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June 29 issue

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INDIAN ROCKS BEACH - For years residents of IRB have been appalled at what they see on the beach after major holidays. Time and time again residents came to commission meetings complaining about the trash and mess left behind after New Year’s Eve, the Fourth of July and so on. City workers have been faced with cleaning it up and they admit it isn’t an easy task.

Now a citizens committee has decided to do something about it.

Led by Cookie Kennedy, the group has a plan to fight the filth and make it easier for the city to get everything back to normal.
 ... Read More 
BELLEAIR BLUFFS - A divided City Commission June 19 approved raising the city’s utility tax, the second increase in a little over a year. Money from the tax hike will be used exclusively to pay for “projects related to street improvements, repairs and/or maintenance.”

The increase had the support of Mayor Chris Arbutine, and Commissioners Joseph Barkley and Jack Nazario. Commissioners Taylour Shimkus and Suzy Sofer were opposed.

The latest increase doubles a 5 percent utility tax on residents’ electric bills. The vote came at the June 21 City Commission meeting, where a number of residents showed up to voice their opposition. It was the second and final vote on the issue, meaning it is now set to take effect Sunday, Oct. 1.
 ... Read More 
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BELLEAIR - Malerie Daigneault is only 8 years old, but she is already involved in small-town civic matters.

She strongly encouraged town commissioners June 20 to include a community garden in their plans for the renovation of Pat Wall Park and Magnolia Park.

Commissioners approved the preliminary plans for the park, which include new landscaping and irrigation system, a quarter-mile loop, water fountains, pet drinking station, public art and other amenities.

Community gardens exist in many other cities and towns in Pinellas County, Malerie said, and one would be a great addition to the town, she said.
 ... Read More 
BELLEAIR SHORE - People walking the town’s sidewalk along Gulf Boulevard at night have to watch their steps. Uneven street lighting has left segments of the walkway in the dark.

That is about to change. Commissioner Steve Blume said at the June 20 town commission meeting that power company Duke Energy had agreed to take steps to brighten Belleair Shore’s sidewalk for its entire length, from the Indian Rocks Beach boundary to the Belleair Beach border at 19th Street. That portion of the sidewalk is used by the many who walk or jog along Gulf Boulevard, even into the evening hours.

Currently, less than half of the town’s estimated 26 streetlights face eastward toward the sidewalk, Blume said. The rest are turned toward residents’ yards, leaving many segments of the sidewalk unlighted.
 ... Read More 
BELLEAIR - Having an extra $3.7 million in their coffers from the sale of their golf club doesn’t mean town officials are ready to go on a spending spree - or slash taxes, either.

Instead, they appear to be in a wait-and-see mode.

That’s because of the uncertainty of the stability of future revenues. Looming is the Nov. 7 proposed 10-year extension of the Penny for Pinellas, a 1-cent sales tax.
 ... Read More 
BELLEAIR - Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Florida has announced the hiring of three new real estate sales executives: Jay DeBussy, Lisa Setaro and Joyce Nelson.

DeBussy and Setaro have joined the St. Pete Beach office, 6800 Gulf Blvd., St. Pete Beach.

A Tampa Bay area resident since 1998, and a real estate professional since 2002, DeBussy was previously affiliated with ReMax and Century 21. His extensive real estate background includes the purchase and sale of several investment properties.
 ... Read More 
BELLEAIR BLUFFS - Bluffs Animal Hospital has announced the recent hiring of Dr. Patrick Brady as a new veterinarian with the practice.

Brady is a lifelong resident of Pinellas County, born and raised in Palm Harbor.

Celebrating its 56th year, Bluffs Animal Hospital is a full-service walk-in practice. Services include cold laser therapy, full in-house laboratory, digital X-rays, dentistry, surgery, bathing, grooming and boarding.
 ... Read More 
Wednesday, June 28
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INDIAN ROCKS BEACH - For as long as many people can remember, JD’s Restaurant has been a fixture at 125 Gulf Blvd. in Indian Rocks Beach.

It has been there for more than 35 years and is still going strong. And, despite rumors, it won’t be demolished to make way for a housing development.

The establishment is a throwback to the way things used to be. It is family owned and operated, not part of a chain. Its menu hasn’t changed in years and live music is a staple even though it is disappearing at many places along the beach.
 ... Read More 
INDIAN ROCKS BEACH - Developers got the go-ahead June 13 to build 32 townhomes located off Gulf Boulevard between 25th and 26th avenues.

City commissioners approved Armstrong Village at Indian Rocks Beach Dev. Inc.’s project at 2600 Gulf Blvd., which is vacant property on 2.31 acres.

City Planner Hetty C. Harmon said city officials looked at the project’s location, access, topography, drainage, soil, fire prevention, traffic impact, flood hazards and other issues. They found the project to be in compliance with the items they reviewed.
 ... Read More 
Wednesday, June 14
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BELLEAIR - Had he not raised his hand in class one day, J.P. Murphy might never have gotten the job as town manager of Belleair.

Murphy was sworn in to the position in early May and to many people in town it was no surprise that he got the job after the resignation of Micah Maxwell. Yet, the unlikely act of raising his hand was what started him on the road to the top staff position in the community.

Murphy was born in Miami and lived there until the eighth grade when his parents moved to Lecanto in Citrus County.
 ... Read More 
INDIAN ROCKS BEACH - Maintaining the beaches is challenging due to erosion. Doing so without trampling on private property rights may be a more daunting task.

Indian Rocks Beach City commissioners discussed ways to protect their most cherished natural asset, the beaches, during a workshop June 13. They discussed getting more information and having a plan before taking any action.

Mayor R.B. Johnson said it has been an ongoing battle to make sure sand is added to the beaches every five or six years. Consequently, city officials have to rely on their own efforts to sustain the viability of the beaches.
 ... Read More 
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BELLEAIR - On June 3, a Denim & Diamonds-themed brunch held at the Belleair Country Club raised more than $63,000 for Julie Weintraub’s Hands Across the Bay.

The committee organizing the event, comprised of local area volunteers, delighted attendees with a glitzy afternoon complete with celebrities, raffles, silent auction prizes, specialty drinks, exclusive swag bags and live music by the talented Ries Brothers.

Julie Weintraub’s Hands Across the Bay is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization founded in 2010 by philanthropist and business owner, Julie Weintraub. The charity was established to positively impact the lives of as many Tampa Bay residents as possible. They assist and mentor hardworking families in need, advocate for change, support other organizations, and spread love with various acts of kindness. The organization helps families in crisis, neglected animals and veterans in need, as well as provides domestic violence advocacy and suicide/anti-bullying prevention.
 ... Read More 
Thursday, June 8
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BELLEAIR - A special magistrate has ruled against a Belleair homeowner and has ordered him to stop renting a room in his home. The ruling of attorney Tom Trask was handed down May 31.

Earlier in May Trask heard the case against resident Kurt Steinmann of 300 Roebling Road S.

The town claimed that Steinmann was renting out a room in his home on a nightly basis as a participant in the Airbnb organization. Town ordinances are against the use of short-term rentals.

During the hearing on May 17, town officials accused Steinmann of not registering his home as a rental property and not obtaining a license to operate it as such. The town ordinance also prohibits rentals for anything less than seven months at a time.
 ... Read More 
BELLEAIR BEACH - Actions by the police and residents to keep Belleair Beach “one of the safest parts of the county” were addressed by Sgt. Pete Doyle of the Sheriff’s Department at the June 5 city council meeting.

Doyle is one of the deputies assigned to cover the city.

Topping the list for residents was Doyle’s advice to “lock your vehicles and homes at all times.” Theft from vehicles and stolen vehicles is a countywide problem, he said.
 ... Read More 
Wednesday, May 31
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CLEARWATER BEACH - Helen Sykes, 76, longtime co-owner of a boutique hotel, was a successful businesswoman known for her creativity and many talents.

A resident of Clearwater Beach since 1976, Mrs. Sykes died of cancer May 6.

Her son, Bryan Sykes, said his mother enjoyed baking, among her many activities.

“People would always come to my broker’s openings for the desserts,” said Bryan, a Realtor.

Friends and family gathered for a celebration of life luncheon May 23; Bryan made several of her famous cookies and wrapped them up in little bags along with bracelets that read “No One Fights Alone” and distributed them to the guests.
 ... Read More 
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Send news to editor Tom Germond
E-mail news to tgermond@tbnweekly.com.
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Tampa Bay Newspapers
9911 Seminole Blvd.,
Seminole, FL 33772
Phone: (727) 397-5563
Fax: (727) 397-5900
Submit News