Gift tree deadlines drawing near

Deadlines are drawing near for those wanting to adopt names of those in need this holiday season.

Several organizations have gift trees, including the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program, the Ellis County Child Welfare Board’s Spirit of Christmas program and Hope Clinic’s program.

The community is asked to support those in need by selecting one or more tags off of any of the above and returning the gift items to the location by the deadline noted.

For more information, contact any of the above organizations.

Flu shots

Hope Clinic is offering flu shots to the public for $12 from 9 a.m.-noon and 1-5 p.m. Monday-Friday. Shots for babies to adults are now available.

Flu shots also are available at the nurse’s office at Waxahachie Junior High School during school hours Monday-Friday. Shots are $20.

Calendars being collected

The City Federation of women’s clubs in Waxahachie is collecting calendars for patients at M.D. Anderson Hospital in Houston. Anyone with extra calendars can drop them off in a box inside the front door at the Waxahachie Daily Light, 200 W. Marvin.

Holiday lighting contest

The city of Italy is hosting a holiday lighting contest, according to Cynthia Olguin, city administrator.

Olguin said a first place, second place, third place and two honorable mentions will be awarded. There is also an honorable mention contest for downtown businesses. Sponsors for the event include David’s Supermarket, Exxon and Shell.

Judging will be Saturday, Dec. 15. Winners will be notified Monday, Dec. 17.

Toy drive

Ryan’s Steakhouse and the Kiwanis have partnered in sponsoring a toy drive to benefit children in need in Ellis County. Toys will be collected at Ryan’s in a large box located inside the restaurant. Each customer that donates a toy will receive a free beverage. Donated toys will be distributed by the Waxahachie Fire Department prior to Christmas Day. For more information, call 972-351-3377 or e-mail bene22@flash.net.

Shopper’s Delight

Local businesses are offering deep discounts through the Shopper’s Delight card. Cards can be purchased for $20 at the Waxahachie Daily Light office, Flowers by Patty, Pearman Oil and Northgate Hair Design. Proceeds benefit Project Graduation.

Countdown to Christmas

Photographs of children ages infant-5 years old are being accepted for the annual Countdown to Christmas presentation. The countdown runs on Page 1 of the Daily Light from Thanksgiving Day through Christmas Day, with all photos to be given to Sharon Rexrode at the Daily Light.

Bring photos to the Daily Light, 200 W. Marvin, e-mail to sharon.rexrode@waxahachiedailylight.com or mail to P.O. Box 877, Waxahachie, TX 75168.

First-come, first-served. All information must be printed and legible. The needed information is the child’s name, age and names of parents.

For more information, call Sharon Rexrode at (972) 937-3310.

WISD band plans holiday concerts

With the holiday season here, the Waxahachie ISD band program has announced its schedule of holiday concerts for the community.

All concerts will be held at the Waxahachie High School Fine Arts Center and will begin at 7 p.m. There is no admission charge.

The WISD band holiday concert series includes:

Thursday, Dec. 13 — Waxahachie High School band holiday concert.

Saturday, Dec. 15 — All Region Jazz concert

Tuesday, Dec. 18 — Turner Middle School band holiday concert.

GWRRA Toy Drive

Gold Wing Road Riders Association, chapter W-2, will host its annual toy drive from 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 15, at Citizens National Bank.

New wrapped toys or cash will be accepted with all toys and proceeds benefiting local charities.

“This toy drive is to simply help the kids in Ellis County,” a spokesman said.

‘Christmas at Grace’

The community is invited to attend “Christmas at Grace” from 5:30-8:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 16, at Grace Church of Ovilla, 519 Westmoreland.

The evening will feature the church’s youth group and worship team.

The festivities begin at 5:30 p.m. when the youth group holds its annual chili cook-off. Judges from the community will decide the best chili with prizes for four places. There are no entry fees. The worship team will then lead a sing-along of Christmas carols.

“This will be fun for the whole family,” a spokesman said, noting the event concludes with the annual dessert auction fund-raiser.

“The dessert auction will raise money for the church planting mission trip this summer to Venezuela,” the spokesman said. “We have 43 students and adults participating in the trip. This is a great time to get some creative desserts for the holiday season or just enjoy them that night by sharing with everyone at your table. Come celebrate with us as a family of Grace.”

For more information, visit online at www.gracechurchovilla.org or call 972-617-0429.

Seed and seedling programs

The Ellis-Prairie Soil and Water Conservation District is offering several programs for the community.

The wildflower seed program offers two mixes and bluebonnet seeds, with 1-pound packages available.

The seedling tree program offers several evergreen and hardwood species available for conservation plantings. The deadline for seedling orders is Feb. 7.

Another program offers grass, legume and forb seeds for permanent pasture establishment, overseeding of existing pastures and wildlife food plots.

For more information, contact the district office at 1822 Farm-to-Market 66, Suite 102, Waxahachie or call 972-937-2660, ext. 3.

Free photographs with Santa

As a thank you to the community, Whataburger in Midlothian is offering free photographs with Santa Claus from 5-8 p.m. Monday, Dec. 17. The restaurant is located at 1320 E. U.S. Highway 287.

For more information, call 972-775-2323.

Senior dance

Waxahachie Senior Citizens Center will hold a dance from 7-9:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 18. Flashbacks will perform songs from the 1940s to the 1970s.

“Come out and dance to the ’50s, rock and roll, big band era and old country,” a spokesman said.

The cost is $4 per person.

Christmas celebration

Inspiration Inc. is inviting the community to “come celebrate the true meaning of Christmas” at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 20, at the Ennis Public Library.

The nonprofit group will present its adaptation of the popular “Charlie Brown Christmas” followed by Christmas carols, praise dance and more.

Admission is free, with canned goods accepted as a donation for Helping Hands of Ennis. Seated is limited, so people are encouraged to come early.

Blood drive

The Waxahachie H-E-B will host a blood drive with Carter BloodCare from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 27, in the store parking lot.

First-time donors must have a photo ID. For more information, call Linda Waisath at 972-923-2283.

Master Gardener training

Applications are now available for the 2008 Master Gardener Training program. Texas Master Gardeners are trained members of the local community who take an active interest in their lawns, trees, shrubs, flowers and gardens.

The time commitment is from 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. every Tuesday and Thursday during the month of February. Trainees also will be asked to complete 75 hours of volunteer service before graduating from the Master Gardener program.

Application forms are available on the Ellis County Master Gardener’s Web site at www.ECMGA.com or by calling 972-825-5175. Tuition for the program is $100.

Class size is limited and attendance is required at all sessions to complete the program. Deadline for application is Jan. 11.

Oversight committee

The Ellis County Bond Oversight Committee will meet at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 7 in the second floor courtroom of the Ellis County Courthouse.

The committee reviews progress on the county’s facilities projects, including the courts and administration building and the jail addition.

For more information, call 972-825-5000.

Nature Exchange Program

Pettigrew Academy will host the Dallas Zoo Nature Exchange Program from 9 a.m.-noon Jan. 12, at 806 E. Marvin Ave., Waxahachie.

The event is free and open to the public. Children are invited to bring their nature items to trade, such as rocks, fossils, pressed leaves, flowers or any other nature-related item.

“Get points for your items and start your own account,” a spokesman said. “Spend the points in your account to take home a new treasure from nature.”

The event will include special snowflake and ice activities, along with food, games and crafts.

Chili cook-off and dance

The seventh annual Gingerbread House children’s advocacy center chili cook-off and barn dance will be held Friday-Sunday, Feb. 1-3, at the Ellis County Expo Center.

The event features CASI-sanctioned chili cook-offs all three days, with junior, novice and bean competition also on Saturday. A celebrity mechanical bull-riding competition is Friday-Saturday, with a silent auction Saturday.

For more information about sponsorships, donations, judging and volunteer opportunities, contact the center at 972-937-1870.

Ennis Czech Music Festival

The Czech polka bands of Ennis invite the public to the annual Ennis Czech Music Festival from 2-11:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 9, at Sokol Activity Center, 2622 E. State Highway 34, Ennis.

“Listen and dance to five bands,” a spokesman said. “The kitchen will be open if you get hungry, so come on out and let’s party. This is a great way to extend your support and appreciation for Czech music and heritage.”

Bands and times include Ennis Czech Boys at 2 p.m., Jak Se Do at 4, Harvesters at 6, Jodie Mikula Orchestra at 8 and Czech and Then Some at 10.

The cost is $5 per person, with children ages 14 and younger admitted free.

Dress is casual, but Czech costumes (kroj) are welcome.

For more information, listen to the Sunday Morning Polka Show from 9-10:50 a.m. Sundays on KBEC 1390 or visit online at www.KBEC.com.

Meals-on-Wheels barbecue benefit

Meals-on-Wheels of Johnson and Ellis Counties will hold its annual barbecue benefit at 6 p.m. Saturday, March 29, at Loma Linda event pavilion in Rockett. Prizes, entertainment, food and fun will be offered. For more information, call 972-351-9943 or visit online at www.servingthechildrenofyesterday.org.