Barbara Hernandez and Maggie Groves of Signature Hospice will be the featured speakers at the National Active and Retired Federal Employees meeting, set for noon today at the Black Bear Diner on Barnett Road in Medford.

Barbara Hernandez and Maggie Groves of Signature Hospice will be the featured speakers at the National Active and Retired Federal Employees meeting, set for noon today at the Black Bear Diner on Barnett Road in Medford.

A no-host lunch begins at 11 a.m. All members, prospective members and guests are welcome to attend.

The Rogue and Ashland bridge clubs, the oldest and largest duplicate bridge clubs in Jackson County, offer American Contract Bridge League games at noon every Monday and Friday at the Medford Masonic Lodge, 975 N. Phoenix Road.

A full lunch is served before the game, and entry fees are $7. The games are open to anyone.

For more information, call Bernadine Lacy at 541-301-4183.

The Ashland Parks and Recreation Department is offering a bird-counting class at North Mountain Park that will help participants identify species, get acquainted with local birds and meet other birders. The class is offered from 9 to 10 a.m. on alternate Saturdays through March.

Dates are Jan. 8 and 22, Feb. 5 and 19 and March 5 and 19.

The information collected will be submitted to Cornell University's FeederWatch project, a nationwide bird-monitoring effort. Pre-registration is not required for this free program, designed for people age 10 and older. North Mountain Park is at 620 N. Mountain Ave., Ashland.

Three Rogue Valley organizations were awarded grants by the Oregon Arts Commission as part of its Arts Build Communities grant program.

The Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland was awarded $7,000 to help create a more diverse audience and company and reduce barriers to attendance for underserved communities.

The Jefferson Nature Center was given $4,250 to support artist stipends for "Shifting Patterns: Preparing for Unsettled Days in the Rogue and Klamath Basins," a series of eight reading and display events featuring artist/writer interpretations of regional scientific climate change predictions.

The Multicultural Association of Southern Oregon was awarded $3,750 to support "Heritage Storytelling through Dance," to enable students to discover their cultural identity and to strengthen their knowledge by dancing stories that celebrate their heritage.

The grants are among 25 totaling $110,000 provided by the Oregon Arts Commission in the 15th year of its ABC program. The program supports projects that broaden the impact of the arts in communities and foster community arts partnerships across the state. This year, 50 proposals requesting more than $270,000 were submitted.

More information about the Oregon Arts Commission is available online at www.oregonartscommission.org

Compiled from staff reports