Sunday, November 19, 2017
Health

East Lake Youth Sports to renovate facilities, expand programs

RECOMMENDED READING


EAST LAKE — Just before dusk on a hot June night, coach John Duncan lines up about a dozen 12-year-old girls for their next soccer drill under the lights. The first game won't be until October, but that does not stop the team from practicing twice weekly all summer.

Duncan is not paid during the summer, so he, like his girls, is out there for the love of the game.

East Lake Youth Sports Association can breathe easy now after years of struggling to find solid financial footing. At its June 24 meeting, the Pinellas County Commission approved a new property tax to fund the group. Starting Oct. 1, ELYSA will see an estimated $550,000 per year to keep themselves afloat while tackling long-awaited renovations to the Old Keystone Road complex.

"Sports at this level is an opportunity to gather and feel part of something that's bigger than yourself," Duncan said. "I'm really pleased that's not in any danger of going away."

The Palm Harbor Community Services Agency board will oversee ELYSA, joining other entities in unincorporated areas, such as the East Lake Library. The 30-year-old group enrolls about 1,500 athletes in soccer, football, baseball, softball and cheerleading programs.

The new East Lake Recreation Services District will levy a quarter-mill, which is 25 cents for every assessed $1,000 in property value after all exemptions.

"We're extremely excited," said Rick Watson, the association's president.

One of Watson's top priorities is his laundry list of renovations for lighting, irrigation, parking lots, concession, bathrooms and storage. Eventually, Watson also hopes to add more fields on the 100 acres the county leased to his group last year.

Aside from physical changes, ELYSA athletes will see reduced team registration fees. The fees vary by sport and team. For competitive soccer teams like Duncan's, parents said fees can top $1,000, plus another few hundred for uniforms.

"We were happy," said East Lake parent Joe Snaguski, who was one of about 300 ELYSA supporters to attend the commission meeting. "We have three girls playing, so any break we will take."

Only one East Lake resident spoke in opposition to the recreation tax before the vote, saying it should go to a ballot first.

"Kids having access to recreation is good for the entire community," said County Commissioner Susan Latvala, who has been a big supporter of ELYSA. "Nobody wants their taxes raised, that's for sure. But when they see it dedicated to something as invaluable as this, they're okay with it."

Watson also plans to start a lacrosse program in January, as the youth sport gains popularity in Central Florida and nationwide.

But the biggest comfort to participants and staff is not the promise of renovated facilities nor new programming. It's that youth sports in East Lake are here to stay.

"In the end, if we didn't get a single bit of capital improvement out of this, and all we got was the continued existence of sports-playing at those fields, I'd take that," Duncan said, explaining that renovations are secondary to him. "I don't mind going into a windowless room and changing into my soccer uniform if it means the fields will still be there in 20 years."

Contact Julie Kliegman at [email protected] or (727) 445-4159. Follow @jmkliegman.

Comments
New shingles vaccine touted as a breakthrough for older adults

New shingles vaccine touted as a breakthrough for older adults

Medical researchers and government health policymakers, a cautious lot, normally take pains to keep expectations modest when they’re discussing some new finding or treatment.They warn about studies’ limitations. They point out what isn’t known. They ...
Published: 11/17/17
In Tampa Bay and elsewhere, early numbers show record sign-ups for Obamacare

In Tampa Bay and elsewhere, early numbers show record sign-ups for Obamacare

Despite the budget cuts, the attempts to repeal and replace, and reports of sharp rises in premiums, Floridians and other Americans are signing up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act at record rates this year.Enrollment has surged 47 p...
Published: 11/16/17
Updated: 11/17/17
Study: Mental quickness exercises can lower risk of dementia

Study: Mental quickness exercises can lower risk of dementia

Where did I leave my keys?As we age, it can take longer to answer a question like that.Humans begin to lose cognitive ability at age 25. Dementia, or the decline of memory most commonly seen in aging adults, takes hold early on and is gradual, but ac...
Published: 11/16/17
Blood pressure of 130 is the new ‘high,’ according to update of guidelines

Blood pressure of 130 is the new ‘high,’ according to update of guidelines

The nation’s heart experts tightened the guidelines for high blood pressure Monday, a change that will sharply increase the number of U.S. adults considered hypertensive in the hope that they, and their doctors, will address the deadly condition earl...
Published: 11/13/17
Are Honey Nut Cheerios healthy? A look inside the box

Are Honey Nut Cheerios healthy? A look inside the box

I had a bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios recently. It had been awhile. Regular Cheerios are more my thing. But sometimes I finish my box faster than my kids do and find myself straying to their side of the cupboard.Honey Nut is America’s best-selling break...
Published: 11/11/17
Owner of Bayfront Health St. Petersburg faces federal inquiry over funds for low-income patients

Owner of Bayfront Health St. Petersburg faces federal inquiry over funds for low-income patients

The corporate owner of Bayfront Health St. Petersburg could be facing a serious federal investigation related to its commitment to take care of St. Petersburg’s poorest residents.In its most recent filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commiss...
Published: 11/09/17
Updated: 11/14/17
Learn to practice gratitude year-round, not just on Thanksgiving

Learn to practice gratitude year-round, not just on Thanksgiving

Is it part of your Thanksgiving tradition to go around the dinner table and have everyone share one thing they are thankful for? The exercise reminds us that the day is about more than just turkey and pie. And, for those who take it seriously, it for...
Published: 11/07/17
Updated: 11/10/17
When the goal is getting to the ER fast and cheap, some choose Uber over 911

When the goal is getting to the ER fast and cheap, some choose Uber over 911

Matt Lavin had just arrived in Charlottesville, Va., for a business trip when he started feeling sick. By the time he got to his hotel around 11 p.m., he felt excruciating pain. "I didn’t know what was happening, but I knew something wasnR...
Published: 11/06/17

Stunning study: Heart stents fail to ease chest pain

A procedure used to relieve chest pain in hundreds of thousands of heart patients each year is useless for many of them, researchers reported Wednesday.Their study focused on the insertion of stents, tiny wire cages, to open blocked arteries. The dev...
Updated one month ago
Vigil calls attention to overdose victims, and brings hope

Vigil calls attention to overdose victims, and brings hope

NEW PORT RICHEY — The room was filling up fast. For Monica Rousseau, the sight of so many people searching for a seat at the annual Narcotics Overdose Prevention and Education candlelight vigil was both heartbreaking and uplifting. "I can’t even gues...
Updated one month ago