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Firefighter is honored for 15 years of service

Firefighter-paramedic Aaron Gonzalez was recently recognized by the city for 15 years of service with the Oldsmar Fire Department.

By CHRISTINE GRAEF

© St. Petersburg Times, published December 3, 2000


Firefighter-paramedic Aaron Gonzalez was recently recognized by the city for 15 years of service with the Oldsmar Fire Department.

"We're proud of him. He's always coming up with innovative ways of teaching the public," said Chief Scott McGuff.

McGuff said Gonzalez, 39, was a volunteer firefighter with Oldsmar before he was hired in 1983.

"He took a job with public works and waited for a job opening," McGuff said. "It took about a year. Then the department sponsored him to the academy."

After completing fire certification, Gonzalez acquired EMT certification on his own.

He is also certified as a paramedic.

"He's one of our first paramedics," McGuff said. "When he came on, the city only provided basic life support."

Gonzalez was born and raised in the Tampa Bay area. He lives in Oldsmar with his wife, Judy, sons Danny, 15, and Mike, 3, and daughter, Heather, 11.

In November, Gonzalez was selected to attend a course at the National Fire Academy in Emmitsburg, Md.

There, he spent a week studying public education courses with 23 other firefighters from around the country.

"He's a proponent of educating the public," said McGuff. "He's the one who teaches CPR and first aid training to the community and employees."

Gonzalez received a $500 check and a plaque for his 15 years of service. The city awards $250 and a plaque at five years and $750 and a plaque for 20 years of employment.

20 tons of ice to lend a wintery aura to festival

Winterfest will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday at R.E. Olds Park on Shore Drive. Twenty tons of crushed ice will be used for the snow slope and "sno-thro." Festivities also include concessions, four local church choirs, crafts and moon walks.

The Fairy Tale Players of Clearwater and OPAL Theatre will perform. Pictures with Santa will cost $3, and pony rides will cost $1. The event is sponsored by TECO Energy, the Oldsmar Flea Market, Tampa Bay Engineering, Tampa Bay Downs and the Professional Engineering Consultants.

For information, call the Oldsmar Parks and Recreation Department at (813) 855-4211.

Men's softball registration begins Jan. 8 for spring

Registration for the 2001 men's spring softball season will begin Jan. 8. The season will begin in February and runs for three months. To be placed on the mailing list for league details, call Tani Malloe in the recreation office at (813) 855-4211.

Fire extinguisher training, adult CPR course planned

Registration is required for community fire extinguisher training that will take place at City Hall, 100 State St., from 10 a.m. to noon Jan. 13. Classes in adult CPR will be held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Jan. 20 at City Hall. A car seat clinic will also be held from 9 a.m. to noon at the fire station, 111 State St. For information, call (813) 855-1059.

Forest Lakes Elementary gets new 'Dolphin Dome'

Student PTA members voted to name the new covered playground court at Forest Lakes Elementary School the Dolphin Dome. The court was officially dedicated on Nov. 21.

Construction of the $31,550 covered court began Oct. 23. The 50-by-82-foot roof will shade about a third of the concrete court where students play during physical education class.

Principal Bob Evers said plans for the structure began several years ago when parents became concerned about children playing in the heat of the day.

Funds were raised during three years with the school's annual Dolphin Splash, a walk-a-thon held in October when students ask family and community members for pledges. Students and their parents then walked the school field for a mile or two while listening to music provided by the Astro Skate DJ.

The school broke ground in September for the prefabricated metal roof and steel frame. It was painted teal to match the school's accent color.

Mayoral, council hopefuls should pick up packets

Candidate packets are available at the city clerk's office in City Hall, located at 100 State St. Three-year seats up for election are for mayor and council seats 2 and 4. For more information, call the clerk's office at (813) 855-4693.

Little League registration scheduled at Canal Park

Health group's offices merge in new location

The new building at 601 Brooker Creek Blvd. is now home to two Uniprise offices that have been merged into one location.

Maura Plunken, business manager of Uniprise United Health Group, said the Tampa and Clearwater offices were closed last year and moved into the new location in October. Plunken said the city was one of about 12 in the country recognized as growth sites.

There are 700 employees working in the new 103,000-square-foot building, and they handle more than 800,000 claims. Plunken said the company still needs about 380 more employees to work in customer service.

Artists to stage Scrooge; mayor to play lead part

Oldsmar Performing Artists League Performers and Dancers are proud to present Scrooge, an adaptation of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. Performances are scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. Dec. 10 at the Oldsmar Art Centre, 402 St. Petersburg Drive. Mayor Jeff Sandler will star as Ebenezer Scrooge.

Admission is free, but seats are limited. For more information, call the Oldsmar Cultural Arts Foundation at (813) 891-6507.

New AARP officers to be installed Monday

Oldsmar AARP Chapter 4456 will install its 2001 officers at 6 p.m. Monday at Harborside Healthcare Center, 3865 Tampa Road.

Officers are president Elizabeth Smith; vice president Nancy Strusz, who succeeds Janeth Litts; secretary Karen Phipps, who succeeds Frances Gaetz; and treasurer Tom DeBeche.

Smith appointed Agnes Bradley to the legislative committee; Jim Campoli to the programs committee; Helen Latin to the membership committee; Mary Jane Campoli to the hospitality committee; Jerry Walters as health coordinator; Janeth Litts as sunshine lady; and Jean Jorgenson and Loretta Wyandt as community service chairpersons.

Potential members are invited to the meeting, which will also be a holiday turkey dinner. The cost is $7 per person. Everyone is asked to bring two non-perishable food items to be added to the holiday food basket the chapter gives to local families.

For information, call (813) 855-4070.

- If you have news or photos about Oldsmar organizations, churches, schools, neighborhoods or people, please contact Christine Graef at the North Pinellas Times. You can call her at (727) 445-4229, e-mail her at graef@sptimes.com or mail material to the North Pinellas Times, 34342 U.S. 19 N, Palm Harbor, FL 34684.

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