EMERGENCY FOOD, SHELTER FUNDS: Hernando County has been awarded about $64,000 through the Federal Emergency Management Agency to supplement emergency food and shelter programs in the county.
Agencies interested in applying for the funds must be private, voluntary nonprofits or units of government.
The deadline to submit an application is 5 p.m. Monday.
For qualification details, applications or information, call (352) 688-2026, send email to email@example.com or stop by the United Way of Hernando County, 4030 Commercial Way, Spring Hill. The office is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays.
SHELTER HAS URGENT NEED FOR VOLUNTEERS: The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals/SPCA Hernando has a desperate need for volunteers to help out at the shelter during the holiday season, due to a large number of regular volunteers are out of town.
The shelter is at 9075 Grant St. (off Sunshine Grove Road and Taylor Street), west of Brooksville.
Those interested in helping out can call (352) 596-7000.
PET ADOPTION EVENT: Hernando County Animal Services is offering its Home for the Holidays adoption program through Jan. 3. All pets adoption fees have been lowered to $10.
All pets are spayed or neutered, vaccinated, treated for parasites and licensed (for Hernando County residents only). Dogs have been tested for heartworm disease and cats for feline leukemia.
Those who are unable to adopt a pet can still help out by making a donation of the following supplies: bath and hand towels, dog biscuits, bleach, dog shampoo, canned cat and dog food, large balls and toys, cat carriers, cat litter, dog collars and leashes, metal food dishes and laundry soap.
The Animal Services shelter is at 19450 Oliver St., Brooksville. The shelter is open from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays.
For information, visit the website at hernandocounty.us/animal or call (352) 796-5062.
PLANT NURSERY HOLIDAY SCHEDULE: The Spring Hill Garden Club's plant nursery, 1489 Parker Ave., will close for the Christmas holiday at noon Saturday and reopen at 9 a.m. Jan. 4.
The nursery's regular schedule is 9 a.m. to noon Mondays and Saturdays. For information, visit naturecoastgardens.com or call (352) 683-9933.
VACANCIES ON COUNTY BOARDS: The Hernando County Metropolitan Planning Organization has vacancies on several committees: Citizens Advisory Committee, Transportation Disadvantaged Local Coordinating Board and the Bicycle/Pedestrian Advisory Committee.
Anyone interested in filling a vacancy should contact Steve Diez for an application. Call (352) 754-4057, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or stop by the Hernando County Government Center, Room 262, 20 N Main St., Brooksville.
Applications are also available on the website at hernando county.us/mpo/pdf/appregular.pdf.
HELP WITH BIRD COUNTS: The Hernando Audubon Society invites area residents to help with two Christmas Bird Counts.
The Aripeka-Bayport Christmas Bird Count will be Dec. 23. Volunteers can help count all the birds within a circle from Pine Island to Crews Lake Park.
Those wishing to help out can contact Bev Hansen for team assignment at (352) 686-0460.
The Brooksville Christmas Bird Count will be Dec. 28. Volunteers help count all the birds within a 7.5-mile radius of Bystre Lake.
To be assigned to a team, call Clay Black at (352) 592-4949.
CELEBRATE NEW YEAR'S IN HIGH POINT: A New Year's Eve Party will be is planned for Dec. 31 at the High Point Community Center, 12249 Club House Road, High Point.
A dinner buffet will be available at 7 p.m., featuring two entrees and two bottles of wine for each table. Music for dancing will be provided by Two Fold from 9 p.m. to 12:30 a.m.
Guests may bring their own beverages. Coffee and ice will be available and favors will be provided.
Tickets for dinner and dancing are $40 each; tickets for dancing only (admission starts at 8:30 p.m.) are $15.
Reservations are required; no tickets will be sold at the door. Call Sylvia at (352) 596-6006 for reservations and tickets.
COUNTY WATER-SAVING REBATES: The Hernando County Utilities Department is offering two water conservation incentive programs through Sept. 15 of next year. The programs are available to Utilities Department customers only.
• Low Flow Toilet Rebate Program — Qualified customers can receive up to a $200 water bill credit ($100 per toilet) if they change a high gallon-per-flush (gpf) toilet (manufactured before 1991 using 3.5 to 7 gpf) to a new water-saving toilet that uses 1.6 gpf or less.
To qualify, the home must be built after 1994, and a participating plumber must be used for purchase and installation of new toilets. Participating plumbers include Billy the Sunshine Plumber, Chuck Henderson Plumbing, Lou LaValle and Sons Plumbing, Oliver Plumbing, R.J. Kielty Plumbing Inc. and Reliable Plumbing.
• Rain Sensor Rebate Program — Qualified customers who need a rain sensor may receive a $50 water bill credit. A properly working sensor automatically shuts of the sprinkler system when there has been adequate rainfall.
To qualify, the home and irrigation system must be older than 2001, water used for irrigation must be provided by the county, and a participating irrigation contractor must be used for purchase and installation of the rain sensor. Participating contractors include Challenger Irrigation, Sunshine State Sprinklers and Vance Irrigation.
VOLUNTEERS NEEDED FOR TAX SEASON: The following programs need volunteers for the upcoming tax season in Hernando County:
• AARP Foundation Tax-Aide needs volunteer tax preparers and greeters. The program is a free, volunteer-run tax preparation and assistance service offered from February through April 15 at various locations throughout the county. Experience in preparing taxes is not required; volunteers who do prepare taxes must be computer literate.
Training is provided for all volunteers in January, at no cost. To become a volunteer, visit aarp.org/taxaide_volunteer to complete a volunteer form. For information, call (352) 799-2604.
• United Way of Hernando County needs greeters, tax return preparers and site coordinators for its Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program. It is preferred that volunteers have an accounting background or experience filing their own taxes. All volunteers should be computer literate and possess good communication skills. In order to prepare tax returns, all registered VITA volunteers will need to complete a short training course to become IRS-certified.
Those interested may fill out a volunteer application at united wayhernando.org or call the United Way office at (352) 688-2026.
DECORATE A TREE OF LIFE: HPH Hospice's 19th annual Trees of Life holiday program will continue through Dec. 24. Individuals may visit the trees between 9 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. weekdays at the HPH Hospice office, 12260 Cortez Blvd., and from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily at the Sturgill Care Center and Hospice House, 12242 Cortez Blvd., both in Spring Hill.
With a donation between $5 and $1,000, supporters may hang an ornament or have an ornament placed on a tree with a tag bearing a name; names can be for someone living or in someone's memory.
Contributions can be made at the trees, online at hph-hospice.org or by calling (727) 863-7971 or toll-free 1-800-486-8784.
SENIOR PROGRAM NEEDS VOLUNTEERS: The Retired Senior Volunteer Program is seeking Hernando County residents 55 and older to become volunteers.
Volunteers are needed in various capacities: tutoring elementary and high school students, teaching life skills to young parents, tutoring adult education students, delivering meals to the homebound, providing transportation for the blind and visually impaired, preparing tax returns, working in the thrift store, participating in environmental stewardship programs, and sorting and distributing food to the needy.
To learn more, call (352) 796-8117.
GARDEN CALENDAR ON SALE: The 2014 Hernando County Master Gardener calendar is now available. The calendar features month-by-month advice on how to care for a Hernando County landscape.
Calendars cost $3 each and must be picked up at the Hernando County Cooperative Extension Service, 1653 Blaise Drive; no calendars can be mailed. For information, call (352) 754-4433.