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Trash haulers clean up at competition
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CLEARWATER – The Florida Sunshine Chapter of the Solid Waste Association of America held its annual ROAD-E-O for sanitation workers in both the public and private sectors in Broward County on May 30 and 31, and Clearwater drivers brought home more than their share of trophies.

“SWANA sponsors the annual event at various locations throughout the state,” a Clearwater press release explained. “ROAD-E-O training and competition develop vehicle handling and driving skills that enhance efficiency and safety in the field. Drivers, equipment operators and mechanics participate.”

Amie Retzer placed first in tractor-trailer and won the “Top Gun” title given to the best overall driver. Emie Rodriguez placed first in the front-end loader category and James Deluca took second place in the rear-end loader category. John Garakop placed first in the roll-off category, and Randy Higgins placed third in that category. Tim Jones earned second place in the automated sideloader competition.

“The Clearwater drivers’ trophies are the latest of numerous state, national and international ROAD-E-O awards secured by Clearwater solid waste employees in past years,” according to the press release. “The winners will go on to compete in SWANA’s international competition in Denver, Colorado, Sept. 19 and 20.”

City, USF to sign softball agreement

CLEARWATER – The Clearwater City Council on June 5 gave Kevin Dunbar, the city’s parks and recreation director, the go-ahead to enter into a five-year “Operational Support Agreement” with the University of South Florida to jointly hold major college softball tournaments at the city’s E.C. Moore Softball Complex. Such tournaments have been held at the complex since 2008, using one-year agreements, but Dunbar said that switching to a five-year agreement would make it easier for both the city and the university to plan for the games, which are held on three weekends in March and attracted 58 Division One teams last year.

The event has a $3 million economic impact on the local economy and generates 4,500 room-nights for hotels that sponsor it. Teams that choose to stay at hotels not affiliated with the tournament must pay the city a fee for doing so. The city collects the income from the event, which usually breaks even, and shares any profit with USF.

Vendor gets softball complex concession

CLEARWATER – When the city put out a Request for Proposals from prospective food vendors at the city’s E.C. Moore Softball Complex, Edward Bates, doing business as Kinney’s Kitchen, was the only respondent. Bates will pay the city a percentage of his revenue, with a guaranteed annual minimum of $26,000, the highest ever paid by a food concessionaire at the complex. When Kevin Dunbar, the city’s parks and recreation director, was asked why Bates is just getting a one-year contract with the possibility of four annual renewals, instead of a five-year contract, he replied that Bates is not making a capital investment, so the threat of not renewing his contract gives the city leverage to make sure he is providing satisfactory service.

Dunbar added that there are big things ahead for the Moore complex. In July 2017, it will host the International Softball Federation’s world champion playoffs for players aged 19 and younger. If softball is reinstated in the sports lineup for the 2020 Olympics, Dunbar said, the players will all be alumni of the Clearwater event.
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