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Community Briefs 1-30-19

Garden Club

Members of the Escalon-Farmington Garden Club are inviting all those interested in any kind or form of gardening to attend their next meeting, including any Oakdale Garden Club members. The club strives to have motivational speakers on topics that will enhance our gardening enjoyment. The meeting is set for Thursday, Feb. 7 at 1 p.m. at the Escalon Library, 1540 Second St., Escalon. For more information, text or call 209-613-8708 or email


Cookie Sales

Local Girl Scouts are currently taking in-person and online cookie orders for their annual sales of the traditional springtime treat. On Friday, Feb. 22, the National Cookie Weekend and the first day of booth sales begin. The last day for sales will be Sunday, March 17. Girl Scouts Heart of Central California covers 18 counties including San Joaquin and Stanislaus. Locally, the girls will have a booth set up at SaveMart on Saturday, Feb. 23 to begin their sales. To find other cookie booths, enter your zip code in the Cookie Finder website, or by downloading the Girl Scout Cookie Finder app for your IOS or Android mobile device.


MJC Ag Program

Stanislaus County’s oldest industry is ripe for integration of technology, which will allow the agricultural economy to grow in scope and efficiency. So say the organizers of Adapt or Die: Sowing the Seeds of an Innovative AgTech Ecosystem, a symposium slated for Thursday, Feb. 7 from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Ag Pavilion at Modesto Junior College. The event is sponsored by Opportunity Stanislaus, Better Food Ventures, Assemblyman Health Flora, The Mixing Bowl, National Ag Science Center, Modesto Junior College, and Bay Valley Tech Coding Academy with the intent of making the agriculture community aware of opportunities for sustainability and increased profitability through technology and introducing the industry to potential tech partners. General tickets for the event are just $30. For more information or to register, visit


Blood Drives

Upcoming blood donation opportunities through the American Red Cross in the local area include Tuesday, Feb. 12, Escalon Christian Reformed Church, 2203 California St., Escalon, 1 p.m. to 7 p.m.; and Wednesday, Feb. 13, Gene Bianchi Community Center, 110 S. Second Ave., Oakdale, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. All eligible donors, especially platelet donors and blood donors with type O blood, are urged to make an appointment to give to help restock the shelves for hospital patients. Eligible donors can find a blood or platelet donation opportunity and schedule an appointment to donate by using the free Blood Donor App, visiting or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). The Sonora Blood Donor site at 850 Sanguinetti Road is also open Monday, Tuesday, Friday and Saturday for donors.


Crab Fest

Howard Training Center’s (HTC) 25th Annual Crab Fest Fundraiser will be held at1424 Stonum Road in Modesto on Friday, Feb. 1 and Saturday, Feb. 2 with doors opening at 5:30 p.m. and dinner served at 6:30 p.m. each evening. All the money raised supports the HTC programs and adults with disabilities. Dinner will include crab and tri-tip along with sides and a live band to provide entertainment as well as a bar, gift bag raffle, booze barrel raffle, and live auction. All seats are reserved and are available for $50 per person with sponsorships still available. For more information call 209-593-5618 or email or visit the website at


Art Exhibit

On display now at Modesto Junior College is an exhibit of art works by Mariam Pakbaz, with the show continuing through Thursday, Feb. 7 in the Art Gallery on the East Campus, 435 College Ave., Modesto. This first art gallery show of the spring semester features Pakbaz’s paintings and drawings that reflect the inner workings of her mind. The gallery is open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Thursday and admission is free.


Dances Offered

Golden Agers weekly dances are open to those 50 and older from throughout the Central Valley and are now hosted at St. Frances of Rome Church, 2827 Topeka St., Riverbank. First time guests are admitted free. The annual membership fee is $12 and each Wednesday members pay $5 and non-members can enjoy a few hours of music and dancing for $6. The Golden Agers meet from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.


Join Toastmasters

The local REO Speechtrain Toastmasters Club gathers for regular meetings every Wednesday morning, 6:30 a.m. to 7:45 a.m., at Perko’s Cafe, Patterson and Oakdale roads, Riverbank. This is a fun way to learn the self-confidence and skills needed for public speaking. All are invited to come and check out the group. The next meeting will be Wednesday, Feb. 6. For more information, call (209) 869-8200.


Special Celebration

“Marriage at the Mansion” will be offered on Valentine’s Day at the historic McHenry Mansion, 906 15 St., Modesto. All ceremonies are individualized. Couples must sign up in advance. Ceremonies will start at 9 a.m. and run through 4 p.m., on Thursday, Feb. 14 – Valentine’s Day. Marriage licenses must be purchased and appointments made in advance at the Stanislaus County Clerk Recorder’s Office at 1021 I St., Modesto. For more information or to set an appointment contact the Clerk Recorder’s Office at 209-525-5250 or 209-525-5205 and for assistance in Spanish, call 209-525-5230.


TOPS Meeting

All are invited to the weekly meetings of TOPS, Take Off Pounds Sensibly, 1034 that gathers each Monday from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. at the United Methodist Church, 1480 Poplar Ave., Oakdale. The group features help with weight loss in a supportive setting. Residents of Oakdale, Riverbank, Escalon and beyond are welcome to attend. Call Audrey Oliver at 209-765-7838 for information. You can also visit