St. Pete Beach Lunch and Learn Series

Join the City of St. Pete Beach as they kick off our Lunch and Learn Series on January 11th.  Every Lunch and Learn will focus on a different topic ranging from Estate Planning to How to Avoid Senior Scams!  All Lunch and Learns will be held from 12-1p at the St. Pete Beach Community Center, 7701 Boca Ciega Dr.  All presentations are free and open to both residents and non-residents of St. Pete Beach.  Lunch will be provided. Please call ahead to reserve your seat.  A full list of dates and presenters visit our website atwww.spbrec.com or call (727) 363-9245.

Lunch and Learn Schedule

Jan 11 – Financial Advisor Scott O’Berry, Edward Jones Investment Firm– Estate Planning
Jan 25 – Presentation to be announced
Feb 8 – Matthew Miller, Humana-  How to avoid Senior Scams
Feb 22 –  Presentation to be announced
Mar 8 – Financial Advisor Scott O’Berry, Edward Jones Investment Firm- Examine how to budget for retirement expenses, potential sources of retirement income and potential risks such as LTC and health care costs.
Mar 22 – Presentation to be announced

Residents Reminded of Fireworks Ban for New Year’s Eve

  • Ban on the retail sale, purchase or use of fireworks that project into the air or explode
  • Use of sparklers remains legal, but residents are urged to follow necessary safety steps
  • Place pets in a sheltered and escape-proof area of the home during fireworks displays

As revelers prepare to ring in the New Year on Dec. 31, Pinellas County reminds residents of the ban on the retail sale, purchase or use of fireworks that project into the air or explode.

Pinellas County Emergency Medical Services and Fire Administration urges residents to play it safe by enjoying fireworks displays that are conducted by trained professionals.

Resident Safety:

Sparklers and fountains remain legal, but they can be dangerous, reaching temperatures of up to 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit. Only those over 12 years of age should handle sparklers of any type. Youth often get burned by sparklers every year, so responsible adult supervision is necessary at all times. Officials urge extreme caution and advise residents to follow basic safety recommendations:

  • Read and understand all product warnings.
  • Never place any body part directly over a device when lighting the fuse.
  • Use sparklers only as intended outdoors.
  • Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.
  • After using these devices, douse them with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding.

Residents who witness the use of illegal fireworks are asked to call their municipality’s law enforcement non-emergency number. A list of law enforcement non-emergency phone numbers is available at www.pinellascounty.org/publicsafety/pdf/Contacts.pdf. Residents should call 911 only in the event of an emergency.

Pet Safety:

Pinellas County Animal Services reminds pet owners to keep a close eye on their pets during fireworks displays as these can lead to animals running loose onto streets and freeways, getting lost or ending up in shelters.

“Pet owners should be aware that some dogs will do anything they can to escape the noise of fireworks,” said Pinellas County Animal Services Director Doug Brightwell. “One of the easiest ways for pet owners to ensure their pet won’t run away is by placing them in a quiet, sheltered and escape-proof area of the home.”

Other safety tips include:

  • Make sure your pet is microchipped, license is current and tags are secured to the pet’s collar.
  • Keep pets indoors in a cool, comfortable place with some minor noise distraction such as a radio or television.
  • Do not take pets to fireworks events.
  • If you are leaving town and cannot take your pets with you, make sure you leave them with someone who will be particularly cautious and responsible during New Year’s Eve celebrations.

Wawa Eyeing the Skyway Marina District

The Skyway Marina District will looking to add a Wawa to the list of new businesses opening in 2017. There will be a public meeting on January 3rd at 5 PM in the Desoto Room at the SPC Allstate Campus located at 3200 34th St S, St. Petersburg, FL 33711 to reveal plans for the old Bank of America building located on 34th Street South and 38th Avenue South.

Wawa is a mid-Atlantic chain of convenience store/gas stations. The chain boasts a large fresh food service selection under the Wawa brand, including built-to-order hoagies, freshly brewed coffee, dairy products, breakfast sandwiches, bakery products, and ready-to-eat salads and fruits. Wawa Food Markets carry more than 6,000 items, including Wawa brands as well as national and local products.

The meeting is open to the public and all with questions or who would like more information are encouraged to attend. If you have any questions please contact the Skyway Marina District Office at keri@skywaymarina.com or call 727-866-2696.

About the Skyway Marina District

The Skyway Marina District is 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization comprised of businesses, property owners, residents and visitors working to promote community interests by supporting and creating a sustainable local economy within the Skyway Marina District of St. Petersburg, Florida.

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.

Join Pickleball on Madeira Beach

First Pickleball Meet Up of the year as part of the City’s Senior Activies kickoff. Meet at the Madeira Beach Courts located between City Hall and the Recreation Center on Rex Place every Friday morning at 8:00 a.m. No membership or fees required. Paddles and balls available for use at the Recreation Center front deask at no charge. Questions? Call the recreation center at (727) 392-0665.

City of South Pasadena Needs Artspring Volunteers

The city is looking for volunteers to help with the 31st Annual Artspring Exhibition. Shifts are available on the following dates March 27 – April 3, 2017. Please consider donating a few hours of your time.

Artists are also needed to exhibit their artwork in the following mediums: clay, fiber, wood, metals, glass, photography, paper or paint. Sculptures may be submitted in clay, wood, metals or glass. First, Second and Third Place ribbons will be awarded in three categories (artwork, photography, and sculpture), along with the Mayor’s Award and Honorable Mention ribbons. No entry fee required.

To register or for more information, please call City Hall at 347-4171.

St. Pete Beach Classic Needs Volunteers

Each year, the St. Pete Beach Classic grows in popularity for runners, their families, our local businesses, and for the over 400 volunteers who make it happen. The Classic weekend is one of our community’s premier annual events. Did you know that the race contributed an estimated $840,650.00 to our local economy last year? As a board member, and a volunteer, I’m proud of the work we do to provide a world class running event and to give back to our community and local charities. Now we need your help more than ever, volunteering is fun and easy.

Race weekend is January 13, 14 and 15, 2017. Please join us this year as a Course Marshal. Course Marshals are assigned to intersections on race routes to help guide cars safely away from runners and to show our runners community support. We start around 8:00 Saturday and Sunday mornings and our job is done well before noon. As a volunteer, you’re  invited to attend a volunteers’ appreciation dinner and are eligible to win a variety of prizes. We also have a huge beach bonfire party with live music Saturday evening behind the Sirata Resort.
Please, go to http://stpetebeachclassic.com/volunteer and sign up for Course Marshals North and the course marshal coordinator will be in touch. Or, call Michael Lehman at 727.492.4452 for more information.

2017 St. Pete Beach Senior Excursions

The St. Pete Beach Community Center has new Senior Excursions on the schedule January -March. The excursions are a great way for local seniors to travel with their friends and make new ones! All excursions will depart from the St. Pete Beach Community Center, 7701 Boca Ciega Dr. All trips will leave the Community Center at 9a.m. and return by 4 p.m. Participants must pre-register by the Wednesday prior to the excursion. There are limited number of seats available. Each trip is $12 for residents of St. Pete Beach and $15 for non residents. Cost covers transportation only. All admissions or lunch are extra and the responsibility of the participants. For more information call 727.363.9245 or visit www.spbrec.com.

TRIP SCHEDULE :

Jan 7th—Ringling Museum
Jan 14th—Mixon Fruit Farm
Jan 21st—Florida Aquarium
Jan 28th—Ellenton Outlets
Feb 4th—St. Armands Circle
Feb 11th—Dunedin Craft Festival
Feb 18th—Florida State Fair
Feb 25th—Tampa Outlets
Mar 4th—Gasparilla Festival of the Arts
Mar 11th—Florida Strawberry Festival
Mar 18th—Ikea, Ybor City & The Columbia Restaurant
Mar 25th—International Mall

Find out what else is happening in St. Pete Beach at http://www.spbrec.com/.

Pinellas Christmas Tree Recycling

Residents are encouraged to recycle their Christmas trees this holiday season. Recycled trees can be processed into useful mulch. To prepare Christmas trees for recycling, residents must remove all decorations, including hooks, garland, tinsel and lights.

It is important to not place the trees in a bag or trash can, but rather leave them loose for pick-up. Residents who live in apartments and condominiums should consult with their property managers for disposal instructions.

The following cities offer Christmas tree recycling:

CLEARWATER: Curbside collection with yard waste on regular day. For information, call (727) 562-4920.

DUNEDIN: Curbside collection with yard waste on regular day from Monday, Dec. 26, to Friday, Jan. 13. Residents without curbside yard waste pickup can plan a pick-up day with their association property manager. For information, call (727) 298-3215, ext. 1328.

GULFPORT: Place tree at curb or alley for regularly scheduled Wednesday yard waste pick-up.  Do Not bag or place tree in can. For multiple-dwelling units, place your tree near the dumpster without blocking access to it. Trees will be chopped and processed into mulch, then made available to residents at the Gulfport Neighborhood Center, located at 1617 49th St. S. For more information, call (727) 893-1089.

INDIAN ROCKS BEACH: Curbside collection with yard waste on Wednesdays. For information, call (727) 595-6889.

LARGO: Place trees at curb on your regularly-scheduled yard waste day. Please do not place trees at the curb in bags or with decorations attached. For more information, call (727) 587-6760 or visit www.largorecycles.com.

MADEIRA BEACH: Curbside collection with yard waste on Wednesdays. For more information, call (727) 543-8154.

OLDSMAR: Drop off at 107 Shore Drive W., across from Park Boulevard. Open from Monday, Dec. 26, to Friday, Jan. 13. For more information, call (813) 749-1266. Drop-off locations will be available Mondays to Sundays, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

PINELLAS PARK: Drop off at the city’s brush site at 12950 40th St. N., Mondays to Sundays, from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., or place curbside where it will be collected with regular garbage. For more information, call (727) 369-0690.

SAFETY HARBOR: Cardboard recycling is collected during residents’ recycling day. Cardboard must fit in the 64-gallon recycling container. Christmas tree is recycled with yard waste on Wednesdays. No lights, tinsel or plastic bags. For more information, call (727) 724-1550.

ST. PETERSBURG:

Drop off at the St. Petersburg brush sites:
– 1000 62nd Ave. N.E.
– 7750 26th Ave. N.
– 2500 26th Ave. S.
– 4015 Dr. MLK Jr. St. S.
– 2453 20th Ave. N.

You can also put your tree out for curbside collection by Friday, Jan. 13. If your tree has not been picked up by Jan. 14, call (727) 893-7398. Please place the tree no closer than 3 feet beside the garbage container in the usual collection location (curb or alley).

TARPON SPRINGS: Drop off at Yard Waste facility located at 898 S. Levis Ave. for a fee or put out for curbside collection with yard waste on regular day. For more information, call (727) 943-4837.

TREASURE ISLAND: Curbside collection with yard waste on regular day. For more information, call (727) 547-4575, ext. 253.

The following cities do not offer Christmas tree recycling: Belleair, Belleair Beach, Belleair Bluffs, Belleair Shore, Indian Shores, Kenneth City, North Redington Beach, Redington Beach, Redington Shores, Seminole, South Pasadena and St. Pete Beach. Trees will be picked up at curbside. Although the tree will not be recycled, it will be collected and converted into energy at Pinellas County’s Waste-to-Energy Facility.

Residents of cities that do not offer tree recycling or residents living in unincorporated Pinellas County can recycle a tree by dropping it off at Pinellas County Solid Waste at 3095 114th Ave. N. in St. Petersburg. The cost is $3 per load for a maximum of five trees. The cost for six or more trees is $37.50 per ton. The facility is open Monday to Friday, from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

A flier about Christmas tree recycling is available here. For more information about recycling in Pinellas County, visit www.pinellascounty.org/recycle.

FWC crowns Lionfish King; celebrates removal of more than 111,000 lionfish

Shortly after announcing the removal of more than 100,000 lionfish from Florida waters, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), at the Nov. 17 meeting in St. Petersburg, presented a custom-made, mounted metal lionfish trophy to the FWC’s first-ever Lionfish King, David Garrett.
“Thanks to David and the tireless efforts of divers across the state, we are able to celebrate the removal of an amazing 111,000 lionfish so far this year; 37,000 of which were removed via recreational efforts,” said FWC Chairman Brian Yablonski. “This far exceeds our initial goal of 25,000 lionfish removed between May 2016 and May 2017 and we look forward to seeing what we can do to continue our battle against the invasive lionfish population.”

Garrett, of Volusia County, achieved the honor after removing a total of 3,324 lionfish during the 4.5-month long Lionfish Challenge.

“Every lionfish removed is a benefit to the native fish and ecosystem,” said Garrett, a Professional Association of Diving Instructors scuba instructor and retired Army major who also sells a lot of his catch commercially and runs a nonprofit lionfish removal organization. He will be featured on the cover of the January 2017 Saltwater Regulations Publication and will also receive a lifetime saltwater fishing license for his efforts.

Of the 111,000 lionfish reported removed since May, 16,609 were from the Lionfish Challenge program alone.

The Lionfish Challenge rewarded divers who removed 50 or more lionfish with incentives including a commemorative coin; a T-shirt; an additional spiny lobster per person, per day during the 2016 two-day sport season; and entry into a raffle where they had the chance to win prizes such as Neritic polespears, Zookeeper lionfish containment units, fuel cards, fishing licenses and dive tank refills.

A total of 95 people participated in the program from across Florida and the southeastern United States.
About half of the lionfish submitted to the Lionfish Challenge were also submitted to the Panhandle Pilot Program, which rewards divers for removing 100 or more lionfish from waters off Escambia through Franklin counties. This program will continue through May 19, 2017, or until all 130 cobia and red grouper tags allotted to this program are awarded. The first 10 persons or teams to remove 500 lionfish also qualify to name an artificial reef.

To learn more about how to participate in these and other programs, or to see who participated in the Lionfish Challenge, visit MyFWC.com/Lionfish.