Help and win: Blood and platelet donors at American Red Cross through Jan. 2 will get a chance to win one of five Apple iPad 2s; Park Road Donor Center, 2425 Park Road, Charlotte. Hours: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday: 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Friday: 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Essay honors: Matthews Police D.A.R.E. Officer Karen Greene announced Crown Point Elementary School's D.A.R.E. Graduation Essay Winners.
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"Taking a Stand" essay winners were: Matthews Smith, D'Angello Wright, Alexis Tooker, Skyler Graham, Adam Johnsen, and Maddie Schultz.
Mystery night: The Matthews Playhouse of the Performing Arts presents two shows of "Opening Night Matthews" on Dec. 31 at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. This is the 10th season you can ring in the New Year with the Matthews Playhouse murder mystery. Solve the mystery and guess "Whodunit" before the clock strikes 12 p.m. Tickets are $10 and available at the Matthews Community Center Box Office, online at www.matthewsplayhouse.com or at the door one hour prior to each performance. Call 704-846-8343, Matthews Community Center, 100 McDowell St., Matthews.
Friday meeting: Warren Cooksey, representing south Charlotte's District 7 on the City Council, will meet with constituents in the bar next to the Gallery Restaurant in the Ballantyne Hotel, 10000 Ballantyne Commons Parkway, from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. on Dec. 30.
The major topic will be the agenda for the Jan. 3 City Council workshop, which is scheduled to include an introduction to proposed ordinances regarding protest activity in preparation for the Democratic National Convention.