COMMUNITY NOTES

The Baltimore Sun

Red Cross makes urgent call for blood

The Greater Chesapeake and Potomac Region of the Red Cross has announced that the community blood supply has dropped to crisis level and is urging eligible blood donors to call 800-GIVE-LIFE to schedule a donation as soon as possible.

As of Friday, fewer than 50 units of type O-negative blood was available, according to an announcement issued by the Red Cross.

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

Donors must be in generally good health; at least 17 years old, or in Maryland, age 16 with written parental consent; weigh 110 pounds or more; and not have received a tattoo within the past year or donated whole blood within the past 56 days.

Information: 800-GIVE-LIFE.

Electronic tracking for missing persons

The Howard County Police Department, with the Howard County Autism Society, is launching a pilot program to use an electronic tracking device to find missing people who may have wandered away.

Project Lifesaver uses a personalized wristband that emits a tracking signal on an assigned radio frequency. When caregivers notify police that a person is missing, a Project Lifesaver team will search with the mobile locator tracking system.

In jurisdictions using the system across the United States, search time has been reduced from hours or days to an average of less than 20 minutes, the Police Department said.

The pilot program will begin with 20 transmitters, to be used by people identified by the Autism Society.

Used in more than 550 jurisdictions around the country, the program is said to have recorded a 100 percent success rate.

Information: Kim Manning, 410-290-6231, or kmanning@ howard-autism.org.

County executive to hold forum

Howard County Executive Ken Ulman will hold an open public forum for all county residents from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. July 25 in the Oakland Mills High School cafeteria. The school is at 9410 Kilimanjaro Road in Columbia.

The event will offer residents the opportunity to speak with the county executive and the heads of every county government department.

Those who wish to speak will be asked to sign up when they arrive. Speakers will be asked to limit their questions or comments to two minutes.

The executive will answer the question or direct the inquiry to the appropriate department head.

Rec and Parks offers trip to tennis open

Howard County's Department of Recreation and Parks will sponsor a trip Aug. 31 to the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York to see the 2007 U.S. Tennis Open.

The trip will be from 6 a.m. to midnight. The cost is $149, including reserved seating at the Arthur Ashe Stadium. Registration is required by July 27.

Information: 410-313-4634. Registration: 410-313-7275, or www.howardcountymd.gov/RAP.

United Way awards $37,500 to nonprofits

The Howard County United Way Partnership Board, a team of United Way volunteers, has awarded $37,500 in discretionary funding to local health and human service nonprofits.

The board approved these grants: $1,000 for Prepare for Success; $3,000 for Conexiones; $2,000 for Cradlerock Children's Center; $5,500 for Grassroots Crisis Intervention Center Inc.; $5,000 for Domestic Violence Center of Howard County; $4,000 for the STTAR (Sexual Trauma Treatment, Advocacy and Recovery) Center Inc.; $4,000 for congregations concerned for the homeless; $3,000 for FISH of Howard County; $4,000 for St. John Baptist Church Mentoring Program; $1,000 for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Maryland; and $5,000 for the Volunteer Center Serving Howard County.

Teen committee needs volunteers

The Columbia Association's Teen Advisory Committee is seeking youths, ages 13 to 19, to join in creating events for Columbia teenagers.

Members of the committee are asked to make a commitment to attend meetings from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. every other Thursday and to help at events.

The committee accepts new members throughout the year. Information: 410-715-5523.

Widows, widowers meet once a month

Howard County Young Widows and Widowers, a support and social group, meets from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. on the first Wednesday of each month.

The group offers an opportunity to meet new friends in a supportive atmosphere.

Information: 410-740-5858.

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. Hours are from 9 a.m. to noon weekdays.

Information: 410-313-7213.

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