February 2nd Weekly e-Newsletter for the Village of Harper's Choice.
Village Elections are Coming and We Need You!   
Throw your hat into the ring and run for the Harper's Choice Village Board! The current two-year terms of office for three Village Board seats expire on April 30, 2017. Village Board members attend one meeting a month where they oversee village finances; they advise and take action on such matters as street and house maintenance; and advocate for changes that will benefit all of Harper's Choice village residents. 

The nomination period runs from March 1 - March 14, 2017.  Information and nomination petitions will be available at Kahler Hall on March 1 and must be returned to Kahler Hall by 5:00 pm on March 14. Information and nomination petitions will also be available for download on our website beginning on March 1.

For more information, contact Village Manager Steve Ingley at 410-730-0770 or via email at manager@harperschoice.org.

Free Tax Preparation 
The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program offers free tax help to people who generally make $54,000 or less, persons with disabilities and limited English speaking taxpayers who need assistance in preparing their own tax returns. IRS-certified volunteers provide free basic income tax return preparation with electronic filing to qualified individuals.

In addition to VITA, the Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) program offers free tax help for all taxpayers, particularly those who are 60 years of age and older, specializing in questions about pensions and retirement-related issues unique to seniors. The IRS-certified volunteers who provide tax counseling are often retired individuals associated with non-profit organizations that receive grants from the IRS.

Making Change hosts Howard County's free VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) site at the Multi-Service Center located at 9900 Washington Boulevard (Route 1), Laurel, MD 20723.
Visit Making Change or IRS for additional information.

Part-time Job Opportunity 

Hickory Ridge Community Association is currently looking to fill the position of Covenant Advisor. This part-time position (10 to 15 hours per week) handles all aspects of covenant violations. The ideal candidate should be detailed-oriented, possess excellent communication and computer skills, have use of a vehicle, and be able to physically perform property inspections. Must be available until 5 pm on weekdays and one Saturday morning per month.

Please direct all inquiries, including resumes, to the Village Manager, Anne Kulesza, at 
manager@hickoryridgevillage.org .  

Volunteer Howard Needs Your Help
Audience: Community members interested in learning how to identify and participate in volunteer opportunities that meet their schedule and interests.

Cost:  Free, but  registration is required.

Discover how to connect with local and regional organizations that are recruiting volunteers for general opportunities as well as skilled project specialists. If you've wondered if volunteering was right for you or if you always wanted to volunteer but weren't quite sure how to begin, this one-hour session is for you.

For questions, contact Pam at   pam@volunteerhoward.org  or call 410-715-3179
Visit Volunteer Howard for additional Information.  

Help Howard County Seniors
Food On The 15th's Motivation...

Hundreds of senior citizens in Howard County assistant living homes, through paying for prescriptions and other expensive necessities, run low on money by the third week of the month. For low income senior citizens, some may have to decide whether to buy. No one should have to make such a choice!  The senior residential building was chosen because everyone in this building lives on less than $31,000 per year, with some living on as little as $9,000 per year. Transportation and physical limitations make it difficult for senior citizens to get to food banks.

Around the 15th of each month, Food on the 15th brings in healthy, nutritious, non-perishable regular and diabetic foods for economically challenged senior citizens who live in Howard County, Maryland. 

Food on the 15th sorts, bags and delivers the bags of groceries directly to the senior citizens' homes around the third week of each month.

Learn more about Food On The 15th here.

Donations can be made at YTC at The Barn
5853 Robert Oliver Place
Located in Oakland Mills Village Center 
Will you join the Smart Energy Challenge?  
January 1st - June 30th
Save money on energy audits. Reduce your electricity bills and make your home more comfortable! 

Reduce cold drafts, health hazards and energy costs in your home. See how energy costs are being wasted or lost and ways to save energy through small improvements.

Through this program:
  • Home energy audits are $100 (a $400 value)
  • Residents receive a rebate of 50 percent of the improvement cost with a $2,000 maximum.
  • Earn $50 when you refer a friend who completes an energy audit.
  • Help your neighbors: Any village that completes at least 10 energy audits during the challenge will get 100 free LED light bulbs for it's residents.
To sign up for an energy audit, visit retrofit
For more information on the Columbia Smart Energy Challenge,  
contact Allie Busching at 410-929-6139 or ABusching@retrofitbaltimore.org  

Bulk Item Collection 
If you have large items taking up space in your home that really need to go to the landfill, don't pay to have them hauled away.  Call the County or go online to schedule a bulk item pick-up, curbside, in front of your home.  Up to four items per household per collection, any items too large to be collected by two workers will be tagged and left for the homeowner to remove. 

For a list of items that will not be collected or to schedule a pick-up, call 410-313-6444 or visit
Reduce. Reuse. Recycle 
Are you committed to recycling, but don't know what to do with items from your home?  Tired of filling your garbage with items you know have another life?  The county has a terrific online resource when you want to recycle, reuse, swap, donate, etc.  Check it out here  
Trash Collection Reminder... 

With the food scrap recycling in our village, some households now have three or more trash and recycling containers that must be stored between collection days. 
As a general rule, recycling bins, trash cans and other bulk items must be stored out of view from the street and neighboring properties, with the best location being in a garage or carport.  If that is not an option, bins may be stored neatly at the side or rear of the home and should not be overflowing.  Bins should not be stored at the front of the home or the driveway.  Landscape screening may also be used to shield cans from view.  Put your cans out curbside for pick-up no earlier than
6 p.m. the evening prior to your collection day, and they should be promptly removed from view that same evening.

In townhouse communities with common area collection, it is even more important to remove your items promptly the evening after the cans have been emptied.  Placing items out in plastic bags is strongly discouraged and can cause rodent or vermin infestations. 
House Numbers and Public Safely

Missing house numbers or numbers that are not easily seen can translate into precious lost time in an emergency.  Step outside and take a look at your house numbers; are they the same color as the house? Are they blocked by overgrown bushes or in a dark, out of the way location? They may need to be updated, the location changed, or made to contrast with the house color for better visibility.    

Our guidelines require permanently affixed, visible house numbers on each home or property. The use of peel and stick numbers or painted numbers is prohibited for all but temporary usage. A little time spent now to ensure the numbers are easily seen will be time well spent.
An application submission is required when changing house numbers (color, style or material.) Contact the
covenant advisor for more information. 
What's Happening In Other Villages...

Join Hickory Ridge for "Ladies Night Out" on Friday, February 24 at 7:30 PM.

Enjoy the remake of Ghostbusters along with wine, cheese and snacks for just $12 person!

Call 410-730-7327 to reserve your spot
Road Closure Alongside Little Patuxent Parkway
C onstruction on a water main alongside Little Patuxent Parkway will close a section of that road - southbound between Governor Warfield Parkway and South Entrance Road - between mid-January and mid-March. Northbound Little Patuxent Parkway, which is the section of the road closest to Haven and Whole Foods Market, will remain open. 
Holiday Decorations 
Please note that all exterior holiday decorations and lighting should have been removed at the end of January.  We enjoyed the displays; thank you for sharing your holiday spirit with us!  If you want to let us know about any decorations still up, please call with the street address or email our covenant advisor.
Free Live Music at Mad City Coffee
Come hear great  free music! (voluntary donations for homelessness accepted) You will hear four talented acts in one night. 
Each act plays two, 4-song sets.

Artist' include: Caribbean Nights, Lyric Response Team, Masquaffers, and Joseph Isaacs.

Saturday, February 4th from 6:30 PM - 9:30 PM
Mad City Coffee
10801 Hickory Ridge Road
Columbia, MD 20144 
Have you visited us on Facebook lately?
Please join us on Facebook for up-to-date information about what's happening in and around the Harper's Choice Community.

Upcoming Meetings
Architectural Committee Meetings

Changes made to the exterior of homes in Harper's Choice require approval of the Village Architectural Committee (AC).
The AC will meet on the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays of the month at 7:30 PM to review applications. 

The deadline to submit applications for approval is two weeks prior to the next meeting date.
Village Board Meetings

The next meeting of the Village Board is scheduled for February 7th at 7PM. Approved Agendas and Meeting Minutes are/will be available on our website.
Keeping You Informed
This weekly e-Newsletter serves as a recap of news and events we share with our community throughout the week via other social media channels. Connect with us on Facebook  and  Twitter  to receive more regular announcements and information from us.
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* Term expires 4/30/17
** Term expires 4/30/18

5440 Old Tucker Row  Columbia, MD | 410.730.0770 | Email | Website