For the last two weeks, Clearwater has been the national and international capital of the world for junior women’s fastpitch softball. The city first hosted the ASA Gold Championships. The 16-and-under title was won by Florida Impact Feldman, and Virginia Unity took home the 18-and-under title. Today, Team USA won the XII Junior Women’s Fastpitch Softball Championship with a 13-4 victory over Japan. Twenty-six countries were represented in this year’s competition, and Team USA finished undefeated during the tournament at Clearwater’s Eddie C. Moore Complex. The City of Clearwater and Visit St. Pete/Clearwater were instrumental in bringing these tournaments to Clearwater, and softball officials said that they would be interested in awarding future competitions to Clearwater.
As part of the Clearwater summer camp program, there is a section providing guidance on ten character traits — honesty, compassion, self-control, courage, cooperation, responsibility, diligence, citizenship, and leadership. Those campers who best demonstrate these traits over the course of the summer are brought to City Hall to speak on the significance of the various traits and to visit with me. The students and their parents are then treated to a lunch at the Clearwater Beach Recreation Center.
The City of Clearwater is again partnering with the Pinellas County Habitat for Humanity program to provide a site for 12 new Habitat for Humanity houses. These single family homes will be near the Pinellas Trail and will be off of Garden Avenue North. As the city continues to expand affordable rental and housing options, this new complex will complement the almost finished Habitat for Humanity Steven’s Creek subdivision. City officials, Habitat for Humanity staff and supporters, and families waiting for a home gathered at the site for this morning’s groundbreaking.
As the State of Florida mourned the one year anniversary of the horrific attack at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, hundreds of Floridians came out in various ways to remember those whose lives were tragically ended. Memorials were held, and OneBlood organized blood drives throughout the state. Tampa’s Mayor Bob Buckhorn and I joined in support of those efforts and, just as we had done last year, donated blood on Monday morning at the OneBlood Donor Center on Kennedy Boulevard. While thousands came out to donate after the Pulse Nightclub attack, few have returned to donate; but, the need for blood products is still there. If you are able to donate, please consider being a blood donor at least once a year and let each of us vow to join together to bring to an end these types of attacks of discrimination and hatred across the country.
The City of Clearwater paused on Sunday to have an early Memorial Day program at the Florida Veterans Plaza located at Crest Lake Park. People gathered for a few speeches, a testimonial from Gold Star Mother families, and a demonstration on the significance of the folding of the flag. There followed an old-fashioned bar-b-que picnic and music. In addition, while there were thousands enjoying the sugar sands of Clearwater’s world famous beach, the American Athletic Conference crowned its 2017 Baseball Tournament Champions at Spectrum Field — congratulations to the Houston Cougars! On Saturday night, the city also extended its congratulations to the Calvary Christian Warriors–Florida State Class 4A baseball champions! With all these events, it may be hard to remember the true reason today is a holiday, but it is hoped that each resident and visitor will pause to give thanks, to remember, and to commemorate those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms–is we do not, who will?
The City of Clearwater has been named a “Tree City” by the Arbor Day Foundation for 35 consecutive years. Today the city received its “Tree City” flag, and residents were given the opportunity to obtain 2 free trees per person at the city’s Public Works Complex. The Parks and Recreation Department’s Urban Forestry Division and public works staff worked to distribute over 1500 trees conveniently and efficiently.
On March 24th, a large crowd of Habitat for Humanity volunteers, supporters, and staff joined with the Piantadosi Family to dedicate the 400th home built by Habitat for Humanity in PInellas County. The home is part of the Steven’s Creek neighborhood in Clearwater. The financing for the home is provided by a program supported by the Pinellas Board of County Commissioners and the City of Clearwater. It was an honor for me to have been able to present the keys to their new home to the family during the ceremony. To obtain more information on the Habitat for Humanity program in Pinellas County or to volunteer to help build a home, please call 727-536-4755.