United States Representative David Jolly and I attended the “Welcome Home Reception” and recovery vacation kick off party on Monday to “welcome home” 10 US Armed Forces personnel and their families for a “recovery vacation” at the Sandpearl Resort on Clearwater Beach. During their stay the families enjoyed cabanas by the pool, a visit with Winter the Dolphin at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, and a sunset cruise on the Kai Lani. Troops Reward is an organization founded by Tom Burkett, and his goal is to provide recovery vacations to selected families of the United States’ armed forces. Additional information on the program is available at http://www.trooprewards.org.
Today I participated in the monthly “fun run” with the students at the Calvin Hunsinger School. Because of Halloween, students came dressed for a character run. Prior to that, I was able to read a book on Halloween in Florida to the runners. This school provides educational opportunities to emotionally and behaviorally disabled students. Douglas Keimig is the principal and after the run, I was able to tour the school to visit with the staff and some of the students.
BayCare Health Systems dedicated its new public art piece “The Ripple Effect” created by artist Mark Aeling for its headquarters in Clearwater. The hospital group voluntarily participated in the city’s public art program with this work that is displayed in the lobby located at 2985 Drew Street. The cast fiberglass resin artwork was widely acclaimed during the ceremony that was hosted by BayCare and the Clearwater Arts Alliance.
The inaugural “Blondie Bowties and Beer” fundraiser for the Community Dental Clinic was held on Saturday at the Dunedin Fine Art Center. The clinic, located at 1008 Woodlawn Street in Clearwater, is a collaboration among the Clearwater Free Clinic, the Salvation Army, UPARC, and the City of Clearwater. It provides accessible dental care to the low income families living in mid and upper Pinellas County. The clinic opened its doors in September, 2013, to meet this critical need. Allison Sapiega is the Executive Director, and Steve Heller serves as president of the Board of Directors. Incoming Dunedin City Commissioner Bruce Livingston, the board’s vice-president, gets some help from another bowtie novice prior to the event’s opening and joined me in giving a special thank you to Dean Young who brought Blondie and Dagwood to support the Community Dental Clinic.
Last week the City of Clearwater hosted the 2014 Youth RS:X International Windsurfing Championship. After four days and 12 open races, the RS:X Youth World Windsurfing Championship titles were decided during Saturday’s double-score medal races. Radoslaw Furmanski (POL) won the title by one point over Italian Mattia Camboni in the 54-board men’s division. Going into the final medal round, Emma Wilson (GBR) held her lead in the 28-board women’s division to take the title by 12 points over Berenice Mege (FRA). Wilson also won the Under-17 title, while Francesco Tomasello (ITA) won the Under-17 men’s title. This was the first time this event was held in the United States, and Clearwater was awarded the competition after race organizers decided to relocate the championship from Israel earlier this summer.
The 3rd annual Clearwater Chalkart Festival organized by the Clearwater Beach Chamber of Commerce is now on display on Beachwalk. The artistis began working on Friday to create their chalkart work, and this afternoon under Clearwater’s blue skies, the crowds began to enjoy the finished pieces…from the children eating ice cream to mermaids and Captain Hook. Other works depict the city’s centennial logo, Peyton Manning, stone crabs, and several Halloween-themed creations. Come to the beach this week to see another reason why Clearwater was named the “best beach town in Florida.”
Island Estates homeowners attended the civic association’s first annual Halloween Parade this morning. The route down Island Way started and ended at the Island Estates Publix Supermarket. It was led by president Mary Lau who was followed by children and adults in costume, pets, and family and friends not in any Halloween attire.