The Tampa Bay Veterans Alliance and the City of Clearwater dedicated the Florida Veterans Memorial Plaza at Crest Lake Park on May 29th. The plaza features the U.S. Flag surrounded by the flags of the v armed services of the United States and the MIA/POW flag. The plaza’s Circle of Honor provides space for individual plaques honoring current, retired, or deceased military personnel. The second phase of the plaza is scheduled to include bronze statutes of military personnel from various encounters. The Tampa Bay Veterans Alliance is a 501(c)(3) organization, and information for donations to the expansion of the plaza or for orders of the commemorative plaque can be made by contacting the organization through its website at www.tampabayveteransalliance.org.
Pinellas County’s Habitat for Humanity had dedicated on Wednesday three house for families in Clearwater. The homes are the first in the county to be served with natural gas, which will be provided by the Clearwater Gas System. As in all dedication ceremonies, the families were given various gifts, including their first piece of mail, cleaning supplies, and a flag flown over the US Capitol by US Representative David Jolly. Funding and labor for these houses was provided by Hooters, Frenchy’s Restaurants, and Clearwater Toyota.
The Clearwater Citadel Corps of the Salvation Army has been serving Clearwater and Upper Pinellas County for 90 years. On May 12th, the local corps held its 3rd annual “Doing the Most Good” dinner to recognize the Dimmitt Automotive Group with the Salvation Army’s “Others” Award. Richard Dimmitt, chairman of Dimmitt Automotive Group, accepted the award which I, as last year’s honoree, presented to him. Bruce and Deidra Livingston were the first recipients of the local Salvation Army’s “Others Award.” Samantha Harris, entertainment journalist and former host on Dancing with the Stars, was the keynote speaker.
On May 7th, the 6th annual Clerwater Festival of the Chariot (Ratha Yatra) was held on Clearwater Beach. The festival celebrates Lord Krishna’s return to Urindaban. It is believed that this commemoration dates over 5000 years to Jagannatha Puri in India. A decorated, canopied chariot is pulled with long thick ropes is pulled by devotees who are chanting and dancing along the beach route near Pier 60. Afterwards, there were food, dancing, chanting, and readings at the Pier 60 pavilion.
The City of Clearwater has again been designated a “Tree City” by the Arbor Day Foundation. The city has received this distinction for 34 consecutive years. To celebrate, the city made available two free trees to residents on Saturday, April 30th, and a proclamation was issued declaring April 30th as “Arbor Day” in Clearwater.
General Electric Company has opened the largest and most advanced capacitor and instrument transformer facility in the industry in the Hercules Industrial Park area of Clearwater. The 190,000 building is an expansion of GE’s 40-year old instrument transformer plant. The capacitors and transformers manufactured in the building will be shipped all across the globe. The factory opening will create 250 new jobs in the region and will provide training for its employees to operate the latest technologies and digital platforms.
On Saturday, April 23rd, the City of Clearwater celebrated its neighborhoods with block parties throughout the community that were attended by city officials and staff. Rescheduled because of rain on April 2nd, this weekend’s parties were well received by the neighbors and the city. While some neighborhoods opted to have their events prior to April 23rd because of scheduling commitments, 20 different parties were held on Saturday. Fire, Police, and Solid Waste staffs brought equipment to be seen up close by those attending, and each neighborhood had food, games, music, and other activities for children and adults. Some of the parties were in parks, but most were held as street parties. They began with a pancake breakfast in one neighborhood, while several others ended the day with early evening picnics. Neighborhoods’ Day reinforces the city’s new logo — Clearwater is “Bright and Beautiful from the Bay to the Beach.”