Clearwater Marathon Traffic Advisory for Sunday, January 22nd

The course starts early (6:35 a.m.) at Coachman Park on Clearwater’s waterfront, heads through downtown to access the Clearwater Bridge, south to the Sand Key Bridge, descending onto barrier-island-flat Gulf Boulevard and into Sand Key Park and then returning to Gulf Boulevard for the next 9 miles. The course continues through Indian Shores and then turns inland over the Park Boulevard Bridge and takes an easterly route onto Oakhurst Road to the Pinellas Trail.  It then turns north on the Trail before reaching Clearwater and a short trek on S. Ft. Harrison before turning west into the Harbor Oaks neighborhood. The course heads west on the Clearwater Bridge approach for a short jaunt, exiting off to the double-helix ramp onto the bay level and the finish line just ahead back at Coachman Park.

Nature: New Seaside Seabird Sanctuary 

Local birds just got a new ally. Speaking for the new SSS, Andrew von Gontard, President and Executive Director,  recently told loyal supporters, “We are delighted to announce a new path forward for our sanctuary! As of September 1, 2016, we are a completely new organization, now known as Seaside Seabird Sanctuary, formerly Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary.

“With experienced management, a new board, and leadership from the Busch von Gontard family, who possess a long history of wildlife conservation, we look forward to earning your continued support as we put avian wildlife rescue, rehabilitation and environmental education at the forefront of our mission.”

“The Sanctuary’s daily operations will be headed by Eddie Gayton as Operations Manager, a long-time volunteer who has been involved in wildlife rehabilitation for the past six years. He will be supported by Brian Max Tharp as Business Manager, a retired U.S. Air Force officer, and by a team of passionate and loyal staff and volunteers.

“My family and I are excited to work with Eddie and Brian and the rest of the team to make Seaside Seabird Sanctuary a world-class avian rehabilitation center.”

SSS Tour & Staff

Gayton recently took Paradise News on a tour of the ongoing refurbishing of the Sanctuary, introducing other staff along the way.

Diane Liggieri is the long-time Gift Shop Manager and also fills the vital roles of Volunteer Coordinator and answers all Bird Rescue calls with Jackie Walter as Assistant. “We’re actively recruiting new volunteers to add to our current dozen dedicated weekly rotation,” Diane notes. “Included are rescuers, visitor greeters, bird caregivers, gift shop workers and fundraisers.

Prospective volunteers should call the Gift Shop at 727-391-6211.” Typical of dedicated volunteers is Dylan Kahn, who was cleaning one of the bird pools on his regular weekly shift, and is a long-time Audubon steward. Dani Hall is the Dr. Marie Farr Avian Hospital Supervisor and resident biologist, a graduate of FSU and USF with 30 years experience as an environmental scientist. Keith Wilkins is Hospital Manager and Amy Nulph is Hospital Specialist with Chris Walls as Habitat & Nutrition Specialist.

Dani told Paradise News, “We’ve ended captive breeding by segregating the male and female pelicans. Young pelicans from birth can’t be continually around people as they can never be released into the wild. We are releasing a handful of our injured and rehabbed birds every few weeks, typically on Tuesday.  We’re also no longer feeding wild bird visitors as our new enclosure netting is doing a great job of keeping them away and significantly lowering our food costs. Our white pelicans are doing well, including our patriarch George, a favorite of visiting kids with school groups.”

Eddie showed off the refurbished Education Center, which is actively involved in getting school trips again, with more bookings already set for the new year.  “We were involved in the Great American Teach-In this past fall,” he notes, “and are getting more home-schooled kids as well as classes from both public and private schools.”

“In addition to the new netting covering all the bird pens, the Sanctuary has refurbished the outdoor rehab pens for injured birds, and an arborist is coming soon to trim back and take care of all our trees. We’re also set to completely re-do the outdoor deck that overlooks the beach and Gulf, and is an ideal setting for birthdays, engagement parties, weddings and corporate events.”

“Our permanent resident birds on display include a Great Horned Owl, Barred Owl, Barn Owl, Eastern Screech Owl, Red Shouldered Hawk and Isis (Goddess of Nature) our Red-Tailed Hawk, here since 1990 and believed to be the oldest in captivity. Nujay, our Blue Jay, does his “Meow” on cue (sometimes) and has his own YouTube video.”

Wish List & Donation Options

“We are planning a grand opening to the community as Seaside Seabird Sanctuary in the first quarter, to ensure our partners and supporters know about the work we’re doing and the ongoing needs to continue our mission.

“These needs include an X-ray machine to allow us to better serve the birds we rescue, a utility van to aid in the rescue of injured animals and release of the rehabilitated wildlife, and assistance updating our pool systems, which are critical for our sanctuary birds’ well-being, comfort and enrichment.”

“Among perfect gifts for the new year, we have Engraved Bricks for our donor walkway, with three lines for $100. You can become a Feeding Sponsor for any of our birds, with most at $2 for 1 day, $6 for 3 days or $10 for 5 days. You can Adopt a Bird at $25 a month for birds of prey; $20 a month for pelicans or other large water birds; or $15 a month for small water or land birds. All gifts are available on our new website at”

“We’re currently open daily from 9 am to 4 pm, with free admission and always appreciated visitor donations. “We offer tours to 10 or more on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday with prior confirmation by booking through the Gift Shop. Pelican Feeding is daily at 2 pm, weather permitting.

“We look forward to welcoming old – and new friends of our current 120 feathered inhabitants at our new Seaside Seabird Sanctuary.  With your continuing help as volunteers and donations, we will fulfill our goals to care for and rehab injured birds and educate the public about wildlife and the environment. With a very optimistic outlook for the new year, we encourage you to make your visit to us one of your top New Year’s resolutions for 2017!” PN


Seaside Seabird Sanctuary Staff:

  • Eddie Gayton, Operations Manager
  • Dani Hall, Avian Hospital Supervisor
  • Diane Liggieri, Gift Shop Manager
  • Amy Nulph, Avian Hospital Specialist
  • Brian Max Tharp, Business Manager
  • Jackie Walker, Habitat & Nutrition Specialist
  • Keith Wilkins, Avian Hospital Manager

Produce, Grower and Food Vendor Applications Now Being Accepted for The Beach Markets

beach-marketsAdditional spaces have become available at free to discounted rates for Produce, Grower and Food Vendors at the the Mid-Week Madeira Beach Beach Open Air Market (held on Wednesdays) and the Indian Shores SundayMorning Market.

The Indian Shores Sunday Morning Market will open on Sunday, October 2 and the Madeira Beach Open Air Market will open Wednesday, October 5.  Both Markets are Seasonal and are scheduled to run weekly through the end of May, 2017.  Hours at the Madeira Beach Market are from 9am-2pm.  Hours at the Indian Shores SundayMorning Market are from 9am-1pm.

New Vendors and new applications are subject to Advisory review and will be accepted as space allows. Vendor Applications, Market Rules and the Vendor Handbook are available at

The Madeira Beach Open Air Market is located on Madeira Way between Gulf Boulevard and the Tom Stuart Causeway and hosts between 55-90 Vendors. The Indian Shores Sunday Morning Market is located on the grounds of the Town of Indian Shores Municipal Center at 19305 Gulf Boulevard and accommodates approximately 40 Vendors.

The Markets are free of charge and family friendly.  Leashed pets are welcome.

For further information, or to apply as a Vendor, please

St. Petersburg Audubon NEEDS for Bird Stewards

bird-stewardsFort De Soto Park & Indian Shores: We are passing along this urgent appeal from Audubon Bird Steward Dylan Kahn.

This is Dylan Kahn, and I am the anchor steward for both the sanctuary area atFort De Soto and for theIndian Shores black skimmer colony. I am writing you all today because I really need your help out there on the beaches. We are getting into our very busy summer season now, and we have chicks and eggs that need protecting at both locations. I’ve been out at both Fort De Soto and Indian Shores working very hard, and I have a great group of committed volunteers also working hard to protect the birds. But the beaches are getting more and more crowded with each passing weekend (and therefore a higher rate of intrusions/disturbances), and we are starting to see more eggs and more chicks. 

Please, I need your help in protecting these birds. We really need more coverage at both spots, and we need determined and diligent volunteers to get the job done. Volunteer stewardship makes all the difference in terms of ensuring that these birds have a successful nesting season. Without our help, almost all of these colonial and solitary nesting sites will fail.

If you have any interest at all in stewarding for either of these locations. Please reach out to me at or (815) 355-8451. We really need you out there for the birds!

Indian Shores Mayor’s Message

stingray-shuffleReminder – Town Ordinance Sec 106.90 states that you cannot leave umbrellas, canopies, volleyball nets, chairs, lounges, tents, etc., on the beach overnight (between the hours of 10 pm – 6 am). Please let your renters know that we will be red tagging property  and confiscating items left overnight on the beach.

From May through August, Black Skimmers depend on our beaches to lay their eggs and raise their chicks. The Skimmer colony has returned to its Indian Shores home this year in front of the Sand Dollar condo building at 18500 Gulf Blvd (beach side). There are several new babies. Please be careful not to step on eggs or small chicks. See flyer below. 

The sea turtle nesting season began May 1 on Florida’s beaches and lasts through the end of October. Beachgoers can report sick, injured, entangled or dead sea turtles to the FWC’s Wildlife Alert Hotline: 1-888-404-3922, #FWC or *FWC on a cell phone or text   The Black Skimmers nest in a small colony straight at ground level in the sand depression. Individuals frequently come in and out to skim, stretch and bath.

Indian Shores Sunday Morning Market Re-Opens October 2nd

The Sunday Morning market will be open again starting Sunday from Oct. 2 – May 21. Come and shop the produce, gourmet goods, fine arts, handmade crafts, etc.


Indian Shores Sunday Market Hosts Book Sale Every 3rd Sunday

The Indian Shores Sunday Morning Market will be hosting the Indian Shores Library for a library book sale every third Sunday during the Market Season. 

The library will have carts of books, magazines, puzzles and dvds available for sale.  Donations to the library are also welcomed. 

The Indian Shores Sunday Morning Market is open every Sunday from 9am1pmthrough April, 2016, and is located at 19305 Gulf Boulevard on the grounds of the Indian Shores Town Hall center. The Market is free of charge and family friendly.  Leashed pets are welcome.   

For further information, please visit


Indian Shores Unveils New Logo

indian-shores-logoThe conversation started quietly at an art reception. Retired Police Chief E.D. Williams was looking into producing a memorial for the indigenous people tribes for which the town is named. Said Williams, “ We need an artist to design the memorial. Will you help us find someone who can do that?” The person he was talking to was Sara Mullins, owner of Galleries On The Go. Her company provides a gallery service as a vendor to the town.

“Yes, I can help you!” was Mullins’ reply. She brought in artist and designer Steve Graff. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Bonnie Dhonau, Town Administrator had a vision to expand the concept from a memorial to include wayfinding signage and a branding / logo initiative. Through a series of council workshops and meetings, a new Ad Hoc Arts Committee was established. The committee is formed of town residents, town staff, and Councilor Bill Smith.

Over the past six months they have worked through a number of design sketches and concepts to present a finalized version of the logo. “The town members feel strongly about maintaining a beautiful community. We’re grateful to DesignSource for helping us create such an outstanding new look.” Bill Smith, Councilor

The wayfinding signage and memorial are paid for by Penny for Pinellas funds under the Phil Graham Gulf Boulevard Beautification Plan. Mayor Jim Lawrence has guided the concept development process by gaining approval from the Barrier Islands Government Council (BIG-C) and hosting informative sessions with Pinellas county officials. Arts committee members are preparing bid guidelines for sign makers to begin their competitive proposals.

As a result of the branding activity, Mullins and Graff have formed a joint venture called DesignSource. They recently designed a new logo, letterhead, and signage for Paradise Island Co-op in Largo.

“DesignSource not only provided the design, but is walking us through an entire logo and branding exercise. We’ll be rolling out our new letterhead very soon.” Bonnie Dhonau, Town Administrator. The branding concept is about 75 percent complete. Next steps include developing a branding manual and marketing templates.

Artist Steve Graff stated: “By choosing a powerful figure we show respect to the Native Americans. This design is more contemporary, less dated, and will appeal to a wider range of viewers.” Galleries On The Go (GOTG), an award-winning fine art gallery service brokered the project. Artistic direction by Steve Graff of Grafficsink LLC. Project management by Rick Mullins, VP of Special Projects, GOTG.

If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Sara Mullins at 727-331-5979 or email at