List of upcoming community events (Feb. 13, 2013)

High school orientation to be offered Feb. 20. In conjunction with pre-registration of courses for all eighth-graders in the Paxton-Buckley-Loda school district, a high school orientation meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 20, in the PBL High School and Junior High commons area.   All eighth-grade students and their parents or guardians are invited to attend. Students and parents will receive information about courses offered at PBL, graduation requirements, and required courses for college admissions.  They also will hear about extra-curricular activities and general policies.  There will be time for questions and answers.   Tours of the building will also be available. For more information, call 379-4331.

Food giveaway to be offered Feb. 16. The Eastern Illinois Foodbank’s foodmobile program will stop by Gibson City to give away food to eligible families on Saturday, Feb. 16. The food distribution will be held at the Gibson City Bible Church, 309 N. Illinois 47, from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. Ford County residents who meet income eligibility criteria can receive free food. To be eligible, a household must have an income at or below 185 percent of the federal poverty level — or $3,554 per month for a family of four, $2,943 for a family of three, $2,333 for a family of two or $1,722 for a family of one.

‘Drinking Habits’ to be performed in February in Paxton. The Tri-County Players theater company will present “Drinking Habits” at the Market Street Theatre in Paxton on Feb. 14-17 and Feb. 22-24.  A special Valentine’s Day dinner theater, catered by the Tin Pan, will be offered at 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 14. A beer and wine cash bar will also be available. Tickets can be purchased for the dinner theater in advance of the show by calling 379-7028. Show times — except for on Valentine’s Day — are 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday evenings (Feb. 15, 16, 22 and 23) and 2 p.m. on Sunday afternoons (Feb. 17 and 24). Tickets for all shows can be purchased at the door or by leaving a message at 379-7028. The Market Street Theatre is located at 120 N. Market St., Paxton. Directed by Tammy Belanger, the show’s cast members include “sisters” Deb Kafer, Sherry Janowski, Pam Herriott and Shannon Satterlee; “father” Tony Lee; “reporters” Lindsey Wurl and Brandon Roberts; and “groundskeeper” Trent Groves.

Bellflower Opry to perform Feb. 16. The Bellflower Country Opry will present its next show on Saturday, Feb. 16, at the Bellflower Community Center, 202 Center St. The show will feature special guest Kyle Ripsch. Doors open at 6 p.m., followed by the show at 7. The Bellflower Lions Club will be serving an all-you-can-eat pancake and sausage supper that evening in the Bellflower Community Center cafeteria.  Serving will be from 4-6 p.m. To reserve a seat for the show, call 309-722-3497 or 898-7493.

Jerky-making contest set for March in Iroquois County. A contest to see who can make the best home-made jerky will be held Sunday, March 3, at the Longbranch Bar in downtown L’Erable in Iroquois County. The fourth annual Buckland “Jerk Off” Deer jerky contest runs from noon to 4 p.m. Free registration begins at noon.  Contestants are asked to bring enough of their own blend of jerky — deer, beef, turkey, goose or any other edible meat — cut into sample-sized pieces.  There were 24 entries and 60 attendees last year.

Rotary club to offer beach-themed dance. The Gibson City Rotary Club will offer a beach-themed dance on Saturday, Feb. 16, as a fundraiser to help provide park equipment for children of all abilities. The event will be held at The Kruse Center, 207 N. Lawrence Ave., Gibson City. It will feature live music by the band Tailgate. Doors open at 7 p.m., followed by music and dancing from 7:30 to 11:30 p.m. Snacks will be provided, and there is a cash bar. The event will also include 50/50 raffles and basket raffles.  Also, there will be an event featuring “local celebrities” called “Gibson City’s Got Talent ... Or do they?” Throughout the night, bids will be accepted for each celebrity, and the celebrity garnishing the most bids will entertain the crowd by singing a Beach Boys song.  The money raised from  the bids during this  event will be added to the rest of the evening’s fundraising.  The celebraties participating are Scott Davis, owner of Choose 2 Change Fitness; Anthony Galindo, GCMS school district superintendent; Josh Johnson, an employee of Gibson Area Hospital; and Veronica Kirkpatrick, a teacher at GCMS High School. Tickets are available for purchase from any Gibson City Rotary Club member and at the Bank of Gibson City, Moyer District Library, Ryt-Way Industries, The Fashion Shop and Front and Center Gallery. For more information, call Susie Tongate at 784-5672.

Winter Beach Party at Eastlawn. PBL Eastlawn School’s Parent Involvement Team (PIT Crew) is sponsoring its annual Winter Beach Party at the school on Friday, Feb. 22, from 6 to 8 p.m.  A number of games and activities will be available for students to enjoy, and concessions will be available for purchase.

ExplorACES set for March 8-9 at U of I. The University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES) is giving potential students an opportunity to ExplorACES on Friday, March 8, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Saturday, March 9, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. More than 2,000 students are expected to attend the two-day, student-run event that acquaints prospective and admitted ACES students with the college’s faculty, curriculum and vast selection of student organizations and opportunities. Information will be available on study-abroad programs, potential careers, and how students can apply for nearly $2 million in scholarships. Prospective students will get a glimpse of all the college has to offer with more than 125 exhibits showcasing academics, research and student development. A reception for admitted students will complete Saturday’s activities at the Student Dining and Residential Programs Building.  For more information, visit www.exploraces.org.

SWCD banquet on Feb. 25.  The Iroquois County Soil & Water Conservation District board’s annual meeting and awards banquet will be held at 6 p.m. Monday, Feb. 25, at St. Paul’s Lutheran School in Woodworth.  The program will be presented by Laurel Ross, who has served since 2004 as urban conservation director for the Field Museum’s Division of Environment, Culture and Conservation. A roast beef dinner will be served. For more information or to order tickets, call the Iroquois County SWCD office in Watseka at 815-432-6055, ext. 3.

Auditions offered for May show in Rantoul. The Rantoul Theatre Group will hold an open group-audition for its May play, “Alibis,”  at 1 p.m. Feb. 23 at the Grissom Hall Theatre. Director Tina Killeen and Assistant Director Karen Hughes are seeking five   female and four male actors ages 25 and over for the roles. The play will be performed on May 10, 11, 12, 17, 18 and 19. No preparations are necessary.  Readings will be from the script. The play, by author Peter Kennedy, is a comedy-mystery. For more information, visit www.rtgonline.org, email the director at tina@rtgonline.org, or call the theatre at 892-1121.

Iroquois County theater to host variety show. A variety show will be held Sunday, Feb. 17, from 2-4 p.m. at the Onarga Theatre. Admission is free.  Area residents were encouraged to attend and showcase their talent. Each performer is provided 10 minutes to perform. For more information, call 815-383-5987 or email movies@onargatheater.com.

Red Cross to hold blood drive. An American Red Cross blood drive is set for noon to 6 p.m. Monday, Feb. 18, in the fellowship hall of the First Presbyterian Church, 401 N. Church St., Gibson City. The blood drive is sponsored by the Gibson Area Hospital Auxiliary. People may be eligible to donate blood if they last donated on or before Dec. 24. Donors are asked to bring photo identification or a Red Cross blood donor card. Appointments are not necessary but may be made by calling Susan at 784-8833.

St. John’s to host dinner. St. John’s Lutheran School in Buckley will host its annual chicken dinner, carnival and silent auction Sunday, Feb. 17. The carnival runs from 3:30 to 6 p.m., while the dinner and silent auction run from 4-7 p.m. Carryout orders will be available.

Kinzinger, Harms to host open house. U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger will hold a joint open house with State Rep. Josh Harms, R-Watseka, to unveil their congressional and state legislateive district office, located at 342 W. Walnut in Watseka, from 5-6:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 22.

Church to hold Ash Wednesday service. The First Lutheran Church in Paxton will hold a special Ash Wednesday service at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 18. The Rev. Baumgardner will conduct the service and distribute ashes to those attending to remind people that “dust thou art and unto dust thou wilt return.”

Dog Park Committee to host pizza fundraiser. The Paxton Dog Park Committee is sponsoring a Monical’s Community Day fundraiser to benefit the construction of a dog park at Coady Park. The fundraiser will be held Wednesday, Feb. 20, at Monical’s Pizza, 500 W. Ottawa Road, Paxton. That day, Monical’s will donate 20 percent of each bill to the dog park committee, as long as the customer presents a required flier when paying for their meal. Fliers are available from dog park committee members Angie Russell (paxtondogpark@gmail.com), Patty Johnson (379-3624 or pfoster@conxxus.com), Jenessa Janssen (781-0232 or jjjanssen2010@gmail.com) or Joy Jones (rjj80@yahoo.com).

Food bank to hold giveaway. The Eastern Illinois Foodbank’s foodmobile program will stop by Gibson City to give away food to eligible families on Saturday, Feb. 16. The food distribution will be held at the Gibson City Bible Church, 309 N. Illinois 47, from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. Ford County residents who meet income eligibility criteria can receive free food. To be eligible, a household must have an income at or below 185 percent of the federal poverty level — or $3,554 per month for a family of four, $2,943 for a family of three, $2,333 for a family of two or $1,722 for a family of one.

Fire district to offer breakfast. The Ludlow Fire Protection District will host a pancake breakfast from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 17, at the firehouse, 200 S. Chestnut St. Children five and under eat free.

Ag Day to take place at CLHS. The annual Ford-Iroquois Extension Ag Day will be held Friday, Feb. 22, at Christ Lutheran High School in Buckley, featuring a full day of agricultural-related presentations.The free event starts with registration from 8:30 a.m. At 9 a.m., the first program begins.Speakers will cover a range of topics including agronomic issues, weather, crop insurance, grain marketing, herbicide carryover, BT corn, rootworm resistance and FFA week. Iroquois Memorial Hospital will present an alternative program on heart health, including a “heart healthy food demo.”  Blood pressure screening will also be offered, from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m., by Iroquois Memorial Hospital in Watseka.Diversified Services in Buckley will provide refreshments. Lunch will be catered by Brian and Kari Luke of Luke’s One Stop in Cissna Park.The 2013 version of Ag Day has been renamed “Aimee Chandler Ag Day.” Chandler is leaving University of Illinois Extension’s Ford-Iroquois unit this spring. The school is located at 201 W. Lincoln St. in Buckley.

PIT Crew to host beach party. PBL Eastlawn School’s Parent Involvement Team (PIT Crew) is sponsoring its annual Winter Beach Party at the school on Friday, Feb. 22, from 6-8 p.m. A number of games and activities will be available for students to enjoy, and concessions will be available.

Knights to host open house. The Illinois Knights Templar Home in Paxton is hosting an open house of the nursing home’s renovated therapy room on Thursday, Feb. 21, from noon to 3 p.m. The event will feature tours, give-aways and door prizes. There will also be complimentary screenings, including hand screenings. Prior to the open house, at noon in the nursing home’s activity room there will be a presentation by attorney James E. Long of Chapin & Long PC Attorneys at Law, Champaign.  Long’s presentation is entitled “Health Care POA: When Does it go into Effect.”

Rantoul Theatre to hold auditions. The Rantoul Theatre Group will hold an open group-audition for its May play, “Alibis,”  at 1 p.m. Feb. 23 at the Grissom Hall Theatre. Director Tina Killeen and Assistant Director Karen Hughes are seeking five   female and four male actors ages 25 and over for the roles. The play will be performed on May 10, 11, 12, 17, 18 and 19. No preparations are necessary.  Readings will be from the script. The play, by author Peter Kennedy, is a comedy-mystery. A famous actress  throws a party and winds up dead. While a storm rages outside the body count  starts to rise. To find out “who-dun-it” and “how-dun-it” the usual  suspects are investigated. Call out the usual suspects: a stuffy butler, a  social butterfly, a playboy, a dotty chemist, an aristocrat of dubious  origin, a nun who has taken a vow of silence, a part-time detective, a very  French maid, and a mysterious stranger. The Rantoul Theatre Group has 190 seats and is located at 914 Arends Blvd., on the former Chanute Air Force Base in Grissom Hall. For more information, visit www.rtgonline.org, email the director at tina@rtgonline.org, or visit Facebook: Rantoul Theater Group or call the theatre at 892-1121. 

Lions to host breakfast. The Gibson City Lions Club is hosting its annual all-you-can-eat pancake and sausage breakfast from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 24, in the cafeteria at Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley Elementary School. Tickets can be purchased at the door; children under age 6 eat for free. To acquire tickets prior to the event, call Brian Steidinger at 249-8200 or Jerry Minion at 377-2327.

PBL High School to give out sports awards. Paxton-Buckley-Loda High School’s annual Winter Sports Awards Night is Monday, Feb. 25. There will be refreshments in commons at 6 p.m., followed by the presentation of awards at 6:30.  Awards will be presented for boys’ and girls’ basketball, wrestling and cheerleading.

Piper Alumni Reunion to be held in June. The Piper City/Ford Central Alumni Reunion will  be held Saturday, June 1, at the old Piper City gym. Dinner will be at 6 p.m., with Ne’s Place of Piper City catering the meal. Honored classes will be those ending in 3’s and 8’s. Letters will be sent to alumni by the end of February. For more information, call Ruth Rice Kurtenbach at 309-728-2263 or email her at kurten@frontiernet.net.

Dog photos will raise funds for dog park. Dogs can get their photos taken with the Easter Bunny as part of a fundraiser at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, March 16, to raise money to build a dog park in Paxton. The fundraiser will be held at Designer Dog Salon, 110 S. Market St. “Bring your pups to see that wascally wabbit and donate to help the dog park to raise the money we need to get the fence so we can all enjoy the dog park!” a news release said. For more information, contact Angie Russell, a member of the Paxton Dog Park Committee, at paxtondogpark@gmail.com.

ExplorACES to be offered in March at U of I. The University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES) is giving potential students an opportunity to ExplorACES on Friday, March 8, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Saturday, March 9, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. More than 2,000 students are expected to attend the two-day, student-run event that acquaints prospective and admitted ACES students with the college’s faculty, curriculum and vast selection of student organizations and opportunities. Information will be available on study-abroad programs, potential careers, and how students can apply for nearly $2 million in scholarships. Prospective students will get a glimpse of all the college has to offer with more than 125 exhibits showcasing academics, research and student development. A reception for admitted students will complete Saturday’s activities at the Student Dining and Residential Programs Building.  For more information, visit www.exploraces.org.

Fish/tree sale approaching.  The Ford County Soil and Water Conservation District’s spring fish and tree sales are approaching. Tree orders are due Feb. 15; the sale date is April 12. Available for purchase are evergreens, hardwoods and shrubs in bare-root stock. Also available are fruit trees. Fish orders are due March 15 for all fish except grass carp, which are due March 8. The delivery date is April 2. Available are albino catfish, channel catfish, sunfish, bluegill, redear and minnows in various sizes. Pond delivery is available for large orders. To acquire an order form, visit the SWCD office at 1380 W. Ottawa Road, Paxton, or call 379-2372, ext. 3.

Tribute to Harry Potter Show set for March. The Tribute to Harry Potter Show will be presented at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, March 14, at the Moyer District Library in Gibson City, and will be geared for older students. There is no cost to attend.  Also, the Incredible Dinosaur Show will be offered at 3:30 p.m. Monday, April 22. It is an educational time of hands-on activities for students in preschool through fourth grade. There is no cost to attend.

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