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New commissioner draws a big crowd
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Redington Shores Commissioners Tom Kapper and MaryBeth Henderson take the oath of office March 24 from Town Attorney James Denhardt. Kapper is beginning his fourth term on the commission and Henderson is beginning her first after defeating Casey Wojcik in the recent town election.
REDINGTON SHORES – Relatives and well-wishers packed town hall March 24 to witness the swearing in of Redington Shores’ first new town commission member in five years.

MaryBeth Henderson, who just moved to town two years ago, defeated incumbent Casey Wojcik by a wide margin. In a district that had changed considerably since redistricting took place in 2012, she got nearly two-thirds of the total vote.

Henderson had run on a promise of “fresh blood, new ideas and a new vision,” and touted the endorsement of J.J. Beyrouti, a popular former longtime mayor.

Wojcik’s push for a skateboard park in the district, which was strongly opposed by Henderson, also factored heavily in his drubbing.

The crowd that showed up was clearly there for Henderson, heartily applauding her induction and congratulatory comments by other commission members. Beyrouti even returned to town hall for the occasion.

Wojcik was gracious in his closing remarks after serving as commissioner since 2006. He thanked the residents for allowing him to serve them, and said he had learned a lot about the district and its issues during his time on the commission. He said he had listened to their “well thought out ideas” and presented their views, “some of which were popular and some that were not” at commission meetings.

Picking up Henderson’s message, Wojcik said he wished the commission well as they moved toward “fresh blood, new ideas and a new vision to bring continued improvements to matters of importance to the residents of District 3 and the rest of Redington Shores.”

Wojcik then departed, and Mayor Bert Adams announced the jobs assigned to each commissioner, reshuffling the assignments for the first time in a few years, he said.

Responsibility for emergency management and hurricane awareness, which had been Wojcik’s specialty, was given to veteran Commissioner Lee Holmes along with the Fire and EMS, which he already had.

Henderson took Parks and Recreation, which was previously Commissioner Tom Kapper’s responsibility, and the Gulf Beaches Public Library. Betterment of the town’s parks and recreation areas had been one of her campaign themes.

Kapper was given building maintenance and code enforcement. Vice Mayor John Branch kept responsibility for sewers and stormwater systems, along with police, and Adams kept Finance and Human Resources oversight, as well as the civic organizations such as Barrier Islands Governmental Council, Suncoast League of Cities and Florida Beaches and Shores.

Gulf Boulevard work almost done

The road paving project that has caused lane closures and traffic delays along Gulf Boulevard for months is almost completed, Adams said. There are a few problems to be resolved with parking changes, and some repairs have yet to be done, he said.

“Once those are complete, the project is wrapped up, and we certainly will be glad to see it done,” Adams said.

He said the job has been the biggest roadwork project in the town’s history.

Theft prevention tips, police praise

Branch pointed to a long list of thefts and burglaries in town, reminding residents many can be prevented. “Don’t tempt people to steal things,” he said, advising residents to “turn the locks on your doors” and not to leave valuables where they are visible.

Branch said he believes Redington Shores gets excellent police service from the Indian Shores Police Department, and he praised retiring Police Chief E.D. Williams for 50 years of dedication to law enforcement.

“He did a great job that built that town (Indian Shores) and served us well too,” Branch said.

Branch said when the police get a service call address they can almost tell you who lives there.

“It means a lot to know the people, and I take my hat off to the police department,” Branch said.
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