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As Florida’s only US Coast Guard City, the City of Clearwater and the Clearwater Regional Chamber of Commerce honored the US Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater with a “Birthday Bash” to celebrate the 226th anniversary of the US Coast Guard. Special guests at the event were US Representative David Jolly and representatives of the staff of US Senators Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio. County Commissioner Dave Eggers and members of the Clearwtaer City Council joined Chamber Chairman of the Board Alex Chamberlain in thanking the crew of Air Station Clearwater for its service. Commanding Officer of the air station, the largest in the US Coast Guard, is Captain Ward Sandlin. This year is also the centennial year of US Coast Guard aviation.
Under a program underwritten by the Long Center Foundation with the assistance of the City of Clearwater and Clearwater for Youth, an 8-lesson swimming course will be offered for $10 per person. The program was announced today at a press conference attended by Fred Fisher, of the Long Center Foundation, Brian Aungst, Sr., chairman of the Clearwater for Youth Board of Directors, Randy Reese of the Clearwater Aquatic Team, three-time Olympic Gold Medal winner Brooke Bennett who will guide the program lessons, and me. The lessons are open to anyone, and all City of Clearwater recreation fees are being waived for this special program.
Volunteers from several neighborhood groups participated with the Clearwater Police Department and others to help remove litter and debris from the Pinellas Trail and the Memorial Causeway this morning. I first joined those who had gathered at Marshall Street to help clean the Pinellas Trail through a section of North Greenwood. Then I went to Island Estates where the civic association and the Clearwater Beach Rotary members were picking up trash along the Memorial Causeway. Thanks to everyone who turned out this morning to help make Clearwater “Bright and Beautiful.”
The City of Clearwater celebrated the 240th signing of the Declaration of Independence with its annual concert featuring John and Mary Kay Wilson with the Coachman Park Mostly Pops Orchestra directed by Robert Romanski. Also performing this year were Clearwater’s Ries Brothers and from Dunedin Aubrey Wollett. There were other activities and food vendors for everyone to enjoy before and during the concert in Coachman Park, and after the sun set, there were the traditional July 4th fireworks that were sponsored again this year by the Clearwater Gas System..
Visit St. Petersburg/Clearwater, Pinellas County’s tourism agency, opened its annual “Grouper Week” today by providing free sliders on Clearwater Beach. Through July 4th, many restaurants will offer special dishes featuring the popular local fish. Much of the country’s grouper supply is caught in Florida waters, and Pinellas County fishermen account for more than 4.5 million pounds of the total. Florida’s “Culinary Ambassador” chef Justin Patrick Timineri joined Visit St. Petersburg/Clearwater Executive Director David Downing and me in sampling the sliders on Clearwater Beach today. They will also visit other locations throughout the county to promote “Grouper Week.”
The 2016 Clearwater Jazz Holiday poster was unveiled this evening at a reception held at Lokey Motor Company in Clearwater. The 4 day festival begins on October 13th, and the line-up will be announced at a later date. My Clearwater City Council colleagues Hoyt Hamilton and Doreen Caudell were able to preview the poster prior to its unveiling.