(ran EO edition)
It looks like East Lake Fire Commission Chairman Bob Genhold is sticking around a little longer.
Genhold had planned to give up his seat on the five-member board last Wednesday in anticipation of his move from the fire district.
He and his wife, Phyllis, are building a home in Pasco County. The home will not be complete until August or September and the couple was supposed to stay with their daughter in Oldsmar until then.
After the board advertised for a new commissioner, Genhold discovered that he could rent a condominium in Pine Ridge, across from East Lake High School.
Six East Lake residents applied for Genhold's position, so he planned to go ahead with his resignation. But other commissioners, who would have appointed one of the six applicants to replace Genhold, urged him to stay on the board as long as he lives in the district.
"I would prefer Mr. Genhold continue as chairman," said Commissioner Andrea Panarelli. "If that's not possible, then I would prefer the board continue without him and allow the people of East Lake to choose their next commissioner."
Genhold would have come up for re-election in November, along with Commissioner Bill Cannon.
While Genhold was out of the room, Panarelli and Cannon voted to keep him on the board. Once he leaves, his seat will stay open until the November elections.
Commissioner Wayne Ferguson abstained because he was acting as chairman while Genhold was out of the room. Commissioner Jim Nobles said he wanted to be fair to the six people who had applied for Genhold's position and consider one of them.
Applicants Paul Gunson, Chuck Schult and Marianne Wayne, who attended the meeting, said they agreed with the board's decision to keep Genhold.
"I think they did the best thing," Wayne said. "Let him finish it out."
Upgrades add to cost
of new fire station
The East Lake Fire Control District's new $695,000 fire station just got a little more expensive.
County officials consider half the building at East Lake Road and Woodlands Boulevard commercial and the rest residential. Fire officials thought the kitchen area would be included in the residential section because the only people who use it are the firefighters.
But county building officials told Fire Chief Ron Taylor that they consider the kitchen commercial, meaning it needs a hood with exhaust fans and sprinklers over the stove.
The hood itself is about $10,000, but contractors had to change the roof line and add duct work, so the bill is higher. Taylor said he appealed to the building department, but to no avail.
"I felt like I was on The Gong Show getting gonged," he said.
The Southwest Florida Water Management District, or Swiftmud, also wants the department to create a fenced-in retention area on the east side of the station between two wetland areas.
Taylor said he was not sure exactly how much the extra work would cost, but he estimated it would be about $35,000. The project has a $20,000 contingency fund, and commissioners set aside another $30,000 Wednesday night.
"We're looking at some big bucks we're going to have to spend down the road because of this," Taylor told commissioners.
Drill team places at
East Lake High School's Winterguard, a drill team, placed eighth at the Winterguard International 1998 World Championships competition in Dayton, Ohio, April 16 and 17.
"The girls themselves are talented," said Carrie Kelton, East Lake's Winterguard director. "They set themselves up real well."
The performance was called Canyon Sketches. Its southwestern flavor caught the judges' eyes.
"You can set whatever scene you want. The floor looked like the inside of a canyon," said Kelton. "We (had) music from Aaron Copland, a classical composer; tumbleweed; wind sounds; and skirts that looked like Indian blankets."
Seventeen girls make up Winterguard, known as the "sport of the arts" for its combination of dance, drama and use of equipment. They are Sarah Heffron, Courtney Jackson, Amanda Kachurak, Pam Harris, Jenni Gillingham, Amy Nettler, LeShayne Pinke, Jenni Nettler, Stacey Eitel, Shandra Pallenick, Michelle Carlson, Lindsay Winder, Summer Harms, Whitney Johns, Melissa Kennedy, Marcia Pascual and Christine Hayes.
The competition had several divisions. The East Lake High Winterguard competed in the Scholastic A Intermediate skill level division along with more than 140 other teams from the United States, Canada and Europe.
Altogether, 500 teams participated.
Kelton is pleased the team placed in the top 15 for the second year in a row. Last year, it placed fifth.
Preparations for the April show were intense.
"We started the last week of November to prepare for this show," said Kelton, a former member of a Winterguard based in Tampa called the Company. "We had shows around the state to get ready. We went to six shows and won every one."
After practicing for 10 to 15 hours a week to get into top form, the team can relax and enjoy the summer.
Kelton said some of the parents worked just as hard as the students and staff.
"Many thanks to all our parents," Kelton said. "They helped a lot this year."
Kelton is already thinking about next season and said she's "already recruiting new students from middle school."
To find out more about Winterguard, call East Lake High School at 942-5419 and ask for the band room.
School officials call
reading buddies a success
You can't do much if you can't read, said Marianne Wayne, community involvement assistant at Cypress Woods Elementary School. That's why teachers at the school have taken a good idea _ pairing kindergarten students with fifth-graders to help the younger pupils learn to read and find their way around school _ and made it better.
It's the Reading and Writing Buddies program, and it helps children comprehend and write their own stories.
"Our big goal is reading," said Wayne. "It's our No. 1 school improvement (goal)."
Linda Gildemeister, a kindergarten teacher, said her class teamed with Barbara DiLeo's fifth-grade class and started creating individual books.
"They were so engaged," said Gildemeister. "It's giving them practice using skills the kindergarteners (will need), and the fifth-graders, their writing and editing skills."
From October to February, fifth-grade students such as Steven Wayne met with their buddies once a week for half an hour to work on the project.
"We started with the gingerbread man (story)," he said. "Then they would tell us what to write. We let them draw pictures."
Gildemeister thinks practicing with a mentor helps the children learn. "All schools have reading," she said. "We just decided to add another dimension and focus on skills the children will be assessed on."
Did it work?
"Every one of the kids who did this mastered that section, language arts," she said.
Gildemeister is pleased that "her children" can now retell a story.
"It's a difficult skill for some kindergarteners," she said.
Even though the books are complete, the children remain close. Through an in-school postal service, they send mail to each other.
_ Staff writer Edie Gross contributed to this report.
Breakfast of champions
Five East Lake High School students were among 41 students honored for academic success by the Pinellas County schools at a breakfast Tuesday at the Harborview Center in downtown Clearwater. All are National Merit semifinalists. They are, from left, Hassan Haider, Marissa Curtis, Steven Ostrowski, Jessica Collier and Christian Ashlock. Paul Carey, an East Lake High student who also is a National Merit semifinalist, did not attend the breakfast. The students were treated to a performance by a jazz band from Countryside High School.
We need news for this East Lake column. If you have news about East Lake organizations, churches, schools, neighborhoods or residents, please contact Eileen Schulte at the North Pinellas Times. You may call her at 445-4229, fax material to her at 445-4206 or mail it to the North Pinellas Times, 34342 U.S. 19 N, Palm Harbor, FL 34684.