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Oldsmar applauds service of Wal-Mart, civic leader

(ran East Lake & Oldsmar Extra)

Once a month, the Oldsmar City Council/City Manager Award has recognized a person who makes Oldsmar better. December's award went to Jean Rogers, whose civic activities include directing theater productions at the Cultural Arts Centre.

Mayor Jerry Beverland recently suggested a monthly award for a business that contributes to the community. The first award was given to Coating Technology in July 2004.

"We have a ton of businesses in Oldsmar," he said, "and somebody needs to recognize them."

The Upper Tampa Bay Chamber of Commerce selects the winners.

They include: eAutoclaims for August, Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites for September, Nielsen Media Research for October, J.R.'s Grill House & Pub for November and Sunrise Auto Repair & Restoration for December.

Last week, Beverland presented the first award for 2005, to Kerrie Gafford, manager of the Oldsmar Wal-Mart Supercenter.

The mayor mentioned the work the store does for Toys for Tots each year.

The business also collects school supplies for children, gives literacy and environmental grants to Oldsmar and Forest Lakes elementary schools and honors a teacher of the year with a grant.

The Wal-Mart matches funds for local charities, the arts and other programs. Other grants go to civic organizations, charities, other nonprofits and law enforcement groups for neighborhood safety.

The store helps support Oldsmar Cares, the food pantry at Community United Methodist Church.

Karla Crabtree, community involvement coordinator, orchestrates the store's good work. And store employees volunteer and even contribute to drives, sometimes competing to see which department can give the most.

Eat, drink and on Thursday, give blood

Florida Blood Services will be taking blood donations from 12:30 to 4 p.m. Thursday at City Hall, 100 State St. W. Donors will get a T-shirt and a wellness checkup including blood pressure, pulse, temperature, iron count and cholesterol screening. Their names also will be entered into a drawing for a $500 Home Depot gift certificate.

To give blood, the minimum age is 17 and the minimum weight is 110 pounds. Eat well and drink plenty of fluids prior to donating. Bring photo identification.

Call (800) 682-5663.

If you have news or photos about Oldsmar schools, churches, businesses, neighborhood groups, community organizations or people, call Theresa Blackwell at (727) 771-4305, fax it to her at (727) 771-4301, e-mail or mail material to her at the North Pinellas Times, 34342 U.S. 19 N, Palm Harbor, FL 34684.

GRACEFULLY, NOW: From left, Zo-Ann Lee, 4, of Oldsmar, Jordan Tubbs, 5, of East Lake, Grace Dharmaratnam, 2, Megan Donat, 2, Hailey Bell, 2, and Kira Irons, 3, all of Oldsmar, dance at the barre in their first class with Miss Kenley Stewart at the Oldsmar Cultural Arts Centre on Thursday.