Washington column for Feb. 19

Planets viewing

I hoped that everyone had a nice Valentine Day and survived the cold weather on Sunday.

This was a weekend for homemade soup, curled up by the fireplace with a good book to read.

Beside the cold weather, this is a great month for planets viewing! We can watch Venus, Mars and Jupiter pop out at nightfall. Venus and Mars will be in conjunction on Feb. 21. Let’s not forget the brilliant Venus in west at nightfall.Venus is the brightest of all planets, and third-brightest object in the sky after the sun and moon — climbs out of the glare of evening twilight all through the month of February it puts on a spectacular show with Mars this month! These two worlds edge closer on our sky’s dome for the first three weeks of February.

Meanwhile, day by day, Venus will be staying out longer after dark (but still following the sun beneath the horizon by early evening). In early February, Venus sets about two hours after sunset at mid-northern latitudes. The queen planet’s visibility improves throughout February, setting about two and one-half hours after the sun by the month’s end.

Do not miss Venus and Mars tonight Feb. 19, Feb. 20 and again on Feb. 21 as the slender waxing crescent moon returns to the evening sky, and moves up past two planets in the western twilight.

So get out your binoculars, or your telescope and take a look at the marvelous view in the sky.

Heart month

February is Heart Month so let’s make blood pressure control our goal.

Uncontrolled high blood pressure is a leading cause of heart disease and stroke. High blood pressure often shows no signs or symptoms, which is why having your blood pressure checked regularly is important. It’s easy to get your blood pressure checked. You can get screened at your doctor’s office and drugstores or even check it yourself at home, using a home blood pressure monitor.

Work with your doctor to make sure you meet your blood pressure goal.

If you know you have high blood pressure, take these steps to help get it under control

Ask your doctor what your blood pressure should be. Set a goal to lower your pressure with your doctor and talk about how you can reach your goal. Work with your healthcare team to make sure you meet that goal. Take your blood pressure medicine as directed. Reduce sodium intake. If consume too much sodium, it can raise your blood pressure.

Stay healthy!

WVFD breakast

Mom’s looking for a morning off from getting breakfast. Head down to the Washington Volunteer Fire Department this Saturday (Feb. 21) for an all-you-can-eat breakfast from 7 to 11 a.m., prepared by your local fire and rescue volunteers. Cost is $8; ages to and younger eat free. What a deal. For more information, call 540-675-3615.

Birthday wishes

Birthday wishes go out to Bud Clatterbuck, he celebrating his birthday, today (Feb. 19) to a dear friend of mine, Betty Grigsby who will celebrate her day on Saturday, Feb. 28.

Stay warm and have a wonderful week.

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