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New education director hired at school for deaf

Blossom Montessori School for the Deaf in Largo has hired Carol Downing as director of education. She will recruit and oversee the educational staff and work with hearing-impaired students and their parents.

She most recently was an instructor at St. Petersburg College's Sign Language Interpretation Program, teaching all levels of American Sign Language. She has a master's degree in administration and supervision from Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C., where she worked as an assistant director of admissions.

A native of Waltham, Mass., she is a member of the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf, the Florida American Sign Language Teachers Association and the National Association for the Deaf.

Blossom, a school for preschool through fifth grade at 5990 142nd Ave., teaches hearing-impaired children, as well as hearing siblings and children of deaf adults.

Curlew Hills cemetery names president, CEO

Keenan Knopke of Largo has been named president and chief executive officer of Curlew Hills Memory Gardens in Palm Harbor.

He succeeds Gary R. Dunaway, who held the position for the past eight years.

"After 26 years of serving the industry in various management positions, I feel this is a good time to offer new opportunities to other funeral professionals," said Dunaway. "Keenan has the expertise and the passion for quality service."

Established in 1975, the 30-acre cemetery at 1750 Curlew Road includes a chapel and on-site crematory.

Morton Plant appoints chief medical officer

Dr. Roger A. Ray has been named chief medical officer of Morton Plant Mease Health Care and will begin work Feb. 16. "His appointment is the culmination of a highly competitive national search," said Philip K. Beauchamp, president and chief executive officer of Morton Plant Mease Health Care.

As chief medical officer, he will provide medical expertise in decisions affecting the hospital's clinical programs, practices and medical staff. "Dr. Ray will be the liaison between our board of directors, physicians and our staff," Beauchamp said.

Ray most recently was executive vice president and chief medical officer of AnMed Health system, which includes the 560-bed Anderson Area Medical Center, in Anderson, S.C.

A native of West Virginia, he earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia, his medical degree from West Virginia University School of Medicine and a master's in business administration from the University of Colorado. He completed his residency in neurology at the Medical College of Georgia.

Personal trainers own, open Body Concepts

Body Concepts, an athletic club for men and women, has opened at Sabala Plaza at 14280 Walsingham Road, Largo. Cyndi Stewart and Ty Fickes are the owners and personal trainers.

The club offers body sculpting, aerobics, kickboxing, Pilates, yoga and step classes. It has a workout room for women only and day care services.

The business is partnered with professionals in the medical field to work with men and women who have had weight loss surgery.

ICOT building to become firm's headquarters

A 19,400-square-foot office building in the ICOT business center at 13830 58th St. N near Largo is to be the new corporate headquarters of Peter Brown Construction of Clearwater. The building recently sold for $1.8-million. Michael Schweiger of Dutter Realty represented the seller, MRDM Inc., and Colliers Arnold broker Carol Warren represented the buyer, VMS Properties.

Watson Center for the Blind elects officers

Dr. Mark J. Sarno of Largo, a member of Optometric Associates of Florida in Seminole, has been elected chairman of the board of directors of Watson Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired in Largo.

Tammy Follo of Palm Harbor, a homemaker and community volunteer, is first vice chair and treasurer. Ted Henter of St. Petersburg, who operates Henter Math, is second vice chair; and Jamie Neilson of Clearwater, who is senior vice president of Coast Trust Company in Tampa, is secretary.

Watson Center, at 6925 112th Circle N, provides specialized services and training for Pinellas County residents who are blind or visually impaired.

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