The Baltimore Sun

'Merry Mulch' program recycles Christmas trees

Howard County government is offering a variety of Christmas tree recycling options through its "Merry Mulch" program. The county recycles about 18,000 trees a year. All trees are delivered to the Alpha Ridge Landfill where they are transformed into compost and mulch.

From Jan. 2 through Jan. 21, trees may be recycled seven days a week, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Alpha Ridge, and 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at these drop-off sites:

Kendall Hardware, 12260 Rt. 108, and River Hill Garden Center, 12165 Rt. 108, both in Clarksville; Cedar Lane Park, 5081 Cedar Lane, and Grandfather's Garden Center, 5320 Phelps Luck Drive, both in Columbia; Rockburn Park, 5400 Landing Road, Elkridge; Small Circuit Court parking lot on Courthouse Drive, Ellicott City; Schooley Mill Park, 12975 Hall Shop Road, Highland; Savage Park, 8400 Fair Street, Savage; and Western Regional Park, 14800 Carrs Mill Road, Woodbine.

Eastern county residents with yard-trimming collection services can set their Christmas trees out on their regular curbside recycling collection days between Jan. 2 and 21. Trees will not be collected on trash days in this area during that time. The height limit for trees that can be set along the curb is four feet. Taller trees must be cut down. Each bundle must weigh less than 40 pounds.

Trees that have been chemically-treated can not be recycled and all decorations must be removed.

After Jan. 21, all residents can still bring trees to the landfill.

HCC winter, spring registration

Howard Community College, 10901 Little Patuxent Parkway, Columbia, is currently accepting student registration for both the winter and spring 2009 credit semesters.

The four-week winter 2009 credit session begins Jan. 5 and ends Jan. 30. In-person late registration is available Jan. 6 and 7. The spring credit semester begins Jan. 31 for weekend classes and Feb. 2 for weekday classes. Late registration is available in-person Feb. 2 to 4.

Although the college will be closed for winter break from Dec. 24 through Jan. 2, both phone and Web registration will remain available for newly admitted and previously enrolled HCC credit students using their college ID log-in and password. In-person registration will resume during normal business hours on Jan. 5.

For touch-tone telephone registration, call 410-715-4310 (TDD: 410-772-4606). For online registration, log onto the HCC Express link from the home page of the HCC web site at In-person registration is available in RCF 233 Monday through Thursday from 8:45 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Friday from 8:45 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For a free copy of the 2009 winter/spring Schedule of Credit Classes, call 410-772-4856 or view online at For general information, call 410-772-4800 (TDD: 410-772-4023).

Health care luncheon

What does Healthy Howard's recent enrollment experience teach us about access to services, especially health care, in Howard County? The Association of Community Services will hold a luncheon meeting from noon to 1:30 p.m. Jan.21 to address this issue.

Four representatives from Howard County's health community will participate: Peter L. Beilenson, county health officer; Glenn E. Schneider, health policy and planning director; Elizabeth Edsall Kromm, Healthy Community development bureau director; and Liddy Garcia-Bunuel, executive director of Healthy Howard.

The session is free and will be held at The Meeting House, 5885 Robert Oliver Place, Columbia. Bring lunch or pre-order by completing and returning the lunch form on the Web site at no later than Jan. 16. Lunch is $7, payable at the door. Information: 410-715-9545.

Hospital education programs

Howard County General Hospital will hold two community education programs next week.

Space is limited, so registration is required. Programs will be held at the HCGH Wellness Center in Suite L-9 of the Columbia Medical Center, 11055 Little Patuxent Parkway, Columbia.

"Happiest Baby on the Block" will be held from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Jan. 7. Parents-to-be and parents of babies up to three months old will learn successful techniques to quickly soothe a crying newborn baby and promote a more restful sleep for the infant. Cost is $50 per couple.

"Baby Signing" will be held from 9 a.m. to noon on Jan. 9. Participants will learn 100 basic sign-language signs to help babies communicate. The class is for parents, grandparents and caregivers of babies up to 12 months old. Cost is $40 per person/$75 per couple. The price includes a review DVD. Information or to register, 410-740-7601 or

Braille classes offered

"Reading and Writing Braille: Anyone Can Do It" will be held at Owen Brown Community Center, Hopewell Room, 6800 Cradlerock Way, Columbia, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Jan. 10..

In honor of the 200th birthday of inventor Louis Braille, the central Maryland Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind of Maryland is offering this class for children and adults to learn about the history of Braille and the practical and fun ways it is used in everyday living.

Participants will receive a Braille alphabet card and will have the opportunity to read and write Braille. A donation of $5 is suggested. Information: 410-715-9596.

New Year's closings

County government offices, courts, animal shelter, library branches and the landfill will be closed for the New Year's holiday on Jan. 1. Libraries will close at 5 p.m. Dec. 31.

There will be no trash or recycling pick-up on Jan. 1. Households scheduled for Thursday pick-up will have next-day pick-up on Jan. 2.

Parking meters are free on New Year's Day. Howard Transit buses will not run.

County seeks volunteers

The Volunteer Center serving Howard County, in cooperation with the Community Emergency Response Network, is recruiting and referring community members to local nonprofit and government agencies that need volunteers for disaster preparedness and recovery.

There will be a volunteer orientation from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Jan. 7. Volunteer mobilization center training is set for 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Jan. 26. Both events will be held at the center, 10221 Wincopin Circle, Columbia.

Registration is required; 410-715-3179 or

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