Nov 22

McDonald’s Holds Grand Opening

Clearwater’s newest McDonald’s is the first McDonald’s in the United States that features a McCafe. The new concept features coffee, pastries, and a cafe experience in addition to the traditional McDonald’s menu.  Ronald McDonald and I joined the Vazquez family for the grand opening of the restaurant that is located at 2871 Gulf-to-Bay.

Nov 22

HCA Largo to Open Clearwater ER on November 24th

HCA’s Largo Medical Center’s Clearwater ER Center will accept its first patient on Monday morning. Today the facility held a community open house, which began with a presentation of the colors by the Clearwater High School Junior ROTC Marine Corps unit.  In addition to the traditional ribbon-cutting coordinated by the Clearwater Regional Chamber of Commerce, the facility had  tours for visitors, a balloon artist, popcorn, train rides, and a snow slide. The facility has 11 examination rooms, a laboratory, and CAT scan equipment on site.  The center is located on the south side of Gulf-to-Bay Boulevard between US Highway 19 and Belcher Road.

Nov 22

LED Street Lights Coming to Clearwater

The City of Clearwater is becoming the first city in Pinellas County to begin a program with Duke Energy to replace all city standard incandescent streetlights with LED lights.  The work began on November 21st, and it is anticipated that all of the city’s 11, 290 streetlights will be switched in a year.  Converting the bulbs is consistent with the city’s “Greenprint” program, encourages sustainable and environmentally friendly practices by reducing the city’s carbon footprint..  The LED bulbs produce the same amount of light, but use less energy.  The LED lights also last longer and require less maintenance.

Nov 22

YMCA 2014 Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast

The YMCA Suncoast hosted the 2014 Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast at the Sheraton Sand Key on Thursday morning.  Edward Kobel of the DeBartalo Development Group was the keynote speaker.  Circuit Judge Sherwood “Flip” Coleman served as the Master of Ceremonies.  The breakfast, presented by the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office and Ferman Auto, included prayers offered by County Commissioner Ken Welch, Clearwater Police Chief Dan Slaughter, and Clearwater Central Catholic principal Dr.John Venturella. The Calvary Christian High School Worship Team provided music throughout the breakfast. whose theme was taken from Psalm 118:29 — “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good;His faithful love endures forever.”

Nov 22

Murray Theater Groundbreaking

Through a gift of Ray and Nancy Murray, Ruth Eckerd Hall has begun a renovation of the Murray Theater. Part of the Hoffman School at Ruth Eckerd, the theater will have a larger lobby and new entrance, as it becomes more enjoyable for the patron and more practical for students.  The $1.5-million renovation should be completed by Spring, 2015.

Nov 17

Chi Chi Rodriguez Foundation Celebrates 35 Years In Clearwater

For the last 35 years, the Chi Chi Rodriguez Foundation has helped at-risk youth achieve academic, social, and economic success through a private-public partnership school in Clearwater. The schools provides studies for 4th through 8th grade for students who are not achieving to their grade level in the public school system. The school, located on McMullen-Booth Road, uses the golf course as a classroom, as well as more traditional teaching methods. The current chairman of the foundation is Tom James, whose father with Chi Chi Rodriguez was the first organizer of the program. Chi Chi Rodriguez visits the students on a regular basis, and he most recently participated in the weekend golf tournament and dinner to help the foundation. Additional information on the foundation, school, and golf club is available on the website —

Nov 15

Clearwater Garden Club

Formed in 1950, the Clearwater Garden Club is located at 405 Seminole Street in Clearwater.  Its members held the annual “Fall Flower Show” this weekend, and I spoke to the members about the city’s centennial next year and community gardens.  One of the club’s projects is the Blue Star Memorial Highway marker program and the reforestation of the Osceola National Forest and the John Bethea State Forest.  Membership and program information is available on the club’s web site  Alice Jarvis is the club president.