Volume I | February MMXIX
District 2
The Opel Jones Digest

Office: 410-313-2001
3430 Court House Drive
Ellicott City, MD 21043

"We Win Together!"
District 2 News
Happy Presidents' Day - Government Closings
Howard County Government Offices, Courts, 50+ Centers and Animal Shelters will be closed in observance of Presidents’ Day on Monday, February 18th. However, regular trash, recycling, and food scrap services will be in effect. The Alpha Ridge Landfill will be open.

While county parks, community centers, Meadowbrook Athletic Complex, Kiwanis-Wallas Hall, Cedar Lane, and Schooley Mill Park Activity Rooms will be open. The Robinson Nature Center will be closed. In addition, county historic sites are all closed for the season and will not re-open until April. 

The Regional Transportation Agency (RTA) will operate on a regular weekday schedule. For more information on RTA call 1-800-270-9553 or visit the RTA website. All parking regulations and fees will be in effect.  

The 9-1-1 Call Center, Police, and Fire departments will remain staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week. For emergencies call 9-1-1; for non-emergencies, call 410-313-2200.

County offices will resume at regular business hours on Tuesday, February 19th.
Village Voice
Long Reach
Stonehouse Holiday Schedule
Stonehouse will be closed Monday, February 18th for Presidents' Day!

Upcoming Board Meetings
Interested in learning about what is going on in the Long Reach community? All upcoming board meetings will be held at Stonehouse , 8775 Cloudleap Court, Columbia, MD 21045 , at 7:30 PM unless noted otherwise. Upcoming meeting dates are the following:

  • Tuesday, February 19th
  • Tuesday, March 5th

Long Reach Village Elections
Are you a homeowner or tenant of a property in the Long Reach community? Nominations to hold one of the two open Village Board seats or the Columbia Association Representative will be open from March 1st - March 21st at 12 PM . Petitions on election information can be picked up at Stonehouse beginning March 1st . Election Committee Members are also needed! For more information, call Stonehouse at 410-730-8113 .

Family Bingo Night
Bring the family out to Stonehouse for a fun night of Bingo with your neighbors on Friday, February 22nd at 7:30 PM.

To stay updated on Long Reach Community Association events, click here, or follow the Long Reach Community Association on Facebook and Twitter!
Oakland Mills
Oakland Mills Community Association (OMCA) Office at The Other Barn Schedule
The Oakland Mills Community Association Office will be closed Monday, February 18th for Presidents' Day!

Upcoming Board Meetings
Interested in learning about what is going on in the Oakland Mills community? All upcoming board meetings will be held at The Other Barn, 5851 Robert Oliver Place, at 7 PM unless noted otherwise. Upcoming meetings dates are the following:

  • Tuesday, February 12th
  • Tuesday, March 12th

Board Elections Information
Are you interested in serving on the Oakland Mills Community Association Board or as the Representative to Columbia Association for Oakland Mills? The Oakland Mills Community Association (OMCA) is a non-profit civic organization to promote the health, safety, common good, and social welfare of all village members (owners of property within Oakland Mills' (OM) three neighborhoods: Stevens Forest, Talbott Springs, Thunder Hill, and tenants, who reside on property within Oakland Mills under a written lease). OMCA's Board of Directors and its representative to the Columbia Council are elected by the members to manage the business and affairs of OMCA. Visit the website for more information.

Got Conflict? Strategies for Dealing with Conflict
You are invited to join the OMCA for an enlightening conversation on handling conflict at The Other Barn on Saturday, February 9th from 10 AM-12 PM. To learn more, go online, call 410-730-4610, or email manager@oaklandmills.org.

Oakland Mills High School (OMHS) Food Pantry Food Drive
Every fourth Thursday, OMHS has a food pantry! The OMHS Food Pantry is open to the entire community. Individuals and families looking to get food should enter OMHS through the double doors on the front right of the building. Signs will be posted. OMCA is collecting donations to ensure that the OMHS Food Pantry shelves are stocked. The following items are being collected:

  • Non-perishables
  • Yellow Rice; Pasta and Sauce; Fruit Cups; Applesauce; Peanut Butter; Jelly; Pudding
  • Diapers
  • Baby Wipes

Drop off items at The Other Barn (5851 Robert Oliver Place, Columbia) during regular business hours which are between 9:00 AM - 4:30 PM Monday - Friday and Saturday 9:30 AM - 12:00 PM (Closed Sunday). For more information, click here, contact Sandy Cederbaum at manager@oaklandmills.org or call 410-730-4610.

To stay updated on Oakland Mills Community events, visit their website and follow Oakland Mills Community Association on Facebook!
Connecting With Our Home Owner Associations
If you are an Executive Board member or member of a Home Owner Association (HOA) please forward your up-to-date officer contact and meeting information to  Najee Bailey to update our database when changes occur.
Opel's Opinion
Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines “diversity” as the inclusion of different types of people, races, or cultures in a group or organization. After the election of our nation’s first African-American president, America immersed herself in a post-racial society, all that fundamentally does not exist. Racism and bigotry are rooted in the fabric of hate and without a clear and honest conversation about why such feelings exists; our country and communities may never heal. Under our current administration we have watched the word “diversity” become a pseudo-epithet, where inclusion of all is foul and frowned upon; where the rights of our truly vulnerable communities and the downtrodden members of society never get a chance to be heard or identified as an equal. 

However, here in Howard County we are the beacon of progress and hope in our schools and throughout our communities. As a father of three and an educator I understand the importance of fostering growth and development of our children. I am proud that our county’s Board of Education recognizes the social injustice black and brown children and young adults face daily. This week the Board of Education recognizes, “Black Lives Matter at Schools” and the attributes this movement has made for all Americans. Over the weekend our county celebrates the 50th Anniversary of Howard County’s first interracial married couple. During the first three months serving as your County Councilmember, I have witnessed history before my very eyes. Our county has installed the first female Fire and Rescue Chief and the first African-American woman Police Chief, all that is an anomaly in our great state!

I am optimistic about our community’s conversation about diversity. Together we can usher in a generation of forward thinkers with progressive policies that will continue to enhance our great district, county, state, and country. Diversity matters when it’s coupled with democracy for all!
First and Foremost
Howard County celebrates the first of many under new leadership. In December of 2018, County Executive, Dr. Calvin Ball announced the appointment of the first female Fire Chief, Christine Uhlhorn. Chief Uhlhorn will oversee the county’s Fire and Rescue Services. Chief Uhlhorn boasts 29 years of experience and hails from three generations of fire fighters. A life-long resident of Joppa, MD., Chief Uhlhorn began her career at Station 9, located in District 2. Chief Uhlhorn will oversee all 12 fire stations and 453 career uniformed personnel.  

History was announced a second time for the “Old Line State!” County Executive, Dr. Ball announced the appointment of the Howard County Police Chief, January 8th. Retired Police Captain, Lisa Myers is the first African-American female Chief to lead the department. Chief Myers garners 27 years of experience on the force. Chief Myers began her career in 1990 as a civilian Crime Laboratory technician and later entered the police academy in 1994. Chief Myers has vowed to complete a comprehensive assessment of the county’s policing programs to ensure crime fighting-strategies are meeting county standards. 
Maryland Association of Counties (MACo) Winter Conference
January 2nd through January 4th, the Howard County Council and staff attended the 2019 Winter Maryland Association of Counties Conference in Cambridge, MD. Throughout the three-day retreat, my office and I attended educational sessions that focused on relevant issues that will be discussed during the current Maryland General Assembly Session. Regional county meetings, state agency briefings, and committee board discussions enlightened nearly 600 county and state elected leaders how to navigate through legislation that benefits urban and rural counties.

During the conference I was appointed to serve as the Maryland County Officials Diversity Caucus’ Secretary. The caucus provides organizational structure for county elected officials of minority descent and gender to empower, represent, and respond to issues affecting the most vulnerable communities and constituencies.
Lending a Listening Ear

Thank you County Executive, Dr. Ball for hosting your listening sessions throughout District 2 and Howard County. Your input and focus on the challenges and concerns that residents face daily is much needed in Eastern Howard County. My office looks forward tackling reoccurring issues such as overcrowding in schools, affordable housing, conditional development uses, and protecting the environment. 
A Luncheon with, “My Friend Ben"

During the government shutdown, United States Senator, Ben Cardin (D-MD), and I engaged in a round table discussion with Councilmember Mercer-Rigby to address the challenges we hear from concerned citizens. We discussed transportation for residents who reside outside of the beltway, the government shutdown, eco-friendly initiatives, and the quality of living standards in the county. My office looks forward partnering with our federal and state partners in the future to accelerate our progressive goals for District 2 and Howard County.
Celebrating Diversity

On January 11 th County Executive, Dr. Ball and the Howard County Council issued a joint proclamation celebrating the 116 th Korean American Day. The event was held in the County Council chamber with special guest, United States Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD). According to recent US census data, Howard County is home to more than 13,000 residents of Korean descent, more than double that of any county in Maryland. It was an honor and pleasure discussing how my office could best assist with their community's needs for the future.  
Indelli Belle: Ribbon Cutting

Thank you for choosing District 2 as your home for your second location in Maryland. It was a privilege meeting members of the Howard County Chambers of Commerce, Indelli Belle staff, and being a part of your salon's Grand Opening!
Putting our Children First
In December of 2018 , I had the honor to testify in front of the Board of Education regarding our students. As an educator I believe it is imperative to express concerns of school overcrowding and existing funding for our schools. Our schools need to be compliant with the American Disabilities Act (ADA), after years of not being compliant under our previous County Executive administration.

Thank you to the Howard County Board of Education for allowing me to address the concerns and challenges our students of District 2 and Howard County faces daily. 
Community Events and Opportunities
Leadership U 2019 Accepting Applications
Leadership U is an experiential leadership development, and community service opportunity.  Eligible students must either live or attend school in Howard County. Students apply as sophomores and participate in the fall of their junior year. This unique four-month program involves a week-long summer program of hands-on activities, as well as involvement in a student-driven, team community service project. By providing experiential learning, mentoring, and unique opportunities,these students become confident, caring leaders in their communities. Students say they love our program because it builds confidence, and strengthens their leadership and problem solving skills. They build their professional network by meeting so many community leaders. They implement their own project to make a difference in our local community, and they make so many new friends from all around the county that they would never had met before. Applications and references are due March 14th

9th and 10th grade students and their parents are invited to attend one of our information sessions to learn more about Leadership U and hear from some of our recent graduates and their parents.  

Monday, February 11th at the Central Library from 7-8 PM
Thursday, March 7th at Miller Library from 7-8 PM

Please visit their website for additional information and how to apply. 
The Black History Expo 2019
Come out and enjoy a wonderful cultural and educational experience sure to please the entire family.
The Black History Expo will be hosted on Saturday, February 16th from 12-5 PM at Long Reach High School, 6101 Old Dobbin Lane in Columbia. It will provide educational experiences that foster increased awareness and include exhibits, entertainment, panel discussion, and vendors.
Howard County Community Outreach Meeting on Circuit Courthouse Plans
The community is invited to join Howard County's Department of Public Works (DPW) for a community outreach meeting on Thursday, February 21st from 6-8 PM in the cafeteria at Howard High School located at 8700 Old Annapolis Road, Ellicott City to share plans for the new Howard County Circuit Courthouse project. County employees and representatives from Edgemoor-Star America Judicial Partners will be on hand to discuss this County Capital Project and gather public comment. Stations will be set up throughout the room to facilitate informal discussions on various aspects of the design, plans and project management.

Demolition of the Thomas B. Dorsey Building will begin this June, with site work expected to commence two months later. The Courthouse is expected to open in the summer of 2021. For preliminary renderings and a conceptual computer animation of the Edgemoor Star-America Judicial Partners proposal, and for information on the Howard County Circuit Courthouse Project, visit www.howardcountymd.gov/howardcourthouse. Those unable to attend the meeting who would like to view the plans and/or have questions about the project, should contact Thomas Meunier, Assistant to the Director of DPW at 410-313-6160 or email tmeunier@howardcountymd.gov.

For questions or more information about Capital Project C-0290, contact Lisa Brightwell, Public Works Customer Service, at 410-313-3440 or email publicworks@howardcountymd.gov
"A Celebration of Black History"
Come out for an exciting and historical event on Saturday, February 23rd from 10 AM-2 PM. The Harriet Tubman Foundation of Howard County, Inc. will be hosting the first annual celebration of Black History Month on the grounds of the historic Harriet Tubman School, located at 5400 Harriet Tubman Lane, Columbia, MD, to celebrate Black history and our Black legacy in voice and song. This event is free and open to the public. For more information, please contact Mrs. Joan Hash.
22nd Annual Chocolate Ball
Long known as "The Premiere" event in Howard County, the
annual Chocolate Ball is the biggest fundraiser for The Arc of
Howard County. This event will be held on Saturday, March 2nd from 7 PM-Midnight at Turf Valley Resort. Generously supported by its sponsors, the black tie preferred gala features flowing champagne, chocolate from the area’s best bakers, an elegant menu, entertainment, unique Silent Auction packages, and dancing throughout the night with music from Oracle Band.

Proceeds from the Chocolate Ball support the Arc's mission of achieving full community life for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Howard County. For more information, click here, contact Barbara Moyer at  410-730-0638 x306, or email bmoyer@archoward.org.
Howard County Seeks Nominees for “Business Recycling and Waste Reduction” and “Green Community Leadership” Awards
The Howard County Department of Public Works’ Bureau of Environmental Services has announced that nomination forms are now available for its annual “Business Recycling and Waste Reduction” and “Green Community Leadership” awards. Nomination forms are available online. For more information or to request a nomination form in an alternate format, contact the Bureau of Environmental Services at 410-313-6444.

All nominations must be delivered or postmarked by 5 PM, Friday, March 1st, to: Gemma Evans, Recycling Coordinator, 6751 Columbia Gateway Drive, Suite 514, Columbia, MD 21046, or email gevans@howardcountymd.gov (email preferred). Awards will be presented at the 12th annual Howard County GreenFest on Saturday, April 13th at Howard Community College.

For information about the Work Green program, visit the website. For information about GreenFest, visit www.hcgreenfest.org
Students' Spotlight
Howard County Association of Student Councils: Many Students, One Voice
Calling all Middle and High School Howard County students! Join your fellow classmates looking to learn leadership skills and make an impact in the community by participating with the Howard County Association of Student Councils (HCASC). HCASC elected officers plan and lead all General Assembly meetings. In the first part of the meeting, student appointed positions report their work and upcoming issues and/ or events.

The second part of the evening focuses on leadership training, guest speakers, and/or student forums where students can come together to share best practices and discuss current school and community issues.

Meetings are held the second Wednesday of every month through May 2019 from 7:00-8:30 PM at the Homewood School, 10914 MD-108, Ellicott City, MD 21042. For more information, go online.
Bright Minds Foundation's Sydney L. Cousin Scholarship Fund
The Sydney L. Cousin Memorial Scholarship is intended to help an HCPSS graduate who wishes to become a public school teacher. HCPSS graduates completing a Teacher Education program at Howard Community College (HCC) and have also been accepted for continued study in teacher education at an accredited four-year college/university are eligible for consideration. In May 2019, two winners will each receive $1,000, which can be used to pay tuition, fees, or the cost of books.

Interested HCC students should contact Laurie B. Collins, Assistant Professor and Chair of the Teacher Education Program at Howard Community College at lcollins2@howardcc.edu.

Contributions to the Sydney L. Cousin Memorial Scholarship fund may be made online, or by check to the Bright Minds Foundation,10910 Clarksville Pike, Ellicott City, MD 21042. Please designate “Cousin Scholarship Fund” in the comment field or on the memo line.

For more information, please contact Liz Crammond, Executive Director of the Bright Minds Foundation, at 410-740-0707 or liz@brightmindsfoundation.org.
HC DrugFree's 2018-19 Teen Advisory Council (TAC)
All Howard County high school students are invited to participate in HC DrugFree's Teen Advisory Council (TAC). Community service hours are available for all meetings/events. School year 2018-19 registration forms are being accepted. Please email or mail a signed registration form and photo. Forms can be found on the HC DrugFree website. All meeting will be held on a Monday at The Barn/Teen Center in the Oakland Mills Village Center from 5:30-7:00 PM. For more information, please email admin@hcdrugfree.org or call 443-325-0040.

2018-19 TAC meetings schedule:
  • Monday, February 14th from 5:30-7:00 PM
  • March through the end of school year dates will be advertised soon
Non-Profit Resources
In Need of Crisis Intervention?
Grassroots is a private, non-profit agency that empowers people in crisis to make positive changes by offering professional 24-hour crisis intervention, shelter, and outreach services. They provide programs and services including 24-hour crisis intervention hotline, Maryland Crisis Hotline, Walk-in Counseling, Mobile Crisis Team, Suicide Prevention, Outreach and Education, a 33-bed Family Shelter, an 18-bed Men's Shelter, a Motel Shelter, Cold Weather Shelter, and a Day Resource Center. The Grassroots Crisis Intervention Center, Inc. is located at 6700 Freetown Road, Columbia, MD 21044. For more information, please call 410-531-6006 or visit the Grassroots website. The 24-hour hotline is 410-531-6677 and the MD Crisis Hotline is 1-800-422-0009
HopeWorks Pantry Needs
Help restock the HopeWorks pantry! Items needed include: full sized shampoo, full sized body wash, baby wipes, rice, cereal, soups, spaghetti sauce, toilet paper, paper towels, crackers, granola bars, and juice boxes. To donate, call (410) 997-0304 or email volunteer@wearehopeworks.org. For information and updates, go online.
Rebuilding Together Howard County
Rebuilding Together Howard County (RTHC) was established in 1992 when a group of committed Howard County Residents and businesses joined together to mobilize volunteers and provide free home repairs to low-income families in Howard County. Today, Rebuilding Together Howard County has repaired and renovated over 650 homes in Howard County-- at no cost to the homeowner. Rebuilding Together Howard County connects volunteers with homeowners in need of repairs.

If you own a home in Howard County and can't afford home repairs, suffered an injury or illness, and need home modifications contact RTHC by calling 410-381-3338. Applications are accepted year round! Anyone can volunteer and RTHC seeks skilled trades as well! Call 410-381-3338 to find out how your company or group can sponsor a home! To learn more, visit their website.
Howard County Tips
Cold Weather Safety
Colder weather in our area often yields temperatures that can be dangerous after long periods of exposure, if proper precautions are not taken. Some of the dangers associated with winter weather include hypothermia, frostbite, carbon monoxide poisoning, and injuries from heat sources. 

A danger of extreme cold is frostbite. Frostbite is the freezing and subsequent destruction of body tissue. The areas most likely to freeze are toes, fingers, ears, cheeks, and the tip of the nose. 

To protect yourself and your family in cold weather follow the tips below:

  • Wear several layers of lightweight, loose-fitting clothing. The air between the layers acts as insulation to keep you warm.

  • Wear mittens rather than fingered gloves. The close contact of fingers helps keep your hands warm.

  • Wear warm leg coverings and heavy socks, or two pairs of lightweight socks.

  • Be alert to other common winter hazards, such as carbon monoxide (CO) and injuries from heat sources. CO is produced by small gasoline engines, stoves, generators, lanterns, gas ranges, or by burning charcoal and wood. This colorless, odorless gas can cause severe illness and death. Visit the CDC's website for CO poisoning prevention tips

  • Do not forget about pets. The American Veterinary Medical Association has great tips for all of our four-legged family members. Go online for more.

  • Vehicles should contain items such as heavy blankets, water, nonperishable food, a flashlight and a snow shovel. More information about cold weather preparedness may be found at: emergency.cdc.gov/disasters/winter.

If you are in need of shelter, call Grassroots Crisis Intervention Center at 410-531-6677.
When You See Snow, Here Is What You Should Know!
Here are some helpful hints and reminders courtesy of our Department of Public Works:

Getting Plowed In 
Tired of getting snowed in by the snow plows? If possible, wait to shovel the end of your driveway until the plows pass. Try clearing a "pocket" next to your driveway along the shoulder or curb - about the length of a parking space - ahead of your driveway. When the plow passes, the angle of the snow blade will naturally dump most of the load in the pocket instead of your driveway. 

Cars Parked on Public Streets 
Parked cars are one of the biggest challenges of our snow crews. County residential streets are plowed one time per snowstorm. Once the county crews clear the snow off your street, they will not return to plow your street a second time. Please park your cars in driveways and off public streets so plows can clear as much snow as possible. 

Cars Parked in Cul-de-Sacs 
County truck drivers cannot safely push the snow in cul-de-sacs where cars are parked. Rather than risk damaging county or private vehicles, the driver will leave and come back later after he finishes the rest of his route. 

Guard Against Flooding 
Uncover and clear area around fire hydrants and storm drain inlets. If snow melts and rainwater can't flow away, it could cause street icing and basement flooding. After large snow storms, water main breaks may occur. If you see large volumes of water flowing down the street, it could be a water main break. This should be reported to the Bureau of Utilities at 410-313-4900

Clearing Your Sidewalks 
"It is the duty and obligation of the owner of property abutting a sidewalk in a public right-of-way to remove snow from the sidewalk within 48 hours after the snow has fallen." (Howard County Code, Section 18.402(h).

Did It Snow On... "Trash" Day? 
If it snows on your trash day, put your trash out for collection as usual - before 6 AM. If trash collection has been canceled for the day, the trash contractors will pick up trash the next work day if roads are passable. "Recycling" Day? If it snows on your recycling day, and recycling has been canceled for the day, recycled will be picked up the following week. To find out if trash or recycling collections were canceled for the day, call 410-313-SORT (7678)

Please be patient... 
During inclement weather, trash and recycling trucks must travel slowly and safely. Remember, the contractors have until 7 PM to pick up your trash and recyclables. Questions about snow removal? Email publicworks@howardcountymd.gov.

Check out the following for more information:
Know Before You Throw
11% of the stuff Howard County residents think is recyclable and put in their blue bin...doesn't belong and ends up as trash. For a detailed list of what does and does not belong in your blue bin, check this link out!