Beware of the “Can You Hear Me?” Scam

Pinellas County Consumer Protection (727) 464-6200

•    Pinellas County Consumer Protection is alerting residents of new robocall scam
•    If you receive a phone call asking “Can You Hear Me?” – hang up; do not say yes
•    Residents advised to not answer calls from unfamiliar numbers

The latest scam may sound like a commercial, but it’s not. Pinellas County Consumer Protection is advising residents who receive a phone call asking “Can you hear me?” to hang up and not say yes.

The objective is to get the victim to respond to the question by saying “yes”. That affirmative response is recorded and then used to authorize unwanted charges on a phone bill, utility bill or with a stolen credit card.

To add legitimacy to the transaction, the scammer may have already collected some personal information about the victim. When the victim disputes the charge, the scammer will validate the charge with the recording of the victim saying “yes,” therefore approving the charge.

Remember: the question doesn’t have to be “Can you hear me?” It can be any question that prompts a “yes” response. The best way to prevent becoming a victim of a telephone scam is to not answer calls from unfamiliar numbers. Residents are advised to hang up if they answer the call.

If you suspect you are a victim of this scam, here are some steps to take:

•    Check your credit card, phone or cable statements for unauthorized charges.
•    Dispute the unauthorized charges with your billing company.
•    If you have been told that you have been reported as approving the charge(s), request proof.

For more information, or to file a complaint, contact Pinellas County Consumer Protection at  (727) 464-6200 or visit www.pinellascounty.org/consumer.

Local Bay Vista Fundamental Student Gives Back to SPPD

“You even have queso!” The officer exclaimed in appreciation of the taco bar fixings spread on a center conference table that was typically used to discuss details of serious crimes. Today was a bright spot in what can be a dark and  intense world for Sergeant Kevin Haemmelmann and his team in the Major Crimes Unit of the St. Petersburg Police Department.

Savannah Walker, 9 year old Bay Vista Fundamental student, explained that her neighbor in St. Pete Beach and Shells Restaurant had donated the tasty cheese dip as part of her Taco Tuesday luncheon which now covered that same conference table. Fourth grader, Savannah Walker, put lunch together for the officers as part of an annual community service  project for school. Her motivation, she states so simply. “Can you imagine our world without them? There would be no one to fight the bad guys. “ So on Tuesday, January 10th, Savannah Walker, with the help of her mother, grandmother and numerous donors from the greater St. Petersburg community,  served the twenty plus detectives an elaborate taco bar for lunch in their office.

Savannah, a fourth grader, is required once a year by her Gifted Studies teachers, Darcy Webb and Lori Bjostad, to do a community service project.  The Walker family gladly embraces this annual project of giving, having done it with their two older children as well.  “They are creating a tradition of giving to the community you live in and instilling the tradition that you can make a very real difference. As  parents, we love seeing our kids get outside of themselves. They identify a need they are passionate about and we figure out a way to help them help others ,” says Savannah’s mother in praise of the Bay Vista Elementary tradition.

Savannah’s grandmother, Louise Redfearn, who recently relocated to the area from Utah jumped right in to help her granddaughter and added, “It was great to give back to people who give so much and to put a smile on their face when they work in a challenging line of work.” Savannah asked for taco bar donations in a short video that she posted on her  mother’s Facebook page.  “I raised $75 and people from all over St. Pete gave me ingredients for the bar.  I even had enough [money]to buy them a nice Publix cake!”  The family adds that the community seemed excited to give something small but very tangible to the officers.

The detectives seemed to not only enjoy the tacos and , but also truly enjoyed being appreciated by the community.  To this end, they thanked Savannah in a way that only they could.  On February 2nd, they pulled into her driveway in their armored vehicle with sirens and lights blaring.  The whole neighborhood gladly surrounded the vehicle in a surprise celebration as they presented Savannah with a plaque, purchased with voluntary donations from the unit, and bestowed her with the title of “Honorary Detective.” Later that evening, Savannah leaned in to her dad and asked, “ Can we do this every month?” The lesson learned, yet again, is that when one gives, one often gets quite a bit in return.

 

Tampa Bay Beaches Chamber Advocates for VISIT FLORIDA

Tampa Bay Beaches Chamber of Commerce has issued a call to action to its members fighting proposed legislation that would completely eliminate VISIT FLORIDA; the state’s tourism marketing agency.

Individuals in the industry need to contact their legislators and remind them of the benefits tourism generates and how VISIT FLORIDA helps small businesses and communities reach new markets that they otherwise wouldn’t be able to capitalize on.

VISIT FLORIDA is essential in bringing visitors to our state who generate 23% of our sales tax revenue, create over 1.4 million jobs, support small business and boost our local economy with $108.8 billion in economic impact. It is critical to renew the focus on the value of marketing the Sunshine State.

For more information and to take action visit: http://www.tampabaybeaches.com/tourism-matters.html

Penny for Pinellas Voter Information Session

The Tampa Bay Beaches Chamber of Commerce Community Advocacy Quarterly Meeting focuses on the renewal of Penny for Pinellas

Join the Tampa Bay Beaches Chamber of Commerce 9:00 a.m.February 16th at the Madeira Beach Rec Center, 200 Rex Place. Learn why voters should renew the Penny for Pinellas in November. Our guest speaker will explain how Penny for Pinellas was used to complete important infrastructure, beautification and capital improvement projects throughout our communities. The discussion will include a list of future projects projected to be completed if voters approve the renewal of the penny.

Investments from the Penny for Pinellas include:

  • New bridges that span our waterways and neighborhood parks
  • Faster travel with 68 new lane miles, 16 major roads with added lanes
  • Safer communities with more than 20 fire and emergency facilities built or renovated
  • More than 150 projects to enhance our stormwater systems and flood control
  • Protection of natural resources with hundreds of acres of land preserved, upgrades to 21 parks and more than 50 new miles of multiuse trails.

For more information on Penny for Pinellas visit: http://www.tampabaybeaches.com/events.

Easy Recycling Options in Pinellas County

  • New 2017 Recycling Directory available online and in local newspapers
  • Pinellas County’s A to Z Guide is now GPS-based
  • Both are accessible online

In a continuous effort to practice superior environmental stewardship, Pinellas County is offering new tools to give residents and visitors easy recycling options. The county has released the new 2017 Recycling Directory and converted its popular A to Z Guide to a geo-locatable web tool.

This year’s directory, which is published annually by Pinellas County Solid Waste, is packed with the latest information about managing waste as a resource and how to properly “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Recover.”

The directory is accessible online.  A free copy of the directory will also be inserted in local newspapers.  The directory will be distributed in the Sunday, Jan. 15, edition of the Tampa Bay Times, the Thursday, Jan. 19, edition of The Weekly Challenger newspaper, and in the Friday, Jan. 20, edition of the tbt* Newspaper, the Tampa Bay Times’ free daily newspaper. Free copies will also be available at many libraries and government offices throughout the county.

Residents can find out how to recycle or safely dispose of just about anything from their home with the county’s A to Z Guide. Pinellas County Solid Waste has partnered with ReCollect, a waste collection mobile application developer, to convert the popular A to Z Guide to a geo-locatable tool.

The online A to Z Guide will allow users to type the name of an item they want to recycle and discover if the material can be reused, recycled or composted as well as where it can be disposed of. If users enter their address, the tool will direct them to the closest recycling or reuse locations, or the nearest disposal sites.

In 2015, Pinellas County attained the highest recycling rate (89%) in Florida, according to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. The rate contributes toward the state’s goal of recycling 75 percent of its waste by 2020.

“Pinellas County residents do a great job recycling and reducing waste, which conserves resources and preserves the life of our landfill,” said Pinellas County Solid Waste Director Kelsi Oswald. “With the new online tools, it is even easier to learn about solid waste management and best practices to reduce, reuse and recycle in our community.”

To learn more about the online A to Z Guide for recycling and disposal in Pinellas County, visit www.pinellascounty.org/solidwaste/getridofit/default.htm. To request a copy of the directory or learn more about recycling, visit www.pinellascounty.org/recycle or call (727) 464-7500.

Pinellas County Solid Waste will be holding the first annual Eco Fun Festival on Sunday, Feb. 26, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Solid Waste facility located at 11418 34th St. N., Clearwater. The free event will feature sustainable living exhibitors and presentations, facility tours, touch-a-truck for children, food vendors and family-friendly fun. The event will be held rain or shine. Visit www.pinellascounty.org/ecofunfest for more information.

Take A Look at the New St. Petersburg Pier

Take just a minute to take a look at the new St. Petersburg Pier!

Here’s the latest minute-long video – this one on some of the new designs for the new Pier.

There are other “Pier Minutes” with various topics that include branding, the design team, public art and much more. Watch for the new videos, and take “just a minute” each week to be in the know about what the new Pier will have to offer and how plans are progressing. You can view all the “Pier Minutes” here.

They will also be featured on City TV (Bright House channel 641, Verizon channel 20 and WOW channel 15 and streamed at StPete.org (look for the City TV icon on the home page).

Look for them on the City’s Facebook page and Twitter feeds, and be sure to share with your friends and family.

FUTURE PROJECT MILESTONES

Fall/Winter 2016

Demolition complete
Pier Approach schematic design complete
Pier Approach Design Development begins
Approve Pier Operator contract

Spring 2017       

Pier – Construction documents and permitting complete
Pier Approach Design Development complete
Pier Approach  – Construction Documents and Permitting to commence
GMP – Guaranteed Maximum Pricing complete and submit to Council for approval
Pier program and tenant selection process begins

Summer 2017

Pier Approach  – Construction documents and permitting
Pier – Groundbreaking; begin Pier construction over water

Fall 2017

Pier Approach – Permitting and GMP complete; commence construction

Fitness: Get Fit in Pinellas County

Wake up and walk! Or garden, do a downward dog, dance, yoga, hula hoop or bike. Whether you wear a FitBit or just want to get fit, we’ve got 101 unique ideas for exercising in Paradise. While everyone else is shoveling snow, these fitness ideas go beyond the gym for those of us lucky enough to live (and love) the Gulf Coast.

Run Rabbit Run: Jog the Pinellas Trail or Boca Ciega Millenium park or go large and sign up to walk or run these local winter races. You can also find fellow running and cycling enthusiasts and find out when the next Tampa Bay Beer Run happens at http://www.active.com/?clckmp=activecom_global_header_activelogo

Feb. 25-26: Gasparilla Distance Classic http://www.tampabayrun.com/

Get Fit With Friends: Check out the new Bike Share downtown and take a two-wheel tour of St. Pete. Want to meet some people who like playing your favorite sports? Check out the South Pasadena pick-up soccer games on South Shore Dr. South, South Pasadena Pick Up Soccer Games, and check out Athletic Singles and other fitness meet-ups on the web and Facebook. Rugby Rats can work out and play with Pelican Rugby,  http://www.pelicanrugby.com/

Mother Nature Is Calling: Lucky for us, we have some of the best bike paths, parcours and outdoor fitness equipment and county and city parks and beaches such as Ft. deSoto. http://www.pinellascounty.org/park/ You can take guided nature walks at Weedon Island and Brooker Creek and walking tours with St. Petersburg Preservation and Florida Craft Art.

Water Wonderful: There are so many paddle and kayak meet-ups as well as individual and group lessons, many of them led by local surf and watersport shops along gulf beaches. Pinellas County has miles of beautiful shoreline, providing paddlers with a variety of opportunities and experiences as they explore the coastline and the rich array of marine and estuarine ecosystems that make up Pinellas County’s waters. http://www.pinellascounty.org/blueways/

Cycle Mania: Check out the many rides for all levels! There’s a casual ride on Pinellas Trail, 14-15 mph, Wednesdays at 5:30 p.m. Helmet needed. No ride on third Wednesday of the month. Leaves from Pinellas Trail/Dunedin, one block north of Main Street at parking lot adjacent to Trail. Call 727-441-2444 for more information.

Dance Classes: If you want to gain confidence and make new friends, the Fred Astaire Dance Studio can help you sort out your two left feet.  They offer ballroom and social dancing privately and in group classes (www.fredastaire.com; 727-347-7700). At Hip Expressions (http://hip-expressions.com/), you can take belly dancing and reggae aerobics.

More of a classic dancer? Check out the Tea Dances at the Coliseum and Swingtime at the Gulfport Casino.  http://www.swingtime.info/jazzfest.html On Wednesdays 6:30-9 pm, meet up with the Suncoast Dixieland Jazz Band at Treasure Island’s Bilmar Beach Resort. Call 727-360-5531​ http://www.sdjs.org/

 Unexpected Local Gyms: Drop in for an hour or a day at the Suntan Art Center’s wellness classes, Madeira Beach or St. Pete Beach’s fitness centers and Southwest Rec Center. Explore what the YMCA has to offer as well as take advantage of local pools (St. Pete Beach, North Shore Aquatic Center) and if you’re a vintage fitness buff, the Silver Sneakers programs around town. You can also take a drop-in yoga class at Kripalu Yoga with Jeannie Salvo (jeslavo@tampabay.rr.com).

Personal Trainers: Smith Built Fitness (727-345-5000) and Adam Hoffman Fitness (727-???-????) can help you assess your fitness profile and plan a personalized program.

Yoga/Spiritual

  • Beach Yoga Pinellas: Tuesdays 7 – 8:15 pm. Treasure Island Community Center Garden Rm. Thursdays 7 – 8:15 pm City Hall Auditorium. Year round resident discount packages. 727.222.6476
  • Don Vista Arts CenterCelebrating 50+ Years. Yoga, Chi Gong. 3300 Pass-A-Grille Way, St. Pete Beach  727.367.3818
  • Drum Circle: Empowering and healing. 4th Friday on Gulfport Beach westside near the Rec. Center.Winter 7 pm / Summer 7:30 pm. Dena Lebowitz. 727.289.3380 denaleb@gmail.com
  • Hoop Dancing: Story telling dance with 1 to 30 hoops. Yoga Village – Sunken Gardens, 1825 4th St. N, St. Petersburg Contact: Abby 813.777.7720
  • Inspire Yoga at the Dali: Practice vinyasa/ashtanga poses. Sundays at The Dali, One Dali Blvd., 727.823.3767  www.thedali.org
  • Madeira Beach Recreation Center: Yoga Essentials, Vinyasa, Flow, Tai Chi, Hoola Dance, 200 Rex Place, Madeira Beach 727.392.0665 www.madeirabeachfun.com
  • Sunken Gardens/Meditation in the Gardens: Every Wednesday, 12:30 pm.  Daily yoga Daily Yoga with Yoga Village classes. Sunken Gardens, 1825 4th St. N, St. Petersburg, 727.551.3102  www.stpete.org/sunken
  • Nava Yoga Studio, 5901 Sun Blvd. W, Suite 120, St. Petersburg 727.592.1999
  • Perfect Circle Yoga & FitnessBikram Yoga, Hot Yoga, Boot Camp, Pilates, Personal Training. 595 Corey Ave., St. Pete Beach 727.504.2327
  • Sacred Lands: Sunday tours, meditations, special events. Wednesdays Movement for Wellness. 1700 Park St. N, St. Petersburg. 727.347.0354  www.sacredlandspreservationandeducation.org
  • Sound Meditations: Thursdays at 11 am. Scout Hall, 5315 28th Ave. S, Gulfport. 727.893.5657. www.gulfportseniorfoundation.org
  • St. Petersburg Yoga 2842 MLK St. N, St. Petersburg 727.894.9642 info@stpetersburgyoga.com Tues, 6:15 pm, Sunset Beach, 10400 Gulf Blvd., Treasure Island; Wed., Sunrise 7 am at Straub Park, 255 Beach Dr. NE, St. Petersburg
  • St. Pete Beach Yoga: Daily 10 am and one hour before sunset. St. Peter Beach near Beach Plaza and 67th Ave. 727.686.0123 stpetebeachyoga@gmail.com Yoga Alliance Certified
  • Tampa Museum of Art: Monday meditation120 W. Gasparilla Plaza, Tampa813.259.1720
  • The Longhouse
: All levels of skill and techniques2309 49th Street S, Gulfport 727.322.5766
  • Tree of Life YogaFour studios. Addiction Recovery, Prenatal, Cancer Survivor Yoga. 6800 Gulf Blvd., South Pasadena Shopping Ctr., 727.514.3057
  • Yoga – Jeanne Salvo, RYT 500 Yoga Style: Kripalu, Pass-A-Grille Beach Comm Church, 107 16th Ave., St. Pete Beach. Phone/Text  727.224.7631 Jesalvo@tampabay.rr.com
  • YOGA FOR A CAUSE! Get healthy and support Florida West Ballet, a Not-for-profit Pre-Professional Performing Arts Company! Yoga Around Town is offering yoga classes at Florida West Ballet’s studio: 616 4th Street N., St. Petersburg Bring your mat, towel & $10 donation per session.floridawestballet@tampabay.rr.com   or ann@yogaaroundtown.net

Wellness Services: Get healthy naturally at Ancient Healing Acupuncture and Herbs Clinic 727-384-4826), lose weight safely with WeightSmartMD (727-343-9100), get a mobile massage with Libby (727-204-8602), and relax the mind and renew your body at Lemon Tree Spa (727-363-0772).

 Perhaps one of our favorite finds is downtown St. Pete’s Harmony EcoSpa (400 4th Street North @The Hollander Hotel, downtown St. Pete; 727-822-8701), where you can get the ultimate holistic pampering including aromatherapy, massage, reiki, ear candling, bamboo fusion, BEMER treatments and more

  • Ear Candling:  There are many benefits of ear candling. It has helped people with sinus congestion, colds, ear aches and infections, candida, headaches, lymphatic congestion, sore throats, mucus, sinus infections, balance and equilibrium. It is safe, simple and natural. It is a soothing experience that reduces stress and tension and also sharpens mental functions.
  • BEMER: BEMER technology is a biophysical application to optimize the body’s own natural vitality and wellbeing utilizing “Information Medicine.” By means of sending a unique signal to the body (our animals as well), BEMER stimulates the rhythmic pumping action of our bodies’ tiniest blood vessels – the microvessels. Distribution of the very essences of life is improved with its use. The benefits of BEMER technology is the support of the body’s own healing and maintaining abilities; they reach the entire body and can be experienced by everyone with no known negative side-effects, with exception to anyone on immune suppressant drugs/treatment.
  • Reiki: Reiki is a safe, gentle, non-invasive form of hands-on healing. Recipients report their experience of Reiki includes increased energy, reduction of pain, deep relaxation and a general feeling of well being. Reiki initiation attunes a practitioner to become a channel for the Reiki energy and is a powerful, life-changing experience for physical, mental and spiritual growth.
  • Core Health/Heart Forgiveness Sessions with Jennifer Andrews: Can help dissolve anger and resentment and help your life energy flow with ease, brining more peace and joy into your life and releasing healthy hormones.

–Article by Nanette Wiser

KUDOS January 2017

HELPING MOTHER NATURE ONE BAG AT A TIME!

Maggie Monfreda is a third grader in the Gulf Beaches Elementary School’s Gifted Program. Each student in the program is required to plan and execute a community service project. Maggie had to come up with the idea on her own. After learning during sea turtle season that turtles can mistake plastic bags for jellyfish, she thought of organizing a beach clean up. She designed a flyer and hung them at her school and recreation center. She invited every adult she knows. She was very happy with her ability to pull so many people together to do something good for the community. We saw several photos from Maggie’s October and November beach clean ups, and coincidentally saw her family in action ourselves in December. She had recruited her aunt and cousins in October.  In November, they were joined by some USF students, and in December they were assisted by a woman and her daughter that were on vacation and wanted to help. Kudos to Maggie Monfreda and her family, to Gulf Beaches Elementary School, (and the Paradise Grille at Upham Beach, which just reopened after a major renovation.)

RCS Food Bank Receives Shipment from Publix’s Food For Sharing

This week Publix delivered 51,327 pounds of food to the RCS Food Bank from their Food for Sharing campaign. Originally the RCS Food Bank was supposed to receive 24 pallets from the campaign, but Alex Thomas, director of RCS Food Bank, was happily surprised when the truck contained 40 pallets instead! The shipment included tuna, mac and cheese, green beans, mashed potatoes, beef stew, peanut butter, fruit cocktail, rice, canned ham, grape jelly and breakfast bars —enough to provide almost 43,000 meals.

Last year RCS Food Bank provided 2,445,563 meals to those facing hunger in Pinellas County. In November, the RCS Food Bank served 7,266 individuals including 142,016 pounds of food out of the warehouse and 136,822 pounds of food out of sub-distribution sites.

Hunger Facts:

  • 1 in 6 Floridians struggle with hunger.
  • Food insecurity rate in Pinellas County is 16.2%.
  • There were 38,940 children in Pinellas County in 2014 considered food insecure.

Holiday Good Deeds

The Gulf Beach Masonic Lodge took part in the Salvation Army Angel Tree program at Tyrone Mall. The Angel Tree program is designed to get holiday gifts to needy children in the community. Over nineteen members of Gulf Beach Masonic Lodge took turns manning the Angel Tree booth. In addition, Christmas food baskets were prepared and delivered by members and friends of Gulf Beach Masonic Lodge to local families in need. www.gulfbeachlodge.org.

LOEWS DON CESAR DONATES OVER 350 TOYS TO JOHNS HOPKINS ALL CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL

During its annual Winter Solstice celebration on the evening of Wednesday, Dec. 21, the Loews Don CeSar collected more than 350 donated toys and several gift cards for Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in downtown St. Petersburg. More than 500 members of the community attended the free holiday event and filled three large bins with toys.

Employees of the Loews Don CeSar dropped off the gifts at the hospital following the event to an elated staff.

The toys will be given to sick children as part of the hospital’s All Kids Wonderland, an event that allows family members to select donated gifts from a faux storefront. The toys are distributed to the hospital’s child residents on Christmas Day to spread holiday cheer and provide a sense of normalcy.

The hotel’s donation is part of the Loews Hotels Good Neighbor Policy, the hospitality industry’s first comprehensive community outreach program, which addresses a variety of issues, such as hunger relief, literacy rates and green practices. Created in 1990 by Jonathan Tisch, Loews Hotels Chief Executive Office, the Loews Good Neighbor Policy is the company’s formal commitment to hotel employees giving back to the communities where they work and live.

News: Municipal Elections March 14th

Ever an interesting political environment, the 2017 St. Pete Beach mayors race is proving to be no exception. When Mayor Maria Lowe resigned last summer to join her husband and son on their move to Normandy, the commission selected frequent commission critic Deborah Schechner, out of a field of ten applicants. One of the conditions of her selection was her promise that she would not run for the Mayor’s position in March, as it would give her an unfair advantage to run as an incumbant. Melinda Pletcher, whose vote for Schechner gave her the appointment, said she never would have voted for her had she remembered she had sued the city, especially since the suit was still active. Mayor Schechner has not commented on her broken promise to the commission.

Alan Johnson is the thinking voter’s choice for mayor. A retired engineer who spent  35 years at General Electric. Al has been active as Chairman of the city’s Finance and Budget Review Committee and previously served on the city’s Recreation Advisory Committee. Although this is Al’s first attempt at an elected position in the city, he has been a longtime volunteer and supporter of many city functions. He was founder along with his late wife Wendy Johnson of Motion Sports Management and the St. Pete Beach Classic Race which brings out 2,000+ runners and more than 200 community volunteers each January. Works hand in hand with Sheriffs, city hoteliers, particularly the Sirata resort. If anyone can understand the city’s economic challenges, continue to help mend the rift that exists between some residents and  redevelopment interests to help propel the community forward, it’s Al Johnson.

A third candidate, John-Michael Fleig, is another frequent vocal attendee at city commission meetings. Founder and partner of the Baywaters Inn and the Rita-Terese property Management Agency, Fleig says he has the “pulse of the overall public” in the city, and that his property management experience has taught him the importance of planning. He has not run for office in St. Pete Beach before, but  was a republican candidate in the 2nd Congressional District of Maryland in 1990, 1994 & 1998. He withdrew after pleading guilty in a plea bargain to being an accessory after the fact to murder, according to 1997-98 articles from the Baltimore Sun that are available online. Fleig also was announced as a 2014 Republican candidate seeking to represent the 13th Congressional District of Florida but did not qualify to run in the special election by the November 19, 2013 filing deadline.

A press release dated Dec. 24th, from politicalspitfir@aol.com, attributed to Fleig mostly assailed Mayor Schechner for her broken promise to the commission. While he complains she shouldn’t be allowed to run because ‘rules are rules’, it is not clear whether Fleig has even read the rules in the candidate’s handbook that he had to swear he read and understood when he registered to run for office. Neither his recent  “Press Release”  nor a flyer left at our door about his campaign included the necessary political small print, absence of which is grounds for fines or worse if a complaint were filed.

District 2 Commissioner Rick Falkenstein & District 4 Commissioner Melinda Pletcher retained their seats unopposed.

______________________

Christine Anne Brown and Linda Bailey are running for Gulfport Council Seat for Ward 2. Ward 4 is more competitive with 4 contenders: Bobby L. Reynolds, Michael Fridovich Richard Fried and Ernest Stone. Treasure Island candidate registration was open until January 4th, so details in that race were not available at press time. More on the local races in the February issue.  PN

Couples Registration Now Open for Clerk’s 11th Annual Valentine’s Day Group Wedding at Florida Botanical Gardens

Ken Burke, Pinellas County Clerk of the Circuit Court and Comptroller, announced that registration is now open for the Clerk’s 11th Annual Valentine’s Day Group Wedding. Up to fifty couples are expected to be joined together for one group wedding ceremony on Valentine’s Day, Tuesday, February 14, 2017 in the romantic and picturesque Wedding Garden of the Florida Botanical Gardens in Largo.
“Our Valentine’s Day Group Wedding event is a memorable occasion many in the community look forward to and we are very thankful for the couples who allow us to partake in their special day” said the organizer of the event, Clerk Burke.
A single ceremony will unite all couples in attendance. The couples and their guests will celebrate with wedding cake and refreshments provided by local sponsors. In addition, everyone will be serenaded with a cappella melodies performed by the Charmonizers Barbershop Quartet.
The Clerk has waived the normal $30.00 ceremony fee. Standard marriage license fees will still apply. To participate, couples must sign-up no later than Friday, January 27, 2017.
 
To register for the event, please visit the Clerk’s website at www.mypinellasclerk.org.   
In order to be eligible to register for the 2017 wedding event, application for a marriage license must be made between December 19, 2016 and February 10, 2017. The ceremony will take place at 2:00 p.m. in the Wedding Garden of the Florida Botanical Gardens located at 12520 Ulmerton Road, Largo, FL 33774. Couples will receive a special Commemorative Marriage Certificate, which will be mailedwithin one week from the date of the ceremony with the official Certificate of Marriage. All couples should arrive at the Botanical Gardens by 1:00 p.m. on the day of the event with their marriage license and identification.
For more information regarding the event, please contact Recording Services at (727) 464-3008 or visit the Clerk’s website. For more information about the Wedding Garden or the Florida Botanical Gardens, visit www.flbg.org.