Howard Wins Youth Award

A national nonprofit group has included Howard County in its newly released list of "100 Best Communities for Young People."

America's Promise -- the Alliance for Youth, which was launched in 1997 with former secretary of state Colin L. Powell as founding chairman, named communities this week that it said promoted healthy and safe environments for children and youths.

This year, hundreds of jurisdictions applied for the designation. They were evaluated by a panel that included national leaders in business, philanthropy and education. Other communities on the list include Baltimore, Salisbury and Wicomico County. Representatives of honored jurisdictions will gather Nov. 2 in Washington for a fundraiser for children affected by Hurricane Katrina.

Fire and EMS Graduation

Howard County's Department of Fire and Rescue Services will graduate 30 firefighters/emergency medical technicians who have completed a six-month training program at the department's academy in Clarksville.

The graduates will be assigned to the department, which has 300 uniformed career staff members and hundreds of volunteer firefighters at 11 stations across Howard. The graduation is scheduled for 7 p.m. tomorrow at the Kossiakoff Conference and Education Center, 11100 Johns Hopkins Rd., on the campus of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel.

Town Center Charette

The future of Columbia Town Center will be debated at a series of design workshops, known as a charette, starting Oct. 15. Residents are encouraged to help create a master plan for development. To register, call 410-313-4374 or e-mail name, contact information and a list of events of interest to downtowncharette@co.ho.md.us.

Alexie to Lead HCC Events

Sherman Alexie, an American Book Awards winner, will be at Howard Community College next Thursday for two events.

At 12:30 p.m., the author will read from his works -- which include "Reservation Blues," "Ten Little Indians" and "The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven" -- at Smith Theatre.

At 7:30 p.m., there will be a screening and a discussion of the movie "Smoke Signals," which was based on Alexie's book, in the Instructional Lab Building's Kittleman Room. A book sale, signing and reception will follow.

The reading will be free. The screening of "Smoke Signals" will be $10, $5 for students and seniors. To order tickets, call 410-772-4568 from 1 to 6 p.m. weekdays.