BELLEAIR - It was 81 degrees at 5 p.m. on Dec. 8. In Belleair the annual Holiday Parade was about to begin. Dozens of residents abandoned their televisions at home with football games going on in snowstorms, to come out to see Santa Claus and all the other decorated floats in the parade. It was all very fascinating for Bob Goldsmith, a snowbird from Michigan.
“Eighty one degrees wow,” he said. “You can’t beat that with a stick. I’m glad I’m here and not back home in all the snow and cold.”
Goldsmith and his wife Pat were at the parade with their grandson Ryder McKillop, 2. It was their first time at the event.
BELLEAIR - William Shephard, 74, of Belleair whose family owns the Shephard’s Beach resort on Clearwater Beach, died Dec. 10.
Born and raised in Lewiston, Maine, Shephard graduated from Northeastern University in Boston.
Shephard went into partnership with his parents and purchased his first motel in Brunswick, Maine in 1969. In 1977, Shephard moved his family to Clearwater, where he and his mother, Yvonne, bought the Lagoon Motel on Clearwater Beach, now known as Shephard’s Beach Resort.
INDIAN ROCKS BEACH - There was something new at this year’s tree lighting ceremony in Indian Rocks Beach and it had the kids howling with delight. An artificial snow machine was fired up just as Mayor R.B. Johnson stood to speak and it brought dozens of children around him as they chased snowflakes and tried to catch them before they hit the ground. There was no doubt it was a hit.
BELLEAIR - The man whose company has done three detailed structural inspections of the Belleview Biltmore hotel says the condition of the property is getting worse.
Michael McCarthy, the president of McCarthy and Associates, Consulting Engineers of Clearwater, said his company did the inspections in 2011, 2012 and just recently in 2013. The first two inspections were done for the town of Belleair and the last one for the Ades Brothers, the current owners of the property.
BELLEAIR BLUFFS - The estimated completion date for roadwork on Mehlenbacher Road has been pushed out once again. The project’s end has been a moving target, going from a prediction of mid-August last summer, to mid-December in the fall and year-end in November. Now, a seven-week delay “to make sure the job is done right” means the job will not be done this year after all.
No completion date was given at the Dec. 9 Bluffs commission workshop. The good news is that the project, which includes curbing, milling and repaving of the roadway, is getting underway again. And most importantly, the curbing issues that have caused the delays have apparently been solved, and drainage problems are being addressed.
In an effort to expedite the job, Belleair Bluffs decided last month to go with Miami curbing used by Belleair, rather than the F-type curbs the city prefers. The decision was expected to simplify matters as the road had been engineered for Miami curbs.
INDIAN ROCKS BEACH - Sarah’s Seaside Cottages at 306 Gulf Blvd. is 25 years old. To get to that age has not been simple. The life and birth of the establishment has been somewhat complicated. It is a story with some international involvement and a lot of hard work and dedication.
The story began in 1988 when Lee and Mary Wilkerson wanted to get some rental property in Florida. They both had educational backgrounds and Lee, who had an architectural background, was working in construction.
BELLEAIR BEACH - The city of Belleair Beach’s main thoroughfare will be getting a major facelift. The City Council approved an agreement at their Dec. 2 meeting for “a complete beautification design for Gulf Boulevard.”
The improvements will be done in conjunction with a plan to upgrade the crosswalks on the boulevard, and as part of a county program to beautify Gulf Boulevard from Clearwater Beach to Pass-A-Grille.
Belleair Beach’s design plan for the boulevard will be special, a letter from Copley Design Associates of Clearwater to the city promised. Drew Copley, MLA, registered landscape architect with Copley, said in the letter the firm recognized “Belleair Beach is a city of very high quality” and “the design elements that will be proposed, designed, and constructed under the oversight of this team will exhibit the statement of quality expected along this section of Gulf Blvd.”
BELLEAIR - Once the town of Belleair bought the Belleview Biltmore Golf Club on Indian Rocks Road 10 months ago, the actual fate of the property has been up in the air.
The town bought the facility for $3.5 million for two reasons: To remove the development rights from the property so no future owners could build condos or anything else on it and as a way of getting something out of the owners who were assessed more than $250,000 in liens because of penalties levied due to the deteriorated state of the Belleview Biltmore Hotel, an associated property.
CLEARWATER – Morton Plant Mease Memory Disorders Clinic and the Aging Well Center are teaming up to offer CarFit, a free, new safety program designed to help older adults learn how the “fit” of their vehicle affects their driving and how to use their vehicle’s safety features.
The CarFit event will take place Friday, Dec. 13, 10 a.m. to noon, at the Aging Well Center at The Long Center, 1501 N. Belcher Road.
Older drivers are considered safer drivers because they are more likely to wear seatbelts and less apt to speed. However, they are more likely to be seriously injured or killed from a car accident due to their bodies’ fragility and improper fit in their cars, CarFit program organizers say.
“As people get older, changes happen in vision, strength, range of motion, weight and height that can cause less comfort making it harder to have control behind the wheel,” said Celisa Bonner in a press release. Bonner is clinic coordinator at Madonna Ptak Center for Alzheimer’s and Memory Loss at Morton Plant Mease. “The CarFit program is a good opportunity for a driver to find their safest fit with their car and to increase the driver’s safety on the road as well as the safety of others.”
Drivers who attend the free community event will have a 12-point checklist done in about 20 minutes that includes checking if the driver: is sitting correctly and positioned at least 10 inches from the steering wheel; can reach the pedals easily with one’s foot instead of toes causing slower reaction time; and has the flexibility to adjust mirrors and minimize blind spots.
Trained volunteers will recommend car and driver adjustments after the inspection.
Drivers interested in having a CarFit check are asked to preregister. Call 724-3070.
CarFit is an educational and safety program created by the American Society on Aging, and developed in collaboration with American Automobile Association, AARP and the American Occupational Therapy Association.
Overeaters Anonymous Amigos
ST. PETERSBURG – Overeaters Anonymous Amigos, a program of recovery for eating disorders, meets Fridays, 11 a.m., at Beacon House, 2151 Central Ave.
The newest Pinellas OA group features a bilingual message.
For information, call Margie C. at 828-9711. There are no dues or fees and a list of meetings may be viewed at oapinellas.org
ST. PETERSBURG – A full course Shabbat dinner will be presented Friday, Dec. 13, at the Chabad Jewish Center of Greater St. Petersburg, 4010 Park St. N. The Cantorial Shabbat will begin at 6 p.m. followed by dinner at 6:30 p.m. Cost for those who RSVP prior to Monday, Dec. 9, is $18 for adults, $10 for children and $50 for a family. Thereafter, the cost is $20 for adults and $12 for children. To RSVP, call 344-4900 or visit www.ChabadSP.com.
The event also will feature professional cantor Rabbi Levi Kaplan. Kaplan will inspire attendees with songs and stories. With his rich baritone voice and passion for chazzanut, Kaplan began training in his early teens under the tutelage of famous cantors and voice coaches in New York. For the past 20 years he has performed at congregations and venues across the U.S. and abroad.
Additionally, for the past 13 years Kaplan, a dynamic educator and animated teacher, has directed the Ivy League Torah Study Experience, an exclusive summer learning retreat in the Catskills for promising young Jewish leaders of the next generation.
Kaplan is also the director of TorahCafe.com, the online division of the Rohr Jewish Learning Institute (JLI) which features thousands of lectures on Jewish topics across the spectrum, given by some of the most sought after speakers in the Jewish world today.
Kaplan also will lead Shabbat morning services on Saturday, Dec. 14. All are invited to participate free of charge. A special Kiddush will follow services.
Sunset Optimist Club meeting TREASURE ISLAND - The Sunset Optimist Club meets the second and fourth Friday of the month, 7 p.m. at Treasure Island Beach Pavilion, 8000 W. Gulf Blvd., Treasure Island. Email email@example.com.
Swedish weaving classes
TARPON SPRINGS – The Tarpon Springs Recreation Department is offering Swedish weaving classes on Fridays from 9 to 11:30 a.m. in the Community Center, 400 S. Walton Ave.
The cost is $2 a class. Participants need to bring their own supplies. Instructor Patty Bush works with students on bedspreads and throws. For more information, call 942-5628.
VFW fish fry, bingo
DUNEDIN – The Dunedin-Palm Harbor VFW Post 2550 hosts a fish/shrimp fry every Friday from 5 to 8 p.m. at 360 Douglas Ave.
The post sponsors bingo each Wednesday and Friday. Doors open at 10:30 a.m. Bingo starts at noon.
The public is invited. Call 733-6107.
Clearwater Gateway Farmer’s Market CLEARWATER – The Clearwater Gateway Farmer’s Market is open each Saturday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., on Cleveland Street east of Missouri Avenue. Parking is available at Fifth Third Bank, 1150 Cleveland Street; Greektown Grille, 1230 Cleveland St., and Maxa Enterprises, 1275 Cleveland St.
This family friendly event welcomes customers with children, bikes and dogs as they shop for local food, produce, artisan goods, and enjoy the free entertainment.
Visit www.myclearwatermarket.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Scrapbookers Anonymous Group meeting
PINELLAS PARK – The Scrapbookers Anonymous Group meets second Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., at St. Giles Episcopal Church, 8271 52nd St. N.
Attendees will enjoy a “fun day of cropping and sharing,” according to a press release. Everyone is welcome – particularly those who have not been involved in scrapbooking previously. There will be plenty of people sharing information and equipment. Attendees should bring a bag lunch or join the group for a take-out.
Sundamizu Bonsai Club meeting CLEARWATER – Sundamizu Bonsai Club meets second Saturdays, 10 a.m. to noon, at Moccasin Lake Nature Park, 2750 Park Trail Lane.
Attendees learn about Bonsai. Meetings feature demonstrations, lectures and workshops. There is no charge.
For information, call Lois Powell at 742-3301 or email Sun email@example.com.
Tree ID program
TARPON SPRINGS – A free program on identifying trees will be presented Saturday, Dec. 14, 10:30 a.m. to noon, at Brooker Creek Preserve, 3940 Keystone Road, Tarpon Springs. Advance registration is required. Call 453-6800 or visit www.brookercreekpreserve.org.
A local natural resource agent will discuss the basics of how to identify area trees. The presentation will include a guided tree identification 0.75-mile walk. Closed-toe shoes, water and hat are recommended. The program is best for ages 6 and older.