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Selmon credits family, faith for his good life

Lee Roy Selmon's business and athletic accomplishments are well-known.

The current director of athletics at the University of South Florida and onetime standout defensive lineman for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Thursday morning, he focused on his spiritual life in a keynote speech at the Mayor's Prayer Breakfast, sponsored by the YMCA of Greater St. Petersburg and held in the ballroom of the Hilton St. Petersburg.

Selmon, the youngest of nine children, grew up on an Oklahoma farm. His parents emphasized faith in God and were stalwarts in their church.

He likened developing moral character and strong religious faith to building a house and said it is a matter of choosing "one right decision after another."

Hampton Hines, the Y's board chairman, was master of ceremonies. He introduced clergy from throughout the community who read from the Bible and offered prayers for strong children, families and communities.

Those religious leaders were Alan Bachert, Georgia Gaston, Walter Draughon III, Tim Sherwood, Gustave Victor, Louis Murphy, Michael Torop and Curtis Long.

St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker talked about his own prayer life and acknowledged City Council members Bill Foster, Richard Kriseman and John Bryan.

About 350 attended the event, including Doug Linder, Stephen Lay, Joe Bryan, Thomas and Debra Dandar, Rick Mussett, Bronson Alexander, Jennie Lee Titus, Joe Lang, Bob Lang, Angelo Cappelli, Dr. Gordon Norton, Dottie Templet, Mary Evertz, Dr. Gardiner Evertz, Harvey Ford, Cynthia Lake, Fran Davis, Linda Melleney, Bill Stover, Brian Holliday, Georgia Mattern, Russ Sloan, and Frank Farkas.

Anderson-McQueen Funeral Homes sponsored the breakfast.

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Numerous community leaders converged at the Salvador Dali Museum on Tuesday evening to officially welcome director Charles Henri "Hank" Hine, who succeeds Marshall Rousseau. We also got to meet Hine's wife, De De Van Haght, and their children, Grace and Henri.

Attending the reception were Jay Lasita, Virginia Littrell, John Bryan, Donald Eastman, Bob and Tina Douglass, Kathy Oathout, Murray Beairsto, Bill and Marion Ballard, Gus and Frances Stavros, Russ and Nancy Bond, Bob Ulrich, Bill and Hazel Hough, Dick and Linda Johnston, Michele Tuegel and Judith Powers Jones.

Bill and Jane Emerson, who are among the founding members of the museum and significant donors to the University of Florida, planned to be in Gainesville for homecoming weekend.

Museum co-founder Eleanor Morse, who recently celebrated her 90th birthday, told me she was "cowed" that morning, awaking to the sight of a flock of faux cattle an admirer sent to mark the day.

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The Arbutine family, who own Silver Queen Inc. and Belleair Coins Gold & Diamonds, made financial donations to the Largo Library and the Largo Cultural Center at the grand reopening Wednesday of their new, larger headquarters on West Bay Drive in Largo.

Art and Patricia Arbutine started the family business 30 years ago. Son Greg is president and CEO of the Silver Queen, son Jay is president and CEO of Belleair Coins Gold & Diamonds, and son Chris is chief coin and jewelry buyer and mayor of Belleair Bluffs.

Waterford chandeliers gleamed in the new space, and patrons admired silver of every description.

A Gorham pitcher, hand-created with ornamentation in the Arts and Crafts style, drew my attention to the display of vintage pieces in the family's collection.

Greg Arbutine told me his favorite is the tiny coin silver demitasse spoon made by the American patriot and craftsman Paul Revere.

Among those attending the cocktail reception, with food and drink from Grillmarks, were County Commissioner John Morroni, State Rep. John Carassas, Largo Mayor Robert Jackson, Dr. Ron and Bettie Bowers, Largo Mayor Bob Jackson and Alan Johnson.

I was interested to learn that there is a polishing room for keeping everything bright. It is separated from the main building to keep fumes from distracting customers and employees.

The tasks that await me at home in preparation for the holidays seem minuscule in comparison.

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E! News Live co-anchor Jules Asner wore the Hearts on Fire Diamond Gown at the Academy Awards presentations earlier this year.

Now the dress, which is valued at $5-million and embellished with 2,500 diamonds, will be on view for bay area charities, courtesy of Marsha Spindler and Carlos Urena of the International Diamond Center in Clearwater.

The jeweler is one of 75 in the country that offers the trademarked Hearts on Fire jewels.

From 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday, the dress will be on view at a private showing at the firm, 3696 Ulmerton Road, Clearwater.

Opportunity tickets for a one-carat diamond pendant valued at more than $10,000 will be available; proceeds will go to the American Cancer Society for breast cancer research.

IDC chose that charity as a beneficiary after breast cancer claimed the lives of staff member Barbara Adams Owsley and the mother of office staff member Frances Cohen.

Reservations are required; call 572-6323.

Friday evening, the dress travels to the Christmas Seal Ball at the St. Petersburg Yacht Club, where monies from opportunity tickets will go to the American Lung Association.

It will be on view at a fundraiser in Tampa for the Outdoor Arts Foundation on Saturday and will travel to an IDC showroom in Orlando for a cancer benefit on Sunday.

_ Mary Jane Park can be reached at (727) 893-8267; fax (727) 893-8675; e-mail; P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731.