Warwick - Don't be surprised if you see people walking about town wearing strings of beads a-la- Mardi Gras. Local merchants have formed a committee to raise funds for the victims of Hurricane Katrina. Beginning this week, co-chairs Carol Bartnowski and Sue Loughren have arranged for local businesses to sell the beads for a $1 per string donation. And, about one month from now, the program will culminate with a "Mardi-Gras" style celebration. More details to follow next week. Reminder This Saturday, Sept. 10, is the second Saturday of the month. The Warwick Independent Business Alliance (IBA) has initiated a program called, "Second Saturdays," whereby most downtown Warwick retailers remain open until 8 p.m. on the second Saturday of each month. "Second Saturdays" was created in direct response from the community asking for extended shopping hours and the Warwick IBA has 16 businesses participating in the program at this time. But this Saturday will be extra special. To begin, there is a reception at Port of Call (beginning at 6 p.m.) for the 2005 Warwick Open Studios Tour. The works of participating artists will be on display and for sale. And, from 4 -7 p.m. there will be a free drumming celebration on Railroad Avenue Green lead by Maxwell Koffi Donkor. Originally from Ghana, Donkor is a recipient of a grant from Orange County Tourism to bring his drumming skills, experience and instruction to the public. Art, music and food should add up to a lively downtown for the entire family. Playground improvements Seely & Durland Insurance, 13 Oakland Ave., and Selective Insurance Group have joined forces to support the Warwick Community Bandwagon through a $1,000 grant which will be used to upgrade the pre-school playground. The pre-school program is now in its 25th year of service. "We are proud to support the work of our Community Bandwagon," said Garrett Durland. "This wonderful organization enhances the quality of life for the citizens of Warwick by providing affordable social, cultural, educational and recreational activities." The $1,000 grant represents the total of matching grants from Seely & Durland and Selective Insurance Group through its Presidents Club agents program. Selective Insurance is a holding company for six property and casualty insurance companies offering primary and alternative market insurance for commercial and personal risks. "Selective values the relationships we share with independent agents and their customers," said James Caragher, senior vice president of field operations. "Being able to help those agents give back to their communities supports our mission of being a good business and community partner." Seely & Durland, Inc. is an independent insurance agency serving the community for more than 70 years. By representing more than 20 highly rated insurance companies, the agency provides clients with a choice based on individual needs and situations. Seely & Durland offers all forms of insurance including home, auto, high value property, business, life and more. For information, visit the Web site at www.seely-durland.com or call 986-1177. Optimum performance Rick Rutkowski, PT, CCS, a New York State licensed Physical Therapist and certified strengthening and conditioning specialist, recently completed a nationally recognized Manual Therapy Certification (MTC) course through the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences. Rutkowski is the founder of Optimum Performance Physical Therapy with offices are at 470 Route 17 A in Florida and at 214 West St. in Warwick. The certification program, which involved five years of course work plus a week of written, oral and practical testing, provided instruction in both scientific and clinical manual techniques and therapeutic exercises for the entire body. And although it involved considerable expense and time away from his office, insurance companies do not offer any increase in compensation for the prestigious certification and higher level of competency. "I pursued this continuation education simply to make myself a better physical therapist," said Rutkowski. For information on Optimum Performance office hours in Florida or Warwick call 651-6778 or 986-5099. New location After five years at its Warwick location, Ultimate Sambo recently moved to a larger facility at 133 North Main St. in Florida. According to Master Instructor Vladislav Koulikov, Sambo is a Russian Martial Art designed by Soviet Military Special Forces as a means of hand to hand combat. Sambo, he explained, utilizes dynamic throws, submission holds, effective strikes, and military style tactics. "Combat Sambo is the most comprehensive and effective martial art in existence," he said. Koulikov is a Russian National Sambo Champion as well as an American PAN AM Champion, grappling champion and Mixed Martial Arts (no holds barred) champion. He holds a second-degree Black belt in Judo, a Black Belt in Nihon Kenpo Karate and a Master of Sport designation in Sambo. His wife, Yvonne, also is a Master Instructor and she holds a second-degree black belt in Tae Kwan Do and a first-degree black belt in Judo. She is also a grappling champion as well as a mixed martial arts competitor. The North American Grappling Association has recognized ultimate Sambo as one of the top ten grappling schools in North America. For information on classes, a new expanded children's program or competition call 651-5155 or visit the school's Web site at: www.ultimatesambo.com.