October Home Sales Rise 15% Home sales in Howard County rose 15.1 percent in October, compared with October 2001, according to Metropolitan Regional Information Systems Inc., a real estate listing service in Rockville.

Houses were on the market an average of 24 days, compared with 28 days the previous October. The average price rose 13.4 percent to $263,324, up from $232,175 the same period a year ago.

APL Gives United Way $600,000 Laurel-based Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory said it contributed more than $600,000 to this year's United Way of Central Maryland and the United Way of the National Capital Area campaigns.

APL said it has partnered with United Way for more than 50 years, with contributions totaling more than $4.8 million since 1999.

County Offers Franchising Seminar The Howard County Economic Development Authority's Business Resource Center will hold a seminar about franchising from 2 to 5 p.m. Tuesday at the Center for Business and Technology Development, 9250 Bendix Rd., Columbia. The cost is $25. For more information, call 410-313-6550.

Financial Boost for Apartments The Rainmaker Group, a Columbia golf course and residential development company, received financing this month from Maryland's Community Development Administration to develop a $3.56 million senior apartment community in Snow Hill.

Rainmaker is developing the apartments along with the nonprofit Interfaith Housing Development Corp. of Denton.

Celsion to Offer 50 Million Shares Celsion Corp., a Columbia biomedical research and development company, said its stockholders have approved a plan to increase the number of Celsion's authorized shares of common stock from 150 million to 200 million.

Celsion specializes in the development of medical treatment systems for cancer and other diseases using heat technology.

Catalyst Researchers Get Web Site Davison Catalysts, a business unit of Columbia-based W.R. Grace & Co., a specialty chemicals firm, and SM Consulting Inc., a Baltimore-based technology consulting company, launched a new Web site for researchers to provide them with materials related to catalyst reactions. The site is www.davicat.com.

TSI TelSys Inks Partnership Pact TSI TelSys Inc., a Columbia maker of satellite data systems, has signed a letter of intent with TruWorld LLC of Reno, Nev., to form a limited liability company to develop communications products and services.

TSI will hold a 50 percent capital interest in the new company.

TruWorld develops signal-processing systems for the communications and media industries.

Corvis Says It Has Operating Funds Corvis Corp., a Columbia-based maker of fiber-optics equipment, said that it has enough cash and short-term investments to operate through at least the next 12 months, according to its filing last week with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Corvis said its restructuring efforts include a multiyear manufacturing outsourcing agreement with Celestica, a Toronto-based electronics manufacturing services company.

Send items for Thursday's Business Notes to Sabrina Jones by fax at 410-772-2330; by mail to Business Notes, The Washington Post, 10490 Little Patuxent Pkwy., Suite 650, Columbia, Md. 21044; or by e-mail to jonessl@washpost.com.