Red Cross seeks blood donors

The Red Cross says that after the July 4 holiday, blood donations have fallen to a critical level, and the community blood supply is not adequate for the needs of hospitals.

In response, the Greater Chesapeake and Potomac Region of the Red Cross is urging eligible whole blood donors to schedule an appointment to give blood.

Donors must be in good health, at least 17 (16 with written parental consent) and weigh at least 110 pounds. They must not have received a tattoo within the past year and not have donated whole blood in the past 56 days.

Those who donate will receive a "Be the One We Count On" T-shirt and a chance to win $100 worth of gas in a weekly raffle.

Information or to schedule an appointment: 800-GIVE-LIFE.

Luau planned for wounded GIs

The Yingling-Ridgely Veterans of Foreign Wars and its Ladies Auxiliary will sponsor a Hawaiian luau tomorrow for wounded troops from Walter Reed Army Medical Center and Bethesda Naval Hospital. Hawaiian dancers and music, food, door prizes and games for children are planned.

The event will be held from noon to 4 p.m. at the VFW post in Ellicott City. The luau is co-sponsored by Maryland for Our Military, whose members join members of the VFW's auxiliary and junior girls' unit in arranging weekly visits to Walter Reed and to the Molonge and Fisher houses, overflow housing on hospital campuses for troops and their families.

The visitors bring milk, bread, cereal, canned foods, snacks, fresh fruit, digital video discs, compact discs, gas cards and gift cards from Wal-Mart, Target, Kmart stores and local restaurants for the GIs. Additional visitors are welcome, as are donations of food, money for gas and gift cards and prizes for the luau.

Many of the GIs are missing arms, legs, eyes or other body parts, said Sandi Kriebel, past department president of the state VFW and an organizer of the visits and the luau.

The VFW post is at 4225 VFW Lane, off Old Columbia Pike.

Information: Sandi Kriebel, 410-750-3941 or Kathy Ratti, 410-549-0938.

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. Wednesday at Oakland Mills Interfaith Center, 5885 Robert Oliver Place, Columbia.

Information: www.acs (click "public policy").

Nominations sought for volunteer awards

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, to be 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 The deadline for nominations is Aug. 7.

Habitat to hold an 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. tomorrow 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.

Information: 410-997-4949.

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

Information or to request a survey form: 410-313-4640.

NAACP sponsors young-voter drive

The Howard County NAACP Youth Council is sponsoring an "Adopt-a-Block Program," focused on a get-out-the-vote campaign for young voters, this year.

A candidates forum is planned for July 22, and a health fair is scheduled for Aug. 26. Programs are also planned on education and economic empowerment.

Information: Bessie Bordenave, 301-490-7059.

Vendors sought for 50+ Expo

Vendors are being sought for the 50+ Expo, to be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 20 at Wilde Lake High School in Columbia.

Fees vary and are based on exhibitor category and location at the expo, which is designed for people ages 50 and older and their families, caregivers and friends. The expo will feature a health fair, health screenings, an alternative care fair, an "Ask the Experts" series, workshops, demonstrations, an auction, entertainment and food.

Information or to reserve a space: 410-531-5472. For a vendor packet:

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