"Exploring our communities" seems to be an ongoing theme, as ENCORE members this fall explore area theaters, tour artists' studios and survey a number of collections and hobbies. They'll also have the opportunity to join a book discussion group and a science roundtable spotlighting genetics and other science interests. Another class, on advance care planning, will teach planning for end-of-life health care. Members can sign up for any or all of these classes and nonmembers are welcome to attend one free session of any class. ENCORE (Exploring New Concepts of Retirement Education) is an association of retirement-age people who enjoy learning and meeting new friends.

Autumn classes, beginning in October, include:

• Autumn Art & Studio Tours: Visit studios in Astoria, Gearhart and Cannon Beach to learn about the variety of creative and artistic talent in the area. Tours will include the studios of painters, weavers, glass blowers, ironworks, pottery and stained glass artists. The class will meet from 1 to 3 p.m. Mondays from Oct. 13 through Nov. 3. Joan Massat is the leader.

• Backstage: Tours & Histories of Local Theaters: Visit area theaters and enjoy guided backstage tours. Theater representatives will tell about their histories and plans for the future. Theaters visited include the Liberty Theater, CCC's Performing Arts Center, River Theater and Astor Street Opry Company in Astoria; the Coaster Theater in Cannon Beach; and the Seaside Theater Company in Seaside. This group will meet from 1 to 3 p.m. Fridays Oct. 10 through 31. Gloria Jones is the leader. A bonus for participants is free tickets to CCC's "2003-2004 Season Preview Extravaganza," Oct. 10 at the Performing Arts Center.

• Advance Care Planning: Learn what you need to know about planning for end-of-life health care for those not able to speak for themselves. Legal and moral issues and life support systems will be discussed and there will be instruction on completing Advance Directives. This class meets from 1 to 3p.m. Thursdays Oct. 23 through Nov. 13. Alton and June Stromberg, the leaders, are both certified Advanced Care Planning facilitators.

• Book Discussion: "Buddenbrooks, The Decline of a Family," by Thomas Mann. Led by Fay Brill, this class will learn about the culture of a middle class mercantile family in Germany from the 1830s to the 1870s. The class meets 10 a.m. until noon Tuesdays, Oct. 14 through Dec. 16.

• Collectors, Artists and Hobbyists: Vintage sewing tools, antique apple dolls, old frames, wood carvings, sculptures, decorated eggs are some of the collections this class will delve into. There will be some group participation and an opportunity for participants to share their own special interests. The class meets from 2 to 4 p.m. Tuesdays, Oct. 14 through Nov. 4. Donna Buzzard and Nancy Anderson are coordinating the class.

• Readers' Exchange (Science Series): Using a format of a roundtable discussion of current readings, this group will delve into science topics about genetics, followed by botany, climate change and other science interests. The class meets from 10 a.m. until noon Wednesdays, Oct. 15 through Dec. 10. Sue Zerangue is the leader.

Sponsored by Clatsop Community College and affiliated with the Elderhostel Institute Network, ENCORE is open to adults 50 and older. Members come from Oregon's North Coast and the South Washington Coast. Dues ($50) are paid annually in September and entitle members to enroll in any or all of the group's course offerings during the year. For more information, contact Helen McDaniel at 325-8933, or visit the ENCORE Web page at (www.clatsopcc.edu/programs/encore). Washington residents can call Clatsop Community College toll-free at (866) 252-8767.

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