School Deeded to Fraternity

Montgomery County Executive Douglas M. Duncan (D) last week officially turned over the deed to the historic Smithville Colored School to the local chapter of the nation's largest black fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha.

The event had been planned for more than a year and will lead to the transformation of one of Montgomery's original segregated schools into an African American heritage museum. The building on East Randolph Road in the Colesville area was being used as a storage site for road maintenance equipment.

Alpha Phi Alpha, the oldest and largest of the country's historically black fraternities, will begin restoring the former elementary school for eventual use as a showcase celebrating the achievements of local African Americans.

Built in 1927, the two-room wooden schoolhouse was one of 15 campuses for black children during that decade. It closed 25 years later and was acquired by the county in 1956 as surplus property. The fraternity received the property for $10.

Menopause Program

Michael Udwin of Holy Cross Hospital will present "Understanding Menopause" today at 7:30 p.m. at the Wheaton Regional Library, 11701 Georgia Ave. The program is sponsored by the library's Health Information Center. For information, call 301-929-5520 (TTY 301-929-5524).

Demographics Forum

William H. Frey will be a keynote speaker at a Saturday forum on Montgomery County's population and demographics at the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission auditorium in Silver Spring.

The forum, "Who Are We? A Portrait of Montgomery County at the New Millennium," will examine what effect immigration, growing employment opportunities, an aging population and other national population trends are having on the county. Frey is a senior fellow of demographic studies at the Milken Institute in Santa Monica, Calif., and a professor at the Center for Social and Demographic Analysis at the University at Albany, State University of New York.

The forum's two other speakers--Drew Dedrick and George Grier--will review the county's most recent Census Update Survey and discuss how trends in the Washington metropolitan area affect the county. Dedrick is chief of the commission's Research and Technology Center; Grier is a private consultant and principal of the Grier Partnership, which collects and analyzes data about the metropolitan area.

The forum is free and open to the public. It will run from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission Auditorium, 8787 Georgia Ave., Silver Spring. To register, call 301-495-4636 (TTY 301-495-1331).

Summer Reading Program

The Montgomery County Department of Public Libraries invites children to "Catch the Reading Wave."

On Monday at 10:30 a.m., at the Olney Community Library, the public is invited to join emcee Ronald McDonald and county officials to kick off the summer reading program. Children entering first grade and above can collect a game board, a list of free public library programs and a coupon sheet from the contest's numerous sponsors. There is also a special contest for preschoolers.

During the summer, contestants use the game cards to keep track of books they read, and in return win certificates, more coupon sheets and recognition in the Gazette Newspaper and on the library's Web site (with parental permission). For more information, call any Montgomery County library or 301-570-1234.

StressLine for Parents

The Family Tree StressLine (800-243-7337) is a toll-free, nonprofit help line for parents in need of resources, support groups, substance abuse treatment centers and counseling. Its goal is to reach parents in crisis who may be on the brink of child abuse.

Sue Bull, manager of the Baltimore-based StressLine, said in a statement, "It's really hard to admit you have problems parenting, but once these parents call and see that a nonjudgmental person is going to help them do whatever it takes to be a good parent, they are grateful."

StressLine receives about 5,000 calls from Marylanders annually. About 15 percent of these callers fit the "on the brink" description. The service is staffed by more than 80 volunteers in Maryland and takes calls 24 hours a day.

Newsline for Blind

Newsline for the Blind will have a new phone number beginning June 28: 240-777-0004. The free 24-hour newspaper reading service is available to people who are blind, visually impaired and/or unable to read a printed newspaper. It is made available by the Montgomery County Department of Public Libraries to residents of Montgomery and Prince George's counties, Northern Virginia and Washington.

For more information about the service, call any Montgomery County library.