Get your pet's photo taken at fundraiser
The Santa Paws fundraiser offering pet photos with Santa will be from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. today at Petco, 7223 Coastal Blvd.
Santa will sit with dogs, cats and children for photos during his visit. The cost is $8.95 plus tax, which includes the photo and a holiday frame, with $5 of each photo purchase going to the Humane Society of the Nature Coast. For information, call the Humane Society at (352) 796-7211.
Children's chorale auditions coming up
The Nature Coast Children's Chorale will conduct auditions Tuesday and Wednesday at Powell Middle School, 4100 Barclay Ave.
Auditions are open to students in third grade through high school. The choir practices on Thursday evenings and will keep an active performance schedule in the spring.
The nonprofit chorale, which is under the direction of David Pletincks, is made up of 29 children from third through ninth grades representing 13 schools in Hernando and Pasco counties as well as homeschooled students.
To schedule an audition time, call (352) 442-7060. For information about the chorus, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Web site at www.naturecoast childrenschorale.org.
Two receptions set for artists Thursday
The Spring Hill Art League will have two wine and cheese receptions for artists from 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday at the Coastal Way Plaza.
A reception for contemporary artist Fred Mannarino will be at Nanette's Spirit of the Hand, 13157 Cortez Blvd.; the other for impressionistic oil painter Patricia Ritter will be at Patio Paradise, 7069 Coastal Blvd.
Mannarino's cubist paintings have won numerous awards, and Ritter's mosaic works have become a one-of-a-kind signature. Each artist's works will be on display and available for purchase through the end of month.
Kids, sign up for winter basketball
Hernando County Recreation will offer a Winter Basketball Camp from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 29 and 30 at Kennedy Park, 1000 Kennedy Blvd.
The camp, open to youths ages 8 to 14, will provide basketball instructions, shooting skills and afternoon scrimmage games.
The cost is $20. The first 30 kids to register will receive a camp shirt. The deadline to register is Dec. 24.
Registration must be done at the recreation office, 205 E Fort Dade Ave. For information, call (352) 754-4031.
Food, personal items needed for children
The Hernando County Association of Realtors is collecting nonperishable food and personal items for the children at New Beginnings Youth Shelter in Brooksville.
Those wishing to donate can drop off items at the Angels on High event from 6:30 to 9 p.m. today and Sunday on the Lake House grounds, 1202 Kenlake Ave., Spring Hill; or at the HCAR office at 7321 Sunshine Grove Road, Brooksville.
Items needed include CD players, socks, makeup kits, sweat pants, games, slippers, body sprays, sweat shirts, cards, scarves, body wash, sweat jackets, puzzles, hats, lotions, pajamas, arts and crafts, gloves, bath kits, undergarments, footballs, wallets, nail kits, pocketbooks/backpacks, basketballs, books, hair accessories and DVDs (rated G, PG or PG-13 only).
All donations are needed by Monday.
New Beginnings operates a short-term shelter program for youths ages 10 to 17 who are runaways or homeless.
For information, call (352) 799-1971.
Dance to help teen awaiting transplant
Springstead High School is organizing an oldies dance fundraiser to benefit 14-year-old Kyle Lane, who is on a national waiting list for a double lung transplant.
Donations and raffle items are needed and can be taken or sent to Springstead High School, 3300 Mariner Blvd. Spring Hill, FL 34609. To make arrangements for items to be picked up or for information, call Nilsa Colon Toro at the school, 797-7010.
The dance will be from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. Jan. 9 at the SNPJ Lodge, 13383 County Line Road. The cost is $10 per person; table reservations can be made for groups of 10 or more, but must be prepaid. The event will include a raffle and music by DJ Mr. T.
Kyle has cystic fibrosis and is on the national waiting list of the United Network for Organ Sharing at the University of North Carolina Lung Transplant Center in North Carolina. Kyle's mother is a substitute teacher at Springstead, and his brother, Tyler, attends the school.
Funds raised will help offset the medical and traveling expenses that Kyle's family will incur when he is called for the transplant.
For tickets or reservations, call (352) 686-0225, (352) 279-4450, (352) 279-0594 or (727) 236-3950.
Sheriff's citizens academy has openings
Openings are available for the afternoon and evening sessions of the next Hernando County Sheriff's Office Citizen's Academy, which will be offered on Thursdays from Jan. 15 through Feb. 19. The afternoon session meets from 1 to 4 p.m. and the evening session meets from 6 to 9 p.m.
The academy gives an insider's view of the Sheriff's Office and criminal justice system. Participants will observe demonstrations by police dog handlers, have tours of the Sheriff's Office and learn about forensics, uniform patrol, traffic unit, administration, investigations, vice and narcotics, communications/911, aviation and marine units, mounted patrol and legal issues and perspectives.
Graduates will have the option of riding along with a patrol deputy, flying in the helicopter or observing in the communications center.
The academy is available to adults 18 and older. To register, call Deputy Kim Burger at 754-6830, ext. 53679.
Learn about adoption, kids needing homes
Those interested in adoption are invited to an adoption orientation with the Children's Home Society of Florida at 6 p.m. Monday at 11 N Magnolia Ave.
Case managers will be on hand to speak about the group's adoption services and children needing families.
Founded in 1902 and based in Winter Park, the nationally accredited society is one of the largest and oldest statewide private providers of social services. For information, call (352) 334-0955.
Botanical garden decorated for holidays
The Spring Hill Garden Club invites residents to visit the Nature Coast Botanical Gardens, 1489 Parker Ave., for the annual Holiday in the Garden, where 25 local businesses and organizations have decorated evergreen trees. Visitors are encouraged to vote for the best-decorated tree throughout December. The gardens are open daily during daylight hours. For information, call (352) 683-9933.
Get a year's worth of gardening tips
The 2009 Hernando County Master Gardener Calendar is now available.
The calendars are $3 each and can be purchased at the Hernando County Cooperative Extension Service, 19490 Oliver St.
The calendar features month-by-month expert advice on Central Florida landscaping and is packed with information pertinent to longtime gardeners and beginners.
Stop by the Extension Office for a calendar or, for information, call (352) 754-4433.
Sign up now for next County Connection
The Hernando County community relations office is now accepting registrations for the next County Connection program.
The 10-week program will run Jan. 15 to March 19 and will include weekly three-hour interactive sessions with presentations that inform participants about the services and programs provided by various offices and departments within Hernando County government.
Participants will have the opportunity to meet elected officials and learn about county government.
To register to attend, call (352) 540-6780 or go online to www.hernandocounty.us/cr.
Brick sponsors needed for memorial wall
Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 10209 invites veterans, businesses and anyone interested to sponsor a brick for a memorial pond and freedom walk that will be built at the post's new home at 14736 Edward R. Noll Drive, off Anderson Snow Road.
Bricks are $50, which includes the cost of engraving. The memorial, spearheaded by post member "Wild" Bill Taylor, will include the brick memorial wall, a flag walkway, fountains, railings, bushes and floodlights.
For information, call the post at 796-0398.
Sign up to learn financial stability
The United Way of Hernando County will host a workshop on financial stability from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Jan. 14 at Career Central, 7631 Forest Oaks Blvd.
The United Way has partnered with other community leaders to present this hands-on workshop for Hernando County residents wishing to enhance their money skills and maintain positive banking relationships. There will be speakers from Career Central, Consumer Credit Counseling Services of Florida and SunTrust Bank. There will be a question-and-answer session, and brief one-on-one consultations with financial advisers will be available.
There is no cost to attend the workshop. For information, call (352) 688-2026.