(ran EO edition)
One day last week, a beaming and proud East Lake High School principal Rick Misenti carried a heavy trophy around school with him all day.
The trophy was won by the school's marching band when it took the grand championship at the recent 25th annual Golden Invitational Band Competition at Largo High School.
Misenti carried the trophy with him to classes, to the cafeteria during lunch, to meetings, in the parking lot and in school hallways Tuesday, proudly showing it off to everyone.
"This band and color guard practice longer and harder than any similar group in the area," Misenti says. "Their hard work and dedication mirrored the results of the competition. I'm the proudest principal in the state of Florida."
Not only did the band win the overall championship trophy, but it also won every award in its Silver Division, taking the awards for best woodwinds, best brass, best auxiliary (color guard), best percussion and best drum major.
"It was a rare and special night for the students and their parents," says band director Dan Wood. "The band had a phenomenal performance. It's a moment the kids will never forget. I was really happy for them. They worked hard and deserved it."
In the Silver Division, the East Lake band and color guard competed against Springstead High School in Spring Hill and Indian Rocks Christian School in Largo. In winning the overall Grand Champion Award, the Eagles were in competition with 13 bands from Pinellas, Dixie, Hernando, Orange and Volusia counties.
For East Lake High drum major Katherine Rocheleau, it was a glorious culmination of four years in the band under Wood.
"When I was a freshman, we went to the same competition and we didn't win anything at all," said the senior from Boot Ranch. "I even tripped over someone's shoe.
"But this was a big change, seeing yourself grow up in the band all in one night," says Katherine, daughter of Joseph and Maria Rocheleau.
East Lake's outstanding performance in Largo came after the Eagles took eighth place at the Bands of America competition in Johnson City, Tenn., competing against 22 bands from all over the Southeast.
The next event for the band is the Florida Band Masters Association district festival Saturday at Clearwater High School.
Loan company picked
for new fire station
Looks like property owners in the East Lake Tarpon Fire District will have to pay only about 10 percent of the cost of a new fire station with their real estate taxes.
The rest will come from Penny for Pinellas sales tax revenue paid by residents, tourists and other visitors all over the county.
The East Lake Fire Commission on Wednesday selected Commercial and Municipal Capital in Tampa to finance construction of the new station on the northeast corner of East Lake Road and Woodlands Boulevard.
The new station is expected to cost about $640,000. However, under the arrangement approved with CMC, the fire district would use property tax revenue to pay an estimated $62,280 to cover loan interest payments until the county sales tax funds are available when the extended Penny for Pinellas kicks in during 2000. At that time, the county funds would pay off the loan.
Fire Commission Chairman Bob Genhold says the arrangement with CMC is dependent on the county providing written approval of the plan and a commitment to pay off the loan in 2000. So far, he says, County Administrator Fred Marquis has given oral approval.
Genhold says CMC was chosen among four other finance-plan bidders because it offered the smallest up-front payment.
The county's plan for spending the estimated $1.3-billion in revenue from the extended penny tax from 2000 to 2010 includes up to $1.5-million for a new East Lake fire station.
But the current design means the station would cost less than half that amount. The commission has scheduled a bid opening on construction contracts for 2 p.m. Nov. 11 at Station 57, 3375 Tarpon Lake Blvd.
"I liked the noise it made."
That's what Kyle Massey, a kindergartener at Brooker Creek Elementary School, said after he and classmates rode on a vintage fire truck Thursday, courtesy of the East Lake Fire Department.
The "noise" he talked about was the the siren on the 1961 fire engine that firefighters Jim Dalrymple and Scott McLain kept on most of the time as they drove the modified truck from the school on Forelock Road to the East Lake Fire Station on Keystone Road. Along for the ride was Dalrymple's Dalmatian Flash.
One of Kyle's classmates, Maddisen Vahl, said she also liked the siren, was excited about the ride on the truck and had fun.
Kyle and Maddisen were among 20 pupils in Marilene Cunningham's class who rode on the old truck that the Fire Department got this year to use in fire prevention and safety education programs. Benches with seat belts have been installed on the top of the truck for passengers.
Half of Mrs. Cunningham's class rode from the school to the fire station and the other half followed in cars driven by parents. The two groups traded places for the ride back.
In between, firefighters Bill Walker, Mark Thelas and Dave Taylor gave them demonstrations and talks at the fire station about fire safety and prevention. Each of the children received trinkets, including a plastic firefighters hat and a badge.
This year the East Lake Tarpon Fire Department purchased the 36-year-old American LaFrance pumper truck from a fire department in Pennsylvania. District Fire Chief Tom May says firefighters have put in about 150 hours installing the passenger seats, doing minor repairs and otherwise getting the vehicle in tiptop shape. Still to come: a paint job.
While discussing use of the truck with children, May gave his philosophy about how it can help children learn fire safety.
"If you teach them something and they have fun doing it, they don't realize they've been taught," May says. "If they have fun, they will remember."
You can one-stop shop
at Brooker Creek school
In advertising, you've often heard of one-stop shopping places.
That's what the Brooker Creek Elementary School's PTA is offering at its fund-raising Shopping Extravaganza next week at the school.
"Enjoy one-stop shopping with more than 25 vendors to choose from," says Sue Schaefer of Cypress Lakes Estates, head of the Ways and Means Committee for the PTA.
"We will be offering a very relaxed shopping atmosphere, with many different and unique selections to choose from: books, toys, makeup, crafts, kitchenware, candles, jewelry, clothing, gifts, baskets, flower arrangements, food and those ever-popular Beanie Babies," says Mrs. Schaefer, who has two children at Brooker Creek, Erika, a third-grader in class of Patti McGill, and Shannon in the first-grade class of Nancy Hart.
"Each vendor will also be providing a $15 silent auction gift and you will be able to purchase tickets to win one of those great gifts," she says.
The Shopping Extravaganza will be from 6 to 9 p.m. Nov. 14 in the cafeteria at the school, 3130 Forelock Road, in East Lake just off East Lake Road.
Mrs. Schaefer says the $50 fee to rent space and all the proceeds from the silent auction will go to the PTA. Some vendors have also offered to donate a percentage of the money from their sales. Most of the vendors are from North Pinellas.
For information, call the school at 943-4600, or Mrs. Schaefer at 942-6155.
We're on the lookout for news for this East Lake page. 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.