Thursday 23

CHILDREN'S LIBRARY PROGRAM, for ages 2-6, celebrate fall with stories and other activities, 10:15 a.m. and 7 p.m. today; 10:15 a.m. and 11 a.m. Friday, Savage Branch Library, Gorman and Knights Bridge roads, Laurel. Free; registration required. 410-880-5978.

ELKRIDGE CIVIL WAR PROGRAM, for ages 7 and older, stories and activities about growing up during the Civil War, 7 p.m., Elkridge Branch Library, 6540 Washington Blvd., Elkridge. Free; registration required. 410-313-5085.

Friday 24

LAUREL NATURE PROGRAM, for ages 5-7, learn about mammals through songs, stories and other activities, 3-4 p.m., Patuxent Research Refuge, North Tract, Route 198, between Baltimore-Washington Parkway and Route 32, Laurel. Free; registration required. 301-497-5887.

COLUMBIA YOUTH COMEDY CLUB, and movie night, for ages 11-16, comedic routines by local comedians, followed by a movie, includes popcorn and soda, 6-11 p.m., East Columbia Branch Library, 6600 Cradlerock Way. Free; registration required. 410-313-7704.

Saturday 25

CLARKSVILLE BIRD WALK, search for migrants, including warblers and vireos on a moderate-to-difficult walk through woods and fields of the Middle Patuxent Environmental Area, possible muddy paths, hiking boots recommended, sponsored by the Howard County Bird Club, 7 a.m., meet at parking lot on Trotter Road, south of Route 108, Clarksville. Free. 410-461-3361 or www.howardbirds.org.

STEVENSON GRASSLAND HIKE, for ages 10 and older, a six-mile figure-eight hike on easy-to-moderate terrain in the Soldiers Delight Natural Environment Area, bring water and trail food, sponsored by the Irvine Nature Center Hiking Club, 8:30 a.m., meet in the Irvine parking lot, 8400 Greenspring Ave., Stevenson. Free; registration required. 410-484-2413.

SENIORS WHITEWATER RAFTING TRIP, for ages 55 and older, a gentle ride on mostly mellow water with some Class I and Class II riffles along the Potomac River, past the Maryland Heights and Harper's Ferry areas, includes a dinner stop along the river, sponsored by the Howard County Department of Recreation and Parks, 1-8 p.m., call for bus departure points in Howard County. $92; registration required. 410-313-7279.

STEVENSON NATURE STORY TIME, pond-side stories, sights, and sounds of autumn, 1-1:45 p.m., Irvine Nature Center, 8400 Greenspring Ave., Stevenson. $2; center members, $1; registration required. 410-484-2413.

BASKET BINGO, 20 games and door prizes and two jackpot games, food available for purchase, to benefit the Ladies Auxiliary of the Savage Volunteer Fire Co. Inc., doors open, 5 p.m.; games start, 7 p.m., 8925 Lincoln St., Savage. $17; in advance, $15. 301-725-6409.

STARGAZING PARTY, for all ages, telescope viewing of planets, the galaxies and nebulae, the moon and satellites, weather permitting, open to the public, sponsored by the Howard Astronomical League, 8-11 p.m. Saturday and Oct. 16, Alpha Ridge Community Park, Route 99, west of Marriottsville Road, Marriottsville. Free. 410-531-3899 or www.howardastro.org.

Sunday 26

ROCKVILLE SUPPORT GROUP, an educational format for patients, relatives and friends of those with Lou Gehrig's Disease, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis [ALS], sponsored by the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Association, 2-4 p.m., Adventist HealthCare, Shady Grove Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, 9701 Medical Center Dr., Rockville. Free. 301-978-9855.

Monday 27

COLUMBIA FOOD AND CONVERSATION, for seniors, "The Kitchen Table," a light gourmet dinner and conversation, 4:30-6 p.m. Mondays, East Columbia 50-Plus Center, 6600 Cradlerock Way. $2.75; registration required. 410-313-7680.

BATTERED WOMEN SUPPORT GROUP, a drop-in program, 7 p.m., Domestic Violence Center of Howard County, 8950 Route 108, Suite 116, Columbia. Free. 410-997-0304.

COOKSVILLE "SIDEWALK ASTRONOMY" PROGRAM, view stars and planets through powerful telescopes at the Glenwood Branch Library, weather permitting, sponsored by the Howard Astronomical League, 7:30 p.m., 2350 Route 97 (Roxbury Mills Road), Cooksville. Free; registration required. 410-313-5577.

OELLA MASTER YOGA CLASS, for people of all experience levels, traditional yoga and tai chi taught by Doug Swenson, sponsored by the Community Association of Oella, 7:30-9 p.m., Westchester Community Center, 2414 Westchester Ave., Oella. $20; registration required. 410-536-0419.

ELLICOTT CITY LANGUAGE PROGRAM, for those with English as a second or third language, practice English skills in a group setting, presented by the English Conversation Club, 7:45-8:45 p.m. Mondays, Miller Branch Library, 9421 Frederick Rd., Ellicott City. Free, registration required. 410-313-1950.

Tuesday 28

SENIORS LAUGHING EXERCISES, for ages 55 and older, exercises intended to strengthen the immune system, promote emotional healing and lower blood pressure, program is a healing therapy and is not based on joke telling, sponsored by the Howard County Department of Recreation and Parks, 11 a.m.-noon Tuesday and Oct. 5, Winter Growth at Ruth Keeton House, 5466 Ruth Keeton Way, Columbia. Free; registration required. 410-313-7279.

FURNITURE PAINTING CLASS, learn how to prepare surfaces, apply designs, and paint and finish a piece of furniture, no experience required; bring a small piece of furniture, including a stool, a chair, a cradle, a lamp, a toy chest, a birdhouse or a mailbox, sponsored by the Columbia Association Art Center, 7-9 p.m. Tuesdays, through Nov. 16, 6100 Foreland Garth, Columbia. $120; Columbia residents, $110; registration required. 410-730-0075.

Wednesday 29

ELLICOTT CITY MAH-JONGG PROGRAM, drop-in, sponsored by the Howard County Department of Recreation and Parks, 1-3:30 p.m. Wednesdays, Kiwanis-Wallas Recreation Center, 10481 Frederick Rd., Ellicott City. Free. 410-313-7279.

LIBRARY CHESS CLUB, for players ages 9-17 of all skill levels, with some knowledge of basic chess, 4-5:30 p.m., Savage Branch Library, Gorman and Knights Bridge roads, Laurel. Free. 410-880-5980.

COLUMBIA ART CLASS, "Spontaneous Painting," for ages 18 and older, explore your individual painting style and learn how to express yourself through painting, no painting experience necessary, 6:30-9 p.m. Wednesdays, through Nov. 3, Columbia Association Art Center, 6100 Foreland Garth. $100; Columbia residents, $90; registration required. 410-730-0075.

MENTAL ILLNESS SUPPORT GROUP, for friends and relatives of people with a mental illness, sponsored by National Alliance for the Mentally Ill-Howard County, 7:30 p.m. the last Wednesday of each month, Harmony Hall Retirement Community, 6336 Cedar Lane, Columbia. Free. 410-772-9300 or www.namihcmd.org.

ELKRIDGE CONSUMER AFFAIRS TALK, a discussion about buying a new or used car, presented by the Howard County Office of Consumer Affairs, includes tips, how to check out a used car, how to obtain financing and more, 7:30 p.m., Elkridge Branch Library, 6540 Washington Blvd., Elkridge. Free; registration required. 410-313-5077.

Thursday 30

COLUMBIA CHESS CLUB, for players ages 9-17 of all skill levels with some basic knowledge of the game, 3-5 p.m. Thursdays, East Columbia Branch Library, 6600 Cradlerock Way. Free. 410-313-7700.

COUNTY HISTORY DISCUSSION, preservation advocate, historian and author Joetta Cramm discusses the history of Howard County with emphasis on the Glenwood area, 7 p.m., Glenwood Branch Library, 2350 Route 97 (Roxbury Mills Road), Cooksville. 410-313-5577.

-- Compiled by LINDA JAMES

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