PALM HARBOR - Bob Helms calls them his little elves: 220 volunteers that flit in and out of the workshop throughout the day, week and year, building wooden toys by hand. Except they don’t just work in December.
Some come once a month, others weekly. Some are there every day.
“Our youngest volunteer is 13 and our oldest is 95, and we’ve got everything in between,” said Helms, the president of the ToyMakers board.
PALM HARBOR - The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) opened a Disaster Loan Outreach Centers in Palm Harbor to assist businesses and residents in applying for low-interest disaster loans due to a disaster declaration as a result of severe storms and flooding on July 25-Aug. 9.
The center is open at Palm Harbor Fire Rescue Station 65, 250 West Lake Road. The center will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.through Wednesday, Oct. 7. The office will be open one more day, Thursday, Oct. 8, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The disaster declaration includes Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas counties, and the adjacent counties of Hardee, Hernando, Manatee, Polk and Sumter in Florida.
PALM HARBOR - The new Walmart Neighborhood Market in Palm Harbor opened to the community Sept. 30, bringing a broad assortment of groceries.
The store also boasts on-site services such as a full pharmacy and a free store pickup service providing an easy way to shop millions of products on Walmart.com. The new store will employ up to 95 full- and part-time associates.
“We are proud to be a part of the Palm Harbor community,” said store manager Roma Vesselov in a press release. “We look forward to opening and providing area residents with Walmart’s everyday low prices especially on game time and tailgating favorites as we are in the full swing of football season.”
OLDSMAR - Michael Mundy’s passion for two wheels and the open road was the fuel he needed to open Steel Bent Customs, a one-man motorcycle shop.
After restoring bikes for a few friends - and attracting international attention on social media - Mundy’s small business cruised ahead, becoming the custom restoration business he operates today.
Now, Steel Bent Customs is getting national attention from Deluxe Corporation’s Small Business Revolution documentary project. The Small Business Revolution, which also features “Shark Tank” star Robert Herjavec, is a yearlong campaign that celebrates the vibrancy, variety and community impact of small businesses across the country. Its latest story is a photo essay profiling Steel Bent Customs, one of 100 profiles of inspiring small businesses that will debut throughout 2015 at SmallBusinessRevolution.org.
OLDSMAR - The Oldsmar City Council made only one change to the budget during the final public hearing Sept. 22, adding $25,000 in funds for the Oldsmar BMX Supercross track.
The final approval for Oldsmar’s tax rate and budget for the 2015-2016 fiscal year, which starts Thursday, Oct. 1, passed unanimously. With no change to the proposed millage rate since the first public hearing Sept. 3, the new millage rate will be 4.05 mills - or $4.05 per $1,000 in taxable property value.
The city budget was first brought before city council in July and a work session was held in August. The tentative budget was adopted also at the Sept. 3 meeting.
CLEARWATER - Pinellas County Commissioners said yes Aug. 18 to land use and zoning changes that will allow developers to continue work toward construction of a memory care facility at the intersection of Keystone Road and Woodfield Boulevard in the unincorporated community of East Lake Tarpon.
Commissioners also approved a parking variance to allow only one parking place per three beds. Code currently requires one parking place per bad, something county staff wants to change.
OLDSMAR - Craig and Toni Gross of Oldsmar were awarded the City Council/City Manager Award Aug. 18.
Council member Linda Norris presented the award. The Grosses own the Tarpon Springs-based Frankie’s Patriot BBQ, named after their son Frank Gross.
Frank was the first active duty soldier killed in action from the city of Oldsmar, Norris said. His parents were presented with the honor for their Oldsmar community service, performed in the name of their son.
PALM HARBOR - The Palm Harbor Chamber of Commerce’s Adult Spelling Bee returns for its third year, raising funds for local schools Sept. 29, 5:30 to 8 p.m., at the Westlake Christian School, 1551 Belcher Road.
Three years ago, the chamber’s Education Committee was looking for a way to give back to the community, explained committee chair Terri Davis, owner of the Huntington Learning Center. The chamber’s president had been to an adult spelling bee that raised money for a charity in a different community and thought the idea would work for the Palm Harbor area.
OLDSMAR - On Sept. 3, Oldsmar City Council approved a tentative millage rate, the contract with Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office and the tentative budget, all for fiscal year 2015-2016.
The council voted unanimously to keep the city tax rate the same as the current year: 4.05 mills, or $4.05 per $1,000 of taxable property taxes. The rate is the same proposed rate the council authorized July 21 to be sent to the Pinellas County Property Appraiser. Oldsmar property owners received their Truth in Millage notice in August.
The council also approved the budget for the next fiscal year. The total amount of appropriations came to $28,209,460. The 2014-2015 budget totaled $28,890,080, 2.5 percent more than the 2015-2016 budget.