Walking On Air- Rick Wallenda Coming to the Sundial

Wallenda will cross the courtyard on a cable no bigger than an index finger without a harness or safety net.  The event, which benefits Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas County,is FREE and open to the public.

Prior to the skywalk, enjoy a variety of circus-themed performances beginning at 4 p.m. Many Sundial retailers will participate by donating proceeds to Habitat for Humanity. Additionally, Wallenda will be available for photos in the courtyard with the public.  

At 61, it won’t be his longest or highest feat, but as a third-generation aerialist, it’s a tribute to his family’s profession and grandfather, Karl Wallenda who calmly crossed Georgia’s Tallulah Gorge and Kings Island, both death-defying acts.  An Eckerd College graduate, Rick and his family have deep roots in Florida.

On their website, Rick writes about his experience, and even wrote a book, Skyfall. (Excerpted from http://wallendaenterprises.com/index.html):

“My sister, Rietta, and I toured as The Great Wallendas until she married. I also married, and my wife Debbie and I continued as The Great Wallendas. We performed our highwire troupe, and a new duo act featuring Debbie as the first and only woman in history to perform an incredible jump from my shoulders to the wire. That record still holds. No other woman has attempted that trick. Debbie and I continued with the duo, and the troupe, but added The Great Wallendas Circus.

“The circus consumed time, and minimized highwire practice. On some occasions The Great Wallendas highwire act remained in the truck sometimes replaced by other Wallenda highwire acts. The main focus of The Great Wallendas Inc became show productions, and eventually attracted the mighty Medinah Shrine Temple as our opening engagement in Chicago for a seventeen day appearance 1995-97.

“During this time I turned my attention to concept shows. As a response to spectators requesting something historical, we fashioned Zirkus Wallenda. Zirkus is a turn of the century show with a story line, and a real snake-oil salesman, Dr. Sauce, selling Wallendas Wonder Tonic. The show successfully toured for several years, and remains on our menu of offerings.

“After the 1998 season I entered Eckerd College, graduating in just three years with a 3.95 GPA, and a B.A. in Creative Writing, and followed that with two years at Vermont College, earning the MFA in Writing.

I now combine my literary degrees with my performing experience, creating and performing concept shows, thrills, and exceeding the limits of tradition. Wallenda Enterprises offers more room for creativity, and expansion into other areas of expression.”  

Story by Nanette Wiser

* The Sundial is located at 153 Second Avenue N in Downtown St Petersburg


Welcome, IndyCar Racing Fans!

The Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg is among the most respected and exciting motorsports events in North America and features a festival-like atmosphere that includes the fastest racing series on the planet, celebrity athletes, live entertainment and interactive activities. Visit http://www.gpstpete.com for ticket information and details.

Dubbed the “World’s Fastest Spring Break Party,” the race takes place every spring on a challenging temporary street circuit overlooking the scenic waterfront in downtown St. Petersburg. Racing at speeds in excess of 170 mph on the 14-turn, 1.8 mile long street course, drivers circle the Mahaffey Theater and The Dali Museum, then proceed to the runways of Albert Whitted Airport.

The race is part of the Verizon IndyCar Series, the premier open-wheel racing series in the United States and Canada. Launched in 2003, the race marked the advent of a new form of competition among engine manufacturers by having three different engines, which now features Honda, Chevrolet and Mazda to compete for track leadership.

But the Firestone Grand Prix offers so much more than cars and speed; it’s packed with family-friendly fun. The free Fast Friday event in North Straub Park filled with live music, kids’ build-a-racecar tent, food trucks and more will kick off the weekend’s festivities. To add fuel to the good times, free Movies in the Park featuring racing-themed films will take place each night on the north wall of the Museum of Fine Arts.

Friday is chock full of practice sessions, followed by the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg 5K foot race. Participants get a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience every curve and straightaway of the track as they run, walk or wheel around the waterfront race course.

Practice and qualifying sessions continue on Saturday and the main event, the Verizon IndyCar race, unfolds Sunday.

Spectators also have the opportunity to test their own racing skills at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg with racing simulators and a Fan Zone that encourages event-goers to put the pedal to the metal.

Those opting for a luxurious experience with Monaco-like style can take advantage of the prestigious Yacht Club. Specially built private floating docks let spectators view the race from the comfort of a yacht. The slips provide unprecedented vantage points at turns 10 and 11, located directly alongside the race track.

Related Events:

Bright House Speed Zone
Verizon IndyCar Series Fan Village
Beer Gardens
Driver Autograph Sessions
Interactive games & exhibits

Beacon Windows & www.SliderRepair.com DIGS DEEPER!

We first met Lizette LaForge of Beacon Windows in 2010 as she was starting her sliding glass door repair business. They started out replacing rollers and locks for the Alden, one of the older resorts, right on the beach.

Beacon Windows now leads the industry on sliding glass door refurbishments, right here in our own backyard. The Alden just hired them to come back to refurbish 65 more doors. They have rescued 26,000 older doors, repaired hundreds of relatively new impact doors, and have authored 50 educational sliding glass door videos. We interviewed Lizette for advice on keeping doors in tip-top shape.


You’ve come a long way in 7 years. WOW! 50 videos on sliding glass door repair? Tell our readers about that.


Our goal is to help clients to comprehensively restore their door systems for a fraction of the cost of new doors. Creating videos on various door problems helps people understand what is going on in their door systems and that they CAN be fixed. As a leader in educational videos we receive calls from all over the world, frequently consulting with engineering firms, general contractors, and condo associations about door restoration versus replacement.  

All our videos appear on Beacon Windows YouTube channel: https://www.youtu.be.com/user/SliderRepair/videos

We’ve noticed a disturbing trend of failure at very young ages in expensive new Hurricane Impact doors, due to the heavy weight of the doors. Rollers get crushed, locks damaged and tracks gouged and scraped. We’ve fixed over 800 “new” impact doors in the past 3 years. We created a special video just for new impact door owners to help them prevent unnecessary aggressive damage to their doors.  Hurricane Video link: https://youtube/2At0ev0GYoc


I had no idea that Hurricane doors could be trouble so early. What’s another issue you’ve encountered?


Water Intrusion!  Big problem, especially along the beaches with buildings over 20 years old.  We specialize in fixing this major issue, which typically involves concrete damage and spalling, (aka “concrete cancer”) again at a fraction of the cost of new doors.  


What are common symptoms to look for with water intrusion?


Several circumstances create water intrusion opportunities.

  • Outside balcony tile HIGHER THAN the door track.  Because all the water cannot egress, over time water seeps under the door track wreaking havoc with the concrete and rebar.  Known as “spalling” or “concrete cancer”, the rebar will rust, and in aggressive situations lift the concrete right up.  Very dangerous, particularly on building balconies. This MUST be addressed.
  •  Indoor/Outdoor carpet is NOTORIOUS for water intrusion into concrete.  Some of the worst spalling cases we have seen have come from outdoor carpeting.
  •  Missing or rusting screws and poor or old caulking. Water intrusion nightmare!  
  •  Previous water evidence – Look for discoloration, swelling, moisture, or mold where door meets baseboard and drywall.  On interior tile, using a blunt object like the back end of a screwdriver, tap gently across the floor surface on the inside tile directly in front of the door, listening for hollow sounds, which indicate air pockets and water intrusion.  
  • If you have carpet, pull it back, look for moisture discoloration evidence on the carpet tack strip, tap for hollows, and look for cracks or raised areas in the concrete. On wood flooring, look for discoloration. You may also find the neighbor below you  has an unwanted water feature in their ceiling below your door. Never a fun moment, but totally repairable.
  • Impingements – Door feels wedged because the space the door moves in has become too tight. Typically, water intrusion from above or building settling causes impingements. We’ve had great success in fixing several hundred of these water intrusion, spalling and impingement cases, working with many engineering firms, general contractors and condo associations. Proactive, regular maintenance helps avoid costly water intrusion!

Links to cases to help readers look for signs and understand the seriousness of water intrusion:

Water Intrusion: https://youtu.be/7rSGciTRHjU
Water under Tile: https://youtu.be/HWGS4I-2-G4
Impingement testimonial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x1qlQ4tXdPE&feature=youtu.be

On the Beacon Windows YouTube channel, you’ll find videos on subjects like “How to Clean Your Sliding Glass Door Track” https://youtu.be/QrJ6cWHsgQY or “Extreme Track Damage-What Can Be Done About It?” https://youtu.be/Hy90W3SByqk


Awesome tips Lizette! Any final thoughts on how our readers can keep their doors in optimal health?


Absolutely.  As cars need regular maintenance for peak performance, so do sliding glass doors.  Never change the oil in your car?  Let me know how you like the new engine. Same rule regarding doors.  Standard Refurbishment Video https://youtu.be/D5-vpha0K4Y

Sliding Glass Doors 5 Functional Parts

  1.  Rollers – Use stainless steel with precision sealed bearings when possible
  2.  Weatherstrip – Like a toothbrush, weather stripping wears down.  If you had a 10-year-old toothbrush, would you have any teeth?  Replace weather stripping every 10 years, 5-7 years for beachfront ground or 2nd floor situations.  In the Tampa Bay area, we are the only company that comprehensively replaces weather stripping.  Three other roller replacement companies regularly refer us for howling, rattling or drafts.
  3.  Screws in the glass panels – Replace screws holding the glass panels together, particularly on NON-moving doors which will be moved out of alignment by moving doors, causing draft and glass separations over time.  Fixable with stainless screws and realignment.
  4.  Track damage- Stainless steel capping rails can give the rollers a new surface. Like a cut on your arm… little boo-boo= little band-aid.  Big boo-boo, stitches and bandages. Beacon Windows can fix your tracks.
  5.  Locks and handles – Frequently break due to misaligned and hard to roll doors. Broken locks and handlesare like fevers in people… they indicate something ELSE is going on.  You must address the actual issue, generally the rollers. With over 26,000 doors refurbished since 2010, there’s nothing they haven’t seen regarding sliding glass doors. Readers can reach Beacon at www.SliderRepair.com with any questions.


Thanks Lizette… we love the work you did for us in restoring our old doors!  No more howling wind keeping us up at night. What an amazing difference!

Story by Peter Roos

Cover Story: For the LOVE of Tampa Bay

In April 2010 the Gulf of Mexico experienced what is now considered to be the largest accidental marine oil spill in the history of the petroleum industry, causing extensive damage to marine and wildlife habitats, fishing and tourism industries.

Rudy Consoni, President of Resort Realty/ Resort Rentals has been operating a real estate company specializing in managing vacation properties and renting to visitors from all over the world for 20 years. While some in his industry have had complaints from clients and customers, his company has maintained an A+ rating with the better business bureau. He knows the BP oil spill and the media frenzy that went on for weeks affected his business to some extent, but it bounced back and the tourism business has been great since.

Rudy said his company filed a ‘BP claim’ in 2012 and received a settlement in October 2016. Rudy says “their award was generous, and we are determined to give it back to Mother Nature and to help restore our beautiful environment. We have been corporate members of Tampa Bay Watch for a number of years and have seen the wonderful way they operate.”

Resort Realty/Resort Rentals generously donated $25,000 from their BP settlement and has also committed to donate $10 from every booking that they make over the next year to reach a total donation goal of $50,000 in 2017.  “We’ve already reached $35,000 Rudy says proudly.”

Of the 6,521 Pinellas County claims currently filed with the BP Deep water Horizon Court Supervised Settlement Program (CSSP), 760 have been paid to date for a total of $83,000,000, with an average claim value of $109,000. “Tampa Bay Watch is extremely grateful to receive this generous support from Resort Realty / Resort Rentals,” says Peter Clark, Tampa Bay Watch President,  “These funds will significantly contribute to our ability to restore and protect our Bay waters.”  Of all the places we could donate, why did we choose Tampa Bay Watch?,” Rudy asks.

Tampa Bay Watch is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) stewardship program dedicated exclusively to the charitable and scientific purpose of protecting and restoring the marine and wetland environments of the Tampa Bay estuary encompassing over 400 square miles of open water and 2,300 square miles of highly- developed watershed. Tampa Bay Watch involves more than 10,000 youth and adult volunteers each year in hands-on habitat restoration projects. For more information, visit www.tampabaywatch.org, or call 727-867-8166.

“Our tourism industry is based on visitors coming here to enjoy the beaches, the weather, fishing, swimming, paddle boarding, kayaking and windsurfing” says Rudy. “The quality of the water is a huge part of that. Tampa Bay Watch has been a growing presence here for decades now. Engaging families as volunteers and contributors, they have been planting seagrasses and building oyster beds. They have also been educating school children and visitors through partners like the TradeWinds Resort. They actively monitor the health of Tampa Bay counting scallops, rounding up tarpon, they take part in our communities’ activities and address our water-related challenges. Water is the gold of the future. What could be more important.”

Rudy hopes his donation will set an example for other business people who will be receiving BP settlement checks in coming months. “Assuming all 6,521 claims are paid, Pinellas businesses will receive $711,000,000 over the next two years. Tampa Bay Watch has done so much with so little for so long, imagine what they could accomplish if they had even a tithing of what Pinellas companies receive from BP in the coming couple of years.”

Tampa Bay Watch is proud of its diverse Board of Directors:

  • Kevin Kelso, the Vice President/Regional Manager – Portfolio Management of Hancock Bank as Chairman,
  • Doug Sokolowski, a member of Great Bay Distributors ownership as Vice-Chairman,
  • Mary Ann Renfrow, an owner of the Alden Suites Resort as Treasurer and
  • Mark Chmielewski, Managing Director of United Capital of Tampa Bay as Secretary.

“I am very proud and excited about our new board officers. They are a professional and diverse group of individuals that contribute personally and professionally to support the many existing and new programs,” states Peter Clark, President of Tampa Bay Watch.

“Just think how much bay restoration we could achieve if 10% of the $83,000,000 that has already been received in BP settlements was donated to Tampa Bay Watch”.  “As you may know a clean bay contributes approximately $22 billion to the region’s economy”, said Jamie Serino, Tampa Bay Watch Director of Development.

You can get involved with Tampa Bay Watch too!

Volunteer to help with Native Plantings in Safety Harbor on Sat. Feb 25th from 9 – noon. In partnership with the City of Safety Harbor and Tampa Bay Estuary Program, Tampa Bay Watch is recruiting 150 volunteers for a native planting in Safety Harbor on the morning of Saturday, February 25 from 9am-noon. The address of the meeting location is 110 Veterans Memorial Lane, Safety Harbor, FL 34695.

This project is family-friendly and open to all ages. Tampa Bay Watch in partnership with the City of Safety Harbor and Tampa Bay Estuary Program is recruiting 150 volunteers for a native planting in Safety Harbor on the morning of Saturday, February 25 from 9am – noon. The address of the meeting location is 110 Veterans Memorial Lane, Safety Harbor, FL 34695. This project is family-friendly and open to all ages. 

You can also attend the Bay Life Art Exhibit: Feb. 25, 10 am – 2pm Meet Wildlife Artists at the 4th Annual Event The collaborative art exhibit and sale at the Tampa Bay Watch Marine and Education Center is free.  Meet the artists and enjoy a live informational pastel demonstration by one of the Bay Life artists plus kids’ activities. There’s a benefit cocktail reception Feb. 24 5-9 pm; Contact Tampa Baywatch by February 17 to RSVP.(727) 867-8166 x 231 or rzafar@tampabaywatch.org.

For More info call:
Peter Clark, President, www.TampaBayWatch.org
Rachel Arndt, Communications Manager
Jamie Serino, Director of Development
Tampa Bay Watch, 3000 Pinellas Bayway S., Tierra Verde, FL 33715
(727) 867-8166 x 233 Fax: (727) 867-8188

Rudy Consoni, President
Resort Realty Vacation Rentals (727) 363-3336
8010 Blind Pass Rd., St Pete Beach, FL 33706-1625

Story by Peter Roos
Photos courtesy of Tampa Bay Watch