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Autism society's gala is Friday

The Howard County Autism Society will kick off a fundraising campaign with its Pieces of the Puzzle Gala black-tie event, to be held Friday at Turf Valley Resort & Conference Center in Ellicott City.

Last year's celebration generated more than $80,000, funding the opening of the first county-based Autism Resource Center and the hiring of the society's first executive director, Kim Manning.

The goal this year is $150,000, with which the group hopes to move the Columbia-based resource center to a larger facility, expand its collection of books and other materials and offer more workshop for parents, first responders, educators and others.

Information: 410-290-6231.

Ice hockey tryouts to start Sunday

The Howard Huskies ice hockey organization will hold travel team tryouts for the 2007-2008 season from Sunday through May 6 at Columbia Ice Rink.

Recreational and travel team players at the mite, squirt, peewee, midget U16 and midget U18 levels are encouraged to try out.

Information: www.Howard or e-mail, info@

County workers urged to take kids to work

Howard County Executive Ken Ulman has invited county government employees to take their children to work tomorrow as part of the "Bring Your Child to Work Day" national observance.

After a morning with parents on the job, the children will meet the county executive, share their experiences and answer questions about the environment, the focus of this year's event.

A copper beech wins tree award

A copper beech tree on the grounds of the Residences at Greystone in Ellicott City is winner of the 2007 Howard County Champion Tree Award.

The tree is estimated to be more than 200 years old and about 87 feet high. Its circumference is 15 feet, 8 inches. It was selected for the award by the Howard County Forestry Board based on its beauty, its caretakers' efforts to preserve it and its accessibility to the public.

A ceremony is to be held at 10 a.m. Friday. The tree is at 3700 College Ave. Light refreshments will be served and those who attend will receive free tree seedlings.

Information: Steve Parker, 410-313-7251.

Poster contest entries sought

The Human Rights Commission invites Howard County public school students, kindergarten through 12th grade, to enter its Fair Housing Calendar poster contest, conducted in observance of April as Fair Housing Month.

The contest's theme is "Building Strong Communities Through Fair Housing."

Entries must be on white 18-inch-by-24-inch poster board in landscape format and must be submitted by 4 p.m. Monday to the Office of Human Rights, 6751 Columbia Gateway Drive, Suite 239, Columbia 21035.

Twelve posters will be selected to be featured in the commission's 2008 Fair Housing Calendar, which will be distributed to government officials, schools and the public.

Top winners receive U.S. Savings Bonds.

Information: Charlotte Beckenstein, 410-313-6430.

Blood donations are urgently sought

The Red Cross is appealing for blood donations, with types O positive, O negative and B negative urgently needed. A lack of blood has forced hospitals in the region to cancel or delay procedures, such as transplants and other surgeries.

Donors should be in generally good health, at least 17 years old (or 16 with written parental consent), weigh no less than 110 pounds, have not received a tattoo within the past year and have not donated whole blood in the past 56 days.

Eligible donors should Call 800-GIVE-LIFE for an appointment to donate blood. Platelet donors should call 800-272-2123.

The Red Cross is also seeking businesses, churches, community groups and civic organizations to sponsor blood drives.

Information: 800-787-9282, Ext. 4925.

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