Parks, Planning Meeting

The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission will hold a public meeting on the proposed 2005 Land Preservation, Parks and Recreation Plan at 7:30 p.m. today.

The proposal addresses four areas: the plan for parks, open space, recreation facilities and parkland acquisition; agricultural land preservation; natural resource conservation; and the conservation of such cultural resources as historic sites.

The proposal can be accessed at

The public record will remain open through Nov. 10. Written comments may be sent by e-mail to or by mail to Derick P. Berlage, Chairman, Montgomery County Planning Board, 8787 Georgia Ave., Silver Spring. 301-495-4600.

Damascus Forum on Trail

The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission invites the public to comment on the proposed extension of the Magruder Branch Trail from Valley Park Drive to Damascus Town Center, from 7 to 9 p.m. today at the Damascus public library, 9701 Main St., Damascus.

The trail is a 3.1-mile paved path that begins at Damascus Recreational Park on Kings Valley Road and ends at Valley Park Road. The addition would extend the trail 1.1 miles to Damascus Town Center.

For more information call 301-495-4600 or visit

Gang-Prevention Forum

Takoma Park officials will host a public forum on gang prevention and intervention at 7:30 p.m. today at the city's municipal building, 7500 Maple Ave.

The forum is to discuss the role of parents, schools, youth programs and the faith community in preventing gangs from forming or taking hold in the city.

The forum will include representatives from Montgomery County public schools, Sligo Seventh-day Adventist Church, the Latin American Youth Center and Identity, a nonprofit organization devoted to Latino youths. For more information, call 301-891-7230.

Free Halloween Cab Rides

The Washington Regional Alcohol Program will offer free taxi rides to residents of Montgomery and Prince George's counties to prevent drunken driving during the Halloween weekend.

Residents 21 and older can request a ride by calling 800-200-TAXI (or 8294) from 8 p.m. to 4 a.m. Saturday through Monday. Cingular cell phone customers can dial #TAXI. For more information, visit

Leaf Pickups Begin Nov. 1

Montgomery County's Department of Public Works and Transportation will collect leaves twice on every street in the southern part of the county from Nov. 1 through mid-December.

The area included in the collection program is bounded by Interstate 495; Interstate 270; the Rockville city limits; Norbeck, Bel Pre and Bonifant roads; Northwest Branch Park; and the borders of the District and Prince George's County.

Green signs will be posted to notify residents of the first collection date; red signs will notify residents of the second collection date. Leaves should be placed in paper yard waste bags or reusable containers and set on the grass or behind a curb.

Tree or garden debris should not be mixed with leaves. Such debris should be tied in bundles no longer than four feet and placed with regular household trash. For more information, call 240-777-6530.

County Flu Shot Clinics

The Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services will hold three flu vaccination clinics, on a first-come, first-served basis, for county residents.

They are at the following times: 9 a.m. to noon Wednesday at the Dennis Avenue Health Center, 2000 Dennis Ave., Silver Spring; 9 a.m. to noon Nov. 14 on the 10th floor of the Silver Spring Health Center, 8630 Fenton St., Silver Spring; and 1 to 3 p.m. Nov. 16 at the Germantown Health Center, Upcounty Regional Services Center, 12900 Middlebrook Rd., Germantown.

"We are expecting an ample supply of vaccine this year, and we urge everyone to consider getting a flu shot," said Ulder J. Tillman, the county's health officer.

Each shot costs $20. Individuals with Medicare should bring their Medicare card. Children 17 and under must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian to get a shot. For more information, call 240-777-1050.

MLK Award Nominations

Montgomery County's Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Committee is seeking nominations for its annual Humanitarian and "Children of the Dream" awards.

Nominees must be county residents who have demonstrated a commitment to perpetuating King's ideals.

The Humanitarian award will be given to a county resident who has excelled in community or civic work; "Children of the Dream" awards will be given to a male and female high school student who have demonstrated outstanding community involvement.

The committee was formed as part of Montgomery County's annual celebration of King's life and legacy. The deadline to submit nomination forms is Nov. 28. To get a form, call 240-777-2500.

-- Compiled by ARUNA JAIN