April 2, 2015
Harper's Choice Voice
The e-Newsletter for the Village of Harper's Choice

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Columbia Listening Tour in Harper's Choice
County Council Members Want to Hear from the Harper's Choice Community
As part of the Columbia Listening tour, Howard County Council members will be at Kahler Hall on Tuesday, April 7 at 6:00pm to seek input from village board members and residents on New Town zoning, village center revitalization, and other local issues impacting Harper's Choice. Please call Susan at 410-730-0770 or email her to let her know if you will be attending.
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. 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 most high in demand. Please look for collection boxes at the Health & Safety Fair.

  • 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...
The MD "Watch Your Car" Program Can Prevent Vehicle Theft?

"Watch Your Car" is a national vehicle theft prevention program. This voluntary vehicle registration program is designed to deter auto theft and assist in the apprehension of auto thieves. To register for the program, vehicle owners sign an agreement stating their vehicle is not normally used between the hours of 1AM and 5AM. Police officers that observe the vehicle being driven anywhere in the United States during those hours may stop the vehicle to verify that the owner or a person designated by the owner is operating it.

Registration forms are available at Kahler Hall or via the MD State Police website.

Registered vehicles will display a decal that looks like the image to the right to indicate participation in the program..

In 2014, the Top 10 most frequently stolen vehicles in Howard County were:
  • Ford E-Series
  • Ford F-Series
  • Suzuki GSXR-MC
  • Honda Civic
  • Honda Accord
  • Toyota Corolla
  • Toyota Camry
  • Dodge Caravan
  • Chevy Silverado
  • Hyundai Sonata
Scam Alert
IRS Scam is Back with a New Variation

Howard County Department of Citizen Services is warning residents to BE ON ALERT for calls from individuals who claim they represent the IRS or other government agencies. This warning follows reports to the Department's Office of Consumer Affairs from a number of County residents about a new variation on the IRS imposter scam that began several years ago. In this new variation, the caller claims to be with the IRS and needs to verify your refund by confirming your refund amount, along with your bank routing and account information. To taxpayers who are expecting a refund, this may appear to be a routine administrative call


The Office of Consumer Affairs advises:

  • DO NOT give personal information over the telephone to a caller you don't know. The IRS will never contact you by telephone regarding your tax bill, unless you have called the agency first. The IRS mails important communications to taxpayers and provides details on how to respond or get more information.
  • DO NOT respond to any solicitation or demand for money immediately. If you think the caller may be legitimate, ask for details and contact information that you can verify over the internet or by calling the agency's public phone number.
  • A demand or request for payment by wire transfer or pre-paid card is a "RED FLAG" that the call is a scam. Such payments cannot be traced by the victim or law enforcement agencies, and legitimate businesses and government agencies never ask for money to be paid this way.

For more information and/or to report a potential scam, contact the Office of Consumer Affairs at 410-313-6420 or visit the Office's "Scam Alert!" website at www.howardcountymd.gov/scamalert.htm.


Residents who have lost money or feel their personal safety is at risk due to a scam, should contact the Howard County Police Department's non-emergency phone number at 410-313-2200 to file a report.

Upcoming HoCo Government Closings
Some County Offices and Services will be Closed April 3


Howard County Government offices, senior centers and the animal shelter will be closed on Friday, April 3. County parks, community centers, Kiwanis-Wallas Hall, Robinson Nature Center and Meadowbrook Athletic Center will be open on April 3, however, all will be closed on Sunday, April 5.  


Transit service by the Regional Transportation Agency (RTA) will operate on a regular weekday schedule. Click here for more information on RTA. All parking regulations & fees will be in effect on April 3, but free parking will be available on Sunday, April 5.  


County offices will re-open at regular business hours on Monday, April 6.


CLOSED on Friday, April 3

County Government Offices, Animal Shelter, Senior Centers, County Heritage Sites


OPEN on Friday, April 3

Landfill, Courts, All Trash and Recycling Services, County Park, RTA, Community Centers and Facilities Operate on Normal Schedules

Covenant Corner
Thinking About Native Plantings for Your Landscape?

The US Fish and Wildlife Service has published a comprehensive Native Plant guide for Wildlife Habitat and Conservation Landscaping in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. With lots of photos and specifics, this is a great resource to use as we strive to help improve the health of our watershed.   


Go Green in Columbia!

"You can't do that in Columbia"...we have all heard that refrain, but did you know that environmentally friendly changes can be made to your home?  Do you want rain barrels, solar panels, a compost bin or a pervious driveway surface?  It IS possible when you work with your Village Architectural Committee and covenant advisor to develop a plan that will benefit you and your neighbors. Though not all lots are conducive to all types of changes, with appropriate placement and proper screening, many changes that were once thought to be a no-go in Columbia are often a GO-GO.

Kid Fest - This Saturday!


Come experience what Howard County Recreation & Parks has to offer your children at the 2nd annual Kids Fest on Saturday, April 4 from 11AM - 2PM at Meadowbrook Park, 5001 Meadowbrook Lane, Ellicott City. This exciting event features sports instruction, games, activities, arts and crafts, food and much more. Bring the whole family and enjoy fun for all ages. Preregistration is encouraged but not required. For more information, contact Brian Wyman at 410-313-4705.

Searching for Spring
The Annual Searching For Spring Egg Hunt, co-sponsored by the Villages of Columbia, will be held on Saturday, April 11 from 10AM-11:30AM at the Columbia Sports Park in the Harper's Choice Village Center located at 5453 Harper's Farm Road.  No admittance permitted after 10:45AM .

Here is the schedule of events:  
  • 10AM Crafts and Balloons 
  • 10:45AM Egg Hunt (While supplies last! Please bring your own basket!)
  • 11AM Entertainment with Turner, Dean of Magic

This event is especially planned for children ages 2-8. Tickets are required for this FREE event. They are available at Kahler Hall and all village community centers while supplies last. Tickets are for Columbia lien-paying residents only.  


Drug Take Back Day
DEA Got Drugs Howard County Police Department and HC Drug Free are teaming up to hold the next Drug Take Back Day on Saturday, April 11, 10AM - 2PM. at nine locations throughout the county. The police department also is announcing the installation of three permanent disposal boxes at the two district police stations and a community center in Cooksville.

Drug Take Back events, like the one on April 11, allow residents to dispose of unwanted or expired prescription and over-the-counter medications safely and anonymously. The new permanent boxes will be fixtures maintained by the police department that will allow residents to drop off unwanted medications 365 days a year.

Studies show that two-thirds of teens who abuse prescription drugs are getting them from cabinets in the home. This program offers the community an environmentally safe option to reduce the abuse and misuse of medication.

Harper's Choice residents can drop off their unwanted or expired medications at the Harper's Choice Community Policing Office, 5485 Harper's Farm Road, Columbia 21044.

After April 11, the new permanent drop-off boxes will be maintained by Howard County Police at the Northern District, Southern District and Gary Arthur Community Center locations. One of the three boxes was donated by CVS Pharmacy through the company's "Medication Disposal for Safer Communities  Program" to help remove unwanted, unused or expired medications from the community in a safe and environmentally responsible manner.
Jazz in the Mills 2015 Concert Series


The Oakland Mills Community Association presents the 2015 Jazz in the Mills Series featuring Bonnie Harris on Sunday, April 12, 2015 from 5PM - 7PM at The Other Barn (5851 Robert Oliver Place, Columbia, MD).


The series continues through 2015 with performances featuring Lavenia Smith on June 14, Kristine Key on August 30, and Lori Williams at the Holiday Jazz Extravaganza on December 6. 


Tickets for all performances can be purchased in advance for at The Other Barn or online. Tickets are $15 (Advance); $20 at the door.


Jazz in the Mills Series is sponsored by Lavenia Nesmith and the Oakland Mills Community Association. Contact  Lavenia Nesmith at (301)596-5128 or Sandy Cederbaum at (410)730-4610 for more information.


Columbia Festival of the Arts' 2015 Spring Festival

Tickets are on sale now for Columbia Festival of the Arts' 2015 Spring Festival (4/16 - 4/19), featuring an array of free and ticketed events including theatre and concert performances, readings, and visual arts activities.


The Festival season kicks off with benefit event SPARK! Highlights include indie orchestra Portland Cello Project, New York sensation The Skivvies, and Ethiopian-American novelist and MacArthur Foundation 'Genius Grant' recipient Dinaw Mengestu.


The American Routes 2015 Spring Festival runs April 16 through 19, and is a weekend full of intimate chamber performances in venues throughout greater Columbia. From full theatrical productions in Oliver's Carriage House, a stone and timber structure built in the 1830's, to performances by renowned musicians, the artists of the American Routes Festival are at the intersection of American traditions and the ever-evolving American journey.


"As a newcomer to Howard County, I have been thinking a lot about how we all got here and where our adventures have taken us," says Todd Olson, Executive Director of the multi-disciplinary arts festival now in its 28th season. "Our Spring Festival is quintessentially American yet completely informed by Global personalities and works."


For a complete 2015 Spring Festival Schedule, please visit www.columbiafestival.org.   




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: 4/14, 4/28, 5/12.  

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