Ho-ho-ho! Who wouldn't want to go to the Fifth District Fire Station to see Santa arrive on a fire engine? Most little ones and quite a few not so little people love fire engines as well as the jolly elf in the red suit.

Come to the fire station for Pizza with Santa Saturday, Dec. 10 from noon to 2 p.m. Visits and photo ops are part of the holiday fun. There will be snacks, activities and goodies for all the children and a mini train garden. Enjoy all the pizza you can eat from Pudgie's for $6 for adults and children older than 5. For more information, call 410-313-7215.


Children age 3 through fifth grade will be featured in the annual Christmas pageant at Linden-Linthicum United Methodist Church during both morning worship services Sunday, Dec. 11. All are welcome.

Both new and experienced gardeners are invited to register for the Master Gardener Training Program run by the University of Maryland Extension, Howard County Office. Don't let a lack of hands-on experience deter you. All ages are welcome. They need willing volunteers with skills in writing, graphics and computer knowledge as well as garden knowledge to educate consumers.

Training will cover plant, insect and disease problems, environmental impacts and sustainable gardening practices and other topics. Orientation is Jan. 23 from 10 a.m.-noon. Classes will run Mondays and Wednesdays through March 28 from 9 a.m.-noon at the Extension Office.

The cost for a wealth of information and training is $195. The registration deadline is Dec. 16. Call 410-313-2707 today to learn more.

Have you been searching for the perfect gift for your spouse? How about "Love for a Lifetime", a marriage enrichment retreat scheduled for Feb. 17-19 at the Dunes Manor Hotel, in Ocean City. It's a gift that keeps giving for years to come.

This special getaway weekend includes two nights at the Dunes Manor, brunch, tea and dinner on Saturday and brunch on Sunday. The cost per couple is $275 before Dec. 17. After Dec. 17 it will be $299.

This marriage enrichment retreat is sponsored by Linden-Linthicum United Methodist Church, Triadelphia Seventh-day Adventist Church, Mt. Zion UMC and Maranatha Adventist Fellowship. For more information, email MarriageEnrichment@comcast.net or call 301-317-5428 or 443-864-6328.

Innovative thinking is often met with opposition. In time, it can be seen that the new idea was actually a good idea and recognition comes along.

Congratulations to the River Hill High School Student Council on sponsoring its second annual HAWKfest during the recent homecoming week. The event was featured in the Nov. issue of the National Association of Student Councils E-Bulletin.

HAWKfest replaces the traditional parade with stationary floats enjoyed by students, staff, parents and community friends. This year new innovative attractions were added to the popular inflatable obstacle course. The Council reported, "The event's success solidified HAWKfest as a River Hill tradition that will undoubtedly continue to grow and threaten the dryness of administrators for years to come." Of course, those dry administrators are not at River Hill or even in Howard County.

It sure was nice to have all the Ludy siblings together for Thanksgiving weekend. That doesn't happen every year. Ed and Mary Ellen Ludy Ernst drove from Naples, Fla., to be part of the family gathering.

Be sure to call or send email to share important family happenings during the holiday season. There will no doubt be many native sons and daughters gathering locally in the coming weeks.