To benefit the Ryan Wells Foundation, chefs from throughout Pinellas County gathered at the Sheraton Sand Key Resort for the 10th annual “Evening with the Chefs.” Local students team with executive chefs to prepare and serve the special plates to be served. Named the “Best Culinary Event” by the readers of Tampa Bay Magazine, the evening’s proceeds help the Ryan Wells Foundation provide support to culinary arts programs in Pinellas County and scholarships for students continuing their education in the culinary arts. Ryan Wells was a student at Tarpon Springs High School’s culinary arts program when he was tragically killed in an accident as he was returning from the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association’s ProStart Invitational event.
On Friday, May 8th, the Clearwater Police Department and Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 10 paused to remember those officers who were killed in the line of duty during 2014. In addition, a special tribute was held in memory of Clearwater police officers Harry Conyers (1967), Peter Price (1969), John Passer (1970), and Ronald Mahony (1977). US Representative David Jolly was the keynote speaker during the ceremony. Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 10 has been hosting this memorial service for 34 years, and this year’s tribute was held in Station Square Park.
The City of Clearwater honors its employees with “Employee of the Month” and ”Bi-Monthly Team” awards selected by the employees. A committee than plans an appreciation luncheon at which the “Employee of the Year” and the “Bi-Monthly Team of the Year” awards. The honorees named yesterday are Fire Medic William Billups as the “Employee of the Year” and Police Officers Chris England, Christian Zarra, Daniel Loder, and Michael Leonardo as the “Bi-monthly Team of the Year.” Congratulations and thank you to these and all of the city’s dedicated employees!
All of the Clearwater City Council, as well as the city manager and many other city administrators, visited various neighborhood block parties on Saturday. ”Clearwater Neighborhoods’ Day” is held annually in the spring, and over 20 block parties were visited. The council and staff divided up into groups since it was not possible for each group to visit all of the events which included a pancake breakfast, various picnics throughout the afternoon and evening, a pool party, and a fish fry. Fire Department vehicles and various Police Department personnel and equipment also participated. Each association was presented the city’s commemorative table-top “Centennial Book” which can also be ordered through the city’s website. Remember that the official date of the centennial is May 27, 2015, and a baseball game with the Threshers will be held that night. Fireworks will follow. The centennial parade will be held on Saturday, May 30th and will end at Coachman Park with a concert and more fireworks.
The Clearwater Police Department hosted an appreciation dinner for the department’s volunteers. The service hours provided saved the Clearwater Police Department and its taxpayers over $200,000. During the dinner, Norma Fitzpatrick was named “Volunteer of the Year,” and a Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Pat McPhillips who has provided more than 4000 individual hours of volunteer service.
The Clearwater Friends of the Library held its annual meeting this afternoon at the main branch of the Clearwater Library. Rosalie Murray was reelected president of the organization which provides thousands of hours of volunteer service throughout the year at all of the five branches. In addition, the Friends of the Library operate a book store at the Main Library. During today’s meeting, President Murray presented a $10,000 contribution to the Clearwater Library Foundation to be used at the new Countryside Library which is scheduled to be dedicated in October.
Although the Final Four is being played at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis this weekend, the Lucas Oil Company is sponsoring its 7th annual Clearwater Horseshoe Club Tournament today. Pitchers from throughout the country have come to the local club to participate , and the city manager and I were there for this morning’s opening. Sports tourism is an important part of Pinellas’ tourist-based economy, and these events broaden the county’s appeal not only as a destination with magnificent beaches, but also as one with activities for everyone.