The Clearwater Police Department and Fraternal Order of Police Clearwater Lodge 10 held its 37th annual Police Memorial Service on May 18th. The members of the Clearwater Police Department and its members’ organization gather each year to commemorate those who made the ultimate sacrifice while serving in the line of duty. A special tribute was given to those 12 Florida law enforcement officers and K-9s who were killed during 2017. The program also remembers every year Clearwater’s four blue heroes–Officers Harry Conyers, Peter Price, John Passer, and Ronald Mahony. Chief Dan Slaughter, Lodge President Steven Squillante, and I spoke to those present, and the keynote address was given by Pinellas County Judge Joshua Riba.
The Florida Coastal Management Program is holding its annual meeting in Clearwater this week. Staff and I welcomed the attendees and spoke to them about the city’s efforts to develop and engage in a variety of environmental initiatives. Also, the City of Clearwater is honored to be one of three Florida communities in a pilot program to assess vulnerabilities to projected increases in coastal flooding. This Florida Resilient Coastlines Program looks to synergize resilience planning and natural resources control, as well as to promote and ensure a coordinated approach to sea level rise planning and infrastructure improvements.
Clearwater is one of several cities across Florida and the nation that hosts “Rathayatra” or Festival of the Chariot. This Hare Krishna festival with religious and cultural significance dates beach to 1486 and Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. The chariot carries the deities Lord Jagannatha, Lord Balarama, and Lady Subhadra as attendees pull it with long ropes through city streets. Chanting, dancing, and feasting culminate the celebration which honors Lord Krishna’s return to Vrindaban.
The Clearwater Police Department held its Annual Awards Ceremony and Banquet for the Clearwater Police Volunteers at the Clearwater Country Club. The hours of service worked by the volunteers in 2017 saved the Clearwater Police Department over $255,000. Volunteers Jim Hill, John Pergantis, and Yvette Sussman received special recognition for their work, and Sid Kaye was named the 2017 “Volunteer of the Year.” Congratulations and thanks to all those who serve as a Clearwater Police Volunteer!
On Saturday, the City of Clearwater and the Clearwater Campus of St. Petersburg College officially opened SPC’s third joint-use library in Pinellas County. The new facility contains 10,000 square feet of public space, 15,000 square feet of college space, and 15,000 square feet of public space. The library replaces the city’s East Library that was located a few blocks west of the campus on Drew Street. There are more than 90,000 electronic and print books and audio-visual materials available, and a dedicated program room and children’s section are also being provided.
The City of Clearwater and its many neighborhoods held the city’s annual “Neighborhoods’ Day” on April 14th. City Council and staff visited over 20 neighborhoods that hosted block parties throughout the day. Police and Fire and Rescue Departments also participated with officers and vehicles. There were games, food, music, and socializing on streets, parks, and backyards in all sections of the city during a “bright and beautiful” Clearwater Saturday.
The City of Clearwater joined with executives of the Philadelphia Phillies to dedicate “Monument Park at Jack Russell Stadium.” Prior to moving to Spectrum Field, the Phillies held spring training at Jack Russell Stadium, which was also home to the world champion Clearwater Bombers. Monument Park at Jack Russell Stadium honors the 80 members of the Baseball Hall of Fame who were Phillies or players from other teams who played at Jack Russell Stadium.