ARLINGTONGo ‘camping’ during winter break at Elzie Odom centerWinter break is almost here, so take time from shopping, wrapping and cooking and register to send those vacationing students “camping” at Elzie Odom Athletic Center, 1601 NE Green Oaks Blvd.Elzie Odom’s winter break camps run from Dec. 23 through Jan. 2, and there are two sessions from which to choose.The “Snowed-In” camp Dec. 23-27 is all about games, activities and sports. It runs from 7 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. except for a 3 p.m. dismissal Dec. 24.Children who are into nontraditional sports like cotton ball relays, scavenger hunts and capture the flag should enjoy “My Adventure” camp from Dec. 30 through Jan. 2 from 7 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. There is no camp on New Year’s Day, and dismissal is at 3 p.m. New Year’s Eve.In addition to those camps, there are always arts and crafts, basketball, rock climbing, skating and soccer.For more information or to register, call 817-459-5474 or contact Ernie Smith at 817-459-6442 or firstname.lastname@example.org. — Shirley JinkinsMission Arlington gets truckloads of foodThe YMCA of Arlington sent two truck beds worth of canned goods to Mission Arlington on Friday, as a part of the effort to provide meals for more than 1,000 people a day. Donations came from the YMCA’s “The Boss Loves Full Tummies” campaign in which enrollment fees were waived for those who donated $20 worth of canned goods.Current members and YMCA staff also donated. “We pray a lot and ask God to supply us with what we need,” said Tillie Burgin, Mission Arlington executive director. “I think he chose this community because they are a generous people, a city unlike any other.” The food will be distributed to those in need for the holidays. — Monica S. NagyGRAND PRAIRIE SCHOOLSSchool district expands online reading programAfter introducing the Fast ForWord online reading-intervention program in four schools in 2011, the Grand Prairie school district plans to expand it to 24 schools along with the companion Reading Assistant program.The district has been named one of three National Leadership Centers in the country by Scientific Learning Corp., the California-based firm that administers the programs.The district began using the program to close reading gaps for struggling readers, English learners and students with disabilities.Among Grand Prairie’s 28,000 students, 72 percent are economically disadvantaged, 27 percent are limited-English-proficient, and 9 percent receive special-education services.“The challenges we face in our district are not unique to Grand Prairie,” said Greg Firn, deputy superintendent of academics, in a news release distributed by the company. “If we can intervene early and aggressively in students’ learning experiences, we can fill in any deficits or delays and build the foundational cognitive skills they need to participate in the full curriculum.” — Shirley JinkinsHURSTCity to give away four $250 gift cards to North East MallWant a chance at a $250 gift card to any shop at North East Mall?The city is giving away four of them in a Monday drawing, in hopes of making the effort to get around the road construction a little more merry.Open to everyone except city employees and officials, the drawing will be made from forms available at the mall’s guest services booth and at City Hall, 1505 Precinct Line Road. No purchase is necessary to enter.The forms must be dropped off at the guest services booth by Sunday. — Terry EvansCity offers way to insure against sewer line repair costsResidents may get help with one of the most expensive invisible improvements to any home, but they need to hurry. The deadline to enroll in a program that will pay for repairs of the sewer line from their house to the city’s line is Dec. 31.The National League of Cities service line warranty program will pay up to $4,000 per incident — it can cost every penny of that to replace a line, and it’s the homeowner’s responsibility — and another $4,000 for street-cutting. Go to slwofa.com or call 866-922-9006 to enroll. — Terry EvansNORTH RICHLAND HILLSPolice Department puts emphasis on deterring crime during holidaysBeefed-up patrols in shopping and entertainment areas are part of a initiative by police in North Richland Hills to deter holiday crime.The enhanced holiday enforcement initiative got underway in November and continues through December, said inspector Keith Bauman, police spokesman.“Citizens will see increased numbers of officers and volunteers out on patrol and in the community,” Bauman said.An observation tower is also part of the effort.“Our goal during this holiday season is to reduce crime through progressive crime prevention and deterrence to keep residents and visitors safe,” Bauman said. “As always, we encourage the public to utilize safe shopping practices to prevent being a target.” — Bill MillerSOUTHLAKEGroup wants residents to support camp for homeless, abused kidsThe Southlake group SPARK (Students and Parents Against Risks to our Kids) wants to mobilize residents to help provide a camping experience for homeless children.They can learn more about Camp L-4 (Live, Laugh, Learn, Love) at an open house reception from 5:30 to 8 p.m. today at the home of Jeanne and Tom LaCosse, 2158 Estes Park Road.SPARK has joined with the Recovery Resource Council to help children who are living in local domestic violence and homeless shelters. Estimates are that more than 250 children in Tarrant County face that challenge.Each year council hosts 90 of these children at Camp Carter for a week of horseback riding, fishing, and arts and crafts, along with tips on making healthy life choices.Call Laura Hill at 817-797-0782 or email LHill@downeypublishing.com with any questions.Donations are tax-deductible. — Shirley JinkinsHighland closed during constructionHighland from North Kimball to Sunshine Lane will be closed to traffic Wednesday and Thursday so construction crews can install water and sewer utility lines. Message boards will alert drivers, and the city asks people to plan alternative routes during this time.“Getting this work done is incredibly important,” said Cheryl Taylor, the deputy director of public works. “The utility work is part of phase 2 of the North Kimball Avenue widening and will allow for further progression on this significant roadway project.”Call Steven Anderson with the Public Works Department at 817-748-8098 for more information on the North Kimball Avenue improvement project. — Monica S. Nagy RegionIt’s 38 years for the Boar’s Head & Yule Log FestivalThe 38th anniversary of the magnificent Boar’s Head & Yule Log Festival in Fort Worth will be celebrated in University Christian Church’s sanctuary, located at 2720 S. University Drive on Jan. 4 and 5, twice each day at 3 and 5 p.m.The local cast of 300 brings to life one of Fort Worth’s most enduring holiday traditions, based on an ancient celebration that began in England’s grand manor houses and travelled to colonial America.All performances of the pageant are free and open to the public. Plan on arriving at least an hour early to find seats. This celebration of the victory of good over evil is perhaps the oldest continuing festival of the Christmas season. The pageant is based on an old legend, that of an Oxford student who kills a wild boar when it interrupts his studies. When the church adopted the Festival, it gained a new Christian significance: the wild boar, symbolic of evil, is overcome by good through the teachings of Christ.Marching companies, in rich authentic costumes of Renaissance England, sing the ancient songs of Christendom as they carry in the gaily-bedecked head of the wild boar.The second part of the program follows the original Christmas story, as shepherds and Wise Men travel to Bethlehem to bring gifts to the Christ child.Randol Alan Bass, the original composer of the festival music, will conduct the Fort Worth Civic Orchestra at this year’s festival. A limited number of festival patron seats are now available for purchase. Cost is $15.
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