---- — n To the area's many helping organizations, their donors and the thousands of volunteers in the five-county Grand Traverse region who work all year to provide food, clothing, and a safety net for people living in or on the edge of poverty. Among them: Goodwill, the Father Fred Foundation, the Salvation Army, United Way, Rotary Charities, area service clubs, Benzie County Christian Neighbors, Kalkaska Area Interfaith Resources, Leelanau Christian Neighbors, Good Samaritan Family Services in Ellsworth, Love Inc. Toys for Tots, the Community Meals Program, Safe Harbor, Food Rescue, Northwest Food Coalition, Poverty Reduction Initiative, schools and many other groups. Their efforts and caring are year-round gifts to our region.
n To the Traverse City Track Club and all who participated in Sunday's 5th Annual Jingle Bell 5K Run/Walk to raise money for Goodwill Industries of Northern Michigan. More than 400 people were expected to walk. Last year, the event raised $1,200 for Goodwill and brought in 400 pounds of food for the nonprofit. More than 55 students, track and cross country teams from Traverse City Central, West Senior High and St. Francis High school volunteered at the event.
n To Elk Rapids Rotarians and Traverse City Optimists for supporting the Huggables for Munson Emergency project. With their help, about 2,200 Teddy Bears and stuffed animals have been given to injured or traumatized children at the Munson Hospital Emergency Department.
n To the Cherry Capital Cycling Club and the TART Trails safety education group for coming up with an accident and incident reporting system for bicyclists and pedestrians. People who have been involved in or witnessed an incident involving a non-motorized vehicle can report details, even if there were no injuries and no police report, at http://traversetrails.org or http:// www.cherrycapitalcyclingclub.org.
n To the Encore Winds for returning to the Dennos Museum Center for its 20th year for a formal concert, preceded by a free "Tuba Christmas" in the center's Sculpture Court. The event attracts about 25 tuba and euphonium players as well as brass instrument players from the 50-piece wind orchestra. The Encore Winds concert in Milliken Auditorium featured guest tenor Liam Bernhard and the Mesick High School Band. Part of Encore's mission is to give young, upcoming musicians the opportunity to play next to seasoned musicians, executive director Marlene Bielas said. Students 17 and under got in free.
n To U.S. Rep. Dave Camp, R-Midland, who received the good news from his physicians that he was cancer-free following chemotherapy treatments for non-Hodgkins large B-cell lymphoma.