COMMUNITY NOTES

The Baltimore Sun

Transportation panel plans 'listening sessions'

The Howard County Public Transportation Board will hold the first of several "listening sessions" to hear concerns, comments and recommendations for the future of Howard Transit, the county's local bus service.

The first session will be held at 7 p.m. Jan. 22 in the Tyson Room of the George Howard Building, 3430 Court House Drive, Ellicott City.

The sessions will begin a six-month to nine-month process to prepare a transit development plan for the next five years. The plan will examine the existing route structure, frequency of service, on-time performance, condition of the vehicles, customer service and other factors and will evaluate future demand based on projected residential and employment growth.

Ridership on Howard Transit is expected to exceed 900,000 trips during the current fiscal year.

To request a sign-language interpreter for the meeting: 410-313-6401 (TDD). Requests should be made at least three days in advance. Requests for transportation should be made at least three days in advance: 410-313-1921.

Deadline for registration in Feb. primary is Jan. 22

Deadlines are approaching for the 2008 presidential primary election. The deadline to register to vote and the deadline for certain voters to request a change in polling place is 9 p.m. Jan. 22.

To vote in the primary, residents who are eligible but not registered (including 17-year-olds who will be 18 by Nov. 4) must complete a voter registration application and mail or hand-deliver it to the Board of Elections.

A hand-delivered application must be received by the Board of Elections by 9 p.m. Jan. 22; a mailed application must be postmarked by Jan. 22. Registered voters who have moved since the last election must provide their current address to the local board by the deadline.

To request a voter registration application: 800-222-VOTE.

An elderly or disabled voter who is unable to reach the assigned polling place must request reassignment by 9 p.m. Jan. 22. The form to request reassignment is available at www.elect ions.state.md.us (type "polling place reassignment" in the search field).

'Supergirl Dilemma' to be focus Sunday

The Women's Giving Circle of Howard County will sponsor a free presentation for mothers, daughters and anyone interested in the future of young women from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday at Hawthorn Center in Hickory Ridge village, Columbia.

Gender equity specialist Phyllis Lerner will discuss "The Supergirl Dilemma: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly."

Lerner is a founding member of Girls Inc. in the Washington metropolitan area, a nonprofit youth organization that tries to inspire girls to lead successful, independent and fulfilling lives.

The organization commissioned a nationwide survey that provides insight into girls' lives and identifies a "supergirl phenomenon," a set of societal expectations for girls that includes coping with stereotypes and concerns uniquely confronting girls.

Admission is free. Reservations are not required.

Information: 410-730-7327. For a copy of the survey: www.girlsinc.org.

17 to receive certification as master gardeners

Seventeen Howard County master gardeners will receive certification in a recognition event to be held from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday at the Miller branch library in Ellicott City.

Receiving certification are Bettye Ames, Lisa Baum, James Blank, Carmen Carpenter, Joyce Halasz, Donna Hennessy, Mary Catherine Herlein, Gerald Kissel, Cathy Latham, John Law, Callie Peddicord, Carolyn Rimes, Dana Rogers, Anne Roy, Linda Walton, Laura Wieder and former County Councilman Paul Farragut.

Also, 28 certified master gardeners will be recognized for their three, five and 10 years of service: Joan Bielski, Gaye Holcomb, Suzette Holiday, Irene MacDonald, Mike McGaha, Deborah Patton, Sherry Young, Ethelyn Bishop, Debra Brooks-Jarboe, Barbara Dawson, Peter Ebbe, Tom Frederick, Tom Gardner, Victoria Goeller, Renee Hawkins, Barbara Nibali, Robert Orazi, Kathy Quick, Betty Rice, Eva Roswell, Anne Towne, Denise Garman, Cheryl Gwynn-Haymes, Maria Gisela Hoffman, Virginia Pausch, Jo Ann Russo, Barbara White and Michelle Wright.

Special recognition will be given to Jon Traunfeld, state master-gardener coordinator and director of the Maryland Cooperative Extension Home and Garden Information Center, for his leadership of the state program, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary.

Nick T. Place, associate dean of the University of Maryland College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and associate director of the Maryland Cooperative Extension, will participate in the ceremonies.

The mission of master gardeners is to educate residents about horticultural practices to build healthy gardens, landscapes and communities.

Arts celebration to be held April 26

The Howard County Arts Council has announced its 11th Celebration of the Arts in Howard County, which will be held from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. April 26 at Jim Rouse Theatre for the Performing Arts in Columbia.

The gala will feature a reception from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. with a silent auction of work by local artists, gourmet food from area restaurants and caterers and musical performances on the Main Street Stage.

After the reception, guests are invited into the theater for presentation of the Howie Awards and the Rising Star Competition for young performing artists. The audience will choose three winners to receive prizes of $5,000, $2,500 and $1,000.

Barbara K. Lawson, president and chief executive officer of the Columbia Foundation, is the gala's honorary chairwoman.

The celebration has raised $741,650 for arts grants in the community in the past 10 years.

Information: 410-313-ARTS or www.hocoarts.org.

Election forum scheduled in Ellicott City tomorrow

AAIHC (African-Americans in Howard County) will hold a presidential primary election forum from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. tomorrow at St. John Baptist Church's Agape Hall, 8910 Route 108, Ellicott City.

The forum will cover major public offices, including U.S. president, congressional representatives, judges of the Circuit Court, delegates to the Democratic and Republican national conventions and candidates for the county Board of Education.

Topics are to include affordable housing, Medicaid cuts, transportation services, affordable health care, education and the balance of powers between the legislative and executive branches of government.

Information: Sherman Howell, 301-596-5240.

State of county address to be given twice Tuesday

County Executive Ken Ulman will deliver his State of Howard County address twice Tuesday.

Following a practice he started in his first year in office, Ulman will present the address first at the Howard County Chamber of Commerce annual luncheon, which is a ticketed event for chamber members, the business community and guests.

Ulman will deliver the address at 7 p.m. in the Banneker Room of the George Howard Building, 3430 Court House Drive in Ellicott City. The evening presentation will be open to the public and carried live on Gtv, the county's government information station.

The Chamber of Commerce program is to start at noon and will be held at the Turf Valley Resort and Conference Center in Ellicott City.

Information or tickets to that event: 410-730-4111.

Arc of Howard County is holding benefit raffle

The Arc of Howard County is selling raffle tickets for a home-theater system with a 50-inch plasma television. The tickets cost $25 each; 1,000 tickets will be sold.

The winning ticket will be drawn at a Super Bowl social to be held from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. Jan. 31 at Arc offices. Refreshments will be served.

The Arc was started by a group of parents in 1961 as an advocacy and support group. The organization provides housing, job placement, vocational training and individual and family-support services to people with cognitive and developmental disabilities and their families.

Information: 410-730-0638.

Residents can track snowplow information

County residents can track the progress of snowplows by visiting the county's home page: www.howard countymd.gov, and clicking on the snowflake icon.

A snow-tracker map will show the location of plows, untreated roads, salted roads and plowed roads. The maps are to be updated every 15 minutes.

Each county snow vehicle is equipped with a global positioning device to allow residents to track its real-time progress during a storm.

Residents also can call 410-313-2900 for information about the county's maintenance efforts during a storm.

Family services moves temporarily

Family and Children's Services of Central Maryland has moved its operations in Columbia to two temporary locations, effective this week, while its offices in the Family Life Center in Wilde Lake are being renovated.

Counseling services will be offered in Rose Price House on the grounds of Oakland Manor, 5430 Vantage Point Road, Columbia.

The Healthy Families Howard County program, which provides services to first-time parents, and the Elder Services program, which offers in-home care for older adults and people with disabilities, will be at 30 Corporate Center, Suite 300, 10440 Little Patuxent Parkway, Columbia.

The Wilde Lake offices are expected to be completed in the spring. Family and Children's Services also has offices in the North Laurel-Savage Multiservice Center in the Whiskey Bottom Shopping Center.

Information: 410-997-3557.

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