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.

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.

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.

“The community has always been extremely supportive of our band program and this is one of the ways we can show our appreciation for all of their support,” said Rich Armstrong, WISD director of bands.

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

The WHS band will also march in the Waxahachie Christmas Parade on Dec. 1.

Countdown to Christmas pictures

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

Light the Town

For the enjoyment of Maypearl residents and those passing through, the city of Maypearl will “Light the Town” by turning on all of the Christmas lights downtown Dec. 3.

First Tuesday Family Movie Night

Nicholas P. Sims Library invites the community to its First Tuesday Movie Night from 6-7:30 p.m. Dec. 4. December’s movie features Academy Award-winner Michael Caine as Ebenezer Scrooge.

Based on Charles Dickens’ tale, this holiday favorite also stars Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy and other Muppet characters. Free admission for this G-rated film.

Christmas craft

Nicholas P. Sims Library junior teens, ages 11-12, are making Christmas ornaments and homemade cards from 4-5 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 5, in the meeting room.

“Come spend a fun afternoon at the library with your friends,” a spokesman said. “Snacks provided.”

Town hall meeting

The North Texas Behavioral Health Authority will hold a town hall meeting at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 5 at the Ellis County Courthouse, 101 W. Main St., Waxahachie. The purpose of this public meeting is to get local planning input from consumers, providers, stakeholders and any other interested people in the community on mental health and chemical dependency services.

“Give us your input on what is working now, what can be improved, your community needs and any other ideas on improving our mental health and chemical dependency system of care,” a spokesman said.

Mammogram screenings

The Baylor Sammons Mobile Breast Imaging Center will be at the Waxahachie Wal-Mart from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Friday, Dec. 7.

To schedule an appointment for a screening mammogram, call 214-820-1700 or for more information, call Sherry Fox at 214-820-8418.

Historic Waxahachie workday

As part of an ongoing project to restore the Wyatt building and calaboose, Historic Waxahachie will hold a workday from 8 a.m.-noon Saturday, Dec. 8. The buildings are located on College Street across from the Waxahachie Police Department. All ages and abilities are welcome. For more information, call Carole Forkowitz at 972-938-8432.

Teen Movie Saturday

Teen Movie Saturday at Nicholas P. Sims Library is from 2:30-5:20 p.m. Dec. 8. This month’s feature movie stars Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightly.

“When Captain Jack gets taken literally to the end of the world, Will, Elizabeth and Captain Barbossa band together to bring him back in this fun filled adventure,” a spokesman said. “Come enjoy popcorn and a movie at the library. This movie is rated PG-13.”

Hidden Miracles seminar

Hidden Miracles is hosting a free seminar title, “The Day After: Planning for the Future of a Person with Lifetime Special Needs,” from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 8, at Cowboy Church of Ellis Church. This seminar will focus on financial, estate and family/legal needs for special needs families with guest speaker Steven C. Rhatigan.

Topics will include planning protocol, Social Security and waiver programs, care plan, financial plan, letter of intent, transition plan and Legal.

For more information, call 972-937-6255 or hiddenmiracles@sbcglobal.net.

Christmas stroll in Waxahachie

Calling all parade enthusiasts - there’s going to be a new event in town this holiday season. Waxahachie’s Downtown Victorian Christmas Festival is introducing a new night-time lighted Christmas stroll through downtown. Think of cool brisk weather, carolers, lights, bells and bows and one has the makings for a Victorian Christmas stroll to be held at 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 8.

For information, contact Virginia Sevier at (972) 333-1653 or Dianne Banks at 972-937-3310, ext. 12.

Mammogram screenings

The Baylor Sammons Mobile Breast Imaging Center will be at CNB at Brookshire’s in Red Oak from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 12.

To schedule an appointment for a screening mammogram, call 214-820-1700 or for more information, call Sherry Fox at 214-820-8418.

Grinch Exchange

Nicholas P. Sims Library teens, ages 13-18, are participating in a Grinch Exchange from 4-5 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 12. Each teen is encouraged to bring a $3-$5 gift to exchange.

“Participants will have the opportunity to steal each others selected gifts,” a spokesman said. “This is a perfect opportunity to make new friends. Snacks will be provided.”

Pinning ceremony

Advantage Academy of Waxahachie and the Kiwanis Club of Waxahachie will present the Advantage Academy Key Club of Waxahachie to the community from 7-8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 13, at the First Assembly Fellowship hall, Waxahachie.

Kiwanis officials, including Division 2 lt. Governor Barbara Powers will be present and member of the community including city officials, teachers, parents, club sponsors chamber officials and members and local clubs and social service agencies are encouraged to attend. Key Club officers will be inducted and members will be pinned.

RSVP to Marilyn Benedict at 972-351-3377. For more information about the Key Club or Kiwanis, visit www.keyclub.org or www.kiwanis.org.

Christmas in Maypearl

Maypearl businesses will be open and giving away free items from 6-8 p.m. Dec. 14. Residents are encouraged to bring a toy for the Angel Tree. Carriage rides and pictures with Santa will be available at the feed store.

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 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.

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.

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.servingthechildren ofyesterday.org.