This year’s Mr. and Mrs. Countryside were announced at a reception held this evening at the Countryside Country Club. Held annually since 1997, the awards are presented to individuals who demonstrated outstanding community service and volunteerism. This year’s recipients Brian Aungst, Sr. and Julie Yaeger were introduced by last year’s honorees, Dr. A. Robert Morelli and Nola Johnson.
The City of Clearwater hosted a street party today in the East Gateway area to commemorate the beginning of the Mexican War of Independence — “El Grito de Dolores.” Father Miguel Hidalgo was the leader of the rallying group that declared independence from Spain in 1810. Street festivals, parades, feasts, and parties are held throughout the country, and Clearwater joined in that commemoration with its party today that featured activities for children, mariachi performers, popular Mexican bands, and folklore dancing. I joined representatives of the Mexican Consulate in bringing greetings to those present.
DOLPHIN TALE2, the story of Winter and Hope, opens in theaters across the United States and North America today. The story about these two rescued dolphins now at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium continues to inspire young and old alike. The movie premiered in Los Angeles on Sunday, and a special Clearwater premier was held Wednesday at Ruth Eckerd Hall. I was interviewed on the “blue carpet” prior to the showing, and additional information about Winter and Hope and the the rescue, rehabilitate, and release mission of the Clearwater Marine Aquarium can be found at the website www.seewinter.com.
Clearwater Fire Department personnel paused for a moment of silence today to commemorate the September 11, 2011, terrorist attacks on the United States. As the department personnel stood outside their stations for a moment of silence, Lt. Mark Wink had begun his “Run of Honor” run from Station Sand Key to all of the other Clearwater Fire Stations. I visited Station 45 to honor those fallen American heroes of the day.
DOLPHIN TALE2, the movie based on Winter the Dolphin, opens nationwide on Friday. The Los Angeles premier was held on Sunday, and a special local premier will be held at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater on Wednesday. A delegation from the Clearwater Marine Aquarium and local residents, including Representative David Jolly, went to the premier which was held at the Fox Theater in Westwood.
Clearwater Gas System Receives System Operational Achievement Recognition
Clearwater Gas System was honored with the prestigious APGA System Operational Achievement Recognition (SOAR) distinction during the American Public Gas Association’s (APGA) 2014 Annual Meeting. The SOAR Award honors public natural gas systems that are entrusted by their customers to deliver clean and affordable natural gas through a safe and reliable distribution pipeline system. To accomplish this mission, a forward-thinking natural gas utility consistently strives to improve its operating capabilities by overcoming industry challenges and adapting to an ever changing environment.
Out of 700 APGA members, Clearwater Gas System was chosen as one of 21 selected for SOAR distinction by the APGA Operations and Safety Committee. Clearwater Gas System’s Bronze distinction was based upon demonstrated excellence in the four distinct areas of system integrity, system improvement, employee safety, and workforce development.
System integrity refers to the natural gas distribution system performing its overall intended function safely, efficiently and effectively. System improvement refers to keeping the natural gas system well maintained and up-to-date through a self-improvement program that includes both an eye on the future and a commitment to system improvement programs. In a top-performing utility, employee safety is utility-wide and evident in all aspects of utility operations. Lastly, workforce development focuses on creative recruitment, training, education and development practices that provide a return on investment through increased employee loyalty, motivation, safety, and productivity.
“Clearwater Gas System was highly rated in all four areas that are required of SOAR. Clearwater Gas System consistently demonstrates a commitment to providing natural gas safely and efficiently to all those in their community and as such, serve as a model for all other natural gas utilities in the country. APGA is proud to recognize Clearwater Gas System and is confident in their continued success,” said APGA President and CEO, Bert Kalisch.
APGA is the national association of municipally and publicly-owned local distribution systems. There are about 1,000 public gas systems serving more than 5 million customers. These public gas utilities are not-for-profit retail distribution entities that are owned by, and accountable to, the citizens they serve. They include municipal gas distribution systems, public utility districts, county districts, and other public agencies that have natural gas distribution facilities.
The Sheraton Sand Key was again the host hotel for the annual Pan-Icarian Brotherhood of America supreme convention. This is the the oldest Greek American organization in North America and has many educational, philanthropic, and social functions throughout the year to service its members and their communities here in the United States and Canada, as well as the Aegean Island of Icaria. Clearwater’s Helios Chapter members Dr. Stanton Tripodis and John Sakoutis were the convention co-chairmen. It was my honor to have been asked to welcome the more than 500 delegates and family members back to Clearwater during Sunday night’s Grand Banquet, which was chaired by Jim Mavres.