ST. PETE BEACH - There haven’t been many things, if any, Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik hasn’t been successful with.
When he operated Fidelity Investment’s Magellan Fund from 1992 to 1996, he returned 17 percent a year to investors. After that he started a hedge fund that returned $4.2 billion to investors through 2000.
Then, in 2009, Vinik switched gears. He was 50 years old and began to think about what he wanted to do next. Suddenly the thought of buying a National Hockey League team popped into his mind. Why not, he said.
MADEIRA BEACH - A 100 percent increase in the Madeira Beach’s stormwater fee went into effect in January, bringing concerns from residents.
Finance Director Vince Tenaglia said at the Jan. 15 city commission meeting that the rate hike is being questioned as citizens notice the jump in their utility bills. One resident came to the commission meeting to protest.
“I was shocked to see a 100 percent increase in the stormwater rate,” said Bob Cummins. Cummins said the extra cost in his case amounted to $420 a year.
REDINGTON SHORES - A rapid turn of events has reshaped the town of Redington Shore’s only election contest this year.
The race, to replace retiring Commissioner John Branch, had civic activist Christy Herig running against political newcomer John Bickerstaff. The two had qualified to run for the District 2 seat in elections to be held in March.
Then, in a letter addressed to Town Hall dated Jan. 12, Bickerstaff abruptly withdrew from the race, citing health and personal issues. He did not elaborate. The announcement of Bickerstaff’s withdrawal was made by Town Attorney James Denhardt at the Jan. 14 Town Commission meeting.
ST. PETE BEACH - St. Pete Beach City leaders took the first step toward making the permit and redevelopment process more efficient Jan. 13 when commissioners passed an ordinance on first reading to create a Technical Review Board.
The board will be made up of a director and representatives from the planning and zoning board, building department, public safety and code enforcement division, fire department, public services and recreation department.
Their job will be to perform a review and recommendation on capital improvement project proposals and private permit applications, which will be presented to the City Commission for consideration.
ST. PETE BEACH - Ownership at Frenchy’s Boat and Jet Ski Rental recently transferred from Cyrille Serour to Todd Baker.
Along with the establishment having a new CEO, there is also a new name: Blind Pass Boat and Jet Ski Rental. The business is at 9555 Blind Pass Road, St. Pete Beach, in Blind Pass Marina.
“We’re willing to go above and beyond for our customers,” said Baker in a press release. “And along with new ownership, we now offer new services, such as, skiing, tubing, knee boarding, wake boarding, sunset cruises, plus a movie night on the water.”
TREASURE ISLAND - After months of discussion, the Treasure Island City Commission decided Jan. 6 to let an ordinance die that would have created a Planned Development Zoning District.
Also failing was a companion ordinance that would have amended Treasure Island’s Future Land Use Element and an ordinance that would have created language for a ballot proposal involving the proposed PD zoning district.
The first two ordinances would have made it easier for the city to redevelop blighted areas on the north end of the city by increasing allowable heights and densities within a specified area. City leaders viewed such a move necessary to make redevelopment projects more attractive to developers.
REDINGTON BEACH - Dismayed by the Pinellas County Building Department’s cutback in services, the Town Commission, at its Jan. 6 meeting seemed poised to switch the town’s building services from the county to a private company.
Walter Brown, president of Florida Municipal Services, an affiliated company of the Homestead-based M.T. Causley, a firm that provides building and government services, was at last week’s board meeting, as was Glenn Wardell from the Pinellas County Building Department.
The commission was impressed with Brown’s proposal to ask him to return to the next meeting on Jan. 20 with a final presentation at which time a resolution would be made to enter into a two-year agreement with MTC, thus, ending the contract with the county that has been in effect since 1998.
REDINGTON SHORES - Two candidates have qualified to run for the town commission seat being vacated by Vice Mayor John Branch. Branch decided to retire after a long career of public service, including nine years as a Redington Shores commissioner.
Civic activist Christy Herig and political newcomer John Bickerstaff will compete for the District 2 seat in the March 10 election.
Bickerstaff, who retired to Redington Shores eight years ago, said he considers the town as “just about as good as it gets.”
TREASURE ISLAND - A 56-year-old Treasure Island woman was charged with careless driving early Jan. 1 after she lost control of her car and crashed into the yard of a residence at 295 115th Ave.
Hellen Davis and a passenger were returning home at 2:30 a.m. after picking up Davis’ son from Bubba Gump’s Shrimp Co. restaurant at John’s Pass where the son works. According to police, Davis was westbound on 115th Avenue when she failed to stop at Third Street East and drove her car between a duplex and a row of trees.
No injuries were reported but a neighborhood cat was killed in the accident. Davis was given a field sobriety test, which concluded alcohol was not a factor in the crash.
TREASURE ISLAND - Retired Treasure Island Mayor Julian Fant presented the time-honored Carnegie Medal for Lifesaving Dec. 20 to Laurie Jones, mother of Malo Enrigue Paul, 16, who lost his life in a valiant attempt to rescue J’melia Richardson from drowning off Fort Walton Beach in June 2013.
The high school student was swept offshore by a strong rip current. Hearing her cries for help, Malo waded out and swam toward her before the current swept them both well offshore, and she submerged. By that time, others had been able to reach the pair, and both were brought to shore. Unconscious, both were hospitalized. J’melia recovered, but Malo died eight days later.