showStory([[{"BITEDITEDBY":0,"DESCRIPTION":"","BITSTORYDATE":1,"SUBMITTED_BY":"Patrick Whealton","STORYDATE":"Monday, December 11, 2017","STORYURL":"http:\/\/www.IsMyRotaryClub.org\/Story\/","SUMMARY":"

Enjoy a romantic evening of dinner and dancing    
\r\n  at our annual Valentine's Gala Fundraiser<\/em><\/strong>!<\/span><\/p>\r\n\r\n

\"\"
\r\n <\/p>\r\n\r\n

♥ <\/span>BECOME A SPONSOR<\/span><\/a><\/u> ♥<\/span><\/strong><\/span><\/h5>\r\n\r\n


\r\nOn Saturday, February 9, 2019,<\/strong> The Columbia Town Center Rotary Club will host the "Valentine’s Gala"<\/strong> to raise funds for local programs and charities<\/strong> that help citizens in crisis and mentor and educate children and youth in Howard County and beyond. A fun evening of dancing and dining, the "Valentine’s Gala" will be held from 6:30PM until 11:30PM at Turf Valley Resort in Ellicott City, MD. Live music will be provided by The NightLife Band<\/strong> and the cost per ticket is $100.<\/strong> Special rates on hotel accommodations are available from Turf Valley Resort for those wanting a getaway weekend.<\/span><\/p>\r\n\r\n

Proceeds from this event go directly to the Columbia Town Center Rotary Club Foundation, Inc., a 501(c)(3) organization (EIN 20-2858354). Our foundation supports community service projects, programs and organizations that support children and families in need, education and mentoring, and services to citizens in crisis in Howard County and abroad.<\/span>
\r\n <\/p>\r\n\r\n

Community Outreach Organizations & Projects We Support<\/strong><\/span><\/p>\r\n\r\n

Food for Kids Project<\/span><\/p>\r\n\r\n

Ellicott City Recovery Fund<\/span><\/p>\r\n\r\n

Athelas Institute, Inc.<\/span><\/p>\r\n\r\n

Bridges to Housing Stability<\/span><\/p>\r\n\r\n

Rebuilding Together<\/span><\/p>\r\n\r\n

Patapsco Heritage Greenway<\/span><\/p>\r\n\r\n

Winter Growth<\/span><\/p>\r\n\r\n

Hope Works<\/span><\/p>\r\n\r\n

Gilchrist Hospice Services<\/span><\/p>\r\n\r\n

Water.org<\/span><\/p>\r\n\r\n

NAMI Howard County<\/span><\/p>\r\n\r\n

Cystic Fibrosis Foundation<\/span><\/p>\r\n\r\n

Our House - Residential Workforce Training Center<\/span><\/p>\r\n\r\n

Grassroots Crisis Intervention Center, Inc.<\/span><\/p>\r\n\r\n

Community Action Council of Howard County<\/span><\/p>\r\n\r\n

Howard Community College Scholarships<\/span><\/p>\r\n\r\n

Rotary Dictionary Project<\/span><\/p>\r\n\r\n

Rotary International Paul Harris Foundation<\/span><\/p>\r\n\r\n

Leadership Howard County Scholarships<\/span><\/p>\r\n\r\n

Howard County Summer Enrichment Program<\/span><\/p>\r\n\r\n

Howard County Animal Shelter<\/span><\/p>\r\n\r\n

Howard County League of Women Voters<\/span><\/p>\r\n\r\n

Backpacks and School Supplies for Nigerian Orphans<\/span><\/p>\r\n\r\n

Open Doors Food Pantry<\/span><\/p>\r\n\r\n

 <\/p>\r\n\r\n

 <\/p>","BITINCHR":1,"NUMBERCOMMENTS":0,"BITCOMMENT":0,"IMAGE":"","MODIFIED_BY":"Whealton, Patrick ","HEADLINE":"2019 Valentines Gala","STORYID":42558,"CREATED_BY":"Whealton, Patrick ","BITBYLINE":0},{"BITEDITEDBY":0,"DESCRIPTION":"","BITSTORYDATE":1,"SUBMITTED_BY":"Patrick Whealton","STORYDATE":"Sunday, April 29, 2018","STORYURL":"http:\/\/www.IsMyRotaryClub.org\/Story\/","SUMMARY":"Suzanne Lea, Ph.D., a Rotary Pearce Fellow, presented an overview of the “Global Peace Index”, a project developed by the Institute for Economics & Peace. Rotary International and the Institute for Economics & Peace have formed a partnership to measure peace and search for ways to create a favorable environment to promote peace through out the world. An exciting challenge - to think globally and act locally. <\/span><\/span><\/span><\/span><\/span><\/span><\/span><\/span><\/span><\/span><\/span><\/span><\/span><\/span><\/span><\/span><\/span>
\r\n
\r\nColumbia Town Center Rotary Club - We make a difference at home and around the world: Our members can be found in your community and across the globe. Visit our web site to learn how you can help make a better world: <\/span><\/span><\/span><\/span><\/span><\/span><\/span><\/span><\/span><\/span><\/span><\/span><\/span><\/span><\/span><\/span><\/span>
http:\/\/www.ctcrotary.org\/
\r\n
\r\n\"\"<\/a><\/u><\/font><\/font><\/span><\/span>","BITINCHR":1,"NUMBERCOMMENTS":0,"BITCOMMENT":0,"IMAGE":"","MODIFIED_BY":"Whealton, Patrick ","HEADLINE":"Meeting Recap: Suzanne Lea","STORYID":49014,"CREATED_BY":"Whealton, Patrick ","BITBYLINE":0},{"BITEDITEDBY":0,"DESCRIPTION":"","BITSTORYDATE":1,"SUBMITTED_BY":"","STORYDATE":"Tuesday, March 6, 2018","STORYURL":"http:\/\/www.IsMyRotaryClub.org\/Story\/","SUMMARY":"

In honor of Black History Month, Dr. Calvin Ball, Vice-Chair of the Howard County Council, gave an enlightening talk to the Columbia Town Center Rotary Club. He reminded us all of how far we have come and how far we have yet to go. Dr. Ball explained that he is only <\/font>the third black person to ever serve us on the Howard County Council. When asked about the “Black Lives Matter” movement, he went on to explain that structural racism runs through all walks of life and that social justice is as critical today as it was in the past. <\/font><\/font><\/span><\/span><\/p>\r\n\r\n

\"\"<\/font><\/font><\/span><\/span><\/p>","BITINCHR":1,"NUMBERCOMMENTS":0,"BITCOMMENT":0,"IMAGE":"","MODIFIED_BY":"Whealton, Patrick ","HEADLINE":"Meeting Recap: Dr. Calvin Ball","STORYID":46791,"CREATED_BY":"Whealton, Patrick ","BITBYLINE":0},{"BITEDITEDBY":0,"DESCRIPTION":"","BITSTORYDATE":1,"SUBMITTED_BY":"","STORYDATE":"Thursday, January 11, 2018","STORYURL":"http:\/\/www.IsMyRotaryClub.org\/Story\/","SUMMARY":"

On December 22nd<\/sup>, the Columbia Town Center Rotary Club paid a visit to Our House, located in Brookville, Maryland. Representing our club were club president Alvin Thompson, Cecil Phillips, Suzanne Lawson, and John Contreras. The founder and director, Richard Bienvenue (Benny), welcomed and introduced us to the trainees. Every year-end we have a gift exchange with Our House which is an in-resident training facility for at hope young men who come there from social services or juvenile services. These young men are getting a second chance at life. Many come from broken homes and challenging situations. We took the opportunity to share with them words of encouragement and handed out the gifts. This year’s message was the importance of having goals and putting together a plan to achieve those goals. There was great excitement and cheer as each opened their gift! <\/span><\/span><\/p>\r\n\r\n

\"\"<\/span><\/span><\/p>","BITINCHR":1,"NUMBERCOMMENTS":0,"BITCOMMENT":0,"IMAGE":"","MODIFIED_BY":"Whealton, Patrick ","HEADLINE":"Service Update: Our House","STORYID":44510,"CREATED_BY":"Whealton, Patrick ","BITBYLINE":0},{"BITEDITEDBY":0,"DESCRIPTION":"","BITSTORYDATE":1,"SUBMITTED_BY":"Patrick Whealton","STORYDATE":"Saturday, December 23, 2017","STORYURL":"http:\/\/www.IsMyRotaryClub.org\/Story\/","SUMMARY":"

Saturday, December 16th was another busy day for the volunteers at the Mt. Zion United Methodist Church Food Pantry, where more than 100 families shopped for groceries. In addition to the usual food shopping, Santa and his elves were on hand to hear what each child wanted for Christmas and handed out bags of nicely wrapped Christmas presents specially bought for each child by members of Mt. Zion Church. The Food Pantry also hosted a Secret Santa Shop where children could select gifts for their parents and siblings at no cost that were then wrapped by volunteers.<\/span><\/span><\/p>\r\n\r\n

CTC Rotary volunteers Valerie Lash, Alice Giles, Alvin Thompson, Larry Waligora, and Sharon Waligora helped to stock the groceries, load cars, and provide transportation to and from the food pantry for three families. It is always rewarding to serve our community, especially around the holidays when we know that our efforts will bring smiles to children's faces!<\/span><\/span><\/p>\r\n\r\n

\"\" 
\r\n
\r\n\"\"<\/span><\/span><\/p>","BITINCHR":1,"NUMBERCOMMENTS":0,"BITCOMMENT":0,"IMAGE":"","MODIFIED_BY":"Whealton, Patrick ","HEADLINE":"Service Update: Mt. Zion ","STORYID":42915,"CREATED_BY":"Whealton, Patrick ","BITBYLINE":0},{"BITEDITEDBY":0,"DESCRIPTION":"","BITSTORYDATE":1,"SUBMITTED_BY":"Patrick Whealton","STORYDATE":"Tuesday, December 12, 2017","STORYURL":"http:\/\/www.IsMyRotaryClub.org\/Story\/","SUMMARY":"

On December 12, David Rodriguez presented a Columbia Town Center Rotary Club donation to Athelas Institute, Inc. Present at the meeting was Sherrie Jordan (Co-founder & Deputy Director), <\/span>Diane Lasov (Executive Director), and John Contreras. Athelas’ founders Roy and Sherrie Jordan were recognized last year as our club’s “Citizen that Makes a Difference” award reciepients. Our heartfelt condolences to Mrs. Jordan and her family as well as those employed at Athelas on the passing of her husband and founder of Athelas Institute, Inc.<\/span><\/span><\/span><\/span><\/span><\/span><\/span><\/span><\/span><\/span><\/span><\/span><\/span><\/span><\/span><\/span><\/span><\/p>\r\n\r\n

 <\/span><\/span><\/span><\/span><\/span><\/span><\/span><\/span><\/span><\/span><\/span><\/span><\/span><\/span><\/span><\/span><\/p>\r\n\r\n

The Athelas mission is: Providing opportunities for growth and personal accomplishment to individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities complemented by quality and meaningful community engagement. <\/span><\/span><\/span><\/span><\/span><\/span><\/span><\/span><\/span><\/span><\/span><\/span><\/span><\/span><\/span><\/span><\/span><\/p>\r\n\r\n

 <\/p>\r\n\r\n

\"\"<\/span><\/span><\/span><\/span><\/span><\/span><\/span><\/span><\/span><\/span><\/span><\/span><\/span><\/span><\/span><\/span><\/span>
\r\nleft to right: Sherrie Jordan, Diane Lasov, David Rodriguez, John Contreras<\/p>","BITINCHR":1,"NUMBERCOMMENTS":0,"BITCOMMENT":0,"IMAGE":"","MODIFIED_BY":"Whealton, Patrick ","HEADLINE":"Service Update: Athelas Institute","STORYID":42592,"CREATED_BY":"","BITBYLINE":0},{"BITEDITEDBY":0,"DESCRIPTION":"","BITSTORYDATE":1,"SUBMITTED_BY":"Patrick Whealton","STORYDATE":"Friday, December 8, 2017","STORYURL":"http:\/\/www.IsMyRotaryClub.org\/Story\/","SUMMARY":"

Last night, club member John Slater presented the Patapsco Heritage Greenway (PHG) Board with a $500 contribution from Columbia Town Center Rotary Club. John has been involved in PHG for many years, serving in key roles within the organization and contributing greatly to its success in fulfilling its mission - "to preserve, protect, interpret and restore the environment, history and culture of the Patapsco River Valley."<\/span><\/span><\/p>\r\n\r\n

To find out more about the Patapsco Heritage Greenway including how you can be a part of this important cause, visit https:\/\/patapsco.org\/<\/a><\/span><\/span><\/p>\r\n\r\n

\"\"<\/span><\/span><\/p>","BITINCHR":1,"NUMBERCOMMENTS":0,"BITCOMMENT":0,"IMAGE":"","MODIFIED_BY":"Whealton, Patrick ","HEADLINE":"Service Update: Patapsco Heritage Greenway Contribution","STORYID":42461,"CREATED_BY":"Whealton, Patrick ","BITBYLINE":0},{"BITEDITEDBY":0,"DESCRIPTION":"","BITSTORYDATE":1,"SUBMITTED_BY":"Patrick Whealton","STORYDATE":"Thursday, November 23, 2017","STORYURL":"http:\/\/www.IsMyRotaryClub.org\/Story\/","SUMMARY":"

On November 18th, the CTC Rotary club celebrated Thanksgiving a little early by helping needy families get Thanksgiving dinner kits and other groceries at the Open Doors Food Pantry at Mt. Zion United Methodist Church in Highland, MD. Eight members of the club helped load groceries into cars of the 128 families who visited the food pantry, and provided transportation to and from the food pantry for seven families who are part of the Running Brook Elementary School community. It was a very busy morning, but we were so glad that we were able to help families who need a hand! Many thanks to the ODFP for this valuable service to the community. The CTC Rotary club was happy to contribute funds for 20 of the 124 Thanksgiving dinner kits distributed on Saturday.<\/span><\/span><\/p>\r\n\r\n

CTC Volunteers included Roger Lerner, David Rodriguez, Patrick Whealton (left to right in photo) and Sharon Waligora, Larry Waligora, Jan Cookson, and Harsana Showunmi.<\/span><\/span><\/p>\r\n\r\n

\"\"<\/span><\/span><\/p>","BITINCHR":1,"NUMBERCOMMENTS":0,"BITCOMMENT":0,"IMAGE":"","MODIFIED_BY":"Whealton, Patrick ","HEADLINE":"Service Update: Open Doors Food Pantry","STORYID":41898,"CREATED_BY":"Whealton, Patrick ","BITBYLINE":0},{"BITEDITEDBY":0,"DESCRIPTION":"","BITSTORYDATE":1,"SUBMITTED_BY":"","STORYDATE":"Saturday, September 2, 2017","STORYURL":"http:\/\/www.IsMyRotaryClub.org\/Story\/","SUMMARY":"

Columbia Town Center Rotary club continues to support the Summer Enrichment Program; a seven-week program offered by the Community Action Council that provides health, nutrition, and education services to children ages 3 to 5 from underserved families in Howard County.
\r\n
\r\nIn addition to providing monetary support for the program, our club members participate in the program directly by reading to children. This summer, members Harsana Showunmi, Sharon Waligora, and Larry Waligora took part in reading sessions. "It was so rewarding being part of such a great initiative" said Harsana (pictured below), who read to youngsters in the Ellicott City branch of the program. "I look forward to another opportunity to do it again next year!"<\/span><\/span><\/p>\r\n\r\n

For more information on how the "Howard 7" Rotary Clubs came to support this wonderful program, see this article<\/a> published by The Business Monthly in 2016.<\/span><\/span><\/p>\r\n\r\n

\"\"
\r\n
\r\n\"\"<\/span><\/span><\/p>","BITINCHR":1,"NUMBERCOMMENTS":0,"BITCOMMENT":0,"IMAGE":"","MODIFIED_BY":"Whealton, Patrick ","HEADLINE":"Service Update: Summer Enrichment Program","STORYID":38747,"CREATED_BY":"Whealton, Patrick ","BITBYLINE":1},{"BITEDITEDBY":0,"DESCRIPTION":"","BITSTORYDATE":1,"SUBMITTED_BY":"","STORYDATE":"Sunday, August 20, 2017","STORYURL":"http:\/\/www.IsMyRotaryClub.org\/Story\/","SUMMARY":"

Recently, our club welcomed Barb Nicklas, Senior Manager of The Mall in Columbia, to speak to our members about the state of the retail economy and shopping malls in general. It just so happens that the day of Barb's talk was the 46th birthday of the Mall in Columbia! Barb has an impressive resume - most recently she was the Director of the Downtown Columbia Partnership and prior to that she held several marketing and leasing positions with General Growth Properties, Howard Hughes Corporation, and the Rouse Company.<\/p>\r\n\r\n

Barb briefed the club on the many changes that have been happening at The Mall in Columbia, highlighting many shifts, changes, trends, and closures. Several restaurants including Champps and Uno have recently left, following the departure of anchor store LL Bean several years ago, opening up space for new tenants that have recently been announced to the public. As many know, Sears has downsized from two floors to one and new tenants, including a multifaceted entertainment venue and a cafe, will be moving in. Ms. Nicklas pointed out that while different stores come and go, many like LL Bean set up kiosks during the holidays to take advantage of the shopping season. Speaking of profitability, we learned that the food court's 19 operations make up the most profitable retail sector in the mall.<\/p>\r\n\r\n

Barb also touched on some of the technology the General Growth Properties employs to reduce cost and to improve customer experience. With malls all over the country and a commitment to sustainability, GGP has cracked the top 10 of solar power providers in the country by installing solar panels on acres upon acres of unobstructed flat roofs. Not only do the solar panels provide electricity, they also shade the roofs which in turn reduces the cooling demand for the building. GGP has also developed a parking app that customers can use to find the most convenient parking spaces at the mall based on the location of any store. To make parking even more convenient for customers, the mall is also begininng to utilize license plate readers to ensure that mall employees are not parking in the most desired parking spaces allocated for customers.<\/p>\r\n\r\n

Finally, if you're wondering about the mall's number one expense? Security. The Mall in Columbia employs a vast array of security measures including cameras, guards, security vehicles, license plate readers, and other means of making sure that customers and employees are safe.<\/p>\r\n\r\n

Thank you, Barb, for the excellent and informative talk!<\/p>\r\n\r\n

\"\"<\/p>","BITINCHR":1,"NUMBERCOMMENTS":0,"BITCOMMENT":0,"IMAGE":"","MODIFIED_BY":"Whealton, Patrick ","HEADLINE":"Meeting Recap: Barb Nicklas","STORYID":38196,"CREATED_BY":"Whealton, Patrick ","BITBYLINE":1},{"BITEDITEDBY":0,"DESCRIPTION":"","BITSTORYDATE":1,"SUBMITTED_BY":"Patrick Whealton","STORYDATE":"Monday, August 7, 2017","STORYURL":"http:\/\/www.IsMyRotaryClub.org\/Story\/","SUMMARY":"At our club meeting on August 2nd, President Alvin Thompson (right) presented Immediate Past President Alan Ray (left) with a gavel plaque to honor Alan's service to the club as President for the 2016-2017 term. Congratulations Alan, and thank you for your dedicated leadership!<\/span><\/span>
\r\n
\r\n\"\"","BITINCHR":1,"NUMBERCOMMENTS":0,"BITCOMMENT":0,"IMAGE":"","MODIFIED_BY":"Whealton, Patrick ","HEADLINE":"Alan Ray honored as Immediate Past President","STORYID":37713,"CREATED_BY":"Whealton, Patrick ","BITBYLINE":0},{"BITEDITEDBY":0,"DESCRIPTION":"","BITSTORYDATE":1,"SUBMITTED_BY":"Patrick Whealton","STORYDATE":"Tuesday, August 1, 2017","STORYURL":"http:\/\/www.IsMyRotaryClub.org\/Story\/","SUMMARY":"

Conceived by Jim Rouse in the late 1960's, the planned community of Columbia is celebrating its 50th birthday. As many Columbians know, the Columbia Association (formerly known as the Columbia Park and Recreation Association) is an important and unique non-profit corporation that operates virtually all of Columbia's open space and recreational facilities including 23 pools, 42 buildings, 95 miles of pathways, 40 ponds, 3 lakes, and many tot lots. Tasked with leading the Columbia Association is CEO and President Milton Matthews, who our club was honored to have as a guest at our meeting on July 26th.
\r\n
\r\nMr. Matthews, now in his third year with CA after serving as the CEO of the planned community of Reston, Virginia, provided an interesting overview of the Columbia Association and described the challenges associated with upgrading various facilities, some of which are as old as the town itself. With an annual budget of $78 million and over 1,000 employees during the summer months, CA is in the top 20 of employers in Howard County.
\r\n
\r\nThe club learned that CA's commitment to reduce energy consumption has resulted in a 50% reduction in energy costs, thanks in large part to a full time employee dedicated to energy management. We also learned that CA is leading the charge on several very exicting upcoming projects including construction of a new 6-court indoor tennis facility in the Long Reach Village Center and a partnership with the Howard County Office of Economic Development to promote small businesses in all of the village centers with a particular focus on Long Reach and Oakland Mills. Taking a step back from specific projects, Mr. Matthews explained that attracting millenials to Columbia has proven to be a challenge, and that the largest population growth is among young children and seniors. Club member Lauren Leffler agreed with Mr. Matthew's assessment and noted that the high cost of housing makes it increasingly difficult for millenials to find an affordable place to live.<\/p>\r\n\r\n

The club was encouraged to hear that under Mr. Matthew's leadership, CA is actively seeking Columbia residents to participate in management of the association. To that end, CA publishes their agenda for their twice monthly board meetings and has recently begun to live stream meetings.<\/p>\r\n\r\n

Like the Columbia Association, our club is proud of Columbia's first 50 years and have big plans to continue to grow in the years ahead. It was truly a privilege to welcome Milton Matthews!
\r\n
\r\n
Columbia Association Website<\/a>
\r\n
\r\n
Columbia Association Meeting Minutes and Agendas
\r\n
\r\n\"\"<\/a>
\r\nabove: Milton Matthews speaks to the Columbia Town Center Rotary Club<\/em><\/p>\r\n\r\n

 <\/p>","BITINCHR":1,"NUMBERCOMMENTS":0,"BITCOMMENT":0,"IMAGE":"","MODIFIED_BY":"Whealton, Patrick ","HEADLINE":"Meeting Recap: Milton Matthews","STORYID":37442,"CREATED_BY":"Whealton, Patrick ","BITBYLINE":0},{"BITEDITEDBY":0,"DESCRIPTION":"","BITSTORYDATE":1,"SUBMITTED_BY":"Patrick Whealton","STORYDATE":"Sunday, July 2, 2017","STORYURL":"http:\/\/www.IsMyRotaryClub.org\/Story\/","SUMMARY":"On Wednesday, June 21st, club members celebrated another year of service and friendship at Kelsey's Irish Pub. Following good food and conversation, outgoing President Alan Ray began the formal proceedings with a brief recap of the progress our club has made in the last year and praised the membership for its dedication, saying that this is one of the best groups that he has been a part of during his many years of Rotary service. 
\r\n
\r\nThe dedication that President Alan Ray spoke of is exemplified by the three individuals that were then honored at the event for perfect attendance over the last year including outgoing President Alan Ray, incoming Vice President John Slater (3 years in a row), and incoming President Alvin Thompson (4 years in a row). 
\r\n
\r\n\"\"<\/span><\/span>
\r\nabove: President Alan Ray addresses the club<\/i>
\r\n
\r\nOne aspect of the club that has improved during the last year has been the club's online presence and reach, an effort spearheaded by club Webmaster Patrick Whealton who was presented with a Certificate of Appreciation by his Rotary sponsor John Slater.
\r\n
\r\n\"\"<\/span><\/span>
\r\nabove: John Slater (left) presents Certificate of Achievement to Patrick Whealton (right)<\/i>
\r\n
\r\nThe final award of the evening, the prestigious Rotarian of the Year Award, was presented to John Contreras for his perseverance and dedication to Rotary in the face of personal challenges. John, a Past President of the club (2010-2011), was instrumental in the selection of Ray and Sherrie Jordan of the Athelas Institute as the recipients of the club's annual Citizen's Who Make a Difference Award presented at our Valentine's Gala in February. As the club Photographer, John is and has long been responsible for helping to document the club's proceedings, providing photographs that are frequently featured on the club's various social media platforms. Despite recent health challenges, John's frequent attendance at weekly club functions and his willingness to voice honest opinions help to keep our club focused on achieving the fundamental goals of Rotary. John is truly the embodiment of "Service above Self" and we are thankful for his continued service and friendship. The full text of the 2016-2017 Rotarian of the Year Award presentation
can be viewed here.<\/a><\/i>
\r\n
\r\n\"\"<\/span><\/span>
\r\nabove: President Alan Ray (left) presents 2016-2017 Rotarian of the Year Award to John Contreras (right)<\/i>","BITINCHR":1,"NUMBERCOMMENTS":0,"BITCOMMENT":0,"IMAGE":"","MODIFIED_BY":"Whealton, Patrick ","HEADLINE":"Event: CTC Rotary Honors 2016-2017 Award Recipients","STORYID":36375,"CREATED_BY":"Whealton, Patrick ","BITBYLINE":0},{"BITEDITEDBY":0,"DESCRIPTION":"","BITSTORYDATE":1,"SUBMITTED_BY":"Patrick Whealton","STORYDATE":"Friday, June 9, 2017","STORYURL":"http:\/\/www.IsMyRotaryClub.org\/Story\/","SUMMARY":"

This week, our club was honored to welcome returning guests Ukeje and Florence Eloagu from Lagos, Nigeria, who previously visited us in October of 2015. Ukeje, a member of the oldest Rotary Club in Lagos, enlightened the club on the many projects that his club has undertaken. He also reminded us that political strife in Nigeria has been a challenging obstacle when it comes to ending polio in the country, one of just three countries left in the world where polio is still exists.<\/span><\/span><\/p>\r\n\r\n

During the meeting, Ukeje presented club president Alan Ray with a banner from his club, the Rotary Club of Lagos. We continue to be thankful and amazed at the power of Rotary to bring people together in pursuit of common goals. Thank you, Ukeje and Florence!
\r\n
\r\n\"\"
\r\n
\r\n\"\"<\/span><\/span><\/p>","BITINCHR":1,"NUMBERCOMMENTS":0,"BITCOMMENT":0,"IMAGE":"","MODIFIED_BY":"Whealton, Patrick ","HEADLINE":"Meeting Recap: Wednesday, June 9th, 2017","STORYID":35727,"CREATED_BY":"Whealton, Patrick ","BITBYLINE":0},{"BITEDITEDBY":0,"DESCRIPTION":"","BITSTORYDATE":1,"SUBMITTED_BY":"Patrick Whealton","STORYDATE":"Tuesday, May 23, 2017","STORYURL":"http:\/\/www.IsMyRotaryClub.org\/Story\/","SUMMARY":"

\"\"<\/p>\r\n\r\n

 <\/p>\r\n\r\n

On May 17th, the Columbia Town Center Rotary Club celebrated its 35-year anniversary with a gathering of 40+ club members and alumni, including four charter members, at the King's Contrivance Restaurant in Columbia. It quickly became apparent that friendship and personal passion to serve the greater good are aspects of Rotary that truly stand the test of time.<\/span><\/span><\/span><\/span><\/span><\/span><\/span><\/span><\/span><\/span><\/span><\/span><\/span><\/span><\/span><\/span><\/span><\/p>\r\n\r\n

 <\/span><\/span><\/p>\r\n\r\n

Following drinks, hors d'oeuvres, and conversations between friends old and new, club president Alan Ray set the tone of reconnecting with our club's history by reading aloud the names of club members who have passed on. This moment of quiet reflection was an opportunity to remember and honor community heroes with whom we shared a common purpose and a belief in "Service Above Self."<\/span><\/span><\/span><\/p>\r\n\r\n

 <\/span><\/span><\/p>\r\n\r\n

Following recognition of active club members in attendance, the floor was opened to anyone who wished to share a memory, a thought, or a story about their experience as a Rotarian. In a word, the theme of these reflections was "gratitude", as members past and present thanked those who influenced their decision to join Rotary and reminisced about our club's accomplishments over the years in improving people's lives locally, nationally, and globally.<\/span><\/span><\/span><\/p>\r\n\r\n

 <\/span><\/span><\/p>\r\n\r\n

For alumni members, the night was an opportunity to reconnect with old friends with whom they've shared so much of themselves. For active members, it was an important reminder that we are part of something much greater than ourselves; that we are responsible for carrying the torch forward and preserving the legacy of the community servants who came before us. Additionally, it was motivation to embody the spirit of the charter members who, in 1982, decided that the heart of Columbia deserved a Rotary Club to act on the principles of equity and social responsibility instilled into Columbia by its founder, James Rouse.<\/span><\/span><\/span><\/p>\r\n\r\n

 <\/span><\/span><\/p>\r\n\r\n

If you live or work in and around Columbia and are interested in community service, we would love for you to join us for lunch at one of our weekly lunch gatherings – please e-mail us at ctcrotary@gmail.com<\/a> if interested.<\/span><\/span><\/span><\/span><\/span><\/span><\/span><\/span><\/span><\/span><\/span><\/span><\/span><\/span><\/span><\/span><\/p>","BITINCHR":1,"NUMBERCOMMENTS":0,"BITCOMMENT":0,"IMAGE":"","MODIFIED_BY":"Whealton, Patrick ","HEADLINE":"Event: Columbia Town Center Rotary Celebrates 35 Years","STORYID":35178,"CREATED_BY":"Whealton, Patrick ","BITBYLINE":0},{"BITEDITEDBY":0,"DESCRIPTION":"","BITSTORYDATE":1,"SUBMITTED_BY":"Patrick Whealton","STORYDATE":"Friday, May 5, 2017","STORYURL":"http:\/\/www.IsMyRotaryClub.org\/Story\/","SUMMARY":"Last week, seven of our CTC Rotary members teamed up with Mt. Zion United Methodist Church to participate in Howard County 2017 Rebuilding Day in conjunction with Rebuilding Together<\/a>. John Slater, Lauren Leffler, Manisha Mehta, David Rodriguez, Alvin Thompson, Sharon Waligora, Larry Waligora, and friend of the club Michelle Waligora put their collective minds, hearts, and hands to work making repairs to a home of a community member in need; a team effort that included rebuilding an unsafe deck and stairway, repairing siding, replacing soffits and gutters around the roof, repainting the front porch and steps, pruning overgrown shrubs, and general garden maintenance. Our club is proud to take part in community service projects like this one and our members are always looking for new ways to join together in fellowship and service to make a positive impact on our community and our world.
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Rebuilding Together<\/a> is a national non-profit housing organization that takes action to transform the lives of low-income homeowners by improving the safety and health of their homes and revitalizing communities. Together with its community and corporate partners and local affiliates, the organization mobilizes nearly 100,000 volunteers to complete about 10,000 projects nationwide each year. <\/span><\/span>
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\r\n\"\"CTC Rotary Members (left to right): Alvin Thompson, Lauren Leffler, John Slater, Sharon Waligora, Manisha Mehta, Larry Waligora, & David Rodriguez.<\/span><\/span><\/em>","BITINCHR":1,"NUMBERCOMMENTS":0,"BITCOMMENT":0,"IMAGE":"","MODIFIED_BY":"Whealton, Patrick ","HEADLINE":"Service Update: Rebuilding Together","STORYID":34619,"CREATED_BY":"Whealton, Patrick ","BITBYLINE":0},{"BITEDITEDBY":0,"DESCRIPTION":"","BITSTORYDATE":1,"SUBMITTED_BY":"Patrick Whealton","STORYDATE":"Tuesday, April 18, 2017","STORYURL":"http:\/\/www.IsMyRotaryClub.org\/Story\/","SUMMARY":"

On Saturday, April 15th, Columbia Town Center Rotary members Alvin Thompson, Cecil Phillips, Alan Ray, John Slater, and Patrick Whealton (pictured left to right), returned to Winter Growth Adult Day Care in Columbia for our annual spring planting project. After pulling weeds and loosening the soil in various planters and pots in the courtyard garden, Rotary members planted two flats of beautiful petunias for Winter Growth patrons to enjoy throughout the spring and summer. We'll be returning later in the year for a semi-annual weeding and clean-up to keep the garden looking great!<\/span><\/span><\/p>\r\n\r\n

\"\"<\/span><\/span>
\r\n <\/p>","BITINCHR":1,"NUMBERCOMMENTS":0,"BITCOMMENT":0,"IMAGE":"","MODIFIED_BY":"Whealton, Patrick ","HEADLINE":"Service Update: Winter Growth Adult Day Care","STORYID":32035,"CREATED_BY":"Whealton, Patrick ","BITBYLINE":0},{"BITEDITEDBY":0,"DESCRIPTION":"","BITSTORYDATE":1,"SUBMITTED_BY":"Patrick Whealton","STORYDATE":"Thursday, March 23, 2017","STORYURL":"http:\/\/www.IsMyRotaryClub.org\/Story\/","SUMMARY":"

Columbia Town Center Rotary Club announces a partnership with the Open Doors Food Pantry - Mt Zion United Methodist Church of Highland, Maryland to feed hungry elementary school children at running Brook Elementary School. "No one should ever go hungry especially, young children in an affluent county like this", said CLUB representative Roger Lerner. Children and their families will receive backpacks filled with nutritious food and families will receive transportation and support to the monthly Open Doors Food Pantry at Mt. Zion.<\/span><\/span><\/p>\r\n\r\n

The Columbia Town Center Rotary Club meets every Wednesday at 12:15 for lunch at the Columbia Sheraton on Wincopin Circle across from Columbia Mall. Guests are always welcome. Those who want to help feed hungry children are welcome to join us for lunch. The Columbia Town Center Rotary Club is a member club of Rotary International, a worldwide organization dedicated to public service, which has stamped out polio throughout the world and is now turning to combat hunger, disease and lack of access to clean water globally.<\/span><\/span><\/p>\r\n\r\n

\"\"<\/p>","BITINCHR":1,"NUMBERCOMMENTS":0,"BITCOMMENT":0,"IMAGE":"","MODIFIED_BY":"Whealton, Patrick ","HEADLINE":"CTC Rotary Announces Partnership with Open Doors Food Pantry","STORYID":31315,"CREATED_BY":"Whealton, Patrick ","BITBYLINE":0},{"BITEDITEDBY":0,"DESCRIPTION":"","BITSTORYDATE":1,"SUBMITTED_BY":"Patrick Whealton","STORYDATE":"Wednesday, February 22, 2017","STORYURL":"http:\/\/www.IsMyRotaryClub.org\/Story\/","SUMMARY":"

At its annual Valentine’s Gala on February 4th<\/sup>, the Columbia Town Center Rotary Club presented the 2016<\/i><\/b> Citizens Who Make a Difference Award<\/i><\/b> to Ray and Sherrie Jordan, founders of the Athelas Institute, for their compassion and dedication in providing opportunities to individuals with developmental disabilities. This award recognizes those who have identified a need in our community and, through their leadership and will, have made a difference in the lives of many within our community. More than 150 Gala guests, including 20 people from the Athelas Institute, were on-hand to honor and celebrate Ray and Sherrie’s accomplishments, welcoming them to the stage with a standing ovation.<\/span><\/span><\/span><\/p>\r\n\r\n

Ray and Sherrie, a dynamic duo brought together in life and service by a shared sense of altruism, founded the Athelas Institute in 1976 to inspire and enrich the lives of adults with intellectual disabilities. In the four decades since its founding, the Athelas Institute has provided quality services to thousands of people and has reached many more through meaningful community engagement and education efforts. <\/span><\/span><\/span><\/p>\r\n\r\n

Today, the Athelas Institute serves over 400 individuals and employs professional staff members who are trained to focus on the safety and overall well-being of their clients. Among their many initiatives, the Athelas Institute provides residential facilities, supported day employment opportunities, individual support services, transportation, and unique educational opportunities with Catonsville Community College, which provides on-campus classes as well as access to its facilities. Athelas clients have the opportunity to participate in recreational, team-building, and community service events including Meals on Wheels, the Athelas Wellness Center, Athelas Community Dances, and the Maryland Special Olympics.<\/span><\/span><\/span><\/p>\r\n\r\n

All of the important services provided by the Athelas Institute today were made possible by Ray and Sherrie Jordan’s vision, dedication, passion, and persistence in founding and growing their organization. Ray and Sherry exemplify the spirit of service and are truly “Citizens Who Make a Difference!<\/span><\/span><\/span><\/p>\r\n\r\n

\"\"
\r\nRay and Sherrie Jordan accept the 2016 Citizens Who Make a Difference Award<\/em><\/span><\/span><\/span><\/p>\r\n\r\n

 <\/p>","BITINCHR":1,"NUMBERCOMMENTS":0,"BITCOMMENT":0,"IMAGE":"","MODIFIED_BY":"Whealton, Patrick ","HEADLINE":"Columbia Town Center Rotary Club honors Ray and Sherrie Jordan at annual Gala","STORYID":30386,"CREATED_BY":"Whealton, Patrick ","BITBYLINE":0},{"BITEDITEDBY":0,"DESCRIPTION":"","BITSTORYDATE":1,"SUBMITTED_BY":"Patrick Whealton","STORYDATE":"Wednesday, December 14, 2016","STORYURL":"http:\/\/www.IsMyRotaryClub.org\/Story\/","SUMMARY":"Every year, at year end, club members from the Columbia Town Center Rotary Club, make a trip to Our House located near Olney in Brookville, MD. And every year we are humbled by our own good fortune and the ability to share some of it with the trainees at Our House, an in-resident training facility for young men. We have been ‘mentoring’ and recognizing them for years and continue to do so this year. Rotarians attending were John Contreras, Manisha Mehta, Cecil Phillips, David Rodriguez, Alvin Thompson, and Sharon Waligora. The trainees were very appreciative. The new Executive Director (former NFL and CFL football player), Dr. Aaron Collins, (back row, second from the right), shared his story of not giving in and seeing things through. Every member shared some advice and insight, from personal experience, that helped each in their endeavors.
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\r\n\"\"<\/span><\/span>","BITINCHR":1,"NUMBERCOMMENTS":0,"BITCOMMENT":0,"IMAGE":"","MODIFIED_BY":"Whealton, Patrick ","HEADLINE":"Service Update: Our House Gift Exchange","STORYID":28436,"CREATED_BY":"Whealton, Patrick ","BITBYLINE":0},{"BITEDITEDBY":0,"DESCRIPTION":"","BITSTORYDATE":1,"SUBMITTED_BY":"Patrick Whealton","STORYDATE":"Monday, December 5, 2016","STORYURL":"http:\/\/www.IsMyRotaryClub.org\/Story\/","SUMMARY":"

On November 30th<\/sup>, Larry Waligora was pinned as our newest member by his wife\/sponsor Sharon.  Larry has always been there with help and enthusiasm when needed – now as a member, we will all benefit from his skills and continued fellowship.  Welcome Larry!<\/span><\/span><\/p>\r\n\r\n

\"\"<\/span><\/span><\/p>","BITINCHR":1,"NUMBERCOMMENTS":0,"BITCOMMENT":0,"IMAGE":"","MODIFIED_BY":"Whealton, Patrick ","HEADLINE":"Welcome New Member, Larry Waligora!","STORYID":28125,"CREATED_BY":"Whealton, Patrick ","BITBYLINE":0},{"BITEDITEDBY":0,"DESCRIPTION":"","BITSTORYDATE":1,"SUBMITTED_BY":"Patrick Whealton","STORYDATE":"Friday, November 18, 2016","STORYURL":"http:\/\/www.IsMyRotaryClub.org\/Story\/","SUMMARY":"

On Wednesday, Columbia Town Center Rotary Club was honored to welcome Admiral of the Chesapeake Dr. Walter Boynton to talk to the club about his career as a scientist studying the Chesapeake Bay and advocating for its preservation. Dr. Boynton's work is not only important, but also extremely influential in helping to shape state and regional laws and efforts aimed at reducing nitrogen and phosphorous pollution, which in turn would allow the estuarine ecosystem to regenerate.<\/span><\/span><\/p>\r\n\r\n

We were extremely pleased to hear that Dr. Boynton's studies over the last two decades show dramatic improvements in the health of the Chesapeake Bay, and that the Bay seems to respond positively and relatively quickly to reductions in nutrient pollution. The presence of sea grasses is on the rise, populations of indicator species are growing, and the measured areas of "dead zones", parts of the Bay deprived of oxygen, are becoming smaller and smaller. We've made a lot of progress, but there is much more work to be done! Thank you, Dr. Boynton!
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\r\n\"\"<\/span><\/span><\/p>","BITINCHR":1,"NUMBERCOMMENTS":0,"BITCOMMENT":0,"IMAGE":"","MODIFIED_BY":"Whealton, Patrick ","HEADLINE":"Meeting Recap: Wednesday, November 18th, 2016","STORYID":27624,"CREATED_BY":"Whealton, Patrick ","BITBYLINE":0},{"BITEDITEDBY":0,"DESCRIPTION":"","BITSTORYDATE":1,"SUBMITTED_BY":"Patrick Whealton","STORYDATE":"Wednesday, October 19, 2016","STORYURL":"http:\/\/www.IsMyRotaryClub.org\/Story\/","SUMMARY":"

This week we had a very informative presentation by David Nitkin, Chief of Staff at Howard County General Hospital. David began his talk by presenting some facts and figures about the Hospital and its service area and spoke about goals to improve service by reducing the maximum ER wait time down to 90 minutes and reducing the number of people who leave without being seen to 3% or less. He also informed the club of plans for an upcoming (and much needed) expansion project that will be brought before the Planning Board in November and will be announced to the public in the coming weeks.
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\r\nThe Howard County Local Health Improvement Coalition (LHIC) will hold a community forum event on Thursday, October 27th called "Transforming Healthcare in Howard County" from 8:15 am to 11:30 am at the Wilde Lake Interfaith Center. The event is free to attend but please RSVP at 
https:\/\/www.eventbrite.com\/e\/transforming-healthcare-in-howard-county-tickets-27716967195<\/a> .<\/span><\/span><\/p>\r\n\r\n

 <\/p>\r\n\r\n

\"\"\"\"<\/span><\/span><\/p>","BITINCHR":1,"NUMBERCOMMENTS":0,"BITCOMMENT":0,"IMAGE":"","MODIFIED_BY":"Whealton, Patrick ","HEADLINE":"Meeting Recap: Wednesday, October 19th, 2016","STORYID":26622,"CREATED_BY":"Whealton, Patrick ","BITBYLINE":0},{"BITEDITEDBY":0,"DESCRIPTION":"","BITSTORYDATE":1,"SUBMITTED_BY":"Patrick Whealton","STORYDATE":"Thursday, October 6, 2016","STORYURL":"http:\/\/www.IsMyRotaryClub.org\/Story\/","SUMMARY":"

On Wednesday our club welcomed guest speaker Robert Muir, Director of Client Solutions at Howard Community College, to tells us about the college’s professional training program. In addition to offering a wide range of for-credit classes for students pursuing degrees, HCC works with businesses and government agencies to design and provide highly customized training programs taught by content leaders within the community. The courses can be taught in-person at HCC’s Business Training Center on Columbia Gateway Drive or digitally with online or video remote conferencing applications. Following the eye-opening presentation, we discussed opportunities to partner with the College for club and community members to provide useful insight into specialized professions that students might not otherwise know about. <\/span><\/span><\/p>\r\n\r\n

Howard Community College has long been a tremendous asset for the community and enrolls around a quarter of graduating seniors in Howard County and over 30,000 students annually.<\/span><\/span><\/p>\r\n\r\n

Howard Community College: http:\/\/www.howardcc.edu<\/a><\/span><\/span><\/p>\r\n\r\n

\"\"<\/span><\/span><\/p>","BITINCHR":1,"NUMBERCOMMENTS":0,"BITCOMMENT":0,"IMAGE":"","MODIFIED_BY":"Whealton, Patrick ","HEADLINE":"Meeting Recap: Wednesday, October 5th, 2016","STORYID":26249,"CREATED_BY":"Whealton, Patrick ","BITBYLINE":0},{"BITEDITEDBY":0,"DESCRIPTION":"","BITSTORYDATE":1,"SUBMITTED_BY":"Patrick Whealton","STORYDATE":"Tuesday, September 27, 2016","STORYURL":"http:\/\/www.IsMyRotaryClub.org\/Story\/","SUMMARY":"

The Columbia Town Center Rotary Club, along with the six other Rotary clubs in Howard County, will be honored at this year’s Holland Awards Dinner hosted by the Community Action Council of Howard County. The “Howard 7” Rotary clubs have long supported the CAC’s Summer Enrichment Program with funds and volunteers and this year helped the program achieve an important goal: the 2015-2016 school year marked the first time that all 284 Howard County Head Start students were enrolled in the Summer Enrichment Program for seven weeks, with half of those students signing up for an additional four weeks of intensive academic programming. Our club continues to support the excellent work that the Community Action Council does in Howard County, and CTC Rotary will once again be a Champion Sponsor for the Awards Dinner.<\/span><\/span><\/p>\r\n\r\n

The Holland Awards Dinner will be held on Thursday, October 20th at 6 PM at Turf Valley Resort in Ellicott City. More details about the event as well as ticket information can be found at: https:\/\/www.cac-hc.org\/news-events\/holland-awards-dinner\/<\/a><\/span><\/span><\/p>\r\n\r\n

\"\"<\/span><\/span><\/p>","BITINCHR":1,"NUMBERCOMMENTS":0,"BITCOMMENT":0,"IMAGE":"","MODIFIED_BY":"Whealton, Patrick ","HEADLINE":"Event: Holland Awards Dinner","STORYID":25927,"CREATED_BY":"Whealton, Patrick ","BITBYLINE":0},{"BITEDITEDBY":0,"DESCRIPTION":"","BITSTORYDATE":1,"SUBMITTED_BY":"Patrick Whealton","STORYDATE":"Wednesday, September 21, 2016","STORYURL":"http:\/\/www.IsMyRotaryClub.org\/Story\/","SUMMARY":"

On September 16th, Sharon Waligora represented the Columbia Town Center Rotary Club at Mt. Zion Church assisting with the church’s preparation for their Saturday morning food pantry. Bins of cucumbers, peppers, potatoes, tomatoes and green beans were sorted and bagged for distribution to 104 families (over 400 people) - a new record! Last year, the Mt. Zion Open Doors Food Pantry was recognized at CTC Rotary's annual Valentine's Gala for its service to the community. <\/span><\/span><\/p>\r\n\r\n

For more information about the Open Doors Food Pantry, visit: http:\/\/www.mtzionhighland.com\/open-doors-food-pantry<\/a><\/span><\/span>
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\"\"<\/a><\/span><\/span><\/p>","BITINCHR":1,"NUMBERCOMMENTS":0,"BITCOMMENT":0,"IMAGE":"","MODIFIED_BY":"Whealton, Patrick ","HEADLINE":"Service Update: Mt. Zion Open Doors Food Pantry","STORYID":25766,"CREATED_BY":"Whealton, Patrick ","BITBYLINE":0}]]);