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Academic Decathlon seeking volunteers

Rhode Island Academic Decathlon is actively recruiting volunteers for its state competition, to be held Sunday, March 10, at the Community College of Rhode Island in Warwick. Volunteers will evaluate the speech and interview skills of high school students or assist with exams and event management. Most volunteers serve from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Training is provided on the day of the event. Sixteen teams from high schools across the state will be competing. For more information, visit acdec.net or email frank.lenox@acdec.net or jen.randall@acdec.net.

Summer jobs at Parks & Rec

Summer job applications will be available to download from the Cranston Department of Parks & Recreation’s page on the city’s website, cranstonri.com, between April 1 and May 3. Applicants must be 16 years old by the time of employment and reside in Cranston. Applications from 15-year-olds will be accepted provided the applicant will turn 16 by June 24, when all programs and facilities open. Applications will be accepted for lifeguards, pool attendants, pool maintenance workers and playground counselors. Lifeguard candidates must provide certification or proof of class/re-certification if not yet certified.

‘Warm Thy Neighbor’ campaign

The Rhode Island Good Neighbor Energy Fund’s 33rd annual “Warm Thy Neighbor” campaign, which helps Rhode Island households facing financial difficulty to pay for energy expenses, is underway.

The United Way of Rhode Island, the administrator of the fund, has received seed money from the fund’s sponsoring energy companies – including National Grid, Ocean State Power, Pascoag Utility District, Petro Home Services and RISEC LP – so that eligible households can receive assistance immediately. The Good Neighbor Energy Fund’s 2018-19 campaign goal is to raise $350,000 and help more than 750 households.

The Good Neighbor Energy Fund campaign relies on the generosity of individuals, families, local corporations and community organizations for support. Yellow donation envelopes are enclosed with energy bills through February.

Those interested in donating to the fund can text “WARM” to 91999 on their mobile phone, send a check payable to “Good Neighbor Energy Fund” to United Way of Rhode Island, 50 Valley St., Providence, RI 02909, or visit rhodeislandgoodneighbor.org.

Members of households in need of energy assistance are advised to contact their local community action program to determine their eligibility for assistance through the fund. Participating households may have an income not exceeding 300 percent of the federal poverty level. For example, a household of four is eligible for the fund if its annual income does not exceed $75,300, while the income for a household of six cannot exceed $101,220.

Grants to individual households are determined by fuel type and need and will not exceed $650 per heating season.

Since its establishment in 1986, the Rhode Island Good Neighbor Energy Fund has raised more than $14.2 million and helped over 45,500 families in need of temporary energy assistance.  For more information about the Good Neighbor Energy Fund or how to receive assistance, contact either the United Way 2-1-1 in Rhode Island help line or a local community action program agency.

Tax time at CCAP

Comprehensive Community Action Program, or CCAP, is now offering its VITA Preparation Assistance Program, which provides free tax assistance services for individuals and families earning less than $54,000 a year. The program runs through May 1.

Last year, CCAP’s VITA program filed more than 1,000 federal tax returns, helping Rhode Island families receive $2 million in refunds without any cost. The program’s volunteers are trained and certified by the IRS and will help taxpayers file federal and state income tax returns.

CCAP’s tax preparation services are offered on the lower level of the agency’s Cranston headquarters, 311 Doric Ave. Call 467-7013 to schedule an appointment.

Eco-Depot on Saturday

Rhode Island Resource Recovery invites Rhode Island residents to safely dispose of household hazardous waste – anything labeled with a skull and crossbones, or words like “toxic,” “poison,” “flammable” or “combustible” – on Saturday, Feb. 16, from 8 a.m. to noon at 65 Shun Pike in Johnston. Eco-Depot is available to Rhode Island residents only, and to help reduce time spent in line, appointments should be made in advance. To make an appointment, visit ecodepotri.org or call 942-1430, ext. 241.

Libraries closed on Presidents Day

The Cranston Public Library has announced all library branches will be closed Sunday, Feb. 17, and Monday, Feb. 18, in observance of the Presidents Day holiday. Regular library hours will resume on Tuesday, Feb. 19.

‘Burning to Keep Others Warm’

Orangetheory Fitness Cranston has joined forces with the Comprehensive Community Action Program, or CCAP, for a blanket, socks and gloves drive.

“Burning to Keep Others Warm” will be an in-studio event running through Feb. 17 during studio business hours. Orangetheory Fitness members, as well as residents of surrounding areas, are invited to drop off new, or good quality used, blankets, socks, gloves and mittens at the Cranston studio location at Four Chapel View Blvd, next to Shaw’s. The items collected after the two-week promotion will be donated to CCAP and delivered to neighbors in need.

In addition to donating items, the studio staff and Orangetheory Fitness members will have the opportunity to “build a blanket” during breaks between classes. Materials will be provided and members will be invited to join others in working on blankets before or after their classes. The blankets will also be donated to CCAP.

Items can dropped off at Orangetheory Fitness from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 5 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday and 7:30 a.m. to noon on Saturday and Sunday. For more information, call 830-2812.

Bowling for Animals

On Feb. 24, the group Defenders of Animals will host a bowling fundraiser at Town Hall Lanes, 1463 Atwood Ave., Johnston, from 2-4 p.m. For a $20 donation, attendees will receive two hours of bowling, a pizza and pitcher of soda for each lane. For reservations, call Defenders of Animals at 461-1922 or email Dennis Tabella at dennis@defendersofanimals.org.

CHSE Indoor Percussion and Color Guard Competition

Enjoy the sights and sounds of more than 20 indoor percussion and color guard groups as Cranston High School East hosts a New England Scholastic Band Association competition for the fourth consecutive year. The event will be held in the Cranston East gymnasium on Saturday, March 16. Doors open at 3 p.m. Color guard performances begin at 4 p.m. and percussion performances start at 6:30 p.m. There will be an intermission between the performances, and raffles and a full concession stand will be available. Admission costs $10 for adult and $8 for seniors and students. Children age 5 and under will be admitted free of cost. For more information, visit the “CHSE Indoor Percussion & Color Guard Competition” event page on Facebook.

Statewide Business After Hours

A Statewide Business After Hours event will be held March 26 from 4:30-7:30 p.m. at Rhodes on the Pawtuxet, 60 Rhodes Place, Cranston. Chamber of Commerce members and non-members from across Rhode Island are invited to attend. The event will feature more than 120 display tables and attendees can enjoy food provided by Russell Morin Fine Catering while making business connections that will last. Display tables are available for chamber members only. For more information, contact your local Chamber of Commerce.

United Way 2-1-1

The United Way of Rhode Island’s 2-1-1 Outreach RV will be at the Cranston Public Library’s Central Library, 140 Sockanosset Cross Road, on the first Monday of each month from 9 a.m. to noon. The Outreach RV provides a free, confidential resource for assistance with housing, food, child care and other needs. For more information, visit uwri.org.

Tuesday Tech Tutor at William Hall

Cranston Public Library’s William Hall Library has added a new technology assistance program service for patrons. Tuesday Tech Tutor tackles terrible technology troubles that patrons may encounter. Library patrons may drop in anytime between 4-6 p.m. every Tuesday to have a librarian help navigate new technology skills or solve computer problems. No appointment or registration is necessary.

“We have many people who need assistance with things like attaching documents to emails, downloading ebooks, printing and more,” branch librarian Adrienne Girard said. “I am so happy we’re able to provide this new service to our patrons.”

For questions or more information, call William Hall Library at 781-2450.

Hall rentals at St. David’s

St. David’s on the Hill Episcopal Church, 200 Meshanticut Valley Parkway, Cranston, is offering affordable rates to rent its upper and lower halls for special occasions and events. For more information, visit stdavidsonthehill.net/hall-rental or call the church office at 942-4368 during regular hours, Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Baby Book Boogie

Hosted by the Cranston Public Library’s Oak Lawn Branch, Baby Book Boogie will be held every Friday morning.

Children ages 0-2 and their caregivers are invited to help a book come to life through music and movement. We will also sing and dance along to favorite childhood songs. Registration is not required, but they will give out free tickets half an hour before the program opening at 10 am. The program is limited to 25 children and their caregivers.

The Oak Lawn Library is located at 230 Wilbur Ave. For more information, call 942-1787.

Tree Planting Program

The city of Cranston has announced its 2019 Neighborhood Tree Planting Program, which is free to all eligible property owners. The program is being offered through the Rhode Island Tree Council. An information packet, application and waiver forms can be found on the city’s website, cranstonri.com. For more information, contact the Rhode Island Tree Council at 764-5885 or the city’s Officer of Constituent Affairs at 780-3123.  

Did You Know?

 The first Valentine’s Day cards were handmade with ribbons and lace. During 1847, Ester Howland of Worcester, Massachusetts, began the mass printing of Valentine’s Day cards. Since then, the practice of gifting a card to a loved one has become popular. In today’s world, other gifts are also given to those who are smitten with each other or who care for each other. Gifts can include a special dinner, a perfectly chosen card, a special bouquet of flowers or any special love from the heart. (Source: Valentine Fun Facts)

To submit your news from the community, email Meri R. Kennedy at CranstonChatter@aol.com. Photos in jpg format are accepted and news can range from community events, promotions, academic news and nonprofit events. Email today and see your news in our column in the Cranston Herald. Please include a daytime telephone number in case we require any further information. Be sure to check out our website at cranstononline.com.

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