The Florida State Elks Association, Inc. is a non-profit corporation founded in 1904. It is a voluntary association of Elks Lodges and all Florida Lodges are eligible for membership.

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Florida Elks News Online

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District Reporter: Linda Witt

Pinewood Derby Held at DeLand Elks Lodge

2017 DeLand pinewood derby winners  2017 DeLand pinewood derby leaders

Forty boys and their parents of Cub Pack 531 and Scout Troop 531 joined together at DeLand Elks Lodge for their annual pinewood derby. The event comprised of an awards ceremony and a luncheon. The pinewood derby is the final event for the Cub Scouts before they move on to the Boy Scouts. This gives the pack one last event with the current group of boys. Each scout is given a kit which contains a block of pine, plastic wheels and nails for axles. Their car cannot weight more than 5 ounces; the boys are encouraged to design and build their own car. Each car races eight times and four cars per race, and the times are recorded. All races are randomly picked by the track software. The scout with the lowest cumulative time wins. The top three racers win a medal and all the boys receive a participation ribbon. They also like to include siblings to join in the fun. They too can race their own pinewood derby car in a separate race. This is an exciting way to include the whole family before the summer break.

Winners of some of the pinewood derby events held at DeLand Elks Lodge are Daniel Noyes, first place; Casey Carson, second place; and Ian Campanella, third place.

Paul Ferguson, Heather Long, David Carson, John Rainey, Tony Fortier, Chris Noyes, Darin Breidigam, Christie Horn and Mike Campanella were part of the pinewood derby held at DeLand Elks Lodge.


DeLand Elks Honor Mothers at Flower Ceremony

8 DeLand Mothers Day 004Mothers young and old turned out Sunday, May 14, for the annual Mother’s Day flower ceremony at DeLand Lodge. Exalted Ruler, Rachel Sieg, and her officers were in full regalia as each read their inspiring verse. Flowers were given to the oldest mother, youngest mother, mother with the most children and mother with the most grandchildren.

Pictured are ER Rachel Sieg, Betty Sieg (seated), Linda Witt (center), Rose Gullo (seated), Felicia Reber and Deborah Dubost.





DeLand Elks Host Second Car Show

1463 cars 1463 smoker


On April 22, DeLand Elks held their second annual car show and barbecue. Over 20 vehicles were present to be shown off by their owners. Robert T-Bone Knight prepared the barbeque of pulled pork and chicken with baked beans and potato salad. It was a perfect day to listen to the ‘50s and ‘60s tunes played by DJ Warren Kerswill.


DeLand Elks Help City with Easter Egg Hunt

2 East Egg huntThe city of DeLand held their annual Kids’ Easter Egg Hunt at Earl Brown Park Friday evening, April 7. Each year DeLand Elks Lodge donates their time and approximately 300-400 hot dogs and drinks to feed the neighborhood children and their families. This year was no exception. The weather was perfect and the Easter Bunny handed out gift baskets to the kids who found an egg with a prize inside.


DeLand Elks Hold Installation for New Officers

1 DeLand Installation dinnerThe installations of the 2017-2018 officers took place Saturday, April 1. Current ER, Bob Sari, PER, who had served two terms as Exalted Ruler, passed the torch to Rachel Sieg who is only the third female ER at DeLand Lodge. Sieg’s theme for the installation dinner was southern hospitality and the menu for the night consisted of chicken and biscuits with maple gravy, collard greens, macaroni and cheese, and Johnny cake. Sari presented awards to members serving the lodge this year. Dave Templeton was named Officer of the Year, Desiree Templeton was named Elk of the Year and Warren Kerswill was given the Tony DiNardo award. John Harris, current state president, also attended the installation.

Pictured left to right: Gil Grant, Esquire; Dean Yeager, PER, Trustee; Rachel Sieg, Exalted Ruler; Dawne Ranken, Secretary; Martin Pedata, Chaplain; Gerry McDonald, Tiler; Ace Luongo, Trustee; Phil Watercutter, PDD, Trustee; John Harris, State President; Mark Thompson, DDGER, Trustee; Rob Schmidt, PER, Leading Knight; Bernie Korwes, PER, Inner Guard; Dave McCranie, Loyal Knight; Angel Schmaeker, Treasurer; Bob Sari, PER, outgoing Exalted Ruler; Dave Templeton, outgoing Secretary; Barbara Thompson, outgoing Treasurer; Larry Skates, PDD; and Tom Hopp, PER, outgoing Loyal Knight


Edgewater-NSB Elks News


Every year, Edgewater-New Smyrna Beach Elks Lodge #1557 supports and sponsors a T-ball team. This year, the Athletics, as they were called this year, recently played at the sports complex in Edgewater. In memory of one of their beloved coaches, Dave Fernandez, a ballfield was named in his honor. The turnout is great every year.

The lodge PER Association continues to host a breakfast every first and third Sunday of the month in support of lodge activities such as Hoop Shoot, Christmas gifts, Easter baskets and birthdays for the kids who help around the lodge. The PERs have purchased tricycles for children from the Special Olympics and plaques for the yearly lodge outstanding officer.

A classic car show was recently held at the lodge; there were approximately 80 cars that showed up for the day’s event. Hot dogs, hamburgers and beverages were also available. Trophies were presented to the best of the best show cars.

The lodge hosted their annual awards spaghetti dinner for Cub Scout Pack #72 and their families. Donovan Ichelson, a fifth grader, won first place in the Southeast Volusia Jane Sheldon Chapter of the D.A.R. essay contest. The theme of the contest was Celebrating a Century: America’s National Parks. Ichelson’s winning essay was about the Grand Canyon National Park.


DeLand Elks Welcome New Boy Scout Troop


Late last year, ER Bob Sari and the current secretary and scout leader, Dave Templeton, discussed bringing a Boy Scout troop to DeLand Elks. At that time, another troop was having issues with its sponsoring organization and was looking for options. Templeton was contacted by a scoutmaster interested in starting a new scout troop. A meeting with the ER was set for January 13, and it was referred to the House Committee and the lodge voted to sponsor a new scout troop. Troop 531 was formed and met at the end of January 2017. Currently Desiree Templeton is the chartered organization representative for the lodge's Cub Scout Pack 531. The Elks now serve as liaison between the scouts and the chartered organization under the Exalted Ruler. DeLand Elks Lodge has never had a Boy Scout troop; they have only hosted troops from other organizations. Troop 531 is an entirely new Boy Scout troop within the Tuscarora District under the Central Florida BSA Council.

The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) is the largest scouting organization in the United States of America and one of the largest youth organizations in the country with more than 2.4 million youth participants and nearly one million adult volunteers. The BSA was founded in 1910 and, since then, more than 110 million Americans have been participants in BSA programs at some time. The BSA is part of the international scout movement and became a founding member organization of the World Organization of the Scout Movement in 1922. The BSA's goal is to train youth in responsible citizenship, character development and self-reliance through participation in a wide range of outdoor activities, educational programs and, at older age levels, career-oriented programs in partnership with community organizations. For younger members, the scout method is part of the program to instill typical scouting values such as trustworthiness, good citizenship and outdoor skills through a variety of activities such as camping, aquatics and hiking. The BSA operates traditional scouting by chartering local organizations such as churches, clubs, civic associations or educational organizations to implement the scouting program for youth within their communities. Units are led entirely by volunteers appointed by the chartering organization who are supported by local councils using both paid professional scouters and volunteers.


DeLand Elks Team Participates in Cancer Run

7 Me strong DeLandOn Jan. 28, 2012, the first ME STRONG Linda’s Run for the Dream took place in historic DeLand, Fla. The race was initiated when four women, Kim Winters, Barbara Underhill, Kim Martin and Kathy Guyer, wanted to honor their friend Linda Ryan who was diagnosed with recurrent cervical cancer at the age of 43. The inaugural run was an overwhelming success with nearly 1,000 participants of all athletic abilities and ages. The funds raised from the event went toward assisting community members battling cancer and cancer research.

Together the five women behind ME STRONG then took their message and charitable donations to a larger stage, a charitable organization dedicated to assisting the friends, families and individuals battling cancer and supporting groundbreaking research. In May 2016, after four years of no evidence of disease, Linda Ryan learned her cancer had returned. She continues to be open and candid about sharing her personal journey in hopes of supporting others who are also in this situation.

This was the second year the DeLand Elks formed a team and participated in the run which was held Jan. 28.

Pictured are David Caskey, Stephanie Negrete, Barbara Thompson, Debi Dunn, Desiree Templeton and Rachel Sieg.


East Central District Hoop Shoot Winners

The East Central District Hoop Shoot Competition was held at DeLand Middle School on Saturday January 4, 2017. Current District Deputy Mark Thompson, VP Angelo Cretella, PVP Bob Swink, PDD Larry Skates, Phil Watercutter who has run this event for the last 26 years, Joe Rogers PDDGER, Jeff Rumler PER and many other Elks dignitaries were in the bleachers. After the completion, all the participants and their families were invited for a free lunch at the Lodge, where they received their trophies and were photographed with either the District Deputy Mark Thompson or VP Angelo Cretella.

There were participants representing all the lodges in the East Central District and the 1st place winners from this competition will move on to the Central regional completion at Seminole High School in Sanford, Florida on January 28. The first place winners from that completion will then compete at the Youth Camp for the Florida State Finals on February 18.

Winners were:
8 -9 Girls: Alexandra Perez – Palm Coast Lodge – 16-25, Emma Corr – Edgewater-New Smyrna Beach – 16-25, Maya Eggert – DeLand – 10 -20 – Shoot Out – 3 -5 - 3-5.

8-9 Boys: Maximus Spada – Ormond Beach– 19-25, Eli Remsburg- Port Orange - 18-25, Eli Hoffman- DeLand – 16-25.

10-11 Year Old Girls: Paris Thompson- Edgewater/New Smyrna – 13-25, Thalia Perez- Palm Coast- 11-25, Vanessa Spada- Ormond- 10-25.

10-11 Boys: Keshon Evans- Edgewater- New Symrna-17-25, Mason Gill- Titusville- 15-25, Ryan Ziggers- DeLand – 14-25 - Shoot Out - 2-5 - 4-5.

12-13 Year Old Girls: Kacie Oelkers – Port Orange –20-25, Ria Gupta – Ormond Beach – 16-25, Anna Marie Haverty – DeLand – 13-25. 12-13 Boys: Joseph Driggers – Port Orange – 19-25 - Shoot Out- 5-5, Alek Libby – Palm Coast – 19-25 - Shoot Out - 4-5, Joey Sauer – DeLand - 18-25.

Photo 1 L-R: Angelo Cratella PER,VPECD, (Port Orange) - Jeff Rumler PER, Florida Elks State Hoop Shoot Chairperson (Sanford) - Rod O’Connor PER, VP Elect (Merritt Island) Florida Elks State Hoop Shoot Vice Chairperson- Eric Johnson, PER (Merritt Island) ,- Buzz Howell, (DeLand) - Joe Rogers PDDGER, (Sanford) - Sue Hollaway, (Ormond Beach) - Ken Seybold, (Palm Coast) - Dwayne Rossi, (Ormond Beach) - Steve Wilson, (DeLand) - Jim Shipman, (DeLand) - Linda Witt District photographer, (DeLand) - Gardner Gould, (DeLand) - Pam Russell, (Gainesville) - David McCranie,(DeLand) - Rachel Sieg, (DeLand) - Rick Phelps PER, (Edgewater-New Smyrna Beach) - Bob Swink PER-PVP, (Titusville) - Larry Skates PDDGER, (Edgewater-New Smyrna Beach) - Marcie Skates, (Edgewater-New Smyrna Beach) - Mark Thompson DDGER, (DeLand) - Michelle Greci (Port Orange) - Louis Greci PER, (Port Orange) - Phil Watercutter, East Central District Elks Hoop Shoot Chairman (DeLand)

Photo 2: Some of the winners


Louisiana State Legislature Increases New Orleans Hotel Occupancy Tax

The Legislature of the State of Louisiana has acted to increase the New Orleans Hotel Occupancy Tax from 13% to 14.75% effective April 1, 2014. This will affect our convention room rates and they will go from $128.56 to $130.52 per night.

Convention Attendees With ADA Transportation Needs Urged To Contact Grand Lodge

In order for the Grand Lodge to support the transportation needs of attendees with disabilities you are urged to contact the Grand Lodge if you require special assistance. Special coaches capable of kneeling to accommodate wheel chairs will be placed along the routes for those in need. If you require assistance please contact Tina or Jessica at the Grand Lodge as follows:


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