SANTA CRUZ

Nonprofit seeks matching funds

Survivors Healing Center, a program of Family Service Agency of the Central Coast that provides education and services to survivors of childhood sexual abuse and their supporters, seeks to match an $11,000 grant.

The funds will support group therapy programs for youth and adult survivors and child sexual abuse awareness and prevention trainings.

Donations must be made by Dec. 31 to Survivors Healing Center, 104 Walnut Ave., Suite 208, Santa Cruz, CA 95060. Call 831-423-7601.

SANTA CRUZ

Visiting relatives kit available

The Santa Cruz County Conference and Visitors Council is offering a free Visiting Friends and Relatives Kit, loaded with ideas to help family and friends enjoy Santa Cruz County attractions and holiday happenings.

It's complete with an Official Santa Cruz County Traveler's Guide, shopping directories, brochures, and other goodies such as the Free Things to Do seasonal flyer, a Birding and Wildlife Watching guide, which highlights a variety of birding destinations, information about public walking tours and free Santa Cruz Wharf Tours.

There are suggestions on where to eat locally, including restaurants that will be serving Christmas and New Year's Eve dinners.

The kit is free at the year-round visitor center at 303 Water St., Suite 100, in Santa Cruz. For information, call 831-425-1234 or go to www.santacruz.org/misc/locals.php.

SCOTTS VALLEY

Red Cross to host blood drive

The local Red Cross chapter will host a blood drive 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Jan. 7 at Scotts Valley's community center, 360 Kings Village Road.

Donors are asked to RSVP. Go to www.redcrossblood.org and enter the sponsor code "scottsvalley" or call 800-733-2767. ID is required to donate.

SANTA CRUZ

Museum to offer docent training

The Museum of Natural History will offer training for docents in January.

Docents are volunteers trained to lead school programs and be museum hosts. The time commitment is approximately two to four hours per month and no prior experience is necessary.

Staff will lead prospective volunteers in three different sessions, all of which will be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Jan. 7, 12 and 14. To register, go to www.santacruzmuseums.org or contact deborah@santacruzmuseums.org or 831-420-6115.

PALO ALTO

Veterans volunteer for research

Nearly 3,000 veterans have volunteered to participate in Million Veteran Program at the VA Palo Alto Health Care System.

Launched in 2011, the program is a research effort aimed at better understanding how genes affect health. Data and genetic samples collected through the study are stored securely and made available for studies by authorized researchers, with stringent safeguards in place to protect veterans' private health information.

Researchers will use the data to help answer questions on a range of health conditions affecting veterans, from military-related conditions such as post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury, to common chronic illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease.

For information, go to www.research.va.gov/MVP.

SANTA CRUZ

SPIN to host quiz night March 9

The Special Parents Information Network is holding its third annual quiz night event March 9.

The event, held from 5-10 p.m., will feature trivia, dinner and the chance to bid on silent and live auction items. Tickets, which cost $75-$100 per person, and include a buffet dinner, dessert and wine.

To make reservations or get more information, contact Cece Pinheiro at 722-2800.

The event will be held at Holy Cross Parish Hall, 170 High St.

SANTA CRUZ

County receives energy rebates

PG&E has presented Santa Cruz County with a check for $70,673 in energy efficiency rebates as part of the county's work to upgrade five county facilities.

County officials utilized the $746,000 Energy Efficiency and Conservation Grant from the California Energy Commission to improve the infrastructure at the facilities.

In the next 20 years, these energy projects are anticipated to save the county $1.5 million in utility costs.

The implementation of the projects yielded the energy efficiency rebates from PG&E. About half of it is attributed to the upgrades made at the county's Main Jail.

SANTA CRUZ

Cal Fire warns of heating safety

Cal Fire reminds residents to be careful with space heaters, fireplaces and other heating devices that can start fires.

The agency advised people to keep flammable objects 3 feet from furnaces, fireplaces, wood stoves and portable space heaters. Fireplaces should have sturdy screens to prevent sparks from escaping, and residents should allow ashes to cool before removal.

Cal Fire spokesman Daniel Berlant said there should be a 3-foot "kid-free zone" near open fire and space heaters.