Indian Rocks Beach mayor honors veterans

Mayor Cookie Kennedy gives lighted candles to select IRB veterans who were honored at the city commission meeting Nov. 12.

INDIAN ROCKS BEACH — Mayor Cookie Kennedy, for the second year in a row, took time from a regular commission meeting to honor the city’s veterans. Just as she did a year ago, Kennedy called half-dozen select veterans from the audience and presented them with a lighted candle out of respect for their service.

This year was particularly special for her.

“This past April my family lost our veteran, my father Fred Moston,” she said to the veterans at the Nov. 12 meeting. “I know all his war stories by heart, all the battles. I saw the shrapnel in his leg when he was wounded in the Battle of the Bulge. Through Dad we learned the significant courage you have and the price paid for keeping all of us safe.”

Kennedy discussed how the commission and the community owe the veterans gratitude for the example they have set both at home and abroad.

“All of you represent the enormous diversity of ethnicity, sex, religion, non-religious, color of skin and the fact that you would defend us regardless of the attributes that define us as a military person protecting our country,” Kennedy said.

Kennedy said honoring veterans will be something she will continue to do at all November commission meetings as long as she is mayor.

In other commission news

It was unanimously agreed to change the city ordinance as it relates to a municipal election. In the past, whenever there has been a tie, there has been a runoff election to determine the winner. Now that will no longer be the case.

City Clerk Deanne O’Reilly told the commission that the county supervisor of elections has declared that no longer will there be support for a runoff election. There just isn’t enough time between the main election and the date for installation.

Commissioners agreed that from now on a tie will be broken by drawing lots, such as drawing a name out of a hat. Tied elections at the state level are already decided by drawing lots.

Commissioners also agreed to fill three empty seats on the Planning and Zoning Board.

Michael Campbell, a retired attorney, was chosen to fill the vacant full-time seat on the board.

Todd Styrwold, a retired Coast Guard officer who last served in Alaska, will fill the first alternate vacancy.

Former City Commissioner Bert Valery will fill the second alternate position on the board. Valery, who is in the insurance business, had previously been on the Planning and Zoning Board and the Board of Adjustments and Appeals.