Thursday, Dec. 6, 2007

Event director declares Turkey Trot a success

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This year’s annual Turkey Trot to benefit Laurel Advocacy and Referral Services was the organization’s most successful, according to LARS director Nancy Graham. It raised more than $9,000 and had more than 300 participants. But without the dedication of one woman – Kelly Miller – the run couldn’t have happened, Laurel councilwoman Gayle Snyder (Ward 1) said.

‘‘Kelly approached [Nancy] early on with the idea of organizing a Thanksgiving morning 5K to benefit LARS, and she had the knowledge, power and will to make it happen,” Snyder said during a Nov. 26 City Council meeting. Snyder then awarded Miller the city’s Citizen of the Month award.

‘‘It’s both a joy and a pleasure to do what I do, and by no means is it a one person endeavor. There’s a core group of people who organize this,” Miller said. ‘‘I accept this on behalf of all of them.”

The first Turkey Trot, in 2005, raised more than $4,000 for LARS; last year it raised $6,400.

Miller is a nutritionist and personal trainer who provides services to homeless women through LARS and clients of Reality, Inc.

Mayor and council attend League of Cities event

Mayor Craig Moe and four members of the Laurel City Council traveled to New Orleans to participate in the 2007 National League of Cities Congress of Cities Conference, held from Nov. 13 to 17.

The mayor was a guest speaker during the conference. He addressed disaster relief response in Laurel and methods to integrate emergency response between various agencies in the city.

At a Nov. 26 City Council meeting, Council President Frederick Smalls (Ward 2) described the condition of New Orleans as the city recovers from Hurricane Katrina, which hit in September 2005. Smalls and other council members toured the city and participated in a playground building event during the conference.

‘‘It was sort of a mix for me between being sort of encouraged by some of the things I saw in the downtown area, that revitalization is in full swing,” Smalls said. ‘‘But then to be troubled to see many of the neighborhood areas that hadn’t been touched or barely had been touched.”

For example, entire apartment complexes and hospitals had been abandoned. Several of the city’s hospitals are still closed due to mold and other issues, Councilman Mike Leszcz (At-large) noted.

Shortly after the hurricane hit the south, Laurel, Md., officials visited and adopted Laurel, Miss., located about 140 miles northeast of New Orleans. Two years later, much of New Orleans still is ‘‘the remnants of what looked like a ghost town,” Smalls said.

County grants awardedto Laurel groups

At a Nov. 26 City Council meeting, County Councilman Tom Dernoga (D-Dist. 1) of Laurel presented various Laurel groups with grant checks that the county government has awarded them.

Dernoga awarded Laurel’s Fourth of July committee $4,000 to cover the cost of the 2007 Independence Day celebration. The committee will be planning its 30th Fourth of July celebration in 2008.

A grant of $5,000 went to the nonprofit Laurel Historical Society to ‘‘help with some of the exhibits they put on, staff, cost of keeping artifacts together, maintaining everything, and the educational outreach [the museum does],” Dernoga said.

‘‘This is a very fine partnership,” said Karen Lubieniecki, president of the historical society. ‘‘We have been able to bring our collection up to museum quality.”

A representative from the Laurel Senior Friendship Club was also in attendance, and Dernoga awarded the group a $3,400 grant to pay for an electronic board.

‘‘It’s hard to find something like that in Prince George’s county,” Dernoga said of the group. The club has about 700 members and hosts activities catering to seniors in Laurel.

Read and discuss literature at book clubs in Savage

Two book clubs are meeting this month at the Savage Library, located at 925 Durness Lane in North Laurel.

Every second Wednesday of the month, a mystery book club will meet at 7 p.m. On Dec. 12, the club will be discussing December’s book, ‘‘Good Night, Mr. Holmes,” by Carole Nelson Douglas.

Every third Wednesday of the month, the nonfiction book club will meet to discuss the month’s book, ‘‘The Tulip and the Pope,” by Deborah Larsen. The club will next meet at 7 p.m. on Dec. 19.

Registration is not required and the books are available at the branch. For more information, call the branch at 410-880-5980.

Walk with others

The Laurel-based Freestate Happy Wanderers walking club is hosting two family walks during this year’s holiday season.

The two events – one on New Year’s eve and one on New Year’s Day – will feature two different 10 km trails and a 6 km trail. Registration is open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., and walkers have to finish by 4 p.m. The cost is $3 and a can of perishable food for participants over 18 years old. There will be prizes for children.

The walks will begin at the Owen Brown Community Center at 6800 Cradlerock Way in Columbia. For more information, call 410-437-2164 or e-mail