PINELLAS PARK - In an effort to reach younger residents, the city of Pinellas Park has launched a new app offering a variety of information about the city.
“For the new generation, it’s everything,” said Lana Beck, the city’s government relations administrator. “If they can’t get it on their phone, then they might not get it at all or they might not care about it. The goal is to engage our younger population.”
Available for both android and Apple devices through Google Play and the Apple App Store, respectively, the app is “a one-stop guide to the city of Pinellas Park,” Beck said. In addition to access to city services, residents who have downloaded the app also can purchase tickets to upcoming events, learn about the city’s history, view the city’s television programming, tour several areas of the city and access a local business directory.
PINELLAS PARK - A decade ago, when the property where the Performing Arts Center stands today at 4951 78th Ave. N. in Pinellas Park became available, the city decided it should become part of its campus.
“But we didn’t really know what we wanted to do with it,” said Tim Caddell, former government relations administrator, in an interview with the Beacon prior to his retirement last year. “They really let me run with that as far as converting it into a performing arts center.”
PINELLAS PARK - The Pinellas Park City Council approved the merger of the Equestrian and Recreation Boards at its March 9 meeting.
The city dissolved the Equestrian Board, which was founded in 2003, to establish a new Parks and Recreation Advisory Board. The new board will include 11 seats, nine of which will be reserved for previous Recreation Board members. Two seats will be added and designated for individuals with interests in the city’s equestrian community.
PINELLAS PARK - It might sound cliché, but Bottles Pub is truly a place where everybody knows your name.
This neighborhood bar has served Pinellas Park for nearly 40 years. Of these four decades, Debi Klenk and her husband, John Klenk, have owned and operated the watering hole, located at 5619 Park Blvd. N.
One of the first times Debi stepped foot in Bottles was after her mother and stepfather purchased it in 1994. Unfortunately, just one year later her stepfather suffered a stroke. She and John stepped in to help and eventually bought the bar themselves.
PINELLAS PARK - While the city has earned a reputation as a haven for all things creative lately, longtime resident Boo Ehrsam has spent the past few decades building a name for herself as an artist, author and performer.
She’s excited to see the rise of the Pinellas Arts Village, which has popped up within the 5600 and 5700 blocks of Park Boulevard with assistance from the city over the past year and a half.
In fact, art-lovers can check out some of her work - three-dimensional pieces made of polymer clay - at the Complete Sweet Shoppe, 5721 75th Ave. Her show will be on display there through the April 22 art walk.
PINELLAS PARK - As part of its outreach program, Praise Cathedral, 4371 76th Ave. N., recently installed a Little Free Pantry as a way of reaching the homeless and food insecure.
“It’s a takeoff on the Little Free Library,” said Jerry Schwedler, who oversees the project for the Pinellas Park church.
He’s referring to small library boxes that have popped up around the country. The concept is simple. People donate books they’ve read by dropping them off in one of these free boxes. Those in need of a book, take one.
PINELLAS PARK - Nearly two decades after leaving office, Mayor Cecil Bradbury is just as committed to his passion project - the monuments at Freedom Lake Park - now as he was then.
In his final years as mayor, Bradbury, who sat on the City Council since 1978 and served as mayor from 1981 to 1998, shifted his focus to the park. While Freedom Lake, located at 9990 46th St. N., served as a bucolic setting within a well-traveled and populous area, he knew more could be done with the property.
PINELLAS PARK - As a child growing up in Pinellas Park, Firefighter/EMT Chris Huffman remembers the first Chili Blaze he attended. It also happened to be the first one ever organized by the Pinellas Park Fire Department
“I remember going around and eating all the chili,” he said. “It was a lot of fun.”
A lot has changed since then, he added, and for the better. That first Chili Blaze was 18 years ago, in 2000. The event was much smaller than it is today, with only about a dozen teams competing in the contest. This year, the event will draw around 50 teams, said Huffman, who joined the Fire Explorers Post 945 as a teenager, volunteering at subsequent Chili Blazes, and eventually became a firefighter who also assisted with the event. He took over as chair of the event during this past year. And while he recalls that first event attracting several thousand attendees, these days the Chili Blaze draws between 30,000 and 40,000 people.
PINELLAS PARK - Tucked away on a woodsy lot at 9501 U.S. 19 N. in Pinellas Park, many people driving along the highway don’t even realize there is a retail shop at the location.
Unless they’re the outdoorsy type, that is. The plot of land, obscured by a thick canopy of trees is Bill Jackson’s Shop for Adventure, which is set back far enough from the roadway that passersby often mistake it for a park or campsite.
“We do have people pull up and ask, ‘Where do I hook up my trailer?’” said Doug Jackson, who runs the shop with his brother, Darry.
PINELLAS PARK - In public hearings during its Feb. 9 meeting, the Pinellas Park city council voted to make land use changes that would allow a local auto dealership to expand.
The panel agreed on first reading to amend the land use plan map for a 1.7-acre parcel at 7651 U.S. Highway 19 from Institutional (I) to commercial general (CG). The change will allow the applicant, Crown Automotive, to expand its existing auto dealership further north.
In a separate vote, the council also voted to rezone a companion piece of property at 7651 U.S. Highway 19 from “P,” public district to “B-1,” general commercial district.
PINELLAS PARK - The Pinellas Arts Village will hold its monthly Fourth Saturday Art Walk earlier in the day starting March 25. The Art Walk will take place 1 to 6 p.m.
The arts district also will introduce a new pop-up art market. All area artists are invited to submit an application to the City of Pinellas Park to sell arts, crafts and handmade items at the market.
The Pinellas Arts Village is a small new arts district encompassing the 5600 and 5700 blocks north of Park Boulevard in Pinellas Park, and extending to the Park Station building at 5851 Park Blvd. The entire Village opens during Fourth Saturday Art Walk, which was initiated in May 2016.
PINELLAS PARK - Most days of the week, Bill Mischler’s day starts the same way.
Mondays through Saturdays, unless he has a Pinellas Park/Gateway Chamber of Commerce breakfast or a Vincent House board meeting, he leaves his Mainland’s home to sit in the McDonalds of the Walmart Supercenter at 8001 U.S. 19 N. from 8 to 9 a.m. He’s joined sometimes by as many as 20 old friends and city residents.
Some have questions about city codes or new businesses coming to town. Others have problems that he tries to help them solve. Most still call him mayor.
PINELLAS PARK - The Pinellas Park/Gateway Chamber of Commerce hosted its annual awards gala and board installation Jan. 21 at the Pinellas Park Performing Arts Center.
Michael Whitaker of Wellcare, will serve his second term as chamber president. Other 2017 officers include: Dr. Daniel Strauss, president-elect, National University of Health Sciences; Nancy Hodges, treasurer, OPTEK Division - retired; Terry England, secretary, England Bros. Construction.
The chamber also installed current elected and appointed board members, and recognized continuing members: Tim Caddell, retired, city of Pinellas Park; Hope Peterson, past president, New Hope Auto; Jonathan Farris, Crosspointe Church; Housh Ghovaee, Northside Engineering ; Jim Fikkert, Great Bay Signs; Kelli Makepeace, Synovous Bank; Jim Bubenheim, JB Effects, Gene Lofgren, Century 21 Top Sales; Jason Sulisufay, Jessi’s Restaurant; Ugur Lucky Durmaz, BB& T Bank; Lana Beck, city of Pinellas Park Government Relations; Christy Howard, Hydro-Dyne Engineering; Dr. Eric Carver, provost of Caruth Health Education Center at St. Petersburg College; Tom Edwards, Pete and Shorty’s; Becky Moultrie, Assisting Hands; Valarie Lee, Florida Department of Health; Rev. Jimmy Hammond, emeritus; Barbara Sheen Todd, emeritus; and Paul Ziegler, emeritus.
PINELLAS PARK - After months of delay, construction will finally begin at the Wounded Warriors Ability Ranch planned for the 10-acre Lurie Municipal Park, 5500 62nd Ave. N.
While in the past the park has been used predominantly for horseback riding, the park will be the future home of WWAR, which will include equipment designed to help rehabilitate veterans wounded by service.
The park will include a headquarters, wetlands pond for fishing, hiking and cycling trails, specially designed ADA workout stations, playground, equestrian path, canine park and a multi-purpose sports court. Additionally, there will be a pavilion with picnic tables and grills for socializing, as well as a Memorial Garden dedicated to fallen soldiers.
Author talk LARGO – Largo native Sarah Gerard will read from and discuss her new book, “Sunshine State,” at the Largo Public Library on Monday, April 24, 6 p.m.
Gerard’s debut novel, “Binary Star,” was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Award for First Fiction. Her latest book, Sunshine State, a collection of essays that blends memoir and investigative journalism, has received extensive praise from critics and authors alike.
Tai Chi and Qigong classes ST. PETE BEACH – Tai Chi and Qigong classes are presented Mondays, 11 a.m.; and Thursdays, 12:30 p.m., at the St. Pete Beach Community Center, 7701 Boca Ciega Drive, St. Pete Beach.
This class is designed to reduce stress, inflammation and disease associated with stress, as well as improve postural alignment and flexibility. The class combines specific movements, coordinated breathing and a calm focused mind used in traditional Chinese medicine, Tai Chi and Qigong practices that will improve health, vitality and longevity.
No prior experience is necessary. The cost is $5 for adults or free for SilverSneakers. Visit www.spbrec.com or call 727-363-9245 for more information.
Alzheimer’s support group LARGO – Prince of Peace Lutheran Church and Ruth’s Promise Adult day program are sponsoring a Practical Grace in Alzheimer’s support group, meeting fourth Tuesdays, 9:30 a.m., in the Prince of Peace Chapel, 455 Missouri Ave.
The group will next meet Tuesday, April 26.
Practical Grace in Alzheimer’s Care is a support system designed by Dr. Cate McCarty, dementia coach, to close the gap between maintaining meaningful faith membership while navigating Alzheimer’s and related dementias. As a follow-up to the recent Practical Grace seminar at Prince of Peace, Ruth’s Promise has expanded their ministry to offer this support group to Alzheimer’s caregivers.
The adult day program is available for respite during the meeting provided caregivers.
Coloring group meeting PINELLAS PARK – The Pinellas Park Senior Center, 7625 59th St. N., holds Color Me Calm, coloring get-togethers, every Tuesday, noon to 3 p.m. Colored pencils will be available at the center. Call 727-369-5694.
Isle of Palms Civic Association’s monthly potluck dinner/mixer TREASURE ISLAND – The Isle of Palms Civic Association’s monthly potluck dinner/mixer is set for Tuesday, April 25, 6 p.m., at the Treasure Island Community Center.
The event is open to all permanent or seasonal residents and renters. Visitors are welcome.
Kiwanis Breakfast Club of Seminole meeting SEMINOLE – The Kiwanis Breakfast Club of Seminole meets on the second, third and fourth Tuesdays of the month, 7:15 a.m., in the third floor card room at Lake Seminole Square, 8333 Seminole Blvd.
The group features speakers from different organizations.
Visit kiwanisseminolebreakfast.com or call 727-319-8343 for more information.
Pinellas Geological Society Club meeting LARGO – The Pinellas Geological Society Club meets monthly September through May at the Largo Public Library on the fourth Tuesday at 6 p.m. Annual dues are $10 and $15 for a family.
Formed in 1958, the nonprofit organization’s purpose is to promote knowledge and interest in rocks and minerals and in the sciences of geology, mineralogy, paleontology, archaeology and the lapidary arts of silver and goldsmithing, faceting, en cabachoning, channel work, beading and design, wirewrap and all types of jewelry.
For more information, call Lee Sheffield at 709-3236 or Walt Staats at 415-7867.
Seminole-SPC Toastmasters meeting SEMINOLE – Seminole-SPC Toastmasters meets Tuesdays, 6:15 to 7:30 p.m., at the Seminole Community Library, 9200 113th St. N. Guests ages 18 and older are welcome. This event is free and open to the public.
This personal development program is ideal for supervisors and leaders – or those aspiring – to learn vital leadership and communication skills.
Contact Dennis Hamel at 727-374-2612 or visit www.seminolespc.toastmastersclubs.org.
Largo Star Toastmasters Club 5933 meeting LARGO – Largo Star Toastmasters Club 5933 invites new members to its weekly meeting on Wednesdays, 12:05 to 1:05 p.m., at the Young Rainey Star Center, 7887 Bryan Dairy Road No. 120.
The club is open to all residents and workers in the Largo, Pinellas Park and Seminole areas.
A Toastmasters club provides a supportive and positive environment where members have the opportunity to develop their oral communication and leadership skills. Come watch as members present speeches, develop leadership skills by serving in various club positions and participate in Table Topics sessions in a relaxed yet structured one-hour setting.