The Albanian Heritage Foundation of Tampa Bay was honored by the visit of Ambassador Floreta Luli-Faber this week to celebrate the 104th anniversary of Albanian independence. It was on November 28, 1912 when delegates from all over Albania gathered in Vlora under the leadership of Ismail Qemali to declare independence from the Ottoman Turks who had ruled Albania for more than 400 years. Rovena Kasilaj of the Albanian Heritage Foundation of Tampa Bay and I welcomed Ambassador Luli-Faber at a reception, which included traditional dances and songs and was held on Saturday, November 26th.
The City of Clearwater is working on Advanced Water Purification Plant and Recharge Well Construction project. It is the first of its kind in Florida, and the work will be funded by the city and the Southwest Florida Water Management District. When completed, this innovative project will replenish the aquifer and provide a new local, high-quality water supply. Currently, the city treats and delivers approximately 11.5 million gallons of drinking water and 7 million gallons of reclaimed water every day. Groundwater replenishment will purify reclaimed water to better than drinking water standards. This purified water will then be pumped into the aquifer, so that it can pass back through the aquifer before being drawn for treatment and use as potable water. A video describing the process can be found at myclearwater.com/groundwater, and additional information is available through the City of Clearwater’s Public Utilities department.
There were several events to commemorate Veterans Day in Clearwater this past week. The Clearwater Garden Club placed a memorial wreath on the Blue Star Memorial Highway marker located on the west side of the Clearwater Memorial Causeway Bridge on November 11th. The first Clearwater for Youth Sports Fan 5K was held the next day, and then later that same morning, the Tampa Bay Veterans Alliance joined with the City of Clearwater for a formal salute to veterans at the Florida Veterans Memorial which is at Crest Lake Park. There is still an opportunity to help complete the plaza project by purchasing a memorial plaque in memory of a veteran or active duty military personnel. More information is available through the Tampa Bay Veterans Alliance link – http://tampabayveteransalliance.org/. Please stand up for the nation’s veterans and armed forces by supporting the completion of this memorial plaza.
US Representative David Jolly and I were at St. Pete/Clearwater International Airport Tuesday night to welcome home the veterans and their traveling companions (“guardians”) who visited Washington, DC as part of the Honor Flight Network program. The group left early Tuesday morning for a day trip that allowed them to visit the memorials dedicated to their service in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam and other sites in the Nation’s Capital. Hundreds of family and friends were at the airport baggage claim area to give the returnees a special welcome home and thank you. Honor Flight Mission 28 was sponsored by the west central Florida branch of the Honor Flight Network, which has hosted over 179,000 veterans since the program’s inception in 2005.
The Miccosukee Boy Scout Council awarded me its first “Good Scout Award” this week. A breakfast was held at the Sheraton Sand Key on October 13th, and it was a special honor for me to have been recognized by the local Boy Scout district. US Representative David Jolly and State Senator Jack Latvala participated in the program. A special guest was Eagle Scout Trevor Case of Troop 26. Thank you to the scouts, but also to all those who support scouting programs.
The 2016-2017 season of the Pierce Street Market opened this morning. The market will continue through May on the 2nd and 4th Saturday of each month. Located at the foot of Cleveland Street and Pierce Street along the downtown Clearwater waterfront, the Pierce Street Market begins at 10:00am. Vendors have a variety of foods, plants, arts and crafts, and clothes. There are also food trucks to enjoy. Additional information is available at the link www.piercestreetmarket.com.
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.