More than 300 first grade students from Jefferson County and Culver school districts will celebrate The Gift of Literacy today at the Madras Performing Arts Center. Gift of Literacy is an eight month program that aims to encourage first-graders to enjoy and be excited about reading at an early age and inspiring long-term success in school by emphasizing the importance of reading.   Today’s event will be the culmination of the seventh annual Gift of Literacy Program. Students will meet award-winning children’s author Eric Kimmel who will lead them in creating stories of their own. Book characters Pete the Cat and Pinkalicious will also be on hand to meet students as they participate in a number of volunteer-led activities, including small group readings, art projects, and games. First graders will come home with a book bag filled with educational goodies, lunch and a t-shirt. It starts at 9:30 this morning.

Number 10 Madras White Buffalo baseball has a quarterfinal game in the OSAA 4A State Championship today. They will face Number 2 North Marion on the road.

The Warm Springs Outdoor Market will start up again in June. This year – it will be set up every other Friday in the parking lot outside of the Re-Use It Thrift Store and Saturday on the campus near Kalama’s Fry Bread. June 22nd and 23rd will be the first weekend of the Outdoor Market. If you want to be a vendor – contact the Warm Springs Community Action Team office.

Fire season started a little early this year with small blazes in the region. Officials are preparing for what’s expected to be a busy summer. The Northwest Oregon Inter-agency Fire Management in Springfield says it still looks pretty green in Oregon but fuels will dry out quickly if there isn’t much rain. Officials have mapped out the fire outlook for the coming months. July and August are listed as above normal to significant for large fire potential. Hiatt urges the public to use caution when recreating in the forests.