SCHOOL ORIENTATIONS: School in the Valley will hold spring orientations for seventh- and eighth-grade students who want to apply for the fall. The orientations will be held by appointment through Friday. School in the Valley is a charter school program for seventh- and eighth-graders. Students attend class at Einstein Acres in Turlock and a local school campus. Course work includes ag science, the California watershed, the valley environment, garden basics and business, animal care, meteorology, physical education, health and art. Students are expected to participate in a 4-H program of their choice for leadership experience. The 25 students at School in the Valley will be involved in organic gardening and a subscription garden business. Each day starts with farm chores. School in the Valley charges no tuition. Call 634-6467 to apply.
HLC MEETING: Monica Nino, assistant executive officer for Stanislaus County, will speak at the Hispanic Leadership Council meeting Friday. Nino will talk about the county's budget outlook for 2008-09. The meeting starts at 7 a.m. at the Double Tree Garden Terrace Cafe. The public is invited.
CHICKEN BBQ: Elks Lodge No. 1282 will hold a chicken barbecue drive-through dinner and yard sale Saturday at the new Elks Lodge, 645 Charity Way. Shop for bargains and grab lunch or an early dinner from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. Tickets are $8. For more information, call the Elks office at 524-4421.
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SENIORS TO ENTERTAIN: The Stanislaus Arts Council is pleased to announce its upcoming "Senior Spotlight 2008," a revue for all ages, presented by senior singers, dancers and actors. This year's show will be June 1 at 1 p.m. at the State Theatre, 1307 J St. Admission is $10. Tickets will be available in advance at the State Theatre box office or at the door. For more information, contact the Stanislaus Arts Council at 558-8628. Information can be found at www.artsway.org.
TEEN ADVISORY BOARD: Are you ages 12 to 18? Do you like to read? Listen to music? Play video games? If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, check out the Teen Advisory Group at the Escalon branch library. In addition to hanging out and talking, there will be discussions about books, magazines, music you would like the library to purchase and planning for teen events. Meetings are held the last Tuesday of each month at 4 p.m. in the Ekholm Room of the library. The next meeting is May 27. Refreshments will be served. The Escalon library is a branch of the Stockton-San Joaquin County Public Library and is at 1540 Second St. For more information, call 866-805-7323 (county) or 937-8221 (Stockton), or visit www.stockton.lib.ca.us.
GARDEN CLUB MEETS TODAY: The Oakdale Garden Club will meet today at 12:30 p.m. at the Masonic Center, 357 N. Eighth Street. No speaker or workshop is planned. The meeting will be devoted to final plans for the annual salad bar luncheon June 17. The luncheon is the major club fund-raiser to provide scholarships for graduating Oakdale High School seniors enrolling in a college agriculture program. The luncheon will feature a buffet, door prize, plant sale, silent auction and raffle. Tickets are $5. For more, call Bob Taylor at 848-8746.
LEARNING TO LEAD: Maximum Impact Leaders is a group of business and community leaders dedicated to improving and increasing their impact as leaders. Monthly meetings are held the last Thursday of each month from 5:30 to 7 p.m. and the last Saturday of each month from 10 to 11:30 a.m. The same content is presented at both meetings. The themes of the upcoming sessions: leading up (May 29, 31), leading across (June 26, 28) and leading down (July 26, 31). A $10 donation will be collected to compensate for refreshments and materials. The location is at Enclave Community Church, 581 E. Canal Drive. For more information call Christopher Scott at Enclave Community Church, at 304-4291.
AUTHOR TO TALK: Today at 6:30 p.m., the Merced County Library will be hosting Oklin Bloodworth for its "May Family Night at the Library." Bloodworth is a Central Valley native who will be on hand to provide songs and laughter for kids of all ages. The event is organized by the Merced County Friends of the Library and is free. For more information, call 385-7484.
SUMMER PROGRAMS FOR CHILDREN: The Merced Community Violence Intervention and Prevention (Merced ComVIP) Task Force is working to get students into summer enrichment programs and asking the community's help to sponsor a child. Summer enrichment programs help give youth positive activities during prime gang recruitment time while continuing the academic strides they made during the school year. Sponsoring a child for an eight-week summer enrichment program provided by the Merced Parks and Community Services Department costs $250. Leadership Merced Class 23, a program operated by the Greater Merced Chamber of Commerce, will help with a Casino Night fund-raiser May 31. All proceeds will go to ComVIP to support youth enrichment activities. The fund-raiser begins at 6:30 p.m. at the Boys and Girls Club of Merced, 615 W. 15th St. Cost is $35. Everyone must be 21 or older. To purchase tickets, call the Greater Merced Chamber of Commerce office at 384-7092 or visit it at 360 E. Yosemite Ave., Suite 100.
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