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PRETTY BUSY TIME FOR ARIPEKA ELKS

Members of Aripeka Elks Lodge 2520 kept busy during May with events and activities, including a Mother's Day observance, the Elks Florida state convention, scholarship presentations and blood drives.

During the Mother's Day celebration, Judie Stoner, past exalted ruler, read a tribute to mothers. Stoner and members Shirley Rose Cruz, Lucille Marino and Elizabeth Lavett were presented with pots of flowers. Breakfast was served to approximately 106, and all ladies ate free.

Dave Taylor, blood drive chairman, along with members who assisted, collected 33 pints of blood during a blood drive at the lodge.

John Nejedlo, past exalted ruler and chairman of the lodge's youth program, presented four male students from Hudson High School with scholarships worth $500 each. Recipients included: Jeff Wisner, Zach Van Buren, Joe Teague and R.J. Marshall.

Phyllis Grace, president of the Ladies of Aripeka Elks, presented four female students from the high school with scholarships worth $500 each. Recipients included: Samantha Poston Norris, Madison Ayers, Katy McGee and Jessica McLaughlin.

The lodge's Past Exalted Rulers Association donated $100 to Kairos, a ministerial program for inmates.

At the Elks state convention, the lodge took home several first-place plaques, including one in the "Best Inter-Lodge Visitation" category for lodges with more than 1,500 members. It also received several certificates. Recently, 20 members and their spouses paid their annual visit to Punta Gorda Lodge 2606.

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Military news

Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Jason R. French is assigned to the USS Independence (Littoral Combat Ship 2), which began its first industrial post-availability at the BAE Ship Repair Yard in Norfolk, Va., on May 6.

During the availability, the Independence will implement launch and recovery and handling system improvements, as well as a complete installation of commercial broadband satellite program systems.

The Independence is the second LCS ship commissioned, following the USS Freedom. The new naval ship is the first of its class built and designed by General Dynamics for the Navy. The LCS is a fast, agile, focused-mission platform designed for operation in near-shore environments, yet capable of open-ocean operations.

French's wife, Jennifer, is the daughter of Marina and John Lucas of Spring Hill.

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