On Saturday September 17th, the main branch of the Clearwater Library system held an open house to celebrate its 100th anniversary. In 1911, the Clearwater Library Association opened a subscription library, and then in 1916 a Carnegie Foundation grant for $10,000 assisted in the building of a permanent public library. That first library opened on September 14, 1916 and served approximately 1250 visitors in its first year. Today more than 700,000 use the services of the Clearwater Public Library system’s five libraries.
The Clearwater/North Pinellas Salvation Army hosted the 11th annual Dr. William Hale Community Prayer Breakfast on Thursday, September 15th. Retired US Salvation Army Commander Israel Gaither was the guest speaker. City Manager Bill Horne and I were honored to have been asked to offer prayers for government leaders, the community, and caregivers. Marti Kimball accepted the Dr. William Hale Community Spirit Award for her husband Russ Kimball who has been the general manager of the Sheraton Sand Key Hotel for 40 years and is recognized worldwide as a tourism industry leader. George Mariani, board chairman, and Captain Michael Harris presented the award to Mrs. Kimball and her son-in-law Mike Marsalek.
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As Florida’s only US Coast Guard City, the City of Clearwater and the Clearwater Regional Chamber of Commerce honored the US Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater with a “Birthday Bash” to celebrate the 226th anniversary of the US Coast Guard. Special guests at the event were US Representative David Jolly and representatives of the staff of US Senators Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio. County Commissioner Dave Eggers and members of the Clearwtaer City Council joined Chamber Chairman of the Board Alex Chamberlain in thanking the crew of Air Station Clearwater for its service. Commanding Officer of the air station, the largest in the US Coast Guard, is Captain Ward Sandlin. This year is also the centennial year of US Coast Guard aviation.
Under a program underwritten by the Long Center Foundation with the assistance of the City of Clearwater and Clearwater for Youth, an 8-lesson swimming course will be offered for $10 per person. The program was announced today at a press conference attended by Fred Fisher, of the Long Center Foundation, Brian Aungst, Sr., chairman of the Clearwater for Youth Board of Directors, Randy Reese of the Clearwater Aquatic Team, three-time Olympic Gold Medal winner Brooke Bennett who will guide the program lessons, and me. The lessons are open to anyone, and all City of Clearwater recreation fees are being waived for this special program.
Volunteers from several neighborhood groups participated with the Clearwater Police Department and others to help remove litter and debris from the Pinellas Trail and the Memorial Causeway this morning. I first joined those who had gathered at Marshall Street to help clean the Pinellas Trail through a section of North Greenwood. Then I went to Island Estates where the civic association and the Clearwater Beach Rotary members were picking up trash along the Memorial Causeway. Thanks to everyone who turned out this morning to help make Clearwater “Bright and Beautiful.”
The City of Clearwater celebrated the 240th signing of the Declaration of Independence with its annual concert featuring John and Mary Kay Wilson with the Coachman Park Mostly Pops Orchestra directed by Robert Romanski. Also performing this year were Clearwater’s Ries Brothers and from Dunedin Aubrey Wollett. There were other activities and food vendors for everyone to enjoy before and during the concert in Coachman Park, and after the sun set, there were the traditional July 4th fireworks that were sponsored again this year by the Clearwater Gas System..