The Elkridge Volunteer Fire Department participated in the Polar Bear Plunge sponsored by the Maryland State Police on Jan. 24 at Sandy Point State Park near the Bay Bridge.
Firefighter Stacey Watson, 23, took the plunge for the third time.
"Every year they have a costume contest," she said. "A few members from the Elkridge Volunteer Fire Department decided to dress as holidays. ... I was St. Patrick's Day."
Watson decorated her fire helmet with glittering shamrocks. After the judging, she changed into a bathing suit and ran into the water - and out again.
"It's probably close to the coldest, if not the coldest, that I've done it. Your feet get really, really cold and then everything goes numb," Watson said.
According to Elkridge Fire Chief Joe Slavotinek, about 1,900 people participated in the plunge. "The water, I think, was around 28 degrees," he said.
The Elkridge firefighters, who rented a bus to attend the event, collected pledges to be donated to Special Olympics of Maryland. Youngsters and parents from the Elkridge Volunteer Firefighter Junior Program, teachers from Elkridge Landing Middle School, and others rode along. The department raised $5,700 of the $500,000 generated by the plunge.
"It's really a very special feeling when you can help kids for Special Olympics out like that. And we all have that feeling," Slavotinek said.
- Fay Lande
Pupils test their knowledge with annual geography bee
Elkridge Landing Middle School held its annual National Geographic Bee, sponsored by the National Geographic Society, on Jan. 8.
Seventeen pupils from the sixth, seventh and eighth grades participated. The competition tested their knowledge of social studies, world cultures and geography, said social studies instructional team leader Amy Snyder, who organized the event.
Winners were Evan Ash, first place; James Nichols, second place; and Sean Baynes, third place.
Boy Scout Troop plans spaghetti dinner for Feb. 21
Our Lady of Perpetual Help's Boy Scout Troop 794 will hold its annual spaghetti dinner from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Feb. 21 in the church's Harrison Hall.
Spaghetti and meatballs, salad, bread, desserts and beverages are planned. Homemade cakes and desserts will also be for sale.
The cost is $5 for adults; $4 for ages 4 to 12. Young children and Scouts eat for free. Information: 410-203-2579.
Completes training: Marine Corps Pfc. Ryan M. Kresan, son of Michael J. and Jacoba E. Kresan of Elkridge, recently completed the Basic Assault Amphibian Vehicle Crewman's Course. The course prepares students for assignment to assault amphibian units, where landing crafts are used to transport troops and supplies from ship to beachhead for operations ashore.
Food, stories: The Friends of the Patapsco Valley and Heritage Greenway Inc. and Patapsco Valley State Park will cosponsor "A Winter's Feast," a community storytelling celebration, from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Saturday in Hollofield Pavilion No. 300 at the park. Participants will share food prepared in the coals of an open fire. Bring a side dish or dessert to share; a main course and beverages will be provided. Food will be served at 5:30 p.m. Storytelling starts at 6:15 p.m. The cost is $5; $10 per family. Registration is required. 410-480-0824.
For seniors: Howard County Department of Recreation and Parks is sponsoring activities for people age 55 and older and people age 18 and older at Kiwanis-Wallas Recreation Center, 10481 Frederick Road, Ellicott City. Duplicate bridge is played from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Fridays. Bring a bag lunch. Tea and coffee will be available. Bridge, pinochle and other games are played from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesdays and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Fridays. Bring a bag lunch. Tea and coffee are available. Mah-jongg is played from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Wednesdays. 410-313-7279.