PINELLAS PARK - For the past 1 1/2 years, the Foundation for Sustainable Families has slowly been working to rehab the property of an historic 78th Avenue home.
“We’ve got a long way to go,” said Ashley Rhodes-Courter, who founded the nonprofit organization with her husband, Erick Smith. “But it’s a start.”
There’s a world of difference between the acre lot - “a piece of old Florida” - now and when the foundation decided to move in, she added. But it’s taken a significant amount of work. There was trash throughout the yard, which was overgrown to the point “where you couldn’t even see in the back. It was pure jungle,” she said.
PINELLAS PARK - Like many who live in Florida, Jim Bubenheim isn’t originally from here. The Ohio native moved to New Smyrna Beach after leaving the Navy.
So his memories were important to him. When he moved, he brought a treasure trove with him - photographs, yearbooks and other items. He stored them in the laundry room, out of reach of his then toddler. But when a pipe burst, he lost it all.
“It ruined everything,” he said. “Things that I’d been carrying around all these years, gone. I was devastated.”
PINELLAS PARK - “You either have it or you don’t,” said Drew Griffin, referring to the flea market business.
He should know. He essentially grew up at the 49er Flea Market, 10525 49th St. N., which was founded by his grandparents, Ned and Pat Burket, in the 1970s. As a child, he and his cousins helped his grandmother collect the $1 parking fee from shoppers. There is no fee, today, Griffin added.
“That was when it was really booming,” he said. “It used to be booming Saturday and Sunday. It was crazy out there.”
KENNETH CITY - Old Time Pottery, a Tennessee-based retailer, recently announced the opening of its Kenneth City location, set for May 11.
The 47,000-square-foot store at 4665 66th St. N. will mark the 15th store in Florida for the home décor retailer.
During the store opening, the Kenneth City location will host a grand opening ribbon-cutting on Thursday, May 11, 7:30 a.m. Old Time Pottery will offer a free gift to the first 500 customers who shop when the store opens at 8 a.m. Plus, Old Time Pottery will be giving away $50 Gift Cards to customers every 15 minutes on grand opening day.
PINELLAS PARK - Mr. Pool Inc. recently was selected for the 2017 Best of Pinellas Park Award in the Local Business category by the Pinellas Park Award Program.
Each year, the Pinellas Park Award Program identifies companies that have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and the community. These exceptional companies help make the Pinellas Park area a great place to live, work and play.
Various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the winners in each category. The 2017 Pinellas Park Award Program focused on quality, not quantity. Winners were determined based on the information gathered both internally by the Pinellas Park Award Program and data provided by third parties.
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.
Isle of Palms Civic Association’s monthly potluck TREASURE ISLAND – The Isle of Palms Civic Association’s monthly potluck dinner/mixer will be held Tuesday, May 23, 6 p.m., at the Treasure Island Community Center, 154 106th Ave. The event is open to all permanent or seasonal residents and renters. Visitors are welcome.
For more information, call Carol Lee at 727-360-9181 or visit the Isle of Palms Civic Association’s page on Facebook.
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.
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.
Smoking cessation classes LARGO – Free smoking cessation classes will be presented Tuesdays, May 2 through June 6, 6 to 7 p.m., at the Bardmoor YMCA, 8495 Bryan Dairy Road, Largo.
Sponsored by Gulfcoast North Area Health Education Center and Tobacco Free Florida, the program provides free tobacco cessation services to help participants quit any form of tobacco through in-person group classes and free nicotine-replacement therapy – such as patches, gum or lozenges – while supplies last and if medically appropriate. The program is funded by the Florida Department of Health. Members and nonmembers are welcome. Space is limited.
To register, call Nicole Kelly at 813-929-1000, ext. 204.
Clearwater Chapter MOAA meeting CLEARWATER – The Clearwater Chapter of The Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) host its monthly luncheon on May 24 at the Clearwater Country Club 525, Betty Lane. Guest speaker will be Capt. James R. Facinelli, USNR (Ret.).
All military officers, their spouses, survivors and auxiliary members are invited. Jackets are requested. Reservations are required and can be made by calling 727-535-9151.
Family Promise event CLEARWATER – Family Promise of Pinellas County will host an event Wednesday, May 24, 6 to 7:30 p.m., at Peace Memorial Presbyterian Church, 110 S. Fort Harrison Ave., Clearwater.
Family Promise of Pinellas County is a coalition of interfaith congregations committed to helping children and their parents move from homelessness to independence. Speaker Jennifer Sunshine, executive director of Family Promise of Pinellas County, will explain how this organization has moved 46 children and their parents from homelessness to sustainable housing.
There is no admission charge. A simple meal will be served and donations will be accepted.
Family Promise is an affiliate of the national Family Promise organization founded in 1986 with 181 operating affiliates in 41 states involving 5,500 congregations and over 160,000 volunteers.
For information as well as childcare availability, call the Rev. Dawn Haeger at 727-446-3001.
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.
Rotary Club of Seminole meeting SEMINOLE – The Rotary Club of Seminole meets weekly on Wednesdays at noon at the Seminole Lake Country Club, 6100 Augusta Blvd.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.