CLEARWATER - Millions of gallons of sewage - some treated and some not - spilled into waterways around Pinellas County due to torrential rainfall that flooded the system from Hurricane Hermine Aug. 31-Sept. 2.
It is not the first time that tropical weather has caused such a mess, but it may be the worst. Sewage also was pumped into local waterways in June when Tropical Storm Colin passed by.
DUNEDIN - City officials are recommending an $81 million project that includes renovations to Florida Auto Exchange Stadium on Douglas Avenue as part of their commitment to keeping the Toronto Blue Jays training activities in Dunedin.
A Sept. 26 City Commission workshop will be the first time in two years that city officials’ discussions regarding the Toronto Blue Jays will be discussed publicly with city commissioners and residents.
Among the issues is the location of the stadium. As a result of discussions that began this year with Toronto Blue Jays President Mark Shapiro, city officials are recommending that the “game day stadium” be retained at the existing site on Douglas Avenue with expanded training facilities at the Vanech/Englebert training site on Solan Avenue.
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - Brad Kendell, 35, a member of the Clearwater Yacht club sailed to a silver medal Sept. 17 in the Sonar Class at the Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro. Kendell and his teammates trained for years to first win a spot in the games representing the U.S. and then winning the medal.
Going into the games, Kendell, in a phone interview from Rio, said they were cautiously confident.
“We were confident,” he said. “We won the world championship earlier this year, and our competition was pretty much the same so we were confident that we could medal, that’s how we looked at it.”
ST. PETERSBURG - Incumbent U.S. Rep. David Jolly and former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist agree on one thing - the Tampa Bay Rays should keep their stadium in Pinellas County.
They also agree that St. Petersburg is a good location for a Cuban consulate and they both support a repeal of the Supreme Court ruling on Citizens United vs. the Federal Election Commission that said political spending is protected under the First Amendment.
Both said that in hindsight, it had been a mistake to invade Iraq; however, Jolly pointed out adamantly that the decision should not deter from the service done by men and women in the military. Crist said he was sympathetic to the people who made the decision to go in using the information that was available at the time.
MADEIRA BEACH - A longtime goal for Mark Hubbard is coming to fruition. Thanks to a $25,000 donation from the city of Madeira Beach, Tampa Bay Ferry and Taxi will become a reality Oct. 1 when it embarks on its maiden voyage through the Intracoastal Waterway.
“This wouldn’t be possible without forward, progressive thinking,” Hubbard said at a Sept. 14 press conference. “Hopefully, other communities will help us bring it further south.”
County officials, who also are on board, see the service as a much-needed alternative to crowded beach streets and parking lots.
LARGO - For several years, city leaders and staff have focused on transforming downtown Largo from a drive-thru into a destination.
Discussion about two projects on both ends of the area Sept. 13 showed they are still willing to make it a priority - and willing to spend about $2 million to make it happen. One project could even involve a familiar structure that was once the face of Largo: a clock tower.
“One of the things we heard in the Community Conversations was downtown lacked an identity, that it was a drive-thru community, and people really wanted a sense of place in the downtown,” said Carol Stricklin, Community Development director. “And by providing both an eastern and western gateway project, I think that would create that sense of identity.”