Work Resumes on Route 29 Pedestrian Bridge, Closed Until December
The Howard County Department of Public Works announced that work to improve the pedestrian bridge that crosses Route 29 in Columbia resumed on Oct. 26, resulting in the closure of the bridge until early December. Work had been briefly suspended due to an interruption in the contractor’s materials supply for the colored, spiraling geodesic tube that will surround the bridge.
In addition to the geodesic tube, the bridge improvement project includes the installation of new lighting and enhanced security upgrades. The pedestrian bridge opened more than three decades ago and has served as an important connection between Columbia Town Center and residential communities to the east, including Oakland Mills and Long Reach.
The county will continue to distribute and honor complimentary bus passes for those travelling between the Oakland Mills Village Center and The Mall in Columbia. Those passes may be obtained by contacting the county’s Office of Transportation at 410-313-4312 or by email to [email protected].
Additional information on the project, including information on the alternatives for those who walk and bike across the bridge, can be found online at www.howardcountymd.gov/US29Bridge. For questions about Capital Project B-3863, contact Lisa Brightwell at 410-313-3440 or email [email protected].
Schuh Announces Strategic Partnership with CFAAC
Anne Arundel County Executive Steve Schuh has announced that the county has entered into the strategic partnership with the Community Foundation of Anne Arundel County (CFAAC) to streamline charitable giving to support county departments, programs and projects.
CFAAC will collect and track all donations to the Anne Arundel County Fund. The organization will then disperse those donations as grants to county departments. The county will accept the grants and ensure the funds are dispersed as directed by the donor.
“County agencies and departments, often in partnership with nonprofit organizations, play a significant role in delivering critical services that increase the quality of life for all residents,” said Melissa Curtin, executive director of CFAAC. “People ask how they can help support county efforts, and now we have a place to direct them.”
The agreement establishes the Anne Arundel County Fund within CFAAC. Donors can now make a direct contribution online to the Anne Arundel County Fund to benefit the Anne Arundel County Animal Control; as well as the Department of Aging and Disabilities; the Police Department; the Fire Department; the Department of Health; the Partnership for Children, Youth and Families; the Department of Recreation & Parks; and the Department of Social Services. The portal can be found at https://cfaac.fcsuite.com/erp/donate.
Howard Seeks Members for Howard County’s Commission for Women
Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman is seeking applicants who are interested in serving on the Commission for Women. Two of the three new board members will serve the remainder of five-year terms, both set to expire Nov. 3, 2018.
To be eligible for consideration, candidates must be a Howard County resident, 18 years of age or older, have an interest in women’s equality and be able to attend the commission’s meetings. The meetings are held the second Tuesday of each month, from 7 to 9 p.m., in the Gateway Building, 6751 Columbia Gateway Drive, Columbia.
Applicants should send a résumé and a brief letter explaining why they want to serve on the Commission to: Howard County Government, Office of the County Executive, Attn: David Lee, 3430 Court House Drive, Ellicott City, MD, 21043. The names of eligible applicants will be submitted to Kittleman for approval and then to the county council for confirmation. The deadline to apply is Friday, Nov. 10.
For more information, contact the Department of Community Resource and Services at 410-313-6400 or visit www.howardcountymd.gov/CFW.
Kittleman Announces New Rehab Loan Program for Howard Homeowners
Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman and the Howard County Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) have announced a new county-funded rehabilitation program for existing homes in the county.
The Reinvest*Renovate*Restore program is designed to provide low-interest loans to homeowners to make necessary home improvements, such as a new roof; and cosmetic updates, such as adding hardwood floors, to update their homes. Homeowners must also agree to spend some of the loan proceeds on exterior improvements to improve curb appeal and overall neighborhood appearance.
Homeowners may apply for loans of up to $40,000 and must repay them in 25 years. Maximum household income limits, based on 80% of the Howard County area median income adjusted for family size, apply (example: $88,714 for a family of four). Applicants must live in the home as their primary residence, meet minimum credit score requirements and have sufficient household income to repay the loan.
For more information or to download the pre-application, visit www.howardcountymd.gov/Departments/Housing-and-Community-Development/Home-Ownership-Opportunities/Housing-Repair-Program.
Schuh Announces New Mediation Program for County Employees
Anne Arundel County Executive Steve Schuh has announced the Anne Arundel County government will begin offering a voluntary Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) complaint mediation program as a dispute resolution venue for county employees expressing internal EEO-related concerns.
Once a concern is reported to the County Human Relations Compliance Officer and/or the Office of Personnel, the concern will be preliminarily assessed to determine whether voluntary EEO mediation is deemed appropriate. EEO mediation may not be offered in some cases, and EEO mediation will not affect an employee’s right to request an internal investigation or file a complaint.
The County Human Relations Compliance Officer in consultation with the Office of Personnel, will develop and implement the internal EEO complaint mediation program for employee disputes that encourages respect, open dialogue and resolution. The full guide can be found at aacounty.org/united.
Cardin, Van Hollen Announce $45M in Fed Funding for School Literacy
U.S. Sens. Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen (both D-Md.) have announced $45 million in federal funding for Maryland public schools. The funding is designated for the Striving Readers Comprehension Literacy Grant Program, a public school initiative designed to advance literacy skills for students from birth through grade 12, most notably for students with disabilities and limited English proficiency.
These funds represent the largest grant from the U.S. Department of Education for Maryland in almost three years and will be utilized statewide, with $15 million being awarded each year for three years. Every Maryland school district will be able to compete for funding to meet the literacy needs of their local communities.
MDOT MVA Adds E-ZPass Maryland to Online, Kiosk Service Offerings
The Maryland Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Administration (MDOT MVA) and the Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) have joined forces to expand online services, providing customers with the ability to purchase an E-ZPass Maryland “On the Go” electronic-toll-collection transponder online through MDOT MVA.
Customers using the MDOT MVA’s online service to complete vehicle-related transactions, such as obtaining a duplicate title or registration, ordering a new license plate, renewing a registration and requesting a VEIP extension, among others, will be offered the opportunity to add an E-ZPass Maryland “On the Go” transponder, which is only available for two-axle vehicles.
Customers also may obtain a device directly from the MDOT MVA online store, online at ezpassmd.com, via an “On the Go” retail location, at an E-ZPass Maryland Customer Service Center, or at an MDTA outreach event.
MDOT MVA offers many additional online services, including renewing a driver’s license or identification card, requesting a copy of a driving record, replacement plates and stickers, and changing an address. In fiscal 2017, MDOT MVA processed more than 5.3 million online transactions, including more than 3.7 million vehicle-related transactions. For more information about MDOT MVA’s online services, visit www.mvaonline.md.gov or mdotonestopshop.maryland.gov.
HCC Dedicates Talkin Family
Howard Community College (HCC) recently dedicated the Richard B. Talkin Family Art Gallery. The gallery, located on the first floor of McCuan Hall, is connected to the lobby of the Horowitz Center for Visual and Performing Arts and features exhibiting artists in the college community as well as exhibits by local, state, national and international artists.
The gift to name the gallery allowed the family to create the Talkin Family Visual Arts Program Endowment. This endowment provides funds for programs such as visiting artists, faculty and scholars; workshop series; art shows; and guest lecturers. In its first year, the endowment supported the 2017 visiting artist and workshop series featuring Professor Julie Shapiro. Shapiro has her MFA from Yale University and has taught at Hampshire College and Southern Methodist University.
Talkin, a long-time supporter of the college, has spent 50 years in Columbia as an attorney and also supports many other organizations in Howard County. He served six years as an HCC Educational Foundation board member. Four years later he came back and co-chaired a $12 million campaign from 2000 to 2007 for the construction of the Horowitz Visual and Performing Arts Center and for student scholarships.
The gallery opened its newest exhibit on Oct. 19. James Lubitz, “Under Construction,” is a digital photography exhibition documenting various stages of construction progress to the Science Engineering and Technology Building at Howard Community College. For more information about the gallery, visit howardcc.edu/galleries.
Ruppersberger Praises Designation of Fort Meade WWI Memorial
Congressman C.A. “Dutch” Ruppersberger (MD-02) released the following statement on the designation of the Fort George G. Meade World War I Memorial as one of the first 50 WWI Centennial Memorials through the 100 Cities/100 Memorials initiative.
“Over 400,000 soldiers were trained at Fort Meade after they were drafted during World War I. It is an incredible honor for the monument to receive this designation, which will help preserve the history of Fort Meade’s ties to the Great War. Over 62,000 Marylanders bravely served in the war and this monument belongs to them and the nearly 2,000 Marylanders who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country. I applaud efforts to preserve and protect this and similar monuments across the country for future generations.”
The 100 Cities/100 Memorials project aims to highlight United States WWI memorials and encourage public access across America to the WWI Centennial Commemoration. Due to weather exposure, lack of maintenance and in some cases, vandalism, many of the memorials highlighted by the Commission have begun to deteriorate.
As a result, the Pritzky Military Museum & Library and the World War I Centennial Commission have contributed $200,000 in matching funds for future maintenance, with further support from the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars. These restoration efforts will also help garner public awareness of our nation’s service members and the lasting effects of World War I on global society.
All 100 recipients of Commission funds will receive a matching grant of $2,000 for restoration projects and be officially designated by the United States World War One Centennial Commission as a WWI Centennial Memorial.
UMD SAFE Center, PGPD Receive Joint $1.3M Grant to Assist Human Trafficking Victims
The University of Maryland Support, Advocacy, Freedom and Empowerment (SAFE) Center for Human Trafficking Survivors and the Prince George’s County Police Department (PGPD) have received a joint three-year grant totaling more than $1.3 million from the U.S. Department of Justice Office for Victims of Crime and Bureau of Justice Assistance to coordinate work to fight human trafficking in Prince George’s County.
Prince George’s is one of only two counties in the country to receive the grant, which was created to enhance collaboration between service providers and law enforcement within human trafficking task forces. The Prince George’s County Human Trafficking Task Force (PGCHTTF) brings together law enforcement, social services, government agencies and community organizations to combat human trafficking.
The grant award will amplify the task force’s multidisciplinary collaboration and coordinated approach to identify victims of all forms of trafficking; address the individualized needs of victims; and investigate and prosecute sex and labor trafficking cases at the local, state and federal levels.
In addition to the SAFE Center, direct service collaborators include FAIR Girls, Amara Legal Center and other members of the PGCHTTF that provide services to trafficking survivors. Law enforcement grantee PGPD is joined by law enforcement partners including the Prince George’s County State’s Attorney’s Office, the Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland.
TFCU’s Campaign Raises $50K-Plus to Help Hurricane Harvey Victims
What started with Tower Federal Credit Union (TFCU) members asking, “What can we do to help?” ended two weeks later in a $52,000 donation to the American Red Cross to help with Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. In response to member inquiries and the widespread devastation in Texas brought on by the Hurricane Harvey, TFCU management and staff mobilized quickly to put together a matching donation campaign.
“It all started with a few folks here at Tower coming together to discuss helping those that were impacted by Hurricane Harvey,” said Al Smith, Tower’s senior vice president of member services. “We knew that both our employees and our members wanted to help, so we quickly put a convenient and safe process in place for members and staff to make monetary donations to benefit the American Red Cross’s disaster relief efforts.”
Smith said the goal was to collect $10,000, and Tower would provide a matching donation of up to $10,000. Once the plan was in place, Smith said Tower spread the word to members through branch employees, posters, e-mails and social media posts.
Howard County Rec & Parks Recognized for Operations
Howard County Department of Recreation & Parks (HCRP) was officially granted re-accreditation from the National Recreation and Park Association’s (NRPA’s) Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies (CAPRA). First accredited in 2001, this is the fourth time HCRP has received the honor; HCRP is one of only 167 accredited agencies in the United States.
“For the first time, our Department of Recreation & Parks had 100% compliance, fulfilling all 151 standards. This is quite an accomplishment,” said Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman. “I want to thank John Byrd, and his entire staff, for continuously improving an already impressive department. The accreditation team was especially impressed with our Department of Recreation & Parks’ succession plan for the accreditation process; complete agency buy-in; high-level customer service; and quality, breadth and depth of agency program diversity.”
John Byrd, Department of Recreation & Parks director; Laura Wetherald, bureau chief of recreation; John Marshall, bureau chief of parks; and Raul Delerme, bureau chief of capital projects, park planning and construction, represented HCRP and were presented the department’s CAPRA certification document at NRPA’s recent annual conference.
Dr. MLK Jr. Holiday Commission Seeks Nominees for Living the Dream Award
The Howard County Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Holiday Commission is accepting nominations for the commission’s annual “Living the Dream” Award. The award recognizes an outstanding individual and organization (community, civic or religious) that has promoted the teachings and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., through community involvement in Howard County.
The award and a $300 cash prize will be presented to the winner at the commission’s annual celebration on Sunday, Jan. 14, 2018, at Reservoir High School, located at 11550 Scaggsville Road, Fulton.
To be eligible for this award, nominees must be either residents of or work in Howard County or an organization located in the county; however, volunteer work must have been completed in the county. In addition, nominees must have demonstrated the teachings, work ethic and legacy of Dr. King by promoting community involvement among all ethnic groups, regardless of social, economic or religious background, and be committed to non-violence and humanitarian services.
The winner will be notified and the name posted on www.howardcountymd.gov, by Jan. 5, 2018. For more information, contact Farheen Sheik in the Office of Human Rights at 410-313-6467 or email [email protected].
Howard Rec & Parks Recognized by Governor for Conservation Easement
Howard County’s Department of Recreation & Parks (HCRP) was recognized by Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Secretary Mark Belton and the Board of Trustees of the Maryland Environmental Trust (MET) during a luncheon at the Governor’s House on Oct. 12 for its donation of a conservation easement at Belmont Manor & Historic Park to the MET.
The donation will help further MET’s mission to protect Maryland’s most treasured landscapes and natural resources as a legacy for future generations. The luncheon recognized easement donors and also celebrated MET’s 50th anniversary. A National Historic Register property, Howard County acquired the 68-acre Belmont Manor & Historic Park in 2012. The easement will guarantee that all future plans and uses of the land will be in keeping with the historical and conservation intentions of the Belmont property.
Friends of HCLS Look to Future
With New Name
Friends of Howard County Library System has changed its name to Friends & Foundation of HCLS, a name that it feels is more representative of its activities and efforts and formalizes the role the organization plays now and its direction for the future.
To celebrate the name change, the Friends & Foundation Board will host a Harvest Celebration Meet & Greet on Wednesday, Nov. 15, from 4–6 p.m., in the Enchanted Garden at the HCLS Miller Branch. Timed to coincide with the last day of the Farmer’s Market at the Miller Branch, the event will feature a virtual reality demonstration with Google Exhibition, a book exchange and lawn games. Guests will have the opportunity to sample local food and refreshments from River House Pizza (at the Farmer’s Market) and Hysteria Brewing.
HCAC Awarded $5K Grant by
The Howard County Arts Council (HCAC) has been awarded a $5,000 grant — part of a two-year commitment — by Wells Fargo for its Head StART in ART program. This grant will help the HCAC continue its ongoing partnership with Howard County Head Start by providing teaching artists who will conduct residencies in visual and performing arts at the Ellicott City Head Start Center during the 2017–18 school year.
The program provides hands-on experiences in the arts for pre-K students from low-income families. Head StART in ART has been cited as a model early childhood arts education program by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Maryland State Arts Council.
HCHD Recovery Support Program Aids Opioid Recovery Efforts
In its continuing battle against the opioid crisis, the Howard County Health Department’s (HCHD) Bureau of Behavioral Health has employed five peer recovery support specialists during the past year to connect with individuals directly affected by substance misuse. These peers use their own life experiences to guide and support others in recovery from mental health and/or substance use disorders.
The program, which began in October 2016, receives referrals of individuals struggling with substance use disorders — many with opioid addiction — from the Howard County Police Department, Howard County General Hospital, Grassroots Crisis Intervention Center and other community support and treatment programs. Peer Recovery Support staff provide emotional support, resources or referral services as necessary.
During fiscal 2017, peer recovery support staff responded to 148 total referrals in the community, helping to guide many of those individuals into treatment and recovery programs. In the first three months of fiscal 2018, Health Department Peer Recovery Support staff has already received 80 referrals from partner organizations.
For more information about services available in the county, visit www.hchealth.org/gethelp and find the link for county level resources on the website, including information on free Overdose Response Program (ORP) training and naloxone, a medication to reverse an opioid overdose.
Grassroots Announces Two
Santa will visit with youngsters, their parents and grandparents on Dec. 2 and 9, from 8–9:30 a.m., at Seasons 52 restaurant at The Mall in Columbia. Santa will talk with youngsters and their families at their tables. Miss Julie, the mall’s Family Fun Day entertainer, will be the hostess of the breakfast.
Raffle tickets will be sold and drawn at each breakfast for a holiday gift set bracelet with a poinsettia limited edition charm donated by the Pandora jewelry store at the mall. Tickets for the breakfast are $15 per guest. The event benefits Grassroots, Howard County’s 24-hour crisis intervention center and shelter of the homeless. There is limited seating. Make reservations at www.grassrootscrisis.org/breakfastwithsanta.
In addition, Whole Foods, Columbia, is hosting a holiday food and wine tasting for women on Monday, Nov. 27, from 5–7 p.m., also to benefit Grassroots. The event will include an update by Executive Director Ayesha Holmes on Grassroots shelter services and suicide prevention efforts.
Tickets are $65. Sponsor tickets are $100 each. Attendance is limited to 100 women. Register at www.grassrootscrisis.org/events/womenleaders.
Quest Hosts Spin in the City Benefit for Grassroots
The third annual Spin in the City, a fundraiser to benefit the Grassroots hotline and suicide prevention services, is set for Friday, Dec. 1, from 6–9 p.m., at Quest Fitness, 10045 Baltimore National Pike, Ellicott City.
The spin sessions will run from 6–6:50 p.m. and from 7:10–8 p.m.; the after-party runs from 8–9 p.m. The cost is $65 for one session, $90 for both sessions. Admission to the party only is $30. Register at www.grassrootscrisis.org/events/spin-in-the-city. For information, contact Cathy Smith at 410-302-4662.
Schuh, Arlotto Highlight Historic Investment in Fiber Optic Network
Anne Arundel County Public Schools will have one of the fastest data networks in the nation, thanks to a fiber optic network project that soon will be completed. “Technology is essential in order for our students to compete,” County Executive Steve Schuh said. “We provided $3.4 million in the budget that will mean every school in Anne Arundel County has the absolute best Internet access tools for students to succeed.”
The fiscal 2018 budget provided capital funding to wire the remaining 52 schools to the Anne Arundel County Fiber Network and provides 10-gigabit connections critical to transferring large data, accommodating multiple devices and accessing the Internet to all schools.
The schools’ core network ring throughout the county will run at 1.3 Terabits per second by utilizing 13 100 Gigabit optical channels on a Dense Wave Division Multiplexing fiber optic network. The 13 channels are used exclusively by the school system. Each school would have broadband capacity 400 times the average home cable modem.
Safeway Honored by Providence Center, Maryland Department of Disabilities
Providence Center recently held a ceremony to honor Safeway for the opportunities it provides to people with disabilities in its community.
As part of the Maryland Department of Disabilities Direct Support Professional Recognition Week Celebration, Providence nominated Safeway as an Outstanding Employer. Providence Center recognized Safeway for its longstanding partnership to provide competitive jobs. Safeway employs clients supported by Providence Center at various stores, including those in Annapolis and Gambrills, and has worked with Providence Center for more than 30 years.
Symphony of Lights to Open Nov. 21
The Symphony of Lights, a drive-through spectacle of more than 100 larger-than-life holiday light displays, a laser light show and a 3-D holiday video projected 50 feet high, opens in Merriweather Park at Symphony Woods in November. Symphony of Lights benefits Howard County General Hospital and is presented by M&T Bank.
Light displays, both animated and stationary, glow with a total of 300,000 LED lights on a 1-mile wooded drive through Merriweather Park at Symphony Woods. During drive-throughs, visitors can listen to seasonal music on the Symphony of Lights FM radio frequency. Drive-throughs, presented by Antwerpen Toyota, take place on Tuesdays through Sundays, beginning Nov. 21 through Jan. 1, 2018. On Tuesdays through Fridays, drive-throughs run from 6:30 to 10 p.m., and on Saturdays and Sundays, they run from 5:30 to 10 p.m. Symphony of Lights will be closed to drive-throughs on Mondays, except Dec. 25 and Jan. 1, and closed on Dec. 31.
Pre-purchased tickets cost $20 per car except on Saturdays, when they cost $25 per car and can be purchased online to reserve a date and time. Tickets cost $5 more at the entrance.
In addition, Symphony of Lights will present a series of special events.
• The Dazzle Dash, presented by Wells Fargo and BGE Home, kicks off Symphony of Lights Sunday, Nov. 19, from 4 to 7 p.m. The event will offer a 1-mile walk through the lights starting at 5 p.m., as well as activities for children, food, music, entertainment and giveaways. Dazzle Dash costs $25 per person in advance and $30 on the day of the event. Children age 4 and under are free.
• Twinkling Tots offers children and families a stroll through the lights Monday, Dec. 4, from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Children in strollers and wagons are welcome. Twinkling Tots costs $10 per person in advance and $15 on the day of the event. Children age 4 and under are free.
• Tail Lights gives dogs and their owners a chance to walk through the lights Monday, Dec. 11, from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Pets can participate in a best-dressed contest, with judging based on creativity and holiday spirit. The event costs $10 per person in advance and $15 on the day of the event. Children 4 and under are free.
• Midnight at 7 offers a family-friendly New Year’s Eve featuring a walk through the lights and fireworks set to a soundtrack Sunday, Dec. 31, from 5 to 8 p.m. with walk-throughs ending at 7:30 p.m. Midnight at 7 will also include DJ music, party favors, face painting and food for purchase from local vendors. The event costs $15 per person in advance and $20 on the day of the event. Children age 4 and under are free.
• Military appreciation nights, presented by W.R. Grace, on Thursdays, Dec. 7 and Dec. 14, offer members of the military $10 off the cost of tickets to the drive-throughs. Active-duty, reserve and retired military members with government-issued I.D.s and their dependents qualify for military nights.
Symphony of Lights attracts more than 130,000 visitors every year and has been a holiday tradition for residents of Howard County and Central Maryland for more than 20 years.
Howard Hospital Foundation holds Symphony of Lights to raise funds for Howard County General Hospital, with lifetime proceeds totaling more than $8 million.
For more information, call 410-740-7666 or visit www.hcgh.org/symphonyoflights and www.facebook.com/symphonyoflightsfestivities.