Volunteer of the Year nominations sought
Nomination forms are available for Howard County's 2006 Volunteer of the Year awards for individuals and groups.
Nominees must be residents of the county or do their volunteer work in the county; their work should have a significant impact on the community or on an individual.
The nominees will be recognized at a ceremony with county officials Sept. 14. One of the nominees will be selected to represent Howard County and its volunteers at the annual statewide "Maryland You are Beautiful" volunteer recognition program held by Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. in September.
Nomination forms are available through the Howard County public information office (410-313-2022) or online at www.co.ho.md.us. The deadline for nominations is Aug. 7.
Red Cross seeking blood donations
In response to a sharp decline in blood donations, the Greater Chesapeake and Potomac Region of the Red Cross is urging eligible donors to schedule an appointment to donate blood.
Those who do will be offered a "Be the One We Count On" T-shirt and a chance to win $100 worth of gas in a weekly raffle.
Donors must be in good health, at least 17 years old (16 with written parental consent), weigh 110 pounds or more, have not received a tattoo within the past year and have not donated whole blood in the past 56 days.
To schedule an appointment: 800-GIVE-LIFE. Platelet donors should call 800-272-2123. To schedule a blood drive, call 800-787-9282, Ext. 4925
Ground-based sparklers prohibited
Howard County police and the county Department of Fire and Rescue Services remind residents and businesses that legislation passed in 2003 prohibits the sale, possession and use of ground-based sparklers.
The police and fire departments are contacting retailers to ensure that the illegal fireworks are not sold. Violators will be subject to a fine of up to $250.
The Howard County bill was introduced after the General Assembly added certain ground-based sparkling devices to the list of legal fireworks in 2002. As a result of the change, the fire department responded to numerous calls for brush fires and other emergencies.
The law does not affect the sale or use of other fireworks, such as hand-held sparklers, party poppers, ignitable "snakes" and "snap 'n' pops."
Independence Day closing information
County government offices, courts, libraries, the animal shelter and the landfill will be closed Tuesday for Independence Day.
There will be no trash or recycling pickup. Tuesday trash collection routes will be picked up Wednesday; Tuesday recycling and yard-waste routes will be picked up July 11.
Parking meters will be free Tuesday, and Howard Transit bus service will run limited routes. For schedule information: 800-270-9553.
For emergencies, call 911. For nonemergencies, call 410-313- 2200. Police, fire and 911 services are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Habitat for Humanity to hold open house
Habitat for Humanity of Howard County Inc. will hold an open house and public meeting from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at 6570 Dobbin Road, Columbia.
The group will explain its work and invite people to participate. Light refreshments will be provided, and a raffle for a children's playhouse is planned.
Candidate forums set in Columbia
The Association of Community Services will hold the third in its series of candidate forums, for candidates for school board, from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. July 12 at Oakland Mills Interfaith Center, 5885 Robert Oliver Place, Columbia.
Information: www.acs hoco.org (click "public policy").
County to allow mixed recyclables
Howard County residents can now recycle metal cans, plastic and glass bottles and jars along with mixed papers, without needing to bag or bind paper separately. Recyclable containers and mixed paper can be placed in a single bin or see-through bag; yard waste will still be required to be put out separately.
Waste Management Recycle America, a subsidiary of Waste Management, is under contract to Howard County to process and market recyclables. The company has completed a processing facility near Elkridge that includes equipment to sort mixed paper from other recyclable materials.
Information: 410-313-6444 or www.howardcountyrecycles .org.
Parks department offers public survey
Howard County Department of Recreation and Parks has developed a survey to help evaluate public response to the county's park system.
The survey -- the first to be offered to Howard County park users -- asks participants to rate staff members, park sites and amenities such as playing fields, basketball and tennis courts, pavilions, picnic areas, pathways, playgrounds and restrooms.
The survey will be available at park sites during the next three months. It also is to be available at Howard County library branches and online at www.co.ho.md.us/RAP.
Information or to request a survey form: 410-313-4640.
Connect-A-Ride rates to increase
After a 30-day public comment period that ended June 15, Corridor Transportation Corp. has announced that fares will increase and changes to Connect-A-Ride routes G and H will go into effect tomorrow.
Fares will rise from $1.50 to $1.75. Fares for people with disabilities and seniors will remain at 75 cents; these riders will pay a new 25-cent transfer fee.
A new 50-cent transfer fee will be charged to the general public. Transfers will continue to be valid for two hours.
Information about the new G and H routes: 800-270-9553 or visit the Web site.