SANTA CRUZ

Branciforte Middle School looking for more donations

Branciforte Middle School is looking for donations to meet its goal of raising $32,000 to update its Media Library.

The school and its alumni have raised about $30,000 so far, including nearly $4,000 from a Turkey Trot and School Dance.

To make a donation, send it to Branciforte Middle School, 315 Poplar St., Santa Cruz, 95062 or contact Wendy Thompson at wthompson@sccs.net.

SACRAMENTO

Bill Monning to chair budget subcommittee

Sen. Bill Monning, D-Carmel, has been selected to head a key state Senate subcommittee overseeing health care spending.

Senate President Pro Tem Darrel Steinberg made the announcement last week, when Monning was selected to chair the Health and Human Services subcommittee of the Budget Committee.

Monning was recently elected to the Senate after two terms in the Assembly, during which he headed a key committee as well.

His is one of five subcommittees of the powerful Budget and Fiscal Review Committee headed by Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco.

Soquel

'Singing Your Soul Song' workshop focuses on health

WomenCARE will host a workshop called "Singing Your Soul Song" from 1:30-3 p.m. Wednesday.

The event will be taught by Michelle Hodah Newman, a veteran music and directed theatre director, who will show how singing can support well-being.

WomenCARE is at 2901 Park Ave.

For more information, call 831-457-2273.

SANTA CRUZ

Tourism agency offers free Visiting Friends, Relatives Kit

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 items such as the Free Things to Do seasonal flyer, a Birding and Wildlife Watching guide, information about public walking tours and free Santa Cruz Municipal Wharf Tours.

There are suggestions on where to eat locally, including restaurants that will serve New Year's Eve dinner.

The kit is available at the visitor center, 303 Water St., Suite 100.

Call 831-425-1234 or go to www.santacruz.org/misc/locals.php.

FELTON

Critter walk at Henry Cowell state park New Year's Day

Docents will lead a walk at 1 p.m. Jan. 1 at Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park. Participants should meet at the Nature Store, 525 N. Big Trees Park Road.

The two-hour, 1.5-mile walk is geared toward families who want to look for the tracks and hidden lives of deer, hawks, ducks, bobcats and lizards.

For more information, call 438-2396.

SANTA CRUZ

Museum offers docent training in January

Do you love ecology, history, or storytelling? Do you want to connect people with nature? The Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History is offering docent training in January.

For information, call the education manager at 831-420-6115, ext. 12, or email deborah@santacruzmuseums.org.

The museum is closed Christmas Day and New Year's Day, but will be open Jan. 4 with free admission.

Live OAk

Speaker to discuss grand jury at Freedom Forum meeting

Kelly Mordecai, author of "The Hidden Branch," will speak about the grand jury when the Freedom Forum meets at 7 p.m. Jan. 16 at the Live Oak Grange, 1900 7th Ave.

For information, email scfreedomforum@gmail.com.