The Holy Trinity Greek School presented its annual Greek Independence Day program this morning. The 193rd Anniversary of the Hellenic Republic is celebrated on March 25th, but because of other events, the school held its program today. The students performed various songs, poems and dances, and I discussed with them the importance of remembering their Greek heritage. A proclamation has been issued on behalf of the entire Clearwater City Council commemorating March 25th as “Greek Independence Day” in Clearwater.
Dr. Jeff Chell, Chief Executive Officer of the National Bone Marrow Registry program, was in Tampa this morning for the start of the 3rd annual “Be the Match” Walk/Run. Over 350 individuals participated in support of the Be the Match organization which coordinates the collection of hematopoietic cells for bone marrow transplant patients. Based in Minneapolis, MN, the registry has had the strong support of former Pinellas congressman Bill Young who was instrumental in getting the initial federal funding. Dr. Chell has been head of the program since 2000, and there are now over 10-million individuals on the registry. The chance for a random match is 1 in 20,000, so residents of Clearwater and the entire Tampa Bay area are encouraged to sign up for this life-saving program. More information is available at www.bethematch.org.
Today Madeira Beach broke ground for its new city hall, and former mayor Tom DeCesare, County Commissioner John Morroni and I were among those present for the ceremony. Current mayor Travis Palladeno introduced the elected officials, city staff, and construction team, and thanked the residents for their support of the project. Councilmember Pat Shontz, who is a former mayor of Madeira Beach, highlighted the city’s history and growth before the shovels were turned.
The WIP Sports Radio Morning Show with Angelo Cataldi, Al Morganti, and Rhea Hughes aired live from Lenny’s Restaurant this morning. I was interviewed during one of the segments on the impact spring training has in Clearwater and the importance of the Phillies and Threshers to Clearwater. It is always good to be able to welcome spring training fans and teams to Clearwater and talk about the great time people from the north can have in Clearwater in the spring and all year round.
Today Eisenhower Elementary School in Clearwater invited me to join its “Dr. Seuss Day Read Across America” program. I read “Oh, the Places You’ll Go” to three classes.
In 2006, the Department of Justice awarded to the City of Clearwater a grant to help establish the human trafficking task force to identify and rescue victims of human trafficking, to coordinate law enforcement response to this crime, and to deliver social services to the victims. That initial grant has enabled the Tampa Bay area’s task force to become a model for other programs throughout the world. The task force held its quarterly meeting last week in Clearwater, and all were reminded that Florida remains a prime destination for those seeking to exploit others through human trafficking. Additional information on the work of the task force is available at http://www.catfht.org.
The USF Lady Bulls softball team is hosting the UnderArmour Invitational this weekend at the Eddie C. Moore Complex. Teams from all over the United States are in town for the games and beautiful weather. The tournament provides an opportunity for the teams to get some extra practice before their regular conference season begins.