Fourth of July Closings

In observance of Independence Day, county government offices, courts, libraries, the animal shelter and the landfill will be closed Monday.

Trash and recycling pickup will be suspended and will resume Tuesday for trash and July 11 for recycling. Parking meters will be free Monday, and Howard Transit will operate on a Sunday schedule.

Blood Center Relocates

The American Red Cross's Columbia Blood Donor Center moved to a larger space this week at 10 Corporate Center, Suite 400, 10400 Little Patuxent Pkwy., Columbia. It had been on the first floor of the building.

The facility is one of 13 donor centers in Maryland and southern Pennsylvania operated by the Greater Chesapeake and Potomac Region of the American Red Cross. It operates from noon to 7 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Thursday; 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday; and 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. To make an appointment to donate blood, call 800-GIVELIFE or visit www.my-redcross.org.

Panel Studying County Pay

A seven-member panel studying proposed salaries in 2006 for the Howard County executive and members of the County Council met last Wednesday, the first time this year.

During the meeting, the Compensation Review Commission selected Lynn Benton as its chairman. Benton is a consultant and longtime community volunteer who served on the commission in 2001. A panel is formed every four years to set salaries for Howard's top elected officials as required by the county's charter.

The county executive's current salary is $131,966. County Council members are paid $33,800, with the chairman making $1,000 more.

The commission, which will meet again in August, intends to make its recommendation to the County Council later this year. The council can reduce the commission's recommended salaries but not increase them, said Sheila Tolliver, council administrator. The revised salaries would take effect in December 2006, after the November general election.

Developing Columbia

Columbia Matters, a television show on Howard Community College's cable Channel 71, will focus on the impending development of Columbia's downtown at 8:30 p.m. Saturday.

Host Barbara Kellner will discuss the topic with County Council member Ken Ulman (D-West Columbia) and Jud Malone, the Columbia Town Center representative on the Columbia Council who also serves on the Columbia Association's Downtown Task Force.

Columbia Matters airs at 11 a.m., 4 and 7 p.m. Mondays and 8:30 p.m. Saturdays. For more information, call 410-715-3120 or e-mail CATV@columbiaassociation.com.

50+ Expo Needs Vendors

Vendors are needed for the annual 50+ Expo sponsored by the county's Office on Aging.

This year's event will be from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 21 at Wilde Lake High School in Columbia. The event draws commercial and nonprofit vendors who offer programs, information and demonstrations on products and services of interest to seniors and their caregivers.

Prices for tables vary depending on category and placement at the expo. To receive a vendor packet or for more information, call 410-531-5472.