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Stream cleanup planned for tomorrow

Friends of the Patapsco Valley and Heritage Greenway Inc. will hold its first group stream cleanup of the year from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. tomorrow, and its annual meeting from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday. (The snow date is Feb. 2.)

David Dionne, chairman of the board of trustees of the East Coast Greenway Alliance, will speak at the meeting. The nonprofit alliance links local trail projects between Maine and Florida into a continuous 2,600-mile route. Dionne is also chairman of the Maryland Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee.

The meeting will be held at the Clementine Peterson Girl Scout Activity Center, 5042 Ilchester Road, Ellicott City.

The cleanup will be along a stream in Catonsville, off Edmondson Avenue. The stream is adjacent to the Royal Farms store property, 504 Edmondson Avenue.

Volunteers ages 15 or younger are welcome if supervised by an adult volunteer. The cleanup will be canceled in the event of snow or heavy rain.

Information: 410-480-0824.

Center seeks dishes for shelter residents

Grassroots Crisis Intervention Center is nearing completion of its $5.5 million renovation and expansion project and is seeking cookware, dishes and utensils to prepare and serve meals for shelter residents.

The expanded shelter will serve as a temporary home for 55 people. The building's new commercial kitchen will enable volunteer groups to prepare meals onsite. The kitchen and dinnerware are the focus of a new fundraising campaign.

To make a donation, send a check to Grassroots, 6700 Freetown Road, Columbia 21044.

Help offered for relatives who are raising children

Howard County Department of Citizen Services' Office of Children's Service is offering support groups for grandparents and other relatives raising children: Relatives as Parents of Howard County (formerly known as Grandparents as Parents.)

Information on services and financial assistance is available. The groups, which meet from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. the second Wednesday of each month at the Bain Center, offer an opportunity to hear about available resources and services, ask for referrals and network with others.

Information: 410-381-4800 or 410-313-1940.

'Roots of Howard County' planned for Feb. 10

The villages of Columbia, the Columbia Association, the African Art Museum of Maryland and the Howard County Center of African-American Culture will present "Roots of Howard County: In Celebration of African-American History" from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 10 at Historic Oakland, 5430 Vantage Point Road, Columbia.

The Ambassadors of Jazz, an accomplished youth jazz group, will perform. Images of Freedom poster contest entries will be on display, and light refreshments will be served.

Those who attend can visit the African Art Museum of Maryland and see a display presented by the Howard County Center of African-American Culture.

Admission is free.

Information: 410-730-4744.

Community blood drive is Feb. 2 in Columbia

Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Columbia will sponsor a community blood drive from 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Feb. 2 at Owen Brown Interfaith Center, 7246 Cradlerock Way, Columbia.

Appointments are available but not necessary. Registered donors will receive priority.

The congregation holds blood drives three times a year.

Information or to schedule an appointment: 410-381-4546, or uuccblood

GOP central committee seeking nominations

The Howard County Republican Central Committee is seeking nominations for a candidate to replace Robert Ballinger on the nine-member panel.

Applicants must be registered Republicans living in Howard County.

Those interested should send a resume and a written paragraph explaining why they are interested in the position to, or mail the information to Howard County Republican Party, P.O. Box 26, Ellicott City 21041 by Feb. 22.

Candidates who qualify will be interviewed by the committee.

String quartet to perform free concerts today

As part of the Candlelight Concert Series' outreach program, two free concerts by the Enso String Quartet will be offered at two Howard County senior centers today.

A performance at Glenwood Senior Center is to begin at 10:30 a.m. Another is to start at 1 p.m. at the Bain Center.

Information: 410-313-7213.

Essay contest focus is Women's History Month

Howard County's Commission for Women is sponsoring an essay contest in honor of Women's History Month, to be celebrated in March.

The national theme for this year's celebration is "Women's Art, Women's Vision."

The contest, open to Howard County students in grades six to 12 who are enrolled in public or private schools or being home-schooled. The essays should describe a contemporary or historical American woman who has distinguished herself in the arts and would be considered visionary.

First-place winners in each grade category (grades six to eight and nine to 12) will receive a $200 U.S. Savings bond and be invited to read their essays at the Women's Hall of Fame induction ceremony at 7:30 p.m. March 13 in the Banneker Room of the George Howard Building, 3430 Court House Drive, Ellicott City.

The deadline for submissions is Feb. 8.

Information about the contest is available at school guidance offices, by calling 410-313-6400 or at www.howard HomePage.htm, and click on "Commissions & Advisory Boards -- Commission for Women."

Bookstore to partici pate in Dangerous Boys Club

Barnes & Noble Booksellers in Ellicott City has announced its participation in the launch of the Dangerous Boys Club at Barnes & Noble stores across the country.

Based on the book, The Dangerous Book for Boys by Conn and Hal Iggulden, The Dangerous Boys Club is designed to keep boys engaged in reading and in constructive, hands-on activities.

The club, recommended for ages 7 and older, is to start at the Ellicott City bookstore at 2 p.m. Feb. 2. The theme for its first meeting will be "It's a Secret!" and will feature code-breaking, coin tricks and activities for aspiring spies. The event will include giveaways and prizes.

Information: Julie Hedgecock, 410-203-9006.

HC DrugFree schedules its job fair for March 8

HC DrugFree's annual Teen Job and Volunteer Fair will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. March 8.

HC DrugFree, a local nonprofit organization, works to empower the community to raise drug-free teenagers.

Information: Laura Smit, 443-325-0040.

Choose Civility magnets available for vehicles

The Howard County Library has Choose Civility car magnets in stock. The magnets are part of an initiative that includes 40 partners, led by the library, to position Howard County as a model of civility.

Funded by Friends of Howard County Library, The Horizon Foundation and Howard County General Hospital, the project is intended to enhance the quality of life in the county and emphasize the importance of civility for those who live and work here.

The book by P.M. Forni, founder of the Johns Hopkins Civility Project, Choosing Civility: The Twenty-five Rules of Considerate Conduct, is available at library branches. A $1 donation is requested.

Information: Kelli Shimabukuro, 410-313-7763.

Celebration of the Arts is scheduled for 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. Also planned are gourmet food from area restaurants and caterers and performances on the Main Street Stage.

After the reception, guests will be 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. In 10 years, the celebration has raised more than $700,000 for arts grants in the community.

Information: 410-313-ARTS, or

The Arc is planning a raffle fundraiser

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 from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday at Arc offices, 11735 Homewood Road, Ellicott City.

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 or reservations: 410-730-0638.

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