City of Treasure Island Summer Camp for Kids

treasureislandpirateThe City of Treasure Island Recreation Department is offering three (2) exciting and fun camps to entertain your children this summer.

An eight (8) week recreational camp for children ages 5 to 13 years old will be held June 13 through August 5, 2016 from 8:00am to 5:00pmMonday through Friday. Before and after care is provided for an additional fee. Family discounts are available. Summer Camp registration is available in the Recreation Department located inside city hall at 120 108th Avenue from 8:00am to 4:30pmMondaythrough Friday. Activities to include games, sports, arts and crafts, parties, guest speakers and entertainment, movies, field trips and much more. For additional information, please call the Recreation Department at (727) 547-4575 or email recreation@mytreasureisland.org .  Participants can obtain registration forms and additional information at www.mytreasureisland.com.

Junior Tennis Camps for juniors ages 8 years old through high school will be held at the Treasure Bay Golf and Tennis facility located at 10315 Paradise Boulevard, Treasure Island, FL. Camps will be held Monday through Friday from 9am-12:00noon. For additional information, please contact Treasure Bay at (727) 360-6062 for registration; or email pgirardi@mytreasureisland.org.

 

Treasure Island’s Future

The City of Treasure Island is on the brink of an even more exciting future for its residents, businesses and a growing number of tourists. High on the City Commission’s list are vital upgrades for its deteriorating municipal buildings, with the possibility of a new complex similar totreasureislandpirate the recent improvements in Madeira Beach… Necessary repairs to the Treasure Island Causeway bridges, continuing maintenance costs and possible reinstatement of tolls … And positive responses to the recent Vision Group survey and community workshop looking toward Treasure Island in 2020.

One prime example is the recent opening of the new 77 all-suite Treasure Island Beach Resort, operated by the Ocean Properties’ Opal Collection at 10800 Gulf Blvd. Nasser Wehbe, General Manager and Ocean Properties’ Regional Operations Manager, has a very positive outlook for Treasure Island that led to building the first new hotel in many years here.

beach-in-treasure-island

He told Paradise News, “By bringing this hotel to Treasure Island, the local establishments will also thrive as we welcome both residents and tourists. Our luxury suites offer an escape to a refreshing blend of casual beachfront luxury, soothing coastal-inspired design and charming ambience. Our signature restaurant, BRGR Kitchen & Bar, offers delicious gourmet burgers and hearty salads, as well as handcrafted cocktails while guests watch our world famous Gulf sunsets. We know that everyone who visits our Treasure Island Beach Resort will not be disappointed!”

Mayor Robert Minning and City Manager Reid Silverboard provided Paradise News exclusive insight on the community’s problems, possibilities and very positive outlook for the future.

New Municipal Complex

City officials are looking for solutions to transform the current City Hall, Police, Fire and Public Works buildings into a modern administration complex that could include its existing City Hall/Fire Dept./Police Dept. area and the Community Center and city park.

As Silverboard explained, “A recent bid was about $700,000 for critical repairs to the windows, doors and low-sloped roofs for the Police and Fire buildings, and roof and fascia board repairs to City Hall. This would just get us by for another day, so the City is preparing an RFQ (Request for Qualifications) to send by the end of the month to engineering/architectural firms. This will be for an assessment of the current buildings with recommendations and costs for replacing them with a modern complex on the current 108th Avenue site, or another City site.”

“A much-needed parking garage is another option for consideration. It would offer public parking to meet the city’s needs and could be done as a public/private partnership with businesses purchasing spaces. All our hotels and many businesses would be able to participate.” The Mayor added, “Parking is the Number One issue from our Commission.”

He reiterated that “We can no longer continue to throw money down a rat hole. The RFQ is for site selection, to develop a conceptual design, an engineering design, and for construction management, for the project. Local residents and businesses would have plenty of input on where and how the project would be done.”

Silverboard noted, “The City’s financial condition is such that we have plenty of leeway to issue bonds to pay for a new complex.” 

Causeway Bridge Situation

Treasure Island Causeway is a series of three bridges (the outer ones fixed, the middle one a bascule drawbridge) crossing Boca Ciega Bay between the City and mainland St. Petersburg. Under an agreement that dates to 1938 all three bridges were constructed, owned and maintained by the City of Treasure Island. All motorists paid a $1.00 toll, with discount stickers for residents, until June, 2006, when the first span of the drawbridge was reopened with no toll booth.

The Causeway was first opened to traffic in 1939 and quickly became a popular route to the Pinellas County barrier islands for beach getaways. By 2002, an engineering study revealed that all three bridges had become so structurally deficient that immediate action had to be taken to replace the bridges. Construction on the West and East fixed bridges started in late 2003 and was completed in October 2004. Three months later, construction of the new drawbridge began and the “new Causeway bascule bridge” was dedicated in ceremonies held on August 25, 2007.

“Total cost of the project was about $65 million,” Silverboard explained. “Funding included a $5 million TOPS grant from the State for the two fixed bridges, and $10 million from the City for extensive permitting and engineering design. Thanks to late Congressman C. W. “Bill” Young the City got about $50 million for the new drawbridge through the Federal Highway Administration. Then Mayor Mary Maloof agreed to take off the tolls once the first span of the bridge was completed.”

“We offered the East fixed bridge to St. Petersburg, and the drawbridge to the State or County, but no one wanted to take them. As a result, we’ve had to budget between $700,000 to $800,000 a year for operation, maintenance and repairs, and had to spend about $900,000 extra last year for concrete repairs and painting of the three bridges.

“We can no longer afford to maintain and repair these bridges and 1.8 miles of causeway, and we’re now in the final stage of an RFQ to hire an engineering firm to undertake various studies to get the information needed for the Commission to make a decision on whether or not to reinstate tolls. These studies would focus on Traffic and Toll Revenue, including where the Causeway users are coming from and heading to, the amount of traffic at different times of the year, and times of day TheCommission needs these details to determine future funding, toll collection methodology and design, cost of operation and maintenance, and setting up a toll rate structure including discounts for residents and other frequent users and city businesses.”

“The Commission is adamant that all tolls would go toward bridge operation and maintenance. Any tolls would be all-electronic, to eliminate traffic bottlenecks. With the survey starting as soon as possible, the public and Commission will be kept fully informed, with a likely portal on our City website. We would hope to have a decision later this year.”

Unique Vision Group

Treasure Island is fortunate to have an innovative Future Vision Group that dates to 2009, and recently completed a community workshop whose results were recently mailed to all 5,000 resident homes. Both Mayor Minning and City Manager Silverboard are very pleased with the recent survey results and workshop.

The Vision Steering Committee chairman is Mitchell Shenkman, a former publicly traded company president who moved to TI with his wife Whitney in 1998 from New York City. He told Paradise News, “I got involved with the Vision Steering Committee in 2009 at its inception, with 20 other residents and business people. We were tasked with identifying community priorities for the next 20-year future vision for TI. In 2010 a community survey was launched with 1,332 respondents and we also held three community engagements facilitated by the Collaborative Labs of St Petersburg College. In March 2011 the Commission was given the results and a joint Vision/Commission/City Staff group made the next steps to mobilize the vision. A new stewardship committee was formed to insure the vision of the community was being accomplished.”

“That brings us to 2015 when the next Vision Steering Committee was appointed with the same task, with a survey started last March and completed in September. We got approximately 800 survey respondents, which led to our January 30 community workshop. We had an enthusiastic turnout of 83 TI residents and 10 TI business folks.”

“Now the results of the community workshop and surveys are getting to our residents and business people. This will insure all will be informed, with many of this year’s results similar to those of 2011. Included are beautification and preservation of our beaches … redevelopment of the north end and west beach trail, from 104th to 119th street …consideration of a modest increase in height and density, with view corridors of our beautiful beach.  I look forward to continue being part of our smart growth and prosperity in the coming years.”

Survey & Workshop Highlights

By 2020 the three most popular prospective headlines the participants wanted to read in the newspaper about Treasure Island were:

1.  Downtown Business Area Development Completed – Tower Bell Rings in New Development
2.  New Resort and Destination Marina opens on Gators’ Property
3.  Best Place to Live is also best place to visit.(2 and 3 tied for popularity)

Top strategies chosen for the community included:

1. Utilize downtown area for “First Friday” type of event. Plan and promote sports tourism, beach friendly events – such as beach volleyball, softball, baseball
2. Make Treasure Island more pedestrian friendly with better lighting, safer repaired sidewalks and green spaces. Improve bike trail for safer biking, extend the beach trail southward and put a designated bike lane on the beach trail
3. The City has to market the city.

Top Strategies selected for growth included:

1. Redevelop Gators’ property into a viable tourist destination including a destination Marina resort.
2. Revitalize downtown, build attractive parking garage.
3.  Establish planned development for the beach area.

Top Strategies for beautification and environmental preservation were:

1. Create and enforce a set of environmental & beautification standards for the beach & community
2. Complete under-grounding of Utilities
3. Community to educate beachgoers, residents and visitors on recycling and beach clean-up (2 and 3 tied for popularity)

A sampling of resident and business responses to the recent Vision Workshop and survey results are included in the sidebar to the right.

Story by Steve Traiman
[Editor’s Note: Special thanks to Mitchell Shenkman, Mayor Robert Minning and City Manager Reid Silverboard for their comments and insight.]
[Steve Traiman is President of Creative Copy by Steve Traiman in St. Pete Beach, offering freelance business writing services. He can be reached via email at traimancreativecopy@gmail.com)

TI Community Response to  Recent Visioning Session

Here’s a sampling of attendee comments from the January 30 Treasure Island Visioning Session:

Arthur Czyszczon, General Manager, Page Terrace Hotel: “I attended the Community Input Workshop that the Vision Steering Committee held for the Vision of Treasure Island’s 2020 look. Treasure Island is my home. My family lives and works here. I am excited for our future. New development with an appreciation of green spaces and environmentally forward thinking will catapult Treasure Island into a Top 10 destination to visit and live. Redevelopment not only benefits our residents now, it secures a bright future for our children and grandchildren.” 

Saleene Partridge, Educator & Board Member:“We’ve lived here since July, 2010, and for 17 years I’ve been a teacher, education administrator,and have a Master’s in Writing Curriculum. I am active on the Planning & Zoning Board, the Local Planning Agency and the Vision Steering Committee. With a great turnout at the Visioning session, we were extremely pleased to see many new faces of residents who had not attended earlier meetings. It was inspiring to us to hear more items for discussion we had not heard earlier. A lot of residents had good ideas on the need for more downtown area redevelopment, and it was encouraging that many residents are concerned about helping small, local businesses by doing more to promote tourism.”

Atul Shah, Owner, At Cost Liquors: “I’ve been here 28 years and started from scratch in 1989 with our site at 9861 Gulf Blvd. We’ve seen a lot of changes in the community and have been involved with the Visioning group since it began about five years ago. As a local businessman, I would like to promote more businesses outside of downtown, into the South Side and other areas. Celebrations should be spread out to more beach areas away from the recent site behind the Bilmar to get more tourist traffic. That’s why we have so many vacant storefronts as our officials are not doing enough to promote all of Treasure Island. We need more public parking as well all over the beach. The City needs to talk to some local developers to help with new parking.”

Ric & Danute Krebs, Retired Schoolteachers: Ric notes, “We’ve been here about three years, coming from Naperville in west suburban Chicago. We both attended the recent Visioning session that was definitely positive with many good ideas. For me as a new resident it was very educational and an opportunity to learn what others concerns are.“ Danute adds, “It was intriguing that many did not realize this was a ‘community’ Visioning session as they had only their own private concerns. There were times when discussions were good but better monitoring would have kept one topic from monopolizing the floor. One disappointment was as relatively new residents, we felt the City Manager could have given a clearer background about the Visioning group and its mission.”

Greg Tong, American Legion Post 158: “Although I’m not a resident, I have a keen interest in the community. I’ve been active for several years with the Treasure Island/Madeira Beach Chamber, and am on the Board. I’ve been involved with our Visioning group since we had the last Collaborative LabSession five years ago. At the recent Visioning session, everybody seemed on board that we have to move forward together. I’d like to see a more concerted effort to bring more high-quality tourist visitors to the community. Having more places such as the new Opal Collection Hotel for these tourists to stay at will give our Chamber more impetus to promote our beautiful beach. It was great to see so many residents and business people interested in helping build our community. Whatever we do we need to keep in mind that the focus is to keep the tourists coming, and to keep the residents happy.”

Quotes gathered by Steve Traiman

The Sunset Lounge Experience

The Sunset Lounge Experience debuts on St. Petersburg Beach, May 21, 2016. Brought to you by the producers of Chillounge Night, the ultimate outdoor lounge party, the Sunset Lounge Experience promises to be an innovative, tasteful, and exclusive gathering for a select few.  This unique social gathering will feel like a private club on the beach.

Within the enchanting ambiance of the Sunset Lounge, you feel the rhythm and heat of the night as graceful models showcase exquisite fashions while they interact with the guests … let the dazzling art of fire dance captivate … and sway to the beat as the sensual and colorful ladies of Samba provide that extra magical touch. Music to please, with rare chill-out compilations, are played through the night.

sunset-lounge-experience

The Tradewinds Island Resorts on St. Pete Beach will be the first to offer their idyllic beach setting for the perfect gulf-side affair. Casual chic comes to life here…. Trendy lounge furnishings offer seating for 280 guests. Guests can reserve an intimate private daybed for two or join the mix and mingle crowd in our centrally located Sunset Lounge seating area. All guests will have reserved seating. Special hotel package deals are also available.

Fine dining will be at its best as guests feast on a banquet of culinary delights. The hotel chef and staff will provide innovative signature dishes. And no evening is complete without the fine taste of champagne.

“Sunset Lounge offers a sophisticated experience to a limited number of guests where they can enjoy a combination of beach, sand, sunset, fine dining and entertainment in a private outdoor VIP club-like setting” said Rainer Scheer, the founder of the dynamic Chillounge Night events and creator of the Sunset Lounge Experience.

All tickets include: Valet parking, reserved seat, entertainment, open bar and fine dishes from our buffet. The extensive offerings at the buffet encompass a number of savory dishes including exquisite salads, seafood entrees, various meat selections, and tasty desserts. The complimentary bar provides quality distilled spirits and champagne, as well as fine wines, beer and signature cocktails.

Chilled Seafood with Ice Sculpture Poached Gulf shrimp, citrus-marinated clams and mussels,
seasonal oysters on the half shell, “old bay” remoulade, classic cocktail sauce,
 shallot-pepper mignonette, lemon and lime wedges, Tabasco Salad Table Marinated and grilled vegetable antipasto
 with cured meats and farmers cheese.

Crisp jicama and citrus segment salad with grapefruit, orange and cilantro-chili vinaigrette. Southwest Caesar with roasted corn, charro beans,
 manchego, chipotle dressing, crispy tortilla strips.

Main Presentations Fresh gulf red snapper
Papaya salsa and charred lemon
 Jerk-spiced breast of chicken
caramelized apple and golden raisin compote. Grilled Warm water lobster tails 
cilantro citrus butter. Roast tenderloin of beef
truffle jus and chipotle mayonnaise, fresh mini rolls. Herb roast fingerling potatoes
grilled asparagus, marinated peppers. Viennese-Apricot almond tart, flour-less chocolate torte,
tiramisu cake, sour cream cheesecake, miniature fruit tarts and
miniature white chocolate napoleon, truffles

PRIVATE DAYBEDS $490

40 private daybeds available; ideal for the romantic couple or close friends; stretch out and lounge; perfect for enjoying the Sunset Lounge Experience. Price includes 2 ticketed seats reserved for your pleasure.

CANOPY LOUNGE $490

16 unique canopy lounges available; room to sit and delight in the evening or stretch out and relax. Price includes 2 ticketed seats reserved for the evening. The Sunset Lounge Experience is the perfect partner for the stylish and sophisticated beach side hotel. It opens the hospitality market to a refreshing concept in either off-market times or peak seasons.

LOUNGE AREA $250

168 single tickets to purchase to revel in the central lounge as a comfy armchair or sofa awaits you.


To reserve a private suite please call 941-448-0995. http://sunsetloungeexperience.com.

The Cure on Wheels Cure the Bay Challenge Ride

tbw-turtleThe Cure on Wheels Cure the Bay Challenge Ride presented by AAA is scheduled for Sunday, May 1, at Tampa Bay Watch, near Ft. Desoto.

A variety of cycling events are available for all ages. The ride includes a 7 Mile All Children’s Family Fun Ride, a 20 Tour De Moffitt Ride and a 40 Mile YMCA Pedal for a Purpose Ride. We welcome individual riders and rider teams.

The event takes place at the beautiful Tampa Bay Watch, located near Ft. Desoto.

The 7 Mile All Children’s Family Fun riders have a minimum goal of $75.00 a person fundraising goal plus a $25.00 per person registration fee. Children under the age of 12 are exempt from fundraising, but encouraged to do so. The 20 Tour De Moffitt and 40 Mile YMCA Pedal For A Purpose riders have a minimum fundraising goal of $250.00 per person and a $50.00 registration fee. Participants may register at the event as well as online in advance by visiting http://give.cureonwheels.org.

This year’s event will feature a Waterfront Concert performed by The Black Honkeys, a widely popular Tampa Bay area R & B, funk, soul and rock and roll band. (www.theblackhonkeys.com)

Can’t ride but want to participate? The event also offers registration for Virtual Riders. Virtual Riders may fundraise and if $100.00 fundraising is met they will receive entry into all the post-party events. Which include food and drink from Island Grille, Billy’s Stone Crab, Team Oink, and 3 Daughters Brewing, water and soft drinks. The event will also feature games for kids, face painting and feature the waterfront concert, by the Black Honkeys. Riders who meet their fundraising goals and higher receive incentives along the way. From official Cure on Wheels cycling jerseys, beach towels, bike lights and a weekend getaway, participants can earn fun incentives when goals are met. (Visit give.cureonwheels.org for all fundraising incentive information.)

A variety of sponsorship and volunteer opportunities are available. Please email info@cureonwheels.org for inquiries. Cure on Wheels is an all-volunteer 501c3 nonprofit organization that raises money through organized cycling events. Because of our dedicated volunteers and sponsors, Cure on Wheels strives to pass 100% of our rider’s donations to specific targeted programs locally in the Tampa Bay area to benefit cancer research and patient services. Current beneficiaries include Tampa Bay Watch, Moffitt Cancer, All Children’s Hospital, and the Livestrong Cancer Survivor Program at Tampa Bay YMCA’s.

Sunday, May 1, 2016
Tampa Bay Watch, 3000 Pinellas Bayway S, Tierra Verde, FL 33715 (www.tampabaywatch.org)

Organization Website: www.cureonwheels.org Event Website: give.cureonwheels.org.

Skyway Marina District May Day Races

mayday-raceSkyway Marina District May Day Races to inspire kids and adults alike!

From the biggest of hearts to the smallest of bodies, May Day Racers of all ages, shapes and sizes will take to the track around Ceridian and the Skyway Trail on May 7, 2016. There is something for everyone at this event including beautiful scenery, competitive timing, great shirts,post-race fun, and great medals and prizes (both for race and random winners!)

Kristen Mory, who chairs the committee that has organized this annual event commented, “I love to hear about the various groups training for this event from the Couch to 5k program at Anytime Fitness to the boys and girls running club at 74th Street Elementary in St. Petersburg. I can’t wait to see these teams crossing the finish line and experiencing the joy that comes from training and working hard to accomplish their goals.”

This year’s event adds a Kids Dash for Cash sponsored by Jabil Circuit to the successful 5 and 10k started last year. Kids who participate in the Kids Dash will receive goody bags, a t-shirt, and a chance to win great prizes. Kids can participate free with an adult race entry, but all must pre-register to be guaranteed an entry. Dash distances will vary based on age up to a 1-mile run around Ceridian.

The beneficiaries of the race this year will be the Skyway Marina District and local school projects as part of the Pinellas County Schools Fund a Classroom program. To register as a race participant or to volunteer, please visit www.active.com or for more information visit theSkyway Marina District Facebook page.

Mother Nature Knows Best: Mind/Body/Spirit Opps, Ohm-My

earthdayFrom Chopra to Oprah, everyone’s talking about the healing power of nature, nurture, mindful meditation, yoga and GMO-free healthy eating. And St. Petersburg is riding the resurgence of sixties’ style, hippie dippie alternative lifestyles, once thought to be alternative and now very much mainstream.

In celebration of April’s Earth day, we hugged a tree, planted our herb garden and took a walkabout to see what’s percolating in St. Pete’s mind/body/spirit resources.

By The Sea

With miles of Gulf beaches to stroll, we wondered what the health benefits of living on the water are. We caught up with Dr. Vincent M. Pedre, author of “Happy Gut,” and one of the country’s leading authorities on holistic living, from the dangers of EMF to fracking’s effects on our mind and bodies. The Gulf’s benefits, says Dr. Pedre, is that it’s both calming and energizing.

“When you live near salt water… negative ions generated by the crashing waves have a healing effect on the body.  They calm.  They help promote alpha rhythm in the brain. They help expand brainwave amplitude which helps create a higher awareness level. This explains why being by the seashore can feel so healing and energizing for all sorts of conditions.”

Laughter is the Best Medicine

Stretch your funny bone. There’s no doubt that yoga ups the Bliss Quotient. but have you tried laughing yoga (and even yoga with your doga at SPCA Tampa Bay)? The healing benefits of laughter and smiling? According to the Mayo Clinic, it enhances your intake of oxygen-rich air and stimulates the heart, lungs and muscles; relieves stress, soothes tension and in the long run, can improve your immune system and relieve pain.

Improve your mood, feel the happy with some of our local yoga classes /studios including Kripalu Yoga with Jeanne Salvo in Pass-A-Grille, Tree of Life Yoga at South Pasadena Shopping Center, Gulfport Yoga, Nava Yoga Studio in Isla, Perfect Circle Yoga & Fitness on Corey at Gulf Blvd. including hot yoga, The Body Electric Yoga Company, St. Petersburg Yoga, (even yoga for kids and aerial yoga) , YogaBlu, Yoga4All, Ganesha Hot Yoga and classes at the city’s Rec. Centers, Don Vista Arts Center, Sundial, Dali Museum, Sunken Gardens and area gyms/YMCA.

Mind Over What’s The Matter?

“Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff” author Dr. Michael Mantell believes that there is no such thing as STRESS, Unless you create it by your thoughts about events and advises you to redefine and prevent STRESS with these simple steps:

S (smile),
T (think rationally and walk away from negativity),
R (relive the good and healthy relationships),
E (eat right),
S (sweat more) and
S (savor your moments).

As for spiritual sweating, check out the Drum Circles, on the 4th Friday on Gulfport’s Beach and each Sunday before sunset in Treasure Island. Drumming empowers and heals, while Hoop Dancing at Sunken Gardens celebrates your inner goddess.

Eat Local, Think Global

Eat real foods, more veggies/fruits, less meat and avoid processed foods. Sounds simple, right? Unlike San Diego, where I’m from, local options are a bit limited. In Pass-a-grille there’s the tiny Vida de Café which offers a dining out opportunity even for strict vegetarians. Then there is the Sweetwater Organic Farms, some vendors at downtown’s Saturday Market, and the Sunday Market on Corey Avenue. Cider Press Café, Leafy Greens Café, Evos Feel Great Food, Karma Juice Bar & Eatery. Our very own Jackie’s Bistro on Corey Avenue will feed you delectable vegetables and healthy meals with innovative flavors seasoned with ethnic twists and everything is amazingly gluten-free. For heaven in a glass, try Soho Juice Company.

Edibles, Lotions, Potions & More

While Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, Richard’s, Fresh Market, Rollin’ Oats Market & Cafe and even local grocery stores offer more healthy eating products (sugar-free, lactose-free, gluten free, organic), the grand-pooh bah for good eats are Earth Origins on Central Ave. in Pasadena and Nature’s Food Patch in Clearwater. Classes, organic wines, take-out foods, juice bar, cheeses, grains and 1,001 good for you comestibles and potables.

Great American Natural Products is tucked away downtown on 16th St. N, a veritable oasis of herbs, bulk teas, rejuvenating potions, aromatherapy candles, cool jewelry and hip gifts for chicks, even organic clothing and hemp fabrics. Shop there and they hand you a soothing cuppa tea when you enter and a flower when you leave.

Helping Hands

Looking for a healthcare practitioner who understands whole body health, integrative medicine, Eastern-Western medicine, ayurvedic, detoxification, Chinese herbal therapy, Qi Gong and holistic interventions for health, wellness and anti-aging? Look no further than Dr. April Wang, at Ancient Healing and Acupuncture, a few blocks north of Tyrone on 66th St. at 31st Ave N. Other options include Chantilly Wellness, St. Petersburg Health & Wellness, Peaks of Health Metabolic Medical Center (run by Tracie Leonhardt, DO) and Lifeworks Wellness Center.

Libby Higdon, a highly sensitive mobile massage therapist will bring her considerable talent and her massage table to your home, office or hotel room if there’s space to set up. Otherwise check out Tierra Verde’s Island Massage Therapy, Lemon Tree Spa at Corey and Gulf or Seaside Massage, at 4615 Gulf Blvd..

Below the Blue Fugu at Dolphin Village Shopping Center where there is an especially therapeudic, pain management oriented massage practice. Other healing hand havens have experienced, compassionate practitioners for taming the wild beasts roaring in your mind and muscles.

For those who want to explore other holistic options, there are herbalists, chiropractors, holistic dentists, reiki and energy medicine practitioners. Some, such as massage therapist Maud Hoffman, work with new techniques such as cupping to energize and improve lymphatic functioning and improve oxygen flow to the cells. New on the scene is Mark Tong’s Crystal Bay Hotel Spiritual Retreat for Wellness and Healing, at Park St. and Central, catering largely to cancer patients. He worked as a healer at Utopia Wellness in Oldsmar and opened this healing center with meditation, yoga and cancer-fighting foods in January 2016.

Story by By Nanette Wiser

Legal: LOVE IS NOT ENOUGH

property-law-groupSome make the choice to forego getting married, even though they are in committed relationships which they intend to honor. Having felt the great pain of going through divorce, they don’t want to ever again, and for good reason. Almost everyone who’s been divorced felt like they were “screwed to the wall.” Also, the emotional trauma of all those broken dreams is more than people think they can endure again. 

But life is about learning and growing. Part of that growth needs to be learning to heal, but even more, learning not to make the mistakes that led to that pain and suffering in the first place. Sincere people of good conscience can put personal trauma aside and learn to trust again. We’re older, we’re wiser, and we’re less likely to choose the wrong person again. Hopefully, we’re a lot less likely to contribute to the destruction of our relationships, as when we were younger. Getting stuck in the past is a disability, which we all need to overcome.

Meeting later in life, each partner perhaps having had a previous family, there are plenty of forces that would discourage us from conquering our fears. But happiness, as well as a simple sense of fairness, requires that we do. Your new partner is not to blame for your past mistakes, only their own. But to fail to plan for the needs of both parties is a mistake.

The unmarried partner can be put at a huge disadvantage as changes in life come. That person you love (and actually do trust) might not have their name on your shared home. If you don’t have proper documents, medical professionals might not be able to talk to them when it counts the most. The person who may have the best insight into the choices you would make might be locked out of the process. And your children, who might never accept someone new taking the place of their natural parent, cannot be expected to automatically respect your new partner as you do.

What would happen to your partner if you should die tomorrow? Would he or she be homeless? Many are. Would they be without sufficient funds to meet everyday expenses? Most are! Would they even have use of the car you might have shared? Simply put, can you live with the thought that your lack of planning contributed to their ultimate demise? You must, at least plan for these possibilities. Sooner or later we all pass.

Get Real about Property! Travels through Real Estate Law by Tom Brodersen, Esq.

Help FWC Monitor Horseshoe Crabs

Be a citizen-scientist: Help FWC monitor horseshoe crabs spawning on beaches.

A ritual dating back millions of years takes place again this spring on Florida beaches. Spring marks horseshoe crabs’ mating season, and biologists with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) want the public’s help identifying spawning sites. Beachgoers will likely have the best luck spotting mating horseshoe crabs around high tide, just before, during or after a new or full moon. The conditions around the new moon this Wednesday, March 9, and the full moon on March 23 will create ideal opportunities to view the spawning behavior of horseshoe crabs.

fwc-horseshoe-crab-grouping

Mating crabs “pair up,” with the smaller male on top of the larger female. Other male crabs may also be present around the couple. Beachgoers lucky enough to spot horseshoe crabs are asked to note how many they see and whether the horseshoe crabs are mating. If possible, the observer should also count how many horseshoe crabs are mating adults and how many are juveniles (4 inches wide or smaller).

In addition, biologists ask observers to provide the date, time, location, habitat type and environmental conditions – such as tides and moon phase – when a sighting occurs. The FWC asks the public to report sightings through one of several options. Go to MyFWC.com/Contact and go to “Horseshoe Crab Nesting Activity” for the “Submit a Horseshoe Crab Survey” link, then select “Florida Horseshoe Crab Spawning Beach Survey.”

You can also report findings via email at horseshoe@MyFWC.com or by phone at 866-252-9326. The survey program began in April 2002. Through 2015, the FWC has received 3,485 reports from across Florida. Horseshoe crabs, often called “living fossils,” are an important part of the marine ecosystem. Their eggs are a food source for animals. Birds, such as red knots, rely on horseshoe crab eggs to fuel their long migrations to nesting grounds. Horseshoe crabs have also proved valuable to human medicine. Pharmaceutical companies use horseshoe crab blood to ensure intravenous drugs and vaccine injections are bacteria-free and sterile. Scientists are also using horseshoe crabs in cancer research.

FleischmanGarcia Selected To Design New SPB Library

After a well-attended March 8 workshop with presentations by the top three designer/architect submissions, the St. Pete Beach City Commission selected Tampa-based FleischmanGarcia Architects for the new Library to be built on the former Police Station site on the north side of 75th Avenue.

The Commission authorized City Manager Wayne Saunders to enter into contract negotiations with FleishmanGarcia for design services. He told Paradise News, “I anticipate having the proposed contract on an April meeting agenda for the Commission’s consideration.”

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SPB Mayor Maria Lowe said, “”The Commission selected FleischmanGarci because of their demonstrated ability to respect community input as they design and honor the heritage of our community. We look forward to partnering with them to incorporate a variety of components into the new Learning Center that will make the facility a dynamic location for the Cultural Arts while offering multimedia and museum components to attract many future generations.”

The SPB City Staff Committee formed to review the designer/architects’ submissions for the new Library was in agreement with the City Library Advisory Committee. After their January 28 meeting to review the six submissions, the Committee’s unanimous recommendation was to invite the top three firms to make a formal presentation to the City Commission. Also making presentations were Long Associates, and RDHA + Rowe Architects.

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Speaking for FleischmanGarci, CEO and Chairman Sol Fleischman told Paradise News, “To say we are thrilled to be selected as architect for the new Library would be an understatement. It is very gratifying that our creative, ‘out of the box’ design concepts are recognized and appreciated by Mayor Lowe and the Commission. We went out on a limb suggesting Horan Park as an alternative site, but the opportunity to present that concept has so many exciting pluses.

“These include an incredible view over Boca Ciega Bay, both from the second floor library and a possible roof terrace … a building that welcomes visitors as they cross Corey Causeway … and the ground floor parking structure that could double as a weekend shaded, festival venue at the water’s edge.

“In addition, the Horan Park site would save the City about $150,000 in costs to relocate utilities in the existing easement north of the Police Station site. No existing utilities are on the Horan Park site that would interfere with the library construction.

“Returning to St. Pete Beach to design the new library is a personal thrill for me. As a kid, my family vacationed at the old Colonial Inn and Desert Ranch, docked our boat at Wilson Hubbard’s pier, and ate smoked mullet at Ted Peters and Greek salads at Pappas on Pasadena. In the last several years, we have served as architect and interior designer for several interior renovations to the Don CeSar and designed the three-story Spa Oceana addition including the breathtaking roof terrace. We look forward to engaging the community in the design process for the new library with the result being an iconic, civic building that enriches the urban fabric and serves as a community gathering place for St. Pete Beach.”

The firm prepared the excellent plans for repurposing SPB City Hall as a possible current Library site, and has completed a number of new and renovation library projects in Tampa Bay. Included are the new Seminole Heights Library, Tampa; Bloomingdale Regional Library, Valrico; and North Tampa Library; plus the Jimmie Keel Library renovation/expansion and West Tampa Library renovation.

A portion of the $200,000 PPLC (Pinellas Public Library Cooperative) construction grant was used to issue a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for a design consultant/architect to survey the site and come up with a proposal. Another portion will be used to fund the selected firm’s accepted bid for the design and construction plans. The City has $2 million in the current FY budget, and expects to apply for an up to $500,000 state library construction grant.

Meanwhile, demolition work on the former Police Station started in early March. The City Manager expects the work by Forestall Enterprises to be completed by late April.

Story by Steve Traiman

[Steve Traiman is President of Creative Copy by Steve Traiman in St. Pete Beach, offering freelancebusiness writing services. He can be reached via email at traimancreativecopy@gmail.com.]

2016 Python Challenge Was A Success

python-challenge-logoWith 106 snakes removed, 2016 Python Challenge™ a success

With participants turning in 106 snakes, the 2016 Python Challenge™ is a success on many levels. Today the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) announced the results and winners of the Python Removal Competition at the 2016 Python Challenge™ award ceremony in Davie.

“We are pleased with the success of this year’s Python Challenge,” said FWC Commissioner Ron Bergeron. “Each python that is removed makes a difference for our native wildlife, and the increased public awareness will help us keep people involved as we continue managing invasive species in Florida.”

More than 1,000 people from 29 states registered to take part in the month-long competition to remove Burmese pythons from the Everglades ecosystem.

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Here are the official 2016 Python Challenge™ results:

Team Category – Most Pythons

– Grand prize winners led by team captain Bill Booth captured 33 pythons and received a $5,000cash prize. Team members include Duane Clark, Dusty Crum and Craig Nicks.

– Second-place winners led by team captain Paul Shannon captured 9 pythons and received a $1,500 cash prize. Team members include Brian Barrows, Jake Carner and Chris Shannon.

Individual Category – Most Pythons

– Grand Prize winner Daniel Moniz captured 13 pythons and received a $3,500 cash prize.

– Second-place winner Steve Daskam captured 8 pythons and received a $750 cash prize. Team Category – Longest Python

– Grand Prize winners led by team captain Bill Booth captured a 15-foot-long python and received a $3,000 cash prize. Team members include Duane Clark, Dusty Crum and Craig Nicks.

– Second-place winners led by team captain Paul Shannon captured a 14-foot, .9-inch-long python and received a $1,000 cash prize. Team members include Brian Barrows, Jake Carner and Chris Shannon.

Individual Category – Longest Python

– Grand Prize winner Daniel Moniz captured a 13-foot, 8.7-inch-long python and received a

$1,000 cash prize.

– Second-place winner Jack Merwin captured a 13-foot, .77-inch-long python and received a $750 cash prize

All Python Removal Competition winners will also receive a hand-crafted Woodman’s Pal land- clearing tool donated by Pro Tool Industries as part of their prize.

Every Python Removal Competition participant was required to complete an online training module, and more than 500 people also attended in-person trainings, which taught them how to identify, locate and safely and humanely capture Burmese pythons.

“Our staff worked hard to provide these valuable training opportunities throughout south Florida,” said Nick Wiley, FWC executive director. “We attribute much of the success to these expanded training opportunities.”

Other factors that may have led to this year’s success include favorable weather conditions and a larger geographic area for the competition. The original 2013 Python Challenge™ resulted in removal of 68 Burmese pythons.

“We are excited to see so many people contribute to this important effort to conserve Florida’s natural treasure, the Everglades ecosystem,” said Bergeron. “We need to keep this momentum going now that the competition is over.”

In addition to the 2016 Python Challenge™, there are several ways the general public can continue to help the FWC manage nonnatives. People can participate in the FWC’s Python Removal Program, a year-round citizen science program that uses trained individuals to help remove pythons and collect data on pythons on state lands. People can also take part in ongoing Python Patrol trainings to learn more about how to identify and capture Burmese pythons in the wild. Visit MyFWC.com/Python for more information.

The public can also help manage invasive species by reporting nonnative fish and wildlife to the FWC’s Invasive Species Hotline at 888-IVE-GOT1 (888-483-4681), by reporting sightings online at IveGot1.org or by downloading the IveGot1 smartphone app.

The prize money was provided by the Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida, which co-hosted the 2016 Python Challenge™ along with the FWC.

For more information about the 2016 Python Challenge™, visit PythonChallenge.org. To learn more about Burmese pythons and other nonnative species in Florida, go to MyFWC.com/Nonnatives.