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Summer school students must squeeze vacation into 4 weeks

(ran EO edition)

More than 1,400 teenagers from East Lake and Tarpon Springs high schools are getting some temporary freedom.

Wednesday was the final day of summer school for them at East Lake High School. The 1996-67 school year starts in less than a month, on Aug. 21.

George Tosh, principal at Tarpon Springs Elementary School, was an assisting principal at East Lake High School for the summer. He said about 95 percent of the summer students were catching up in their class work so they could graduate on time.

Others were "work ahead" students or were there to take drivers training.

The Monday through Thursday summer school began June 17 and included early- and late-morning sessions. Some students attended only one session and others came to both sessions. Tosh said there were 30 teachers and six staff members leading the sessions, plus a few teachers aides.

Girls softball team off to World Series

The East Lake girls fast-pitch softball team is going to the World Series. But they need a little help.

They're called the Strike Force and they leave Tuesday to play in the National Softball Association's championship tournament starting Wednesday in Columbus, Ohio, said Steve Miller, manager of the 11-member team.

Miller said the team needs some financial help to pay for the trip. To donate, call Miller at 376-0150, coach Johnny Dawkins at 787-9234 or coach Harold Hatcher at 784-4472.

The Strike Force finished in a tie for 6th place in the recent NSA state tournament in Homestead, posting a 3-2 record in the double-elimination meet.

The East Lake team defeated the Orlando Heat 1-0 behind the pitching of Ashleigh Hatcher, but then lost 3-1 to the Sarasota Hammer. East Lake next beat the Lady Creamators of Brevard County 13-6, scoring eight runs in the 3rd inning, highlighted by a grand slam by Lindsey Crawford.

Dana Weinstein made a game-winning catch at the right field fence to give Oldsmar a 4-3 victory over the Tampa Mustangs, but then the Strike Force was shut out by the Clearwater Lady Bombers 5-0.

Other members of the team are Jennifer Molby, Autumn Lynch, Liz Leoty, Jennifer Morris, Kim Venator, Megan Gray, Kelly Dawkins and Lauren Petollino.

Go take a hike in woods and water

Interested in hiking in a wilderness where water sometimes gets up to your knees?

Then think about the Brooker Creek Preserve in northeast Pinellas County.

Most of the preserve is off-limits to humans in order to protect the animals, plants and environment. It's the largest wild area in Pinellas County.

But you can still take a hike in the woods on Saturday mornings if you don't mind the knee-deep water, said Craig Huegel, manager of the 8,000-acre preserve.

Guides will lead groups of up to 20 people each Saturday and explain some of the plants, insects and animals in the preserve, as well as give you information on preservation efforts.

Huegel has 16 volunteer guides; three of them accompany each full tour group of 20 people.

For safety reasons, appropriate footwear is necessary. That means boots or, at the very least, sturdy canvas shoes. If you show up in sandals or open-toed shoes, you'll be sent home, Huegel said.

The hike covers about three miles, Huegel said. Each hike starts at 9 a.m. and is usually over by 11:30 a.m.

Rain won't cancel a tour, but an electrical storm will. That hasn't happened since the hikes began almost a year ago, he said.

If you want to go on the hike, you need to register in advance. Call the preserve's volunteer line at 944-2906 by the Friday before the Saturday you want to hike. There is no charge for the walk.

Organized groups may be able to reserve hikes for Saturday afternoons.

You'll get three of the following volunteers as guides: Julie Clark, Cathie Foster, Walt Hoskins, Gary Meyer and Dave Seidel, all of East Lake; Allen Simmerman and Jill Cutler, both of Oldsmar; Hank Dykstal of Tarpon Springs; Ken Rowe of Palm Harbor; Amy Ellsworth of Crystal Beach; Ruben Jones of Dunedin; LaVonne Ries of Clearwater; Shannon Waters of Indian Rocks Beach; Rich Gahn and Tom Dividowicz, both of St. Petersburg; and Dennis Stephenson of Lake Panasoffkee in Citrus County.

Summer's fading at Y; sign up soon

Summer programs at the North Pinellas Family YMCA in East Lake are heading into their final month. But there's still time to sign up for the final session of summer camp for children.

The last camps of the summer will begin Aug. 5 at Cypress Woods Elementary School in East Lake and Lake St. George and Highland Lakes elementary schools in Palm Harbor, said Roger Jacobs, executive director of the Y. The camps will continue until Aug. 20, the day before school resumes for the fall.

The camps are for children from kindergarten through age 12. Activities include swimming, sports, games, cookouts, arts and crafts, movies, singing, nature studies and field trips.

Children ages 12-15 can sign up for "Campers in Leadership Training" at the three schools.

The camps run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., but parents can drop children off as early as 7 a.m. and pick them up as late as 6 p.m.

Cost of the two-week camps are $120 per child, plus a $5 registration fee. The leadership camps are $75.

Thursday is the first day that parents can sign up for the before- and after-school day-care programs at Cypress Woods Elementary School and 10 other elementary schools in North Pinellas. The program is designed to accommodate working parents.

The YMCA supervises activities for pupils in the school cafeterias, from 7 a.m. until school starts in the morning and from the time school lets out in the afternoon until 6 p.m. Activities include games and arts and crafts _ and homework.

Jacobs said the cost is $144 per month for each child. The program is directed by Susan Cress of the YMCA staff. For information or to register, call the Y at 784-8333.

MASH gets new meaning

On a long-running television show by the same name, M+A+S+H meant Mobile Army Surgical Hospital.

But in East Lake, MASH means Mainstreamed Adult Singles at Home.

It's the new name of a group of physically and mentally handicapped adults who live with their parents or other relatives. The group had been called Still at Home Singles.

The organization gives its members opportunities to socialize and have fun together, said Ann Millan, a parent adviser to the group.

"Among families in the East Lake area are a growing number of challenged adults living at home with parents or relatives," Mrs. Millan said. "Many are isolated due to the fact that they are new to the area, are unable to independently get themselves outside of their own environment, or just do not have a circle of friends.

"We are looking for these challenged adults who want to expand beyond the home, to meet and socialize with their peers and to experience the enjoyment of friendship, fun and social events," she said.

The group swims at the Family YMCA of North Pinellas in East Lake each Tuesday and Thursday from noon to 3 p.m., and has an evening social, with swimming, tennis and refreshments, each Friday from 6 to 9 p.m. at the YMCA at 4550 Village Center Drive.

The regular monthly meeting of MASH is at 7 p.m. the third Thursday of each month at the McDonald's restaurant in East Lake Woodlands Plaza.

For information, call president Kristine Hill at 789-5996, Mrs. Millan at 785-0112 or another parent adviser, Denice Hill, at 789-5996.

_ We're on the lookout for news for this East Lake column. If you've got news or news tips about clubs, schools, churches, businesses, your neighbors or your family, let us know. Call Donald Finley at 445-4229 or write him at the Times, 34342 U.S. 19 N, Palm Harbor, FL 34684. Or you may fax material to him at 445-4206.