Elizabeth Rodman remembers when Clearwater "was all about orange groves" and a quieter city.
Rodman celebrated her 105th birthday Monday with family and friends at Bay Aristocrat Village, Clearwater, where she has been a resident for 41 years.
The centenarian maintains her independence with assistance from her children and enjoys park activities with residents who have become friends.
Rodman is a formidable opponent at cards and likes to play bingo and dominos.
"She likes to win and she's good at it," said daughter B.J. Aaronson.
Elizabeth Marshall Rodman was born Sept. 7, 1906, in Plains, Pa., to James Marshall and his wife, Elizabeth Ayre Marshall. Three sisters and three brothers completed the family.
Her father built axles for trains. During World War II, he worked in a factory that built B-21 bombers.
She lived in Mount Holly, N.J., and graduated from the local high school. She attended Trenton State College (now the College of New Jersey) and Rutgers University, where she received a bachelor's degree in education.
Early in her 29-year career, Rodman taught elementary-level classes, then became a specialist in teaching children with learning disabilities.
She has always encouraged children to continue their education and enjoys hearing from former students.
She continues to enjoy life's simple pleasures. "I like hot tea with every meal and finish my meal with peaches and cookies."
"Only one or two cookies because she's always watched her weight," explained Mrs. Aaronson.
In addition to her daughter, Rodman has a son, Maurice Lewis, five grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren.
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The Maine Conservation Corps recently welcomed Erik Palm of Clearwater as a team member and AmeriCorps volunteer for the fall season.
The MCC conducts conservation projects throughout the state, including extensive recreational trail construction and rehabilitation. This season, Palm will serve on a crew of three to seven members and undertake several trail projects across the state of Maine.
He is the son of Stephen Palm of Oldsmar, and Andrea and Timothy Spinale of Clearwater.
Palm is a 2007 graduate of Countryside High and a 2011 graduate of the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College at Florida Atlantic University, where he studied anthropology and history.
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This year's Explorer Post 911 scholarship recipient is Ian Fowler of Palm Harbor. The 21-year-old was recently presented with a scholarship check by Safety Harbor Fire Department Post 911 advisers and fellow teen Explorers.
The Explorer program offers an opportunity for teens to learn about fire safety, physical fitness and leadership skills, and also enables teens to help other teens and gain a true sense of community and family. The program is designed to be fun, challenging and help teens build confidence and learn responsibility. Explorers volunteer at community events including Safety Harbor's Santa Goodwill Tours, Third Fridays, July 4th Celebration and Paint Your Heart Out. Every February the Post 911 team travels to Gatlinburg, Tenn., for a national competition against other Explorer teams.
"Being an Explorer has been one of the best experiences of my life," said Fowler, who acknowledged the scholarship and Explorer program as "life changing" and having a huge impact on his ability to attend St. Petersburg College, where he is pursuing a degree in Emergency Medical Services and Fire Science.
Scholarship recipients are chosen based on grade-point average, good standing with the post, and they must be up to date with dues and attend the majority of meetings and events.
Fowler, a 2008 graduate of Dunedin High, now serves as an Explorer adviser.
He is the son of Thomas and Jannette Fowler of Palm Harbor.
Post 911, hosted by the Safety Harbor Fire Department, was established in 1998. Since then, more than 100 young adults ages 14 through 20 have participated in the program. Three Explorers have received scholarship funding for tuition assistance in the fire service and nine members have become full-time fire personnel at various locations, including three now employed by the city of Safety Harbor.
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M. Scott Burgess of Safety Harbor has been named to the board of directors of Lighthouse of Pinellas, a nonprofit agency serving the blind and visually impaired in Pinellas County.
A former vice president of marketing and brand development for the Eckerd Corp., Burgess later showed his entrepreneurial skills as president/owner of Bayshore Trophies and Awards Inc. and Custom Acrylic Designs-Fabrications.
"While I have no for-profit business interest that I am working on right now, I do not claim to be retired," Burgess said. "I spend most of my time working with two to three nonprofits and my church, as well as various other volunteer endeavors."
For more than two years, he has been providing transportation to a vision-impaired woman who attends his church, and explained, "that has helped me to understand the needs of the sightless. I believe in what we are doing at Lighthouse of Pinellas. Serving the vision-impaired is a privilege, but it is also a responsibility for those of us that are blessed with our sight."
Burgess and wife, Mary, have been married 38 years and have two adult children and two grandchildren.