Community Briefing

AMERICAN HERITAGE EVENT TODAY: Professor Stephen Prothero, a Boston University professor, will speak on "Religion and Politics" in a free lecture today. His presentation is the sixth in the American Heritage Scholarship Series, an effort organized in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks to further understanding of what it means to be an American. Prothero, author of "Religious Literacy," will speak twice at Central Valley High School, Central Avenue and Service Road, Ceres: the 11 a.m. presentation is part of The Bee's Book Club (free reservations at 578-2177); at 2 p.m., he will offer the American Heritage Scholarship Series lecture, which also is free. No reservations required. Information about the essay contest, which offers $10,000 in scholarships and awards each year, is available at www.modbee.com/opinion/heritage, the Stanislaus County Office of Education, The Bee or the Modesto library.

COUNCILWOMAN HAS BABY: Grady Lincoln Olsen's middle name hints at his parents' passion for politics. He was born to Modesto City Councilwoman Kristin Olsen and her husband, Rod, on Thursday at Doctors Medical Center. Grady weighed 8 pounds and 9 ounces. He joins brother J.T., 5, and sister Sophie, 2.

BIG BOOST FOR CANCER FUND: Emanuel Medical Center in Turlock is about $1 million closer to a cancer endowment fund for the new Stanford Emanuel Radiation Oncology Center. After six weeks of fund-raising efforts and thousands of phone calls, this year's Legacy Circle fund drive raised $932,013 for the new Emanuel Cancer Endowment -- $270,000 shy of the $1.2 million goal. The endowment will fund early detection and prevention programs, support groups, a cancer library connected to Stanford University Medical Library and a concierge program that will help patients transition into treatment, among other things. Volunteers hope to raise $4 million for the fund over three years. Last week the fund raising was topped off with an annual pledge of $75,000 from the Emanuel Volunteer Auxiliary. The auxiliary is comprised of 600 volunteers who donate their time to providing various daily services at Emanuel.