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Modesto

OFFERINGS FOR STROKE VICTIMS: There is a monthly luncheon for stroke victims, free of charge, today from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Trinity United Presbyterian Church, at 1600 Carver Road. For more information, call 521-1786.

TRAVELEERS MEET TODAY: The Traveleers Club meets every week, at 11 a.m. Wednesdays, at Denny's restaurant, 1525 McHenry Ave. For more information on club activities, call Ann Burkett at 529-5896.

ATTENTION MODESTO BUSINESSWOMEN: Join Soroptimist International of Modesto and unite with others in "Making a Difference For Women." A reception will be held for prospective members from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday at The Seasons, 945 McHenry Ave. The theme will be the "Live Well, Love Much, Laugh Often." Information on major events and services will be presented as well as entertainment and a social. For information, call Linda Diggs-Gray at 968-9531.

READING MARATHON: Children and families are invited to Stanislaus County libraries Thursday for a special reading of the children's classic "The Story of Ferdinand" in a nationwide effort to break the world record for reading the same book to the most children on a single day. The record was set last year, when more than 150,000 children, 2,350 of them in Stanislaus County, heard "The Little Engine That Could" in libraries, schools, community centers and homes throughout the nation. Organizers said the purpose of this record-breaking event is to build awareness of the importance of reading aloud to young children. Preliminary results will be announced Friday on the "Today" show. Local celebrity readers will present the story at various times Thursday at all county libraries. At the Modesto Library, readers include Stanislaus County Supervisor Dick Monteith, Modesto Mayor Jim Ridenour, Modesto Fire Chief Jim Miguel, Assistant Police Chief Mike Harden and Stanislaus County Schools Superintendent Tom Changnon. A 6:30 p.m. session will be presented in Spanish, as part of the regularly scheduled Cuentos en Español. Children will receive "The Story of Ferdinand" activity packets to complete at home. Families also are invited to take pictures with the library's bee, crafted by the Tuolumne River Woodworkers Association. For more information, contact Susan Lilly, 558-4813.

EL CONCILIO AWARDS: El Concilio Community Center will host its fourth annual Gala Dinner and Awards Banquet from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday at Del Rio Golf and Country Club, 801 Stewart Road. Organizers said the event will recognize individuals who have dedicated their lives to serving the Latino community and who embody El Concilio's mission statement: "To improve the quality of life of the Latino Community in Stanislaus County." Keynote speaker will be Maria Contreras-Sweet, former Secretary of the California Business, Transportation, and Housing Agency. This year's award recipients are: Amiga of the Year, Maria Alvarez, director of migrant education; Amigo of the Year, Armando Flores, past chairman of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Stanislaus County; and La Raza Award, Noche de Becas, a scholarship organization that has distributed more than $800,000 to Latino students. Tickets are $75 per person. For reservations, contact Raul Garcia at 523-2860 or rgar@elconcilio.org. Proceeds from this event will fund El Concilio's scholarships, programs and services.

Ceres

GARDEN CLUB TO MEET: The Ceres Garden Club will have its first meeting of the year Thursday. The speaker will be artist Albert Troglin, who will show paintings on stone. The meetings are at the Ceres City Council chamber, Second and Magnolia streets. Social time begins at 11:30 a.m., meeting at noon and program at 12:30. The public is invited. For more information, call 541-3758 or e-mailceresgc@yahoo.com.

DOG OBEDIENCE: Get that mutt to mind. Instructed by Sandra Hjertquist of Diamond Dog Training, these classes are designed to help your dog reach his or her potential by becoming a well-mannered member of your household. Dogs must be at least 5 months old and leashed, and proof of vaccines required. Classes are held Saturdays at Smyrna Park. Beginning Dog Obedience is 9:30 to 10:30 a.m., Intermediate Dog Obedience is 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. The cost is $90. The class will be offered Sept. 29 through Nov. 3. Preregistration is required. Register at 2720 Second St., call Traci Farris at 538-5682 or go online to www.ci.ceres.ca.us.

Merced County

SHOWCASING THE AUTO TRAINING CENTER: The Merced County Office of Education's Automotive Training Center will have an open house Thursday to showcase the 23,000-square-foot facility. A full-service repair and training facility, the auto center serves about 130 high school students from 11 high schools throughout Merced County, teaches adults and holds open-entry night classes for anyone to attend. The Automotive Transportation Services Program, offered through the Regional Occupation Program, is structured to serve both the student who plans to seek employment immediately after high school graduation and students who plan to pursue advanced training in a postsecondary automotive technology program. Instruction is provided in automotive technology, engine design, computer systems, fuel and electrical systems, cooling and lubrication systems, engine performance, and engine service and repair. Students also receive instruction in the classroom shop and practical application through community classroom or cooperative community classroom placements. Located at the Castle Airport Aviation and Development Center, the auto center has two main instructors who are both ASE/NATEF master technicians. The auto center also has joined with NAPA Auto Parts, which runs the parts store inside the facility. NAPA will donate a $10,000 student scholarship at the open house. The center is at 2245 Jetstream Drive, Atwater.

ROCK WITH THE FLOCK AT THE FAIR: Janae Elmasian submitted the winning slogan for the 2008 Merced County Fair: "Come Rock with the Flock." Elmasian, 27, of Atwater, will get $100 and a pair of season passes to the sheep-themed fair in July, officials said. Runners-up were "Ham with the Lambs" by Marisa Brooks, 19, of Merced and "Wild and Wooly" by Niko Alberti-Williams, 13, of Merced. Now the fair is looking for a winning graphic to accompany its slogan. The deadline to submit entries is 5 p.m. Oct. 31. To enter the contest, artists may use any medium and submit a maximum of three entries on 8½-by-11-inch paper. All entries become the Merced County Fair's property and won't be returned. The winning entry may be altered for marketing purposes. Entries may be submitted to the fairgrounds office, 900 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, or mailed to the Merced County Fair, 900 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Merced 95341. Submissions should include the entrant's name, address and telephone number. A story and photo of the logo winners will be published by the Fair. Information on the slogan contest is available at the fair's Web site, www.MercedCountyFair.com. For more information, call the fair office at 722-1507. The competition is open to Merced County residents only; the winner will get $500 and season fair tickets.

Send Region items to Region, The Modesto Bee, P.O. Box 5256, Modesto 95352; call 578-2330; fax 578-2207; or e-mail region@modbee.com.

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