EIGHTY-YEAR-old Margaret Shaw calls the Florence Bain Senior Center her "second home."
A regular at the center's tap dance classes and choir practices, she was there Saturday for the Natural Wellness Expo.
Sponsored by the Traditional Acupuncture Institute and the Howard County Office on Aging, the expo offered exhibits and workshops on acupuncture, massage, homeopathy, herbs and natural crafts.
"We are always learning, if the mind is open," Shaw said. "If you listen to others, you can get a lot from people."
Shaw stays active by swimming and walking every day. She has also tried the Eastern disciplines of yoga, tai chi and acupuncture.
Referring to traditional Western doctors, Shaw said: "The first thing they want to do is give you a prescription. Some doctors are waking up to the fact that they can't do everything."
Shaw is not the only senior citizen looking for alternatives, said expo organizers Barbara Miller, a program specialist for the Office on Aging, and Nancy Davison, a student at the Traditional Acupuncture Institute.
"We have a lot of seniors coming to the clinic" at the institute, said Davison. Many have long-term symptoms such as back pain, neck and shoulder pain, high blood pressure, sleep problems and digestive disorders.
"The tendency in Western medicine is to treat each symptom separately," Davison said. "Our treatment is very broad-based. We put all the symptoms together and see the pattern they form."
The Natural Wellness Expo, which was open to all ages, grew out of a partnership between the Traditional Acupuncture Institute and the senior center. Institute students have been visiting the senior center to practice taking acupuncture pulses. They also have volunteered to take blood pressure readings and hold workshops.
The expo included workshops on holistic topics ranging from herbs and flower essences to massage and acupressure.
Edward Kentish, who moved to Longfellow from Vermont to study at the institute, gave a presentation on Jin Shin Do, which he described as a blend of "Japanese acupressure technique, classical Chinese acupuncture theory and modern psychological principles." He said the technique seeks to release tension and to identify underlying patterns of tension.
His wife, Pamela, who is also studying acupuncture, was an exhibitor. She teaches cooking classes and has a private massage practice.
Also participating in the expo was Cathy Romero of Harper's Choice, who is a distributor for a line of nutritional supplements.
Manning a booth on acupuncture were Town Center residents Kourosh Kashani and George Barnosky, who also are students at the institute.
Antoinette Fiumos of Town Center and Victoria Hovde of Dorsey's Search represented the Columbia Center for the Healing Arts, which offers monthly presentations on natural health topics at the Elkridge library.
Math whizzes win big
Fifteen fifth-graders in Noel Harris' gifted-and-talented math class at Swansfield Elementary School placed second in a national math competition sponsored by the University of Delaware.
"Solve It!" consisted of five tests staggered throughout the school year, with six problems on each test.
The contest was open to students in fourth, fifth and sixth grades across the country. Ninety-six teams competed.
The Swansfield team scored 273 of a possible 300 points.
The highest score, 288, was earned by a team at the New York City Lab School, an elementary school in Manhattan.
Five of Swansfield's team members received plaques for DTC achieving the top individual scores in their grade.
Allison Basile received 29 out of 30 points, while Alex Brown, John Christon, Ross Crosby and Carmen Fanzone received 28 points each.
Also on the Swansfield team were Kate Bentsen, Efron Berkowitz, Ania Boyland, Daniel Bobrowsky, Kevin Dubois, Ashiqul Islam, Elizabeth Jensen, Yen Le, Kelly Natoli and Rebecca Schindler.
Harris said the students did not spend extra time drilling for the competition.
"The curriculum they were already studying, with its emphasis on both a mastery of math skills and creative problem solving, was enough preparation," she said.
Trees added to tot lots
River Hill residents observed the village's second Arbor Day on April 25 by planting trees in three tot lots.
The event was organized by Pointers Run resident David Bisant.
Morning Light Trail residents Jim and Betsy Chaisson and their daughter, Grace, planted four trees at the Garden Walk tot lot.
Pitching in were village board chairwoman Jennifer Blake and board member Josh Heltzer.
Heltzer also helped at the Angel Rose tot lot, along with Great Drum resident Shantha Chandra.
Danielle Betz, Michelle Clementi, Jessie Dimig, Alison Kelly and Cameron Reed of Girl Scout Troop 205 worked at Angel Rose, assisted by Mark Clementi, Jean Reed and troop leaders Shel Kelly and Fran Troxler.
Trees were planted at the Mellow Wine Way tot lot by Dan Wells and Shep Hurst of the Columbia Association's Land Management Division.
Their foreman, Warren Raymond, purchased the trees and worked with community members to plan the event.
Also involved in the planning was Sunny McGuinn, River Hill village manager.
Bisant approached the village board last year about planting trees in areas left bare after homes were constructed.
Using funds from the Columbia Association, the Howard County Conservation Board and other sources, the board purchased about 100 trees for last year's Arbor Day.
Volunteers planted them in open space throughout the village.
Bisant is a member of the Middle Patuxent Valley Association, which hopes to start a tree-planting program next year, he said. He is also working with the Howard Community College Environmental Club, Columbia Gardeners and the Save Our Streams program to develop a seedling farm to start trees that would be transplanted to forests.
Board to fill fifth seat
The Wilde Lake Village Board is looking for volunteers to fill a vacant seat on the five-member board. Four board members were chosen in last month's village election.
Applications, due May 14, are available at Slayton House.
The village board meets at 7: 30 p.m. the first and third Mondays of each month. Members also attend other meetings as needed.
Information: Bernice Kish, village manager, or Carole Black, community liaison, at 410-730-3987.
Pub Date: 5/06/98