SEMINOLE - It’s hard for Gretchen Cain to forget the first time she met James “Jimmy” Johnson.
It was 2000, and as chief operating officer of the Seminole Chamber of Commerce, she placed an ad in a local newspaper seeking volunteers.
Johnson, who had been active in the Seminole community years earlier, had just retired and moved back to the area when he showed up unannounced at the chamber office after reading her ad.
“Jimmy came to the chamber office, burst in through the door, and said, ‘Hi there sunshine. I’m Jimmy Johnson and I’m here to help you as a volunteer,’” she said. “He saw I was there by myself, and he just got to work.”
She didn’t know much of Johnson or his previous community and chamber involvement. But he helped in any way he could - answering phones, assisting with the newsletter - and he kept coming back.
“He was truly hands on wherever he could help me in a role as a volunteer,” Cain said.
Eventually, he was hired as the chamber’s executive director. His energy and enthusiasm for helping others was evident from the get-go, she said. These are just some of the qualities that she - and the community - will miss about him, she added.
SEMINOLE - The Seminole City Council moved towards banning medical marijuana treatment center dispensing facilities within city limits.
The council voted unanimously in favor of the ban upon the close of the first reading of Ordinance No. 19-2017 at its July 11 meeting. The second reading, public hearing and adoption of the ordinance will take place Aug. 8.
SEMINOLE - The Florida League of Cities has chosen Seminole Mayor Leslie Waters as one of seven Tampa Bay-area honorees to receive the 2017 Home Rule Hero award for her outstanding legislative advocacy and for consistently reaching out to state legislators to help provide a local perspective to issues being addressed in Tallahassee.
“Mayor Waters has received the Home Rule Hero distinction four times over the past five years. She appreciates that local self-government is the keystone of American democracy,” said Florida League of Cities Legislative Director Scott Dudley. “Mayor Waters brings a knowledge, commitment and personal energy to the legislative and governing process.”
SEMINOLE - Proposed plans to build a joint-use Seminole Welcome Center with the Seminole Chamber of Commerce at Waterfront Park, 10400 Park Blvd., have been delayed after the city learned it would need to request a land conversion to utilize the property for anything other than outdoor recreational use.
City Manager Ann Toney-Deal told the City Council at its June 27 meeting that because the land was purchased using money from a $200,000 Department of Environmental Protection land acquisition grant, the parcel was restricted to outdoor use only.
SEMINOLE - As the drama surrounding the fate of the Seminole Water Tower continues to unfold, the City Council unanimously decided to reject Pinellas County’s lease proposal for the property at its June 27 meeting.
The water tower is slated for demolition by the county this year. Originally, it was supposed to be demolished by the end of July.
SEMINOLE - City Manager Ann Toney-Deal told the City Council at its June 13 meeting that she and City Attorney Jay Daigneault sent a letter to the Pinellas County Commission indicating that the city is receptive to a lease arrangement for the Seminole Water Tower and the park it sits on.
The council voted unanimously to negotiate a lease with the county at a special June 8 meeting.
SEMINOLE - Following a special June 8 workshop and public meeting, the City Council decided to pursue a land-lease option with Pinellas County for the Seminole Water Tower and surrounding property.
The council unanimously voted to authorize the city attorney and city manager to draft a letter to the Pinellas County Commission regarding negotiation of a lease with the county for the water tower.
The council has been discussing the future of the 110-foot water tower located on county property on the northwest corner of 74th Avenue and 113th Street since the end of last year. The water tower was decommissioned five years ago and the county has plans to demolish it at the end of July if the city decides not to lease the property.
SEMINOLE - At its May 23 meeting, the City Council voted to table a discussion regarding a formal offer from the Pinellas County Commission presenting the city a land-lease option for the Seminole Water Tower and surrounding park.
Initially, the council discussed possibly purchasing the water tower and property from the county. But in a four-to-three vote at its April 11, the council decided not to spend any city funds on the acquisition of the tower.
The council will pick up the lease discussion at a future special workshop and meeting. This will likely take place mid-June, wrote Mayor Leslie Waters in an email. This meeting will be held at a time all seven council members are available. Vice Mayor Chris Burke and Councilor Jim Quinn were absent from the May 23 meeting.