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At the regular meeting of the St. Petersburg (FL) City Council, Councilman Steve Kornell transmitted to Lisa Mets, Immediate Past Honorary Consul of Florida and KFES vice president, the Mayor’s Proclamation proclaiming February 24, 2018 as Republic of Estonia Centennial Day. These representatives of the Estonian Society of Central Florida (Kesk Florida Eesti Selts) attended: KFES Past President Tõnu Toomepuu, current KFES President Kersti Linask, KFES Board members Maare and Jaan Kuuskvere, and member and Estonian Honorary Consul candidate Kaie Põhi Latterner. This recognition from the City of St. Petersburg expands the gateway that already exists between St. Petersburg and Estonia.

This action is dedicated to the centenary of the Republic of Estonia.

Estonia_100_RGB
Kesk Florida Eesti Selts/
The Estonian Society of Central Florida

invites you to our luncheon celebrating
ESTONIA’S 100TH INDEPENDENCE DAY

Saturday, March 10, 2018 at 11:00 a.m.
Feather Sound Country Club
2201 Feather Sound Dr., Clearwater, FL 33762

Program Highlights
Remarks by Estonian Consul General Kairi Künka
Folkdancers New York’s Saare Vikat and
Florida’s Rannapiigad
A musical program offered by Florida Estonians and
Estonian-related musicians

Advance reservations are required by 2/28/18
Tickets: Adults $50.00, children under 12 $23.00
For tickets, contact Anneliis Kuusik
kuusika09@aol.com; tel. 860-810-3469
7069 Key Haven Rd #505, Seminole FL 33777
Please specify your meal choice (fish or chicken)
and make checks payable to the
“Estonian Society of Central Florida”

This event is dedicated to the centenary of the Republic of Estonia.

Estonia’s Consul General from New York City will be in St. Petersburg, Florida, Friday, March 9, 2018, to perform consular duties. Estonian citizens will be able to apply for a passport and/or ID Card, renew their passport and/or ID Card, receive previously ordered documents or conduct other consular business. Information regarding consular services, application forms, and contact information may be found here: Estonian Consulate General in New York City

The Consul General will conduct business in the former Honorary Consulate, Upham Administration Building, Eckerd College, 4200 54th Avenue S, St. Petersburg, Florida 33711. Directions and campus map may be found here: Directions and Map to Eckerd College/Estonian Honorary Consulate

Starting January 2, 2018, please pre-register for an appointment by sending an email to Lisa Mets, the immediate past Estonian Honorary Consul, at lisa.mets@gmail.com. Please include the following information: (1) your name and the name(s) of any family members coming with you for services too; (2) your mobile phone number; (3) the purpose of your appointment, e.g., passport, ID card, pick up documents, or other business; and (4) your preferred time of day (early morning, late morning, early afternoon, late afternoon).

Please share this announcement with Estonians who may be interested in this visit.

Twenty-five members of the Estonian Society of Central Florida enjoyed lunch together as we fire up for the celebration of Estonia’s 100th anniversary of independence, which we will celebrate with a gala program on March 10, 2018 (see separate listing above). We were delighted to welcome Eda Vare and Vernon Aldan Bandy. Eda spends half the year in Vermont and half the year in Sun City Center. Thank you, Eda, for looking us up and joining our selts!

We met in the usual private room in one of our favorite restaurants: Pier 22, 1200 1st Avenue West, Bradenton, FL 34205. The restaurant has a varied menu with moderately priced items. We look forward to returning here again next year.

On February 6, 2018 in St. Petersburg, Florida, three members of a Civil Affairs Team of the 92nd Civil Affairs Battalion (Airborne), 95th Civil Affairs Brigade, and an adviser, engaged in a mission readiness exercise with Lisa A. Mets, the Immediate Past Estonian Honorary Consul (St. Petersburg); and Maare Kuuskvere, Markus and Liisa Larsson, Erkki Taada, and Triin Karr, all members of the Estonian Society of Central Florida (Kesk Florida Eesti Selts). A mission readiness exercise engages members of a civil affairs team with diaspora community leaders to learn more about the ethnic experience of the diaspora community and to learn and practice cultural sensitivities. This is the third time a civil affairs team assigned to Estonia has worked with the St. Petersburg Estonian community on a mission readiness exercise.

The program introduced the Civil Affairs Team to Estonian and Estonian-American perspectives through three generations of Estonians that live in Tampa Bay: those born in Estonia before World War II, who were refugees with experience in displaced persons camps; those born and raised in Estonia under Soviet oppression; first generation Estonian-Americans whose lives have been committed to preserving Estonia’s sovereignty; and those who were teenagers in Estonia when Estonia regained independence in 1991 and now make Florida their home.

A whirlwind orientation program covered Estonian geography, history, demographics, government, economy, Estonia’s place in international rankings today, language, educational system, culture, and e-Estonia. To introduce the Civil Affairs Team to Estonian cuisine, refreshments included traditional Estonian breakfast võileivad, a Jaanipäeva-style picnic lunch, and a traditional Estonian Christmas dinner with homemade verivorst.

The following day the Civil Affairs Team visited Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, the workplace of the Immediate Past Estonian Honorary Consul. In two sessions, the Civil Affairs Team learned about emergency preparedness planning and the student-run marine rescue program, which is called Eckerd College Search and Rescue (EC SAR).

“Secure the victory” is the motto inscribed on the pin worn by the members of the Civil Affairs Team. That describes perfectly their role in Estonia helping Estonia to preserve its independence. Those who hosted this experience consider it an honor and privilege to engage in mission readiness exercises and stand ready to continue to serve in this way. On behalf of all Estonians in Estonia and the diaspora, we express deep gratitude to the USA for its continuing support for Estonia.

Members of the Civil Affairs Team and their adviser. (back) Lisa Mets, Maare Kuuskvere, Liisa Larsson and Markus Larsson. Feb. 6, 2018, St. Petersburg, FL. Photo: Erkki Taada

The Estonian Society of Central Florida/Kesk Florida Eesti Selts highly popular luncheon returned again to kick off the 2018 New Year. Thirty-three members came together to enjoy our Estonian Soup and Sandwich Potluck Luncheon/Eesti supp ja võileiv lõunasöök.

Anneliis Kuusik and Kaie Põhi Latterner provided warming frikadelli supp and tomato soup. Our members contributed traditional Estonian-recipe sandwiches, salads and desserts to round out our smorgasbord lunch. This has become one of our favorite and most delicious events of the year!

Our location was the beautiful community room in Anneliis Kuusik’s condominium complex called Seminole Isles, 7253 Key Haven Road, Seminole, FL. We will be gathering here again for our picnic in April.

Please visit our Calendar of Events so you can make plans to join us at future events in February, March and April. We hope especially you will want to join us for our Estonian Society of Central Florida/Kesk Florida Eesti Selts gala celebration of Estonia’s 100th Anniversary of Independence on March 10, 2018! Details are included in the Calendar of Events.

BY THE WAY, IN PREPARATION FOR OUR GALA KFES EV100 CELEBRATION:

The Estonian Society of Central Florida/Kesk Florida Eesti Selts is trying something new with our loterii at the EV100 Celebration on March 10, 2018. This year, we will be making baskets as loterii prizes.

We invite your donations along the following themes:
1. Eesti/Estonian goods
2. All things and anything Florida
3. Entertainment, i.e., wine, cheese, chocolates, nuts, pretzels, cocktail napkins, bottle stoppers, etc.
4. For Children
5. $$ so the Society/Selts may supplement donations

We invite you to think creatively and personally: What kinds of foods and beverages, entertaining accoutrements, books, calendars, dvds, cds, puzzles, games, towels, etc., etc., etc., would you or your family members and friends like to win?

Please bring your donations to our next event in February or make your financial contribution to Anneliis Kuusik by February 28, 2018.

Also we kindly remind you to pay the $20 annual membership fee per person by mail or when you join us next. Thank you!

Santa Claus/Jõuluvana joined 45 holiday spirited members and friends of the Estonian Society of Central Florida (Kesk Florida Eesti Selts) for a traditional Estonian holiday dinner at 2:00 pm on Saturday afternoon, December 9, 2017, at the beautiful home of Kaie Põhi Latterner in North Redington Beach, Florida. Friends came from as far away as The Villages, Kissimmee and Naples in Central and South Florida, North Carolina, and Annapolis, Maryland. Snowbirds have returned from Estonia, Texas and Washington DC. We were especially delighted to welcome new members Jüri and Barbara Pill, Birgit and Vincent Delaidatti and Monika Mägi who joined the Estonian Society of Central Florida (Kesk Florida Eesti Selts) this year.

To make sure Santa Claus/Jõuluvana could find us, we enlivened the party by singing some holiday songs in Estonian and English. Santa Claus/Jõuluvana, of course, each year looks forward to being entertained by our members who come prepared with poems, songs, and dance. Our seven children–Brook and Chloe Cabrera, Isabella and Mateo Lorenzo and their cousin Leila Eelma, and Kevin and Oliver (who also celebrated his 6th birthday today!)–absolutely delighted Santa Claus/Jõuluvana again this year!

Three co-hosts made this fabulous party possible: Kaie Põhi Latterner, Anneliis Kuusik and Virve-Kai Bulla, who together make catering for large parties go seamlessly. Like last year, we served traditional Christmas food–roast pork, mashed potatoes and gravy, sausages, potato salad, red cabbage and rye bread by our wonderful German caterers, plus Anneliis’s traditional Estonian cranberry sauce and special Estonian-style sauerkraut, plus homemade Christmas sausages (verivorst) by our own KFES elves, and desserts that included a cake and kringel and traditional piparkokid prepared by Virve-Kai Bulla and Anneliis Kuusik. This sums it all up in one word: Yum! Special thanks to Eric Cabrera, who also served as our parking director, and Dallas Dishmey for doing the heavy lifting cleaning up post-party.

Guests arrived at 2:00 and normally our luncheon events conclude by 4:00 pm. Well, not today! Everyone had such a joyous time gathered together, our members finally made their ways home by 7:00 pm. Now that’s testimony to how our members feel about spending good times together! We take this opportunity this time of year to wish you and yours blessings of the season. Rõõmsaid jõulu pühi!