Around the Region


REMEMBERING THE HOMELESS: A vigil is set for 6 p.m. Friday, the first night of winter, at Mancini Bowl in Graceada Park in remembrance of all the homeless who have died in the past year and those in recovery. Organizers invite the public to bring a candle and join the "Longest Night Homeless Memorial."

NAACP ANNUAL MEETING: The Modesto/Stanislaus Branch of the NAACP will conduct its annual meeting Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Senior Citizens Center, 211 Bodem St. The annual report will provide an overview of NAACP activities for the year. The meeting will include a special tribute to Odessa Johnson for her community service and

14 years as a Modesto City Schools board member. The meeting is open to the public, and there will be refreshments. For more information, call 882-1480.

FREE FITNESS TRAINING SESSION: Turning Point Fitness and Crossfit Modesto will offer a free functional fitness workshop Saturday at 10 a.m. at Turning Point Fitness, 485 Bitritto Way, Suite E. Business representatives said the free two-hour workshop will cover a variety of functional fitness exercises. For more information or to reserve a space, call Turning Point Fitness at 576-7650 or go to www.crossfitmodesto.com.

ALL FOR A LOVE OF LEARNING: The Modesto Institute for Continued Learning, a community of lifelong learners affiliated with Modesto Junior College, is offering a variety of not-for-credit classes beginning Jan. 14. Classes will include travel, speech skills, creative writing, current and past events and a strength training exercise class. New classes will cover experiencing poetry, Russian literature, French for the traveler and group singing, among others. Organizers also plan weekly movies, several field trips, a monthly book club meeting and some social events. An informational session will take place Jan. 10 at 10 a.m. in Building 6000 on MJC's west campus, 2201 Blue Gum Ave. Refreshments will be served. Interested community members may register during the information meeting, or by visiting the Community Education office in the Morris Administration Building on the east campus, 435 College Ave., or by calling 575-6063. Registration is $40, plus a $10 MICL membership contribution that covers paper, supplies and other classroom expenses. For more information, call 575-6063 or Virginia Dall at 524-1272.

POETS' CORNER: The city will host the 27th annual Poets' Corner Contest. This year's theme is poetry honoring the opening of the Gallo Center for the Arts. The contest is open to any other subject and form of poetry, such as rhymed, unrhymed, free verse, sonnet, haiku (group of three accepted), ballad, etc. Poems must be unpublished, not exceed 32 lines, include a title and not have won in any previous Poets' Corner contest. Entries must be postmarked no later than Jan. 31, and must include three copies and a separate entry form for each poem. The winning poems will be read at a program and reception to be held April 13 at 2 p.m. on the main floor of the McHenry Museum, 1402 I St. Contest rules are available at the Parks, Recreation and Neighborhoods Department, 1010 10th St.; McHenry Museum, 14th and I streets; McHenry Mansion, at 15th and I streets; King-Kennedy Memorial Center, 601 S. Martin Luther King Drive; and at the Stanislaus County Library, 1500 I St. Copies of the contest rules also are available online at www.modestogov.com/prnd. Entries may be hand-delivered to the McHenry Museum, Tuesday through Sunday, from noon to 4 p.m.


SIRENS FOR TOYS: Police, fire and city officials will load a fire engine and a patrol car with toys and gifts for some Riverbank children. Pickup of toys and gifts will start at 3 p.m. Thursday at Target, 2425 Claribel Road. Other toy pickups will be at Queen Bean, County Bank and Cold Stone Creamery, all in Riverbank. Once fully loaded, the vehicles will distribute the toys and gifts.


PUPPET THEATRE: "Super Tommy!" will be presented at the Turlock Library, 550 Minaret Ave., on Dec. 27 at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Organizers said Puppet Art Theater presents this free, high-energy show, combining wit, humor, and audience participation. By day, Tommy is a mild-mannered exotic cheese sales mouse, and by night, he's Super Tommy! In the story, Tommy battles his arch nemesis, Chaos Kitty and his flunky, Ratso the Rat, in a spoof on the super hero genre, that both children and their parents will enjoy. For more information, call 664-8100.


CHRISTMAS CHOIR: The Friends of the Enrichment Center will present the Christmas Choir at 10 a.m. Thursday at the Merced Multicultural Arts Center. The event is free; refreshments will be available for purchase.

BREAKFAST WITH SANTA: You still have time to have breakfast with Santa and participate in some kid-friendly activities Saturday, from 8 to 9 a.m. or 10 to 11 a.m., at the Merced Senior Community Center. General admission is $2 in advance, or $4 at the door. For more information, call Vielka Martinez at 385-6855.

Stanislaus County

PERFORMANCES AT THE LIBRARY: Crosspulse, a rhythm-based music and dance group, will perform Dec. 28 and 29 at libraries in Riverbank, Oakdale, Modesto and Salida. Organizers said the program teaches about the vital role that rhythm plays in performing arts throughout the world. These free music and dance performances will be offered Dec. 28 at 1:30 p.m. at the Riverbank library, 3442 Santa Fe Ave., Riverbank, 869-7008; Dec. 28 at 3:30 p.m. at the Oakdale library, 151 S. First Ave., Oakdale, 847-4204; Dec. 29, 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. at the Modesto library, 1500 I St., 558-7810; also on Dec. 29, 3 p.m. at the Salida library, 4835 Sisk Road, Salida, 543-7315. Space is limited, and free tickets, available one hour before each show, will be required. For more information, contact the selected library or go to www.stanislauslibrary.org.

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.