BELLEAIR SHORE - The mega-mansion home on Gulf Boulevard being built by Philadelphia Phillies superstar player Ryan Howard is just about completed.
A source close to the project said on Jan. 19 the house and grounds are “about done,” and that the Howards were already in residence at the time. Landscapers were at work at the time placing plantings in front of the walled property.
Construction of the house has been a major project in itself, taking nearly three years to finish. A Belleair Shore ordinance allows 24 months from the permit date for a home to be completed, with six-month extensions permitted on commission approval. An extension through spring of 2015 has been granted.
BELLEAIR - Town commissioners are moving toward approving an agreement that restricts development of the Belleview Biltmore Golf Club course for 20 years from the time it is approved.
Belleair Commissioners raised no objections to a draft agreement Jan. 20 that stems from previous commission discussions on ways to prevent development on the golf course property, which the town owns.
The declaration of land use restrictions, if approved, would be binding upon the golf course property and any person who may from time to time own, lease or otherwise have an interest in the golf course property or any portion thereof.
Here’s something advocates of saving the Belleview Biltmore Hotel can sink their teeth into.
Participants in the Candy Kisses for the Biltmore Contest can win pounds of Hershey chocolate kisses, “just in time for Valentine’s Day,” while contributing to the effort to preserve the Biltmore in Belleair.
The contest is underway and ends Monday, Feb. 2, 11:59 p.m.
BELLEAIR BLUFFS - Construction of the long awaited bait house/convenience store on the causeway bridge is due to begin on Jan. 20. The start date was announced at the Jan. 12 City Commission workshop meeting.
The marina has been without any type of concession facility to serve boaters, fishermen and other visitors since the bridge opened in 2009. So the commission members greeted the announcement of the construction start with some excitement.
INDIAN ROCKS BEACH - The 10th Avenue Park is about to be transformed into a place where people can exercise outdoors on the latest equipment.
City Manager Gregg Mims revealed at the City Commission meeting Jan. 13 that the IRB Homeowners Association has proposed donating more than $28,000 to the city to have a number of exercise machines installed in the park.
Machines to be installed include a balance board, a cardio walker, a leg press and chest press as well as a lat pull down, a horizontal chin- up, high chin-up and low push-up stations.
BELLEAIR BEACH - Discussing issues ranging from code enforcement to beach nourishment, utility undergrounding and flood issues, Belleair Beach city council candidates responded Jan. 12 to questions on major issues facing the city.
The occasion was a candidates’ forum, sponsored by the League of Women Voters and held at city hall. Four candidates are seeking the three council seats up for election this year. They are incumbents Mitch Krach and Leslie Notaro, along with challengers Pamela Gunn and Stan Sofer. Council Member David Dumville has announced he is not seeking another term.
All but Notaro were at the candidates’ night event. She was out of town and unable to attend.
BELLEAIR - Town commissioners believe they found a way to restrict development rights on the Belleview Biltmore Golf Course, which is owned by the town of Belleair.
The issue has been talked about at several recent meetings, but now it appears the commission knows how it wants to handle the matter.
At their Jan. 6 meeting, Commissioners heard once again from Town Attorney David Ottinger, who explained the best way to make sure there is never any development on the golf course would be to amend the town’s charter. That, however, requires a referendum, which likely won’t happen for at least a year.
Book signing Meet New York Times bestselling author Tim Dorsey at the Safety Harbor Public Library on Jan. 27, 7 p.m., as he kicks off a tour for his latest novel in the Serge Storms saga, “Shark Skin Suite.” The library is located at 101 Second St. N., Safety Harbor.
MLK Neighborhood Center Coalition planning sessions CLEARWATER – The Clearwater Martin Luther King Jr. Neighborhood Center Coalition hosts weekly planning sessions every Tuesday at 7 p.m. at 1201 Douglas Ave. It also hosts a neighborhood community market each fourth Saturday, with the June market set for the 28th.
The Community Outreach Team invites people to join them in making phone calls or writing letters to the residents in the neighborhood surrounding the center to inspire neighbors with the progress that is being made.
Safe boating class ST. PETE BEACH – U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 78 has a 12-week continuous cycle of Safe Boating Program meetings Tuesdays, 7 p.m., in the Warren Webster Building, at 1500 Pass-A-Grille Way.
Attendees can start at their convenience. New participants should arrive for their first class at 6:30 p.m. to register. Included in this program are detailed and illustrated materials that cover a variety of program topics.
The program package is based on the new USCG Auxiliary Boating Skills and Seamanship 14th edition 400-page manual. All materials will be included in the cost of the program, which is $45 per participant for 12 weeks. Cost is $60 for couples sharing the materials.
For information, call Jim at 360-4846, Warren at 321-7801 or Phil at 865-2226.
Take a Hand support group meeting LARGO – Take a Hand, a new support group for parents and caregivers of teenagers suffering from substance abuse and behavioral issues will meet Tuesdays, 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., in portable 1A of Anona United Methodist Church, 13233 Indian Rocks Road.
The group, started with the support of the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice, will invite guest speakers to offer advice and support to those caring for addicted teenagers, including information about the judicial system, residential treatment and more. The meetings are designed to be a safe place for parents, relatives and friends.
City Power Toastmasters Club meeting ST. PETERSBURG – The City Power Toastmasters Club, a nonprofit communication and leadership club, meets Wednesdays from noon to 1 p.m. at the Municipal Services Building, One Fourth St. N., Sixth Floor, Room 600.
The club teaches self-confidence and skills to help listen, think, speak and gain leadership qualities. Participants gain poise, positive body language and speak more easily.
Guests are welcome to visit for free with no pressure to join.
Historical Society meeting SEMINOLE – Jay Starkey Jr. will speak at the Seminole Historical Society meeting Wednesday, Jan. 28, 7 p.m., at the Holland G. Mangum Recreation Complex, 9100 113th St. N., Room 210B.
He is the son of Jay Starkey Sr., the pioneer Pinellas County resident for whom Starkey Road is named. Jay Sr. was not only a local cattle rancher, but also the County tax collector, a bank director and a conservationist who worked to preserve Pinellas’ beauty.
His son will speak about his impact on the county and Florida’s west coast in the 20th century.
Copies of “Things I Remember,” written by Jay Sr., will be available at the meeting to members at no charge while supplies last.
Admission is free; the public is invited to attend.
Call 391-1433 for more information.
Largo Toastmasters meeting LARG0 – Largo Star Toastmasters Club 5933 invites new members to its weekly meeting on Wednesdays, 12:05 to 1:05 p.m., at the Young Rainey Star Center, 7887 Bryan Dairy Road No. 120 in Largo.
The club is open to all residents and workers in the Largo, Pinellas Park and Seminole areas.
A Toastmasters club provides a supportive and positive environment where members have the opportunity to develop their oral communication and leadership skills. Come watch as members present speeches, develop leadership skills by serving in various club positions and participate in Table Topics sessions in a relaxed yet structured one-hour setting.