IN 1998, Howard County police responded to 2,446 domestic calls. About 750 of those were confirmed physical assaults from a domestic dispute.
According to Sgt. Morris Carroll, a Howard County police spokesman, three of the six homicides in the county last year were domestically related.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and the Domestic Violence Center of Howard County is sponsoring several events to promote understanding of the problem.
A benefit dinner, conference for health professionals and art show and auction will be held in Columbia next month.
Wilde Lake resident Judy Clancy is executive director for the DVC. She's a community activist who got involved with the issue of domestic violence when she joined the board of directors of the agency in 1986. Clancy became a hot-line volunteer to better understand the issue.
"Being a hot-line volunteer changed my whole view of the problem," she says. "It just became so real and so personal when I spoke with victims who were calling for help. It was no longer just a community problem, but an issue I wanted to help solve.
"Hearing the stories of what was happening to people in their homes right here in the community really motivated me to do whatever I could do to help these families."
The Domestic Violence Center, a nonprofit organization, works to eliminate domestic violence in the county through counseling, advocacy and community education.
The center runs a 24-hour hot line for victims of domestic abuse. A shelter is also offered; victims who need a safe place to stay can live there for up to 1 1/2 years.
The organization's fourth "Women Supporting Women" benefit at Piccolo's Restaurant will be held from 5: 30 p.m. to 7: 30 p.m. Oct. 7.
The cost is $25 and includes light fare. Proceeds will benefit the women and children in county DVC shelters.
The DVC will co-sponsor a free conference for health care professionals, "Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault in Your Practice: Building an Effective Medical Response," on Oct. 21. The conference, to be held at the Oakland Mills Interfaith Center, will begin at 8: 30 a.m.
The Heisman Fine Arts Gallery will provide the artwork for the center's Second Annual Art Show and Auction, to be held from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Oct. 23 at Kahler Hall in Harper's Choice Village Center.
The artwork is guaranteed to be auctioned at below-gallery prices. Opening bids on most pieces will range from $60 to $150.
Admission is $10; $15 a couple, including drinks and light fare.
Information: the Domestic Violence Center, 410-997-0304.
The 24-hour hot-line number is 410-997-2272.
Town Center celebrates
Town Center residents celebrated the village's 25th anniversary Saturday. The day's events began at 9 a.m. with a fishing contest at Lake Kittamaqundi.
Town Center Village Board member Bill Chesnutt was in charge of the contest.
"Kittamaqundi is a good fishing spot and evidently a pretty good secret," he said. Most people don't know that the lake is well stocked. "You can catch some good-sized bass there," he said.
Fishing contestants pulled in mostly pan fish -- small bluegill and crappie -- to win $25 gift certificates. Jeffrey Paige of Baltimore caught the most fish.
Thomas Cuthrell of Columbia won for catching the biggest fish.
Four-year-old Madison Stephens of Marriottsville also was presented a certificate. Chesnutt reports that Madison kissed the first fish she caught that day.
A Volksmarch through the village started from Town Center Park on Vantage Point Road at 10: 15 a.m. About 20 people participated in the three-mile walk, said Town Center Village Board Chairwoman Donna Rice.
Beginning at 1 p.m., residents were treated to live entertainment by the barbershop quartet Port of Call, the clogging group Footnotes and the Golden Girls, a troupe of tap dancers from the Florence Bain Senior Center.
The Golden Girls perform in the county for "anybody who wants us," said founding member Jackie Dunphy.
Dunphy and Golden Girls Anna Butler, Evelyn Whited and Betty Petrogallo wore black pants, long-sleeved red shirts decorated with gold sequins and epaulets and sequined hats.
"We love to sparkle," Dunphy said.
Rice introduced Howard County Council member Mary C. Lorsung, who read a resolution from the recognizing Town Center volunteers for their contributions to the community.
Columbia Association President Deborah McCarty and past President Padraic M. Kennedy were also in attendance.
Wilde Lake resident Nancy DiTullo will participate in a two-person exhibit at the Slayton House Gallery on the Wilde Lake Village Green Oct. 7 through 30.
A watercolorist, DiTullo calls her exhibit "Easy on the Eyes."
DiTullo enjoys working with patterns and color, but she doesn't like abstract art or strict realism, she says.
"If you're going to make it very realistic, take a picture," she said.
Her paintings contain no hidden messages, and "you don't have to think very hard," she said, to enjoy them.
Sotero Nieves of Ellicott City will show his oil paintings. Retired from his career as an architect and professor, Nieves is a Juror Award winner at the Howard County Art Guild-sponsored shows.
Artists' Gallery, at 10227 Wincopin Circle in Columbia, will feature the photographs of Harper's Choice resident Ben Dawson through Oct. 30.
The son of a Norfolk, Va., harbor pilot, Dawson's work reflects his love of the water.
Over the past 10 years, he has taken photos of skipjacks and log canoes on the Chesapeake Bay. Some of these, as well as photographs he took in Scotland and Greece, will be on display at the gallery.
A reception, open to the public, will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday. Information: 410-740-8249.