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Art students replace VFW Iwo Jima mural

Members of the Safety Harbor VFW Post wanted a mural depicting the IwoJima flag-raising to replace their old one that had "disintegrated" with age.

VFW member John Comiskey (who arranged for the painting of the first mural) took their request to Countryside High School where three students in the art department volunteered to take on the project.

Doug Slakie, Chay Allum and Ryan Jacobson, their time limited to the hour assigned each day to art class, worked on the mural for several months under the direction of art instructor Solomon Davis.

"They started on the painting - I believe it was in late October or early November," said Davis. "Our target date (for completion) was before the holidays, but I knew it wouldn't be completed by that time.

"I selected the most advanced students for the project," he said.

"Another criteria was that the students must get along and work well together. Allum is an advanced artist and Slakie is good in all areas. Jacobson has expressed a desire to sculpt as well as paint," Davis said.

Jacobson and Slakie are seniors; Allum is a semester behind the other two. All three plan to continue their art studies after they graduate from high school.

The mural was produced on a large sheet of plywood especially treated for use as an outdoor billboard. It and other materials for the project were supplied by the VFW.

"They told me what they needed and we got it," said Comiskey.

The mural was completed and presented to the Safety Harbor VFW on Feb. 8. Once mounted, it will be on permanent display outside the building at 965 Harbor Lake Court in Safety Harbor.

Three sisters in honor society

Lynette Yvonne Valenti, the daughter of Jeanette and Dr. Nicolas Valenti of Belleair, has been selected to the Themis Honor Society at the University of South Florida.

Ms. Valenti is a 1989 honor graduate of Clearwater High School.

A sophomore at the university, she has maintained a 4.0 grade point average.

Ms. Valenti's two sisters also were members of Themis. Loren, a psychology major, is a senior at USF, and Lisa, a biology major, is a graduate student at the university.

Student named to dean's list

Jody Lynn Harris of Largo, a 1989 graduate of Seminole High School, has been named to the dean's list at Clemson University, Clemson, S.C. Her sister, Barbara, a 1987 graduate of Seminole, achieved a 4.0 grade point average for the fall semester at St. Petersburg Junior College and, currently, is attending the University of South Florida.

Both women are elementary education majors.

Military news

Robert H. Klaiss, the son of Robert and Dora Klaiss of Largo, has graduated from the U.S. Army Warrant Officer Course at Fort Rucker, Ala. He completed the Advanced Food Technology Course at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, and has been awarded the rank of Warrant Officer.

In 1986, Klaiss was awarded the Expert Field Medical Badge after two weeks of testing at Camp Casey, Korea, and in 1989 he received the Air Assault Badge at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii.

Klaiss spent four of his six years of service at Camp Zama, Japan.

As officer in charge of food inspection at the Army's Military Ocean Terminal, Bayonne, N.J., he is responsible for overseeing the inspection of food items being sent to Europe, and for the sanitary inspections of commercial establishments in the New York City region.

Marine Pfc. Edgar A. Wilcox of Largo, a 1986 graduate of Pinellas Park High School, has been promoted to his present rank while serving at Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron, Marine Corps Air Station, Cherry Point, N.C. Wilcox joined the Marine Corps in April 1988.