5 Things You Need to Know Today: Jan. 6

There's a pinewood derby at the mall tomorrow and a talent show in a couple of weeks.

Our weekday morning column, 5 Things You Need to Know, provides you with information that can help you plan your day and give you some fodder for water cooler conversations.

1.  will host the annual Hudson Cub Scout Pack #3’s Pinewood Derby Saturday, Jan. 7 from 1 to 4 p.m.

2. The Marlborough  will begin picking up your discarded Christmas trees next week.

3. Calling all Stars! Karon Shea Model Management will be hosting talent auditions at the  Sunday, Jan. 15 from 1 to 4 p.m. for local residents to see if they have what it takes to make it in Hollywood. International Model and Talent Association in conjunction with Karon Shea Model Management will have a scout from Los Angeles on hand to review all walks of talent. Talents include acting, singing, modeling, and dancing.

4. The Worcester Business Journal reports that Merck Global Health Innovations Fund LLC will invest up to $17 million in Marlborough's Physicians Interactive Holdings Inc. The financing includes an initial sum of $8.5 million and the potential for another $8.5 million as certain milestones are achieved.

5. This just in from the Chamber of Commerce: The Massachusetts Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (MACCE), of which the Marlborough Regional Chamber of Commerce is a member, has been pushing a group purchasing initiative for much of the past decade, arguing that employers with fewer than 50 workers are disadvantaged in a health insurance market. It took a slumping economy, and years of double-digit premium increases, before the Legislature opened the door to the group purchasing cooperatives in the summer of 2010. The law allows the formation of up to six cooperatives that collectively can have as many as 85,000 members, roughly 10 percent of the state's "small group'' market that covers small employers and individuals. MACCE has been approved as one of the cooperatives. The Marlborough Regional Chamber of Commerce has been approved as a qualifying Chamber of Commerce, which means it will be able to provide discounts to its members with fewer than 50 employees. We will keep you informed about the progress of this initiative as it is rolled out this spring.

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