Upcoming Howard County Events

Howard County Health Screenings and Events

  • July 29, 2-6pm. Howard County General Hospital Farmer’s Market.  Visit Howard County General Hospital today and every Friday through October 28th  to pick up fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • July 30, 10am-12pm. Ask A Master Gardener. Have a gardening question? Visit the Howard County Library- Miller Branch to chance to  get help and advice from Master Gardeners and improve your green thumb.
  • August 1, 3:30-5:30 pm. Blood Pressure Screening. Free, walk-in blood pressure screening and monitoring offered by Howard County General Hospital. 1st & 3rd Mondays at the Howard County Library- Glenwood Branch.
  • August 2, 6-9pm. Mark your calendars! Nat’l Night Out in HoCo is coming to a neighborhood near you! This annual event brings residents, businesses, civic groups, and police together in an effort to strengthen neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships. Family friendly events will be offered throughout Howard County.
  • August 2, 6:30-9:30pm.  Young Widows and Widowers Group. A social group offering fellowship and support. Meets the first Tuesday of each month at Jilly’s- located at 10300 Baltimore National Pike (the Enchanted Forest Shopping Center) in Ellicott City, Maryland.


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By Jessica “JP” Protasio

I recently participated in the Howard County Striders Women’s Distance Festival. In fact, I finished in last place. I felt a mixture of embarrassment and relief. I was still able to jog across the finish line and I wasn’t alone. There were 300+ runners and their families waiting, cheering, and clapping. It’s so rewarding and validating when your journey is acknowledged.

My friend’s mother just lost her battle with cancer. Now, we celebrate the beautiful person she was despite such an ugly disease. My father passed just six weeks after his diagnosis, and he resides in my heart. It’s no exaggeration that friends and families in our community are fighting cancer and doing their best to manage the effects of treatment: daily, braving the seemingly menial tasks of eating, sleeping, using the restroom independently, and just being upright. Cancer is nasty, uncaring, and indiscriminate.

We can hate the disease, embrace the survivor, and laugh at the most ridiculous situations and moments of frustration that cancer brings with it. Late comedian, Robert Schimmel, published a memoir about his diagnosis with non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. It was the first book I read after my diagnosis, and it really felt good to laugh about cancer. Often, we’re swept up in the heaviness of this disease, and rightfully so. However, I’m also a believer in the power of a good, hearty laugh. Gail Konop Baker’s book has given me a good guffaw or two, when I’ve been brought to tears. I was impressed with her honesty about how breast cancer changed every aspect of her life. I know that my perspective and priorities have shifted considerably.

One month after my liver transplant, I received a letter from the sister of the woman whose liver now keeps me alive. I still don’t know her name or exactly how she passed, but I do know that she was around my age and that her stewardship of her body resulted in changing the lives of many people on March 13, 2011. Her decision to be an organ donor saved my life.

Our lives merged in a way that’s difficult to explain. I feel the only way I can properly thank her is to live a strong and healthy life. That’s why I’ve been training and taking on various races each month. It’s one way I can commemorate and measure the progress of this journey. Some of the events I’ll be participating in over the next few months include 24 Hours of Booty, the Nautica Malibu Triathlon in California, and the Baltimore Running Festival. And thanks to Columbia Triathlon Association founder and director, Robert “Vigo” Vigorito, I’ll be participating in Iron Girl 2012. I am so grateful for the chance to live that I’m not going to put off these things I’ve always wanted to do because I’ve never been considered an athlete.

Cancer is not easily overcome. It takes a toll on you physically, financially, and emotionally. It’s a marathon of doctors, treatment, surgery, testing; a roller-coaster of being well and sick; and a race that we sometimes don’t get to finish. But, when we do get to cross the finish line, it’s amazing! Think of it as your last day of chemotherapy, when you get to ring that bell in the hall. Imagine the immense joy of a woman who thought she’d never have children due to her cancer treatment, but finds herself holding her first child. The journey is important and deserves to be remembered and acknowledged. That’s why I don’t care if I come in last place because I know I have birthday just around the corner.

JP is a Children’s Instructor & Research Specialist at the Savage Branch of the Howard County Library System. She is a Pajama Time storyteller, wannabe triathlete, KPOP-addict, baker of cupcakes, and a cancer survivor.


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Do You Have Diabetes?


by Mike Taylor RN, MHA, CDE

What is the sound of the coming diabetes epidemic? Unfortunately it is the sound of silence.

As the manager of the Diabetes Management Program at Howard County General Hospital, the most common thing I hear in people newly diagnosed with diabetes is that did they not experience any symptoms. The truth is that the symptoms of diabetes are usually only evident when the blood glucose is three to four times normal.

Routine screening in the presence of risk factors is the only way to catch diabetes as it develops. The risk factors for diabetes are:

  • Age
  • Ethnicity
  • Family history
  • Lack of exercise
  • Being overweight

Nowadays, of course, being overweight and not exercising is normal and this is why developing diabetes is becoming normal. Diabetes rates have doubled from 1980- 2008.

My job as a nurse specializing in diabetes is to assist people in finding a way out of their current situation. It is not my job to tell them the path they must choose but to completely explain the options so that they can choose what will work for them. I have the privilege of being paid to sit with them and listen very closely to their story. What does the diabetes mean to them? How has diabetes affected their family? What do they think their future holds? Mostly I work for those who see hope in the future. If a person has hope for their diabetes, they tend to do better than if they are afraid of it. When I listen closely, I can sense how well they think they’ll do. Those who use the words “I will try” or “I should” tend not to feel good about their chances of changing their health behavior. I then work with them to explore those feelings. Others will want to make very small changes in their lifestyle that, while helpful, are not enough to move them to better health. Many, though, come ready to change and even reverse their diabetes.

Fact: Diabetes causes more deaths a year than breast cancer and AIDS combined. The risk of heart problems is more than twice as high in people with diabetes and two out of three people with diabetes die from heart disease or stroke. Uncontrolled diabetes also leads to a host of other complications.” From Five Diabetes Myths, Busted on CNN’s “The Chart”.

No matter where a person is when they come to see me, they deserve my full respect and effort. Only when I do that can I expect the same from them.

If you have risk factors and would like to be screened for Diabetes, Howard County General Hospital is offering a free health screening on August 10th from 9am – noon.  Space is limited, and reservations are required.


Mike has over 27 years of experience in the field of diabetes and has managed major diabetes programs in both California and Maryland. He is a past member of the Board of Directors of American Association of Diabetes Educators and has served as the chair of a number of national committees and task forces. He has experience in all aspects of diabetes management including insulin pumps and continuous glucose monitors. His major research interest is complexity science and behavior change, a subject in which he has made three national presentations and is currently doing theoretical work.



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Pass the Tissues: Summer Colds Vs. Allergies

Ah summer–time for sun, travel, relaxation, and runny noses. Why is it that more and more people seem to be sniffling and sneezing under the summer sun?  Winter is the time for colds.  Isn’t it?

Well, according to the Common Cold Centre of Cardiff University, there are “around 200 different types of virus which make  [the cold] the most common illness worldwide. So wherever you plan to go on holiday this year you can be sure that the common cold viruses are already endemic.”  The Centre goes on to add  that some things associated with summer can actually add to the chances of catching a cold, including long flights, air conditioning, stress, and travel to foreign lands.

But, one must take into account that it may not be a cold at all. Summer is the time when a whole new batch of allergy triggers appear.  The pollen we associate with spring continues into the summer with some new contributors joining the mix such as mold, grasses, ragweed, tumbleweed, marsh elder, and sagebrush. And allergies can be exacerbated by air pollution, heat, and, Maryland’s specialty, humidity.

So the best place to start in combating the summer sniffles may be to determine the cause.  Check out this useful chart from the American Academy of Otolaryngology to help determine if your runny nose might be a cold, allergies, or even sinusitis. And, of course, see your doctor for more help, and check out some of the resources below for more information.

Ah-choo! : the uncommon life of your common cold by Jennifer Ackerman

Action plan for allergies by William Briner

Breathe easy! : a teen’s guide to allergies and asthma by Jean Ford

Living with chronic sinusitis : the complete health guide to preventing and treating colds, nasal allergies, rhinitis and sinusitis by David W. Kennedy

The encyclopedia of allergies by Myron A. Lipkowitz, Tova Navarra

My house is killing me! : the home guide for families with allergies and asthma by Jeffrey C. May


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Upcoming Howard County Events

Howard County Health Screenings and Events

  • July 23, 9am-12pm. CPR for Teens – Howard County General Hospital
    This American Heart Association course prepares teens, ages 11 to 17, to perform CPR on an adult, child and infant. Other topics include choking, how to call 911 and answer dispatcher questions, and a brief overview of an AED (automated external defibrillator) $35.
  • July 23. 10 am. Ask A Master Gardener – Keep your gardens at their Summer best  at the Miller, Central, and Savage Branches.
  • July 25, All day. Free 1/2 hour boat rental at Centennial Park to celebrate July as Recreation & Parks Month.
  • July 25. 7 pm. Ask A Master Gardener – Keep your gardens at their Summer best at the Miller Branch,
  • July 25, 7-8:30pm. Kitchen Wisdom: Nutrition and Delicious Meals. Free cooking demonstration of the six tastes. 10710 Charter Drive, Suite 100 Columbia, Md 21044. Contact: Wellness Center at 410-740-7601 for more information.



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May I Have More Broccoli, Please?

by Stephanie Darby

I have been blessed with sons who are not picky eaters. Well, maybe not blessed (about the eating, that is). I’ve put a lot of thought and work into their diet over the years. I’ve always had the notion that if your diet consists of processed and convenience foods, then your kids will grow up thinking that’s what they’re supposed to eat; but, if your diet contains things like fresh fruits and veggies, lean proteins, and diverse foods from around the world, then maybe your kids will think that’s what they’re supposed to eat. Fortunately, this notion has worked for us. My kids will inhale a plate of sashimi. They eat Indian curries and Italian pesto. They love beets, spinach, mushrooms, and broccoli.

I don’t mean to brag or preach–we are far from perfect. My kids have eaten Happy Meals. My younger son will do anything for a corn dog. We once collectively devoured a bag of lard-fried potato chips in less than 10 minutes. That said, these foods are far from the staples of our diet. So how did we get here? Here are some tips (and resources available from HCLS) that help me help my children be healthy eaters:

Eat together as a family as often as you can (at a table, not in front of a TV), and serve your kids what you are eating. Don’t ever assume that your kids won’t like a new food–encourage them to try it. I have had great success introducing a new food beside an old favorite–that way the new food loses some of its scariness. For further reading:


Teach your children from where their food comes. Try growing your own vegetables or herbs. Allow your children to help with the planting, watering, and harvesting. If you’re not a gardener, take your children to the grocery store and talk about the foods you’re buying. In the summer, take them to a farmers’ market and talk to the farmers. Try a vegetable or fruit you’ve never had before.

Lastly, cook with your kids. They want to help and spend time with you, and they will learn to appreciate the care and time that go into preparing family meals. They will also learn to enjoy delicious, healthy foods. For family-friendly recipes:


Stephanie Darby is the Assistant Manager of HCLS’ Miller Branch.

She is a gardener, a beekeeper’s wife, and a proud mom of boys.

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How to escape the heat…

Reminder from Howard County Government:
The public is reminded that those in need of a cooler shelter today and/or tomorrow should visit Howard County’s Senior Centers, open Monday-Friday between 9 am-4 pm or Howard County Library branches, open Monday-Thursday, 10 am-9 pm and Friday-Saturday, 10 am-6 pm. Both the Miller Branch (Ellicott City) and the Central Library (Downtown Columbia) are open Sundays, 1-5 pm.

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Take the “Buy Local” Pledge!

by Grace White, MSN, RNC-OB

While attending an environmental committee meeting recently, sponsored by Maryland Hospitals for a Healthy Environment (MD H2E) initiative, I discovered a relatively simple way to promote positive social change. I thought attending this meeting would elevate my environmental consciousness to a higher level. Certainly there are many hospital workers who are more environmentally active than me, since I only recently stopped using my county-issued recycling bin as a storage container for free weights.

At the meeting, I learned that buying locally grown foods not only exposes us to fresher, more nutritious foods while improving the economy, it also has a positive impact on the environment. It is worth noting that if Maryland households spend $12 per week on local produce for eight weeks during the summer, it would put $200 million or more back into the pockets of farmers.

So what can you do? Participate in the national Buy Local Challenge during the week of July 23rd-31st. Commit to eating local and take the pledge to eat at least one thing from a local farm every day during the Buy Local Week.

Grace is a Labor and Delivery nurse at Howard County General Hospital.


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HCGH Mom Tweets During Labor

The Howard County Times has a great article about an HCGH Mom who tweeted through her labor. Nichole Kelly is a social media consultant…so, it just came naturally that she would document the birth of her third child last week on Twitter. Here are the messages she sent along the way:

Twitter Live Birth

Shortly after giving birth, Kelly shows Charge Nurse Jill Kerr (left) and Nurse Midwife Jeanne Prins the Twitter message announcing her baby’s arrival.

  • I think I deserve a mommy badge! Giavanna is on her way!
  • Pitocin started contractions 2 min apart…
  • 10 yrs in between apparently that’s why my body forgot what to do…contractions are still 1and a half min apart LOL
  • @thejaykelly kickin’ it in “I’m the Daddy” scrubs waiting 4 Gia 2 make her entrance into the world…
  • They induced me at 8:30 this morning. LOL…anyone else ever live tweeted their labor?
  • Howard County General is doing a great job with baby Gia’s labor. I haven’t wanted to punch a nurse yet! LOL
  • Ok folks…water broke…contractions much stronger…only dilated to 2…Signing off for now..
  • Epidural…so nice! Much happier.
  • Welcome to the world Giavanna Marie Kelly.
Baby Giavanna was born at 5:06 p.m., weighing 5 pounds, 14 ounces. According to dad, Jay Kelly, “Nichole and I certainly have enjoyed our time here at HCGH and really had fun keeping our friends, relatives (and perfect strangers) up to date on Nichole’s labor and Giavanna’s birth.” Giavanna joins brothers Huntor and Kaden.

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Breaking News for HCGH!

by Sharon Sopp

Good news for our Well & Wise community! Howard County General Hospital is recognized in U.S. News & World Report’s 2011-2012 Best Hospital Rankings as a high-performing hospital in six clinical areas :

Howard County General Hospital, Columbia Maryland

Howard County General Hospital: A Member of Johns Hopkins Medicine

  • Diabetes and endocrinology
  • Gastroenterology
  • Geriatrics
  • Neurology and neurosurgery
  • Pulmonology
  • Urology

To be included in the Metro Area Rankings, a hospital had to score in the top 25 percent among its peers in at least one medical specialty.

Consider this further confirmation that quality health and health care is a top priority in Howard County, the healthiest county in Maryland.

The hospital’s President and CEO Victor A. Broccolino gives credit to those on the front lines of patient care, “Our dedicated employees and health care providers work diligently to ensure our patients receive the best clinical care possible, a fact reflected by this prestigious honor. We extend our sincere thanks and gratitude for the effort they put forward every day to achieve that goal.”

Other member hospitals of Johns Hopkins Medicine also were listed in the annual rankings, including The Johns Hopkins Hospital, which took the top spot in the country for the 21st consecutive year, placing first in five medical specialties and in the top five in ten others. Also ranked as high-performing were the Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, Suburban Hospital and Sibley Memorial Hospital.

A detailed list of the rankings and information about the ranking methodology are available at hopkinsmedicine.org/usnews and at usnews.com/besthospitals.

Sharon L. Sopp is the senior communications manager in the Public Relations Department at Howard County General Hospital.

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by Barbara Cornell

We had a lot of fun at The Farmers’ Market Chef on July 9!  There was a great exchange of ideas, everyone got some recipes to take home, and I demonstrated one of my favorite pie tricks – the lattice crust.  On August 6 our topic will be the perennial oversupply of tomatoes and zucchini.  You can count on a lot of clever new recipes – I’m poring over the cookbooks now!

I have several new(ish) books to recommend.  You can read them in your hammock if you like, but they will inspire you to get out to the market (or the garden) and thence to the kitchen.

The Homesteader’s Kitchen: recipes from farm to table by Robin Burnside.
Burnside has been chef and co-owner and manager of several eating establishments.  For 20 years, her family has been homesteading on the coast of Big Sur, and she is passionate about sharing her lifestyle of fresh, wholesome foods.  Her advice on stocking your kitchen may be as useful as her recipes, which range from beverages to salad dressings and from vegetarian entrees to meat entrees.

Harvest Eating Cookbook: more than 200 recipes for cooking with seasonal local ingredients
by Keith Snow.
Chef Snow is host of the PBS series Harvest Eating with Chef Snow.  He is also a founding board member of his local Slow Food chapter in South Carolina and devotes the first section of his book to sustainability and  the sourcing of local seasonal foods.  The close-up photos of the prepared recipes are sure to pique your appetite.  His final section is “Cookonomics,” which means “using principles of home economics to make healthy, cost-effective replacements for store-bought pantry items and goods.” More can be found at his website .

The Blue Chair Jam Cookbook by Rachel Saunders.
I thought fruit was a summer thing, but this cookbook will keep you making jams and jellies all year long.  We may not be buying local to make our lemon and pink grapefruit marmalade, but we can buy them in abundance in season and preserve their taste and texture for the seasons to come.  This 372-page book is first organized by season in Part 2, then alphabetically by fruit in Part 3.

How to Pick a Peach: the search for flavor from farm to table
by Russ Parsons.
Learn from Los Angeles Times food & wine columnist Parsons all kinds of essential food tips like which fruits you can buy unripe and which will never have flavor if picked too early, why you should never refrigerate a potato, and why the taste of a tomato is so complex.  One does not miss photographs when the writing is so engaging.

I do hope you’ll consider joining us at 10 am, Saturday,  August 6 for The Farmers’ Market Chef at the Glenwood Branch of the Howard County Library System.

Barbara Cornell joined the Howard County Library System in 1993 as Assistant Branch Manager at the new Elkridge Branch.

Since 2000 she has enjoyed a shorter commute to the Glenwood Branch.

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Upcoming Howard County Events

  • July 15, 2-6pm.  Howard County General Hospital Farmer’s Market.  Visit Howard County General Hospital today and every Friday through October 28th  to pick up fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • July 16, 10am. Ask A Master Gardener. Gardeners, keep those thumbs nice and green. Howard County Library – Miller Branch.
  • July 18,  3:30pm. Look Good…Feel Better – Claudia Mayer Cancer Resource Center. This American Cancer Society program provides a free workshop by a licensed cosmetologist. Women undergoing cancer treatment learn to manage the appearance-related side effects of cancer treatment and receive a complimentary bag of cosmetics. To register call 1-888-535-4555 or 410-740-5858
  • July 18, 3-5:30pm. Blood Pressure Screening. Free, walk-in blood pressure screening and monitoring offered by Howard County General Hospital at the Howard County Library- Glenwood Branch.
  • July 18, 7pm. Ask A Master Gardener. Another chance for gardeners to improve their skills at the Miller Branch.
  • July 18, 7pm. Culinary Arts–chocolate.  Celebrate with chocolates at the Glenwood Branch. Learn the history of this favorite food, how to handle it properly, and its health benefits. Samples available. Not appropriate for people with nut allergies.  Register online.
  • July 19, 6-9pm. 2nd Annual Howard County Film “Feastival” and Restaurant Weeks Kick-Off. Join Clark’s Elioak Farm and University of Maryland Extension in celebrating Howard County agriculture. Enjoy food from local farms and restaurants and watch several short films about the joys of eating locally-grown food. A $5 donation will be used for Farmer’s Market coupons for families in need. Check the Howard County Economic Development Authority website for details and to register.
  • July 23, 9 am- 12 pm  CPR for Teens at the Howard County General Hospital Wellness Center in Columbia. American Heart Association course prepares teens age 11-15 to perform adult, child, and infant CPR. Other topics include choking as well as how to call 911 and answer dispatcher questions. Brief overview of AED.



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The End of a Program that Never Ends!

By Matthew Hall
From March through June, for 10 weeks, people all over Howard County, myself included,  made the choice to better their health by Getting Active! The goal was to try and meet a number of activity minutes that could be logged online, with team captains available to encourage and, at times, annoy you into completing and logging your minutes.

The Get Active program provided a number of services, a major one being free health screenings. These included bone density tests, diabetes education and screenings, as well as blood pressure screenings. There were also seminars on topics such as relaxation and time management, which many of us could find useful at times, I’m sure.

There were numerous different exercise classes as well, which many took advantage of. Zumba, which continues to snowball in popularity, is a fitness oriented dance class that was offered for free on many occasions. There were also water aerobics for those looking to take the plunge into fitness, and even some children’s karate classes for all of the little dragons out there!

This program has proven to be beneficial for so many over the past several years, with people getting excited over their new found love for fitness. The free classes, combined with the vast fitness resources available from the Howard County Library System, are an excellent foundation for anyone looking to begin a more active lifestyle.

Even though the Get Active program has officially ended, health and fitness are lifelong endeavors. Check out Stay Active for continued inspiration and the ability to log your exercise! Fitness takes a dedication that never ends; it just goes on and on my friends…Good luck!

Matthew Hall is currently an Operations Specialist for Howard County Library System and a student at Liberty University.

He spends the majority of his free time with his wife and kids. His interests include religious studies, psychology, and fitness.

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From Food Pyramid to MyPlate

by Lewkon Imoke

On June 2, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) released the new MyPlate to replace the old Food Pyramid. Recognizing the threat of obesity in the U.S., MyPlate focuses on portion control as well as the nutritional values of food.

The new USDA icon recommends that half of our plate be filled with fruits and vegetables and the other half with grains (preferably whole) and protein. A circle next to the plate indicates a serving of a dairy product. There is no room for sugar and fats on the plate.

A majority of Americans not only surpass the suggested 2000 calorie intake a day, they tend to fill their plate with empty calories – calories from solid fats and/or added sugars that add few or no nutrients to the diet. [learn more].”

The USDA website also contains a Key Consumer Message: Make half your plate fruits and vegetables.

Easier said than done. “Comparing the ideal proportions of MyPlate to those of the typical American diet is like holding MyPlate up to a fun-house mirror,” wrote Carina Storrs for www.Health.com . CNNs iReport seems to confirm her opinion.

According to the guidelines, an ideal plate might look like this:

1 slice of whole wheat bread

1 cup of skim milk

1/2  banana

1 cup of kale

3 eggs

This would probably leave a vegan or vegetarian feeling pretty hungry, especially considering the small portion sizes of the foods they can eat. Luckily, UDSA has also provided helpful hints for those of us who are herbivores that includes suggestions for foods high in nutrients that vegetarians need to focus on: protein, calcium, zinc, and vitamin B12.

What about the millions of American children who rely on whatever the school cafeteria is serving for lunch? Parents need to share their knowledge of MyPlate with their children and try to serve ideal meals at home, encouraging kids to choose whole grains over white breads and fulfilling calories over empty ones.

These little changes in life style for parents and children can pave the way for enormous health benefits in the long run.  

Lekwon Imoke is currently a Public Relations Intern at Howard County General Hospital. As a member of the class of 2011 at Hofstra University, she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations and a minor in Political Science. She enjoys reading, traveling and spending time with her friends and family

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Working Up to Working Out

By Brian Grim

We all need inspiration sometimes, especially when it comes to working out. It can be all too easy to get stuck in a rut and lose enthusiasm for our routines, no matter how pumped up we were when we first started. I know that if my heart isn’t in it, then I’m not going to push myself to exercise when I’m tired or stressed or there’s a Deadliest Catch marathon on TV. In search of that inspiration, I decided to pick up a copy of the latest book by Dean Karnazes, Run! : 26.2 Stories of Blisters and Bliss.

Dean Karnazes is an ultramarathon runner. Through his books, television appearances, and a knack for publicity, he has become probably the most famous name in the sport. Ultramarathons, in case you were wondering, are races that are longer than regular marathons. Because why would anyone want to stop at 26.2 miles when you can run 50 or even 100 miles, right?

Each of the 26.2 chapters of Run! tells a tale from one of Dean Karnazes’s many running and racing adventures. These typically involve amazing feats of endurance, such as going for a 197-mile run to celebrate his birthday or running from Australia’s Mt. Kosciusko to Sydney, a distance of about 350 miles. Some are stories of perseverance and triumph. Others are tales of pain and failure, including his numerous (and usually disastrous) attempts to complete the high-altitude Leadville Trail 100-mile Run.

Karnazes is drawn to extremes; he writes that moderation bores him. I can’t say that I completely identify with that sentiment, but he tells each story with a sort of manic glee and self-deprecating humor that becomes infectious.  He has a way of making suffering seem sublime, like it is a path to self-actualization. As he writes, “There’s magic in misery.” Misery makes a great story at least, and Run! is a fun read.

Dean Karnazes has been criticized by some ultramarathoners for being a better self-promoter than he is a runner. But he doesn’t claim to be one of the best runners.  He says that he is simply doing what he loves, taking on challenges not to be the fastest or the best, but just for the sake of doing them. His ability to communicate that love to others and to inspire ordinary people to challenge themselves is largely the reason for his success.

So, has this book inspired me? I don’t know for sure, but I did just sign up for my first half-marathon in November. Whether I succeed or fail miserably, I hope I’ll at least have a great story to tell.

Brian Grim is a Customer Service Specialist for the Glenwood Branch of Howard County Library System.

He started at the Savage Branch in 2006. Brian is a sporadic fitness enthusiast, an occasional cook, and a one-time musician.

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Upcoming Howard County Events

Howard County Health Screenings and Events

  • July 8, Howard County General Hospital Farmer’s Market.  Visit Howard County General Hospital todayand every Friday through October 28th  to pick up fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • July 9, 10amThe Farmer’s Market Chef. Before visiting the Glenwood Library Farmers’ Market, discover creative ideas for using seasonal produce or CSA shares. Samples available. Glenwood Branch.  Register online.
  • July 9,  10am.  WONDER WALK: Survival Skills in the Woods How would you find your way out of the woods if you were lost? How would you keep warm? What could you eat? What are some of the skills everyone should know? Learn native wisdom and modern techniques for living outdoors with Rich Martin.
  • July 9, 10am. Ask a Master Gardener at the Central, Glenwood and Miller Branches. A great opportunity to improve how your garden grows.
  • July 9,  Start anytime between 7:30-9am, finish by noon.
    Summer Series Walks in Howard County Parks – Schooley Mill Park

    Presented by the Columbia Volksmarch Club. Restrooms will be located at the start points. Water and candy will be available at the checkpoints located along the trail. For more information call 410-290-6510, email johndye@comcast.net, or visit www.bangor59.com/CVC
  • July 9, 2-4pm. 3rd Annual Be A Hero 2011 Blood Drive. Red Cross Blood Drive at the Gary J. Arthur Community Center in Glenwood at 2400 State Route 97, Cooksville MD.
  • July 10, 1-5pm. Chess Club. All skill levels are invited to hone their strategist skills as the Central Branch.
  • July 11, 12:30 pm. Blood Pressure Screening. Howard County Library, Savage Branch. Free, walk-in blood pressure screening and monitoring offered by Howard County General Hospital. 2nd Mondays; 12:30 – 3 pm.  No registration required.
  • July 11, 11am & 2pm. Join a scavenger hunt inspired by Grace Lin’s Newbery Honor book, Where the Mountain Meets the Moon. Familiarity with the book is optional, but a love for puzzle-solving is required. Ages 8-12; 45 min. Register online. The scavenger hunt repeats on July 13 at 4pm & 7pm.
  • July 11, 7-9pm. Writer’s Group. Share your original writing with other aspiring authors for mutual support and feedback at the Savage Branch.
  • July 12, 10-11:00am. Tuesday Tech Talk. Keep your tech skills sharp at the Glenwood Branch. Drop in to talk with HCL instructors about specialized online research tools, the Library’s catalog, the Internet, and other tech tools.
  • July 12, 11am & 2pm. Ships Ahoy! Explore simple science concepts of buoyancy through experiments and crafts. Ages 3-5 with adult; 30 min. Register online.
  • July 12, 11am & 1pm. A World Of Games. The East Columbia Branch offers the opportunity to learn variations of games from other cultures, including dominoes and Tic-Tac-Toe. Ages 6-10; 45 min. Tickets available at Children’s Desk 30 minutes before program.
  • July 12, 6:30pm. Game Night. And how about some games for older kids? Meet and compete with friends on XBOX, Wii, and more at the Elkridge Branch.
  • July 13, 7pm. Experience Bhutan. Travel with Mark Coffin to the Land of the Thunder Dragon at the Central Branch. Experience the Kingdom of Bhutan through sight and sound, and discover why many refer to it as “the Last Shangri-La.” Register online.
  • July 14;  6-7 p.m. Columbia Archives premieres new walking tour of Town Center. The Columbia Archives will sponsor a new walking tour of Town Center. Interested participants will meet at the Columbia Archives and join Archives Director Barbara Kellner for a stroll around Town Center, where even the bricks have a story. The tour will explore the art, architecture and people who have left their mark on Columbia. The tour is free; however, reservations are encouraged. To make a reservation, contact Columbia.Archives@ColumbiaAssociation.com or 410-715-3103.
  • July 14, 7pm-8:30pm- Caregivers Support Group. This group is for people caring for a loved one suffering from cancer.  The group is designed to give caregivers a safe place to air the concerns that go along with caring for a loved one with cancer.
  • July 14, 7pm. Take A Walk On The Wild Side. Foster a love of nature, the great outdoors, and hiking, then practice trail-wise, survival skills at the Central Branch. Ages 6 & up; 45 min. Register online.
  • July 14, 7pm. Cruising To Novel Destinations. Another way to appreciate nature, a cruise. Learn how to plan yours at the Glenwood Branch with Renee Gerber of CruiseOne, Gerber & Associates. This session focuses on Alaska by Cruise Ship: The best way to see Alaska, including great views of the glaciers and Alaskan wildlife.  Register online.
  • July 15, 2pm. Family Movies. Start the weekend right with some well-earned R&R with the family.  Take in Tangled at the East Columbia Branch.
  • July 23, 9 am- 12 pm CPR for Teens.   at the Howard County General Hospital Wellness Center in Columbia. American Heart Association course prepares teens age 11-15 to perform adult, child, and infant CPR. Other topics include choking as well as how to call 911 and answer dispatcher questions. Brief overview of AED

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Modern Health for Modern Kids

By Kim Ha

Last month, I took a look at physical and emotional health-related books for children in the Tumblebook library. This month, I’ll take a look at another children’s e-book site that Howard County Library System subscribes to: BookFlix.

BookFlix stories are placed into categories such as Earth and Sky, People and Places, Music and Rhyme, and Imagination. Here you can find classic and favorite children’s stories in video format matched with interesting nonfiction scholastic counterparts. Where the Wild Things Are is paired up with Where Land Meets Sea (a Rookie Read-About Science ), while Hansel and Gretel is paired up with We Need Directions! (a Rookie Read-About Geography). Many of the videos are also available in Spanish. Below are some of my favorite health-related pairs.

How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night? by Jane Yolen and Mark Teague, Ages 2 and up; and A Good Night’s Sleep by Sharon Gordon, Ages 4-8

Alternating between children and their dinosaur alter-egos, this rhyming story takes the much-dreaded bedtime (for children and parents!) and makes it humorous. Readers are taken into the homes of multicultural families as parents attempt to put their children to sleep. Yolen asks, “How does a dinosaur say goodnight when Papa comes in to turn off the light? Does a dinosaur slam his tail and pout? Does he throw his teddy bear all about?” Of course not. Dinosaurs kiss their parents, tuck their tales in, turn off the lights and whisper “Good night.” Soothing music and narration make for a relaxing bedtime story that both kids and parents can relate to. Paired with this, A Good Night’s Sleep explains the importance of getting a full night’s rest. With colorful photographs of children and highlighted vocabulary words, this book also includes different methods of helping one fall to sleep. Also check out How Do Dinosaurs Get Well Soon? by Jane Yolen and Mark Teague.

Leo the Late Bloomer by Robert Kraus and Jose Aruego, Ages 4-8; and We are Alike…We are Different by Janice Behrens, Ages 4-8

Poor Leo the tiger can’t do anything right. He can’t read. He can’t write. He can’t draw. Most importantly, he can’t speak. While Leo’s father worries, Leo’s mother says, “Leo is just a late bloomer.” Leo’s father observes Leo constantly for blooming signs, and Leo’s mother says, “Patience. A watched bloomer doesn’t bloom.” Leo’s father stops watching; many seasons pass, and in time Leo finally blooms and says his first sentence. A wonderful story to reassure other late bloomers that in time they too will blossom. To read along with Leo the Late Bloomer is We are Alike…We are Different. Featuring happy, smiling children in brightly colored photographs, this book celebrates the differences and similarities among us all. For instance, everyone wears clothes, but we may wear different things; everyone has skin, but some people have lighter skin while some people have darker skin. The book invites children to talk about what their personal preferences are and what makes them unique. This is a great conversation starter for children about diversity in their communities.

Harry the Dirty Dog by Gene Zion and Margaret Bloy Graham, Ages 4-8; and Keeping Clean by Sharon Gordon, Ages 4-8

While Harry loves almost everything, he does not enjoy getting baths. Harry decides one day to hide his scrubbing brush and to go on a little adventure featuring construction dirt, railroad soot, a coal chute, and even some sewage. Pretty soon, Harry is no longer a white dog with black spots, but rather a black dog with white spots. Not even his family recognizes him…until he gives in to getting a bath! This sweet, old favorite comes to life with jazzy music and is appropriately matched to Keeping Clean (a Rookie Read-About Health). Keeping Clean‘s photographs feature children going through their daily cleansing rituals, from hand washing to face scrubbing to ear washing. The importance of cleanliness is stressed not only for one’s body, but also for one’s teeth, clothing, and surroundings.

Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae and Guy Parker-Rees, Ages 4-8; and Kids Can Dance! by Elaine Pascoe, Ages 4-8

In this rhyming story, Gerald the Giraffe faces the challenge of learning to dance for the annual jungle dance. He can’t tango like the lions or waltz like the warthogs or cha-cha like the chimps. Sad Gerald is resigned to his fate of never dancing until a cricket sets him straight. The cricket says, “Sometimes when you’re different, you just need a different song.” Pretty soon Gerald shows all the jungle animals that giraffes can dance. Characters are illustrated beautifully with a luminescent glow from the moonlight and the campfire of the jungle party. Combine this title with Elaine Pascoe’s Kids Can Dance! and you will have young readers up and moving in no time. Kids Can Dance! introduces children to a variety of dance styles through photographs of children just like them performing. The book concludes that dancing feels great wherever or however one does it.


Kim Ha is the Children’s Instructor and Research Supervisor at the Elkridge Branch of the Howard County Library System.  She enjoys dancing, jewelry-making, photography and traveling. So far, her favorite destinations are Hawaii and Italy. She recently discovered the joys of yoga and stunt kite flying.

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Why kids shouldn’t take a vacation from sleep

by Lekwon Imoke

The countdown to summer has ended for Howard County’s school children, but their parents are just beginning to count the days until the start of the next school year.

Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh

As a child, my favorite part of summer was not having a defined bedtime. At the beginning of August, however, our bedtime would go back to 8 p.m. because my parents claimed my brother and I needed adequate sleep in order to do well in school. Even as we grew out of a set bed time, they still warned us to get enough sleep. The summer before my senior year, when a friend’s dad told us that we should start sleeping more to get ready for the school year, I’m pretty sure he received a unanimous response of rolling teenage eyes.

During college, sleep became a foreign concept – once known but no longer understood. With the help of caffeinated beverages, we could get things done. Only recently did I realize that spending a fifth of my 22 years of life sleep deprived has had some long term negative effects, and that adequate sleep has short and long-term positive consequences.

A recent study concerning sleep and the learning process, conducted by Dr. Robert Stickgold of Harvard University, suggests that the freedoms of summer should not include bed time. The study showed that the different stages of sleep cycles directly affect memory and the ability to learn. A person deprived of sleep for an extended period of time will discover that both the ability to retain information and to perform intellectual functions will begin to decline.

So, a word to parents: maintain your child’s bedtime throughout the summer in order to maximize their learning experience. And share that advice with any young adults you know. I’m going to make a point to be asleep by 11 p.m. from now on myself!

Lekwon Imoke is currently a Public Relations Intern at Howard County General Hospital. As a member of the class of 2011 at Hofstra University, she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations and a minor in Political Science. She enjoys reading, traveling and spending time with her friends and family

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Visualize Joy!

by Mary Catherine Cochran

According to recent clinical studies, these aren’t just empty phrases, but a roadmap for patients making the transition to wellness. Studies show that Meditation, Breathing and Visualization are beneficial wellness tools and especially useful during this transition.

Bridget Hughes, M.Ac., L.Ac., an acupuncturist with Healing Point Acupuncture and Healing Artswho works with cancer patients at the Claudia Mayer Cancer Resource Center, believes that the transition from illness to wellness is an often overlooked part of the cancer patient’s journey.  “So often, once chemo and radiation are over, a patient is expected to ring the bell and get back to life as usual” says Hughes.

On July 18th, under the sponsorship of SOS (Survivors Offering Support), Hughes will offer a free seminar called: “Transitioning to Wellness of Body, Mind, and Spirit for Cancer Survivors.” “Participants will explore what it means to transition to wellness in the midst of changes that affect us physically, mentally, and emotionally” said Hughes.   “We incorporate the tools of imagery, visualization, and meditation. Patients are often looking for guidance on how to take the next step into wellness and we assist them by examining ways to promote positive change and optimal ways of being.”

“I use examples from brain science to illustrate the electro-magnetic and bio-chemical basis for wellness.  Meditation and positive feeling states engage our internal apothecary of ‘medicine.’ We don’t usually consider that our body has this ability to produce pain relievers, stimulants, relaxants, mood elevators, mood stabilizers, cold & flu remedies, etc. and that what we think and feel may impact that. More commonly when something bad happens we think about it over and over, relive it, and retell it—a ‘meditation’ of a different sort–which taps that internal apothecary for stress chemicals like adrenaline and cortisol.”

How does a patient make this switch?

Hughes teaches patients to access the feeling of a peak experience in our body- much like an elite athlete in training does- and to use that as a foundational focus for meditative practice.  “Science shows that once we implement this type of practice, or even something as simple as a good daily belly laugh, there are physical changes in the brain, the immune system, and even in the DNA.”

“Wellness is a state of being that we create that spans living, and spans dying”

says Hughes. “Transition to Wellness of Body, Mind, and Spirit encourages participants to create a new definition of wellness.  It is a defining way to find peace of mind and spirit in the presence of potentially significant change.”

Class Info:  July 18th, 6-7:30 pm at the Howard County General Hospital Wellness Center, Ellicott Mills Room. 10715 Charter Drive, Columbia.  Free, no registration necessary.

Bridget Hughes is a sought after lecturer and licensed acupuncturist with a Master’s degree from the Tai Sophia Institute. She is co-founder of Healing Point LLC in Severna Park, Maryland, and of Healing Point Acupuncture and Healing Arts in the Claudia Mayer Cancer Resource Center at the Medical Pavilion at Howard County General Hospital in Columbia. She was named a 2010 Favorite Doc in Chesapeake Family Magazine. Bridget loves spending time with family, organic gardening, photography, cooking, anything outdoors, and is an avid reader. She considers time spent with patients to be a great blessing and takes a keen interest in each person and their unique situation and experience.


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Learning to PLAY at Camden Yards

By Ellen Flynn Giles

On Tuesday, June 28, I joined volunteers from HC DrugFree, the Horizon Foundation and officers from the Howard County Police Department in the terrifying task of chaperoning one hundred middle and high school students on a trip to Camden Yards.

The trip was sponsored by PLAY, Promoting a Lifetime of Activity for Youth, which was developed nearly a decade ago to encourage youth participation in team and individual physical activities to combat the increase in childhood obesity among America’s young. Recently, the program has been expanded to help counter the dangerous consequences of steroid and performance-enhancing drug use.

Messages about the benefits of healthy physical activity and the dangers of steroid abuse were reinforced by an up-close-and-personal discussion with Orioles catcher Matt Wieters – the Orioles’ newest All Star – as he answered questions and spoke honestly with the children about the importance of setting goals, working hard, staying healthy and making good choices – in baseball and in life.

He shared that while growing up, his sister was the better athlete and the friendly sibling rivalry made him a better player.  By the end of the talk, boys and girls were actively campaigning to be considered his #1 fan!

The children spent the next two hours rotating through activity stations for injury prevention warm-ups and cool-downs, and various strength and conditioning activities conducted on the baseball field under the direction of the Orioles’ training staff.

Each child left the park with a Matt Wieters’ backpack, a baseball card signed by the All Star catcher, and tickets for that evening’s game with the Saint Louis Cardinals. While I left with some residual celebrity status when I shared the experience with my three sons.

Presenting the children with a strong anti-drug message and support for healthy life choices while actively engaged with the very athletes that they look up to – awesome!

David’s Market graciously provided healthy snacks for the ride home that were most appreciated by each of the young people after their workouts on the field.  Kudos go out to all of the organizations that joined together to sponsor this outing and that work tirelessly to find new ways to  keep our children safe and healthy.

You can find video of the event at Patch, at the Baltimore Sun, and at WJZ.

Ellen Flynn Giles is a member of the Howard County Board of Education, and the Treasurer of the Friends of Howard County Library.  She is a lifelong fan of the Baltimore Orioles and the proud mother of three athletic sons and one bookish daughter.

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Howard County Upcoming Events

Howard County Health and Fitness Events

  • July 2All Together Now. Stories and activities for all ages, will be held at the Central Branch at 10:15 and 11:30 a.m. and at the Savage Branch at 11 a.m.
  • July 2; 10:15 and 11:30 a.m. Storybook Friends. This event will be held at the East Columbia  branch  for 2-5 year olds.
  • July 2; 11:15 a.m. Play Partners. The Elkridge Branch offers Play Partners for the wee ones (infant to 23 months).
  • July 4. Elioak Farm. And if you’re still looking for family fun this holiday weekend, check  the Fourth of July Weekend events  at Clark’s Elioak Farm.
  • July 4. Fireworks! If you’re looking for places to enjoy some Fireworks, Maryland has many. Of course, our personal favorite is at Lake Kittamaquandi.
  • July 6; 7 p.m. Get Outside! Sunset Serenades 2011 – Uncle Jack. Located at Centennial Park South. Concerts are Free! $3 parking donation per vehicle. The group Uncle Jack will perform classic rock. For more information call 410-313-4700 or visit  Howard County Recreation and Parks.
  • July 7; 6:30 p.m. Up. The Miller Branch will be screening the instant classic Pixar film.
  • July 8; 7:30-8:30 a.m. Volunteer Orientation: Neighbor Ride. Interested in helping your neighbors get to Doctor’s appointments and other places around town? Learn more about Neighbor Ride’s fun and flexible volunteer opportunities. Volunteering as a Neighbor Ride driver is an easy way to make a very meaningful difference in the lives of local seniors. Volunteers enjoy the flexibility of choosing to provide the rides that are convenient to their homes, offices and daily routines. No set schedule is required; and parents are welcome to bring their children along with volunteering. For more information visit Neighbor Ride.
  • July 8; Family Films. Another round of great family films will be shown at the East Columbia and Savage Branches. At 2 p.m., East Columbia will show Toy Story, and Savage will Show Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs at 3:30 p.m.
  • July 8; 7 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. Traveling Bands – Captain Jack. Located at the Meadowbrook Park in Ellicott City. Concerts are free! Sponsored by Edy’s Grand Ice Cream. Come and enjoy Classic Rock & Pop group Captain Jack! For more information call 410-313-4700 or visit Howard County Recreation and Parks.
  • July 9; Start anytime between 7:30-9 a.m., finish by noon. Stretch your legs and participate in the Summer Series Walks in Howard County Parks . Presented by the Columbia Volksmarch Club. Restrooms will be located at the start points. Water will be available at the checkpoints located along the trail. For more information call 410-290-6510, email johndye@comcast.net, or visit www.bangor59.com/CVC
  • July 9. Annual Cutting of the Wheat – Howard County Living Farm Heritage Museum. Want to see where your Farmer’s Market bread began?  Join us at the Living Farm Heritage Museum as we cut the wheat that was planted last fall. Demonstrations on Cutting, Threshing, and Baling. Horse Pulls, Wagon Rides, Blue Grass Music, Tractors. Food concession will be present. Bring family and friends. Free admission. Contact us through the link to the left for more information. For more information call 410-489-2345.
  • July 9, 2011; 10 a.m. Bring the family to WONDER WALK: Survival Skills in the Woods. How would you find your way out of the woods if you were lost? How would you keep warm? What could you eat? What are some of the skills everyone should know? Learn native wisdom and modern techniques for living outdoors with Rich Martin. Rich Martin is a graduate of many classes of the Tom Brown Jr. Wilderness, Nature, Tracking and Survival School. He also is a level 2 Archery Instructor with the NFAA, an Instructor for Ancestral Knowledge (a non-profit Primitive Living Skills School), and a Volunteer Naturalist at the Conservancy. If raining, program will be indoors. FREE. For more information visit the Howard County Conservancy.
  • July 11; 1; 5:30-9 p.m. Adult/Child/Infant CPR – Howard County General Hospital. Learn CPR and be prepared. Earn a two-year American Heart Association completion card. $48. Visit the Wellness Center for more information.
  • July 14; 7-8:30 p.m. (2nd Thursday of the month). Caregivers Support Group (New Date) – Claudia Mayer Cancer Resource Center Designed for people who are caring for a loved one. A safe place to air concerns and receive support and advice. Facilitated by Kate Sechrist, Pastoral Care Intern at Howard County General Hospital. Free but registration is requested. Call 410-740-5858 to register.
  • July 14;  6-7 p.m. Columbia Archives premieres new walking tour of Town Center. The Columbia Archives will sponsor a new walking tour of Town Center. Interested participants will meet at the Columbia Archives and join Archives Director Barbara Kellner for a stroll around Town Center, where even the bricks have a story. The tour will explore the art, architecture and people who have left their mark on Columbia. The tour is free; however, reservations are encouraged. To make a reservation, contact Columbia.Archives@ColumbiaAssociation.com or 410-715-3103.

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