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    Oldsmar race lures one who wants to join team

    Tony Ringelspaugh, 33, a telephone service installer, is running for Seat 3. He says the city doesn't need to change much.

    © St. Petersburg Times
    published December 9, 2002

    OLDSMAR -- Tony Ringelspaugh remembers when the only thing on Forest Lakes Boulevard was a Winn-Dixie grocery store and an Amoco gas station.

    That was 13 years ago, when he moved to Oldsmar from Safety Harbor.

    But Ringelspaugh, a telephone service installer, said he can bring more than his time as an Oldsmar resident to the City Council. He said he has filed to run for David Tilki's seat because he wants to be part of the team.

    "I've always had a goal to sit up on a board," said Ringelspaugh, 33, who filed to run for Seat 3. "I feel like I could be a great asset to the city of Oldsmar."

    Two council seats are coming up for election early next year: Seat 1 and Seat 3. Ringelspaugh is the only candidate so far who has filed. Jim Ronecker, owner of On Demand Printing in Oldsmar, said he intends to file to run for Seat 1, currently occupied by City Council member Brian Michaels.

    The qualifying deadline is Jan. 24, and Oldsmar residents will go to the polls March 11. Council members serve three-year terms.

    This is Ringelspaugh's second time running for a council seat. In 1999 he ran for Seat 2, but he lost 69 percent to 31 percent to incumbent Ed Richards.

    "The last time I ran, I feel like I didn't campaign hard enough," Ringelspaugh said. "But this is different. I'm out there talking to people, getting involved with things."

    Born and raised in St. Petersburg, Ringelspaugh lives on Cutty Bay Court in Oldsmar with his wife, Paula, 33, and their two children, Vanessa, 13, and Jarett, 10. He graduated from Countryside High School and went to work for AG Communications, a telephone company owned by Verizon. He and his wife moved to Oldsmar in 1989.

    "I just like the city," Ringelspaugh said. "All the people seem like they get along great. It's no Tampa. I wouldn't want to live in a bigger city."

    Ringelspaugh said that not much in Oldsmar needs changing. He's for downtown development, and he likes the idea of a cultural arts facility.

    He also said he's glad he no longer has to go to Clearwater to see a movie or grab a bite to eat.

    "There's a lot of good things happening to Oldsmar right now," he said. "People don't have to travel clear across town to get what they need. They can get it in Oldsmar, and they can get it today."

    -- Megan Scott can be reached at (727) 445-4183 or .

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