ST. PETE BEACH - Issues surrounding a proposed powerboat race off St. Pete Beach June 17-18 have been resolved and the event is now set to go.
Organizers of the race from Powerboat P1 USA told city commissioners May 9 that they have adjusted the 2-mile course in a manner that will not infringe on beach vendors. The event hit a stumbling block a month ago when it was determined a safety zone mandated by the U.S. Coast Guard would extend onto the beach and thus shut down water sports vendors at the site.
“When we were alerted to this issue, (race director) Gene (Stephens) and I went out to the beach to observe different activities going on and vendors,” said Azam Rangoonwala, managing director of Powerboat P1 USA. “What we did was go back to the drawing board and we devised a course which would not be in front of any of the vendors.”
INDIAN SHORES - Police Chief Terry Hughes’ request for the Indian Shores Town Council to consider designating the Municipal Center’s fourth floor community room as a local incident shelter was approved at the May 9 town council meeting.
Hughes reminded councilors about a couple of qualifying incidents over the last year, including a small condo fire that displaced the town’s current mayor, Pat Soranno, along with a dozen or so other residents. Often, residents escape with only the clothes on their backs and it takes at least several hours before the Red Cross is mobilized.
Incidents like fires sometimes happen in the middle of the night, he said. The chief mentioned that there are some cots on the premises that could be used, especially if there were small children involved. Hughes said.
REDINGTON SHORES - Last month, the town commission rejected speed tables as a means to control speeding motorists on busy 175th Avenue East. Complaints about drivers exceeding the 20 mph speed limit on the roadway have been common. But many residents have also rejected speed tables as unsightly, noisy, no fun to drive over, and ineffective.
Residents protesting a planned use of speed tables on 175th Avenue packed town hall at the April commission meeting. The commission agreed to table their use for three months while other speed control options were tried.
A multi-pronged approach to reduce speeding on the road was presented by Commissioner Jeff Neal at the May 10 commission meeting.
ST. PETE BEACH - TradeWinds Island Resorts recently added an on-site real estate brokerage office - TradeWinds Real Estate Company LLC - located at TradeWinds Island Grand Resort.
The office will serve owners of the Jacaranda Beach Villas residences, a 288-unit condo-hotel located on-property, as well as resort guests who are seeking expertise and guidance on local real estate opportunities.
Leading the new venture is Mike Felice, vice president of broker services for the newly formed office. With more than 14 years of real estate experience, Felice was part of the real estate sales team for the successful Jacaranda Beach Villas sellout in 2005. A graduate of Southeastern Louisiana University, Felice is a member of Pinellas Realtor Organization’s Suncoast Chapter and is locally involved with the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, VFW foundation, Pets for Vets and the Humane Society.
INDIAN SHORES - Ashton Woods, one of the nation’s largest private homebuilders, announced that the Schooner model home at Waterside received a Grand Award for Construction and Design in the $901,000 - $1 million category during the recent 2017 Parade of Homes hosted by the Tampa Bay Builders Association.
Located at 19915 Gulf Blvd. No. 506, the Schooner is a 2,378-square-foot townhome. This designer model features three bedrooms and three and one-half baths, plus a loft space that is the perfect retreat for reading and enjoying views of the Intracoastal Waterway and Gulf of Mexico.
“We are delighted to receive this recognition of The Schooner model home,” said John Reny, president of Ashton Woods Florida division, in a press release. “This spacious, move-in ready townhome fits perfectly with the relaxed, waterfront lifestyle of Waterside.”
MADEIRA BEACH - Homewatchguru of Madeira Beach recently earned accredited member status from the National Home Watch Association.
The NHWA was formed in 2009 in order to establish and maintain the highest industry standards for home watch and absentee homeowner services throughout the United States and Canada. Home watch is a service that keeps an eye on things at vacation or primary properties while owners are not in residence.
Barbara Scheifele worked for many years in IT, banking, insurance, government and education. She speaks English, German, French, and Italian. She has a Master of Arts in history and a Master of Higher and Secondary education.
MADEIRA BEACH - At a time when the city of Madeira Beach is struggling to fill leadership positions, one key job was filled and another vacated at the May 9 city commission meeting.
In a 3-2 vote, the commission hired Walter Pierce, former director of finance in Venice, as budget director. Pierce has held finance director positions in several Florida localities, including Indian Shores (2014-16). He left Venice last November because, according to his resume, “I missed living in the Tampa Bay area.”
Mayor Maggi Black said City Manager Shane Crawford had recommended Pierce’s appointment.
MADEIRA BEACH - Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4256 honored local students, teachers and public servants during their annual award ceremony held May 2 at the post’s Madeira Beach facility.
The ceremony was led by Post Commander Ron Mills and was attended by students and their families, teachers, Madeira Beach first responders, Pinellas County Sheriff’s deputies, Madeira Beach Mayor Maggi Black and several city commissioners.
As in years prior, Madeira Beach Middle School students participated in the Patriot Pen Essay Contest, sponsored annually by VFW posts throughout the country. The Madeira Beach VFW awarded first place to Nia S. Rowe, who read her essay, “The America I Believe In,” to the assembly. Jolie Thellab and Castle Bond took second and third places, respectively.
TREASURE ISLAND - City commissioners passed a pair of resolutions May 2 that revise parking agreements with two hotels in Treasure Island.
City leaders revised their deals with the Bilmar Beach Resort and the Sunset Vistas Beach Suites, giving both hotels 12 months to find other parking options.
“The idea of this was not to pull the rug out from underneath them but instead give them one year to come up with their own plan for handling their own parking,” said Mayor Bob Minning. “I don’t think one year is too much to ask.”
REDINGTON BEACH - Town commissioners focused on Tallahassee May 3 as they held their collective breath that a bill allowing a retroactive referendum would pass before the close of the Florida Legislature.
“We’re still alive,” Town Attorney Jay Daigneault told commissioners, referring to the status of the bill that would allow Redington Beach residents to vote on a 2008 ordinance banning short-term rentals.
The original bill had been sponsored in the House of Representatives by State Rep. Kathleen Peters, R-St. Petersburg, but had stalled in committee, Daigneault said. State Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, had added an amendment to SB 188 sponsored by Sen. Greg Steube, R-Sarasota, with language that was “substantially similar” to Peters’ bill, the attorney said. Steube’s bill had been scheduled to be heard that day, May 3, but had been rescheduled for Thursday, May 4, the day before the legislative session was due to end.
ST. PETE BEACH - The Thrift Shop of Pass-A-Grille Beach Community Church will conclude its 58th year of service to the community with a Month of May with a 50 percent sale on all merchandise.
The volunteer staff appreciates the support of its many customers during the current road construction. In addition to the full line Women’s and Men’s sections, a large inventory of kitchen ware, small appliances, jewelry, drapes, linens, wall pictures, books, games and toys are available for your one-stop shopping convenience.
The shop is fully stocked due to the generous donations of community and church members. All proceeds will support local charities such as Habitat for Humanity, Salvation Army, PARC, Pinellas Hope, Clothes for Kids and church missions.
MADEIRA BEACH - A hastily called special meeting that was emotional and at times chaotic and out of control wrapped up with the terminations of the two top city of Madeira Beach officials.
The one topic on the agenda for the Thursday, May 4, session was “Charter Officers Review.” The goal was to fire City Manager Shane Crawford, an action Mayor Maggi Black said was needed “to make our city whole again.” She insisted the move was “not based on retribution.”
Black began discussion of the topic by reading a resolution that would formally terminate Crawford as city manager. That resolution had not been released to the public or city officials prior to the meeting as is normally done.
ST. PETE BEACH - The future of a proposed offshore boat race June 17-18 off St. Pete Beach is in limbo after it was determined the course for the race would infringe on a minimum safety zone required by the U.S. Coast Guard.
Plans call for P3 and jet ski races 1,000 feet off the beach from the Post Card Inn south to County Park. However, during a routine safety and logistics meeting involving the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the Coast Guard, it was determined by the Coast Guard that the 2-mile race course would be too close to the beach.
MADEIRA BEACH - The Madeira Beach City Commission wrapped up its first workshop since the March election, a nearly three-hour session with 19 items on the agenda, with little agreement among the members on how to move forward.
A large crowd was on hand for the afternoon meeting on April 25.
On issue after issue, the divisions between the new and old members were evident. The difficulties in achieving the necessary consensus to place items on the agenda of the upcoming regular meeting for a vote were further complicated by the absence of Commissioner John Douthirt. This left the new commissioners one short of a majority. A 2-2 tie meant no consensus could be reached.
MADEIRA BEACH - While You’re Away of Madeira Beach recently gained accredited member status from the National Home Watch Association for the third consecutive year.
The NHWA was formed in 2009 to establish and maintain the highest industry standards for Home Watch and absentee homeowner services throughout the United States and Canada. Home Watch is a service that “keeps an eye on things” at vacation or primary homes while owners are not in residence.
Michelle and Sean Doyel were both born and raised in Pinellas County and have been actively involved in the Tampa Bay area, both professionally and in their volunteer activities. Michelle is an active professional insurance agent in Seminole, and understands the importance of mitigating risk. Sean has 16 years’ experience as a professional banker and now fully concentrates his time running the day-to-day operations of While You’re Away. Both Michelle and Sean have been trained in how to visually inspect a property as well as how to handle clientele and the importance of quality customer service.
TREASURE ISLAND - The possible sale of the city of Treasure Island’s wastewater utility system to Pinellas County was dealt a setback April 18 when city commissioners voted 3-2 to not spend $12,750 for a financial study of the system.
Commissioners Ralph Kennedy, Ken Keys and Deborah Toth voted against the measure, while Mayor Bob Minning and Commissioner Larry Lunn voted for it.
The study, which would have been conducted by Public Resources Management Group, would have provided the city with a better idea of the value of the sewer system, which is in good shape and considered one of the city’s main assets. County officials have placed the value at $3.5 million to $4 million. The city would reap a profit estimated at $2 million to $2.5 million after paying off a $1.5 million debt on the system to the state of Florida.
REDINGTON BEACH - Town commissioners searched for possible good news about the fate of a bill in Tallahassee that would allow Redington Beach residents to retrace their steps on a 2008 referendum, but held out little hope April 19 for the proposal’s success.
The bill, HB 1361, would allow Redington Beach to vote on a 2008 ordinance to ban short-term rentals that was erroneously not taken to referendum at that time.
Mayor Nick Simons said he spoke with State Rep. Kathleen Peters, R-Treasure Island, the House sponsor of the bill, the day before the commission meeting. She “wasn’t encouraging,” he said.