Around Town

UHS Greenhouse Sale

The annual greenhouse sale at Urbana High School was another big success in late April and early May. Teacher Tonjia Mayne and students from her agriculture and horticulture classes sold several varieties of potted and hanging plants and flowers to local residents. For the last 15 years, the students have cultivated plants throughout most of the year, including produce, which is then donated to the Urbana Food Pantry. Funds from the spring sale, plus seasonal events are also donated to the pantry.

“The students learn a great deal about horticulture, floral design and business,” Mayne said, “plus the importance and gratification of service to the community.”

Walk for Williams Syndrome

More than 400 people participated in the fifth annual Walk for Williams Syndrome in Urbana in early May. Friends and neighbors came together to support Williams Syndrome families and raised funds for research and treatment for the rare genetic disorder.

“This was our largest walk yet,” said VOU resident Lisa Ridgley, whose 7-year-old daughter, Tatum is afflicted with Williams Syndrome. “We raised $30,000 this year!”

Panera Bread provided breakfast for participants before the 1.5-mile family walk, and entertainment and activities followed, such as a moon bounce, DJ, games run by Urbana High School (UHS) volunteers, and a picnic lunch. Ridgley is the mid-Atlantic regional chair for the Williams Syndrome Association (WSA) and has organized the popular event for the past five years along with neighbor and UHS graduate Emma Williams. She met Rockville resident Lisa Rupolo a few years ago, and now Rupolo has joined the team, along with her 4-year-old daughter, Sophie, also diagnosed with Williams, and they have connected with several other families who support one another through the experience.

More than 30 Williams Syndrome families participated in the event this year. “Most of the people are here because they have friends and family affected by the disorder,” Ridgley said. “We have had the largest Williams walk to date and the most Williams families that attend. Many other walks have been started across the country because of our success.”

May is Williams Syndrome Month, to raise awareness and support of the disorder that affects one in 10,000 people worldwide. Symptoms include developmental delays, learning disabilities and cardiovascular disease. Typically, Williams Syndrome patients experience additional complications and a shorter life span.

According to Ridgley, her daughter is doing well and enjoying kindergarten at Centerville Elementary School. “Tatum is doing awesome right now,” she said. “She was totally in her element on Saturday, and we are ready to start planning for next year.”

Walk for Babies

Hundreds of families, individuals and corporate teams participated in this year’s local March of Dimes March for Babies. The event supports the national March of Dimes campaign to raise awareness and funds for research and treatment for premature and infants with birth defects. “We had a fabulous turnout this year,” said Nancy Wiley, Urbana resident and Frederick County community director for the Western Maryland division of the March of Dimes.

Every year in the United States, more than half a million babies are born too soon. More than 1 million families worldwide have lost a baby. The March of Dimes works to improve the health of babies and support families if something does go wrong, and many participants had been affected in some way by such a tragedy. Before the event, participants enjoyed breakfast food and drinks and learned more about the organization’s mission and efforts. Oakdale High School senior Brittany Maruca sang the National Anthem. After walking, participants were treated to cupcakes and drinks and massages by My Red Bow spa in Frederick.

“More than 60 percent of our walkers are families who have or know of a baby lost to premature birth, birth defects or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.” Wiley said. “The March of Dimes has provided 75 years of support for research, treatments and community programs to save lives and help improve the quality of life for children.”

On Aug. 24, Macy’s will hold the March of Dimes Shop for a Cause. Customers will receive a $5 coupon book, and a percent of each sale that day will be donated to the organization. For more information, visit http://www.marchofdimes.com/
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Local Muster

Frederick area fire departments helped to celebrate the 175th anniversary of Junior Company Number Two in downtown Frederick in late April. Several antique vehicles and fire apparatus returned for a tour of the city, which ended up at Rose Hill Manor for a Muster, an historic calling of troops together for vehicle inspection. The event included several antique fire vehicles from around the United States.

Spring Fling

Many area residents flocked to the annual Spring Fling, put on the Villages of Urbana management staff. On May 18, families enjoyed the petting zoo, moon bounce and a free photo booth, while listening to music from a local DJ. This year’s event also included a zip line activity. More than 40 vendors offered games, food and merchandise for sale.

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