Hello, good neighbors! Hope yesterday was a very lovely day for all you Valentines. As always, there's lots of sweet goings-on in our community this week. Don't you just "heart" Ridgecrest?

A sweetheart gift. Yes, I know...Valentine's Day was yesterday, but today, Wednesday, Feb. 15, from noon to 6 p.m. is your opportunity to give the loving precious gift of life to someone in need at the Houchin Community Blood Bank, conveniently parked at the Kerr McGee Center, 100 W. California Ave. To schedule an appointment, call 661-323-4222. Now, that's a real gift of love!

Music's in the air. Hey, this Friday, February 17 is a non-flex Friday. You know what that means! It's Open Mic Night at the Historic USO Building, 230 W. Ridgecrest Blvd., rocking every non-flex Friday evening at 7p.m. Enjoy the sweetest, hottest music in town at the sweetest, coolest venue in town. Admission is still a ridiculous $2 per person whether you are playing on the big Joe Fox stage or just hanging out in the audience. Kids get in free when accompanied by a paid adult. Be sure to visit our famous thrifty Snack Bar for tasty treats and refreshing libations. (Proper ID's required.) Doors open at 6:30 pm and the big show blasts off at 7 p.m. One sweet evening, indeed!

Hey kids: “Check” this out…Friday, February 17 from 8:20 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Free Chess Tournament for Kids. Play four to six rounds of chess lasting 30 minutes or less per round. Everyone competes in every round, and students play in sections by grade level (K-1, 2-3, 4-5, 6-8, and 9-12). Everyone gets an award at the end of the tournament. (Sweet!) This event takes place at Gateway Elementary School, 501 S. Gateway Blvd. Registration is from 8:20 to 9 a.m. Games start at 9 a.m. Awards will be presented from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. For further details, call Dwight Morgan at 760-377-0034. Free for all students pre-K to 12th grade.

Make way for the Young! The Maturango Museum Concert Series proudly presents "Children in Art and Music," a lecture-concert featuring art and music from 20 artists and 12 composers, and hosted by my good friend artist Sergio Ramirez and the locally renowned musician Catherine Douglas.

This lovely evening of art and music will be this Friday, Feb. 17 at 7:30 p.m. at the museum located at 100 E. Las Flores Ave. Tickets are available at the museum store or on-line at www.maturango.org for $12 general admission and $5 for kids 12 years and under. Don't miss this very special event.

MOMS and education. The MOMS Club of Ridgecrest is presenting a free "Early Education Fair" this Saturday, February 18, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Ridgecrest United Methodist Church, 639 N. Norma St. This will be an organization of local preschools and elementary schools, each at their own booth, featuring information about education options available in town. The public is invited to attend this important free community event.

Grab your sweetie...and dance on down to the Big Band X-Press "Sweetheart Ball" this Saturday evening, February 18, at 7:30 p.m. at the Historic USO Building. Get there early, at 6:30 p.m. for a free dance lesson from our very own Arthur Murray, Mr. Ken Sanger! Sweetheart goodies and a no-host bar sweetens the $10 admission fee. Dance the night away with that favorite Valentine! For more information check out the website: http://rcbbx.org.

Support is on the way! Starting Tuesday, February 21...and every Tuesday, from 6:30 to 8 p.m., a support group for men and women, 18 years and older is open to help survivors conquer the fears and emptiness of child abuse, domestic violence and sexual assault in a safe, confidential setting. Call 760-371-1969 for more information about this program sponsored by the good folks at the Women's Center-High Desert.

Trona proud! The Historical Society of the Upper Mojave Desert's February meeting will feature Cholla Sizemore, who will discuss the Trona Pride Program, an initiative to bring local history to Trona schools. The free public meeting will begin at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, February 21, at the Historic USO Building. Cholla always has interesting info to share!

Now, that's one sweet week! Have a great one, neighbors.

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The views expressed are those of the columnist and do not necessarily represent the official stance of the Daily Independent.