Volume I | Issue 2 | June 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
" Constituent Coffee Series "
Thank you for supporting my first “Constituent Coffee Series,” featuring the Department of Community Resources and Services and the Office on Aging and Independence. The Constituent Coffee Series is a great opportunity for the community to learn about programs and resources available for residents in District 2 and throughout Howard County.
Happy Independence Day - Government Closings
Howard County Government Offices, Courts, 50+ Centers and Animal Shelters will be closed in observance of Independence Day on Thursday, July 4th . 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.

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 .
Village Voice

Long Reach
Stonehouse Holiday Schedule
Stonehouse will be closed Thursday, July 4th for
Independence 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. The following are upcoming meeting dates:

  • Tuesday, June 18th
  • Tuesday, July 16th
 Bugs that Bite

The presentation will discuss the life cycle, local species, disease risks, and control measures for both ticks and mosquito species in Maryland. Attendees will learn interesting facts about mosquitoes and ticks, as well as how to combat mosquito breeding in their neighborhood. This event will be held at Stonehouse, 8775 Cloudleap Court, Columbia, MD, at 7 PM on Monday, June 10th.

For more information about this event please call ( 410)-730-8113 .

"Spring & Summer Bulbs: Fun and Easy"

Are you interested in learning tips from experts that you can take home to your own garden? Join the Master Gardener workshop on August 5th at 7 PM at Stonehouse, 8775 Cloudleap Court, Columbia, MD for a free presentation from the Howard County Master Gardeners . The presentation will discuss caring for bulbs, the best time for planting, where to plant bulbs, and transplanting bulbs.

Block Party Kits now available!
Block parties are a great way to get to know your neighbors and enjoy summertime! Stonehouse now has Block party kits available until September 2nd.

How Do They Work?

  • Pick up a block party kit from Stonehouse or find a copy here
  • Fill out a guest list with names and addresses
  • Send out invitations (Stonehouse can make black and white invitations for free)
  • Record RSVP responses on guest list
  • Return your complete guest list with a copy of your invitation a week before your party 
  • Go to Stonehouse and pick up your $50 grocery store gift card
To stay updated on Long Reach Community Association events, click here , or follow the Long Reach Community Association on Facebook and Twitter !
Oakland Mills 

Congratulations to the new 2019-2020 Oakland Mills Community Association Board

The following Board members will serve from May 1, 2019 to April 30, 2020:

Rebecca Bryant
Jonathan Edelson
Lynn Engelke
Bill McCormack Jr.
Larry Pretlow II
Bageshwar Verma
Paul Verchinski

Oakland Mills Community Association Office at The Other Barn Schedule
The Oakland Mills Community Association Office will be closed Thursday, July 4th for Independence 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 meeting dates are the following:

  • Tuesday, June 11th
  • Tuesday, June 25th
Jazz in the Mills Presents "Kristine Key"

Jazz in the Mills 2019 presents four performances featuring Kristine Key. This event features straight ahead Jazz performances in a relaxed "club-like" setting at The Other Barn in the heart of Columbia on June 9th. The event starts at 5 PM . For more information please contact Sandy Cederbaum at (410)-730-4610.

Tickets can be purchased in advanced for $20 online or $25 at the Other Barn.

Bugs that Bite

The presentation will discuss the life cycle, local species, disease risks, and control measures for both ticks and mosquito species in Maryland. Attendees will learn interesting facts about mosquitoes and ticks, as well as how to combat mosquito breeding in their neighborhood. This event will be held at The Other Barn, 5851 Robert Oliver Place, at 7 PM on Thursday June, 13th.

For more information about this event and registration please contact
 Brigitta Warren via email.

Welcome Summer at The Other Barn

Come and help welcome summer at The Other Barn in our beautiful courtyard- Wednesday, June 26th. The courtyard will open at 6 PM. This is a free event with face painting, rock painting, corn hole, food trucks, and music.

Please find the schedule below:
6 PM to 7 PM: Face painting, Corn hole, Rock painting, and Food Trucks
7 PM to 8:30 PM: Live band performance by SoulTET

For more information please email Brigitta Warren.
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
Throughout centuries the word “unity” has undergone several transformative changes and meanings. The word experienced its peak of popularity during the 1960s, post-Jim Crow and during the Civil Rights era, to unite a fractured nation. Unity is one of the most powerful words in our language and when implemented as intended, possesses the ability to create unprecedented change.

Daily, I think about the challenges facing our families and residents and the objectives we can accomplish together through unity. Last week my colleagues and I tackled one of those challenges by voting on and passing our first Capital and Operating Budgets. I am proud to say that we unified to pass the fiscal year 2020 budget which includes:

-Record funding for our outstanding school system,
-Significant funding allotted to protecting public safety,
-Limiting excessive increases to property taxes for residents and,
-Funding for other initiatives and programs that make our county an incredible place to live.

This achievement was met by some challenges and a paradigm shift, that lacked negotiations, fueled rumors and misinformation, propelled hysteria, and mischaracterized the legal authorities and responsibilities of the County Council. Unfortunately, that misinformation is still currently circulating.Yet, working together in unity, in the end, we accomplished this milestone.
Through negotiation and compromise, there must be an understanding that balance is accompanied by unity. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. As a passionate leader for both education and public safety, I am grateful to see a budget that puts our school system and those that serve and protect at the forefront.
I believe that promoting and embodying unity is a fundamental component of leadership. There are so many things that can divide us and negate what we can accomplish, however, together, anything and everything is possible. Over the next three years, I look forward to working with our District 2 residents, my colleagues on the County Council, and our County Executive to drive unity at every turn, to further the vision of our voters and celebrate our successes.

Finally, I know we have some very special examples of unity and working together to make things better in District 2. Please feel free to share those with our office, so we can share your stories and promote the good that is out there in our great district!
Expanding Access to Diaper Changing Stations
I am pleased to join  Councilwoman Christiana Mercer Rigby  and my colleagues in passing of Council Bill 14- 2019 filing legislation to expand access to diaper-changing stations in Howard County!

Since December, I have worked with Council member Mercer Rigby to draft legislation supporting diaper changing stations in public restrooms. As a father, I understand the difficulty parents and guardians face daily when attempting to readily change their children. Moreover, I have personally faced these challenges changing my baby daughter. Passing this legislation would foster a safe, ‘pro-family’ environment for children and guardians throughout Howard County.

Watch our Youtube video where Chairperson Christiana Mercer Rigby and I address our plans to expand access to diaper changing stations.
Fire Ops - 101
It was an honor to participate in Fire Ops 101 hosted by the Howard County Professional Fire Fighters Association , L ocal 2000. During Fire Ops I shadowed our county's Firefighters by putting out fires, responding to scenarios, providing CPR, and extracting residents from bu ildings ! Through this hands-on experience, l gained a detailed understanding and appreciation of our county's Firefighters selfless service and dedication. A special thank you to Lt. Anthony Allen from Station #9 who assisted me the entire day!
Be Clean, Go Green !
I n Howard County we take pride in keeping our communities clean. Earth Day is a day of action to preserve our planet by picking up litter and trash throughout our communities.

This year I had the honor to volunteer with the Girl Scout Daisy Troop 1449 in Elkridge. It was a pleasure to join your troop for your Earth Day initiative. Thank you for inspiring me and please continue to keep up the great work!
STEM Matters
I’d like to congratulate our County Executive, Calvin Ball for hosting his First Annual Stem Awards. It was a privilege to attend and give opening remarks at Howard County Executive Calvin Ball’s Inaugural Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Student Awards. As a practitioner of the mathematical sciences, student of STEM, and former engineer, I am excited by the outstanding work of our STEM students and I look forward to attending future events.

Congratulations to all of our innovative students who continue to demonstrate that the sky is never the limit!
Extending A Helping Hand
Congratulations to the  Oakland Mills Village  Community Association’s Education Committee for being recognized as Volunteer the Year for Oakland Mills. Thank you for your dedication, support, and advocacy to enhance our community. Your leadership and commitment to our schools ensure that all students can achieve in a diverse and enriching setting!
A Visit From Cub Scout Pack 1022
Thank you Cub Scout Pack 1022 from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for joining my colleagues and me for our monthly Public Hearing. It was an honor hosting our county’s future leaders.
Mobile Home Site Rental Tax
On April 2nd the County Council passed Council Bill 8-2019 legislation to repeal the mobile home site tax. Repealing the Mobile Home Site Tax will help lessen the financial burden of residents in our mobile home communities. As a community we must continue to push for equality in all of our neighborhoods. This repeal will assist the most vulnerable members of our community and acknowledges the need for affordable housing in Howard County. I am thrilled County Executive Ball has introduced this significant piece of legislation that will affect residents throughout the county. 
100th Day of Service
It was an honor and privilege to spend my 100th day of service with the Howard County Executive. On our 100th day, Dr. Ball signed the Gateway Innovation Center Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to ensure that we continue to enhance our community's vibrancy by enhancing our resources.
Mt. Hebron High School Visit
Thank you Mt. Hebron High School for hosting me during your African-American Studies Class. Your class discussion on race, gender equality, and American values continues to inspire me as a representative for Howard County. Go VIKINGS!
Community Events and Opportunities
Columbia Association
Explore Columbia's nature, history, and art with Columbia Association's guided outdoor walks.

Walks will be held on select Thursdays through October . They will include a nature walk led by Environmental author Ned Tillman and art/history walks led by Columbia Historian Barbara Kellner. Registration is not required. In case of inclement weather , please call (410)-312-6330 to learn if a walk has been canceled.

The schedule of walks and meeting locations include:

  • Thursday, June 6th, 10 AM, Long Reach Nature- meet at Stonehouse in the Long Reach Village Center, 8775 Cloudleap Court.
  • Thursday, June 20th, 10 AM, Downtown Art and Architecture- meet at the People Tree at the Downtown Columbia Lakefront, 10275 Little Patuxent Parkway.
Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab New Horizons Mission Mom
Alice Bowman, a trail blazing woman behind NASA’s unprecedented New Horizons Mission, headlines this space related episode of HiJinx. Join the conversation at Howard County Library System Central Branch, Tuesday, June 11th from 7 - 8 PM. Hear Alice share her story in person a s the first-female Mission Operation Manager (MOM) for Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab.
In Freedom's Name
In Freedom's Name , commemorates the military contributions of Maryland's Black men and women to the expansion of freedom from 1634 until today. Each Howard County Library Systems branch will host a selection of different modules from the exhibition beginning on June 15th through August 18th. Together the panels document 400 years of history through 63 stories and 250 images. This is the largest exhibition of its kind in U.S. history.
Click here to l earn more about In Freedom’s Name exhibit and which topics will be featured at each branch.
8 Summer Concert Series
T he Beijing Guitar Duo, composed of Meng Su and Yameng Wang, will perform-- Tuesday, June 25th from 7 PM- 8 PM in The Spirit Center, 4701 New Cut Rd, Ellicott City, MD . This is a free concert. Both international guitarists studied classical guitar with Chen Zhi, one of China’s most acclaimed guitarist.

Refreshments will be served and child care will be provided for preschool age children.

For more information visit 8 Summer Concert Series website.
African American Community Roundtable..Second Annual Community Health Fair
The African American Community Roundtable of Howard County will host their Second Annual, "Community Health Fair" Saturday, June 22, at Wilde Lake High School from 10 AM- 2 PM. For more information please visit www.aacr-howard.org.
Howard County PRIDE

Howard County celebrates Pride Month Saturday, June 29th at Centennial Park 10000 Clarksville Pike, Ellicott City from 11 AM-5 PM. This is a free family friendly event with food, music, games, and community resources for all!
Fourth of July Fireworks 2019
Howard County celebrates July 4th in 2019 with fireworks along the Columbia Lakefront. The event is sponsored by the  Howard County Government  with support from the   Columbia Association . Entertainment includes live bands on two stages and a variety of entertainment for children. Food and drinks will be for sale onsite.

The event will take place at the Columbia Town Center Lakefront, 10221 Wincopin Circle, Columbia, MD. No boats are permitted on the lake July 3rd–5th!
Students' Spotlight
Summer 2019 Food Service Program Expands to Help Children and Families in Need
The Howard County Public School System is pleased to announce the Summer Food Service Program. The service program assist families fill the nutritional gap over the summer months, in Howard County.

Meals will be served at 15 county locations in response to the high demand to support families with limited access to transportation.

Tuesday, June 25th through August, free meals will be served each weekday at 12 schools and three community locations.

PLEASE NOTE: Meals will not be served on Wednesday, July 4th, or any day that Howard County Public School System schools are closed.

Meals will be provided to children 18 and under without charge. All meals will be served on a first-come, first-served basis and must be eaten on site. No portion of the meal may be taken out of the meal serving area(s) and adults may not eat any portion of a child’s meal. Small children must have adult supervision
Tuesday, June 25th Friday, August 16th in the school cafeterias:
Tuesday, June 25th Wednesday, August 12th in school parking lots:
For more information, contact the Howard County Public School Systems Food and Nutrition Services at ( 410)-313-6743.
Summer Fun with Howard County Recreation & Parks
Welcome to the 2019 Summer Camp Guide ! This year Howard County Recreation and Parks celebrates 50 years of service. We invite you to find the perfect camp for your children and grandchildren in this year's guide! At Howard County Recreation & Parks , our camps provide opportunity for kids to try new things, and to sharpen their skills at the activities they already know and love. From tots to teens, there's a camp that's just right for your child! Choose from exciting morning, afternoon, and full-day camps that fit your family's summer schedule.

For more information on the variety of camps visit Howard County Parks and Recreation website.
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 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: pop-top canned goods, (soups, vegetables, etc.), baby food and formula, peanut butter and jelly, canned tuna, granola bars, cereal, pasta sauce, crackers, chips, instant potatoes, condiments, coffee, teas, macaroni and cheese, boxed desserts, diapers, toothpaste, cleaning supplies, grocery gift cards, and gas gift cards. To donate, call (410) 997-0304 or email . 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 .
Donate or Sponsor Events
HC DrugFree depends upon the generosity of individuals, PTSAs/PTAs, organizations and businesses in the community to support our free services to the community. Please donate today! Consider contacting HC DrugFree to sponsor an event or make a one-time or monthly donation.

HC DrugFree is a 501(c)(3). Donate online or mail checks to HC DrugFree, 5305 Village Center Drive, Suite 206, Columbia, MD 21044.

For more information, contact HC DrugFree's Executive Director, Joan Webb Scornaienchi by email or call (443) 325-0040.
Howard County Tips
Warm Weather Safety
Warm 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 summer weather include heat exhaustion, headaches, fainting, dehydration, dizziness, muscle cramps, and rapid heartbeat.

A danger of extreme heat is "Heat Stroke . " Heat stroke is a condition caused by your body overheating, usually as a result of prolonged exposure to or physical exertion in high temperatures. The most serious form of heat injury, can occur if your body temperature rises to 104 Fahrenheit (40 Celsius) or higher. The condition is most common in summer months.

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

  • Wear loose fitting, lightweight clothing.Wearing excess clothing or clothing that fits tightly won't allow your body to cool properly.

  • Protect against sunburn. Sunburn affects your body's ability to cool itself, so protect yourself outdoors with a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses and use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF of at least 15. Apply sunscreen generously, and reapply every two hours-or more often if you're swimming or sweating.

  • Drink plenty of fluids. Staying hydrated will help your body sweat and maintain a normal body temperature.

  • Take extra precautions with certain medications. Be on the lookout for heat-related problems if you take medications that can affect your body's ability to stay hydrated and dissipate heat.

  • Never leave anyone in a parked car. This is a common cause of health-related deaths in children. When parked in the sun, the temperature in your car can rise 20 degrees Fahrenheit (more than 6.7 C) in 10 minutes
  • Take it easy during the hottest parts of the day. If you can't avoid strenuous activity in hot weather, drink fluids and rest frequently in a cool area. Try to schedule exercise or physical labor during cooler parts of the day, such as early morning or evening.

  • Get acclimated.Limit time spent working or exercising in heat until you're conditioned to it. People who are not used to hot weather are especially susceptible to heat-related illness's. It can take several weeks for your body to adjust to hot weather.

If your in need of shelter, call Grassroots Crisis Intervention Center at( 410)-531-6677
Party and Picnic Tips.... Less is Best !
Here are some helpful hints and reminders courtesy of our Department of Environmental Services:

If you're having a party or picnic, don't forget the 4Rs:


We've all heard these words before, but what can we actually do?
  • Buy bulk food items to REDUCE the amount of packaging and trash.
  • Ask guests to carpool to REDUCE fuel consumption and pollution.
  • RESPOND by thinking about the environment when shopping and set an example for others. It's easy and you'll be the superstar!
  • Use REUSABLE plates, glasses, napkins, utensils and tablecloths. Your guests will be surprised and honored. Did you know? Even most disposable plates, cups, and silverware items are durable and can be placed in your dishwasher. Please note that disposable plates, cups and utensils are NOT recyclable!
  • Buy REUSABLE decorations or make decorations that can be RECYCLED.
  • RESPOND by encouraging guests to recycle. Tell people where to place empty plastic bottles, aluminum cans and glass bottles. Your party or picnic will help everyone to recycle more!
  • RECYCLE your party or picnic recyclables in your blue recycling container. 
  • Use compostable plates, cups and utensils! If you receive curbside food scrap collection, add these items to your green bin or any Howard County resident can bring compostable items and food scraps to the Alpha Ridge Landfill (including bones and used vegetable oil/frying oil). Compost is a great way to RECYCLE MORE! Please note that compostable items are NOT recyclable in your blue cart.
Plastic Bags in Recycling- Not Accepted!
Effective Saturday, June 15th, Howard County’s Department of Public Works’ Bureau of Environmental Services will no longer accept curbside recycling placed out in plastic bags. Items placed out for recycling, should be placed loose in the county assigned recycling bin/cart. Any plastic bagged recyclables will not be collected curbside.

Plastic bags and plastic film foul machinery, getting wrapped around recycling equipment and jamming the screens. Small plastic fragments also become air- and water-borne litter. Due to these factors, our contracted processor will not accept plastic bags. This includes loose and bundled plastic bags. The regional marketplace has contributed to this change.

Residents with County-provided service will  receive a postcard  in the mail alerting them of this change.

In addition, the Alpha Ridge Landfill Residents' Convenience Center will no longer accept items for recycling bagged in plastic. If you choose to transport your items in a plastic bag, please empty your items into the recycling compactor and take the bag with you.

County residents who wish to recycle their clean plastic bags and film may do so at participating local grocery stores, big box stores, and other retailers who have collection bins set up.Check out this   handy map .
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!