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A group of Pinellas County seniors volunteer to build a home in Romania.
Pinellas County residents volunteer with the Friendship Force Florida Suncoast club with Habitat for Humanity on a build in Moinesti Romania. [Friendship Force Florida Suncoas]
Published Oct. 1

Pinellas residents give back in Romania

A construction team of 13 Friendship Force Florida members recently returned from a one-week collaborative volunteer project with Habitat for Humanity building a four-plex home in Romania. Members, all their 60s to 80s, built a home in the village of Moinesti, Romania. The volunteers received certificates of appreciation from Moinesti Mayor Valentin Vieru and the Moinesti on-site Habitat for Humanity volunteer coordinator, Victor Teris.

Tarpon Springs man becomes spiritual leader

Nikitas Lulias, a Tarpon Springs native has recently been promoted as the Archbishop of the Greek Church of Great Britain. The Spanos Pappas Center on Pinellas Avenue held a luncheon in his honor on Sunday and the city of Tarpon Springs honored him on Monday.

Pinellas Park fire department receives recognition

The Pinellas Park Fire Department’s Fire Tactical Medical Team was named 2019 Pinellas County Fire Professionals Special Operations Team of the Year. Each year individuals who go above and beyond when providing professional fire services to members of the community, visitors and to their fellow members of the fire service are recognized. The fire medical team includes Lieutenant Brian Davies, firefighter/emergency medical technician CJ Huffman, firefighter Tyler Coats, firefighter Ken Huertas, and firefighter Jared Nestor.

St. Petersburg native promoted in the Navy

Ellen Carolyn Lavin, a 2009 graduate of Northeast High School, was recently promoted to Chief Operations Specialist in the US Navy. Lavin is the daughter of retired Command Master Chief Kevin Lavin of St. Petersburg and Lindsay Wilson of Trenton. She is stationed aboard the forward-deployed guided-missile destroyer USS CARNEY out of Rota, Spain.

Ellen Carolyn Lavin, a 2009 graduate of Northeast High School, was recently promoted to Chief Operations Specialist in the US Navy. She is stationed aboard the forward-deployed guided-missile destroyer USS Carney out of Rota, Spain. [Courtesy of Kevin Lavin]

Clearwater resident serves as commander in the Air Force

Air Force Major Stephen Miller has assumed command of 720th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron at Patrick Air Force Base. Miller is the son of Edward and Bonnie Miller of Clearwater, and a 2003 graduate of Calvary Christian High School.

Veteran scout leader earns badge with Church of Scientology’s Troop 313

Greater Tampa Bay Area Council Scout Commissioner Geary Titus, earned his Wood Badge from the 2019 Boy Scout Troop 313 chartered by the Church of Scientology Flag Service Organization. The Wood Badge is an advanced leadership course for Scouts and Scout leaders. Titus has been an Eagle Scout for more than 55 years. He is also a National Eagle Scout Association Legacy Society Fellow and a James E. West Fellow at the local council level. The celebration was held at the Clearwater Community Volunteers Center.

Geary Titus receives his Wood Badge scarf and slide in recognition of his completion of the Wood Badge courses in leadership. [Church of Scientology FSO]

Catholics and Scientologists combine relief efforts for Hurricane Dorian victims

Father Bob Swick of St. Francis of Assisi and St. Roch Catholic Churches in Dunedin and Tampa delivered donations to the Scientology Volunteer Minister center in downtown Clearwater. Volunteer ministers have been collecting food, preparing hygiene kits and signing up volunteers for Hurricane Dorian relief effort and to date 80 volunteer ministers have gone to the Bahamas with over 5,000 hygiene kits and food. St. Francis of Assisi and St. Roch Catholic churches donated three baby strollers, two wheelchairs, 620 disposable diapers, a box full of soap, shampoo, deodorant, toilet paper, antibiotic cream, fresh socks and sandals for all ages.

Scientology Volunteer Ministers unload food and supplies for victims of Hurricane Dorian at the Freeport, Grand Bahama airport. [Church of Scientology FSO]

City Commission celebrates Largo’s employees of the quarter

Five Largo team members were recognized as Employees of the Quarter at a recent City Commission meeting. The Employees of the Quarter program recognizes employees for exemplifying, contributing to, and upholding the city of Largo’s mission, vision, and values. Among those recognized were economic development coordinator Karisa Rojas-Norton, Largo police officer and mental health liaison Albin Soto, environmental services treatment plant shift supervisor David Winkler, and recreation, parks and arts assistant director Krista Pincince.

Chabad of Clearwater breaks ground on new Jewish center

After months of planning, the Chabad of Clearwater recently celebrated its groundbreaking ceremony for its new Jewish Center, the Feldman Campus for Jewish Life and The Tabacinic Chabad Center at 2260 Belleair Road. The campus is being named in honor of longtime community pillars and philanthropists Marvin and Linda Feldman, who made a lead gift to the $1.5 million project. The 5,000-square-foot center will carry the name of the Tabacinic family of Bal Harbor, Fla., in recognition of the lead gift made by philanthropists Moris and Lillian Tabacinic. The center will feature will a social hall, a multi-purpose room, a library, a spacious lobby, offices, commercial kitchen, state-of-the-art women’s Mikvah (ritual bath), children’s playground, and an outdoor pavilion with space for 200 people for the community to celebrate the Sabbath and Jewish holidays. The facility will also be home to Clearwater Kosher, Chabad’s popular Kosher store.

From left are Rabbi Levi Hodakov, Director of Chabad of Clearwater; Rabbi Yosef Y. Hodakov; Rabbi Dovid Sabol and Fraide Sabol participating in the groundbreaking ceremony of the Feldman Campus for Jewish Life and the Tabacinic Chabad Center at Chabad of Clearwater. [COURTESY OF RABBI LEVI HODAKOV | Courtesy of Rabbi Levi Hodakov]

Sunstar Paramedics employee honored as First Responder award

Sunstar Paramedics employee Dana Shultz was honored with Pinellas Osteopathic Medical Society’s First Responder Award. Shultz was recognized for his dedication to the advancement of the emergency medical services profession, commitment to high-quality patient care and leadership skills.

Palm Harbor graduates basic training

U.S. Air Force Airman Devin A. Rhoden, a 2017 graduate of Palm Harbor University High School, graduated from basic military training at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, San Antonio, Texas. The airman completed an intensive, eight-week program that included training in military discipline and studies, Air Force core values, physical fitness, and basic warfare principles and skills. Rhoden earned distinction as an honor graduate.


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  5. Shown here are photographs of damaged parking meters along Central Avenue in downtown St. Petersburg. Those responsible for the damage were arrested Friday evening, according to city police. Times
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  6. Reginald Ferguson, center, a resident of the Kenwood Inn in St. Petersburg, talks with Rachel Ilic, an environmental epidemiologist, left, and Fannie Vaughn, right, a nurse with the Florida Department of Health in Pinellas County. The health team was encouraging residents to get vaccinated against hepatitis A, part of a larger effort to address an outbreak of the virus in Florida. SCOTT KEELER  |  Tampa Bay Times
    The effort started in Pinellas, where health department “foot teams” are knocking on doors in neighborhoods at higher risk for the virus.
  7. Students from Curlew Creek Elementary in Palm Harbor attend the school's Veterans Day program in 2016. The Pinellas County school system remains open for the holiday. DOUGLAS CLIFFORD  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Some campuses in the Tampa Bay area have no classes on the national holiday to honor U.S. military veterans, while others stay open.
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    Museums and aquariums are offering free admission, plus there are parades on land on sea in honor of Veterans Day
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