INDIAN ROCKS BEACH - Sarah’s Seaside Cottages at 306 Gulf Blvd. is 25 years old. To get to that age has not been simple. The life and birth of the establishment has been somewhat complicated. It is a story with some international involvement and a lot of hard work and dedication.
The story began in 1988 when Lee and Mary Wilkerson wanted to get some rental property in Florida. They both had educational backgrounds and Lee, who had an architectural background, was working in construction.
“It was natural for us to have this as a sideline,” he said. “Mary grew up in Tampa and always wanted a beach place.”
BELLEAIR BEACH - The city of Belleair Beach’s main thoroughfare will be getting a major facelift. The City Council approved an agreement at their Dec. 2 meeting for “a complete beautification design for Gulf Boulevard.”
The improvements will be done in conjunction with a plan to upgrade the crosswalks on the boulevard, and as part of a county program to beautify Gulf Boulevard from Clearwater Beach to Pass-A-Grille.
Belleair Beach’s design plan for the boulevard will be special, a letter from Copley Design Associates of Clearwater to the city promised. Drew Copley, MLA, registered landscape architect with Copley, said in the letter the firm recognized “Belleair Beach is a city of very high quality” and “the design elements that will be proposed, designed, and constructed under the oversight of this team will exhibit the statement of quality expected along this section of Gulf Blvd.”
Though the specific beautification items to be included have yet to be worked out, Community Services Director Allen Godfrey said following the meeting that they could include landscaping in the medians along the boulevard, new entryway signs, custom bicycle racks with landscaping and trees bordering the sidewalks. Vice Mayor Leslie Notaro said she would like to see beautification of the bridge causeway intersection.
BELLEAIR - Once the town of Belleair bought the Belleview Biltmore Golf Club on Indian Rocks Road 10 months ago, the actual fate of the property has been up in the air.
The town bought the facility for $3.5 million for two reasons: To remove the development rights from the property so no future owners could build condos or anything else on it and as a way of getting something out of the owners who were assessed more than $250,000 in liens because of penalties levied due to the deteriorated state of the Belleview Biltmore Hotel, an associated property.
INDIAN ROCKS BEACH - On the first Saturday after Thanksgiving residents of Indian Rocks Beach and elsewhere get up early and mill about town looking for bargains at the annual community wide garage sale. This year was no exception. On Nov. 30 the streets were clogged with traffic as hundreds of people showed up to see what was available.
Jim Poehlman, who had just moved to IRB two weeks before the event, was amazed.
BELLEAIR - For the fifth year in a row the staff at the Belleair Recreation Department has put together food baskets for people who need a helping hand at Thanksgiving. It is not a difficult task according to Special Events Coordinator Sara Borger.
“We have the most generous community I have ever been a part of,” she said. “They very much embrace the giving spirit, all times of the year and especially now.”
BELLEAIR - The fate of the Belleview Biltmore hotel is all but sealed. It appears the only thing that could save it from demolition is what Mayor Gary Katica described at a recent Commission meeting; “a guardian angel who comes from above with $150 million.”
Ed Armstrong, the Clearwater attorney who represents Daniel Ades, one of the brothers who own the hotel, said they are ready to move toward demolishing the hotel and building townhouses on the site. He said the recent discussion by the Belleair Commission on creating a new zoning designation is the first step in that direction.
BELLEAIR SHORE - The town’s finances are in excellent shape, according to a recently released audit report done by Davidson, Jamieson & Cristini, P.L., Certified Public Accountants. The report, which covered the 2012 fiscal year, was presented at the Nov. 19 Town Commission meeting by Jeanine Bittinger, CPA. Bittinger told town officials, “You had an extremely good year financially.”
All financial indicators were very good, Bittinger said. Revenues showed a significant increase, while expenses were well under budget, she said. Bittinger said a positive change in net assets showed “what a good year 2012 was for you.”
The assets of the town exceeded its liabilities at the close of the 2012 fiscal year by $464,000, according to the audit report, and the town’s general fund reported an ending balance of $431,600, an increase in comparison to the prior year. Belleair Shore is debt free, the report said. Income was significantly more than budget.
The town also did very well in investment income, Bittinger said.
BELLEAIR - What type of holiday gift do you buy for someone who seemingly has everything? It is a tough task year after year to try to get something the person will appreciate and perhaps even treasure.
Antique Alley in Belleair Bluffs could be the place to answer that tough gift-giving question. The Alley has over 2 dozen small, independently-owned businesses that specialize in different and unique gift items.
BELLEAIR BLUFFS - NorthStar Bank recently named Jake Halterman as vice president, market manager for its new office in Belleair Bluffs.
Halterman is a long time resident of Pinellas County and has more than 15 years of banking experience. He came to NorthStar Bank from TD Bank where he was most recently assistant vice president, banking center manager.
Halterman earned a bachelor’s degree in business management from Eckerd College and an associate’s degree in business administration and management from St. Petersburg College. He currently serves on the Professional Partners Council of Suncoast Hospice Florida, is an ambassador of the Clearwater Regional Chamber of Commerce and will be an active member of the Central Pinellas Chamber Commerce.
Death by Chocolate
LARGO – The Rotary Club of Largo will present the 18th annual Death by Chocolate fundraiser – bringing hundreds of people with a love for chocolate together in the name of charity – Friday, Dec. 6, 7 to 9 p.m., at Largo Cultural Center, 105 Central Park Drive.
The event will feature thousands of all-you-can-eat delectable, mouth watering chocolate creations by the local restaurants that will satisfy any sweet tooth. Enjoy complimentary champagne, a silent auction and entertainment encompassed by the holiday lights illuminating Largo Central Park.
Organized on Rotary’s motto of “Service Above Self,” the local club anticipates raising $30,000 to serve the needs of our area’s underprivileged youth this year alone. Founded more than 50 years ago, the club has donated more than $300,000 to local youth initiatives.
Downtown merchants open house
DUNEDIN – The merchants in downtown Dunedin will be having a festive open house for the holidays, Friday, Dec. 6, 5 until 8:30 p.m. There will be refreshments, goodies and much holiday cheer. Call 733-3197.
OLDSMAR – Join the Upper Tampa Bay and Safety Harbor chambers of commerce on Friday, Dec. 6 to help Oldsmar Mayor Doug Bevis and Safety Harbor Mayor Joe Ayoub raise funds to support the needy families in the area.
Bevis and Ayoub will be pouring coffee at the Safety Harbor Resort and Spa starting at 7:30 a.m.
This will be the first joint appearance by the two mayors who are continuing the long-standing tradition of spreading holiday goodwill. The breakfast is organized by the Safety Harbor Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the Upper Tampa Bay Chamber of Commerce, the cities of Oldsmar and Safety Harbor, the Neighborhood Family Center and the Oldsmar-East Lake Rotary Club.
The proceeds will provide holiday food and gifts to families in need who are identified by the Mattie Williams Neighborhood Family Center and our Community Policing Officers of the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.
If you are unable to attend the breakfast but wish to either donate an item for the auction or make a donation, please contact the Safety Harbor Chamber at 726-2890 or the Upper Tampa Bay Chamber at 855-4233.
Miniature decorated Christmas trees are a long part of the tradition of this great event.
Tickets are $25 each and are available at the two chamber offices.
Overeaters Anonymous Amigos
ST. PETERSBURG – Overeaters Anonymous Amigos, a program of recovery for eating disorders, meets Fridays, 11 a.m., at Beacon House, 2151 Central Ave.
The newest Pinellas OA group features a bilingual message.
For information, call Margie C. at 828-9711. There are no dues or fees and a list of meetings may be viewed at oapinellas.org
Swedish weaving classes
TARPON SPRINGS – The Tarpon Springs Recreation Department is offering Swedish weaving classes on Fridays from 9 to 11:30 a.m. in the Community Center, 400 S. Walton Ave.
The cost is $2 a class. Participants need to bring their own supplies. Instructor Patty Bush works with students on bedspreads and throws. For more information, call 942-5628.
Ties and Tennis Shoes Gala
ST. PETERSBURG – Three members of the Tampa Bay Rays – Matt Joyce, Brandon Gomes and Jake McGee – will serve as honorary co-chairs for the Pinellas Education Foundation’s Ties and Tennis Shoes Gala at Tropicana Field on Dec. 6.
Proceeds from the event will increase the number of scholarships available to help deserving Pinellas students attend college or technical school through the Foundation’s Take Stock in Children Scholarship program.
This whimsical evening, where women dress in cocktail attire but complete their look with tennis shoes, will feature dinner, a ’Tis the Season Shoppes where a variety of vendors will sell gifts of all kinds, a silent auction, craft beer tables (with drink ticket purchase), as well as an inflatable obstacle course, jousting, table tennis, battle bots, slap shot hockey, baseball, basketball and more.
General admission tickets are $35 with entrance to the event at 7 p.m. VIP tickets are $125 with entrance at 6 p.m.
There will be no tickets sold at the door.
For more information and to purchase tickets, visit www.tiesandtennisshoes.com
After the Friday night fun, enjoy a Saturday morning run at Tropicana Field. Take part in the Foundation’s Ties and Tennis Shoes 5K Run/Walk, one-mile fun run or kids dash. Registration is at 6:30 a.m. on Dec. 7 with the run at 7:30 a.m. Participants will cross the finish line on the field on Rays Vision.
Cost is $30 to register until Dec. 1 and $35 after with proceeds going to the Foundation’s Take Stock in Children Scholarship program. Join or create a team by visiting www.tiesandtennisshoes.com.
After the race, participants can enjoy the Santa Parade and head down to the city of St. Petersburg’s Snowfest in Straub Park.
VFW fish fry, bingo
DUNEDIN – The Dunedin-Palm Harbor VFW Post 2550 hosts a fish/shrimp fry every Friday from 5 to 8 p.m. at 360 Douglas Ave.
The post sponsors bingo each Wednesday and Friday. Doors open at 10:30 a.m. Bingo starts at noon.
The public is invited. Call 733-6107.
Workshop on entrepreneurship
ST. PETERSBURG – A workshop on entrepreneurship after 50 will be presented Friday and Saturday, Dec. 6-7, at Eckerd College’s Lewis House Executive Education Center, 4200 54th Ave. S.
The workshop, “Don’t Retire from Your Life: Explore Encore Entrepreneurship and Renew, Re-imagine and Unleash You,” will be conducted by a team of nationally recognized thought leaders on senior entrepreneurship.
It is estimated that 70 percent of all baby boomers expect to work in some capacity after they retire, indicating the nation has a significant pool of aging human capital that will be exploring an entrepreneurial third age.
While media attention on entrepreneurial activity in the United States has been focused on millennial generation, 20-something techies, the reality is that more than 40 percent of all start-ups in America are by adults over 45 years of age.
The cost to attend the workshop is $349. There is no minimum required education level to participate.
Led by Cheryl Kiser, executive director of Babson College’s Social Innovation Lab, and Elizabeth Isele, the co-founder and CEO of SeniorEntrepreneurshipWorks.com, the two-day eProvStudio workshop will introduce participants to Entrepreneurial Thought & Action, a dynamic methodology created by and taught daily at Babson College, the top-ranked school in the world in entrepreneurship education.
Advent Quiet Morning
INDIAN ROCKS BEACH – An Advent Quiet Morning will be offered Saturday, Dec. 7, 9 a.m., at Calvary Episcopal Church, 1615 First St. Fr. Jon Roberts will be the spiritual leader for this event.
This is a morning of quiet prayer and meditation and enables Christians to incorporate the good news of Advent more deeply into their lives. All are invited to take part in this time of peace and joy. Call 595-2374.
Christmas bazaar at Harbor Lights MHP
SEMINOLE – Harbor Light Mobile Home Park plans its annual Christmas bazaar on Saturday, Dec. 7, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
A variety of holiday crafts, jewelry and other items will be on sale.
Harbor Lights MHP is located at 9191 Bay Pines Blvd.
For more information, call 368-7730.