- We'll give you a 10-day headsup regarding a Hopatcong holiday tradition. The Recreation Department's annual Holiday House Decorating Contest is back for 2013. Judges will select the top three decorated homes at a special event at Pavinci's Italian Grill on Dec. 17. It ought to be great fun and wonderful community building, but in order to take part, you must register by Friday, Dec. 13. Pick up registration forms at the Municipal Building, 111 River Styx Road, or download it, print it out, fill it out and take it to Borough Hall. If you have questions, call 973-770-2701.
- Also in the headsup category, Sparta Recreation is still asking residents to fill our a short survey that will help the department evaluate its programs and services. (In other words, the recreation department wants you to tell them how it can best serve you and your family in the future.)
- It's the holiday season, and every year you swear your party is going to be the absolute most and every year it absolutely is the absolute least. Change your luck with "How to Plan a Great Party" at the Sparta Public Library. Event planner Cristie Woodard of Plan-It Productions offers tips covering all aspects of party organization, from decor to food (or, as the library puts it, she'll "show you how to wow your guests at your next event"). The workshop is free, but you must register, which you can do online—the class is restricted to those 16 and over. Sparta Library is at 22 Woodport Road.
- The Lenape Valley Regional High School Planetarium's “The Star of Bethlehem” continues its run, exploring the question of what the Wise Men saw in the sky on the morning of the first Christmas. Show times are 6:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Wednesday; Thursday is the last night of the presentation, which will have three showings, at 4:30 p.m., 6:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $5 per adult, $3 per student and $2 for those over 60. Reservations are encouraged: Send email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 973-347-7600 ext 165. The school is at 28 Sparta Road in Stanhope.
- The Sparta Planning Board holds its regular session Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Town Hall, 65 Main St. The Hopatcong Borough Council follows suit at 7:30 p.m. Neither agenda had been released at press time.
- Keeping It Clean: In Hopatcong, sanitation crews will head to Garbage Pickup Section B and Recycling Section C. The Recycling Center will be open Wednesday from 9 a.m.-noon. In Sparta, check with the online schedule.
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