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Schools to compete in Battle of the Books

By LOGAN D. MABE and SUSAN THURSTON

© St. Petersburg Times, published May 4, 2001


North of Tampa elementary schools will be well represented at next week's Battle of the Books competition, which tests fourth-graders on their knowledge of 20 novels they've all read.

Claywell, Essrig, Lake Magdalene and Tampa Palms elementaries are among the seven finalists that will duke it out at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday at the Travelodge Hotel, 820 E. Busch Blvd. The other teams are Lopes, Roosevelt and Seminole elementaries.

Claywell will enter the final round a clear favorite having won the last three competitions.

Battle of the Books, or BOB, is a districtwide reading enrichment program that encourages recreational reading. The goal is to expose students to a variety of literary styles, increase familiarity with different authors and promote sharing books through written and oral expression.

All fourth-grade classes participate, and students take a qualifying test in April to determine a team for each class. Battles at each school determine school teams. Then, area battles are held in late April to winnow the field from 83 schools to the final seven.

Tampa seeks grant to upgrade road

The city of Tampa has applied for a $600,000 state grant to help pay for an additional lane along northbound Bruce B. Downs from Interstate 75 to Richmond Place. The project is expected to ease congestion for motorists exiting the interstate during afternoon rush hour.

The application was approved by the county and forwarded to the Florida Department of Transportation for review over the next few months. It will compete with several projects across the state.

If approved, the money would come from a grant program the Legislature set up last year to help local governments pay for projects that benefit the state highway system. The New Tampa project would reduce the backup on I-75 at Bruce B. Downs.

The city has budgeted $1.2-million for the project in fiscal year 2001-2002. Getting the grant money would free up funding for other road projects in New Tampa, officials said.

- Compiled by Times staff writers Logan D. Mabe and Susan Thurston.

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