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LOAD UP BUSES WITH DONATIONS FOR THE TROOPS

COUNTYWIDE

Starting Wednesday, the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority will begin collecting items to send to service members stationed overseas. The campaign started with Gabrielle Donaldson, 26, PSTA's marketing and sales coordinator. Her friend Ryan Davis is at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa. The 30-year-old staff sergeant expects to be deployed this year and was talking about the things that top soldiers' wish lists. So Donaldson told colleagues and put a few collection boxes in break rooms at the transit authority. "I was, like, okay, let's see if anybody else in the department wants to participate," she said. From there, "it just kind of snowballed," PSTA spokesman Bob Lasher said. Now the goal is to fill several buses with items for men and women in the military and deliver them to MacDill, where base personnel will send them to the troops. Items needed include insect repellent, sunblock, lip balm, breath mints, disposable cameras, batteries, stationery, stamps, prepaid phone cards, paperback books and magazines, microwave popcorn, instant oatmeal and coffee, tea bags and powdered hot chocolate. Donations may be dropped off during business hours on weekdays and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekends at the Park Street customer service center, Park Street and Garden Avenue in Clearwater. To learn more about the effort, visit www.PSTA.net.

LARGO

How to lift weights (not just your own)

Personal trainer Amber Robinson will teach Lifting for Life, an adult and senior weightlifting class from 10 to 11 a.m. Thursday at Southwest Recreation Complex, 13120 Vonn Road. The class meets each Thursday in August. Cost is $30 for residents and $37.50 for nonresidents. Call (727) 518-3125.

Amazing animals know whodunit

How do pets do it? Hear stories about animals that use their senses to solve mysteries from 2 to 3:30 p.m. Wednesday in the Jenkins Room at the Largo Public Library, 120 Central Park Drive. There will be a puppet show and mystery items on display. Call (727) 587-6715.

CLEARWATER

Fire safety, truck tour at the library

Elaine Lewis of Clearwater Fire and Rescue will give a fire safety and truck tour at 2 p.m. today at the North Greenwood Library, 905 N Martin Luther King Jr. Ave. Call (727) 462-6895.

Hey, that balloon reminds me of you

Meet Mark "The Balloon Guy" Byrne at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Clearwater Main Library, 100 N Osceola Ave. Byrne creates hand-twisted balloons molded to fit a person's personality. Call (727) 562-4834.

COUNTYWIDE

Guardians ad litem needed for kids

More than 1, 000 children in Pinellas County need someone to be their voice in the courtroom, and the county's guardian ad litem program hopes that could be you. Guardians ensure the child has a safe, caring and stable environment and receive ongoing assistance to help them make a positive difference in the lives of children. The average time needed is four to six hours a month. Call (727) 464-6528 or visit www.guardianadlitem6.org.

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