The second October Book Drive, supporting Books for Troops, began Monday with assistance from local service clubs and businesses.
The organization Books for Troops, begun in May 2011 by Patricia Murphy, has shipped more 5,000 books to military personnel overseas and delivered 2,000 books to local veterans. The organization collects paperback books.
"We are accepting action, adventure, suspense, mystery, comedy and comic books — any books that the troops can read during their down time. The most important thing is that they are in very good condition. Some of the books will be delivered to hospitals and nursing homes and it is imperative that they are clean," Murphy said,
She said the organization cannot accept books about religion, the apocalypse or pornographic materials.
New Tampa collection sites are: New Tampa Recreation Center, 17302 Commerce Park Blvd.; and Pebble Creek Country Club, 10550 Regents Park Drive. Temple Terrace collection sites are: Business Ink Printing, 8834-C N.56th St.; and Greater Temple Terrace Chamber of Commerce, 9385 N. 56th St.
For information, contact Murphy at Booksfor Troops@verizon.net.
Animals get blessings, medals
An outdoor celebration of Blessing of the Animals, open to the public, will be at noon Saturday at St. Catherine of Alexandria Episcopal Church.
The Rev. Susan J. Latimer will bless all animals at the outdoor altar at the church, 502 Druid Hills Road. The blessing will include stuffed ones children bring, and photos of animals not suitable to bring. St. Francis medals will be given to each pet.
All animals should be leashed or caged. A picnic/cookout will follow.
The annual event honors St. Francis of Assisi (1181-1226), author of the poem, Canticle to the Sun, praising the way God works through creation. Known for his rapport with animals, St. Francis of Assisi has become the patron of natural conservation, as a reminder of the beauty of God's creation and humankind's role in ensuring its care and proper use.
Alumni group gathers
The Greater Tampa Area University of South Florida Alumni Chapter will have a networking social Tuesday at the Gibbons Alumni Center.
William Sutton will speak about the university's recently established master's degree in Sports and Entertainment Management.
The event also will have displays from university departments including USF athletics, as well as a table for alumni guests to advertise their businesses with cards and fliers.
The social is from 6 to 8 p.m. with a tour of the refurbished Sun Dome available at 5:30 p.m.
Rotary meets Friday morning
Tom Wade, the Rotary district governor, will speak when the Rotary Club of New Tampa meets Friday.
The 7 a.m. meeting is at Tampa Palms Golf & Country Club, 5811 Tampa Palms Blvd.
The club is open to those who live or work in the New Tampa area.
For information, see www.newtamparotary.org or contact Eric Longphee at (813) 202-1105 or Eric.Longphee@ RaymondJames.com.
Rangers offer programs at park
The Park Ranger Nature Educational Programs begin Saturday for families at Lettuce Lake Park, 6920 E. Fletcher Ave.
They are held at 10 a.m. and at noon Saturdays and/or Sundays, with a registration fee of $5 for one child and one adult. The park admission is $2 per vehicle with up to eight people.
This weekend's topic on Saturday and Sunday is Florida fossils. Other programs this month are: Oct. 14, Homemade Ice Cream — Make It and Eat It; and Oct. 27 and Oct. 28, Bats, Owls and Butterflies — Make Masks or Paint Your Own Face.
For more information or to register, email Diane Kyle at kyled@ hillsboroughcounty.org with date, time and names of those attending, or contact Lettuce Lake Park at (813) 987-6204.
Perennials is program at club
Master gardener Pat Harris will present a program on perennials when the North Tampa Garden Club meets Oct. 10.
The 10 a.m. meeting, open to the public at no charge, will be at the Forest Hills Park Community Center, 724 W. 109th Ave. A covered-dish luncheon follows. For information, contact Laura Kuechenberg at (813) 238-0568.