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This Week in Potomac 2-8-06

BLACK HISTORY MONTH EVENTS

The following Black History Month events are sponsored by the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, the Montgomery County Historical Society and the Sandy Spring Slave Museum. For more information on any of the programs, call Park and Planning's historic preservation section, 301-563-3400.

* Friday, Feb. 10, 7-9 p.m.: “Movies, Race, and World War II” -- This video-illustrated lecture demonstrates how Hollywood films and government propaganda movies like "The Negro Soldier" anticipated the politics of racial activism and offer a documentary record of that aspect of American history.

Place: Beall-Dawson House, 103 West Montgomery Avenue, Rockville

TALK ON NEW ORLEANS AT MONTGOMERY COLLEGE

In honor of African American History Month, Montgomery College invites the community to “The Culture of New Orleans: What Does it Mean for America?” a free presentation on Friday, Feb. 17 at 11 a.m.

Charles Siler, a cultural programmer and artist at the Louisiana State Museum in Baton Rouge, will speak about New Orleans' role in America’s national culture.

Siler will examine the African presence in New Orleans and discuss how Hurricane Katrina affected historic and cultural preservation and what it will take to restore and reconstruct the city. Siler’s own artwork, created in the aftermath of the hurricane, will be on display during his talk.

The presentation will take place in room 136 of the Technical Center at Montgomery College's Rockville campus, 51 Mannakee Street, Rockville. For more information, contact Ola Cole from Montgomery College-Rockville’s Department of History and Political Science at 301-279-5178.

POLICE FOCUS ON CHILD CAR SAFETY

The week of Feb. 12-18 is National Child Passenger Safety Week and the Montgomery County Police Department wants to remind drivers that motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for children of every age, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Police provided the following information:

* As children grow, how they sit safely in a vehicle changes.

* Use rear-facing infant seats in the back seat from birth to at least 1 year of age and at least 20 pounds.

* Use forward-facing toddler seats in back seat from age 1 and 20 pounds to about age 4 and 40 pounds.

* Use booster seats in the back seat from about age 4 to at least age 8 — unless the child is 4-foot-9 or taller.

* Use safety belts in the back seat at age 8 or older or taller than 4-foot-9.

* The safest place for all children to ride is in the back seat.

* Set a good example by always wearing your seat belt. Help your children form good habits of buckling up.

Free child safety seat inspections are held the third Thursday of every month from 10 a.m.-1:30 p.m. at Fitzgerald's Auto Mall, 5501 Nicholson Lane, Rockville.

CONSERVANCY SEEKS EVENT LEADERS

As the Potomac Conservancy prepares the new Lockhouse 8 River Center for its first full season of operation, it is seeking volunteers to lead recreational activities and outreach events.

Volunteers are encouraged to share their knowledge and talents: lead a naturalist walk, teach a wood-carving class, or give a banjo lesson.

The River Center at Lockhouse 8 offers visitors a new understanding of the Potomac River, its connection to the Chesapeake Bay, and what they can do to protect these special resources. It will reopen in May.

Contact Heather Montgomery, conservation program assistant at montgomery@potomac.org.

WALTER JOHNSON IS TOP IN AP WORLD HISTORY

Walter Johnson High School's Advanced Placement World History program was ranked No. 1 worldwide for schools of its size by the College Board, which administers the AP exams, according to Montgomery County Public Schools.

Countywide, 44 percent of the class of 2005 scored a 3 or higher on at least one AP exam while in high school — more than triple the national rate of 14 percent and double the Maryland rate of 21 percent.

Separately, MCPS announced that 20 high school seniors are candidates for the 2005-2006 Presidential Scholars awards. Winston Churchill High School's Faith Kung and Thomas S. Wootton High School's Shiyi Wang were among the candidates.

A committee of national educators will select 500 semifinalists on the basis of their academic achievement, leadership and service activities and essays. In April, the White House Commission on Presidential Scholars will select up to 121 academic scholars and 20 arts scholars. The scholars participate in a week of activities in Washington.

TOWN HALL MEETING

U.S. Rep. Chris Van Hollen (MD-08) will convene a town hall meeting for residents of the Eighth Congressional District. The Congressman will report to residents about the activities of the 109th Congress, including important issues such as the war with Iraq, Social Security, education, health care, gang violence, the economy, homeland security, disaster preparedness and transportation. Van Hollen will answer questions and respond to comments from the audience. All residents of the 8th Congressional district are invited to participate in this town hall meeting at Spark Matsunaga Elementary School, 13902 Bromfield Road, Germantown, on Monday, Feb. 13, 7:30-9 p.m. Call 301-424-3501.

CONGRESSIONAL ART COMPETITION

High school students invited t participate in the 25th Annual Congressional Art Competition. All students who live or attend school in Maryland's eighth congressional district are eligible to participate in the contest sponsored by U.S. Rep. Chris Van Hollen.

The entries will be exhibited at Strathmore Arts Center April 1-28 and the winning entry will be displayed for one year in the U.S. Capitol with the winners from each of the nation's 435 districts.

Runners-up will be displayed in Van Hollen's congressional offices.

Entry forms must be signed by the entrant, a teacher, and a parent and faxed by March 15 301-424-5992

Forms and more detailed information are available at www.house.gov/vanhollen. Questions may be directed to Congressional Art Competition Coordinator Linda Pepper at 301-657-8650 or at pepper461@aol.com.

TOWPATH STILL CLOSED AT WIDEWATER

Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park has extended the temporary closure of the towpath in the Widewater section of the canal, between mile 13 and 13.6, because unseasonal weather conditions have prevented placement of the final towpath surface. “We were hoping to finish this up by the end of the calendar year,” said Dan Cody, a civil engineer with the Park Service.

A detour is provided around this construction area via Berma Road. Visitors are advised to follow posted detour signs. The detour will be in effect until further notice. “It’s all weather-dependent at this point,” Cody said.