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Fast facts: 

Need help with your taxes? AARP (formerly the American Association of Retired Persons,) is offering free income tax preparation at several locations around the county through April 11. Seniors with Social Security benefits and people with disability benefits are encouraged to take advantage of the help, because they may be eligible for returns of between $300 and $600 as part of President Bush's economic stimulus plan. Volunteers are available by appointment only, weekdays at: Rabobank in SLO, for more info, call: 541-5500. At Grace Church in Arroyo Grande: 481-7886. At Church of Christ in Morro Bay: 772-4421. And at the veteran's building in Paso Robles: 237-3880. For more locations and more info, call Jerry at 773-3238.

Green thumbs: get your gardens ready for spring with some new plants and advice from the San Luis Botanical Gardens. Saturday, March 8 the greenhouse will be open, with plants on sale from 1 p.m. to 4. Helene Carol-Brown will be speaking about design elements of ancient Mediterranean gardens from 1 p.m. to 2. The cost is $5. There will also be docent-led tours of gardens from 2 p.m. to 3. The SLO Botanical Garden is located in El Chorro Regional Park, off Highway 1, across from Cuesta College. For more info, call: 541-1400.

SLO 211 Hotline is still looking for teams to take part in the annual Bonanza Bowl-athon fundraiser, set for April 10 through April 20. Coordinator, Elaine Genasci, said the Hotline hopes to form 160 teams with four people each, and the effort will meet a quarter of their yearly budget needs. The cost for each team is $500, and the deadline to register is April 1. 211 is a countywide, 24-hour hotline with information and referral, support and crisis intervention services. They are also seeking sponsors who can donate raffle prizes or money to the organization. For more info, visit: or call: 544-6016.

The Women's Shelter Program of San Luis Obispo County will be the beneficiary of all proceeds from a networking workshop. The Central Coast Women's Network, Directory of Women in Business is hosting the event March 14 at the Spyglass Inn in Shell Beach. The event will focus on networking skills. The guest speaker is Starr Hall. The cost is $30. For more info, or to RSVP, call 275-4354.

Kylie Mendonca compiled this week's Strokes and Plugs. Send your business news to

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