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Interim fire board approved

The members of the interim board of Seminole Fire Rescue were officially approved by the County Commission on Tuesday and have taken their seats. The seven members, who will serve until a new board can be publicly chosen, are president Tim Schuler, vice president Dwaine Booth, secretary Sharon Savastio, treasurer Bill Hartstein and members Juanita Gesling, Ed Lurie and Louis Frangipane. The board will oversee Fire Department business and come up with a plan for choosing a new board. The interim board will meet at 7:30 p.m. the first and third Thursdays of each month at Station 29, 11195 70th Ave. N. All meetings are open to the public.

Veterans Affairs names official

Raymond J. "John" Vogel, former director of the VA Medical Center at Bay Pines, was sworn in as undersecretary for benefits at the Department of Veterans Affairs on Wednesday. Vogel, who became deputy undersecretary in March 1993, had been Bay Pines director since June 1990. "John Vogel has spent most of his adult life putting veterans first," said VA Secretary Jesse Brown. "The nation's veterans are fortunate to have someone with his expertise, skills and dedication to manage their hard-earned benefits." Vogel, a 26-year VA employee and a disabled Vietnam-era Army veteran, will head the Veterans Benefit Administration, responsible for delivering non-medical benefits to the nation's 27-million veterans and more than 30-million survivors of veterans.

Dunedin mayor's last hurrah

DUNEDIN _ As his 20-year career in Dunedin politics winds to a close, Mayor Manuel Koutsourais said there's only one thing left for him to do _ "I'm definitely going to Disney World!" Koutsourais, mayor since 1988, will preside over his last meeting tonight at 6:30 at City Hall. Mayor-elect Tom Anderson, along with Commissioners-elect Mary Bonner, John Doglione and Tom Osborne, will be sworn in. Koutsourais announced in November that he would not run for re-election because he wanted to spend more time with his family. Does Koutsourais feel a twinge of nostalgia for what he is leaving behind? "Nah. I feel good about what I've done. Let's get it over with," he said. "Now I know what it's like for the guy sitting on death row. (The end) is inevitable."