Del. James Hubbard, who represents those of us in District 23A in Prince George's County, is the recipient of the 2013 Legislator of the Year Award bestowed by the Maryland Retailers Association. The award was presented at the MRA's annual dinner on Sept. 29. Hubbard received recognition as an advocate of increasing access to health care and managing health care costs. During the 2013 session of the General Assembly, he was responsible for expanding access to vaccines, which are now available at most local pharmacies. Kudos to Hubbard for outstanding service to the South Laurel/Montpelier community.

On the subject of health care, the Heart Rhythm Society would like to remind us all that October is Sudden Cardiac Awareness month. Sudden cardiac arrest is the primary cause of death of student athletes, and is the cause of more than 250,000 deaths per year in the U.S. It is important to know the warning signs, how to respond and how to prevent this event from occurring in our families and in our larger community.

SCA is not a heart attack. It may be caused by a structural anomaly of the heart, such as hypercardiomyopathy, or by an electrical malfunction such as Long QT Syndrome, with resulting fast, chaotic heartbeats. Symptoms include fainting, dizziness, shortness of breath, extreme fatigue and rapid irregular heart beat. SCA may occur without warning, with the individual collapsing and falling to the ground and quickly becoming unresponsive. Time is critical in this situation. Persons nearby should call 911 immediately, perform CPR (chest compression alone is sufficient) and look for an automatic external defibrillator, if one is available. Ninety-five percent of individuals experiencing SCA do not survive if breathing and a regular heart beat are not restored within a 4 to 6 minute time frame. Use of an AED is not dangerous to the person being treated, because a shock will only be delivered if the device detects irregular heart rhythm.

More information on SCA is available at the Heart Rhythm Society website, hrsonline.org. The site includes an online risk assessment to ascertain your own risk for SCA occurrence.

As we begin holiday preparations, be sure to check out the Fall Craft Show sponsored by the Laurel Senior Friendship Club on Saturday, Oct. 19 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Laurel-Beltsville Senior Activity Center. Craft show chairwoman Betty Mannas invites us to "check out the crafts, make a purchase or two and take home some goodies from the bake sale."

We are hoping for a happy end for this last item: Be on the lookout for a missing cat named Torty who has been absent from her Bedford subdivision home since Sept. 29. Torty's picture is available at: southlaurelviews.com. A reward is offered for her return. If you spot her, contact Victor Laczo at vlaczoscience@yahoo.com. Keeping our fingers crossed for Torty's happy reunion with her anxious family.