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Meet state representatives at a February get-together [Montpelier/South Laurel]

Del. Geraldine Valentino-Smith and Sen. Douglas Peters, who represent District 23A and District 23, respectively, will host a coffee and doughnuts get-together on Saturday, Feb. 11 at the Tabernacle Church of Laurel, 11601South Laurel Drive. This is a perfect opportunity to meet with our state representatives and discuss issues and concerns related to our community. The session will take place from 9 to 11 a.m. If you are unable to make it and have subjects you would like to discuss with the representatives, call Valentino-Smith's office at 301-858-3101.

For all of us who are cul-de-sac dwellers, there is some good news. County Councilwoman Mary Lehman has written to the director of the Prince George's County Department of Public Works and Transportation requesting a change in the department's policy of ignoring cul-de-sacs when first plowing residential streets after a snow storm. Understandably, clearing snow from main roads and arteries is a first priority. The present practice, however, is to leave cul-de-sacs and dead-end streets unplowed when other residential streets in the same development are plowed, returning often some days later. This practice leaves those residents isolated. Lehman states in her letter that those residents "should receive the same level of service as their neighbors one block over." Kudos to the councilwoman for calling attention to a practice that left many of us in limbo in the aftermath of last year's blizzard.

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Speaking of being house-bound on dreary winter days, the Montpelier Arts Center offers enjoyable alternatives. A wide variety of classes in the visual arts is offered. The offerings are varied and address beginner through accomplished visual arts skills. Classes include ceramics for ages 16 and older; beginning and master classes in collage; and print making and silk screen for ages16 and up. The arts center is currently featuring the exhibit "Shout for Joy: African American Sacred Music Traditions." In celebration of Black History Month, the exhibit stresses the importance of spirituals, hymns and gospel music in the black community beginning in West Africa up until the present time. This exhibit is on view through Feb. 28.

The arts center is asking for original art submissions for consideration in the "Artists on the Rise: Fifth annual Juried Teen Exhibition." In concert with March being National Youth Art Month, participation is open to teen artists, ages 13 to 18, in the Washington metropolitan area. Artists from public, private schools and who are home-schooled are welcome to submit one piece of original art work at montpelierartscenter.submittable.com. There is no entry fee, and cash prizes will be awarded for first-, second- and third-place winners. Submission deadline is Sunday, Jan. 29 at 11:59 p.m. The exhibition will be on view from March 10 to 31, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Call 301-377-7800 or go to montpelier.arts@pgparks.com for further information on events at the arts center

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