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Brooklyn Heights works to make community better


IT'S A DIFFICULT task for a community to reinvent itself. But residents of Brooklyn Heights, assisted by county agencies working through the HotSpot initiative, are striving to do just that.

A small but dedicated group of volunteers worked this month on the annual community cleanup."They cleaned the area around Park Elementary School," Brooklyn Heights Improvement Association President Joe Collini said of the May 6 effort. "They even cleaned out the storm drain in front of the school."

Association member Elizabeth Hildt appreciated the labor."They tried real hard," Hildt said. "The janitor at the school arranged to dispose of the trash. Otherwise, it would have been back on the street."

The effort to make the community spotless continued with BGIA Dumpster Day yesterday. In previous years, the association arranged for refuse bins to be in the neighborhood for three days. This year it was a one-day event, and the association pulled out all the stops to make sure it would be a success.

Collini put a notice in the association newsletter for residents to have their bulk items ready, and for those unable to get them to the disposal area, volunteers were organized to go to the homes for pickups.

He credited the state's HotSpot anti-crime initiative for helping to increase awareness and make a difference in the community."The HotSpots is a concerted effort between 10 county agencies with the primary goal of reducing crime and the fear of crime," he said, noting stepped-up zoning enforcement, with cooperation from the health department, and raids that have cut down on drug trafficking."Arrests are going up, and they are actively prosecuting the offenders, not just letting them go," he said. "The public wants this area cleaned up."

The program has been in place since November, and its positive effects can be seen.

One example is the after-school programs the county Department of Recreation and Parks is offering."The feedback that I am getting about the after-school programs at Park Elementary is amazing," Collini said. "They are doing wonderful things. Emily Tomasini [the teen programs coordinator] is doing a great job. It's so good that they need additional space."Kids are in the after-school programs rather than being out in the street or home alone. It won't happen overnight, but people are seeing a difference and are happy. Everyone is very optimistic about what is happening."

The association meets at 7 p.m. the first Monday of the month at Brooklyn Park Library, 1 E. 11th Ave.

All interested in the improvement of the community are welcome to join.

Harbor health programs

Harbor Hospital Center will sponsor an informational session on blood glucose testing at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the LifeResource Center on Hanover Street.

Dianna Catterell, Harbor's diabetes educator, will provide information on the hemoglobin A1ctest and how to keep accurate records of personal testing.

The program is free, but registration is required.

The hospital also is planning a celebration of National Senior Health and Fitness Day on Wednesday at Glen Burnie Mall.

From 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., Harbor representatives will offer blood pressure and cholesterol screenings.

To ensure an accurate result, those interested in taking the cholesterol test should fast for eight to 12 hours.

Registration: 410-354-9655.

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