CLEARWATER - Lack of signed easements by the neighbors means 50 Gulfside Condominiums in Indian Rocks Beach won’t be getting any new sand during an upcoming beach restoration project.
Condo owner Rick Smith appealed to Pinellas County commissioners July 18, asking them for help to get 50 Gulfside’s section of beach nourished. He said the condominium’s beachfront was hard hit during last year’s tropical storms and all the dunes are gone. A bridge on the property no longer connects to the beach. The loss of sand is worrisome, especially due to the property’s proximity to Central Avenue and the Intracoastal Waterway. He’s concerned that without replacement of the missing sand, the area will become “the new John’s Pass.”
CLEARWATER - Pinellas County commissioners gave unanimous approval July 18 to a settlement agreement between Pinellas Suncoast Fire & Rescue District and the county’s Emergency Medical Services Authority.
PSF&RD filed suit last year alleging it had not been appropriately compensated for its emergency medical services from Oct. 1, 2009-Sept. 30, 2015.
County staff and staff from PSF&RD resolved their differences using an intergovernmental dispute resolution process following state statute. The settlement is a compromise between the two parties and avoids the cost of litigation. Each party is responsible for its own attorney fees or other costs. According to the agreement, the settlement is not an admission by either party of any liability.
CLEARWATER - Clearwater police are grateful for the citizens that called to report a possible drunken driver on Clearwater Beach Thursday afternoon.
Clearwater police Deputy Chief Donald Hall said without those calls, “it could have been very, very bad.”
“It could have been a lot worse, but no one was hurt,” he said.
Police received the first call at 4:26 p.m. July 20 about a possible drunken driver at U.S. 19 and Gulf-to-Bay Boulevard. The caller was watching the driver on a Facebook Live broadcast. Multiple calls came in about the driver, including one from California, according to a media release.
CLEARWATER - Not even the threat of inclement weather could prevent the Clearwater Threshers 12th annual Pitch for Pink game from being a success.
Despite heavy showers that rolled over Spectrum Field just prior to game time on Friday, July 14, the skies cleared in time for the traditional pregame walk around the field, with dozens of breast cancer survivors and their supporters, as well as numerous doctors and support staff from Morton Plant Mease, making the joyous trek from the right field stands all the way around the outfield and back to home plate.
SEMINOLE - It’s hard for Gretchen Cain to forget the first time she met James “Jimmy” Johnson.
It was 2000, and as chief operating officer of the Seminole Chamber of Commerce, she placed an ad in a local newspaper seeking volunteers.
Johnson, who had been active in the Seminole community years earlier, had just retired and moved back to the area when he showed up unannounced at the chamber office after reading her ad.
“Jimmy came to the chamber office, burst in through the door, and said, ‘Hi there sunshine. I’m Jimmy Johnson and I’m here to help you as a volunteer,’” she said. “He saw I was there by myself, and he just got to work.”
LARGO - After several years of holding an open mic event at the Largo Public Library, Wayne Williams said a couple used to come by and tease him by asking him how the poet laureate of Largo was doing.
He’s heard the same question recently from friends and poets from around the country. Only this time it was serious, because on July 11 Williams was named the city’s first poet laureate.
“They could not offer me a bigger honor than to say I am the poet laureate of this city,” said Williams, 64, of Largo. “There is nothing that they could say to me or do for me that would be a greater honor to me. Nothing.”
REDINGTON SHORES - Plans for a new complex that would provide police and fire services to the Redingtons were discussed at the July 12 Redington Shores town commission meeting.
The proposed facility would be built on 173rd Avenue at the Redington Shores/North Redington Beach boundary. Redington Shores’ town maintenance building is currently on the site.
Redington Shores Mayor Bert Adams and Seminole Fire Chief Heather Burford reported on recent meetings they attended where preliminary drawings and design plans for the facility were shown and discussed. Adams said the complex would include police and fire support services and likely a water rescue unit. A new maintenance workshop shared by Redington Shores and North Redington Beach would also be a part of the building, as well as a community building.
PALM HARBOR - On Aug. 4 through 5, Palm Harbor’s Rachel Barcellona, the current Miss Southeast International, will head to Charleston, West Virginia, for the final competition for the title of the Miss International 2017 competition.
The Miss International Pageant was developed with the mission of “To Make a Difference,” in the spirit of going beyond the Toddler-and-Tiara type competitions.
The competition showcases single young women who are 19 to 30 years old. Beyond the interview, evening gown, fitness wear and fun fashion wear portions of the competition, each contestant has to select a platform that they spend a year promoting.
TARPON SPRINGS - For Boy Scouts, every merit badge is an achievement, but some are even more special to the boys, their parents and Scout leaders.
Troop 106 out of Tarpon Springs had one of those special moments when five of their Scouts received their Open Water Scuba Diving Certification, one of the hardest merit badges to earn in the Boy Scouts, said Scout Master Rick Hardin.
“You don’t often see the scuba diving merit badge,” Hardin said.
To receive the badge, Scouts have to become certified.
OLDSMAR - For months, the news surrounding Oldsmar Cares had been incredibly positive. In November, officials for the nonprofit organization announced plans to build a new, 3,000-square-foot headquarters adjacent to their current home on SR 590, making a strong commitment to the community by signing a 40-year lease.
The agreement was unanimously approved by the City Council in March, with no opposition or comment of any kind from the public. In February, the charity raised more than $130,000 at its annual Wine and Food Gala, a record amount in the event’s seven-year history, with some of the donations earmarked for the construction of the $300,000 building.
INDIAN ROCKS BEACH - The sight of the Plein Aire Cottage Artists on the streets of the city is fairly common. The three women have been painting scenes of the old Florida cottages that have lined Indian Rocks Beach’s shores for years.
However, their presence isn’t that well known outside the city.
That may well soon change, especially if a Tampa filmmaker has her way.
Lynn Marvin Dingfelder, a career journalist and now documentarian, is making a documentary of the artists, hoping that they and their cause will become well known all over the country.
DUNEDIN - City commissioners June 26 offered the position of city manager to a Coral Springs administrator, touting her energy level, skills and ability to communicate with the community.
City officials will now start salary negotiations with Jennifer Bramley, 52, the deputy manager of Coral Springs, who was selected over the other top candidate, Kevin Cowper, the assistant city manager of Auburn, Alabama.
Commissioners’ initial ballot was 4-1 for Bramley, but the final vote to hire her was unanimous, ending weeks of interviews and discussions with applicants. The city had received 75 applications for the position.
LARGO - Pinellas County’s Emergency Operations Center kicked off the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season June 1 by hosting a media day to unveil new preparedness tools and urge residents to check to see if their evacuation zones have changed.
One big announcement was the launch of a new tool, the “Ready Pinellas” mobile app. Sally Bishop, Emergency Management director, described the new technology as a “plan in your pocket.”
Ready Pinellas connects to Alert Pinellas, the National Hurricane Center, social media and more. It provides information needed to assess risks, check evacuation levels and storm surge. Residents and visitors can enter information to create a personal emergency plan. The app also has checklists and up-to-date evacuation information based on your location.
NOAA’s climate experts say that the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season will most likely have above-normal activity.
Ben Friedman, acting NOAA administrator, revealed this year’s seasonal outlook during a press conference May 25. Forecasters with the Climate Prediction Center give odds of 45 percent that the season, which runs June 1-Nov. 30, will have above-normal activity, a 35 percent chance of near-normal activity and a 20 percent chance of a below-normal season.
TALLAHASSEE - As the 2017 hurricane season begins, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles urges every citizen to be prepared for potential emergencies by making a disaster preparedness plan that includes registering or updating their Emergency Contact Information.
Residents with a valid driver license or identification card may enter up to two emergency contacts into the department’s secure ECI database. ECI can only be accessed by law enforcement and only during emergencies such as a hurricane or crash.
Citizens can register or update their ECI free of charge on the DHSMV website and in local driver license and tax collector offices to ensure their designated family or friends will be contacted in the event of an emergency.