A Class on How to Cope

The Montgomery County Department of Addiction,Victim and Mental Health Services will sponsor a series of free classes for the families of people suffering from chronic mental illness.

The six-session family education courses are scheduled to start this winter in the upcounty area and soon after in Wheaton and Silver Spring.

The classes are designed to teach daily management and coping skills to families who live with chronically mentally ill relatives.

They will be adapted to meet the needs of the group as closely as possible.

Topics will include understanding and treating mental illness, creating a low-stress environment, managing disturbing behavior and promoting growth and rehabilitation.

The Maryland Family Education Project, a grant program of the Maryland Mental Hygiene Administration, will initially provide trained leaders for the classes.

Later, the sessions will be led by county mental health professionals.

A parent of a mentally ill child -- representing the Alliance for the Mentally Ill of Montgomery County -- will attend also each class.

For more information, or to sign up for a course, call Sharon Harris at 738-3210.

Volunteers to Provide Snow Shoveling

Elderly and handicapped Rockville residents who are unable to shovel snow from their walks and driveways may receive free shoveling from young volunteers recruited from local churches.

The program, sponsored by Rockville's Senior Services Division and Community Ministries of Rockville, matches eligible residents with a volunteer.

Those interested may call 424-8853 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. or 762-8682 from 8:30 a.m. to noon on weekdays.

Switching Parties? Act Now

Registered voters in Montgomery County who wish to change their party affiliation must do so by Dec. 14 if they want to vote in the March 8 presidential primary.

Voters who want to change their party affiliation should send a written request to the Board of Supervisors of Elections, P.O. Box 4333, Rockville, 20850.

Requests should include the voter's full name, address, date of birth and signature.

Elections officials also recommend that voters apply now if they wish to vote by absentee ballot.

To receive an absentee ballot, or to get more information on who is eligible to vote by absentee ballot, call the 24-hour Absentee Voting Information Line at 279-8100.