking for more River Hill residents to be trained, especially people available during rush hour.
Information: (301) 596-9978.
Summer Sunrise resident Levi-Goerlich wanted to do more than monitor speeds. So she wrote a petition asking for speed humps, stop signs and median strips.
Levi-Goerlich and another resident gathered 67 signatures, representing every household on Summer Sunrise and River Run, as well as many of the families on Enchanted Solitude and Velvet Path.
Levi-Goerlich and her daughter Julia, 6, composed a children's petition that reads: "We play ball here. We ride our bikes here. We wait for the school bus. We go to the playground. We need it to be safe here. Please make the cars slow down!"
A total of 37 youngsters signed the children's petition.
Levi-Goerlich sent both petitions to County Executive Charles I. Ecker, County Council representative Mary C. Lorsung, and the county's traffic engineering office.
She has received written responses from Ecker and Lorsung, and said she plans to follow up with the county executive and the traffic engineering office.
Kathy Curtis' west Columbia neighborhood column is running today because of the Christmas holiday.
Pub Date: 12/24/96