April 16, 2015
Harper's Choice Voice
The e-Newsletter for the Village of Harper's Choice

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Columbia Residents Can Go Solar Through a Co-Op
Deadline to Register is April 22

Columbia residents can now join a local cooperative to go solar as a group and get a discount! Based on the same principal as buying in bulk, the co-op will go through the process of purchasing solar systems together. The group will select a single contractor to install systems on all of the homes, but each participant owns their own system and will sign their own contract with the chosen installer.


By going solar as a group, participants will save 25% off the cost of a solar system. They'll also have the support of the co-op throughout the process instead of having to go it alone.  


The co-op is being organized by Civic Works' Retrofit Baltimore program and Maryland SUN. Columbia Association is partnering with Civic Works to promote this innovative program in the Columbia community.


The deadline to sign up for the initial screening assessment and participate in the solar co-op is Wednesday, April 22 (Earth Day).


Interested residents can sign up at http://www.retrofitbaltimore.org/solar and a Retrofit Baltimore Energy Advocate will get in touch with you soon with more information about going solar.

Those going forward with solar panels will need to submit an exterior alteration application to the Harper's Choice Communi ty Association Architectural Committee. Please refer to the Architectural Guidelines available here.  

If you would like to discuss this with Columbia Association, please contact:

Jeremy Scharfenberg, CEM

Energy Manager

Columbia Association

Construction and Facilities Management





Red Ribbon Yard Sale, Shred & eCycle Event in Harper's Choice

Can you believe it is already time for our annual Spring Red Ribbon Yard Sale? This year, we're making a bigger day out of it by including a Shred and eCycle event.  


All the information and details for the big day are listed below.


WHEN: Saturday, May 2
YARD SALE: 8AM-Noon. Please call 410-730-0770, email us, or stop by Kahler Hall to register your street for this community-wide event. We will advertise and promote the event for you. All you need to do is get ready for eager buyers on the big day. Be sure to visit us before May 2 to get your Red Ribbon!

SHRED/eCYCLE: 9AM-1PM at the parking lot between Kahler Hall and the Bain Center. Limit 3 small bags/boxes per person for the Shred Truck. eCycle guidelines are listed below. Minimal fees required for some items.


FREE: Computers, Laptops/Notebooks, Keyboards/Mice/Cables, Monitors, Printers, Scanners, Cell & Regular Phones, Fax & Answering Machines, VCR, Cable Boxes, Stereo Equipment, Battery Back-ups (non-alkaline), TV (less than 26" - 1st one free)


FEE-BASED: TV 26" - 40" ($15), TV larger than 40" ($25), Console TV ($35)


NOT ACCEPTED: Microwaves, Refrigerators, Washers/Dryers, Toasters, Dishwashers, Household Appliances


Health & Safety Fair 2015

Plans are underway for a fun and exciting Health & Safety Fair for the Harper's Choice Community! We're working with local organizations and businesses that encourage and promote health, wellness and safety for our neighbors of all ages. We will have Child ID services through Howard Lodge No. 101, Bike Safety Checks courtesy of Princeton Sports, a Bike Rodeo and representatives from a variety of agencies that provide free services to our community. 

PLUS - We're collecting food for the Howard County Food Bank! Many of the kids in our community rely on school to provide them with a healthy breakfast & lunch each day. During the summer when those kids who are on free or reduced lunch are out of school, the demand at the Howard County Food Bank increases coinciding with a decrease in donations coming in.


Let's help keep those shelves stocked! Below is a list of items high in demand. Please look for collection boxes at the Health & Safety Fair and bring:

  • Peanut Butter
  • Oatmeal
  • Cereal
  • Tuna
  • Canned Fruit

Discount coupons for Rita's in Harper's Choice will be given to all that donate an item as a thank you for your help! In addition, all families that donate will be entered into a drawing for a Rita's gift certificate.


Mark your calendars and plan to attend our Health & Safety Fair on Saturday, April 25 from 10AM-2PM at Kahler Hall (5440 Old Tucker Row, Columbia, MD 21044).


Did You Know...
Pet Food and Birdseed Bags are NOT Recyclabe?

While it's true many of our everyday items are easily recycled, the technology available to easily recycle material made of multiple components makes it impossible to recycle items like pet food and birdseed bags.  


These bags are typically layers of different materials and once those layers are together, it's hard to get components separated so that they can be recycled. Still not sure? Do the 'tear test'....if you can easily tear the bag and don't see a plastic film layer mixed with the paper, it's good to go for recycling. This holds true for some paper plates and gift wrap too. 

Covenant Corner
Covenants 101

We regularly get questions about the covenant process. Many callers want to know:

  • Is it difficult to get approval for changes to my home?
  • If I don't wait to submit an application, does it really matter? 

In a nutshell, NO, it's not difficult to get approvals and YES, the application matters. Property values remain consistently high in areas where covenants exist, and there is the peace of mind that comes from knowing that changes to homes are regulated by community standards and guidelines. 


Did you know that over 97% of all submissions are approved through our cooperative process? Seldom are submissions denied outright. If you have any questions about the covenants, please call the village office at 410-730-0770 and ask for the covenant advisor or contact us via email.  

Farewell from Long-Time BP Owner

On behalf of myself and my late father, Al, the last 40 years have been an honor and pleasure to provide automotive services for our community. We still have customers from 1975. I have seen Columbia grow tremendously over the years. The best has been getting to know hundreds of our customers, many on a first name basis, and it has been a pleasure watching their families grow. We are now servicing vehicles for the grandchildren of our original customers. The time has come for me to start a new career, but let it be known that my most loyal employees will still be there providing the service with the integrity the James family always worked towards for the last 40 years. You will all be missed by me personally. Thanks for all of the support!



Chris James

Children's Discovery Fair: Look What's in Your Backyard!

Visit the Children's Discovery Fair at the East Columbia Library (6600 Cradlerock Way, Columbia, MD) on Saturday, April 18 from 10AM - 1PM. This annual event offers young children and their families free, hands-on activities that teach developmentally appropriate educational concepts, including interactive games, crafts, and stories. Children have an opportunity to practice new skills, learn new vocabulary words, and play games while parents learn how these activities promote school readiness. Parents also discover community resources and books that support and build on many of the ways to prepare young children for school. Early care and education professionals are also welcome to come and learn new ways to promote Social Studies activities in their programs. 

Walk MS 2015
Walk route could impact Harper's Choice Community

The National Multiple Sclerosis Society will host its signature 5K fundraising event, Walk MS, in Columbia on Saturday, April 25, 2015.  There could be congestion at the intersection of Harper's Farm Road and Twin Rivers Road between 10AM and 12PM and Twin Rivers Road and Lynx Lane between 10AM and 12PM. Police and event marshals will be assisting for possible accessibility issues on the route. The MS Walk begins at Howard Community College (HCC) at 9AM and will follow the route provided below. 


Walk MS: Columbia 2015 Route Map

  1. Exit HCC quad, make a right to walk in front of the RCF and HSB buildings to the traffic circle
  2. Exit College by turning left at the circle and following sidewalk to Little Patuxent Parkway
  3. Cross over Little Patuxent Parkway at traffic light
  4. Turn right crossing over Harper's Farm Road
  5. Turn left on Harper's Farm Road
  6. Turn right on Twin Rivers Road
  7. Cross Twin Rivers Road at Lynx Lane to opposite side of Twin Rivers Road
  8. Turn left onto Twin Rivers Road
  9. Cross Faulkner Ridge Circle and turn right onto Faulkner Ridge Circle
  10. Turn left at Marble Faun Lane **Rest Stop**
  11. Turn right onto Faulkner Ridge Circle
  12. Turn right onto Twin Rivers Road
  13. Turn right onto Harper's Farm Road
  14. After Beaver Kill Road, turn left onto white-railed walking bridge, and exit at Cedar Lane
  15. Turn left onto Cedar Lane
  16. Turn left onto Little Patuxent Parkway
  17. Turn right onto Harper's Farm/College
  18. Continue straight to walk in front of RCF and HSB buildings to re-enter the quad
LUNGevity's Breathe Deep Columbia

Breathe Deep Columbia, a 5K Walk and Fun Run, is a grassroots event organized by Michael Osborne, a lung cancer survivor. The 5K will consist of two laps around Lake Kittamaqundi. The new pathway is wheelchair and stroller friendly. Pets are welcome but please clean up after them!


The event is scheduled for Saturday, April 25 at Town Center and Lake Front Plaza in Columbia, MD. This event will take place rain or shine! The schedule of events is: 

  • Check-in/Registration: 8:30AM
  • Program: 9:30AM
  • Walk: 10AM - 11:30AM
  • Closing Ceremony, Music: 11:30AM- 12:00PM
Did you know that lung cancer is the top cancer killer in the United States, claiming approximately 160,000 lives per year? It is a devastating disease that can afflict anyone, regardless of smoking history, gender, or ethnicity, including Michael.


All proceeds from this event go to the LUNGevity Foundation to fund lung cancer research.


Upcoming Meetings
Architectural Committee Meetings
Changes made to the exterior of homes in Harper's Choice require the approval of the Village Architectural Committee. The AC meets on the 2nd and 4th Tuesday 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. Upcoming meetings are scheduled for: 4/28, 5/12, 5/26.  

Village Board Meetings
The next meeting of the Village Board is scheduled for May 5 at 7PM. Agendas and Meeting Minutes are available on our website.