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High Fives

At 92, Eastbrooke Health Care Center resident Nellie Stevens is as creative as ever. After several years of failing health, when even her daughter Pat Lamon thought she might not pull through, Stevens has rebounded not only physically, but mentally and spiritually, too, she says.

According to Lamon, her mother was always active in the garden club and was known for her creative table decorations. But several years ago, her health and mind seemed to be failing. "We were very worried," Lamon said. "More than a dozen times they called me to say this was it."

Recently, as Lamon visited her mother at Eastbrooke, Stevens told her daughter she had dreamed about making the "donkey carts" she had long-ago enjoyed creating. Surprised, Lamon asked if she remembered how. Adamantly, Stevens gave her a shopping list of items so she could prove it.

With specific instructions, Lamon headed to a grocery store, because the donkey carts her mother wanted to create, are made entirely of fruits and vegetables. The main items needed, according to Lamon, is an acorn squash, parsnip, green beans (of equal length) and two nearly identical bay leaves.

Today, Stevens has offered to teach other residents at Eastbrooke how to make the carts. "She is very proud of herself just for remembering how, and now she wants to make Christmas crafts too," Lamon said. Because these activities help with physical and mental dexterity, activities director Barbara Terry has been encouraging Stevens' newfound abilities. "We are very proud of her," Terry said.

So sharp is her mind, according to her daughter, that Stevens insisted on voting in the presidential election, by absentee ballot. "She is in a wheelchair, but her mind is sharp as a tack," Lamon said. "She still keeps up with the news and the weather reports." But if you really want to see Stevens smile, those close to her say, just ask her about her bingo winnings.

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Clubs and Organizations

The Kiwanis Club of Spring Hill recently held its holiday gift wrapping event outside Sears in the Coastal Way Shopping Plaza. Proceeds collected during benefited the children's playground project at Lighthouse for the Visually Impaired and Blind.

Kiwanis volunteers who spent the day wrapping gifts were Pat Parrinello and Donna Gaula. Club members would like to recognize all those who have helped out this year, enabling the group to reach its Charitable Event goals.

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SCORE or Service Corps Of Retired Executives, Chapter 439, recently held its annual holiday luncheon at LaBella Napoli restaurant in Spring Hill.

In addition to chapter members, guests, who were all recognized for their support of the chapter, were Janice Schlaich, interim executive director of the Greater Hernando County Chamber of Commerce; Joe Alpine, president of the West Pasco Chamber of Commerce; John Walsh, existing industry manager of the Pasco Economic Development Council; and Ray Graeter, former chapter chairman and his wife, Fran.

A trophy was presented to the present chairman, Howard Smith, for his dedication to SCORE. Service awards were given to Ellie Hollis, Nat Hughson, and Stu May. Three Chairman Awards were presented to Don Welch, for his personal efforts in establishing a SCORE presence in East Pasco; Hap Fairman, for being the most outstanding counselor in 2000; and to Stu May, for community service.

The following chapter members who joined during the past year were officially welcomed, including Ethan Allen, Helen Allison, Shiva Pillai, Bob Markey, and Bill Slippy.

The past year has been an excellent one, SCORE officials said. Chapter 439 raised more than $1-million dollars in business loans and was ranked nationally 39 among the 380 chapters in the United States.

SCORE is a nationwide, government-supported organization of both retired and active business women and men who volunteer to offer individual counseling, without charge, to small business whether startup or operational. The organization works in conjunction with the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Chapter 439 serves Hernando and Pasco counties. For information, call (727) 842-4638.

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For his 15 years of supporting the fire prevention program, Fire Chief James Daugherty of the Brooksville Fire Department was presented with a plaque from Dale Barton of the National Fire Safety Council Inc.

The focus of the program has always been on providing safety education to the children in the community. The National Fire Safety Council is a non-profit organization that distributes fire safety materials to the children in our schools during Fire Prevention Week during October.

The Brooksville Fire Department would like to recognize all of its sponsors, both past and present, for their financial support of the program.

In addition to distributing the Fire Prevention Week activities and materials to children, the fire department provides tours of the fire station, gives fire safety talks to businesses and local organizations and provides in-service training throughout the year.

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The music would have made Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman and Count Basie proud. On Dec. 10, the Hernando Jazz Society introduced Sonny LaRosa's America's Youngest Jazz Band at the S.N.P.J. Hall in Spring Hill. The hall, which was filled to capacity, was hopping and swinging to the music of the Big Band Era. The tiny band members performed such tunes as Satin Doll, Stormy Weather, Bugle Call Rag, Tuxedo Junction, Over the Rainbow, Harlem Nocturne, and I'll See You In My Dreams.

Sonny LaRosa, 74, the band's founder, leader, director and teacher, had always dreamed of being the world's greatest trumpeter. But for now, the Bay Area trumpeter is considered by many to be the world's greatest teacher, and that's just fine with him. Those who know LaRosa say he has the ability to challenge his band members to first discover and then appreciate the music of their grandparents.

Joe and Fran Caltaviano of Hernando Beach wanted to come hear the young band because they love good music. "We've been enjoying the music of the Hernando Jazz Society for the past 4 to 5 years now," Joe Caltaviano said. "They're very unique." Although they had never heard the young band play, they were eagerly looking forward to the performance.

The band, which has played at the Clearwater Jazz Holiday in 1983; the Montreux Jazz Festival in Montreux, Switzerland in 1995; the International Music Festival in New Orleans in 1998; the World Trade Center in New York City in 1999 and the Clearwater March of Jazz 2000, is constantly changing. Members typically can join at age 5, although LaRosa has been known to accept them at 4{. But once a child reaches 13, "they're out", LaRosa says.

"I want little kids to hear little kids play," LaRosa says. Currently, there are nine members who are 12 years old and this will be their last year to perform with the band. "We are looking for new members to be climbing aboard."

This year's members have 10 saxophone players: Ryan Kendrick, 12; Colleen Ohleyer, 12; Samantha Johnson, 12; Falon Sweeney, 12; Joel Kruger, 12; Santi Alexis, 10; Kenneth Costa, 12; Courtney Knowlton, 10; Cameron Decker, 10; and Randy Yandek, 11.

Trombone players are: Matthew Main, 12; Colin Meyer, 10; and Raul Alexis, 9. Trumpeters include: Megan Kelly, 11; Cameron Creveling, 8; Adrian Errico 10; Brooke Talbot, 9; Bron Augostino, 12; Julia Main, 10; Kevin Sanford, 10; Elizabeth Kleinfeld, 7; and Lara Bradbury, 8.

Percussion is covered by Ashley Talbot, 11. Last year, this young drummer won a scholarship from the Jazz Club of Sarasota. On keyboards is Justin Dayhoff, 12, and LaRosa's assistant is Michael Palmer. In addition to playing more than one instrument, several children also sing.

Sonny LaRosa's America's Youngest Jazz Band will hold its next public performance at 2 p.m. May 6 at Lecanto High School's Curtis Petersen Hall, Route 490, Lecanto. For tickets call (352) 637-0047. For information on Sonny LaRosa's America's Youngest Jazz Band, check out the Web site at: www.dfw-metro.com/sonny/.

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Notes of Thanks

We had a great time at our benefit Halloween Monster Bash at Bentley's Restaurant & Lounge in Spring Hill. Guests were encouraged to dress in costume and were asked to bring a toy for the Dawn Center. During the evening we had a huge parade through the restaurant for everyone wearing a costume. The remaining customers were the judges for the evening. Although it was hard to decide, winners were chosen. We would like to thank everyone who donated gift certificates for us to give away. Thank you to Bentley's, Jerry's Place, Richie G and Bill Maloney.

Nov. 15 was Bentley's first anniversary party. We would like to take this time to thank all of our customers, and of course our staff for their hard work and time.

Roseann Latoria

Bentley's staff member

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To all of our friends and neighbors in Hernando County, "I thank my God upon every remembrance of you..." Phillipians 1:3.

On behalf of the families we minister to, we wish to express our sincere thanks to every church, ministry, and individual who donated their time and resources to the restoration of Widow's Oil Ministry after it was destroyed by fire on May 6.

I thank God for the Christian Contractors Association and their members who gave their time and talent to the remodeling of our new location at 22255 Cortez Blvd., Brooksville.

In a record 60 actual working days, our new location was remodeled and ready to move into. We are now serving twice as many families as we did in our previous location.

May God richly bless every one of you who participated in this, God's miraculous restoration.

Sylvia Robinson

Founder of Widow's Oil Ministries

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