CLEARWATER - The last award at the Central Pinellas Chamber of Commerce’s 62nd annual meeting and awards breakfast Sept. 25 was an unexpected surprise to its recipient.
“I know this honor will come as a surprise to him, especially since we tricked him by getting him to come here to give the invocation,” said chamber Chairman Jim Rivenbark. “He is one of the most recognized and experienced volunteers in the history of the Largo Police Department. All totaled, he has contributed more than 16,000 volunteer hours to the citizens of Largo.”
The honoree was the Rev. J. Arnold Johnson, Largo police chaplain.
LARGO - The candidates for Largo’s Seat 2 both said their campaigns began at a eureka moment - a sudden realization that they were qualified and capable of becoming a Largo commissioner, backed by a desire to make a difference in their community.
For Daniel Ruffner, a longtime Largo resident with a 30-year career in banking and finance, the moment came at a Central Pinellas Chamber of Commerce debate last year. Ruffner, 47, acted as the timer for the debate and as he listened to the candidates, realized that their qualifications did not far exceed his own.
LARGO - The Central Pinellas Chamber of Commerce will host a Largo Commission candidates’ luncheon Forum on Tuesday, Oct. 7, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., at The Palms of Largo Royal Palms Theater, 200 Lake Ave. NE.
There are three contested Largo Commission races for the Nov. 4 election: Seat 1 with incumbent Michael Smith facing Bronson Oudshoff, Seat 2 with two newcomers Samantha Fenger and Daniel Ruffner and Seat 5 with incumbent Harriet Crozier facing Donna Holck.
LARGO - The city of Largo’s Recycled Innovations Contest returns, a challenge for those who know how to get creative with trash.
Participants of all ages, from the Tampa Bay area and beyond, are invited to this online contest and construct useful items consisting of at least 75 percent discarded material. Innovators are encouraged.
Participants will be vying for innovative prizes such as solar-powered chargers for cellphones, MP3 players and small electronics, a solar-powered backpack, a paper-recycling machine and learning toys. One winner from each age category will be selected. Largo Recycles Facebook followers will select one Facebook Choice Award, with prizes awarded to participants receiving the most online votes in each age categories.
LARGO - After hearing a volley of public opinion on the matter, it was Largo Commissioner Curtis Holmes’ own response that prompted his fellow elected officials to back away from censuring him for inappropriate use of a city-issued iPad.
Holmes spoke against the advice of his attorney, who argued in his client’s defense for ten minutes during the public hearing Sept. 30. But Holmes said he couldn’t help himself but to give an explanation.
LARGO - A special meeting has been scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 30, 6 p.m., to censure, or officially reprimand, Largo Commissioner Curtis Holmes for the inappropriate content discovered on his city-issued iPad.
The Largo Commission will vote on a resolution that “expresses its strong disapproval of the improper use of the city’s iPad and email account.” The resolution also will demand Holmes return the iPad by 5 p.m. the next day, Oct. 1.
In an email responding to the scheduled meeting, Holmes said his fellow commissioners could “do as you see fit.”
LARGO - Largo commissioners voted 4-3 Sept. 16 to overturn the city Planning Board’s unanimous decision regarding a bigger sign for a car dealership along U.S. 19.
Commissioners Michael Smith, Robert Murray and Jamie Robinson voted against the request to allow Dick Norris Pontiac GMC to have a 226-square-foot sign, almost 40 square feet larger than is allowable in the city’s codes. The dealership sits at the intersection of U.S. 19 and Belleair Road, under the new overpass for the highway. The altered road configuration constitutes a “hardship” which should allow for the exception in the code, said Tom Pressman, representing the dealership.
“You can see the overpass is completely covering the site, and access points are very far away,” he said.
LARGO - The Heisler-Johnson American Legion Post 119 in Largo honored this year’s participants at Boys and Girls State in a ceremony Sept. 15.
Since 1937, girls and boys in their junior year spend an intensive week of studying and working together as self-governing citizens. Participating from Largo this year were Shane Stockings, Aileen Jarvis, Madzid Coric, Matthew Eyer and Dalilia Kolar.
Countryside Library book club meeting
CLEARWATER – The Countryside Library, 2741 State Road 580, is continuing its popular book club that meets the third Thursday of each month at 2:30 p.m. Titles for the monthly sessions are as follows:
• Feb. 20 – The Dressmaker, by Kate Alcott
• March 20 – Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
• April 17 – The Sandcastle Girls, by Chris Bohjalian
• May 15 – Still Foolin‘ ’Em, by Billy Crystal
• June 19 – The Ghost of Hannah Mendes, by Naomi Ragen
• July 17 – My Beloved World, by Sonia Sotomayor
• Aug. 21 – Breakfast at Sally’s, by Richard Le Mieux
• Sept. 18 – Making Rounds with Oscar, by David Dosam
• Oct. 16 – The Story of Beautiful Girl, by Rachel Simon
• Nov. 20 – Luna, by Julie Anne Peters
• Dec. 18 – My Life with Charlie Brown, by Charles Shultz
Garden tour LARGO – Vegetable, herb a tropicals tours will be offered Thursdays, Oct. 2 and 23, 9 to 11 a.m., at Florida Botanical Gardens, 12520 Ulmerton Road.
Participants will explore the vegetable garden and compost demonstration areas in the Florida Botanical Gardens and learn about growing their own food. Tours are limited to groups of four to 16 people and recommended for adults only.
Kiwanis Club of Seminole meeting SEMINOLE – The Kiwanis Club of Seminole meets Thursdays, 6:15 p.m., at Freedom Square’s Town Hall.
The group’s next speaker will be Breanne Zsiga, from Career Academies of Seminole, discussing on her steer project.
For more information, call Terry Carr at 394-2582.
Les Mills Body Pump Launch
LARGO – The Les Mills Body Pump Launch will be Thursday, Oct. 2, 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., at Highland Recreation Complex, 400 Highland Ave.
Join the new release of body pump moves and music. The free event includes a raffle, prizes and bottled water. Call 518-3016.
Safety Harbor history presentation SAFETY HARBOR – Local history researchers, Warren Firschein and Laura Kepner, will present a presentation regarding significant events of 20th century Safety Harbor on Thursday, Oct. 2, 6:30 p.m., at the Safety Harbor Public Library, 101 Second St. N.
Fifth years ago, in 1964, William Blackshear was elected as a Safety Harbor City Commissioner and is believed to be the first African-American to hold public office in all of Florida since the end of Reconstruction. Learn about his experience and many other significant events that happened in that century.
St. Petersburg College candidates debate SEMINOLE – To help citizens go to the polls as informed voters, St. Petersburg College is presenting a debate for local candidates seeking public office in the Nov. 4 general election.
The debate, sponsored by SPC’s Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions and co-sponsored by the Tampa Bay Times, will be from 5:30 to 9 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 2, in the Digitorium of the Seminole campus, 9200 113th St. N.
Facing off will be candidates for Pinellas County Commission from Districts 2 and 4, and candidates for the eight most highly contested seats in the state Legislature. Also up for debate will be two proposed amendments to the State Constitution.
A distinguished panel of experts will question the candidates and provide background on the issues.
The debates will be split into three one-hour sessions, with the first two combining state legislative races whose district borders are relatively contiguous, for the convenience of voters interested in their home district candidates. A brief discussion of the two constitutional amendments will precede the candidate debates.
The schedule is: 5:30-6 p.m.: Constitutional Amendments 1 and 2
• 6-7 p.m.: House Districts 65, 66 and 67; 7-8 p.m.: Senate District 22, House Districts 68 and 69; 8-9 p.m.: County Commission Districts 2 and 4.
Belleair Women’s Republican Club meeting BELLEAIR – Rep. David Jolly, R-Indian Shores, will speak at the next meeting of The Belleair Women’s Republican Club at the Belleair Country Club, 1 County Club Lane, Friday, Oct. 3.
Registration is at 11:30 a.m. and lunch is at noon. The cost is $25. For reservations please call Claudia Thomas at 470-9849 or 813-361-4345 or email at email@example.com, this is a new contact for one month only. People who expect to attend also can contact Sherrie Morton at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Movie at Oldsmar library OLDSMAR – The Oldsmar Public Library, 400 St. Petersburg Drive E., will present a recently released movie and free popcorn Friday, Oct. 3, 1 to 3 p.m., in TECO Hall.
Admission is free. For the title of the movie, call 813-749-1148.
North Pinellas Community Prayer Breakfast PALM HARBOR – The North Pinellas Community Prayer Breakfast will be presented Friday, Oct. 3, 7:30 a.m., at Innisbrook Golf & Spa Resort, 36750 U.S. 19 N.
Admission is $25 a person and $200 per table. Call 940-5357.
This will be a morning of prayer to bring about awareness to the issues of poverty, hunger and homelessness in North Pinellas.
Proceeds from The Shepherd Center Prayer Breakfast will support the organization’s mission to feed the hungry, clothe the poor and equip the least among us by providing opportunities and a place for all to give and receive hope.