Kittleman Reopens Howard County’s MultiService Center Following Expansion

Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman joined Department of Citizen Services staff to officially reopen the county’s MultiService Center (MSC). The MSC, located at 9900 Washington Boulevard, recently completed an extensive renovation to better serve the needs of the North Laurel and surrounding communities.

“The MultiService Center is a successful collaboration of public, private and nonprofit entities that provide support services to residents who want to attain greater levels of self-sufficiency,” said Kittleman. “This expansion gives MSC staff and its partner agencies a facility that is not only larger, but also better equipped to meet the needs of the increasingly diverse North Laurel and Savage communities.”

The renovation and expansion project took eight weeks to complete, adding 955 square feet to the MSC for a total of 3,950 square feet, a nearly 32% expansion. The expanded space includes four new offices to better accommodate MSC staff and the 13 community partners, a larger waiting area for clients, and a new computer area for job searches, résumé writing and other activities.

New office hours will better accommodate the community’s needs, which are now 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesdays. For more information, contact the MSC at 410-313-0220 (voice/relay), e-mail [email protected] or visit

Howard’s Water Quality, Watershed Enhancement Grant Applications Available

Howard County’s Department of Public Works, Bureau of Environmental Services, is now accepting applications for its 2016 Watershed Enhancement Grant (WEG). The WEG is geared towards promoting grassroots education projects and outreach activities intended to increase community awareness and participation in water quality issues and projects, provide educational opportunities for Howard County residents and implement restoration projects. Applications are available online at and must be submitted both via e-mail to [email protected] and mailed to Angela Morales, Howard County Watershed Enhancement Grant Program, Bureau of Environmental Services, 6751 Columbia Gateway Drive, Suite 514, Columbia, MD 21046. Deadline to apply is Friday, Feb. 26.

Examples of eligible WEG program activities include: environmental cleanups, removal of invasive plant species, riparian tree plantings, stream restorations, rain garden installations and educational seminars. Projects must be completed within one year of acceptance into the grant program. For questions or more information about WEG, contact the Bureau of Environmental Services at 410-313-6444 or visit

Leadership U Inviting Applicants for 2016

High school sophomores who are looking for a leadership challenge and the opportunity to have an impact on their community are invited to apply to Leadership U, a leadership development and community service program sponsored by Leadership Howard County.

Open to all high school sophomores who live in Howard County, the Leadership U program empowers students to learn by doing. Students work in teams to discuss, reflect upon and develop solutions for problems that affect them and their peers in the community. The program includes a week-long summer session of teambuilding, skill development, tours of county facilities and identification of issues facing Howard County; and a fall session working with an adult mentor focusing on a community service project.

Remaining information sessions are set for Feb. 10 at the Central Library and March 3 at the Miller Library, with all sessions running from 7–8 p.m. The application deadline is March 17. Information and applications are available in guidance offices or online at

Vendors Wanted for Howard County’s GreenFest

Vendor applications are now being accepted for Howard County’s GreenFest, which is back for its ninth consecutive year on Saturday, April 16. The event will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Howard Community College’s Burrill Galleria, located at 10901 Little Patuxent Parkway, Columbia. Last year’s event drew more than 2,000 attendees and featured nearly 90 commercial and nonprofit vendors with information about how to live a more ecologically-sound lifestyle.

While the theme for 2016 is “Buy Local, Eat Local, Be Local,” GreenFest is open to all vendors and exhibitors that highlight environmentally conscious products, services, activities and opportunities for community involvement. The vendor and sponsorship application is available at For more information, contact Alan Wilcom at 410-313-6433 or [email protected].

Behind the Bricks: 20 Years of the Laurel Museum Opens Feb. 7

“Behind the Bricks: 20 Years of the Laurel Museum,”  opens Feb. 7 at the Laurel Museum.  Exploring topics from the Mill House to mill workers, to Civil War soldiers, WWII, the ’50s and lost Laurel, it provides a behind-the-scenes look at the discoveries, collections, volunteers and staff that inspired and created more than 20 exhibits since 1996.  Behind the Bricks runs through Dec. 18.

The Laurel Museum is open Wednesdays and Fridays 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Sundays 1-4 p.m. Group tours by appointment.  Admission is free. The Laurel Library and digitized Laurel Leaders and other items from the LHS collection are open to researchers by appointment Monday–Friday. The Laurel Museum is located at 817 Main Street, Laurel. For appointments or for additional visitor information, contact 301-725-7975 or [email protected] or visit

CA’s World Languages Café to Kick Off 2016 in New Location

Columbia Association’s (CA) World Languages Café will start 2016 by moving to a different location and a different day of the week. The Café will meet on the fourth Tuesday of the month at the 50+ Center at East Columbia Library, 6600 Cradlerock Way, in Owen Brown.

Upcoming sessions will be on Feb. 23, March 22, April 26, May 24 and June 28. All sessions are scheduled from 7 to 9 p.m. Individuals are invited to attend and join the language table of their choice, whether they wish to drop in or stay the entire time. Tea, coffee and water will be available; vending machines with snacks are inside the library. People are welcome to bring food and beverages and may even choose to share treats with their table.

Languages include American Sign Language, Arabic, Chinese, Dutch, English, Farsi, French, German, Hebrew, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Turkish. Language tables are hosted by native speakers who will facilitate conversation. Most people who attend already have some fluency in the language and can put sentences together; these gatherings are not grammar or vocabulary classes.

Check on what’s being offered each month, learn whom the table hosts will be or volunteer to become a host by e-mailing [email protected] or calling Laura Smit, manager of CA’s International Exchange and Multicultural Programs, at 410-715-3162.

HC DrugFree Category in the HoCo FilmFest

HC DrugFree is looking for film-savvy teens to enter the HC DrugFree Category in the 2016 HoCo FilmFest. The winning film will be used as a public service announcement throughout Howard County. The HC DrugFree focus is prescription pain medication (opioids) misuse, which often leads to heroin use.

Visit for additional information. Deadline for video submission is March 19. The FilmFest will be held on Friday, April 8, at 7 p.m., at the Charles E. Miller Library, Ellicott City.

Grennan to Read at HoCoPoLitSo’s 38th Irish Evening of Music, Poetry

HoCoPoLitSo’s guest for its 38th Annual Irish Evening will be poet Eamon Grennan. He will read from his work starting at 7:30 p.m., Feb. 19, at the Smith Theatre in the Horowitz Center for Visual & Performing Arts on the campus of Howard Community College.

Grennan’s reading will be followed by Narrowbacks Eileen Korn Estes, Jesse Winch, Terence Winch, Linda Hickman and Brendan Mulvihill on fiddle in a concert of traditional Irish music, with stepdancers from the Culkin School.

Starting with Wildly for Days in 1983, Grennan’s work has earned him praise from the literary collective, including fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Guggenheim Foundation. Former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins said of Grennan: “To read him is to be led on a walk through the natural world of clover and cricket and, most of all, light, and to face with an open heart the complexity of being human.”

Grennan has published more than 20 books of verse, along with translations and a collection of essays about modern Irish poetry; his latest is There Now (July 2015). General admission tickets are $35 each and are available at or by sending a self-addressed envelope and check payable to HoCoPoLitSo, 10901 Little Patuxent Parkway, Horowitz Center 200, Columbia, MD 21044.

HCAC Offers Employment, Volunteer Ops at Summer Camp

The Howard County Arts Council (HCAC) is accepting applications for camp assistants (paid) and camp volunteers (unpaid) for its 2016 Visual and Performing Arts Summer Camps. Downloadable applications are available on the “Getting Involved” page at

Duties of the assistant and volunteer positions include preparing classrooms and materials for the day’s activities, supervising campers in art-related activities and monitoring campers during breaks, lunch times, etc. There is at least one assistant or volunteer per class. Assistants must be aged 18 by June 13; volunteers must be aged 15 by Sept. 1.

Camps are offered June 20–Aug. 12, from 9 a.m.–3:30 p.m.; before- and after-care are offered from 8–9 a.m. and 3:30–6 p.m., respectively. Hours for the assistants and volunteers will vary; however, assistants must work a full day (8:45 a.m.–3:45 p.m.) and commit to at least one full camp session. Application deadline is March 30.

Potential Candidates for CA Board Invited to Info Sessions

Columbia Association (CA) will host two information sessions in February for those who are considering becoming a member of CA’s board of directors.

The sessions will be held on Saturday, Feb 20, at 10 a.m.; and Tuesday, Feb. 23, at 7 p.m., both at CA Headquarters, 6310 Hillside Court, located off Stevens Forest Road (near the county vehicle emissions inspection station).

Potential candidates are encouraged to attend and learn more about CA, the role of its board members and how service on the board impacts the community. The goal of the sessions is to have a conversation with residents, including addressing their questions about this opportunity so they can make an informed decision about seeking a seat on CA’s board, which has 11 members — one representative from each of Columbia’s 10 villages plus CA’s president and CEO.

Representatives from the villages serve either a one- or two-year term, depending upon each village’s bylaws. In late April 2016, six villages will hold elections for their representative to the CA Board of Directors: Harper’s Choice, Hickory Ridge, Oakland Mills, Owen Brown, Town Center and Wilde Lake.

Design Wearable Creations at ManneqART Workshop

Design and build your own unique wearable sculpture at the ManneqART Workshop on Saturday, Feb. 20, 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m., at the Lee Andersen Studio, 9010 Maier Road, #104, Laurel.

Robert Reed, the creator of OMGEODE! DIAMOND IN THE FLUFF (as seen on in the Gallery), will lead a workshop in the design and creation of wearable artwork. Participants may work individually or as a team, with the only requirement being to have fun, play and create. All creations will be eligible to compete in ManneqART’s annual competition; the four competition themes of 2016 are Flora, Fauna, Action and Androids.

A cache of material will be provided, and participants may also bring their own materials to create with. It is recommended that participants bring a bra that will serve as a foundation for creations and that, when bringing materials to the workshop, they bring two of any item. For more information, visit

Black History Expo Set for Feb. 27

The National Pan-Hellenic Council of Howard County, in partnership with the Howard County Branch of the NAACP and the Howard County Public School System, has invited the public to attend the 2016 Black History Expo. The theme for this event is “Hallowed Grounds: Sites of African American Memories.” There will be exhibits, vendors, activities and entertainment throughout the day and admission is free.

The event will be held on Saturday, Feb. 27, from 11 a.m.–5 p.m., at Wilde Lake High School, located at 5460 Trumpeter Road, Columbia. For more information, contact Muriel Mitchell at [email protected].

HCGH Holds Training for Spiritual Care Volunteers

Howard County General Hospital (HCGH) will hold a 12-week spring training program starting Thursday, March 31, for volunteers who want to provide multi-faith spiritual care for patients and their families. The hospital’s Chaplaincy Services Department is accepting applications for the program until Feb. 15.

The training program takes place Thursdays from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the hospital and provides training in empathetic listening, spiritual support and acute grief counseling. Upon completion, all participants must volunteer at the hospital for a minimum of eight hours a month for one year. The department provides spiritual care and emotional support to the patients, families and staff members of HGCH regardless of religious affiliation.

There is no cost to attend the training program. For more information, call 410-740-7898.

Mt. Zion Wins Golden Ladle

Joanne Smikle, Bridges to Housing Stability board member; Chuck Norwood, chef from Mt. Zion’s team; Jan Plant, Mt. Zion United Methodist Church member; and chili cook-off coordinator Jane O’Leary, former executive director of Bridges to Housing Stability, will celebrate Mt. Zion winning the Golden Ladle at Bridges to Housing Stability’s 5th Annual Hotter Than Thou Chili Cook-Off on Tuesday, March 8.

This year’s 6th Annual Hotter Than Thou Chili Cook-Off will be held at Church of the Resurrection, in Ellicott City, on Sunday, March 6, at 12:30 p.m., where 17 congregations will compete to see who will win this year’s Golden Ladle.

The Columbia Town Center Rotary Club to Host Valentine’s Gala

The Columbia Town Center Rotary Club is gearing up for its next major fundraiser, the Valentine’s Gala, which will be held at the Sheraton Columbia Town Center Hotel on Feb. 6, from 6:30 until 11:30 p.m.

The gala will feature music by the award-winning NightLife band and a silent auction, as well as dancing and culinary delights throughout the evening. The cost per ticket is $100. Special rates on hotel accommodations are available from the Sheraton for those wanting a getaway weekend.

For more information about the club and gala tickets, visit or contact David Rodriguez at 410-531-9470.

Columbia Art Center hosting ‘Beyond the Blues’

Columbia Association’s (CA) Columbia Art Center is partnering with Columbia Festival of the Arts to host “Beyond the Blues: African American Music and Culture,” from Saturday, Feb. 6, through Sunday, Feb. 28. This invitational theme exhibition showcases a variety of two- and three-dimensional artwork inspired by or reflecting African-American music and culture. The event also will include two musical performances.

The art exhibit will present a variety of paintings, mixed media, photographs, drawings and sculptures by more than 20 recognized artists from the Baltimore and Washington, D.C., region. The center is located at 6100 Foreland Garth in the Long Reach Village Center. A free meet-the-artist gallery reception will be held on Friday, Feb. 12, from 6–8 p.m.

The exhibit’s opening night will include a ticketed art preview and concert taking place as part of Columbia Festival of the Arts’ Winter Festival. The concert will present blues guitarist Samuel James on Saturday, Feb. 6, from 6–8:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased at

Columbia’s 50th Birthday Public Meeting Set for March 8

The Columbia 50th Birthday Celebration, a new nonprofit, will hold an informational meeting on March 8 from 8–9:30 a.m. at Slayton House, in The Village of Wilde Lake. An invitation is extended to those involved in the leadership of local organizations to learn details and how their business, sports team, performing group, club, sorority, fraternity and others can participate in the celebration.

Columbia’s official birthday is on June 21, 2017 (the summer solstice), and it will be marked by a party and signature events on the weekend that follows. But the celebration will begin 90 days before that — on March 20 (the vernal equinox) and will last 90 days after that — until Sept. 22 (the autumnal equinox).

The meeting is free. Register at