The Clearwater Police Department hosted an appreciation dinner for the department’s volunteers. The service hours provided saved the Clearwater Police Department and its taxpayers over $200,000. During the dinner, Norma Fitzpatrick was named “Volunteer of the Year,” and a Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Pat McPhillips who has provided more than 4000 individual hours of volunteer service.
The Clearwater Friends of the Library held its annual meeting this afternoon at the main branch of the Clearwater Library. Rosalie Murray was reelected president of the organization which provides thousands of hours of volunteer service throughout the year at all of the five branches. In addition, the Friends of the Library operate a book store at the Main Library. During today’s meeting, President Murray presented a $10,000 contribution to the Clearwater Library Foundation to be used at the new Countryside Library which is scheduled to be dedicated in October.
Although the Final Four is being played at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis this weekend, the Lucas Oil Company is sponsoring its 7th annual Clearwater Horseshoe Club Tournament today. Pitchers from throughout the country have come to the local club to participate , and the city manager and I were there for this morning’s opening. Sports tourism is an important part of Pinellas’ tourist-based economy, and these events broaden the county’s appeal not only as a destination with magnificent beaches, but also as one with activities for everyone.
The Phillies and the Rays ended their Grapefruit League seasons with a game at Bright House Field in Clearwater yesterday. The Rays won the game, but Clearwater celebrated as the city’s centennial logo was on sleeves of all players. The Phillies have trained in Clearwater since 1947, but their first game in Pinellas County was in 1915, the same year the City of Clearwater was incorporated. Great crowds and beautiful weather greeted the fans at the ballpark, and the Phillie Phanatic was also here to give the fans the “Citizen Bank Park” experience. The regular season starts next week in Philadelphia and in St. Petersburg. The Clearwater Threshers will open on Thursday, April 9th, and the team will have a special game and promotions on May 27, 2015, Centennial Day in Clearwater. PLAY BALL!
Volunteers from various civic associations, businesses, neighborhoods, and students joined City of Clearwater employees for this year’s “Paint Your Heart Out, Clearwater!” The teams painted homes throughout the city. Afterwards, there was a “thank you” party at Coachman Park. Thank you to the volunteers and sponsors who helped on this year’s event. Clearwater is “sparkling.”
This week I visited the Humane Society of Pinellas at its shelter located at 3040 State Road 590 in Clearwater. The shelter has been serving the community since 1949. It finds homes for approximately 2500 pets annually. As an independent, private shelter, the Humane Society of Pinellas is funded entirely by private donations. Only 8% of its income is from adoption fees. In addition to adoption services, the facility provides foster care, affordable an affordable spay-neuter clinic, vaccines, community outreach and educational programs, and its volunteers provided more than 50,000 hours of service in 2014 through their work caring for the animals and helping operate the shelter.
As a courier for the National Bone Marrow Registry transplant program and an over 50-gallon blood donor, I was pleased to be able to speak at Saturday’s Be the Match Run/Walk held at Tampa’s Al Lopez Park. Certain types of cancer, most notably leukemia, can be cured with bone marrow transplants. If your sibling is not a match, then the chances of finding one is 1 in 20,000. The National Bone Marrow Registry program was initially funded through the Department of the Navy because of the work of Congressman Bill Young, for whom I used to work. The registry is based in Minneapolis, MN, and additional information on becoming a potential donor is available at www.bethematch.org — a saliva test is all that is needed to become a potential life-saving donor. Please consider doing so.