Thursday, June 5, 2008

Reducing Sewage Spills

Howard County Executive Ken Ulman (D) and the county's Bureau of Utilities are asking residents to help reduce sewage system overflows caused by the improper disposal of household fats, oils and grease.

In a recent statement, Ulman said he was stunned to learn that half of all sewage overflows are caused by residents who dispose of these materials in their drains. He said an overflow from improper disposal of household fats occurred in January, resulting in more than 500,000 gallons of sewage spilled.

The county has a new page on its Web site, click on Department of Public Works, then Bureau of Utilities -- where residents can get answers to frequently asked questions and learn how household fats, oils and grease should be disposed of. The site also has information about a new recycling service offered at the Alpha Ridge landfill in Marriottsville where residents can drop off used vegetable-based cooking oil.

Literary Contest Winners

The Howard County Poetry and Literature Society recently announced the winners of its All County Writing Competition. Nine students were chosen for their creative writing submissions. Centennial High School students Luxi Wang, Emily Wilson and Bryan Arnett won the personal essay category. Centennial students Emily Durbin and Carla Lake and Homewood student Benjamin Sierra won the poetry category. Short-story winners included Carolyn Rosinsky from River Hill High, Nicole Battisti from Hammond High and Collin Marney from Marriotts Ridge High.

The society also gave the Promise and Achievement Award in Language Arts to 25 students recommended by their schools' English departments. They were Alexander Rubin and Cassandra Holtmann of Atholton High; Jessica Holzberg and Emily Wilson of Centennial; Nicole Battisti, Juliette Bell and Matthew Hoyt of Glenelg; Kierra Ireland and David Johnson of Homewood Center; Emily Stokes and Samatha White of Howard; Brenda Clark and Holly Tartanian of Long Reach; Casey Burnett and Lindsey Cohen of Marriotts Ridge; Rachel Mueller and Laura Tschirgi of Mount Hebron; Kristin Lawson and Jocelyn Maughan of Oakland Mills; Aja Hannah and Alyssha Shanks of Reservoir; Carolyn Rosinsky and Shela Suh of River Hill; and Sofija Canavan and Kristin Van Der Gracht of Wilde Lake.

Solar Power on Display

The Howard County Conservancy plans to reduce its energy costs and educate the public about solar energy with a new exhibit funded by a donation from Chesapeake Solar, a Jessup company that designs and installs solar energy systems.

Twelve 165-watt panels have been installed on the roof of the conservancy's Bank Barn to collect sunlight and convert it into energy using a solar photovoltaic system. A display at the center shows visitors how much energy is being generated there. For information, call 410-465-8877 or visit

One-Act Festival in Laurel

Laurel Mill Playhouse invites directors and playwrights to submit résumés and one-act plays for the One Act Festival at Laurel Mill Playhouse. The festival will be Aug. 29-31 and Sept. 5-7 at 508 Main St., Laurel. Contact Maureen Rogers at or 301-452-2557 by Sunday.

Military Vest Antenna

Syntonics, a Columbia-based business, said it has developed an antenna to be worn by military radio operators. The device was created in response to an e-mail request from an Army sergeant stationed in Baghdad. Traditional whip-style radio antennas are easily seen, making radio operators a target for snipers, the company said in a news release. Syntonics built two prototypes of a device that threads through upper-body armor and attaches to a radio port.

-- Compiled by CARRIE DONOVAN

© 2008 The Washington Post Company