IT TAKES A LOT to scare me these days. Those haunted trails with phony headless men don't work anymore. I doubt that the film "The Blair Witch Project" would even make an impact. But I recently found something that does instill fear in my heart: drivers running red lights -- a problem for which the county police recently stepped up enforcement.
Last week, I had a near-miss. After the green arrow appeared at a major intersection, I looked to my left for oncoming traffic. All clear. But as I hit the gas, a truck appeared out of nowhere, barreling through the intersection.
My reaction on the brake pedal was swift, but before I could breathe a sigh of relief, I heard the sound of crunching metal. The red-light runner had hit another vehicle. My husband insisted that our aging minivan's lack of pickup was responsible for saving me from a trip to the emergency ward. I believe my guardian angel was working overtime.
The next time you try to beat a red light, consider this: Is endangering a life worth that extra minute you'll save?
Plenty of trick-or-treaters will enjoy some safe, scary-season fun from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday at Marley Station Mall. Children's entertainer Ellis Woodward will appear as the character Blackbeard in the center court.
Marley Station will provide a trick-or-treat bag, and children can visit more than 100 participating stores throughout the mall to receive candy. The event draws 3,000 or more participants each year. Information: 410-766-2033.
School open house
One of Anne Arundel County's most unusual schools -- the Center of Applied Technology North -- will hold its annual open house from 6: 30 p.m. to 8: 30 p.m. tomorrow.
Demonstrations throughout the evening will provide a first-hand look at what the center offers -- including such high-tech courses as computer networking technology and network applications technology.
The school is located at 800 Stevenson Road. Information: 410-969-3100.
NBA and WBA wannabes are invited to show their stuff shots at the Glen Burnie Elks Hoop Shoot Nov. 14 at Corkran Middle School. The contest is open to youths who will be 8 to 13 years old as of April 1, 2000.
Registration will be accepted from 12: 30 to 1 p.m., when competition will begin. Trophies will be awarded to the winners, and the top three contenders in each age and gender group advance to the district level. Winners at higher levels progress to the state and national competition.
Helping an autistic child
Donations of items or services are needed for a silent auction to help pay for an autistic child's therapy program.
The child is 4-year-old Jacob Wenger Smith. He participates in Applied Behavior Analysis, a therapy program that his grandmother, Doris Wenger, says has brought results in the five months since he started.
"I've already seen a lot of improvements," she said. But the program carries a high cost. The 40-hour-a-week, home-based, one-on-one therapy can run $20,000 to $25,000 annually. The group Friends of Jacob Wenger Smith is sponsoring the fund-raising event Jan. 13 at Michael's Eighth Avenue, to help defray the program's expenses.
Businesses or individuals with goods or services to donate for the auction may call 410-766-7723, 410-761-8340 or 410-315-8324.
Free flu shots
North Arundel Hospital will provide free flu shots from 1 to 4 pm. Nov. 5 and 8, and from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Nov. 12 in its third-floor conference center, for people age 18 and older. Reservations are not required, and vaccines will be provided on a first-come basis.
North Arundel's registered nurses and nurse managers will administer the vaccines. The hospital has provided the free vaccinations since 1996 -- with nearly 4,000 arearesidents taking advantage of the program last year.