DUNEDIN - Hopes flourished this week for the community of Dunedin to continue its 40-year relationship with the Toronto Blue Jays as team executives and city officials used placards, pie charts and slideshows to convey their $81 million plans for stadium and training facilities.
They talked about making stadium improvements to Florida Auto Exchange Stadium, such as new grass berm seating, shade structures, video board and beach huts. They talked about upgrades to Vanech/Englebert training facilities and funding partnerships to make the projects happen.
CLEARWATER BEACH - If you have a need for speed, Clearwater Beach is the place to be. The eighth annual Bright House Clearwater Super Boat National Championship and Seafood Festival zooms into town from Sept. 30 to Oct. 2.
Co-sponsored by the city of Clearwater, the three-day event kicks off Friday, Sept. 30, in downtown Clearwater at the Baystar Race Village where spectators can check out the boats that will be on display, meet with drivers and purchase food from vendors. There is no cost to attend.
In a first-of-its-kind partnership, Pinellas and Hillsborough counties and the cities of St. Petersburg and Tampa have invested $350,000 each to explore the feasibility of a high-speed ferry service as a transportation alternative for residents, commuters and tourists.
After months of planning and negotiations, it seems like the pilot project is on the verge of being launched just in time to meet the terms of the contract between the four local governments.
“With anticipation high for a St. Petersburg/Tampa ferry service, organizers of the project today announced an exciting set of launch events, including a series of runs for supporters to ‘Test the Waters,’ plus a striking new logo and a formal name: The Cross-Bay Ferry,” was the lead on a press release sent out Sept. 21.
CLEARWATER - For most people, losing a page of a speech while accepting an award would be a cause for panic. Norton “Mac” Craig is not one of those people.
Much like his nine-year tenure as Largo city manager, Craig stayed cool and collected while receiving the Citizen of the Year Award on Sept. 20 during the 64th annual Central Pinellas Chamber of Commerce Meeting and Awards Breakfast in Sand Key.
“It was a surprise, something I never would’ve imagined would happen to me,” said Craig of receiving the award.
INDIAN SHORES - Seaside Seabird Sanctuary is now in operation at the beachfront facility, formerly known as Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary, located at 18328 Gulf Blvd. in Indian Shores.
The new organization has experienced management, a new board and new leadership from the Busch von Gontard family, who have a long history of wildlife and environmental conservation. The mission of the new organization remains the same: the rescue, rehabilitation and eventual release of sick, injured and orphaned birds.
TARPON SPRINGS - The Tarpon Springs Police Department arrested a 16-year-old male in connection with a suspicious incident involving a 6-year-old child on Saturday, Sept. 24, in the Tarpon Springs TJ Maxx store.
The suspect reportedly entered the restroom with the child where he allegedly inappropriately touched the child and attempted to photograph the child.
After releasing the photograph of the suspect to the public, Tarpon Springs police detective Lara Scarpati was able to develop a suspect. Scarpati then located Daniel McNulty arrested him about 4:43 p.m. Wednesday. Sept. 28.
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.