DUNEDIN - City commissioners and staff were surprised by how passionate Dunedin residents are about selecting an official city tree, flower and bird.
However, after a local news source reported that the city would be deciding on these selections at an April 18 meeting, numerous residents expressed confusion and discontent that the general public was not included in this process.
After hearing from the public, city commissioners voted 4-1 to support a recommendation that the southern magnolia be declared the city’s tree.
Back in 1968, a resolution declared that the flowering tree of Dunedin is the bauhinia tree, which produces purple, pink, orange, red or yellow flowers.
DUNEDIN - A Dunedin man was arrested April 30 for two counts of lewd and lascivious molestation of a child in Palm Harbor.
According to a report from detectives with the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office crimes against children unit, an investigation began March 21 after a 14-year-old female told her parents that Zachary Watton, 21, had touched her inappropriately from the time she was age 4 to 12 - a period of about eight years.
DUNEDIN - The Dunedin City Commission April 18 heard an update regarding contractor task force meetings and website changes.
Lael Giebel, development services project coordinator, said that since original task force meetings began in 2007, the feedback and reports of satisfaction with Dunedin and its processes have greatly increased among developers, contractors and architects.
Most recently, task force meetings were held with smaller contractors to further improve Dunedin's development and permitting process, she said, and that helped provide the city with ideas for how to make the system even more efficient and user-friendly.
The main areas that the task force highlighted that could be improved are permit fees, required permits - and if the city is over-permitting, and website navigability.
DUNEDIN - The city was one of four communities in the United States to receive the 2013 Best Intergenerational Community Award.
The MetLife Foundation and Generations United presented the awards, in recognition of community activities that bridge multiple generations.
“This perspective needs to be reflected in the families, structures, facilities and services that children, youth and older adults encounter in the community as well as in day-to-day interactions and relationships,” Generations United’s website said.
DUNEDIN - Dunedin High School recented named the valedictorian and salutatorian for the class of 2013. Arleena Rupnaraine is valedictorian and Aubrey Wetzelberg is salutatorian. Both students talked about the challenges ahead.
Arleena Rupnaraine - valedictorian
Arleena Rupnaraine was 10 years old when her parents decided to move her family from Guyana to Florida. She was terrified.
“I didn’t want to move at first. I thought my parents were crazy. I didn’t want to move at all,” said Rupnaraine.
DUNEDIN - Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, Sgt. Denise Nestor and Capt. Glenn Luben gave the Dunedin City Commission a sheriff’s update on April 18.
This month’s topic was neighborhood watch groups. Gualtieri said that these are great programs, but unfortunately, often people don’t get involved until a need arises. His hope is for more people to get involved beforehand so that they can help prevent crime issues before they even happen.
Nestor said currently there are 42 active neighborhood watch groups in Dunedin, and a few more wanted to form but didn’t have enough local interest.
Any neighborhood can set these up, she said, and then the sheriff’s office would have an orientation that would inform the neighbors of what to watch out for, what to do if they see something suspicious, when to call 911 and other key information.
Properties rezoned to match city's vision DUNEDIN - The Dunedin City Commission April 18 unanimously approved a second reading of an ordinance to rezone seven properties on Douglas Avenue and a portion of the property at 413 Skinner Blvd. from downtown commercial to downtown core.
In 2004, the city commissioned a consultant group to conduct a visioning workshop, according to a staff memo from City Manager Rob DiSpirito to the commission. In this two-day workshop, the leadership group developed the following visioning statement for the city:
“Dunedin will continue to be a livable coastal community with a unique sense of place within the Tampa Bay metro area. We shall maximize our future by fostering innovative redevelopment, increasing citizen satisfaction, preserving and enhancing our natural environment, while maintaining our small town ambiance.”
The workshop determined that the downtown community redevelopment area to be one of six areas of primary concern for future redevelopment, the memo said, and the purpose of having a single district for this area is “to integrate a form-based code which focuses more on buildings’ architectural form and placement, as opposed to traditional zoning restrictions,” the memo said. “To that end, the properties within this rezoning have elected to rezone to downtown core.”
DUNEDIN - The Life & Light Lantern Festival, a community art project and fundraiser for Planting Seeds Workshops and the 1 Percent Food Project, will be held Sunday, April 28, in downtown Dunedin, noon to 9 p.m.
The event will include free lantern making workshops held all day in downtown Dunedin’s Pioneer Park.
The workshops will be surrounded by live music and entertainment along with free gardening and sustainability information. Workshop participants get to keep and take their lanterns home. This is a family friendly event, geared toward children.
Profits from all meals, drinks and merchandise sales at Casa Tina’s Mexican Restaurant, Pan y Vino Brick Oven Pizza, Sweet Pea’s Café and food in the park provided by Serendipity Café will be donated to fund the Planting Seeds Workshop Series and the 1 Percent Food Project.
DUNEDIN - Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office announced April 11 that the man injured in a bicycle crash on the Dunedin Causeway has been identified.
According to deputies assigned to the Major Accident Investigation Team, a call came into the Sheriff’s Office April 10 from an employer at a Clearwater restaurant, who requested a welfare check on one of their servers after he failed to show up for work.
Deputies went to the man’s house and no one was there. They then told the employer about the bicycle crash. The employer then identified the man as Gerald A. Mihalinec, 62.
According to deputies, Mihalinec had been heading westbound on Causeway Boulevard in Dunedin at the time of the crash. A passerby saw him lying on the sidewalk on the west side of the drawbridge near the beach access and called 911. He was transported to a local hospital by ambulance for treatment of life-threatening injuries.