This evening WBCB Radio of Philadelphia broadcast live from the Marriott Suites on Sand Key. John Brazer and Tommy Greene did a show from the hotel as part of the annual Phillies Fantasy Camp week in Clearwater. During the broadcast, some of the campers, members of the Phillies, and I were interviewed. Over 125 Phillies fans have been in town this week to live the dream of being in the Major Leagues. Campers managed and played at BrightHouse Field and the Carpenter Complex in Clearwater. Former Phillies stars helped coach and instructed the campers.
The Athenian Academy, the first Greek immersion school in the United States, broke ground for its new campus which will be located at 2289 North Hercules Avenue. The school offers tuition-free classes for students in grades K-8th. The school was established in 2000 by George and Lemonia Poumakis, and in addition to Greek, now teaches Spanish also. Reverend Ben Williams is the Board Chairman. The school is currently rated A+.
There were a series of programs and events this weekend to celebrate the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day national holiday. On Saturday, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Center located at 1201 Douglas Avenue was re-opened. SEPIA of Pinellas County sponsored its annual luncheon at the Clearwater Country Club on Sunday. On Monday, the City of Clearwater and the Clearwater/North Pinellas branch of the NAACP held the annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day breakfast, march, and rally. The breakfast was attended by more than 400 people at the North Greenwood Aquatic and Recreation Center, and then there was the march from the Center to Coachman Park for a rally at which Pastor Konrad McCree, Jr. was the keynote speaker.
The Long Center is celebrating its 25th birthday by inviting the community to its open house Saturday, Feb. 7 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
This free, family event offers full-day use of the recreation center. Bring a swimsuit and ride the giant Aquaglide Rockit inflatable in the Olympic-sized heated pool. The pool was featured in the movie Dolphin Tale. Staff and instructors will offer class demonstrations and answer questions. There will be free drawings, a children’s play area, giveaways, tours of the facility, refreshments, and more. Representatives from the City of Clearwater Centennial Committee will be offering information and giving away items related to the City of Clearwater celebrating its 100 year anniversary.
The Office on Aging will participate in the open house event. They will offer tours and class demonstrations at the Aging Well Center, located adjacent to the Long Center.
During the event, participants can purchase an annual Play Pass at a discounted price. A Play Pass entitles the purchaser access to all five Clearwater recreation centers and provides discounts to classes and programs.
The Long Center is located at 1501 N. Belcher Road. The facility has more than 20,000 square feet of class and program space, including a triple gymnasium, eight multi-purpose rooms, and a 3,000-square-foot fitness center. The Long Center maintains one of three 50 meter indoor pools in the State of Florida, and a 25 yard therapy pool. Outdoor amenities include two multi-purpose fields, access to a hiking trail head and a playground.
For more information about the Long Center Open House, call (727) 793-2320.
Site preparation work has begun on Clearwater Beach’s “Patel property” located on Coronado Avenue and South Gulfview. Dr. Kiran Patel had bought the property years ago, and ground was broken on Wednesday for a new Wyndham Grand Resort. There will be 450 rooms, 20,000 square feet of meeting space and a grand ballroom when the new hotel is scheduled to open in January, 2017.
This morning I joined volunteers from the Tampa Bay Estuary Program to help clear invasive plants from this 51-acre nature preserve located off of US Highway 19. Volunteers worked for several hours to remove air potato and rosary pea plants and seeds, picking trash from the trails, and removing vines. Moccasin Lake Park provides classes, programs, camps, and meeting space in an effort to provide environmental and energy education opportunities to study an array of wildlife while walking through its trails and boardwalks. Additional information can be obtained by calling 727-793-2976.
His Eminences Archbishop Demetrios was again the chief celebrant at this year’s Epiphany in Tarpon Springs. St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral has one of the world’s most recognized service of the Epiphany which culminates in a cross diving ceremony at Spring Bayou. Upon his arrival in the Tampa Bay area, Archbishop Demetrios first came to Clearwater’s Holy Trinity Church for a welcome luncheon. He was greeted by the area priests and others, including George Kalamvokis an Archon of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and me. Theodora Liailios was the dove bearer, and Kosta Pseftelis was the young man who retrieved the cross.