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WHAT'S HAPPENING

(ran East edition)

Central Pasco Chamber of Commerce holds party

The Central Pasco Chamber of Commerce recently celebrated the beginning of the holidays with a party at the Plantation Palms golf clubhouse. Chamber president Dave Estabrook welcomed members and acted as master of ceremonies. Food and congeniality were shared by all.

Under the direction of Ragan Jenkins, toys were collected for Big Brothers/Big Sisters. Non-perishable food items were collected for Christian Social Services. The evening was coordinated by Meredith Kleker, Pat Martinez, Lisa Dicaire, Charlene Ierna and Faith Jordan.

During last year's party a precedent was set when Chris Cooper of OMNI Financial Services sported a spectacular holiday hat. The chamber is noted for its friendly competition among business owners. However, it appears that Chris' fashion statement provoked something more serious. About a dozen women arrived, this year, dressed to win. Tim Hayes, chairman of the chamber's board of directors, acted as master of ceremonies for the good-natured competition. Lori Ellis of Healing Touch won this year's contest with a custom designed and handcrafted hat.

Tap 'N Dolls perform

The Tap 'N Dolls senior tap dancers performed various shows at local nursing homes and assisted living facilities during the holiday season.

Betsey Keys, activity director at Atria Evergreen Woods, welcomed the dancers to the Spring Hill facility. According to Keys, the dancers brought joy to the residents. The dancers also performed at Forest Oaks Care Center in Spring Hill.

The dancers range from ages 45 to 79, which, according to Darlene Myers, instructor and choreographer, makes them able to relate to the residents in these types of facilities. The dancers travel from Pasco and Hernando counties to participate in the group.

The Tap 'N Dolls specialize in active adult Broadway tap dancing. The group has won six first place gold medals at the Lakeland Convention Center and the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center. Instructor and choreographer Darlene Myers, a former Radio City Music Hall Rockette, teaches tap at all levels. Connie Reeds makes costumes for the group.

Nature Coast Heart Ball

State Sen. Mike Fasano, (R-New Port Richey), is accustomed to the challenge of leadership. As chairman of the 2005 Nature Coast Heart Ball, Fasano will have a new arena in which to apply his leadership skills - the fight against the nation's No. 1 and No. 3 killers: heart disease and stroke.

"I am honored to lead this event for the American Heart Association," Fasano said. "Significant advances have been made in the treatment and prevention of heart disease and stroke, but we need to continue to support research and education so we can improve the quality of life for heart disease and stroke patients here in the Nature Coast and across our country."

The goal for the 2005 Heart Ball is to raise $200,000.

As chairman, Fasano will oversee a volunteer planning committee that includes Cami Austin, Jack Kaminski, Kurt Conover, Shawn Foster, Rob Schenck, Art Fawcett, Bonnie Howard, Victoria Barley, Evie Parks, Robin Schneider, Tanya Crosby, Monica Anderson, Debbie Druzbick, Shirley Weisberger, Marion Alena, Ray Gadd, Alan Weinstein, Dan Dede, Mike Owens, Jan Marino, Richard Boothby, Velvet Baxley, Sue Ruge, Kristina Wirick, Linda Marks and Dianne Cox.

The black tie gala, set for Feb. 5 at Heritage Pines Country Club, Hudson, will feature dinner, dancing, and silent and live auctions. Proceeds from the 2005 Nature Coast Ball will support lifesaving cardiovascular research and public education. For information, call the American Heart Association at toll-free 1-800-275-0448.

Daybreak Rotary of Zephyrhills News

The Daybreak Rotary Club of Zephyrhills met Dec. 21 for its regular meeting. President Madonna Wise called the meeting to order; Jean Murphy led the group in the singing of Christmas carols. John O'Dowd recognized Denise Cummings, Dwight Douglas, Manny Funes, Celia Graham, Maria Groh, Trini Kesselring, Lea McKenney and Don Streeter for their December birthdays. Lea and Clarence McKenney were recognized for their 40th wedding anniversary, and Madonna and Ernie Wise were recognized for their 30th wedding anniversary.

The club congratulated Sharon Heinrich on the progress of East Pasco Medical Center's new cardiac wing and praised Sharon for the donation made by Pasco Motors of $50,000 to the project.

The Daybreak Rotary is currently having a "fun" competition to increase membership. Club members have divided into two competitive teams (men and women) and are recruiting members. Currently the club has five new members with the male team leading in recruits four to one. Patrick Graham led the club in a round of applause on behalf of the male team. Jean Murphy announced that the competition is "not over yet." The winning team of the membership competition, which ends in March, has agreed to prepare and host a celebration meal.

The program for Tuesday was a celebration of the Simonette, Haiti, orphanage project sponsored by member Nelson Ryman. As a fundraiser for the ongoing project, the Daybreak Rotary sponsored a raffle/donation for a $5,000 gift certificate to Wal-Mart. The club members, led by Ryman, sold more than 200 tickets, raising more than $7,000 in funds for the orphanage. The winner of the raffle was Patricia Talley, who is an employee of Daybreak member, Chip Everton, who bought raffle tickets for all his employees.

Wal-Mart assistant manager John Leone assisted with the drawing at Wal-Mart on Dec. 19. Wal-Mart donated $500 for the project as well. Joyce Markey from Wal-Mart also attended the Daybreak meeting.

Board member Larry McLaughlin presented a short video regarding the Haiti project. McLaughlin traveled to Haiti to personally video the orphanage and to interview families and children. The video, narrated by Lori Collins, chronicles the history of the Haiti project as well as gives background relating to geography and climate of the area.

Ryman has been involved with the project for many years, having become aware of the needs after traveling to Haiti with his wife, Dottie, to participate in rebuilding or repairing three churches there.

Many children and families receive free meals from the orphanage in addition to uniforms, backpacks and tuition for schooling.

Daybreak Rotary appreciates Ryman's work and considers the Haiti project a very important ongoing endeavor, donating $2,500 to the project each year. Many individual members make additional contributions.

Daybreak Rotary meets at 7:30 a.m. each Tuesday at First Baptist Church, 38300 Fifth Ave., Zephyrhills. New members are always welcome.

Pasco Fire Rescue to receive grant

U.S. Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite recently announced that a $559,412 federal grant will be delivered to the Pasco County Fire Rescue for operations and firefighter safety.

"I remain committed to supporting America's firefighters with the distribution of these critical funds," Brown-Waite commented. "This grant program, appropriated by Congress, will continue to provide the fire service with the equipment and training necessary for first-responders to fulfill their mission." The operations and firefighter safety program includes training, personal protection equipment, wellness and fitness, and modifications to fire stations and facilities.

"Firefighters routinely put their lives on the line, and must be suitably equipped to safely and effectively carry out their dangerous tasks. Pasco County is one of the fastest growing parts of the entire nation; it is imperative that we improve first-response capabilities as the county continues to grow. I am pleased to deliver this substantial grant so our firefighters can be properly trained and outfitted."

The Assistance for Firefighters Grant Program is administered by the U.S. Fire Administration, part of the Department of Homeland Security's Office of Domestic Preparedness. The USFA assists rural, urban and suburban fire departments throughout the United States. These funds are used by the nation's firefighters to increase effectiveness of firefighting operations, firefighter health and safety programs, new fire apparatus, emergency medical service programs, and fire prevention and safety programs.

Fire departments having questions regarding the Assistance to Firefighters Grant program can call Brown-Waite's Dade City office at (352)567-6707.

Music at the library

Music at the Library presents the 2005 Concert Series beginning at 2 p.m. today with a presentation by the Z Street Band at the New River Library. Selections of swing, jazz and big band will be presented. The New River Library is at 34043 State Road 54, Zephyrhills. For information, call (813) 788-6375.

Other upcoming concerts in the East Pasco area include a presentation by the Bay Area Saxophone Quartet at 2 p.m. Feb. 20 at the New River Library. There will also be a performance by the Bawel Trio, including music of the flute, viola and harp, to be presented at 2 p.m. March 13 at Zephyrhills City Hall, 5335 Eighth St., Zephyrhills. For information, call (813) 780-0064.

Other presentations include a show by concert pianist Joseph Swartz at 2 p.m. Jan. 23 at the Hudson Regional Library, 8012 Library Road, Hudson. A Doo Wop concert by Brotherhood A Cappella will take place at 2 p.m. Jan. 30 at the South Holiday Library, 4649 Mile Stretch Drive, Holiday.

HIGH FIVES

First tournament held

Land O'Lakes High School hosted its first Speech and Debate Invitational Tournament recently. Michael Maynard, faculty member and coach of the Land O'Lakes team, invited all schools involved in the Florida Gulf Coast Catholic Forensic League to attend the tournament and compete for trophies in a variety of speech and debate categories. Teams from 18 schools attended the tournament.

The Land O'Lakes Speech and Debate Team, only in its second year, has already become a powerful team with many students taking top honors. In the category of Duo Interpretation, Colton Faza and Ashley Ivey placed first, and teammates Anthony Moltisanti and Heather Mahoney placed second.

In the category of Original Oratory, Emily Yelverton took third place with a delivery of a speech she had written. Aziz Malik placed second as Best Speaker in the Congress category. Michael Jacobs took first place in Lincoln-Douglas Debate. Michael Maynard, Land O'Lakes High School English teacher with the International Baccalaureate program, has coached the Land O'Lakes team for the past two years. Volunteer parent assistants are Donna Faza and Jill Yelverton.

UPCOMING EVENTS

The Little Women of Lutz will meet at 7 p.m. Monday at the Lutz Branch Library, 101 Lutz Lake Fern Road W, Lutz. Nancy Fisher, education co-chairwoman from the Lutz-Land O'Lakes Woman's Club, will be guest speaker and will talk about a new outreach program of the club called "Be Cool After School." This program is designed to help youngsters whose parents are at work after school. Activities are being held at Nye Park.

Members of Little Women of Lutz will also create Valentine favors for patients at Sunrise Village. Many will remember this group of patients as ones who had to be rescued from a flooded facility during one of the hurricanes in September.

Little Women of Lutz is a junior division of the Lutz-Land O'Lakes Womans Club and is a service club for girls ages 12-18. By participating in this service group, girls earn credit toward their service component for high school graduation. New members are always welcome.

For information about Little Women of Lutz, call sponsors Marilyn Wannamaker at (813) 949-1482 or Pat Serio at (813) 948-4752. Wannamaker and Serio are also members of the Lutz-Land O'Lakes Womans Club.

The Tap 'N Dolls senior tap dancers recently performed at Forest Oaks Care Center in Spring Hill. Dancers are from Pasco and Hernando County residents.

The Tap 'N Dolls senior tap dancers recently performed at Atria Evergreen Woods. Standing in back, from left, are Ginny Cunningham, Kathy Loy, Edwannah Perna, Darlene Meyers, Connie Reeds, Terry Mea and Fran Boldin. Standing in front, from left, are Terry Litke, dance captain Judie McKercher, Atria activities director Betsey Keys, Marion Martin, Diane Trott and Margaret Bowles. Dancers Marie Gage, Alice Weir, Judy Walker, Barb Petrucci, Dottie Evola, Thelma Rogers and Elena Ruggiero, were unavailable for the photo.

Present at the recent Daybreak Rotary meeting were, from left, Madonna Wise, president; Larry McLaughlin, board member and developer of the Haiti video; Joyce Stokes, Wal-Mart assistant manager; Patricia Talley, winner of the $5,000 raffle and Nelson Ryman, Daybreak member and sponsor of the Simonette, Haiti orphanage.

Heather Mahoney, left, and Anthony Moltisanti placed second in the Duo Interpretation category of the recent Speech and Debate Tournament at Land O' Lakes High School.

Colton Faza, left, and Ashley Ivy captured first place in Duo Interpretation at the Speech and Debate Invitational Tournamnet held recently at Land O' Lakes High School.

Emily Yelverton was a third place winner in the Original Oratory category of the recent Land O' Lakes High School Speech and Debate Invitational Tournament.

Michael Jacobs took first place in the category of Lincoln-Douglas Debate, when Land O'Lakes High School recently hosted its first Speech and Debate Invitational Tournament.

Members of the Land O'Lakes High School Speech and Debate Team, back row, from left, are Crawford Bennett, Aziz Malik, Colton Faza and Ashley Ivy. In the front row, from left, are Miles Bradshaw, Victor Wang, Chirag Kulahalli, Deepak Devabose, Michael Jacob, Joseph Jacob, Vincent Massaro, Emily Yelverton, Heather Mahoney, Ashley Findley and Lindsey Jameson. Kneeling with gator mascot is team coach Mike Maynard.

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