South Laurel/Montpelier: Recognizing Black History Month with art, speakers

The Montpelier Arts is celebrating Black History Month with a fiber arts exhibit Chronicles of the African American Journey through March 1. Items on display include quilts, beading and other types of fiber arts.

The items were submitted to the center as a result of a national call for fiber arts. A reception to meet some of the artists and discuss the works on view will be held on Sunday, Feb. 8, from 3 to 5 p.m. at the gallery.


On Sunday, Feb. 16, at 4 p.m., Voices From the Past presents a tribute to Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint Georges. In 1769, the Guadeloupe-born Bologne performed in Paris and other European countries as a classical musician and composer. He soon became known as the Black Mozart for his compositions and performances. This tribute will include a narration of his story by Nevilla Ottley and accompaniment by a violinist. This special presentation is in partnership with the Coalition for African Americans in the Performing Arts.

February is National Heart Month. In addition to sending cards, buying roses, etc., this is a good time to evaluate our heart health and take any corrective measures needed to improve any problems.

High blood pressure affects many adults and can be fatal if not addressed. The National Heart Association reminds us that heart disease affects Americans of any age. Some sources list high blood pressure as a leading killer of women. Signs of elevated blood pressure may appear as early as age 18, and may result in blood vessel damage over the long term.

Other types of heart health issues include stroke, atrial fibrillation, cardiomyopathy and arrhythmia. At heart.org you can find a wealth of information about any of these concerns and methods of remaining heart-healthy. Many of these suggestions, such as nutrition and exercise, may be of help to all of us.

My son, Daniel, died several years ago at age 19 of a type of cardiac arrhythmia. We had no inclination that Daniel had that issue until he collapsed playing indoor soccer at his college. Organizations such as Sudden Arrhythmia Death Syndrome and Parent Heart Watch can also provide help for anyone who is concerned, particularly parents of student athletes who may be at risk.

Maryland now requires that automated external defibrillators (AEDs) be available at many athletic events, as well as in airports and other locations. Let’s all show our support of heart health on National Heart Day, Feb. 7, by wearing red articles of clothing, lapel ribbons, etc. Then, we will have extra reasons to celebrate Valentine’s Day the following week.

The Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission has announced it is testing the water system for certain substances that may be harmful. The tests began on Jan. 24 in cooperation with Potomac and Patuxent Water Filtration plants. Substances to be looked for are PFAS which are man-made and intended to be fire, oil, grease, water and stain resistant. They were developed in the 1940s and can be found in non-stick cookware, stain repellent, cosmetics and dental floss. Previous studies have not found these chemicals in the local water; this review will include updated evaluation methods.

Information about the study and a report of the results when the study is completed, may be found at wsscwater.com.