Howard County Briefs

Arts and CultureArtHealthColleges and UniversitiesHoward CountyRentalsMusic

Hanukkah party

Sponsored by the Jewish Federation and Office of Aging, the party takes place 10:30 a.m. to noon Tuesday, Dec. 13, at the Bain Center, 5470 Ruth Keeton Way in Columbia. Music by vocalist Robyn Helzner. Reservations required by Thursday, Dec. 8. Email sophie@JewishHowardCounty.org or call, 410-730-4976, ext. 103.

Bazaar/flea market

The county NAACP Youth Council will sponsor a "Holiday Bazaar/Flea Market" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 10, at Ridgelys Run Community Center, 8400 Mission Road in Jessup. Items for sale include toys, clothing, antique items, furniture, jewelry, household items, and more. Information: 443-280-1935.

'Miracle on 34th Street'

Performances run through Dec. 18, at Laurel Mill Playhouse, 508 Main St. Showtimes are 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday, with 2 p.m. Sunday matinees. Tickets are $13, $10 for seniors, students, 18 and younger and active duty military. For tickets and more information, call 301-452-2557 or go to laurelmillplayhouse.org.

Auditions

Red Branch Theatre Company seeks strong-singing actors to fill all roles for its production of "Next to Normal," running April 6-22 at 9130-I Red Branch Road in Columbia. Auditions will be held 6 p.m.-9 p.m. Tuesday Dec. 6. Callbacks 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 10. Audition requirements are 16‐32 bars of contemporary musical theater and a 90‐second monologue. Bring sheet music — an accompanist will be provided. Submit head shot and resume to redbranchtheatre@gmail.com with audition date preference. Appointments will be scheduled on a first- come, first-served basis. Information: dramalearningcenter.com or redbranchtheatre.com.

Call to artists

The Howard County Arts Council is seeking artists to participate in the annual "Silent Auction Art Exhibit" as part of the Arts Council's annual fundraising gala, "Celebration of the Arts in Howard County." All 2-D, 3-D, and fine craft artists, 18 or older, residing, working, or studying in Howard County, arts council members, and artists who have exhibited in the county in the last year are invited to submit artwork. Deadline is Dec. 3.

Information: 410-313-2787 or hocoarts.org.

Student exchange program

The Columbia Association will offer information sessions for parents and teens about the 2012 Sister Cities High School Student International Exchange Program from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 7, and Thursday, Dec. 15, at 10221 Wincopin Circle in Columbia.

Laura Smit, program manager for the association's exchange programs, will speak and answer questions about the monthlong July program, which consists of two weeks of cultural and linguistic immersion in one of Columbia's sister cities, Cergy-Pontoise, France, or Tres Cantos, Spain, where students will be hosted by the family of a French or Spanish student. After returning to the U.S., students and their parents will host their French or Spanish counterpart for two weeks.

Registration fee is $650 for Columbia residents and $790 for others. Airline tickets may range from $1,100 to $1,500 per person. Applicants must be high school students living in Howard County and have completed high school level two of French or Spanish by the end of the academic year or have the equivalent language fluency. Deadline for applications is Feb. 17.

Information: Laura Smit at 410-715-3162 or international@columbiaassociation.com.

Art exhibit

The Howard County Arts Council presents two new exhibits in the galleries at the Howard County Center for the Arts, 8510 High Ridge Road in Ellicott City.

Gallery I features the multimedia exhibit "Art HoCo 2011," with more than 40 works by 18 Howard County artists. Gallery II features works by Tracey Clarke and Sarah Wegner titled "Modern Mythologies." Exhibits runs through Dec. 16. Hours are noon-4 p.m. Sundays; 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Mondays-Fridays and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturdays. Information: 410-313-2787 or hocoarts.org.

Driving classes

Collision avoidance training will be held Friday and Saturday, Dec. 9 and 10, at the James N. Robey Public Safety Training Center, 2200 Scott Wheeler Drive in Marriottsville.

This is a defensive driving and vehicle control program for teens who need specialized experience in evasive maneuvers, emergency braking, backing and skid recovery. Classroom lessons are held on Friday followed by behind-the-wheel training on Saturday.

The training is for ages 16-19, and students must bring their own cars. Cost is $95, and space is limited. To register or for more information, call 410-313-3758.

Scholarships available

The Howard County Arts Council's 2012 arts scholarship application is available to high school seniors planning to pursue an arts degree. This year, the arts council will award a minimum of $10,000 to students entering college in the 2012-2013 academic year.

Scholarships must be used for enrollment in an accredited college program for a degree in the arts. Awards will be made in the minimum amount of $1,000 and may be used only for tuition and fees.

Applications will be reviewed by the council's scholarship panel, and criteria will include artistic merit, demonstrated knowledge of an artistic discipline, commitment to a career in the arts and past academic success. Applicants must be county residents and will be notified of the committee's decision in March. Applications must be postmarked or hand-delivered by Thursday, Dec.15.

For applications and more information, call 410-313-2787, hocoarts.org or e mail info@hocoarts.org.

Support groups

National Alliance on Mental Illness of Howard County offers several support groups each month. Sessions include groups for family and friends of adults with a mental illness, groups for parents of school-age children with mental health issues, a group for young adults (18-30) living with a mental illness and a weekly group for adults of any age living with a mental illness. For times and locations, call 410-772-9300 or go to nami.org/sites/namihowardcounty.

Teen advisory committees

The Columbia Association is recruiting youths age 11-19 to become members of its middle school and teen advisory committees. The association is looking for teens who want to make a difference and get involved in their community.

As members of the committee, teens can create and implement events and programs for their peers. Past activities have included the Teen Idol Competition, Teen Role Model Competition, Battle of the Dance, charity fundraisers, Teen Tuesdays concerts at the lakefront, a free college fair and Save the Planet Day. Information: 410-715-5523.

Theater rental

The Howard County Arts Council has announced the availability of the Black Box Theatre for rental. The 98-seat multipurpose performance space is equipped with professional sound and lighting equipment, nearby dressing rooms, padded seats, black stage curtains and a sprung dance floor. A performance grand piano is also available for rental through a separate agreement with the Howard County Music Teachers Association.

All renters of the theater are required to carry a commercial liability insurance policy of $1 million. Other requirements and rental request forms and rates can be found at hocoarts.org. Rental request forms should be mailed to Room Rentals, Howard County Arts Council, 8510 High Ridge Road, Ellicott City 21043.

Renovation project

The Howard County Department of Recreation and Parks has received a $30,000 grant from the National Recreational Trails Program Fund. The grant will be used for the renovation of the Village of Owen Brown's pedestrian pathway system.

The project, scheduled to begin this month, will allow the restoration of the deteriorating East Columbia pathway with new asphalt. Howard County will provide $30,000 in matching funds, along with any remaining funds needed. Renovations will consist of repaving the 3,909-foot pathway that serves the Owen Brown Community Center, Owen Brown Interfaith Center, Owen Brown Village Shopping Center, Cradlerock School, the Howard County Library's East Columbia branch, and the Southwick and Elkhorn housing communities. Anticipated completion date is the summer of 2012. Information: 410-313-2022.

Yard waste collection

Howard County's Bureau of Environmental Services will resume weekly yard waste collections through Jan. 20. Yard waste will be picked up weekly during regular recycling days and should be placed outside by 6 a.m. Allowable yard waste items include grass, leaves, hedge clippings/light brush, small limbs or branches less than 4 inches in diameter and 4 feet in length, dry seed pods, straw, hay and bamboo. Residents are encouraged to use paper bags or reusable containers.

To obtain a free paper yard waste bag (limit two bags per family), go to the Bureau of Environmental Services at 6751 Columbia Gateway Drive, Suite 514 in Columbia, or the Alpha Ridge Landfill at 2350 Marriottsville Road in Marriottsville. For a complete list of what yard waste is and is not accepted, or for more information, go to howardcountymd.gov/dpw/recycling.htm.

Kindred Spirits

Kindred Spirits, a social club for people diagnosed with early memory loss or dementia, will meet from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesdays and Fridays in the 50+ Center at the Gary J. Arthur Community Center at Glenwood. Highlights include speakers, discussion of current events, yoga, meditation and art therapy.

Daily fee of $26 includes snacks, lunch, coffee and tea. Information: Judy Miller at 410-313-5441 or jumiller@howardcountymd.gov. The program is sponsored by the Howard County Office on Aging and the Alzheimer's Association of Greater Maryland.

Recycling cans

Habitat for Humanity and the Boy Scouts of America have placed a collection bin for aluminum cans at the entrance to the parking lot of Christ Memorial Presbyterian Church, 6410 Amherst Ave., in Allview Estates. Information: 410-997-4949.

Recycle old TVs

The Howard County Bureau of Environmental Services reminds residents to recycle electronic devices rather than throw them away. Dropoff locations include the Alpha Ridge Landfill Resident's Convenience Area, 2350 Marriottsville Road. The facility is open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Saturday and accepts TVs, computers, keyboards, printers, scanners, laptops, VCRs, radios and other electronics. Also, Best Buy's Customer Take-Back Program allows customers to bring in old TVs (32 inches or smaller) at no charge. Offer limited to two televisions per person per day. Console televisions are not accepted.

Services directory

The Southeast Howard County Health Services Directory, a guide to resources near North Laurel and Savage, is available free at the North Laurel-Savage Multiservice Center, 9900 Washington Blvd. The directory includes listings of clinics, pharmacies, hospitals, general and family practices, dentists, obstetricians and gynecologists, transportation and crisis contacts. The guide also indicates whether Spanish and Korean are spoken at the facility, as well as the address, contact information and hours of operation. Hours and information: 410-880-5917.

Panel seeks members

The Secondary Language Arts Advisory Committee seeks new members. The committee consists of teachers, administrators, students, parents and other community members who advise, support and advocate for the improvement of educational programs. Meetings will take place four times during the school year at a central location. Information: 410-313-6620.

Call for artists

The Bernice Kish Gallery at Slayton House, formerly Slayton House Gallery, is accepting applications to exhibit for the coming season. Applications are available by emailing cjblack@columbiavillages.org. Information: 410-730-3987.

Spanish speakers wanted

The Foreign Born Information and Referral Network, 5999 Harpers Farm Road, Suite 200-E, Columbia, needs Spanish-speaking volunteers to greet clients, answer basic questions, make appointments and support the staff. Hours are 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. or 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday or Friday; other times may be considered. Information: 410-992-1923, ext. 14.

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