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Local news briefs for Dec. 24

Boy Scouts collect Christmas trees

For a suggested donation of $5, Boy Scouts with Troop 542 are collecting Christmas trees for recycling on Dec. 31 and Jan. 7. You can drop off the trees between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. at Lynchwood Church of God, 3818 S.E. 174th Ave., or schedule a pick up by contacting Jackie Piggott at 503-799-6402 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Provide your name, phone number, address and preferred pick-up day (Dec. 31 or Jan. 7). The group will call the day before to provide a window of time for pick up. Remove all decorations from the tree prior to drop off or pick up.

Troop 707 Christmas Tree Recycle

Troop 707 Boy Scouts will collect trees and wreaths for recycling at the Gresham Fred Meyer parking lot on the two weekends following Christmas.

The scouts will be at Fred Meyer from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 31-Jan. 1 and Jan. 7-8.

Those who would like to arrange a Christmas tree pick up on the weekends in the Gresham area (east of 181st Avenue) can call 503-312-1265 from Dec. 26 through Jan. 8.

The suggested donation is $5 for Christmas trees, $2 for wreaths and $6 for tree pick-ups. All lights and decorations should be removed from the trees prior to drop off or pick up.

The donations will be used to assist the boys in attending summer camp.

Gresham extends two business programs

The Gresham City Council has extended its Garage-to-Storefront and Business License incentive programs through Dec. 12, 2012.

The Garage-to-Storefront initiative specifically helps businesses expand or locate in Gresham's three core commercial areas: downtown, Civic neighborhood and Central Rockwood. The business license waiver eliminates the fee for any business of 5,000 square feet or less that is moving into existing vacant commercial space.

Since the program's creation in April 2010, city officials said more than 165 businesses have benefited, occupying more than 235,000 square feet of previously vacant storefront space. Business owners have saved almost $98,000 in city development and business license-related fees and charges, officials said.

Visit GreshamOregon.gov/smallbusiness or call Coordinator Kristin Chiles at 503-618-2872 for information.

Volunteers needed for hospital garden

Legacy Mount Hood Medical Center, 24800 S.E. Stark St., is seeking volunteers for its therapeutic garden, which serves as a restorative setting for patients, visitors and staff.

Volunteers are needed for a variety of projects and tasks, including maintenance and watering, planting, fundraising, public relations, computer work, scheduling/organizing volunteers and assisting with workshop trainings.

Prospective volunteers will tour the garden and learn about the requirements for the garden volunteer program. Individual appointments for interviews, volunteer applications and training sessions take place later.

Call the volunteer office at 503-674-1217 to register for the free information session. The meeting location is provided at registration.

Local soldiers record holiday greetings

Oregonians in the military who are currently deployed to Afghanistan and other overseas locations have recorded and posted holiday video greetings for friends and family.

Video clips of all soldiers, listed by name and hometowns, can be found at dvidshub.net/holiday/C110/OR. 

The website features videos from Spc. Benjamin Ponting of Troutdale, who is in Afghanistan with the Oregon Army National Guard's 1186 Military Police Company; Air Force Airman 1st Class Elizabeth Patterson of Gresham, who is in Kandahar, Afghanistan; and Air Force Master Sgt. Sean Worrell of Gresham, who is stationed at Ramstein Air Base in Germany.

Visitors to the website can send an e-card to the soldiers. Approximately 180 citizen-soldiers from throughout Oregon are deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

Police collect toys for East County children

The Troutdale Police Department and the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office collected 226 large bags of toys and more than $1,700 in cash donations to purchase toys for needy children in East County during their annual toy drive.

SnowCap Community Charities will distribute the toys to families who have been unable to afford gifts this season.

Police volunteers as well as volunteers from the Troutdale Public Safety Advisory Committee, Reynolds High School, Walt Morey Middle School and Troutdale Elementary School students and a local 'Star Wars' enthusiast group all donated their time to oversee the weekend collection stations at Walmart in Wood Village.

Nominations open for prestigious White Rose Award

The March of Dimes Greater Oregon chapter is looking to honor women who live or work in Oregon and have made exceptional contributions to the community with its annual White Rose Award: A Salute to Women of Achievement.

White Rose honorees are selected on the basis of volunteerism, professional excellence and contributions to the community as a whole.

Award recipients will be recognized at the White Rose luncheon in May.

Nomination applications are available by calling 503-222-9434 in Portland, 1-800-811-0805 outside Portland, or online at marchofdimes.com/oregon. Applications must be submitted no later then 4 p.m. Friday, Jan. 27, 2012, to the March of Dimes Portland office.