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Neighborhood notebook

By MELIA BOWIE and JOSH ZIMMER
© St. Petersburg Times
published December 22, 2002


Publix near school will sell beer and wine

NEW TAMPA -- Schools and alcohol sales may not mix, but when Heritage Elementary opens in August they will have to co-exist. A Publix supermarket planned at Cross Creek Boulevard and Morris Bridge Road will sell beer and wine fewer than 1,000 feet from the planned elementary school.

Two years ago, a developer building the Marathon gas station and convenience store on Cross Creek Boulevard met with strong opposition from parents and homeowners when he proposed selling alcohol across from Benito Middle School. The business was within 200 feet of the school and close to Hunter's Green Elementary School, a regional library and several playing fields.

When Wal-Mart wanted to sell beer and wine at its store near Wharton High School four years ago, Tampa's city council denied the variance.

But the new Publix succeeded where Wal-Mart and Marathon failed. Why? The store was able to convince City Council that alcohol sales were incidental to its main business. And timing was a big factor. Publix submitted its wet zoning request in April, before the school district identified the area as a school site.

Walker teacher needs bone marrow transplant

ODESSA -- The recurrence of gym teacher Darin Hartley's leukemia has tempered the holiday mood at Walker Middle School with sadness.

Just before Thanksgiving the 27-year-old gym teacher learned the cancer was no longer in remission. He is in St. Louis, Mo. now, waiting for a bone marrow transplant scheduled for Jan. 14.

"We definitely did not expect it," said fellow Walker gym teacher and friend Selina Perez. "He was doing fantastic."

Hartley and his wife, Heather, have two young daughters. He returned to his job this fall after a long absence. But last month his doctor noticed blood problems during a routine checkup, Perez said. Further tests revealed the leukemia. Crushed, Hartley drove alone to St. Louis that very day.

"I just know he wanted to be by himself for a while," Perez said.

Heather Hartley drove with Lauryn, 4, and Kaitlyn, 2, to join him several days later. They are staying with her brother. Doctors agreed to put off the transplant until after the holidays, Perez said.

Heather Hartley said her husband needs two days of chemotherapy before the transplant, followed by a day of heavy radiation to ensure all the bad blood cells are gone. He already is reeling from recent round of chemotherapy, she said.

Leukemia generally invades the bone marrow and lymph nodes, suppressing the production of healthy blood cells. It causes 22,000 deaths every year.

To help the family pay its insurance premiums teachers are chipping in with fundraisers and individual contributions, Perez said. Those interested in making donations can call Walker Middle School at (813) 631-4726 or make direct contributions at any Wachovia branch to the Donald D. Hartley fund.

Sickles DECA takes awards

CITRUS PARK -- The Sickles High School DECA team had another winning week at the recent district competition.

In the fashion category, Kelly Deloucas and Sara Rydman won first place for advertising campaign and Megan Cartmill and Marissa Davis took first place in hospitality management.

In the marketing category, Collin Streetman won first place in the quick serve restaurant management division.

The team also logged numerous second- and third-place awards. The team will compete in the state DECA Leadership Conference competition Feb. 27 to March 2 in Orlando. The group is seeking sponsorships from local businesses to help defray the cost of attending.

DECA, which stands for Distributive Education Clubs of America, is an organization that aims to improve educational and career opportunities for students in marketing, management and entrepreneurship. For more information on the Sickles program, call Sam Perrone at 631-4742 ext. 258.

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