October 15 was celebrated in Clearwater as “White Cane Safety Day,” and I joined several residents who are blind or visually impaired, local Lions Club International members, and the Pinellas Chapter of the Florida Council for the Blind to walk from Crest Lake Park down Gulf-to-Bay Boulevard. Remember that Florida Statute 316 says that a person with a white cane or guide dog always has the right-of-way.
Downtown Clearwater’s Coachman Park was the scene for yesterday’s Hispanic Heritage Festival sponsored by the City of Clearwater and Maxima 92.5. From the early afternoon until the evening, there park was teeming with thousands as the entertainers performed throughout the day. There was a huge fireworks display to end the evening. Clearwater has one of the largest concentrations of Hispanic-Americans in the Tampa Bay area, and the Maxima 92.5 festival attracts people from all over central Florida. Florida’s Lt. Governor Carlos Lopez-Cantera also came to enjoy the music and to mingle with the spectators.
The 2014 Challenger Little League District Jamboree was held at the newly renovated Sid Lickton fields in Clearwater this weekend. Today’s opening ceremony was attended by US Representative David Jolly, State Representatives Ed Hooper and Kathleen Peters, and me. Other present included Chris Latvala and mascots Raymond, Phinley, DJ, and Spiderman. Thank you to all the sponsors who support the Challenger Little League, and especially to the Clearwater Civitan Club which operates the concession stand and welcomes all the teams, including the one pictured from Haines City.
Boley Centers, Inc., the leading provider of residential services in Pinellas County for adults with severe and persistent mental illness, opened its Sunset Point Apartments complex in Clearwater on Friday. The 14 unit complex contains one-bedroom apartments and a common area between the two buildings. US Representative David Jolly and I were special guests for the event which was attended by several Boley Centers, Inc. board members and its president/ceo Gary MacMath.
PEMHS (Personal Enrichment through Mental Health Services) of Pinellas County held its 2014 PACESETTER awards dinner at Ruth Eckerd Hall Thursday night. US Representative David Jolly was the honorary host and gave the keynote address. Former Clearwater Police Chief Tony Holloway, St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman, Area Agency on Aging Executive Director Sally Gronda, and Scott Wagman, President of Houghton-Wagman Enterprises, were honored for their services and work. Gay Hawk was also recognized for her work as a mental health advocate during the program that was emceed by Yolanda Fernandez.
The City of Clearwater will be 100 years old on May 27, 2015. The city is planning a year’s worth of events and invites community members to have their events designated as official centennial events.
Organizations interested in hosting centennial events can fill out an application available at myclearwater.com/100. Instructions for filling out the form and requirements are also available online.
As part of the celebration, artist Jerri Menaul of the Canvas Zoo is designing art exhibits in honor of the centennial to be on display through May 2015. Currently, a wall of Clearwater-inspired art is featured at Westfield Countryside Mall on the first floor near the ice-skating rink and outside of Macy’s. There is also a show of more than 58 pieces at the Cheek Powell Heart and Vascular Pavilion of Morton Plant Hospital. Viewing hours for this display are Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Visitors should park in the Heart & Vascular parking garage – directly across from the building – at 455 Pinellas St. Menaul is also working on two exhibits for early 2015: one with Pinellas County Schools and another at the Clearwater Main Library.
Another of the city’s signature centennial projects will be a hardbound coffee table book featuring more than 120 pages of Clearwater history. A combination of vintage and modern photos will show how far the city has come since it became a municipality. The book will be supplemented with augmented reality. This means that readers using a Wi-Fi-enabled device will be able to access a slideshow of images related to each photo. More than 1,000 images will be accessible in this manner.
A signature concert and new entryway monument sign are also being planned for 2015. For more information, visit myclearwater.com/100.
For the 5th consecutive year, Achieva Credit Unit and its president Gary Regoli has hosted an annual “Box Car Rally” to benefit Pinellas County schools, teachers, and students. The event, held on Cleveland Street in downtown Clearwater, has raised over $90,000 over the last four years. Today’s races were delayed slightly by an early rain, but that shower did not dampen the enthusiasm of the drivers and their “pit crews.” Thanks to all the volunteers and sponsors, as well as all the race participants, for supporting this event and education throughout Pinellas County!