New Year's greetings to all of our Montpelier/South Laurel community, hoping that 2012 finds us happy and healthy. As usual, there are lots of goings-on in our community to keep us engaged.

There will be a coffee for seniors sponsored by Prince George's Police Department District 6 today at 1 p.m. at the Laurel-Beltsville Senior Activity Center. Officer Hibbert will host the coffee and asks our community seniors to give him input regarding topics for the coming year. There will also be a presentation on senior fitness and a description of the fitness facilities available at the center. There is no fee for attendance.

Montpelier Mansion has several interesting programs coming up.

On Jan. 28 ,from 1 to 3 p.m., there will be a Black History Month Hands-On History program. The program gives participants the opportunity to learn about the culture and practices of enslaved workers in the United States prior to the Civil War. The fee for participation is $5 and reservations are recommended.


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Coming up on Feb. 11, at 2:30 p.m., is a Friendship Tea. The event features finger sandwiches, pastries and a variety of teas all served in the mansion's elegant south wing. The fee is $27.50 per person. Reservations and advanced payment are required, and it is best to reserve early, as these events usually sell out quickly. Call 301-377-7817 for tickets and information.

Deerfield Run Elementary's annual science fair is scheduled for Jan. 18, at the school. The school is asking that interested adults in our community serve as volunteer judges at the fair. I have served as a judge in the past, and it is a fun and heart-warming experience.

Judges get to rate each presentation based on a series of standards. The nicest feature is that we also get to interview the young "scientists" themselves to see why they chose their project, how they conducted their research and what the results from the experiment or study turned out to be. It's great to see these young people using their creativity.

The Deerfield Parent Teacher's Organization is also sponsoring a pizza fundraiser to help defray the costs of some school events and projects.

Call 301-497-3615 for more information on both of these items.

Montpelier Elementary students are proud to announce that their canned food drive held for the benefit of the Laurel Advocacy and Referral Services food pantry yielded 345 cans of food. Well done, Montpelier students!

South Laurel/Montpelier resident Steve Haversack has announced online registration for the spring session of the Greater Laurel United Soccer Club. Early registration is $85 per participant. After Feb. 28, the fee increases to $125.

The first game of the season is scheduled for April 14, with practice beginning two weeks earlier. For more information, go to http://www.glusc.com.

As we bid 2011 farewell, we may place our undecorated, unbagged, live Christmas trees at the curb by 6:30 a.m. on the regularly scheduled yard-waste collection day, through Jan. 31. The trees will be picked up and turned into free mulch for county residents in the spring. For mulch information, call 301-883-5045.