ONE YEAR AGO, the HorizonLiner began making life easier for senior citizens in Elkridge. That's when the 14-seat bus, owned by the Horizon Foundation and operated by the nonprofit Urban Rural Transportation Alliance, began providing curb-to-curb service for residents who need help getting to doctors' appointments.
To celebrate the HorizonLiner's anniversary, an informal party will be held at Elkridge Senior Center at 10 a.m. Oct. 22. Pumpkin pie, cider and other refreshments will be served. The bus will be there as well.
HorizonLiner bus service was started in response to community need, said Richard Krieg, president of the Horizon Foundation, a Columbia-based public charity established in 1998 in conjunction with the sale of Howard County General Hospital.
One of the foundation's projects is Elkridge Aging Alliance, a two-year initiative to improve the well-being of senior citizens in that community. The alliance was developed by Elkridge Horizon Community Council, a group of five community leaders: Ann Bromery, Herman Charity, Raymond Faith, Barbara Kendrick and Fran Donaldson.
The HorizonLiner was introduced after members of the alliance reported that many elderly people were walking along U.S. 1 to appointments with doctors, physical therapists and other health practitioners, Krieg said.
"We base these decisions on what local people tell us, but also on data and information," he said.
The bus, which charges $2 a ride, is owned by the Horizon Foundation and leased to URTA, which is in charge of dispatching and operating it. Judy Pittman, director of URTA, said business is "growing steadily" by word of mouth.
The bus, which has "HorizonLiner" painted on the side, has a wheelchair lift. The driver, Lawrence McDaniel, knows cardiopulmonary resuscitation and first aid.
To use the service, seniors call 410-997-8227 as far in advance as possible. Although the phone rings at URTA, the phone line is dedicated for the HorizonLiner, Pittman said.
The passenger tells the time and place of the appointment, and can expect delivery anywhere in the Baltimore-Washington area.
The bus also is used for excursions. Recently, it took seniors to a local farmers' market. In the fall, it might take a group for flu shots, Pittman said.
Pittman hopes that the celebration at Elkridge Senior Center will alert more people to the service. "We're hoping more people will see it and take advantage," she said.
More than books
A lot of great programs will be on tap at local libraries this fall. Here are a few:
On Wednesday, Cliff Hughes of Howard County Tourism Council will talk about Historic Ellicott City in a slide show at 7 p.m. at the Miller library branch. He will discuss Benjamin Banneker, the early settlement of Ellicott Mills and other subjects.
A story-time series will focus on preparing children to read. The program, for 2- and 3-year-olds, will be held at the Elkridge library branch at 10:30 a.m. Tuesdays, and at the Miller branch at 6:45 p.m. Mondays and at 10 a.m. Wednesdays. Register in advance for one program because sessions are identical.
On Oct. 18, when Howard County public schools are closed, the Elkridge library branch will sponsor a pony hour, when participants age 6 and older can talk about characters from the "Pony Pals" paperback series, do a pony craft and ride a real pony.
The program will be held at 1 p.m. Registration begins Oct. 11.
On Oct. 29, the Miller library branch will be awash in pirate stories, games and crafts during a 45-minute program for children age 6 and older. The program, which will begin at 4:30 p.m., will be repeated at 7 p.m. Registration begins Oct. 22. Costumes are welcome.
Miller branch programs: 410-313-1950.
Elkridge branch programs: 410-313-5085.
Baskets for basketball
Basket bingo will be held Nov. 8 to raise money for Mount Hebron basketball teams.
The event, which will begin at 7 p.m. at Chinese Baptist Church, will feature 22 games of bingo, with goody-filled baskets as prizes.
Tickets are $12 before Nov. 8 and $15 at the door.
Raffle tickets will cost $1 each or six for $5.
Proceeds will help pay for uniforms, equipment and practice gear for the boys and girls teams.
Information: Joy Wolven, 410-465-8748.