1 Put your skills to work – Habitat for Humanity has volunteer opportunities available for everyone. Construction: No experience is required, you'll be taught all the building skills necessary on-site. Groups are scheduled Wednesday-Saturdays, and individuals on Wednesdays and the last Saturday of the month. ReStore: The stores, open Monday-Saturday in Independence and Blue Springs, rely heavily on the help of volunteers to minimize overhead, which ultimately helps them serve more families in need. You must be at least 18, although 16-17 year olds are welcome with an adult. Lunch Crew: You'll be preparing and donating a lunch for the Habitat home-build construction volunteers. Special projects/Committees: Throughout the year, volunteers are need for a gala, 5K, purse auction, prayer breakfast, concerts, etc. If you have a special skill, such as photography, event planning, writing, public speaking, marketing, etc., they can use your help. Administrative: Office tasks can range from stuffing envelopes, answering phones, database entry, research, etc. Learn more at www.trumanhabitat.org/Volunteer.html .

2 National Geographic Live: Ocean Wild – Dive deep into the world’s oceans with one of National Geographic’s most seasoned photographers, Brian Skerry, at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, at the Muriel Kauffman Theatre, Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. Skerry has spent more than 10,000 hours underwater using his camera to tell the story of some of the ocean’s most elusive inhabitants. His mission is to enlighten and inspire people to care about the beauty, bounty and health of the world’s oceans. For tickets, call 994-7222 or visit www.kauffmancenter.org .

3 Extension Council nomination deadline approaching – The University of Missouri Extension Council of Jackson County is seeking nominations and/or applications to serve on the county Extension Council for a two-year term beginning Feb. 22. Qualified candidates must reside in Jackson County, be 18 years of age, and agree to accept the responsibilities of council membership. This is an elected position. An election will be held Jan. 12-19 for three separate districts. The county council meets on the fourth Thursday of each month at 7 p.m at either the Blue Springs Extension office or the River Market office in downtown Kansas City. Visit http://extension.missouri.edu/jackson to learn more about the county council and its programs. For a Consent to be Nominated form, contact Matt J. Brillhart at brillhartmj@missouri.edu or 252-5051.

4 Dreams of the Kings: A Jade Suit for Eternity – In ancient China, death was believed to be such a continuation of life that burial tombs were plotted as elaborate afterlife arenas. This exhibit, which runs through April 1 at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, offers a window into ancient Chinese burial rituals. The centerpiece is a 2,000-year-old, life-sized jade and gold burial suit, meticulously assembled from more than 4,000 pieces of jade linked together with gold wire. A selection of 90 pieces from the museum’s collection of early Chinese art from the Shang to the Han dynasties will be displayed. Included will be the world-famous jade bi ritual disc and many other exceptional pieces. The Nelson-Atkins is located at 45th and Oak streets. Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesday, Saturday, Sunday; 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Thursday/Friday; Admission is free. For questions, call 751-1278 or visit nelson-atkins.org

5 Mid-Continent Public Library branches have new hours – The MCPL doors will be open longer as the Library implements new hours of operation at each of its 31 branches across the area. Collectively, the Library system will be open an additional 78 hours per week. Local library hours: Blue Springs North and South, Independence South, Colbern Road and Raytown: 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, 1-5 p.m. Sunday; Independence North, 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, 1-5 p.m. Sunday; Midwest Genealogy Center, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 1-8 p.m. Sunday; Grain Valley, 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday.

-- HOW TO SUBMIT: Send your event and contact information to jill.ritchie@examiner.net . You can submit photos in jpg form.