Free income tax assistance

The IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program or the Tax Counseling for the Elderly Program offer free tax help if you qualify. The VITA Program offers free tax help to low to moderate income (generally, $49,000 and below) people who cannot prepare their own tax returns.

In Ennis, a VITA site is open this tax season at the Ennis Public Library, 501 W. Ennis Ave., available from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays. 

Lighthouse for Learning registration

The opportunity to learn through the Waxahachie Lighthouse for Learning Community Education Program is here again. Registration has begun and classes start Monday, Feb. 22. Online learning is also available. 

For more information, contact Melissa Cobb at 972-923-4631, ext. 142, or e-mail mcobb@wisd.org. 

To view the complete catalog or register online, go to www.wisd.org.

Students may also walk in or mail in registrations to the Waxahachie ISD administration building at 411 N. Gibson St. New classes begin and registration is available throughout the spring.

Candidates’ meet and greet

Chick-fil-A restaurant at Waxahachie will host a Meet the Candidates Night from 5-8 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 24, in advance of the primary election March 2.

All officially qualified candidates have been invited to attend and will be provided a table for campaign materials. Candidates are encouraged to meet Chick-fil-A customers and answer questions.

Chick-fil-A in Waxahachie is located at 996 W. U.S. Highway 287 Bypass. For more information, call 972-937-1504.

Phoenix Players auditions

Phoenix Repertory Players, a not-for-profit youth theatre company, will hold auditions for its spring production of “Sleepless Dreams” at 2 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 25, at Ferris Heights United Methodist Church, 108 Center St. in Waxahachie.

In “Sleepless Dreams,” a young girl finds herself living in two separate worlds — one filled with everyday teenage happenings, another filled with gryphons and dragons and desperate treasure hunters.  Which is real?  What is a dream?  Whatever the answer, this is a play with lots of fun parts for guys and girls.

Students ages 9 and up are invited to audition. Auditions will be cold readings from the script; no prepared monologues are required.

Note that Phoenix Repertory's production is geared to accommodate homeschooled and other privately schooled students who are able to manage early afternoon rehearsals.  See the Web site at http://sites.google.com/ site/phoenixrepertoryplayers/home or contact phoenixrepertory@gmail.com to learn more or to let us know that you plan to attend auditions.

WHS hosts Black History Month

“The History of Black Economic Empowerment” is the theme of the 11th annual Waxahachie High School Black History Month Community Day Celebration, which gets under way in February.

The event, which is free to the public, will be held from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Feb. 27 in the school’s Fine Arts Center.

Co-chairing the event are WHS teachers, Cynthia High, resource math instructor, and Beverly Swett, content mastery instructor.

Swett said space for approved displays of creative expressions and community outreach programs would be available throughout the event.

Interested individuals or groups need to complete a participation form by Feb. 10. All approved participants are requested to attend a rehearsal from 4-6 p.m. Feb. 10 in the Fine Arts Center. 

For information about how to obtain a participation form or for more details, call High at 972-923-4600, ext. 135, or Swett at 972-923-4600, ext. 140. To receive a registration form, e-mail Swett at bswett@wisd.org.

Crockpot cookoff

Help fight cancer one bite at a time by entering the Crockpot Cookoff to be held from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 27, at the Getzendaner Park Pavilion. Entries from the public are welcome. Categories include pinto beans, soups and chili. Entry fees are $15 per crockpot. “The public is invited to come for all you can eat and sample the wonderful tastes of Waxahachie,” a spokesman said.

Admission is $5 per adult and $2.50 for children. All proceeds benefit the American Cancer Society. There will be a bounce house and kids games. Make checks payable to the American Cancer Society. RSVP to enter to 972-825-1589. Registration will begin at 10:30 a.m.

Mr. & Ms. Red Oak pageant

The stars will be shining bright on Saturday, Feb. 27, for the 2010 Mr. & Ms. Red Oak Pageant. This year, the event will feature five women and four men working to earn the title of Mr. & Ms. Red Oak.

“The pageant is heating up as contestants from schools around Red Oak ISD are preparing to bring the crown home to their school or department,” a spokesman said. “The event is a fun filled night of laughs, laughs and more laughs as dedicated staff members the Red Oak area strut their stuff.”

The annual fundraising event benefits the Project Success Drug Education Program. The pageant will be held at 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 27, in the Red Oak High School cafeteria and tickets can be purchased at the gate. 

Tickets are $5 adults and $3 for students, with younger than 6 and older than 65 free.

For more information, contact Red Oak ISD Police Department at 972-617-4607.

Blood drive

A visit to the Carter BloodCare mobile unit on the parking lot of the Daily Light next month will mean life to someone. Residents of Waxahachie and the surrounding areas are invited to visit the facility, which will be stationed at 200 W. Marvin, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday, March 8.

Walk-ins are welcome, but people with appointments will be taken first.

To schedule an appointment, contact Rachael Loftis at 972-937-3310 or rachael.loftis@wninews.com.

Sims Library offers computer classes

Nicholas P. Sims Library will offer free computer classes for the community throughout 2010.

Classes are one-day from 10 a.m.-noon the second Saturday of the month. The four core classes are Intro to Internet (Oct. 9), Anatomy of an E-mail (March 13 and Nov. 13), Computer Confidence (April 10 and Dec. 11) and Basic Computers (Sept. 11). Additional advanced classes will be offered as well.

The computer classes are open to anyone with a Sims Library card.  Pre-registration is required for the classes, which are held in the reference room on the basement level of the library. 

Call 972-937-2671 or stop by the library to register.

Crochet class

Sabrina McDonald will teach a beginning crochet class for adults in the meeting room at Nicholas P. Sims Library from 10 a.m.-noon Saturday, Feb. 27. Class and materials are free to participants. Register at Nicholas P. Sims Library, 515 W. Main, Waxahachie, or call 972-937-2671.

Lawn and Garden Expo

The Ellis County Master Gardeners invites the community to its 10th annual Lawn and Garden Expo from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, March 27, at the Waxahachie Civic Center. Neil Sperry will again be the keynote speaker.

Anyone who has a gardening-related business and who is interested in having a booth at the 2010 Expo is asked to contact James Kocian at 972-814-0699 or e-mail expo.ecmga@yahoo.com.

Meals-on-Wheels benefit

Meals-on-Wheels of Johnson and Ellis Counties will host a “Remember When” the Fabulous 1940s-style event with happy hour, reception, dinner, big band entertainment, dancing, live auction and prizes at National Guard Amory in Waxahachie on March 27.

For more information, call 972-351-9943 or 817-558-2840. Visit online at www.servingthechildrenofyesterday.org.

Scholarship funds available

The Ellis County Master Gardeners Association is accepting applications for its annual scholarships. The deadline to apply is April 1.

Scholarships are available in the amount of $1,000-$2,000. To qualify the applicant must be a current or former resident of Ellis County, have an elected academic major in a horticulture-related field that includes, but is not limited to horticulture, agriculture, environmental science, forestry, botany and entomology, and be able to provide proof of acceptance and/or current registration at an accredited institution of higher learning. For more information, contact the Texas AgriLife Extension Office, 701 S. Interstate 35E, Suite 3, Waxahachie, TX 75165 or call 972-825-5175. Visit online at http://ellis-tx.tamu.edu/ and click on publications.

Free tax preparation help

AARP volunteers will again offer tax preparation assistance to the community. The services will be available from Feb. 2-April 15, according to the following schedule, which notes that counselors may not be present for the entire posted hours if no taxpayers are present for assistance.

•10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesdays at the Ennis Public Library, 501 W. Ennis Ave., Ennis

•9 a.m.-3 p.m. Thursdays at Nicholas P. Sims Library, 515 W. Main St., Waxahachie

The services are free and include electronic filing. Taxpayers do not have to be elderly or members of AARP. Married taxpayers should both attend. Complicated returns are not handled; however, some assistance is offered.

Taxpayers should bring their 2008 return in addition to all tax-related documents relating to their 2009 return.

Big Brothers Big Sisters needed

Waxahachie ISD is in need of Big Brothers Big Sisters volunteers to mentor a child. The time commitment is one lunch period a week or a twice-a-month meeting outside of school “Help us serve more children,” a spokesman said.

For more information, contact Joannie Conger at 972-872-9466 or e-mail jconger@bbbstx.org.

Flu shots available

Free H1N1 flu shots are available to the community from 4-5:30 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at Finley Seventh Grade Center, 2401 Brown St., Waxahachie.

For more information, call Kris Rencher, RN, at 972-923-4689, ext. 504. H1N1 and seasonal flu vaccine also is being offered by Texas Department of State Health Services, 3001 S. Washington, Suite D, Kaufman.

Call 972-932-2038 for information.

Project Graduation cards available

Project Graduation cards are now available for sale. They are available from any Waxahachie High School senior and also at the Daily Light. The cards provide a discount at a variety of local merchants. The funds raised go toward the annual graduation night party for seniors.

WPA fundraiser

Waxahachie Preparatory Academy is selling discount cards that offer more than 20 local business discounts. The card is good through Dec. 31 and can be used as many times as one wants throughout the year. The cost is $10 per card and the funds raised directly benefit the academy, which is located at Waxahachie Bible Church, 621 N. Grand Ave., Waxahachie.  For more information, call 972-937-0440. Purchase the cards at the school office from 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday-Friday.

February Brown Bag

Ellis County Museum will host its monthly Brown Bag event from noon-1 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 25, with featured speaker Edward Burleson.

Burleson will present, “A History of Burleson Honey,” in this ongoing informative series.

The Burleson Honey Company began in the early part of the 20th century in Waxahachie and is one of the community’s longest running businesses. Burleson will give attendees an account of its beginning and growth over the years.

“Please join the Ellis County Museum’s February Brown Bag for a slice of Waxahachie’s commercial history,” a spokesman said.

The informal lunch series is free and open to the public. Participants are encouraged to bring whatever they want to eat and drink during the event.

The idea was originally conceived and organized by Julie Webb a number of years ago and has been re-initiated by Beth Price.

Ellis County Volunteer Guardianship

The Ellis County Volunteer Guardianship Program is in need of volunteers.

“Sadly, there are people in our community, whether they be elderly with Alzheimer’s or adults suffering from mental retardation, who have no family members or friends to check on them periodically,” a spokesman said. “The legislature has provided that these persons should be appointed a guardian to make sure they are being provided for and to consent to medical treatment on their behalf.” 

The Ellis County Volunteer Guardianship Program was created in 1997 with a grant from the Texas Guardianship Alliance. Since that time, more than 50 people have been provided with guardians. Only a small commitment of time is needed. 

People who are interested in serving can contact the Ellis County Volunteer Guardianship Program at 972-723-9815. Criminal background checks are conducted.

Tax time attracts e-mail crooks

DALLAS – Don’t be fooled if you get an e-mail that appears to be from the Internal Revenue Service about your tax return or refund.

It’s coming from Internet thieves looking to steal your personal information, like credit card or bank account numbers.

“Folks have tax refunds on their minds this time of year and that could be handy for con artists,” said Clay Sanford, a Dallas IRS spokesman. “Don’t get hooked by an unsolicited e-mail claiming to be from the IRS, because we don’t send them.”

Similar dangerous e-mails rampaged two years ago when the stimulus checks were announced, but Sanford said fake IRS e-mails can entice you with other false proposals.  They could simply state that you are due a refund or anything else to trick you.

Delete the email or you can forward it to the IRS, at phishing@irs.gov. 

Waxahachie Care

Waxahachie Care is a community food pantry that helps those in need and emergency situations with food, utilities and gas, and also helps the elderly with special needs. The nonprofit agency is located at 609 Kaufman St. in Waxahachie.  The hours of operation are from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday-Thursday and from 9 a.m.-noon Friday. Call 972-923-2273 for information.