Eileen Schulte, Times Staff Writer

Eileen Schulte

Eileen Schulte has been a reporter for the Times since January 1998, covering everything from a mare giving birth by the side of a road during rush hour to Safety Harbor politics. Journalism can be a stressful profession, but she finds it's worth the effort when one of her stories ends up helping someone in need.

Phone: (727) 445-4153

Email: schulte@tampabay.com

  1. Super boats ready for Clearwater Super Boat Offshore National Championship and Festival

    Human Interest

    CLEARWATER — Tanned, relaxed and looking like a NASCAR driver in his neon racing suit, Marc Granet powered up a 38-foot, 1,050-horsepower cigarette boat called Caveman and eased away from the dock behind the Island Way Grill.

    He cranked up the stereo, blasted AC/DC's Hells Bells and asked a bunch of pumped-up reporters itching for a thrill, "You all right?'' ...

    Marc Granet, driver of Miss Geico, takes journalists on a spin into the gulf Thursday morning in his team’s smaller cigarette boat, Caveman.
  2. Chi Chi Rodriguez Academy in Clearwater to add multisport complex

    Economic Development

    CLEARWATER — The Chi Chi Rodriguez Academy is planning a new 30-acre multisport complex complete with paintball and possibly a batting cage at the former Countryside Golf and Learning Center across from the public course and school.

    Earlier this year, the academy's board got the driving range property back from a company that had leased it for the past 14 years.

    "It's taken a very good piece of property that's just been sitting there and we are turning it into one of the best learning centers in the Southeast,'' said PGA Tour instructor Richard Hall, who teaches at the academy....

    Chi Chi Rodriguez, the PGA golf star for whom the facility on N McMullen-Booth Road is named, is expected to travel from his home in Puerto Rico to attend a celebration Nov. 15-16.
  3. Palm Harbor boy accidentally shot in the head recovering slowly

    Human Interest

    All appeared to be normal on Laughing Gull Lane on the morning of April 17. Mom Tracy Newman, 43, had gone off to her job as a certified nursing assistant and stepdad Joseph Newman, 50, was at his job in a warehouse at Frito-Lay.

    The couple's son, 12-year-old Jacob Larson, was supposed to be getting ready to go to classes at Palm Harbor Middle School.

    But he wasn't getting dressed. Or brushing his teeth for his usual 8:30 a.m. departure from the house in the Patty Ann Acres subdivision....

    Tracy Newman snuggles up to Jacob after he came home from the hospital Wednesday.  The boy is able to speak clearly and use his arms, but he’s still working on the use of one hand. Newman says he has adapted well to his new life.
  4. Driver accused of hitting Clearwater patrol car wins case by default

    Civil

    CLEARWATER — A Largo woman who fought a traffic ticket and accused the Clearwater Police Department of a cover-up won her case Thursday by default.

    The traffic ticket was dismissed after officers failed to show up for a hearing.

    "For some reason, I'm not satisfied,'' said Carolyn Annand, 47.

    Annand had enlisted the help of her sister, Leslie Annand, assistant city attorney for Westminster, Colo., and crash investigator James Church to fight a careless driving ticket she received in June when her car collided with a police cruiser....

    Attorney Leslie Annand, left, and Carolyn Annand waited all day to fight the charge. But the officer never appeared.
  5. Students' first day at Pinellas' Forest Lakes Elementary School is smooth

    K12

    OLDSMAR — At 7:30 a.m. Tuesday, the staff at Forest Lakes Elementary School huddled in the front office.

    It was the first day of school and principal Karen Aspen wanted to be ready for 730 students about to descend on the facility.

    She didn't need to worry.

    With all the preparation and safety patrols acting as valets for the kids in the car circle, there didn't seem to be one screaming kindergartner or upset parent on campus....

    Ashley Barina, 5, sizes up her kindergarten class on the first day of class at Frontier Elementary School in Largo. Her mom, Gina, grew a little emotional as Ashley headed in.
  6. Palm Harbor woman escapes car fire

    Public Safety

    PALM HARBOR – Priscilla Muniz, 23, escaped a fire that engulfed her 2000 Dodge Intrepid on Thursday afternoon at 37912 U.S. 19 N in Palm Harbor.

    She said she saw smoke, and then flames, coming from under the hood.

    Muniz was unable to get out of the driver’s side door, so she crawled out of the passenger’s door, said Liz Monforti, public information officer with...

    Priscilla Muniz, 23, escaped flames that engulfed her 2000 Dodge Intrepid on Thursday afternoon at 37912 U.S. 19 N in Palm Harbor.
  7. Tarpon Springs intersection is site of another bad crash

    Accidents

    TARPON SPRINGS — At a little after 9:30 a.m. Thursday, Rosie Baxter was in the office of her barber shop when she heard a familiar sound: kaboom!

    Knowing this was probably yet another car crash, she called 911, grabbed a roll of paper towels and raced out the door with stylist Tammy Winters to help.

    What Baxter and Winters saw was a panicked woman in a wrecked 1999 Mercury station wagon and two badly injured teenage girls....

    Some occupants of a station wagon were airlifted after rescuers cut them loose Thursday. Tarpon Springs police say the car and an eastbound dump truck collided when the car traveled onto Keystone Road from Jasmine Avenue.
  8. Oldsmar votes against deal for Hire A Pony Riding Academy to use preserve trail

    Local Government

    OLDSMAR — Figuratively speaking, Armando Gort fell off his horse this week.

    But in true equestrian tradition, he's vowing to get right back on.

    The Oldsmar City Council voted 4-1 Tuesday night not to enter into a revocable license agreement with Gort's Hire A Pony Riding Academy, which would have allowed the company to use a trail in the Mobbly Bayou Wilderness Preserve.

    Gort and his sister, Estela Orosz, manager of Hire A Pony, said the decision isn't the end of the trail for the Hillsborough-based stable and rent-a-steed business that provides horse riding opportunities mostly for children....

    Victoria Menyhart, 9, left, and Aaron Stewart, 8, both of Oldsmar, lead summer campers on a Hire A Pony ride in Tampa.
  9. Clearwater High grad Nicole Passonno Stott is set to blast off on the space shuttle Aug. 25

    Human Interest

    CLEARWATER — Nicole Passonno Stott's classmates at Clearwater High School always knew she would go far.

    She certainly didn't disappoint them.

    On Aug. 25, Stott is scheduled to blast off on space shuttle Discovery and fly approximately 200 miles to the International Space Station as a member of the Expedition 20 and 21 crews.

    As STS128 lifts off, a group of about 30 or 40 her friends from the class of 1980 will cheer her on from a VIP viewing area not far from the launch site, each wearing a T-shirt that says Nicole's Ground Support Team. ...

    Clearwater High principal Keith Mastorides holds the school’s flag that Stott will take into space.
  10. Palm Harbor, East Lake fire rescue squads dodge budgetary bullet

    Public Safety

    The 93,000 residents served by Palm Harbor Fire Rescue and East Lake Fire Rescue will see no reduction in emergency services in the upcoming fiscal year.

    An agreement negotiated by Pinellas County and the fire districts calls for both departments to retain all their vehicles and personnel — and get a few dollars extra to cover rising costs.

    "Each city and fire district is paid for the allowable costs of the ALS (advanced life support) first responder services including paramedic salaries and benefits,'' said Craig Hare, Pinellas EMS division chief. "In some cases, the funding went up if their allowable costs went up. This could be for any increase in the fire districts costs such as health insurance or pensions.''...

  11. A gift from 5,000 years ago

    Human Interest

    SAFETY HARBOR — A striking find by an 8-year-old boy proves this city was an active hunting ground after the last ice age.

    When a public works crew was replacing a storm sewer line on Joyce Street and First Avenue N last month, Jordan Emmett, a budding archaeologist, went to have a look.

    "I saw a red thing sticking up and I brought it home,'' he said.

    At first, his grandfather, Mike Emmett, said he thought it was a piece of plastic. ...

    Jordan donated a spear point he found to the Safety Harbor Museum of Regional History. With him is museum curator of archaeology James Dwyer.
  12. Oldsmar businesses, customers make do while power is out for hours

    Public Safety

    OLDSMAR — About 13,000 Tampa Electric customers in Oldsmar and western Hillsborough County lost power early Monday, disrupting morning routines and costing businesses thousands of dollars.

    The lights went out at 6:07 a.m., causing traffic signals to malfunction and alarms to go off at local stores. Power was restored at 8:41 a.m., said Rick Morera, spokesman for TECO Energy, Tampa Electric's parent company....

  13. Businesses evacuated near Tarpon Springs sinkhole

    Public Safety

    TARPON SPRINGS — A 30-by-40-foot sinkhole opened up Friday afternoon at Oakwood Street near U.S. Highway 19, causing the Tarpon Springs Fire Department to evacuate businesses around the area.

    The 12-foot deep breach appeared a little after 2 p.m. in between a large retention pond and a strip center.

    Employees of a Mexican restaurant, a salon, a dry cleaner, a marble/granite company and a martial arts studio in the strip center were told to leave. Utilities were shut off as a precaution....

  14. Life Force Arts & Technology Academy charter school plans eclectic mix

    Education

    CLEARWATER — Ballet, hip-hop and computers wouldn't normally find themselves in the same sentence, let alone an educational program.

    But those are just some of the elements that will be in the mix at an arts and technology charter school scheduled to open later this month at a Clearwater church.

    Serving children in kindergarten through third grade, the Life Force Arts & Technology Academy will infuse ballet, hip-hop, modern dance, singing, theater and computers into a traditional educational curriculum. ...

    Sir Brock Warren, a teacher at Life Force Arts & Technology Academy, works with children during a rehearsal for a performance at Ruth Eckerd Hall.
  15. Boca Ciega band director Frank Williams inducted into Drum Corps International Hall of Fame

    Human Interest

    CLEARWATER

    Several months back, Frank Williams was teaching a highly technical jazz improvisation and theory class when he heard a noise he didn't like.

    It wasn't an off note.

    Worse, it was his cell phone ringing over and over.

    Annoyed, he turned it off.

    Then a colleague's phone started ringing nonstop.

    Something big was going on. The colleague handed the phone to Williams, and the voice on the other end said, "Congratulations, you've been elected to the Drum Corps International Hall of Fame."...

    Frank Williams, directing a youth jazz band at the 2006 Clearwater Jazz Holiday, is now in the Drum Corps International Hall of Fame.