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Florida Elks News Online

Sebring Lodge Supports SunTrust Foundation for Victims' Families

Members of Sebring Lodge wanted to make a donation to the SunTrust Foundation to aid the families of the five women who were killed by a gunman at a SunTrust bank in Sebring, Fla., in January. The lodge held a charity breakfast that was open to the public with all proceeds going to the families through the SunTrust Foundation. More than 30 volunteers set up and broke down the dining rooms and bar area, cooked, cleaned the kitchen, kept the dining tables cleared, served drinks, made coffee, kept the omelet stations flowing, acted as cashier, and served as hostesses who efficiently seated attendees. Including the $1,000 lodge pledge from monies donated by their Sunday and Monday night bingo players, the 439 paying customers at the breakfast, and the generous tips and donations, Sebring Lodge donated more than $7,000 to the SunTrust Foundation.


Sebring Lodge Supports Show Choir Performing at Carnegie Hall

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Sebring Lodge donated $3,500 in part from the Elks National Foundation Beacon Grant to the Sebring High School show choir. Zack Thompson, choir director, and 23 students will be performing at Carnegie Hall in New York City March 21. The students will represent Florida and will perform with other choirs from around the country. Throughout the year, the varsity choir and the show choir participate in local, district and state competitions and are rated good, excellent or superior. In addition to a voice competition, they are also rated on poise, the ability to read music, diction, projection and performance. Additional judging criteria for the show choir are choreography, personality and stage presence. Similar to the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade that presents the all-American band, this Carnegie Hall performance is an all-American choir featuring the best of the best from each state. Always ranking superior in solos and ensembles, Sebring is the best in Florida. The Elks donation will be used for travel, lodging, sheet music and food while each student and their chaperones are responsible for their own fare. Many of these same students have previously benefited from the Beacon Grant through participation at Highlands Little Theatre Summer Institute which Sebring Lodge also supports.

PER Judy Hanson and PDD Jim Mason present a donation of $3,500 to Zack Thompson, choir director, and the Sebring High School show choir for their upcoming trip to perform at Carnegie Hall in New York City March 21.


Girl Scouts Host Guest Speaker, Retired Army Lt. Col. Carol Barkalow

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On Feb. 7, St. Petersburg Lodge’s Esquire, retired Army Lt. Col. Carol Barkalow, was the guest speaker at Athenian Academy in Clearwater, Fla., for Girl Scout Troop 911. She spoke about the young girls’ leadership potential as well as the meaning of being a veteran. She explained that when a soldier’s mission ends, they return to civilian life, but sometimes they don’t have a home to come back to, and that is when she and her team of volunteers at Heaven on Earth for Veterans Inc. (HOEV) come in. She described how this organization helps veterans transition to civilian life so they can find and retain jobs so they can avoid becoming homeless again. HOEV assists Pinellas County’s veteran homelessness by providing quality, low-cost, safe living spaces for veterans in need. The veterans get a furnished private bedroom and shared common space, internet and cable, all utilities, laundry facilities, linens and a kitchen stocked with cookware. All they pay for is food.


Have News You Want to Share?

We want to hear from you! The Florida Elks News Online site is a timely way to tell the world all about the good things happening at your Lodge. You can keep your members up-to-date in between the printed quarterly FEN editions by sending your news articles here. The online FEN version is already one of the most popular pages on the FSEA website so you don't want to miss out on this terrific way to promote your Lodge with members and the general public. As we receive news and pictures from you, we will post them here immediately. You will also want to visit this site frequently so be sure to bookmark it as one of your favorites right now!

As an added bonus for sending articles for publication on the Florida Elks News Online site, we will also post them to the FSEA Facebook page which regularly has over 15,000 unique weekly viewers. You heard right! You will get double the coverage to a wide audience!

There are a couple of ways to submit online articles. For the more adventuresome, you can make a submission by going to the FSEA online submission webpage at This page can also be accessed anytime via the NEWS CENTER menu link at the top of the FSEA website page. For those of you who prefer email, please send articles and pictures to Rachael King at It's just that easy!

Let's hear from you and work together to get your lodge recognized for its outstanding community programs!


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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