The Philadelphia Phillies announced that chairman David Montgomery died this morning after his five-year battle with cancer. Mr. Montgomery spent his entire career working in baseball for the Phillies and was recognized as one of the most respected executives in baseball. He was a most caring man who was held in the highest esteem in Philadelphia, Clearwater, and throughout the country. Not only has the City of Clearwater lost a friend and a resident with his passing, the sports world has lost one of its true heroes. The heavens now have a star whose light will shine over this city and within the hearts of all who have been blessed to have met this gentleman whose love of baseball, of his family and friends, and of his community has no equal. (This photograph was taken at a “Welcome Back to Spring Training Dinner” with David Montgomery (left) and chairman emeritus Bill Giles (right).
Once a year, the City of Clearwater celebrates its neighborhoods. City Council and city staff attend block parties throughout the community. Each participating neighborhoods plans its own event. The council, staff, and police, fire and solid waste units are scheduled so that each neighborhood is visited by several, but not all. In addition to the neighborhood block parties, US Coast Guard Station Sand Key hosted an open house to thank the community for the support provided during the federal government shutdown. Clearwater is the only “U.S. Coast Guard City” in the State of Florida.
President Donald Trump signed a proclamation recognizing the 198th anniversary of Greek Independence Day at the White House on March 18th. I was honored to be among many Greek-Americans invited to attend the signing ceremony and reception. The proclamation recognizes March 25th as a “national day of celebration of Greek and American democracy.” The President presented the proclamation to His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, head of the Greek Orthodox Church of America. Greece declared its independence from the Ottoman Empire on March 25, 1821. The Ottomans effectively took control of Greece after the fall of Constantinople in 1452.
Mayors from across the Tampa Bay area came to Clearwater this morning to help finish a Habitat for Humanity house which will be dedicated on Saturday. Mayor Matthew Surrency, president of the league, emphasizes that “mayors serve local” and came from Hawthorne to assist. After the mayors completed their work, they gathered with staff for a discussion on affordable and workforce house, a priority of the Florida League of Mayors and Florida League of Cities.
The City of Clearwater re-dedicated Moccasin Lake Park this morning after the park had been closed for several months for over $1-million in improvements. Located east of US 19 just north of Drew Street, Moccasin Lake Park is a 51-acre nature preserve. There is a lake, boardwalk, winding trails, and several exhibits for visitors. A playground, butterfly garden, improved classroom space, and a renovated interpretive center are now open to the public. There are several community groups, such as the Friends of Moccasin Lake and the National Audubon Society, that volunteer and conduct tours and lectures at the park throughout the year.
The City of Clearwater’s Second Century Studio, located at 331 Cleveland Street, will be home to the virtual reality experience of Salvador Dali’s “Archaeological Reminiscence of Millet’s Angelus.” The ribbon-cutting opening the exhibit was attended by members of the Clearwater City Council, the local chambers of commerce, staff of the Dali Museum, including its exectuive director Hank Hine, and art enthusiasts from Clearwater and northern Pinellas County. The exhibit was made possible by the partnership of the city’s Community Redevelopment Agency, the Downtown Development Board, the local chambers of commerce, and KnowBe4 which provided the oculus headsets and laptops for the exhibit. There is no cost for the exhibit which will be open Wednesday-Sunday until the middle of June.
The 2019 New Year’s Day Outback Bowl will feature the Southeastern Conference’s Mississippi State Bulldogs playing the Iowa Hawkeyes of the Big-10 Conference. As part of the bowl’s festivities, there was the annual Beach Day presented by Visit St. Petersburg/Clearwater in cooperation with the City of Clearwater and the Clearwater Regional Chamber of Commerce. The school’s bands also enjoy staying in Clearwater prior to the game. The Outback Bowl, which has the longest continuous sponsorship of any collegiate bowl game, has provided over $136-million to universities and to local charities, and its success has generated an estimated $1-billion economic impact over its history.