Comment on Trail Plans

The Montgomery County Planning Board seeks public comment on a two-year plan to maintain and expand trails throughout the county, at a work session today from 11:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Montgomery Regional Office Building in Silver Spring.

Improvements are pending for the Matthew Henson Hiker-Biker Trail in Aspen Hill, Black Hill Trail along the east side of Little Seneca Lake in Black Hill Regional Park, Blockhouse Point Conservation Park in Darnestown and the trail system's signs and volunteer programs.

A full list of projects in the plan is available at The work session is at 8787 Georgia Ave.

Those interested in speaking can call 301-495-4600.

The Art of Mental Health

An arts festival for people who suffer from mental illnesses, their families and mental health advocates -- the first such event in the Washington area -- will be held Saturday at Seneca Creek State Park in Gaithersburg.

More than 20 painters, sculptors and other artists, all of whom receive mental health services, will display their work. The event, which also will include a barbecue and dance, will kick off National Mental Health Awareness Week, which begins Sunday.

"There is still a very strong stigma against mentally-ill people," said Peter Warner, head of the Bethesda Beatniks Dinner Club, one of the event's sponsors. "Many feel isolated and alone. You might call this a coming-out party."

The festival begins at noon at the state park's Nuthatch and Blue Jay campsites and is free.

For more information, call Warner at 301-279-2578.

County Housing Fair

Montgomery County's Department of Housing and Community Affairs will host its fifth annual housing fair from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Activity Center at Bohrer Park.

The free fair will feature consumer protection information, a workshop on the Medicare prescription drug plan and sessions in English and Spanish on avoiding consumer scams and managing money and credit.

Participants will be able to obtain free copies of their credit reports and can attend a three-hour home-buying class that starts at 12:30 p.m. Registration is required. 506 S. Frederick Ave., Gaithersburg. For more information, call 301-590-2765.

Learn About Teen Fitness

Gaithersburg Library will hold its Teen Health and Fitness Fair from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. Body-fat analysis, aerobics and yoga, nutrition counseling, tai chi and kung fu demonstrations will be offered. Participants can also watch and discuss a PBS series "In the Mix," about teenagers' nutrition and fitness. Gaithersburg Library, 18330 Montgomery Village Ave., Gaithersburg. 240-777-6530.

Elder Law Presentation

Holiday Park Multi-service Senior Center will hold the second of six presentations in its 2005 elder law series, "Assisted Living: Questions to Ask and How to Pay for It," at 1 p.m. next Thursday. Legal, financial and policy experts will participate in panel discussions. $5. 301-468-4448 or

No-Alcohol Event Grants

Montgomery County has $1,500 in grant funds available to groups sponsoring alcohol-free activities for teenagers. Previous recipients include a chess club, arts program, sports academy and a comedy club.

To apply, community groups must be able to provide money to match 30 percent of the grant. Those interested must attend a workshop from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. next Thursday at the Mid-County Services Center, 2424 Reedie Dr., Wheaton.

The application deadline is Oct. 31. Call 240-777-1123 for more information.

-- Compiled by ARUNA JAIN