The Baltimore Sun

Have cable TV? Be aware of 'opt-out'

The Howard County Office of the Cable Administrator and Office of Consumer Affairs advise residents who are Comcast Cable subscribers to review a notice that is included in their latest billing statement that allows customers to choose to opt out of the company's preferred method for resolving disputes.

The notification is contained in a pamphlet, "Arbitation Notice." Arbitration, an informal process, has been chosen by Comcast as its preferred method to resolve disputes with customers. If subscribers do not opt out of this choice by letter or online, they will be obligated to resolve all disputes with Comcast by arbitration.

Those who do choose to opt out can choose to resolve disputes through Howard County's Office of the Cable Administrator or Howard County's Small Claims Court.

Customers who want to opt out must send a letter within 30 days of receiving the notice, stating explicitly that they do not wish to resolve disputes with Comcast through arbitration. The letter, which must include the customer's name, address and account number, should be sent to Comcast, Attn: Legal Dept./Arbitration, 1500 Market St., Philadelphia 19102. Customers can also choose to "opt out" online at optout.

Information: 410-313-6420 or 410-313-3318.

Lake walk Sunday to aid cancer society

The Columbia Association's Middle School Advisory Committee will sponsor a Cancer Walk around Lake Elkhorn in Columbia at noon Sunday.

The walk is to start at the Lake Elkhorn Pavilion and continue on the two-mile scenic path around the lake.

The cost is $20. Registration can be completed in advance or at 11 a.m. on the day of the walk. Proceeds will go to the American Cancer Society.

Information or registration: 410-715-5523.

Rep Stage offering summer classes

Rep Stage, Howard Community College's professional theater-in-residence, is offering summer classes and performance opportunities for preteens and teens.

One-week sessions for ages 9 to 13 and 14 to 18 are to start Monday; two-week sessions are to begin July 9, and a three-week session for ages 9 to 13 is scheduled for a July 23 start.

"Start up" (7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m.) and "Wind-down" (4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.) programs are also available.

Classes will be held in the college's Smith Theatre and the new Peter and Elizabeth Horowitz Visual and Performing Arts Center. Acting experience is not required.

Information or registration: 410-772-4587, or www.howardcc .edu/visitors/rsai.

Environmental panel plans public sessions

Howard County's Commission on the Environment and Sustainability will hold five open-dialogue sessions during which the public will have an opportunity to meet commission members and learn about its work.

The commission, which was appointed four months ago, is working to identify the best environmental practices to be incorporated into county government operations and all aspects of life in Howard County. The commission is to consider air and water quality, education and outreach, energy, government organization, "green" building and development, open space and local preservation.

Dialogue sessions, during which members of the public are invited to present their views, are to be held at 7 p.m. tomorrow at the Glenwood library, 2350 Route 97, Cooksville; 10 a.m. Saturday at the Elkridge library, 6540 Washington Blvd., Elkridge; 7 p.m. Monday at the east Columbia library, 6600 Cradlerock Way, Columbia; 7 p.m. June 28 at the Miller branch library, 9421 Frederick Road, Ellicott City; and 7 p.m. July 2 at the central library, 10375 Little Patuxent Parkway, Columbia.

Information: Joshua Feldmark, 410-313-2056.

Raffle to help defray fireworks display cost

The Kiwanis Club of Columbia will sell 50/50 raffle tickets through July 18 to help defray the cost of the club's annual July Fourth fireworks display at the Columbia Lakefront.

Tickets sell for $2; $5 for three tickets. The winner of the drawing will receive half the money collected.

The daylong festivities are to start at 2 p.m. Information: Henry Stern, 410-309-4362.

Human services and the Assembly

Members of the Howard County delegation will discuss the success or failure of human services initiatives during the 2007 session of the Maryland General Assembly at the next meeting of the Association of Community Services, to be held from noon to 1:30 p.m. today at the Meeting House, 5885 Robert Oliver Place, in Oakland Mills village, Columbia.

The association has moved to 10480 Little Patuxent Parkway, Suite 920, Columbia. The organization's new telephone number is 410-715-9545; fax, 410- 715-9547.

Travel to Cooperstown to see Ripken honored

The Howard County Department of Recreation and Parks will sponsor a trip to Cooperstown, N.Y., to see Cal Ripken Jr. inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

The trip, which includes accommodation for three nights at the Best Western Binghamton Regency, one dinner, three breakfasts and admission to the Baseball Hall of Fame and the induction ceremony, will run from 9 a.m. July 27 to 4 p.m. July 30.

The cost is $449 for double accommodation; $399 triple; $289 quadruple; and $499 for single. Transportation by fully equipped motor coach is included.

An information meeting for participants will be held at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Recreation and Parks headquarters, 7120 Oakland Mills Road, Columbia. Registration is required.

Information: 410-313-4634. Registration: 410-313-7275, or


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