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Housing application period starts Sunday

Howard County Executive Ken Ulman has announced that the county's second open application period for the Moderate Income Housing Unit Program will begin Sunday and end July 31.

The inclusionary zoning program requires developers of new housing in specific districts to sell or rent a percentage of the dwelling units to moderate-income households.

The units are sold or rented through the Department of Housing and Community Development. Those who want to purchase or rent a unit must fill out an application for a "certificate of eligibility" based on income, assets, household size, whether the applicant wants to rent or purchase and other factors. Certified applicants will be placed on a waiting list.

The next Moderate Income Housing Unit Program lottery, which is to include for-sale townhouses in the development of Shipley's Grant and condominiums in Elkridge Crossing, will be held in August. Those eligible for the lottery will be notified and invited to attend.

Eligible renters will be chosen directly from the list, based on application dates, when the units become available.

Maximum permitted incomes range from $51,063 for purchasers in a one-person household and $38,297 for renters to $96,290 for purchasers in an eight-person household and $72,218 for renters.

Information: 410-313-6318, or

Columbia plans a cake-cutting

The board of directors of the Columbia Association and association President Maggie J. Brown invites the community to join elected officials and community leaders for the association's cake-cutting ceremony and 40th birthday celebration Sunday at the lakefront.

The ceremony will be held on the lakefront's main stage at 1 p.m. The cake will be cut at 1:30 p.m. Residents and guests are invited to participate; more than 3,000 cupcakes will be distributed to those who attend.

The event is part of the City Fair & Carnival, to be held today through Sunday in celebration of Columbia's 40th birthday. The fair, which begins at 6 p.m. at the Columbia Lakefront and adjacent areas, includes entertainment, children's activities, magic shows, fireworks, music, carnival rides, food, community booths, and arts-and-crafts vendors.

The 40-day celebration extends through July 15 and includes events in outdoor and indoor venues around the county. Its theme is "Celebrate Columbia: The place. The people. The experience."

Information: Cynthia Coyle, cityfair@columbiaassociation. com.

Information or to participate in the 40-day celebration of Columbia's birthday, e-mail bar

History project seeks participants

The Howard County Library invites residents to tell their personal history or help collect the stories of others as part of the This Is Your Life project.

The project is designed to enable Howard County residents ages 50 and older to celebrate their lives by creating oral histories, writing memoirs, investigating genealogy and scrap-booking.

Anyone interested in being interviewed or in being trained to conduct an interview should call Kelli Shimabukuro, 410-313-7763.

The project is co-sponsored by the Howard County Office on Aging, Columbia Archives, Howard County Historical Society, Vantage House and American Literary Press.

Cuba Caravan meal, program scheduled

Howard County Friends of Latin America and others will welcome the Pastors for Peace Cuba Caravan with a dinner and program from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. July 6 at the Meeting House, 5885 Robert Oliver Place, in Oakland Mills Village Center.

A dinner of beans and rice and entertainment will be provided. A $5 donation is requested.

Information: www.friends

Aid organization has a new Web site

The Community Action Council of Howard County has a new Web site,

The council serves and is an advocate for the low-income population of Howard County.

The nonprofit organization, which served about 2,600 families last year, receives funding from federal, state and local government, private organizations and local businesses.

Information: 410-313-6440.

Woodworking shop open to seniors

The Bain Center operates a woodworking shop equipped with power tools and staffed by volunteers from the Howard County Woodworkers' Guild.

The shop is open to senior citizens working on projects of their own. Hours are from 9 a.m. to noon weekdays.

Information: 410-313-7213.

County is eligible for anti-crime grant

Howard County Executive Ken Ulman and Police Chief William J. McMahon have announced that the county is eligible for a U.S. Department of Justice/Bureau of Justice Assistance Grant of $61,743 for programs to combat major crime and improve public safety.

The community is invited to submit suggestions and comments and discuss priorities for how the money should be used.

To comment, contact the Office of the Chief of Police (410- 313-3377) today or e-mail,

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, "Arbitration 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 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.

Environmental panel plans public sessions

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

The commission, 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.

A dialogue session, the last of the current series, is to be held at 7 p.m. Monday at the central library, 10375 Little Patuxent Parkway, Columbia.

Information: Joshua Feldmark, 410-313-2056.

Raffle to help defray cost of fireworks

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. with games, a magician, a puppeteer and other attractions for children; food and other vendors; and continuous musical performances. Fireworks are scheduled to start at 9:30 p.m. More than 20,000 people attended last year's festival.

Information: Henry Stern, 410-309-4362.

Red Cross seeks blood donors

The Greater Chesapeake and Potomac Region of the Red Cross is urging eligible blood donors to call 800-GIVE-LIFE to schedule a donation as soon as possible.

Platelet donors should call 800-272-2123 to schedule an appointment.

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