SEMINOLE - Following a Florida House vote to kill Enterprise Florida and limit Visit Florida earlier this month, Gov. Rick Scott is back on the road in an effort to save the agencies ahead of a State Senate vote.
Joined by new Visit Florida CEO, Ken Lawson, Scott’s latest stop brought him to Seminole’s Allen Sports Center, where he defended the agencies to local leaders and business owners, March 22.
EGMONT KEY - The body of a man who jumped off a vessel to try to save a Colorado State University student was discovered about 3 miles west of Egmont Key Monday afternoon.
Pinellas County Sheriff’s office announced that the body found about 2 p.m. had been identified as that of Andrew Charles Dillman, 27, from New York. Dillman was the first mate on at 71-foot Sea Ray vessel named “Jaguar.”
Dillman jumped into the water March 14 to try to rescue Jie Luo, 21, from China, who had been with a group of 15 Chinese students who chartered a cruise on the boat as part of a spring break trip.
ST. PETE BEACH - A boater found the body of an adult male about 6:25 p.m. Wednesday, March 22, floating in Bunces Pass, just south of Shell Key Preserve. Pinellas County Sheriff's Marine Unit deputies have identified as that of 21-year-old Jie Luo.
Lou and Andrew Dillman were reported missing March 14 after they jumped off a vessel near the north end of Shelly Key.
CLEARWATER - Due to a settlement with BP over the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, 23 Gulf Coast counties, including Pinellas will receive a share of money through the Gulf Coast Consortium.
The Consortium, which includes representatives from each of the counties, formed in 2012 to meet requirements of the RESTORE Act and develop a State Expenditure Plan for economic and environmental recovery of the Gulf coast, according to information found at https://www.fl-counties.com/gulf-consortium.
MADEIRA BEACH - The second major development proposed for the Madeira Beach east gateway area got a final approval from the city commission at its March 7 meeting.
The Holiday Isle Marina, to be built on the Holton property at the foot of the causeway bridge, has been significantly downsized from the original plan.
The number of buildings was reduced from six to two, and includes a 150-room hotel and a five-floor condominium building that replaces three previous seven- and nine-story structures. The number of condo units is being reduced by more than half, from 68 to 31. The buildings were also moved eastward on the property to open up the view corridors for residents living in nearby condos, and redesigned with a “fishing village” look.
PINELLAS PARK - As part of its outreach program, Praise Cathedral, 4371 76th Ave. N., recently installed a Little Free Pantry as a way of reaching the homeless and food insecure.
“It’s a takeoff on the Little Free Library,” said Jerry Schwedler, who oversees the project for the Pinellas Park church.
He’s referring to small library boxes that have popped up around the country. The concept is simple. People donate books they’ve read by dropping them off in one of these free boxes. Those in need of a book, take one.
CLEARWATER - It was back in 1951, Tom Cooney was 15 years old at the time, watching a baseball game on television with his older brother, Patrick, and President Dwight D. Eisenhower threw out the ceremonial first pitch at an opening day game.
After watching this customary first pitch, Cooney told his brother he had the idea to start getting the president’s signatures on a baseball with each new administration.
“Patrick was excited about the idea and encouraged me to go to the library and get the addresses of past presidents and go for my dream,” Cooney said.
LARGO - Toronto Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista had a rough 2016. The 36-year-old had an injury-plagued season, played in only 116 games and batted just .234 with 22 homers.
But the six-time All-Star who has been a routine contender in the MVP race appears to have regained his form during spring training in Dunedin, batting .563 and slugging over 1.000 in his first six games.
Physical Culture, a new Largo gym that mixes an old-school mentality with modern-day technology and techniques, has been part of that turnaround.
BELLEAIR - It isn’t every day that a sports team from Belleair wins a countywide championship. The town isn’t that big. When you are drawing from a population of roughly 4,000 residents, it is tough competing with Clearwater or St. Petersburg or Largo or Pinellas Park.
Yet, it just happened.
The Girls U12 Celtic Soccer Team won the Gulf Coast Youth Soccer Association championship after going through an undefeated season.
One of the parents on the team, Ellen Ronnlof, said it has been quite a year watching the girls progress.