YMCA's 'giving trees' help families in need
The YMCA School Age Program is sponsoring two holiday "giving trees" to assist local families in need. The trees are on display at the program office at 1236 Mariner Blvd. and at the Hernando County Family YMCA at 1300 Mariner Blvd.
Each tree has ornaments bearing a child's gift request. Donors must return the unwrapped gift, with the ornament attached, to the YMCA School Age Program office no later than Dec. 15. Donations of gift cards are also needed.
For information, call the office between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. weekdays at (352) 686-9622.
Audubon Society's bird count is Dec. 19
The Hernando Audubon Society will conduct its 30th annual Christmas Bird Count on Dec. 19. The count runs throughout the day, but participants are free to join or leave as their schedules permit. Home feeder watchers are also needed.
Information collected from this annual event is used by Audubon scientists to determine bird population trends, and is also used in studies such as global warming, disease transmission and avian genetics.
Beginners are welcome. To sign up, call Clay at (352) 592-9292.
SPRING HILL/RIDGE MANOR WEST
Extension Service offers slate of classes
The Hernando County Cooperative Extension Service will present the following classes at the Spring Hill Branch/Harold G. Zopp Memorial Library, 9220 Spring Hill Drive. Each class starts at 10 a.m.:
• Dec. 2 — Florida Bugs: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
• Dec. 9 — Florida-Friendly Holiday Decorating
The following classes will be presented at the East Hernando Branch Library, 6457 Windmere Road, Ridge Manor West. Each class starts at 6:30 p.m.:
• Dec. 1 — Florida-Friendly Holiday Decorating
• Dec. 15 — Termites and Your Florida Home
All classes are free. No registration is required. For information, call (352) 754-4433.
Nature Center schedules programs
The following programs will be offered at the Chinsegut Nature Center, 23212 Lake Lindsey Road:
• Chinsegut Medicinal Plant Walk, 10 a.m. to noon Tuesday. Botanist Sid Taylor of the Division of Forestry will lead this walk along the trails at the nature center to identify plants that have been used medicinally.
• Introduction to Archery Workshop, 10 a.m. to noon on Dec. 12. Equipment will be provided. Participants must arrive at 10 a.m. to receive safety training. Preregistration is required.
For information or to RSVP, call (352) 754-6722.
Symphony to perform holiday concerts
The Hernando Symphony Orchestra will present its "A Modern Holiday" Christmas concerts on the following days:
• 7:30 p.m. Tuesday and 2 p.m. Dec. 6 at Springstead Theater, 3300 Mariner Blvd., Spring Hill.
• 7:30 p.m. Dec. 12, Hernando High School Performing Arts Center, 700 Bell Ave., Brooksville.
The concerts are the first performances of the orchestra's 26th season. Tickets are $12 for adults and $5 for students (grades K-12). Season tickets are also available for $30 each.
Additional concerts during the season include the winter concert, "Big Bands Return — Tribute to Lee Cave," that will be presented Feb. 21 and 23 at Springstead Theatre and Feb. 20 at the Hernando Performing Arts Center; and the "Hurray for Broadway" spring concerts, which will be April 25 and 27 at Springstead Theatre and April 24 at the Hernando Performing Arts Center.
Individual concert tickets may be purchased at the door. Tickets, including season tickets, may be purchased on the Web site at www.hernandosymphony.com. For information, call (352) 597-9555 or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Education foundation to hold Run and Walk
The Foundation for Early Education in Pasco and Hernando counties will host a Reindeer Run and Walk for Early Education on Dec. 12 at Sunlake High School, 3023 Sunlake Blvd.
There will be activities for all ages and athletic levels. There will be a 5K walk, a 5K run, a 1-mile run and a 1-mile family fun walk. Special dashes for children ages 3 to 5 will be held throughout the morning while other races are in session.
Preregistration is requested. The cost is $10 for adults and $5 for children 12 and younger. Registration fees include an event T-shirt and completion medals. T-shirts are guaranteed to those who register before Dec. 7. On-site registration will be available.
Register online at www.phelc.org/registration. For information, call (727) 233-8291.
Breakfast with Santa aids handicapped kids
The Hernando County La Sertoma Club will host its annual Pancake Breakfast with Santa from 8 to 11 a.m. Dec. 6 at Guido's Restaurant, 7219 Forest Oaks Blvd. Tickets are $3 each and may be purchased in advance or at the door. Children 2 and younger are admitted free.
The breakfast will include all-you-can-eat pancakes, sausage, juice, milk and coffee. Children will receive a "surprise" while supplies last. Raffle tickets to win holiday prizes will be available for purchase. La Sertoma is a nonprofit organization that conducts fundraisers for scholarships and holiday gifts for handicapped children in Hernando County, and sponsors a child to attend Camp Endeavor, a summer camp for hearing-impaired children.
For information or to purchase advance tickets, call Cris at (352) 397-4304.
RIDGE MANOR WEST
Christmas festival will light up the town
The Light Up Ridge Manor Christmas Festival will be from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Dec. 10 at the Beef O'Brady's in the Sunrise Plaza, just east of Interstate 75.
The event will include Christmas carols, a "Road to Bethlehem" walk-through drama, face painting and balloon animals, a bookmobile, children's activities and raffles to win a variety of prizes. DJ Bob Pepe will entertain. Photos with Santa Claus will be available for $3 each or two for $5.
The event is sponsored by the Greater Hernando County Chamber of Commerce Eastside Business Development Committee.
Dawn Center invites poster contest entries
The Dawn Center is accepting entries for its third annual poster contest, which is open to Hernando County students in grades 8 to 12, including those who are homeschooled. This year's theme is "Imagine a World Without Violence."
Posters in any medium should be created on 81/2-by-11-inch paper with an image and/or text to reflect the theme. Entries, along with complete artist contact information, must be turned in to the school administration office or mailed to: Dawn Center, P.O. Box 6197, Spring Hill, FL 34611. The deadline is 5 p.m. Jan. 15.
Posters will be judged on creativity, content of message and artistic execution. Winning designs will be used to create posters in support of a youth-led antiviolence campaign beginning in April.
Through sponsorships from the Suncoast for Kids Foundation, contest winners will receive savings accounts. The first-place winner will receive an account with a $300 balance, $200 for second place and $100 for third place.
Winning designs will be on display at the City Hall Art Gallery at Brooksville City Hall in February and will be highlighted at the gallery's reception from 5 to 7 p.m. Feb. 18.
For information, contact Dawn Easter at (352) 592-1288 or email@example.com.
The Dawn Center is Hernando County's domestic and sexual violence center, and its mission is to end the cycle of family violence, abuse and sexual assault. Visit the Web site at www.dawncenter.org.
Suncoast for Kids Foundation is sponsored by Suncoast Schools Federal Credit Union, with 100 percent of its funding going to organizations and initiatives that assist children in the communities the credit union serves.
VFW New Year's fete tickets are available
Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 10209 is selling tickets for the New Year's Eve Celebration on Dec. 31 at the post, 14736 Edward R. Noll Drive.
Doors open at 7 p.m., with dinner served at 8 p.m. Entertainment will be provided by Vintage (Rusty and Nick) from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m.
The dinner entree choice is prime rib or chicken. Tickets are $40 each or $75 per couple and can be purchased at the canteen. For information, call (352) 796-0398.
$28,000 grant helps deaf, hard of hearing
Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services of Florida Inc. has been awarded a $28,000 grant for deaf and hard-of-hearing employment success through the Able Trust, also known as the Florida Governor's Alliance for the Employment of Citizens with Disabilities.
The grant will assist deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals in Pasco and Hernando counties seeking employment or aid those currently employed, with a focus on three areas of service:
• Follow-along services: Continual support at the job site for the deaf and hard of hearing.
• Job placement: Helping those seeking employment or ones who have been denied services through vocational rehabilitation.
• Workplace communication training: Classes at the workplace for the deaf and hard of hearing and their co-workers to enhance effective communication.
For information, call Jennifer Hess at (727) 853-1010 or toll-free 1-866-685-9477.
HPH Hospice offers annual Tree of Life
HPH Hospice will host its 15th annual Tree of Life starting Friday. Three trees will be on display at the HPH office, at Hospice House and at the Hernando Hospice Care Center.
Visitors can stop by the office at 12260 Cortez Blvd. between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. weekdays to hang an ornament to honor a loved one. Eight different ornaments are available based on the donation amount.
To ensure the ornament is placed on the tree of one's choice, orders must be received no later than Dec. 15.
Orders can also be placed online at www.hph-hospice.org or by calling the HPH Foundation toll-free 1-800-486-8784. Additional Trees of Life are available in Pasco and Citrus counties.
Collectible ornaments depict county scenes
The Hernando County Tourist Development Council is taking orders for the 2009 collectible Christmas ornaments. The two ornaments each depict a well known venue in Hernando County.
The Hernando County design celebrates the historical heritage of the Chinsegut Hill Manor House, designed by local artist Lynn Simone. The ornament features a gold imprint on a purple matte. A limited number of ornaments signed and numbered by Simone are available for $15, plus tax. Unsigned ornaments are $10, plus tax.
The city of Brooksville design honors Rogers' Christmas House Village. The depiction is a silver imprint on a red mat, provided by Brooksville Printing. The original artist of the drawing is unknown. The ornaments are $10 each, plus tax.
Order forms are available online at www.naturallyhernando.org, or stop by the Hernando County Welcome Center at 30305 Cortez Blvd. in Ridge Manor West. For information, call (352) 754-4405.
Cyclists to hit trail for Reindeer Ride
The Suncoast Trail Advisory Group will host a Rudolph's Reindeer Ride on Dec. 12, starting at 5 p.m. at Suncoast Trailside Bicycles, 16242 State Road 54, at the Suncoast Parkway.
This is a bicycle-only event along the Suncoast Trail. Riders will head north on the trail and turn around at Crews Lake Park. The total trip is about 25 miles.
Appetizers will be served at Suncoast Trailside Bicycles, food and drinks at Crews Lake Park, followed by drinks and desserts back at the bike shop. Rider support ends at 8 p.m.
Helmets are mandatory, and bicycle lights are required. Participants can win prizes and gift certificates for the best holiday-decorated bike contest.
Those wishing to participate must RSVP by Dec. 6.
Preregistration is $20 and includes all food and beverages, and the raffle for prizes and gifts. Same-day registration is $30. Children 11 and younger may participate free. All children must be accompanied by an adult.
For information and to RSVP, contact Steve Diez at (352) 754-4057 or firstname.lastname@example.org, Tina Russo at (813) 598-1594 or email@example.com or Steffanie Workman at (813) 675-3716 or firstname.lastname@example.org.