OLDSMAR - For months, the news surrounding Oldsmar Cares had been incredibly positive. In November, officials for the nonprofit organization announced plans to build a new, 3,000-square-foot headquarters adjacent to their current home on SR 590, making a strong commitment to the community by signing a 40-year lease.
The agreement was unanimously approved by the City Council in March, with no opposition or comment of any kind from the public. In February, the charity raised more than $130,000 at its annual Wine and Food Gala, a record amount in the event’s seven-year history, with some of the donations earmarked for the construction of the $300,000 building.
But just days after a ground-breaking ceremony for the new building on Friday, June 16, the organization received heated backlash about the project from several irate neighbors.
OLDSMAR - The Oldsmar City Council held two meetings in June, on June 6 and 20. The board meets the first and third Tuesday of every month, at 7 p.m. at 101 State St. W. The highlights from the June meetings are as follows:
Canal Park to become Oldsmar Sports Complex
During the Oldsmar City Council meeting on June 6, the four council members in attendance unanimously approved a name change for Canal Park, agreeing to rebrand the Tampa Road park as the Oldsmar Sports Complex. The new name was first suggested by Council member Gabby McGee in May and later approved by the Leisure Services Advisory Board. The new name better represents what the council had in mind when they agreed to update the park’s Master Plan, turning the 40-acre parcel into a multi-purpose sports complex.
PALM HARBOR - The week prior to the Fourth of July, Skip Alford was in Athens, Georgia, advising the senior class at an Institute of Organizational Management, hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation.
Having gone through the four-year curriculum previously, he was asked back as an adviser. He still made it home to Palm Harbor in time for the fireworks, where he is currently serving as the newly appointed Greater Palm Harbor Area Chamber of Commerce president.
OLDSMAR - The city of Oldsmar was recently chosen as the 2017 City Spirit Award winner by the Florida League of Cities.
The honor was part of the FLC’s 9th annual Florida Municipal Achievement Awards, which recognize excellence and innovation in local government programs.
According to a press release for the event, the City Spirit Award “recognizes a single, specific citywide effort to successfully address a local need”; Oldsmar’s winning entry, the People’s Centennial effort, “showcased how the city and its citizens worked together in 2016 to celebrate the 100-year anniversary of the founding of the Oldsmar by Ransom Eli Olds - the inventor of the Oldsmobile and REO automobiles. Scores of citizens, businesses, and civic organizations partnered with the city to organize numerous events tailored toward its diverse community. The collaboration culminated in an event for citizens of all ages that displayed Oldsmar’s true City Spirit.”
There’s an old saying that goes, “In order to make an omelette, you’ve got to crack a few eggs.” The adage could easily apply to the proposed development of downtown Oldsmar.
Following nearly a decade of being thwarted in their attempts, city officials recently approved a design concept that could change the face of the downtown district by adding a $50 million mixed-use development featuring hotel, restaurant, residential, office, parking and greenspace to the area surrounding City Hall on State Street.
OLDSMAR - The Oldsmar City Council held two meetings in May, on May 2 and 16. The board meets the first and third Tuesday of every month, at 7 p.m. at 101 State Street W. The highlights from the May meetings are as follows:
- The Council agreed on May 2 to allow the city manager to enter negotiations on a contract with a consulting firm to develop a citywide Multi-Modal Transportation Master Plan. According to City Manager Bruce Haddock, the goal of the plan is to better manage economic development, growth and livability by improving connectivity around the city for all types of transportation, including drivers, cyclists, pedestrians and transit users.
After Haddock noted the city had set aside $50,000 in the budget for the consultant work, Council Member Jerry Beverland expressed opposition to the motion to move forward. “I think this is a total waste of money. Total waste of money,” Beverland said. “Because we’re not going to accomplish anything about transportation that’s just here in the city of Oldsmar.”
OLDSMAR - For the eighth time, national nonprofit KaBOOM! is honoring the city of Oldsmar with a 2017 Playful City USA designation.
Playful City USA honors cities and towns across the country for putting the needs of families first so kids can learn, grow and develop important life skills. These communities are transforming ordinary places into playful spaces and using play as a solution to the challenges facing their residents.
The 2017 Playful City USA recognition includes 258 communities that make it as easy as possible for kids to play. In total, these communities feature more than 14,000 safe and engaging play spaces that serve more than 4 million kids.
PALM HARBOR - “Music with Mar,” educator and founder Maryann Harman, has made a name for herself in Palm Harbor, and after years of work, China and South Korea are looking to adapt her program.
The “Music with Mar” company is geared towards young children ages 8 months old until school age, using music to prepare them for a successful future, and keeping parents involved.
“It’s an interactive music and movement program to best prepare the child for life,” Harman said. Lessons deal in cognitive behavior, language, social interaction, emotional learning and physical activity. “Creating competent and capable children.”
PALM HARBOR - On Memorial Day, the team at Stilt House Brewery hosted a charity event supporting a Pinellas County family after an accident.
Greg Mandilk was seriously injured in a motorcycle crash this year.
“He’s a contractor and rides a motorcycle to work,” said Stilt House owner Peggy Dakoff. “He was seriously injured.”
As the sole breadwinner in the family of five, they were left in dire straits.
Then the community stepped in.
“We know a catering company, LP Catering,” Dakoff said. “They were interested in doing some kind of event.” Each company would donate a portion of their proceeds to the family. With that, Stilt House was on board. The catering company provided the food, while Stilt House provided the space and, of course, the beer.
EAST LAKE - Claudia Faiola, public education officer for East Lake Fire Rescue in Pinellas County, has been selected by the National Fire Protection Association to receive a Star Scholarship Award for her dedication to effectively reaching the public with fire safety education. As an award recipient, Faiola will attend NFPA’s Conference & Expo in Boston, Massachusetts, June 4-7, where she will participate in training sessions, conference events and a networking reception. NFPA’s Conference & Expo serves as the premier annual event for fire, electrical, and building safety.
PALM HARBOR - Palm Harbor Dance Studio, at 32828 U.S. 19 N. in Palm Harbor, is now under new ownership.
The dance studio has been undergoing some major changes. The studio celebrated the changes with an open house on June 2.
“Palm Harbor Dance Studio is really focusing on bringing the community together by sharing our love and passion for dance. Dance is a great way to meet new people as well as relieve stress,” said Gina Kaiser, co-owner, in a press release. “We now offer dance lessons for all community members - young, old, single, married, beginners and experts. No matter what is holding you back we will be able to work with you and make you feel like you’ve been dancing for years.”
OLDSMAR - Oldsmar City Council member Eric Seidel recently addressed what many had suspected and few could deny: the Tampa Bays Rays are most likely never moving to town, and he believes it’s time for city officials to accept it as fact and move on.
Seidel’s comments on the hot button subject came during the April 18 council meeting. And, as is typically the case with the no-nonsense lawmaker, he didn’t pull any punches in voicing his opinion on the city’s proposal to build a mixed-use development, featuring a 30,000-seat baseball stadium along with restaurant, retail and office space plus other amenities, on 120 acres of land across from Tampa Bay Downs on Race Track Road.
EAST LAKE - East Lake Fire Rescue is pleased to announce the addition of two new firefighters: Jacob Dixon and Roberto Hernandez.
The two new hires joined our team on April 3, 2017.
Jacob Dixon was a marine mechanic for nine years. He was a volunteer firefighter/EMT for Punta Gorda Fire Rescue for one year. He obtained his firefighter and EMT certification at Englewood Fire Academy in 2014. East Lake Fire Rescue would like to welcome him and his wife Emily to the department.
PALM HARBOR - Sutherland Masonic Lodge presented two Sunstar Paramedics with its annual Paramedic and EMT of the Year Awards in April.
EMT and Field Training Officer Barry Caps received the EMT of the Year Award for his dedication to mentoring and training new employees at Sunstar over the past three years and teaching CPR and internal safety education courses.
Chuck Walker was honored with the Paramedic of the Year Award for his commitment to excellent patient care, clinical care and quality assurance during his seven-year career with Sunstar.
PALM HARBOR - Two Palm Harbor businesswomen went out in the community to celebrate Pay it Forward Day on the official holiday April 28.
Pay it Forward Day is a global holiday celebrated in over 80 countries, with over 100 state and city proclamations according to Pay it Forward’s official website. The concept came from the book “Pay it Forward,” by Catherine Ryan Hyde and the international day was founded by Blake Beattle in 2007.
The day encourages people to embrace giving and share with each other.
PALM HARBOR - Sprouts Farmers Market, one of the fastest-growing retailers in the country, recently announced it would soon finish construction on a new location in Palm Harbor.
This will be the fourth store to open in Florida following the opening of a South Tampa store in May. The 33,000-square-foot store will be at 33650 U.S. 19 N. and will open on Wednesday, July 12, at 7 a.m. Details about the grand opening celebration will be announced at a later date.
The Palm Harbor store is bringing more than 100 full- and part-time career opportunities to the area. Sprouts’ “Healthy Living for Less” approach to grocery shopping means potential team members should share a passion for healthy eating and the fresh, natural and organic products offered throughout the store.