CLEARWATER - The Goldstein family of Odessa already have four biological children, but they have the big house and the big car, they love kids and wanted to do more. Timothy and Kimberly Nall are in their 50s, but they’ve known for years that they wanted to help more kids after their biological kids were grown. Douglas and Joanna Whitacre wanted to give their grandchildren a stable, forever family and a place to call home. Joanne and Gary Sastamoinen love children and have always wanted them, but when they couldn’t have biological children, they realized there were plenty of other kids who need loving parents.
All of these families and more celebrated Pinellas County’s National Adoption Day Ceremony on Nov. 22 at the Pinellas County Justice Center in Clearwater. Once a year in November, the courts open their doors to the press so the public can witness one of the happiest things the courts do - finalize adoptions.
In the United States, there are about 104,000 foster children who are available for adoption. Of those, 750 are in Florida, and 225 are in Pinellas, Pasco and Hillsborough counties alone. Eckerd Community Alternatives oversees all of these foster kids and adoptions in these three counties, and in addition to the kids waiting to be adopted, there are also currently more than 6,000 other children in foster care who are not yet available for adoption.
PINELLAS PARK - State representatives, County Commissioners and a cadre of local elected officials gathered at the PSTA transfer facility on 70th Avenue North in Pinellas Park the morning of Dec. 2 for the ceremonial groundbreaking for a new Pinellas Park Transit Center.
The center will be the first of its kind in central Pinellas and will feature a customer service window for information and ticket sales, along with fully equipped and maintained restrooms for the hundreds of riders who pass through the facility every day
CLEARWATER - Clothes to Kids has a critical need for boys and girls pants in sizes 6 to 16. Clothes to Kids is a nonprofit organization that provides a week’s worth of free clothing to low-income school children in Pinellas County.
The organization also seeks girls’ and boys’ tops in sizes small through extra large, boys shorts sizes 6 to 16, young men’s shorts in sizes 18 to 38 and shoes for elementary school children sizes 5.5 to 12.
Clothes to Kids also is always in need of new, unopened packages of underwear and socks, all sizes, and boys’ boxers for older children and teens.
CLEARWATER - Wendy Nero, Intergovernmental Relations Manager, started her fourth week on the job with a presentation to Pinellas County Commissioners on the 2014 State Legislative Program.
Nero admitted during the Nov. 19 meeting that much of the work on next year’s list of priority items to keep an eye on during the 2014 state legislative session had already been done when she started. However, she has already talked to as many stakeholders as possible about what they thought was most important.
CLEARWATER - Nine years ago, Sandy Neither moved from New York to her home on Alligator Creek in Clearwater. Over the years, she successfully transformed her yard into a Florida Friendly Landscape.
Neither is the 2013 winner of the Community Water-Wise Award in the single family residential category for Pinellas County. Pinellas County Commission Chair Ken Welch presented Neither with her award, a garden stepping-stone, during the Nov. 19 commission meeting.
CLEARWATER - Résumés are now being accepted for appointments to the Parks and Conservation Resources Advisory Board and Feather Sound Community Services District.
The Parks and Conservation Resources Advisory Board acts in an advisory capacity to the Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners and the county administrator in their power to provide parks, preserves, historical commissions and other recreational and cultural programs. The term runs for one year and there is one vacancy.
The Feather Sound Community Services District, Inc is a non-profit corporation organized for the purpose of providing street lighting and the acquisition, development and maintenance of recreational areas and green space for the residents of Feather Sound.
The FSCSD board is composed of seven volunteer members from the Feather Sound community, appointed by the Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners. The term runs for one year and there is one vacancy. Interested citizens must live within the bounds of the Feather Sound Community Services District and must be registered voters.
LARGO - The Pinellas County Housing Authority is now accepting applications from low-income seniors for the new Pinellas Heights community located at 11411 Ulmerton Road in Largo.
One and two bedroom apartment homes will be available in early 2014 for seniors 62 years of age or older. Rent for the new apartments is based on income. Senior residents will pay approximately 30 percent of their monthly income for rent. The maximum annual income to qualify is $23,880 for one person and $27,300 for two.
Applications for Pinellas Heights may be picked up from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the following office locations:
The Pinellas Realtor Organization recently released its report on Pinellas County Real Estate Statistics for October 2013.
According to the report, for the combined townhomes/condos and single family home numbers, the percent change year over year for closed sales, paid in cash, new pending sales, new listings and active inventory are all down compared to October 2012. Also, closed sales for townhomes/condos dropped for the third month in a row, but it is only a 1.7 percent drop year over year from October 2012. Closed sales for single family homes dropped for the second month in a row but it is only a 2.3 percent decrease year over year from October 2012.
Cash sales for both townhomes/condos and single family homes decreased in September and October. This is a 3.4 percent decrease year over year for townhomes/condos and a 15.5 percent drop year over year for single family homes.
The report indicates that October historically tends to see a slight increase in new pending sales for both townhomes/condos and single family homes. This year single family homes increased by a mere 14 sales from September but overall is a 19.9 decrease year over year from October 2012. Townhomes/condos increased slightly from September by 21 sales but is an overall 14.8 percent decrease year over year from October 2012.