(ran EO edition)
On Aug. 5, a 7-year-old girl was swimming in the Forest Lakes subdivision's community pool.
Suddenly one of her legs became trapped, sucked up against the side of the pool by a small suction pipe. She could not break free on her own and began to cry.
Emilie Gruchow was standing nearby and heard the little girl's screams. She leaped into the water fully clothed in jeans, shirt and shoes and swam to her. While someone went to turn off the pump, she kept the girl's head above water, reassuring her that everything would be fine.
Paramedics from the Oldsmar Fire Department rushed to the scene, but the little girl was uninjured.
Gruchow was nominated for the Oldsmar Council/Manager Award for the month of September. On Sept. 6, her parents, Jane and Terry Gruchow, accepted the award on her behalf.
Gruchow, a freshman at Hobart and William Smith College in New York, was unable to attend.
"We're really proud of her," said her dad, Terry Gruchow. "It's just part of her make-up. She's very socially conscientious."
Sisters, mom attend
Two Oldsmar teenagers and their mother attended a Mothers Against Drunk Driving-sponsored Youth Power Camp at the Stetson University campus in DeLand over the summer.
Donna and Jessica Gardei participated in workshops geared toward drunken driving prevention, while their mother, Julie Gardei, stood by to offer advice and support.
Julie Gardei is a USAA Insurance employee, a company that sponsors Drive Smart Tampa Bay, part of a national safety awareness campaign.
Gardei said initially, Donna, 15, an East Lake High School student, and Jessica, 13, a Carwise Middle School student, were reluctant to attend the program.
"It's hard for kids to commit to this without feeling like a nerd," Gardei said.
But once they became involved in the seminars _ some of which lasted until 11 p.m. _ they became enthusiastic about the message, and even began to develop plans to start Youth in Action programs at their schools.
The program seeks to promote alcohol-free activities for teenagers.
Gardei said her girls were the only youth representatives from Pinellas County to attend. No students from Hillsborough County showed up.
But she said all types of kids traveled from points throughout Florida to participate.
Donna was selected to attend the National Youth Summit as a state delegate Sept. 29 through Oct. 4 in Washington, D.C. Her mother will join her, again acting in an advisory capacity.
During the summit, Donna will be given the opportunity to work with officials and students from across the country on underage drinking.
Oldsmar chamber plans
awards banquet at spa
Brenda Robinson is accepting reservations for the Oldsmar Chamber of Commerce's annual awards and installation banquet at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 29 at Safety Harbor Resort & Spa.
The evening will begin with hors d'oeuvres, networking and games. Participants will be eligible to win prizes.
At 8 p.m., the Citizen of the Year, Oldsmar Cup, Ambassador of the Year, Volunteer of the Year and Lifetime Member awards will be handed out. The chamber will also acknowledge the outgoing president and board of directors and recognize their replacements.
Corporate tables seating eight people will be available. Reservations must be made by Sept. 21. Call the chamber at (813) 855-4233.
School to hold forum
on school choice plan
Kathy Walker, head of student assignment for the Pinellas County School District, will talk to Forest Lakes Elementary School parents about the controlled choice plan and answer questions about its implementation at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Forest Lakes Elementary, 301 Pine Ave. N.
The choice plan was designed because Pinellas County was granted unitary status, meaning that the courts have deemed Pinellas County to be a district that offers equal education to all races.
The choice plan will be implemented in 2003 to ensure that racial balances are maintained. The meeting will address questions such as: Which students will be affected? What educational opportunities will the choice plan create for children? How will bus transportation be handled? Will the choice plan effect magnet or special programs?
The forum is sponsored by the Forest Lakes Elementary School Advisory Council.
Church to consecrate
The congregation of Community United Methodist Church will celebrate the consecration of its new sanctuary at 11 a.m. today.
Florida United Methodist Bishop Cornelius L. Henderson will be there accompanied by his wife. Also, former pastor Sharon Patch and her husband, Jim Patch, will return from their new home in the Fort Myers area to attend the ceremony.
Patch left the church to accept a position overseeing more than 40 Methodist churches in southwestern Florida.
Community United is at 207 Buckingham Ave. E, Oldsmar. For information, contact Elizabeth Smith at (813) 855-4070.
AARP to resume
After taking a summer hiatus, the Oldsmar chapter of AARP is resuming its monthly meetings.
The first meeting of the year will take place at 6 p.m. Monday in the social room at Harborside Healthcare, 3865 Tampa Road, Oldsmar.
Dennis Kelly will be the special guest for the evening. He is a grand master in tai-chi, the Chinese method of exercise and self-defense, and will demonstrate his skills.
Registration will take place during the first portion of the meeting. At 6:30 p.m., a dinner of either baked fish or Salisbury steak will be served. The program will begin at 7 p.m.
The public is welcome to attend. Call Elizabeth Smith at (813) 855-4070 with your menu selection.
Scouts sell coupon books
as fall fundraiser
Boy Scout Troop 416, serving children in East Lake and Oldsmar, is selling 2001 entertainment books as a fundraiser.
Mary Rosiak, chairwoman of the troop's fund-raising committee, said the coupon books are popular and sold well last year.
This year's books, she said, "have the same great coupons and discounts as last year, but with a new reduced price of $20."
The books can be purchased from 7 to 8:30 p.m. each Tuesday at troop meetings, which are held at the Presbyterian Church of Palm Harbor, 2021 Nebraska Ave., Palm Harbor.
For more information, contact Rosiak at (727) 785-6135 or Claudia McCabe at (727) 786-8318.
City Hall gallery to show
An Oldsmar children's art exhibit reception will take place from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Oldsmar Art Gallery at City Hall, 100 State St.
The event is the highlight of the Oldsmar Children's Art Exhibit, which features works created by students in kindergarten through fifth grade from Forest Lakes Elementary School and Oldsmar Elementary School.
The exhibit consists of 500 pieces of artwork. The display will be open for viewing by the public from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays until Oct. 27.
_ If you have news or photos about Oldsmar organizations, churches, schools, neighborhoods or residents, please contact Eileen Schulte at the North Pinellas Times. You may call her at (727) 445-4229, fax material to (727) 445-4206, e-mail information to schultesptimes.com (sorry, we cannot receive attachments) or mail it to the North Pinellas Times, 34342 U.S. 19 N, Palm Harbor, FL 34684.
Workers continue repairs on the north wall of the Oldsmar Public Library, which was built in the 1920s. Long sheets of protective plastic that covered the library windows for months have been removed and replaced by plywood. Library director Bert Weber said the renovations should be done by December.