The city of Oldsmar saluted about a hundred dedicated volunteers and board members Thursday evening at its annual appreciation reception at City Hall at 100 State St.
Oldsmar Mayor Jerry Beverland, City Council members Ed Manny, Babe Wright and Ed Richards, Vice Mayor Jeff Sandler and Assistant City Manager Marnie Burns spoke to the crowd and thanked them for their time and service.
"It went well," said City Clerk Lisa Lene. "Everybody had a good time."
All the honorees received a coffee mug and a pin that depicted a small gold key to the city.
One former city employee who worked 20 years at Oldsmar Public Library was especially thrilled to attend the event.
"It was very nice," said Estelle Riley. "I didn't know there were so many volunteers in Oldsmar."
A similar reception to honor Riley will be Friday from noon to 1 p.m. in the reading room of the Oldsmar Public Library, a place she knows as well as her own home in Anchor North Bay Trailer Park.
"She has contributed so much to the library and the city _ she's been on the arts committee," said Laure Day. "We want to make sure she's recognized."
For two decades, Riley, 82, a Nashville, Tenn., native who has called Oldsmar home since 1949, has worked at the library.
The facility's first paid employee, Riley has worn several hats during her career, including checking out and cataloging books.
"I've learned a lot from her," Day said. "She is very knowledgeable about Oldsmar and well-traveled. She has great stories and always has an answer to a question."
Day said it wasn't really necessary to send out formal invitations to the Friday reception.
Everybody seems to know Riley.
"It's a word-of-mouth type of thing," she said. "Many of her friends come to the library quite often."
And those who haven't been to the library in a while probably have seen the open invitation posted on the door at City Hall.
"Anybody who Estelle has helped or touched can stop by and give their best wishes," Day said.
Riley was heartbroken when she turned in her resignation about two weeks ago. She said she was "trying to make it to 21 years" of service.
But a devastating December car crash that left her 10-year-old Dodge Shadow totaled and her sternum fractured meant the end of Riley's career.
"I just had new tires put on, new belts," Riley said. "It had cruise control."
Although her car would never recover, Riley said her body "seems to be on the upswing."
"Older folks don't heal as fast as younger folks," Riley said. "I'll soon be 83 and that's enough."
Riley's health is not as good as it once was, so she has become more dependent on her friends and neighbors, people she calls "wonderful."
"I don't have anything to drive. They take me to get my medicine, to the bank and shopping," Riley said. "I couldn't make it without them."
Riley especially wants to thank all the people who sent their love and best wishes in the form of gifts and letters after the crash.
"I received flowers from personal friends, the fire department and the city," she said. "The pastor from my church, Community Methodist, brought a lily. I got cards, fruit and a T-shirt with the Oldsmar Library on it. I wore it home from the hospital."
She said she's slow these days and doesn't have a chance to write but wants all her friends to know how grateful she is for their compassion.
"I can get up and do my morning things, like make myself breakfast," she said.
The accident coupled with the illness hasn't stifled Riley's spirit.
"I came up from the Depression," she said. "It doesn't help to complain. Just dust yourself and get going."
Oldsmar contest seeks
to modernize city seal
Attention civic-minded people possessing a flair for the arts: Oldsmar is holding a city seal design contest and you could be the big winner.
If approved, your work could become part of the city scenery, splashed across letterheads, official documents such as the annual budget, flapping in the wind on the city flag, and even traveling all over town on the sides of city-owned vehicles.
In other words, thousands of people will see it for years to come.
But don't be intimidated. Professional artists are welcome to submit work, but Oldsmar arts administrator Laure Day wants anyone who can draw a straight line _ especially children _ to submit work.
"I'd love kids to get involved in this," she said.
She said the city is growing and "we need something updated" for the seal. The old seal, designed to evoke a laid-back, tropical feeling, is a busy one: It depicts a sun, soaring birds, a tree, the edge of Tampa Bay and a shoreline. The word Oldsmar surrounds the sun, and the phrase Top of the Bay is printed on the sandy shore. Within the outer circle are the words The City of and Florida.
To the casual observer _ especially as the logo is cruising past at 45 mph on the side of a city-owned vehicle _ it's confusing, with too much action going on for such a small space.
An artist, even just a casual doodler somewhere out there, could change all that. But it will take some work.
Day, an artist herself, knows that creating a new logo is challenging.
"It takes grasping the essence of something without (using) a lot of space," she said.
Oldsmar Mayor Jerry Beverland has said that the pea green and yellow seal used now is ugly, even though he was responsible a quarter century ago for its creation.
Twenty-five years ago, Beverland owned The Oldsmar Eagle, a community newspaper. He asked his editorial cartoonist, Joe Joeb, to create the logo.
Now he hates it and can't wait for a new seal.
"It looks like the bottom of a chicken yard," Beverland said. "In the beginning it was black and white. Right about 1980, they revised it and made it a little more modern. They changed the color to the awful combination of green and yellow.
"I want it more regal, more pleasant to the eye. It will be exciting to see what they come up with _ maybe an armadillo."
An armadillo is the unofficial city mascot.
Entries must be original in design, depict the "essence of Oldsmar," and be submitted on 11 by 17 paper.
All logos must be dropped off or mailed to the Oldsmar Cultural Affairs Department at the Oldsmar Library, 101 State St. W, Oldsmar, FL 34677. The deadline is Aug. 1.
Three semi-finalist entries will be announced at the Celebrate Oldsmar event at R.E. Olds Park on Sept. 5. Two of the finalists will receive a $100 savings bond.
The winning artist will receive a $500 savings bond, which will be presented by the City Council.
East Lake cheerleadering boosters to tee up
The East Lake High School cheerleading boosters will host a golf tournament to raise money to send cheerleaders to this summer's National Cheerleading Association camp and national competition next year.
The squad would like to repeat this year's success: a first-place standing in District 6A and District Grand Champions.
The golf competition will be at 1 p.m. May 17 at Lansbrook Golf Course.
The format will be a four-person scramble. Cash awards and trophies will be given to first-, second- and third-place teams. There also will be contests for the longest drive and for getting the ball closest to the pin.
The tournament is limited to 144 players. Registration begins at 11 a.m. followed two hours later by a shotgun start.
After the last ball is sunk, players and their families can enjoy a buffet dinner and awards presentation.
To get information or to sponsor a hole, call tournament chairman Mike Bousher at 784-5777.
Palm Harbor Senior breakfasts over for season
Those big breakfast served on Sunday morning during the season at the Palm Harbor Senior Center are over. Your taste buds will have to wait for the breakfasts to resume in September.
The four breakfasts served this year earned almost $3,000, which will benefit the Senior Center. The breakfasts were served by the Senior Center Action Team.
Chairman Jerry Hooker says that the group served about as many people as the center would hold this year.
He hopes the group can serve more people when the new senior center is completed.
Performing Arts Center to honor language students
The foreign language honor societies of Tarpon Springs High School will have their first joint induction ceremony at 7:30 p.m. Thursday in the Tarpon Springs Performing Arts Center inside City Hall, 324 E Pine St.
About 60 students will be inducted into five foreign language honor societies. Tarpon Springs High is the only school in the county to offer five languages, and the only school that offers modern Greek.
Students must have an overall weighted grade point average of 3.0 and a 3.5 in the language of study to qualify for these national honor societies.