CLEARWATER - The Clearwater Threshers and their fans got a taste of the phenomenon known as Tebowmania on Monday night, as former Florida Gators quarterback and current St. Lucie Mets outfielder Tim Tebow came to town for a four-game series at Spectrum Field.
The 30-year-old Jacksonville native is attempting to make it to the Major Leagues following the conclusion of his professional football career, and his promotion to high Single-A St. Lucie has led to record-setting attendance numbers and fan frenzies at every stop.
Monday, Aug. 14, was Tebow’s 30th birthday, and Threshers officials presented him with a cake atop the dugout after the sixth inning while many of the 5,500-plus in attendance sang “Happy Birthday” as the former Heisman Trophy winner smiled while preparing for his at-bat.
CLEARWATER - Clearwater Police Chief Daniel Slaughter told city council members about the deaths of three area teenagers when a stolen vehicle they were traveling in crashed in Palm Harbor is reflective of a growing trend in the county that will continue to see deadly results.
During a workshop of the Clearwater City Council on Aug. 14, Councilman Bill Jonson asked Slaughter to update city leaders about the incident, as well as efforts to combat the trend of juvenile auto theft offenders in the future.
According to Slaughter, local law enforcement saw an uptick in auto theft during the summer of 2015. Within one month, auto theft increased more than 100 percent.
CLEARWATER - As part of their commitment to fight hunger in Florida, local leaders from Walmart and The Walmart Foundation recently presented a $75,000 check to the Homeless Empowerment Program in Clearwater.
HEP is an award-wining social services agency, housing nearly 400 men, women and children each day. Last year, HEP provided more than 100,000 nutritious meals to homeless and very low-income families and individuals, including veterans.
“Having a partner like Walmart allows HEP to continue serving three meals a day, 365 days per year to those who need it most,” said Ashley Lowery, HEP president and CEO, in a press release. “Over the years, local Walmart stores and the Walmart Foundation have shown their commitment to serving our community by donating more than $87,000 to HEP, along with serving as volunteers and providing much-needed in-kind items.”
CLEARWATER - Entertainment industry trade publication “Venues Today” recently announced that Ruth Eckerd Hall is ranked No. 10 nationally of venues with 2,001 to 5,000 seats during the magazine’s 15-year period from July 2002 to June 2017.
In addition, entertainment industry trade publication “Pollstar” announced the results of its half year report earlier this month and Ruth Eckerd Hall was ranked No. 19 in the world of theater venues for the period from Jan. 1 to June 30, 2017. Within that same ranking, Ruth Eckerd Hall is No. 3 in the United States and in the world of theater venues with 2,500 seats or less. Ruth Eckerd Hall ranked higher than such prestigious venues as Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles and the Beacon Theatre in New York.
It was also announced in this same report that the Capitol Theatre was ranked No. 56 in the world of club venues and in that same ranking the Capitol Theatre is No. 12 in the world with 800 seats or less and ranked the No. 1 Florida venue in this category. The Capitol Theatre ranked higher than such prestigious venues as the Brighton Music Hall in Boston and Hard Rock Live in Orlando.
CLEARWATER - Maple Family Centers completed the next phase of its rebranding campaign with the renaming of its Clearwater bowling venue to Maple Lanes Countryside.
Maple Family Centers, the parent company to a chain of bowling centers across Long Island, Queens and Florida began rolling out its rebranding efforts earlier this year with the name change of its Rockville Centre, New York location to Maple Lanes RVC. With five venues under the Maple Family Centers umbrella, the company plans to complete its rebranding crusade by year-end.
The renaming of Maple Lanes Countryside took place this summer and was celebrated with the installment of a new exterior sign reflecting the Maple Lanes name.
CLEARWATER - For more than two decades, children from all across Tampa Bay have gathered to cast their rods and reels into local waters as they laugh and play and enjoy the camaraderie of a shared rite of childhood.
But these particular kids are more than the sum of their parts.
They are extraordinary - a distinction that sets them apart and brings them together.
Founded 22 years ago, the Make A Difference Fishing Tournament serves local children with disabilities through four tournaments a year - all in the effort to facilitate an involvement in marine education and recreation.
CLEARWATER - City leaders reaffirmed their support for the proposed extension of Penny for Pinellas, a tax levy that funds infrastructure projects throughout the county, and approved an amended resolution for an inter local agreement with Pinellas County, on Aug. 3 during a meeting of the Clearwater City Council at city hall.
The city initially approved a similar resolution in April, but was asked to approve an amended resolution after the county revised language regarding a joint review committee.
Since its approval in 1989 and again in 1997, Clearwater has benefitted from the sales tax levy with an approximate $210 million, which has funded a number of projects, including the Memorial Causeway Bridge, Bright House (now Spectrum) Stadium, at least five fire stations, Ross Norton Complex, Countryside and the Main Clearwater libraries, Pier 60, the Long Center and downtown streetscaping.
CLEARWATER - Spectrum Field in Clearwater has seen its share of large crowds over the years, with thousands of fans packing the stadium for Phillies spring training games, high school graduation ceremonies and Fourth of July fireworks displays, among other events.
But the atmosphere at the Clearwater Threshers’ home should be unusual next week, as former University of Florida gridiron star and current New York Mets minor leaguer Tim Tebow comes to town with the team’s St. Lucie affiliate for a four-game series beginning Monday, Aug. 14.
CLEARWATER - The city of Clearwater was re-designated a Coast Guard City on Aug. 4 at a ceremony to recognize the city’s support and commitment to the agency.
The designation, endorsed by Congress and the Coast Guard, was made to recognize the outstanding support the community provides to Coast Guard personnel and their families. Men, women and their families from Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater, Station Sand Key and Sector St. Petersburg call Clearwater home.
The city of Clearwater was designated a Coast Guard City in December 2011. Only 21 cities in the United States have received that designation. Clearwater was the 13th city to be designated a Coast Guard City. The Clearwater Regional Chamber of Commerce initiated the application process for both the original designation and this year’s re-designation. Once a city has been designated a Coast Guard City, it must reapply for designation every five years.
CLEARWATER - Pie Five Pizza Co. - the fast-casual restaurant known for its customizable pizzas prepared and ready to enjoy in five minutes or less - made its local debut July 31 at 2689 Gulf to Bay Blvd. in Clearwater Mall.
It is the first Pie Five in the Tampa Bay area and the second in Florida.
Open every day from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Pie Five offers meals handcrafted from fresh, hand-cut veggies and artisan toppings.
CLEARWATER - The city of Clearwater will move forward with a feasibility study for enhancements at the Main Library, at a cost of just less than $100,000.
During a city council workshop on July 31, council members accepted a bid for $99,520 by Williamson Dacar Associates to complete a feasibility study to repurpose the main campus of the Clearwater Library as recommended by Imagine Clearwater, the city’s 10-year, $55 million revitalization plan that includes a variety of strategies that would help develop the waterfront to its full potential.
When developing the study, the firm will hold a series of library stakeholders meetings to help develop project goals and objectives, as well as master plan integration strategies.
CLEARWATER - Grant Collins recently was named program manager of Warrior Bridge, a ServiceSource Florida program that helps veterans transition from military to civilian life and reintegrate into their communities.
Collins is responsible for administration, employment services, and partnerships with governments, nonprofits, and veterans service organizations, and coordinates referrals to the Veterans Mall, a storeroom of household essentials distributed for free to formerly homeless veterans.
Prior to this appointment, he worked as a service coordinator in Duval Park, a gated 88-unit veterans housing community, and served as a family self-sufficiency coordinator at the Clearwater Housing Authority. Collins coordinated veterans’ services for an Iraq and Afghanistan transition program of the Texas Workforce Commission.
CLEARWATER - Kirsten Karbach’s work day starts with a short trip to Spectrum Field a few hours before the Clearwater Threshers’ game time.
Once there, the USF grad conducts interviews with players and coaches that will be shown on the stadium scoreboard and team website, goes over the starting lineups and stats for the game broadcast and reviews the meticulous notes she compiled at home the night before.
In this respect, Karbach appears to be like any typical young, aspiring journalist with a love of sports and a knack for broadcast communications.
CLEARWATER - City leaders voted to move forward with a public art installation, despite not all council members approving of its aesthetic.
On July 20, Clearwater City Council members approved a $55,000 installation consisting of vibrantly colored window patterns, created by artist Guy Kemper, which will be displayed in the glass windows of the main entry and fitness center window wall at the main entrance and central atrium of the new Morningside Recreation Center.
The cost of the installation is already included within the recreation center construction budget, according to city parks director Kevin Dunbar.
CLEARWATER - Clearwater City Council members have agreed to authorize an agreement with Forward Pinellas to accept a Complete Streets planning grant to study a concept plan for one of the city’s major downtown thoroughfares.
During its regular meeting on July 20 at city hall, the council unanimously approved the $50,000 grant, which will be matched by the city through direct funding and in-kind services.
The study is expected to lay out guidelines for corridor design improvements from North Osceola Avenue to U.S. 19, utilizing Complete Streets principles, which are designed to make streets safe and accessible for all users and modes of transport, including pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and transit users.
CLEARWATER - Pinellas County Public Works’ crews are on the scene of a shallow depression that developed this morning, July 26, along the eastern side of Old Coachman Road, just south of Coachman Road, in Clearwater.
The depression is approximately 4 feet wide, 4 feet long and 1 1/2 feet deep. Crews are locating nearby underground utilities before proceeding with repairs.
Crews also tested the substrate beneath the nearby roadway surface and the area of the depression and determined that it is solid and not indicative of a sinkhole.
CLEARWATER - Not even the threat of inclement weather could prevent the Clearwater Threshers 12th annual Pitch for Pink game from being a success.
Despite heavy showers that rolled over Spectrum Field just prior to game time on Friday, July 14, the skies cleared in time for the traditional pregame walk around the field, with dozens of breast cancer survivors and their supporters, as well as numerous doctors and support staff from Morton Plant Mease, making the joyous trek from the right field stands all the way around the outfield and back to home plate.