ON A RECENT Saturday, more than 60 members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Ellicott City went to the Baltimore Zoo.
But they weren't there to ogle the elephants and gawk at the giraffes. They were there to make the zoo a better place.
It was the second time in as many years that members of the church donated their time to the zoo, said Cheryl Thornley, the church member who organized the event.
Last year, while she was visiting the zoo with her family, she noticed a flier asking for volunteers to help spruce up the zoo. She asked members of her church for help, and wound up with about 130 volunteers, she said.
This year, because of scheduling conflicts, about 65 people attended, Thornley said. The church typically does two or three service projects a year, and the one at the Baltimore Zoo is the largest, she said.
Volunteers signed up in advance, so the zoo would know how many people to expect. Participants arrived about 9 a.m. Sept. 21. They split into four groups: two of the groups focused on picking up litter and general cleanup; one group painted; and one helped organize educational materials.
Church members of all ages participated, from babies to grandparents, Thornley said.
The workers were done around noon. They ate lunch, then many spent the afternoon at the zoo. It was a good deal for everybody involved. The zoo gained some helping hands, and the volunteers enjoyed the zoo without paying admission.
Ken Koppenhoefer was recently honored as this year's winner of the annual award given by NAMI-Howard County, the local chapter of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill.
The award is given every year to a Howard County resident working on behalf of people with mental illness.
Koppenhoefer is program director of On Our Own of Howard County, a drop-in center that opened in April 2000. Koppenhoefer serves meals and coordinates activities at the center. He was honored at the annual awards picnic Sept. 15.
Golfers Chris Pils and Andy Walker, both of Elkridge, recently took home prizes from the Special Olympics National Invitational Tournament in St. Lucie, Fla., Sept. 14-17.
"We're very pleased that the two golfers did quite well," said Howard Mooney, their coach. Walker played nine holes in a tournament format and took fourth place in the competition. Pils took third place in a skills competition.
The golfers practice every day from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the Timbers at Troy golf course in Elkridge, Mooney said.
Meet the candidates
Candidates for County Council in Districts 1 and 5 and for the Board of Education will have a chance to share their views with the public at an event sponsored by the PTAs of Hollifield Station, St. John's Lane and Waverly elementary schools; Patapsco Middle School; and Mount Hebron High School.
The forum will be at 7 p.m. Oct. 9 in the cafeteria of Hollifield Station Elementary School in Ellicott City. Audience members can submit questions on cards for a moderator to read to the candidates. The event is open to the public.