April 9, 2015
Harper's Choice Voice
The e-Newsletter for the Village of Harper's Choice

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.
Subscribe to Our e-Newsletter
Was this message forwarded to you from a friend? You can subscribe to this newsletter directly so that you can receive it straight to your inbox from us!
Registration Information for Columbia Neighborhood Swim League
Registration Opens April 18
Photo by Steve Ruark

Columbia Neighborhood Swim League (CNSL) is a summer recreational swim league with 14 teams located throughout the Columbia, Ellicott City and Clarksville areas. Team assignment is based on Columbia Neighborhood or Elementary School District for those that live on non-CA assessed property or outside of Columbia. 


The 2015 Season begins on Tuesday, May 26 and runs through Saturday, July 25. All swimmers are welcome to come to CA's First Splash on Tuesday, May 26 through Friday, May 29 to try out the program! Registration is required to participate after May 29. Swimmers with all levels of swimming abilities are eligible to participate if they meet the minimum requirement. Swimmers 10 and under must be able to complete a full length of the pool on their front or back and swimmers ages 11 to 18 must be able to complete two consecutive lengths of the pool. All swimmers have until the end of Time Trials, scheduled for Saturday, June 6, to complete this requirement.

Visit ColumbiaPools.org , click here, or call the Aquatics Office at 410-312-6332 for more information on registration, team placements, practice and meet schedules.

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 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...
April 2015 is Distracted Driving Awareness Month?

April 2015 has been designated as Distracted Driving Awareness Month throughout the state. The Howard County Police Department, along with surrounding jurisdictions, will be conducting specialized grant-funded enforcement throughout the month of distracted driving laws. This campaign is supported by local and statewide media campaigns through the Maryland Highway Safety Office.  


Distracted driving is any activity that diverts a person's attention away from the primary task of driving. All distractions endanger driver, passenger and bystander safety. Texting and cell phone use are the leading causes of distracted driving. Because they require visual, manual and cognitive attention from the driver, their use increases the crash risk by 23 percent.    


Nationwide, distracted driving is a factor in 1 out of 4 crashes. In Maryland, more than 28,000 people are injured annually as a result of distracted driving. Avoid a ticket and a fine. Park the Phone Before You Drive.

Theft Prevention Tips and Reminders

As warm weather arrives, crime often increases. Howard County Police have recently reported thefts of GPS devices, iPods, loose change, and/or tools from unlocked cars in our surrounding area. Please remember that most property crimes in this area are crimes of opportunity. Thieves will often attempt to enter several cars and houses on one block. When they find one that is unlocked, they take whatever they can grab quickly.


Please take the time to remove visible valuables or loose change from your car when you park. If you are on the phone while parking, stop your conversation and verify that your car is locked and your anti-theft system is activated (push your "lock" button twice). These simple steps may keep you from becoming the next victim.


In addition, keep your unattended garage doors closed and locked. This is the time of year when bicycle theft increases throughout our community. We know of far too many instances in which residents left their unattended garages open for less than 10 minutes and family bicycles disappeared. Be smart and close those garage doors!  

Covenant Corner
Is there a damaged utility pedestal on your street?

If you see broken or damaged Verizon or Comcast pedestals in your neighborhood, please report them to the village office. To help us identify ownership of the box, please email us a photo and include where the box is located, i.e. closest street address.  


Residents are encouraged to report any concerns to the village office such as graffiti, fallen trees or branches, exposed cables, etc. and we will make sure the complaint is forwarded to the responsible party. Send photos and complaints to covenants@harperschoice.org or submit your report through Howard County's Tell HoCo app. 


Who are you gonna call? 

We frequently take calls from residents wondering who they need to call to address a concern. This handy guide will help.


Is a streetlight on your road out?  

Call BGE at 410-685-0123


Is there a dead tree between the curb and sidewalk in front of your home?  

This is most likely a County street tree. Call the Howard County Bureau of Highways at 410-313-7450.


Is there a car on your street that is untagged or with expired tags?  

Call the Police at 410-313-2200 to report it or report it to village staff with the tag number and location.


Is there a dog off its leash, barking loudly, or acting aggressively? 
Call Howard County Animal Control at 410-313-2780 


Is your neighbor playing their music too loud or too late at night?

This is a police matter. Call the non-emergency number at 410-313-2200


Is the tot lot damaged or marked with graffiti? 
Call the Village office, 410-730-0770 or CA Open Space Management at 410-312-633.
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.
Village in Howard Information Meeting
The Village In Howard invites those 55+ or their adult children to learn about this new nonprofit membership organization that supports residents who choose to remain in their own homes. Opening remarks by County Council Chair Mary Kay Sigaty. Monday, April 13 at 6:45PM at the Miller Library at 9421 Frederick Rd, Ellicott City, MD 21042.  




"Ask Dr. Dan" Series: Finding My Happiness Keeps Me Healthy

Dr. Daniel Storch, a psychiatrist certified in geriatrics, will be at the Bain Center on Wednesday, April 15 from 11AM - 12PM to present Finding My Happiness Keeps Me Healthy as part of the "Ask Dr. Dan" series. For more information, please see this flier. To register, please call the Bain Center at 410-313-7213.

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.   




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 to 12PM and Twin Rivers Rd. and Lynx Lane between 10AM to 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: 4/14, 4/28, 5/12.  

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.