Hearing on County's 2000 Budget Set

A public meeting on Howard County's fiscal 2001 operating and capital budget will be held at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 7 in the Banneker Room of the Howard Building, 3430 Courthouse Dr., Ellicott City. Residents can voice their concerns with spending priorities but must sign up to testify one hour before the meeting.

"It's important for residents to become involved in our budget process early in the decision-making time frame," County Executive James N. Robey (D) said in a statement. "I encourage any resident with viewpoints on budget issues to attend this meeting."

To request a sign language interpreter, call the Department of Citizen Services, at 410-313-6400 or 410-313-6401 (TTY), by Dec. 3.

Family Volunteer Day Celebration Planned

The Howard County Department of Recreation and Parks is sponsoring a celebration of National Family Volunteer Day on Saturday. Organizers see the event as a way to bring families closer together as they work on projects that benefit the parks. Anyone can participate; Scouting and religious groups especially are encouraged to help. Park personnel will provide brief training sessions on leaf and woody growth removal, wood chip spreading, pruning and general park maintenance.

A kickoff event will be held at 8 a.m. Saturday at Pavilion H in Centennial Park's east area. The park is at Route 108 West and Woodland Road in Ellicott City.

For more information and a list of projects, call the department at 410-313-4627. Participants are asked to bring a canned good and a pair of new mittens for distribution to a local agency.

Nominations Sought for Howie Awards

The Howard County Arts Council is seeking nominations for the 1999 Howie Awards. The awards are presented annually by the council to an outstanding artist, educator and business/community supporter of the arts in recognition of long-term contributions to Howard's cultural life.

The awards will be presented at the annual "Celebration of the Arts" from 6 to 10:30 p.m April 1 at the Jim Rouse Theatre for the Performing Arts.

The deadline for nominations is 5 p.m. Dec. 15. Ballots are available from the Howard County Arts Council at 410-313-2787.

Waterfowl Stamp Design Contest Opens

The 27th annual Maryland Migratory Waterfowl Stamp Design Contest has begun. The winner's design will be displayed on next season's duck stamps, which are affixed to waterfowl hunting licenses and are widely collected and treasured for their uniqueness and beauty.

The contest is sponsored by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and Friends of the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center. For rules and information, call the department toll free at 877-620-8DNR, Ext. 8012, or visit its Web site at www.dnr.state.md.us./wildlife/duckstamp.